Laurie L. Patton
President, Middlebury College
Faculty Director, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion; Associate Professor of Education Studies
Alexander Twilight Artist Emeritus in Residence, Middlebury College
François Clemmons is an African American singer, actor, playwright, and university lecturer. He is perhaps best known for his appearances on the PBS television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood throughout the 1970s.
In 1968, Clemmons won the Metropolitan Opera auditions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He went on to Cleveland, Ohio, where he won a position in the Metropolitan Opera Studio. He sang there professionally for seven seasons, performing over 70 roles with companies including the New York City Opera, Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, and Washington Civic Opera.
Clemmons sang with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1973, he won a Grammy Award for a recording of Porgy and Bess; he performed the role of Sportin’ Life in that musical over 100 times.
For 25 years, Clemmons performed the role of Officer Clemmons, a friendly neighborhood policeman in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe on the children’s television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In the neighborhood itself, Clemmons ran a singing and dance studio located in the building diagonally across from Mr. Rogers’ house. As Officer Clemmons, he became one of the first African Americans to have a recurring role on a kids’ TV series. Clemmons told the story of how he became Officer Clemmons on StoryCorps.
Clemmons actively writes across genres for a variety of age groups. Currently, he is writing his autobiography entitled DivaMan: My Life in Song; a children’s story called ButterCup and the Majic Cane; and a volume of poetry, A Place of My Own. Some of his published works include a volume of spirituals named Songs for Today and a stage musical called My Name Is Hayes based on the life of Roland Hayes. He also commissioned a choral work composed of spirituals entitled Changed My Name, arranged by Linda Twine.
From 1997 until his retirement in 2013, Clemmons was the Alexander Twilight Artist in Residence and director of the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir at Middlebury. He played the role of professor, choirmaster, resident vocal soloist, advisor, confidant, and community cheerleader. He is also well known in the Middlebury community for his superb rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” which he sings at the Middlebury College men’s basketball games.
Clemmons lives and works in Middlebury, Vermont, where he is the Artist Emeritus in Residence of Middlebury College. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national fraternity for men in music.
President and Executive Director, Clemmons Family Farm
Dr. Clemmons is a medical anthropologist with a 35-year career leading ethnographic research and community development programs in the U.S. and more than 20 African countries. She has more than 20 years of senior-executive-level experience managing national and global program annual budgets of $20 to $50 million. She is internationally recognized for her innovative work integrating art and culture into effective public health and social change programming.
Dr. Clemmons began her international work as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Democratic Republic of Congo. She has worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and numerous U.S. nonprofit organizations working in international development.
She grew up on her family’s farm in Vermont and returned in 2013 to help her parents preserve the farm—one of just 4 percent of all farms in the U.S. that is African-American owned—for future generations. As president of the Clemmons Family Farm, Inc., she provides leadership for the farm’s transition into a 501c3 nonprofit organization and oversees its programming. She is a Vermont resident and fluent in French and Lingala.
Assistant Professor of Black Studies
Indigenous Scholar and Educator
Judy Dow is of Winooski Abenaki and French Canadian descent. She is Gedakina’s executive director and also serves on the board. Judy is a lifelong learner and teacher of over 30-plus years. She has an education career spanning more than three decades. She has worked primarily as an independent educator, with degrees in Native studies, education, and teaching for social justice, but she is also an environmentalist, consultant, cultural specialist, author, and basket maker, conducting classes and workshops for students of all ages. She was the 2004 recipient of the Governor’s Heritage Award for Outstanding Educator.
Professor of Sociology
Marisa J. Fuentes
Presidential Term Chair in African American History and Associate Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey
Professor Fuentes is the author of Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), which won book prizes from the Association of Black Women Historians, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and the Barbara T. Christian Best Humanities Book Prize from the Caribbean Studies Association. She is also coeditor of Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, Volumes I to III (Rutgers University Press, 2016–2021), and the “Slavery and the Archive” special issue in History of the Present (2016). Her most recent publications can be found in Small Axe, English Language Notes, and Diacritics. Her next book explores the connections between capitalism, the transatlantic slave trade, and the disposability of Black lives in the 17th and 18th centuries. Fuentes’s recent research has been supported by Balliol College at Oxford University (UK), the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. She has consulted on archive projects with the National Archives of the Netherlands, Barbados National Archives, and on the 2021 Balliol College exhibit and film Slavery and the Age of Revolution. She has also served in several professional organizations, including the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and she is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. In March 2023, Fuentes was elected to the Society of American Historians, which “honors literary distinction in the writing of history and biography.”
