Save the Date for Reunion 2023

We look forward to welcoming 3s and 8s back to Vermont June 8–11! Please check this page for more details as summer approaches.

In the meantime, you can browse photos from Reunion 22. The classes of 1970 and 1971 also celebrated their 50th Reunions on June 5–7.

Photos from 2s and 7s Reunion Photos from 1970 & 1971 Reunion
composite image of scenes from Reunion 2022: friends hugging, dancing, holding their Painter's canes, sitting outside the Middlebury Chapel

Reunion Experiences Online

Whether you were able to join us or not, we hope you’ll enjoy these videos of special moments from Reunion week and around campus.

Convocation (1970 & 1971)

Speaker 1:
Welcome everyone. It is so nice to see both of your classes here for your delayed 50th celebrations. The weather has been awesome because you are awesome and it really wouldn’t be reunion convocation without kicking it off by singing Gamaliel Painter’s Cane. So we’re going to do that and then we’re going to go into the official invocation. So join in please.

Speaker 2:
We pause to acknowledge that Middlebury College sits on land that has served as a site of meeting and exchange among indigenous peoples since time in Memorial. The Western Abenaki are the traditional caretakers of these Vermont lands and waters, which they call Ndakinna or homeland. We remember their connection to this region and the hardships that they continue to endure. Let us take a moment of silence to pay respect to the Abenaki elders and to the indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island past and present. We give thanks for the opportunity to share in the bounty of this place and to protect it. We are all one in the sacred web of life that connects people, animals, plants, air, water, and earth. And now please join in the spirit of invocation.

Speaker 2:
Oh moment. This reunion moment in convocation. May we be fully here with you and dwell in you for just this brief time gathered together holy. Come holy now and bring to us all our blessed recollections of beautiful days before, of difficult days before, with gratitude for the promises kept during these blessed college years, for friendships made and mentorships foraged. For the inevitable sense of belonging and the deepening of our being. Bless us sweet newness in sacredness, in sacred turnings that we have known here then and now. Through challenges met and hardships endured, and transformations undergone, let us be filled with the divine hope that comes in turning.

Speaker 2:
And in that fullness, we pause to acknowledge those who have been part of our experience here. Those we came to know and love, and who in this last year have passed on, friends, partners, spouses, children, and parents. We pause to acknowledge their continued presence with us as we embrace their memory. And so come now reunion celebrations and share with us your delights. May what happens to us in this space, in this special moment of convocation, this brief span of time, remind us of all that is right and good, and true in our college experience and our whole lives long. Amen. Amen and amen. Blessed be.

Speaker 3:
It is my great pleasure and privilege to welcome members of the classes of 1970 and 1971 back to Middlebury. You are here for your [inaudible 00:16:51], I am delighted that so many of you could join us. This is the way to kick COVID to the curb. You arrived in 1966 and 1967, two decisive years in our country’s history. And as you set up your dorm rooms and began thinking about your futures, the country around you was engulfed in turmoil. Both the war across the world in Vietnam and the battle for racial justice here at home provided intense backdrop for your Middlebury experience. Your 50th reunion yearbooks, both beautiful works that capture the essence of your classes include timelines of significant national and international events during your years at Midd. Here are just a few. Protests against the Vietnam war rage nationwide. The Black Panther Party and the National Organization for Women were formed.

Speaker 3:
Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first Black justice on the Supreme court. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. We reached the moon setting foot in the stars. Four students were killed by the National Guard at Kent State and the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers. Just as the Rascals told us all the world over people everywhere just want to be free. I did not subject you to my singing on that one. They took to the streets to enact the change that they wanted to see and change came too to Middlebury. It’s quite possible that your two classes experienced and took part in greater shifts in college culture than any other classes before or since. Naturally that wasn’t obvious when you first arrived. Let’s go back to September 1966 for a moment. The number one song by the Supremes, but you might also have been listening to Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.

Speaker 3:
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep by The Temptations, or Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys. Beloved TV shows, Star Trek and Mission Impossible aired their first episodes and continuing hits like Bewitched and Get Smart remained in full swing. If you had time between classes and meeting classmates, you might have read Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon or Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. Before you got to campus, you probably watched some of the biggest movies of the summer, which included Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Alfie and Torn Curtain.

