MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College has announced the recipients of the 2020 Bonnie and John McCardell Citizen’s Awards—Glenn Andres, Sadie Brightman, Emily Joselson, and Amy Mason—in recognition of their remarkable contributions to the community. The College delayed its announcement of the 2020 awards until 2021 due to the pandemic.
Normally Middlebury College President Laurie L. Patton presents the annual awards at a celebratory dinner for the current and prior recipients of the award at the President’s House. The dinner for the 2020 award winners will take place at a later date.
“Even though we cannot honor these award recipients in person right now, we want to recognize how deeply we appreciate the work that they have done and the time that they have invested in making our community a stronger and more resilient place for everyone,” said Patton.
Middlebury College honors local citizens for exemplary volunteerism and service in a tradition that dates to the College’s bicentennial year in 2000.
Nominations come from members of the community, and a committee of faculty and staff makes the final selections. Every recipient of the Citizen’s Award receives a locally crafted medallion from Danforth Pewterers.
A complete list of past winners of the McCardell award is available on the Middlebury website.
Descriptions of this year’s winners, in alphabetical order, follow:
Glenn Andres, professor emeritus of the Middlebury College Department of History of Art and Architecture, has shared his expertise in community planning, historic preservation, and thoughtful development with the residents of Middlebury, Addison County, and Vermont since arriving in the state in 1970. He has worked to inspire the public to appreciate and protect their historic buildings by giving lectures, organizing exhibitions, and serving on the Vermont Advisory Council for Historic Preservation for 30 years and the Middlebury Design Advisory Committee since 1990.
Among his works are books on two Vermont topics: The Walking History of Middlebury and Buildings of Vermont, a 20-year project for which he and coauthor Curtis Johnson had to raise $60,000. He has served many other state and local organizations in leadership positions, including the Henry Sheldon Museum and the Center for Research on Vermont. His extensive involvement in the community reflects his passion for the performing arts as well. Andres is the director of the Salisbury Summer Performance Series, which he founded in 1979; a former longtime member of the Middlebury Community Players; and a participant in the early planning for the Town Hall Theater.
“For the better part of 50 years, Glenn has served as an advocate, activist, consensus builder, and pragmatic problem solver for issues relating to the historic buildings and downtowns that are such a fundamental part of Vermont’s cultural landscape,” said his nominator for the award. “Glenn has devoted considerable energy to accessing resources to preserve and maintain historic architecture, and has creatively advocated for new patterns of use to ensure the continued relevance of the region’s early buildings to Vermonters.”
Sadie Brightman is the founder and executive director of the Middlebury Community Music Center (MCMC), an institution that has become an important artistic and educational asset for the community since it opened in 2014. The nonprofit offers year-round music lessons in 24 instruments and voice, classes, camps, and workshops for all ages. The organization also offers a scholarship program, hosts performances, and partners with local childcare centers and school programs to provide music education experiences.
The community and the MCMC board, which includes Brightman, have responded to the center with enthusiasm and support. The center serves as a musical ecosystem by providing a place for music learners and teachers to inspire each other. Brightman encourages students to improve their skills through performance, and this effort has led to MCMC students performing regularly in the community in locations ranging from the Residence at Otter Creek and the Town Hall Theater to school assemblies. She is also a member of the Vermont Creative Network.
“It was Sadie’s vision and her passion for music education that made MCMC possible,” said her nominator for the award. “For her, this work has only begun. She and the other teachers at MCMC are constantly looking for ways to have their budding musicians perform, to create new programs that excite their students, and to give instructors a platform to develop their educational goals.”
Emily Joselson, a partner in the Middlebury law firm Langrock Sperry & Wool, has founded, championed, and volunteered for multiple community endeavors. Concerned about growing threats to community solidarity and civility, she cocreated a series of events called Community Conversations that took place from 2017 to 2019. At these public meetings, an expert or panel of experienced and knowledgeable local citizens led discussions on issues ranging from racism and gun violence to hate speech and homelessness. Joselson also cofounded Addison Central Teens in 2008. She identified space, staff, and funding to start it, in part by visiting every select board in Addison County and attending half the town meetings. She partnered with the Addison County Parent/Child Center for institutional support, and assembled and led the teen center’s board of directors until the organization was fully established in the community.
Joselson’s concern for the hungry, sick, homeless, and mistreated is evident in the many local organizations that have benefited from her service on their boards or as a volunteer. She was a board member of the Addison County Parent/Child Center for more than 20 years and of Havurah: The Addison County Jewish Congregation for almost 30 years. A former co-chair of the Addison County Hunger Council and board member of Addison County Home Health and Hospice, she has volunteered consistently for Standing up for Racial Justice and the Middlebury Task Force on Homelessness. Governor Madeleine Kunin appointed her to the Vermont Human Rights Commission, which Joselson chaired from 1991 to 2000.
“Emily has been working to address inequality and division for many years,” said one of her nominators. “She has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to strengthening our community and helping those who are vulnerable.”
Amy Mason identifies needs in her community and addresses them. A resident of Addison County who returned to her native Vermont with her family 12 years ago, she has drawn on her passion for volunteering and learning new skills as well as her professional experience in marketing, communications, and education to support her community. As the board chair of WomenSafe since 2014, she launched and managed a capital campaign that raised more than $1 million to expand the nonprofit’s facilities and deepen its capacity to serve people across the gender spectrum who experience sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
When the pandemic hit Addison County in March 2020, Mason quickly helped to launch a neighbor-to-neighbor response by cofounding Addison County Mutual Aid and serving as its countywide coordinator. The organization’s website is run by volunteers to connect people in need with those who can help with everything from grocery shopping and chores to finances. Mason also helps organize events and manage communications for Parents Supporting Thoughtful Technology, a group she cofounded in 2018 for families and educators in the Addison Central School District. She is a past board chair for the Mary Johnson Children’s Center and a past chair and co-chair of Friends of Weybridge Elementary.