The graduates of Middlebury College who studied Chinese language in the Chinese Department are a remarkable group of people who have made or are now making careers in business, education, finance, government, and NGOs, among other areas.

Many graduates of  Middlebury’s Chinese language program stay in frequent contact with one another, the Chinese Department faculty, and the College alumni office. They are also generous in offering help, contacts, information, and advice to current students and recent graduates. This communication takes place through the LinkedIn Middlebury Chinese Department Alumni group, the Middlebury Chinese Department Alumni Yahoo! user group, and more informal connections.

Every five years, alumni who studied Mandarin at Middlebury return to Vermont for a reunion hosted by the Chinese Department. The Chinese Department’s 40th Anniversary Alumni Conference and Reunion was held Friday to Sunday, October 28–30, 2015.

More than 50 alumni of the College who studied Mandarin Chinese with us as undergraduates came back to share their expertise, insights, experiences, and memories with one another and with current faculty, students, and administrators. Things began on Friday on the main campus with the keynote panel discussion, “China: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t Changed?” It featured distinguished alumni Elizabeth Knup ’82, Ford Foundation China country director; Bill Bishop ’90, publisher of the Sinocism China newsletter; and Austin Ramzy ’97, New York Times Asia correspondent. This was followed by a reception and dinner for a group of about 80 alumni and guests at the Kirk Center. Events continued on Saturday and Sunday at the Bread Loaf campus, with panel discussions, receptions and meals, and socializing. More than a dozen of our current students came up to Bread Loaf on Saturday morning to join the audience for an alumni panel discussion titled “Language and Being,” which was chaired by Middlebury College President Laurie Patton, who made time in a busy schedule to join us for the panel and lunch before leaving on a trip to Asia.