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A view of West Lake in Hangzhou, China, the site of one of Middlebury's Schools Abroad.

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Gifts Will Support Chinese Department and Portuguese School

March 31, 2015

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — President Ron Liebowitz has announced two gifts in support of language education programs in Chinese and Portuguese at Middlebury. The gifts, totaling $6 million, will facilitate collaboration between academic departments at the College and those at the Language Schools and Schools Abroad.

A $5 million commitment from the Starr Foundation to endow the College’s undergraduate Chinese Department will expand professional development support for Chinese department faculty, provide scholarships to Middlebury undergraduates to attend the summer Chinese School, and help fund internships in China for Middlebury College students. It will also underwrite activities at the Chinese House, provide enrichment funds to host lectures and to acquire library materials to support teaching and research on Chinese language, literature, and culture, and create an endowed College professorship in Chinese.

Liebowitz said that the first holder of the Starr Professor in Chinese will be Professor Carrie Wiebe. He also announced that in honor of Starr Foundation Chairman Maurice R. Greenberg, the department will be named the Greenberg–Starr Department of Chinese.

"It is very gratifying to Carrie Wiebe's colleagues and students, past and present, that she will be the first holder of the Starr Professor in Chinese,” said Thomas Moran, the John D. Berninghausen Professor of Chinese and chair of the department. "This recognition of Carrie’s two decades of excellent scholarship, teaching, and service is more than deserved.”

The gift will provide resources that will help the Chinese Department faculty in research and teaching, says Moran, which will benefit not only majors, who are students of Chinese literature and culture, but also all students of Mandarin Chinese at the College, who represent a wide range of majors.

"We are especially thrilled that the gift will make it possible for more Middlebury undergraduates to attend the summer Chinese School and do internships in China,” said Moran, "ideally in conjunction with study at our C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools in Hangzhou, Beijing, and Kunming, China.

A second gift of $1 million will support the intensive summer School of Portuguese. That gift, made by an anonymous donor, will be used to increase student scholarships, enrich the school’s co-curricular offerings, and allow for visiting short-term residencies throughout the summer session. In addition, the gift will fund trips by faculty who teach Portuguese at the College to Brazil for purposes of research and course development and to help assess Middlebury's Schools Abroad sites there.

"We are most grateful for this support,” said Liebowitz. "Such commitments are a testament to the quality of our academic programs and to the dedication of our faculty and staff."


It is with great interest and a big smile that I see Middlebury has a School of Portuguese. I spent my first two years of high school in Albufeira, Portugal and took the British O-Level in Portuguese. To continue my study of the language I spent a semester at Georgetown my junior year as it was not offered at Middlebury at all. What a nice gift to the school. Colette O'Connell '82

by Colette O'Connell (not verified)

Portuguese is a language I am eager to learn. Self-study is not highly successful with the pronunciation. So I hope one of these summers to do Portuguese at Middlebury. I thoroughly enjoyed getting my Masters in German from your august institution. Good luck in everything "languages" and more, Ilse

by Ilse Raymond (not verified)