MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Now in its 99th summer, the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English will confer 73 master’s degrees and one honorary doctorate at 2018 Commencement exercises on its three campuses.
Commencement at the Oxford (U.K.) University campus will occur on Saturday, August 4, and graduation at the Ripton, Vt., campus will take place on Saturday, August 11. The ceremony at Bread Loaf’s Santa Fe, N.M., campus was conducted on July 26.
The ceremonies are tailored to the traditions of each locale. In Santa Fe, the event takes place under the expansive New Mexico skies; at Oxford the graduation occurs inside Lincoln College’s 17th-century chapel; and at Bread Loaf in Ripton, where the graduate school was founded in 1920, Commencement is conducted in the Burgess Meredith Little Theater.
Seventy-three students are expected to earn their master’s degrees in English this summer: 50 Master of Arts (MA) degrees at Ripton; 16 MAs at Oxford; and five MAs and two Master of Letters (MLitt) degrees at Santa Fe. Candidates for a master’s degree from the Bread Loaf School of English typically take courses for four or five summers, and students are free to decide which of the three campuses they wish to attend in any given summer.
With Director Emily Bartels presiding, an honorary Doctor of Letters degree will be conferred at the Ripton, Vt., ceremony this year. The recipient is Douglas Wood, a senior fellow in justice, equity, and opportunity at the Aspen Institute.
Wood, who earned an MA from the School of English in 1997, began his career as a public-school teacher after graduating from Wofford College. The South Carolina native was a program officer at the Ford Foundation from 2011 to 2018 where, for a time, he led an initiative for social justice in global higher education. Prior to joining Ford, Wood was executive director and chief education officer of the Tennessee State Board of Education and a fellow at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
On all three Bread Loaf campuses, the graduates choose an admired faculty member to deliver an address and a member of the faculty or staff to place the master’s hoods on each graduate. Tradition also holds that the class president at each campus delivers remarks and presents the class gift to the school.
The School of English is one of Middlebury’s summer residential graduate programs offering courses in literature and the related fields of literacy and pedagogy, creative writing, and theater arts. Students, most of whom are K–12 English or language arts teachers, come from across the United States and beyond for one or more summers of intensive continuing education.