Speaker 3:
From the class of 71, your arrival in September 67 brought with it an entirely transformed landscape. You were probably listening to The Doors hit Light My Fire, Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, and maybe even have dreamed of scoring tickets to Pink Floyd’s first US tour. Hit shows living on your TV screens likely included the Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza and the new kid, the Carol Burnett Show. You tour through the pages of Elia Kazan’s, The Arrangement, Chaim Potok’s, The Chosen and Mary Stewart’s, The Gabriel Hounds. And your summer of movies overflowed with classics like In the Heat of the Night and Bonnie and Clyde, as well as the massive hit The Dirty Dozen.

Speaker 3:
Once you settled into college, you worked together on initiatives to shape and change local and national communities. You had endless spirit and commitment to lend to your community in hopes of bettering it. You and many other Middlebury students marched in DC, protesting the war over your years at college. Students successfully pushed for the college to establish a commission to see what could be done for civil rights. A student coalition pressed for educational changes and political action, and students formed an abortion referral service. Many of the changes you witnessed at Middlebury had to do in fact, with a status of women. Although rules regarding what women could do, where they could go, what they could wear and when they had to be in their dorms had begun to relax in the early 60s. Women still had to deal with many restrictions and limitations that did not apply to men.

Speaker 3:
And your classes continued to chip away at them. In 1966, the hours when women could visit men in their dorms with the doors open at least 45 degrees, remember your geometry, that was extended. In 1968, curfews for all, but first year women were removed. In 1968 the trustees also approved a set of new social rules that applied to both men and women and eliminated the restrictive dress code that had been annoying Middlebury women for years. For most of its history, sports at Middlebury were something men did and women watched. When you arrived, the college had more than a dozen men’s varsity sports, and only one women’s varsity sport, skiing. But you helped to organize women’s teams in field hockey, swimming, and lacrosse. And just after you all graduated, Congress passed the Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. And the number of women’s varsity teams eventually grew to 15. I hope those of you who fought for women’s athletics feel pride and connection to today’s teams, including field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse, which all won NCAA Championships this year.

Speaker 3:
We are still confirming this, and this is a challenge to you historians out there, but we think this is unprecedented in the NESCAC League. Other significant changes that you witnessed at Middlebury include the end of sororities at Middlebury. In the spring of 69 four sororities decided to disband because their national organizations would not allow them to accept Black or Jewish pledges. The introduction of January term and the 4-1-4 academic calendar. Yes, you were there at the beginning. A new science center, which unfortunately is no longer and Johnson Memorial music and art building, which is being restored. You were among the first students to benefit. New dormitories, Hadley, Milliken and Kelly and Lang constructed on the hill near Pearsons, overlooking the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. When you graduated, America and Middlebury were not the same places that they had been when you started. It was a time of great uncertainty and great promise.

Speaker 3:
And none of you could have imagined where your journey from Middlebury might take you. And all of this makes the themes that you chose for your reunion yearbooks so resonant. For the class of 1970, you injected humor into the continuing process of growing and learning, calling yours, are we there yet? Not yet. And opting for an invocation of Robert Frost. Those of you in the class of 71, chose All the Roads Taken. Both titles and the pages held within the books bindings represent the remarkable journey that you all have taken since you graduated from Middlebury. Approaching the world around you with wit, intelligence, dedication and compassion, you have gone on to lead as our Middlebury mission statement now says, engaged, consequential, and creative.

Speaker 3:
You became teachers and doctors, and scientists, and writers, and business people, and artists. You have been active in public affairs in your communities and your states. You have traveled widely, made friends in the places you visited and helped to build new connections with other countries and cultures. And you have been more than generous with your time and your money in supporting Middlebury and the students who came after to you. We celebrate both of your classes with reunion awards. Class of 70 and 71, you have each been awarded the Armand LaFlamme ‘37 Cup for the Reunion class, other than the post 50th, with the highest giving participation, compared to all other classes in your specific reunion year.

Speaker 3:
Class of 70, you achieved a 65% participation rate and raised more than four million and [inaudible 00:26:10] 2% participation rate and raised more than six million. You have also received the Patricia Judah Palmer ‘57 Cane Society Award for your reunion year. This award honors the 50th or post 50th reunion class that raises the largest total of life income gifts and documented bequest intentions. In addition, the class of 71 has won the Raymond A. Ablondi class of ‘52 Cup for the Reunion class, with the largest total class gift. Members of the class of 70 and 71, I salute you. Middlebury is proud to call you alumni and grateful that you have returned to us this weekend. Congratulations.