Archivist, Henry Sheldon Museum Stewart-Swift Research Center
Eva Garcelon-Hart has overseen the Sheldon Museum Stewart-Swift Research Center archival collections since 2011. She earned her master’s degree in history of art and MLIS from the University of California, Berkeley. Since the mid-1980s, she has worked for institutional and private archives, including that of Nobel laureate Czesław Miłosz and the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. In 1999 she moved to Vermont, where she worked as a consultant for the Vermont State Archives, Vermont Folklife Center, and artists’ estates. In her work at the research center, she is particularly interested in bringing to public attention its overlooked stories and collections through exhibits and public programing. While at the Sheldon she has curated several exhibits, including Charity & Sylvia: A Weybridge Couple, Conjuring the Dead: Spirit Art in the Age of Radical Reform, and Elephant in the Archives: Silences, Erasure & Relevance. During 2021–22 she and her colleagues invited national scholars, curators, and artists to participate in a popular virtual talk series, Elephant in the Room: Exploring the Future of Museums.
Vermont State Senator
Ruth Hardy of East Middlebury, Addison County, Democrat was raised in rural central New York State in the Ithaca area, where her mother was a teacher and her father was a state civil servant. Ruth received a BA in Government from Oberlin College in Ohio and a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Following graduate school, Ruth was a Fiscal Analyst for the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau covering education issues. She moved to East Middlebury, Vermont in 2002. In addition to the ongoing work of raising three children, Ruth has been Executive Director of the Open Door Clinic, Assistant Budget Director at Middlebury College, Government Grants Director at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and Executive Director of Emerge Vermont, which recruits and trains women to run for public office. Ruth served three terms on local school boards and was the last Chair of the Middlebury ID#4 Mary Hogan School Board, before the creation of the Addison Central School District. In addition, Ruth has served on several early childhood education boards, spearheads tree planting initiatives at schools, and is a member of the Ilsley 100 Library Committee. She is a graduate of the Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute. During the off-session, Ruth teaches courses on politics and public policy at Middlebury College and is a substitute teacher at the Middlebury Union Middle School. Ruth lives with her husband, Jason Mittell, a Professor of Film & Media at Middlebury College, their three almost-grown children, dog Pesto, and small flock of chickens.
Professor Emeritus of History
Assistant Professor of Black Studies
Director and Curator, Special Collections
Associate Director of Operations, Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village
Bob Hunt earned a BA in History and Elementary Education at Northern Vermont University in 1975. He had a forty-year career in teaching and administration. Since retiring from education he has worked for the Old Stone House and Historic Village in a variety of capacities, starting as Education Director in 2015. Currently he serves as Associate Director of Operations and works with the Collections Team that includes the Museum Registrar, Darlene Young and the Associate Director of Interpretation, Dr. Spencer Kuchle. Bob also works closely with the Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Collections Committee in addition to working with volunteer tour guides and research requests from the public. He also works closely with the Education staff and Molly Veysey, Museum Director. When not spending time at the museum he enjoys traveling, collecting Americana and spending time with his grandchildren.
Professor of Music; Edward C. Knox Professor of International Studies; Chair, Department of Music; Director, Middlebury African Music and Dance Ensemble; Director, Middlebury Afropop Band
Associate Director of Collections and Interpretation, Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village
Spencer Kuchle is the associate director of collections and interpretation at the Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village. He earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and held a two-year post-doctoral appointment in the Education Department at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, where he co-curated the online exhibit Backtalk: Artists on Native, African, and African American Stereotypes. Following his time at the Smithsonian, Kuchle served as a curator, collections manager, and director of interpretation in his capacity as a Community and Heritage Development member of AmeriCorps in West Virginia. This work was informed by his appointment as a fellow in the Experiential Training in Historic Information Resources (ETHIR) initiative of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at UMASS’s DuBois Library and as a Harry Ransom Fellow at the University of Texas–Austin. For five consecutive summers, Kuchle participated in an interdisciplinary, interinstitutional research team in Kenya’s West Lake District, partnering with communities to use the arts and humanities in communicating engineering solutions related to clean water, sustainable agriculture, and entrepreneurship. He writes a column each month for the North Star Monthly, entitled “History from Farther North.”
Emeritus Dean of Advising, Assistant Professor of American Studies, First-Year Seminar Lecturer
Assistant Professor of History
Dean of the Faculty; Dean for Faculty Development and Research; Rehnquist Professor of American History and Culture
Kesha Ram Hinsdale
Vermont State Senator
Kesha Ram Hinsdale is the first woman of color to serve in the State Senate, and is chair of the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs Committee. She also sits on the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Justice Oversight Committee. She received a BS in natural resource planning and a BA in political science from the University of Vermont in 2008. She served in the Vermont House of Representatives on behalf of Burlington, Chittenden District 6-4, from 2008 to 2016, where she sat on the House General, Housing and Military Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees, and served as vice chair of the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee. Kesha earned her Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2018. When not in the legislature, Kesha teaches Structural Inequality and Environmental Justice at Vermont Law & Graduate School. She has also served as co-chair of the Vermont Attorney General’s Immigration Task Force and as a member of the boards of Emerge Vermont, the Main Street Alliance of Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Regenerative Food Network, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Kesha lives with her husband, Jacob Hinsdale, and their new baby Mira in Shelburne, Vermont.
