Dear Middlebury Faculty, Staff, and Students,
On behalf of the Senior Leadership Group, we are pleased to share an update about the research and educational efforts underway regarding the Middlebury Chapel on the Vermont campus.
In mid-February, we invited a number of community members to serve on a committee to consider educational materials, including permanent sign or plaque installations, to provide more information about the history of the chapel, its original name, and the decision by the Board of Trustees to remove the name “Mead.” As noted in the community announcement in September 2021, this group was asked to “develop recommendations for engaging with [history] so we can learn from it.” The committee will meet in April and May, and their task will be to focus on educational materials only. We have further asked them to consider how to provide an opportunity for public input and to proceed with a spirit of generosity toward history, acknowledging the full dimensions of those who have led and stewarded the College before us.
The committee members are the following:
- Glenn Andres, Professor Emeritus of History of Art and Architecture
- Don Wyatt, John M. McCardell Jr. Distinguished Professor of History
- Ananya Christman, Associate Professor of Computer Science
- Rebekah Irwin, Director and Curator, Special Collections and Archives
- Paige Osgood, Class of 2023, Twilight Fellow
- Jourdon Delerme-Brown, Class of 2020, Leaning into Discomfort Committee
- Janine Hetherington, Class of 1995, Former President of the Alumni Association
- Mark Orten, Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, College Chaplain
- Koby Altman, Class of 2004, Trustee
- Yardena Gerwin, Class of 2022
- Khuram Hussain, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
- Aine Powers, Class of 2024
- Beatrice Donovan, Class of 2023
- Citlali Lopez, Class of 2025, Community Council
- Hannah Ross, Chief of Staff to the President and General Counsel
As a precursor to this work, the dean of spiritual and religious life, the Davis Family Library, and the Office of the President cosponsored research on this topic by students, staff, and faculty. That research will serve as a starting point for the committee’s consideration.
As we continue work on this project, we remain intensely aware of the profound feelings that the chapel evokes, and the special place it holds in the life of Middlebury and the lives of Middlebury people. Deepening our understanding, as a community, of the history as well as current uses of the chapel is part of pursuing our vision of the world we seek to create; that is, a world with a robust and inclusive public sphere that includes discourse about how to balance history with a commitment to our educational mission.
Chief of Staff and General Counsel