Speaker 4:
As the incoming vice president of the Middlebury Alumni Association, otherwise known as the MAA Board, I am honored to help present the Alumni Plaque Awards. Every year the Alumni Plaque is awarded to alumni for exceptional service to Middlebury, its students and alumni. We honor these alumni for their loyalty and their contributions to our alma mater. In 2020 and 2021, three of your classmates were selected by the MAA Board to receive this honor. The first recipient of the Alumni Plaque is from the class of 1970. Would Bronwen Williams Flahive please come forward

Speaker 4:
For decades, Brownen Williams Flahive has been making time in her busy life as a teacher, professor, mother, counselor, and community leader with service on multiple boards to support Middlebury. Brownen is someone Middlebury can count on, a volunteer’s volunteer. Whenever the college has reached out for her expertise and energy, Brownen has responded unequivocally. Her Middlebury legacy includes the many talented students who are admitted to the college after having their first important contact with her. Serving for 20 years in the Alumni Admissions Program, Brownen was an informative presence at college fairs, a skilled alumni interviewer, and a dynamic chair of alumni interviewing. Over the years, she has met with scores of prospective students, providing them with information about Middlebury and offering her observations to the admissions office. Brownen’s leadership has extended well beyond admissions. From 1993 to 1998 she served on the alumni board, organizing events, conducting board meetings, working with alumni relations and Annual Giving to achieve important goals and helping to make the alumni board as welcoming and effective as possible for alumni.

Speaker 4:
Additionally, she played a key role in chapter programming in her home state of New Hampshire. The Annual Giving team has been the fortunate beneficiary of Brownen’s talents as an organizer and fundraiser for decades through her service as a class agent and lead class agent. Leading by example, and educating her fellow alumni about the rewards of supporting our alma mater, she has demonstrated a commitment to excellence. Last but not least, as a reunion volunteer, Brownen helped to make the reunion experience memorable, many times over, including this, her 50th reunion. We deeply appreciate the proficiency, enthusiasm and drive that Brownen has brought to the college. With gratitude for her decades of dedication to Middlebury and her loyalty as an alumni, we are honored to give her the 2020 Alumni Plaque Award.

Speaker 1:
The second recipient of the Alumni Plaque Award is from the class of 1971. Would Ann Einsiedler Crumb please come forward. Since she arrived on campus as a first year student in 1967, Ann Einsiedler Crumb has demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to Middlebury. She strongly believes in the college’s importance and mission, and she has dedicated much of her life to furthering that mission. As a volunteer for over five decades and as a staff member for nearly 30 of those years, thanks to Ann’s work in both of those roles, generations of students have had access to life changing opportunities at Middlebury. Ann began her volunteer service after graduating with a major in history in 1971. As a member of the alumni admissions committee, Ann interviewed prospective students and trained and supported other alumni interviewers in finding the best candidates for Middlebury. She raised funds to support Middlebury students as a class agent, a lead class agent and member of the Alumni Fund Advisory Council.

Speaker 1:
As a career mentor, she shared her knowledge of fundraising and alumni relations with students and alumni interested in careers in college and university advancement. In the 1980s, Ann served on the Alumni Board as a director, and then as an officer. Two decades later as staff liaison and ex-officio member, Ann helped to guide the board through the first decade of the 21st century. Overseeing alumni relations was just a part of her work over decades in Middlebury’s Advancement Office, where she was instrumental in the success of three major fundraising campaigns. Ann mentored generations of colleagues with her trademark kindness and understated leadership. And these colleagues went on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Middlebury.

Speaker 1:
Ann is instrumental in keeping the class of 1971 connected. She has served on numerous reunion committees and was co-chair for this 50th reunion. She has always been the go-to person for classmates who needed information or advice about Middlebury. Ann has helped move Middlebury forward and she has done it with grace and warmth, never seeking credit, nor recognition. The college has benefited greatly from her leadership, vast experience and deep commitment to our alma mater. With gratitude for her devotion and service to Middlebury and her many accomplishments on its behalf. We are honored to give Ann the 2021 Alumni Plaque Award.