Artist, Twilight Portrait at the Vermont State House
Katie is a Middlebury-based contemporary realist oil painter with a studio in Bristol. She draws from a wide-ranging background of education and experience for her work in painting, public art (street painting/chalk and snow sculpture), in music, and in her current studies in theology and interfaith chaplaincy. She studied as a saxophone performance major for two years at the Eastman School of Music before earning a BA in Folklore/Ethnography with a minor in music from University College Cork (Ireland) and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School. In 2015 she apprenticed for two years under the master realist painter, Evan Wilson, and has freelanced as a studio artist and funk/soul/pit orchestra musician ever since. In 2020, she was proud to receive the commission to paint the official portrait of Alexander Twilight for the Vermont State House. She is currently a candidate for ordination in the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont and interning as a chaplain affiliate in the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life at Middlebury College while she continues her studio practice alongside.
Her paintings are represented in Vermont by the Edgewater Gallery in downtown Middlebury, including Still Life with Yellow Dahlias and Melancholy, which recently placed at the 16th Annual International ARC Salon. Whether through still lives or portraits, her work explores both the gritty depths and the implicit humor of the human experience. You can also see her work at www.katierunde.com and on Instagram @katiejrundeart.
Associate Professor of Luso-Hispanic Studies, Director of the Twilight Project
EveNSteve is the creative team of artist Stephen Schaub author Eve O. Schaub. Their artworks combine photographic imagery with handwritten text to create evocative landscapes that tell stories and speak to history.
Their exciting mixed-media works incorporate a variety of disciplines: photographic processes, filmmaking, works on paper, creative and historical writing, and installation. EveNSteve believe that, in all times, art helps us make sense of the world. In the face of chaotic, unpredictable times, art can remind us who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be.
EveNSteve’s work is in the collection of The Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont and the MERZ Collection in Sanquhar, Scotland. They are the recipient of grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Community Foundation. Their experimental films have been winners of Best Documentary Short at the New Wave Short Film Festival in Munich, the Global Shorts in Los Angeles, and the Best Shorts Competition in La Jolla. You can watch their short films and see installations of their works at evensteve.com
Vermont State Curator
Vermont State Curator David Schutz is the first person to serve in this office, established by the Department of Buildings and General Services in 1987. David has a BA in history from DePauw University, as well as a master’s from Ohio State. He served originally as a research assistant with the 1979 project that laid the groundwork for curatorial management of the State House, coordinated the ongoing restoration of the building throughout the 1980s and ’90s, and has worked with BGS managers and architects on many other restoration projects throughout the Capitol District and Waterbury Complex. In 2015 he coauthored with Nancy Price Graff a comprehensive history of the State House, Intimate Grandeur: Vermont’s State House. David has worked to support historic preservation projects throughout the central Vermont community and lives in an old farmhouse in Calais with his wife and two corgis.
Assistant Professor of Music
Assistant Director of the Twilight Project
Middlebury Class of 2022, Twilight Fellow
Artist, Educator, and Author of The Life and Times of Alexander Twilight
At a very early age, Bill Tulp became an enthusiastic artist, drawing and painting everything he observed or imagined. He developed a special affinity for visual stories, comics, and children’s storybooks, being taken in by the juxtaposition of words and pictures.
Eventually he ended up at East Carolina University where he earned a BFA with a major in painting and a minor in printmaking. He has had several gallery showings over the years, mostly of his paintings and drawings. He has taught art classes to people of all ages, as well as taught environmental and outdoor education in a number of places. He received an MS in outdoor teacher education at Northern Illinois University.
In 1989 he published a 44-page graphic novel entitled El Salvador: A House Divided, about the political situation and war in El Salvador, which was published by Eclipse Comics. Since then he has created and published a number of shorter visual stories, including “The World Seed Situation,” told by talking vegetables, a Native American legend, an African story, and a history of the Green Man.
In 2020 he applied for and received a grant through the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, Vermont, to create a graphic biography of Alexander Twilight to tell a story of the much-beloved Vermonter in a more accessible and easily read format. He also facilitated a visual storytelling class to high schoolers as a component of this project. In January of 2023, The Life and Times of Alexander Twilight was published by Onion River Press.
Docent, Old Stone House Museum and Historic Village