Speaker 4:
And now it is my honor to present the third Alumni Plaque Award to a member of the class of 1971. Jim Keyes will you please come forward? Jim Keyes has been actively involved with the college since shortly after he graduated with a degree in geography. For decades, he has made time for Middlebury in his busy life as a banker, board member for many organizations and parent, always serving where he was needed. That service continues today as Jim worked hard to help rally his class to celebrate their 50th reunion, first remotely and now in person. Ask anyone who knows him and they will smile and describe Jim as an unsung hero. He works quietly behind the scenes to help Middlebury, never seeking credit or accolades for as many accomplishments as a volunteer.

Speaker 4:
Jim’s first volunteer role was in Boston’s alumni chapter, nurturing the Middlebury community there and ensuring events and programs met the needs of the Boston alumni. He has served as a class agent leading by example and educating his fellow alumni about the importance of supporting our alma mater and as an alumni admissions interviewer, and later chair of the Alumni Admissions Program. His legacy includes the many talented students who were admitted to the college and who engaged with Jim or with the many admissions volunteers he mentored.

Speaker 4:
Jim served on the Alumni Board in the 1990s, including a stint as the chair of the Nominating Committee. Alumni trustees and administrators took notice of his competence, compassion and quiet leadership, and he was elected as an alumni trustee in 2000. In all, he served 11 years on the board resigning to take a position as vice president for advancement at Middlebury. During his tenure as a trustee, he chaired the Audit Committee, an essential assignment where he oversaw the financial reporting process, the audit process and the college’s system of internal controls and compliance with laws and regulations. But perhaps Jim’s greatest contributions have been as a connector of people and a creator of opportunities.

Speaker 4:
Alumni across the generations talk of how he would drop anything to help them, sharing his contacts, providing leads, competing with colleagues to get more students from Middlebury hired at Bank of Boston than from any other college. And he has been instrumental in keeping his basketball teammates connected for over 50 years, rallying them to return and support the current team. With gratitude for his decades of unyielding dedication to Middlebury and his longstanding loyalty as [inaudible 00:37:20], we are honored to give Jim the 2021 Alumni Plaque Award.

Speaker 3:
Another way to beat COVID to the curb. Several of you received those awards in the mail and kindly brought them back so that we could give them to you in person. Welcome back again. It’s such a joy to see you sitting and standing for your colleagues, just where you should be, in the chapel pews together again to celebrate your long delayed 50th reunions. We have missed you. You might have noticed all of the cheers as you walked up. Young people missed you. Older staff missed you. We missed you. And this is the first in person reunion since the global pandemic upended our lives in March 2020. The pandemic has indeed tested us all. But I believe as we look back on this time of social isolation, we will also remember the innovations in teaching and student, and community life that now characterize Middlebury. I am proud of the resilience and dedication, and creativity that our students and faculty, and staff have demonstrated over the past two years. Just one week ago, we celebrated two commencements, less than a week ago in fact.

Speaker 3:
One for the class of 2022 and one for the class of 2022.5, the long delayed celebration of the class of 2020. Together and as individuals, these young graduates have taken on more, experience more and perhaps lost more under exceptional and often challenging circumstances than many people can imagine experiencing in a lifetime, and yet they persisted. Among them are recipients of nationally competitive fellowships, including Goldwater and Keasbey scholarships, Watson fellowships, and Fulbright teaching assistantships. They have excelled in athletics, winning NESCAC and NCAA titles and numerous awards for sportsmanship, academics, and coaching. And as you know, over Memorial Day weekend, women’s lacrosse won the NCAA Championship, its third title in seven years. That same weekend senior Stan Morris was crowned NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Champion. And this winter women’s ice hockey claimed the NCAA title, their sixth overall ending with a perfect 27-0 record. And last ball, an undefeated field hockey team captured the NCAA Championship. The first team ever in division three to win four consecutive titles. Yeah, that’s what I said.

Speaker 3:
And our students have challenged us to confront systemic racism more directly in our country and on our campus, to increase campus diversity and equal access to the full Middlebury experience, to broaden our understanding of accessibility and gender identification and inclusivity, and to acknowledge the original habitants of the land where our campus now sits. These have not been easy conversations. They are intergenerational and we have conducted them with grace and grit. And in July we will welcome a new vice president for equity and inclusion, Khuram Hussain from Hobart and William Smith. Khuram comes to us with deep experience as an administrator, a scholar and an educator, and I can’t wait for you to meet him. As I look ahead to next year, I know that the next generation of students will just be as bright and active, and engaged as ever. The largest group of applicants in the history of Middlebury College, a total of 13,028, students applied for admission to the class of 2026. That represents a 9% increase over the previous year’s total and an acceptance rate of 15%.

Speaker 3:
And in the last five to six years, our applicant pool has nearly doubled. We will welcome them to an increasingly dynamic and diverse college focused on its mission to prepare students to lead engaged, consequential and creative lives, to contribute to their communities and to address the world’s most challenging problems. That is our mission statement since 2017, when we adopted Envisioning Middlebury, our new strategic framework. I’m particularly excited and proud to share news about some of our new initiatives that exemplify that mission of leading engaged, consequential and creative lives contributing to our communities and addressing the world’s most challenging problems. Earlier this year, Middlebury received a $25 million grant from an anonymous donor to fund the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation. We are capitalizing on Middlebury’s deep, existing expertise across our undergraduate and our graduate programs in conflict studies and intercultural competency to lead a critical effort to teach conflict transformation in our nation and across the world.

Speaker 3:
We’ve heard already from Congress people, from local folks, from other educational leaders, all about how can they can get involved in this wonderful new initiative where we see conflict transformation as a liberal art. The idea of conflict transformation, you may have heard of conflict resolution, conflict management and so on, but conflict transformation assumes that conflict will always be present, but that it can be transformed towards positive rather than destructive societal goals. The approach focuses not just on problem solving, although it does focus on that, but also on addressing the underlying conditions that give rise to conflict and ensuring as much possible a sustainable peace for the future. Conflict transformation attempts to reshape the social structures and dynamics behind the conflict. And as a globally networked institution, we are well situated to do this work and to share with and learn from others. You may be aware, but you may not be aware, in the last 50 years, we’ve grown to have 36 sites of study abroad and 16 schools endowed, partially endowed by the Starr Foundation.

Speaker 3:
That’s how global we’ve become. More global than many of our peers, either colleges or universities. And Middlebury serves and will serve as the incubator for the development of research based pedagogical tools and student experiences in addressing conflict, both locally, nationally, and abroad. I’d like to highlight a couple of the programs that are already underway. This summer our Bread Loaf School of English is inaugurating a three course conflict transformation curriculum, teaching, writing and acting for change at its Vermont campus. These courses will seed transformative projects where participants working under the auspices of the wide Bread Loaf Teacher Network, teachers networked across the United States more than 1000 of them will carry out in their home schools and their communities this curriculum. And this week, students are participating in a Conflict Transformation Trek to Washington, DC, organized by the Center for Careers & Internships. And the Trek connects students with alumni, working in areas of conflict transformation, including peace and security studies and migration and refugee issues. This exposure to real world professional experiences will inform their career explorations in other postgraduate planning.

Speaker 3:
Join us if you can. I also want to share an update on our environmental programs and Energy2028, our plan to address climate change. There is so much exciting news just in the last year. As you know, from its founding in 65, just a little bit before you came to us, environmental studies has grown into the third largest major at the college. More than 200 courses now examining the environment from various perspectives. And just a few days ago, we received a gift to establish the VT Middlebury environmental studies professorship, which will support an eminent teacher and scholar in the field or a practitioner of equal distinction. A critical goal of Energy2028 is to provide our students with a comprehensive understanding of the climate crisis and how they can address it. Funded by a gift from the Erol Foundation, the Climate Action Capacity Project or CACP, aims to integrate climate action into every aspect of Middlebury life. From organizing the Clifford Symposium in 2021, where all people come together to address this issue, to creating alumni mentoring opportunities.

Speaker 3:
The project is helping us to develop the knowledge, innovation and capacity to tackle climate change. And since 2019, the Sustainability Solutions Lab has provided more than 100 students with the opportunities to work with faculty, staff, and field experts to define and solve some of our environmental challenges while shaping Middlebury’s sustainability journey. Projects range from working with the admissions office to reduce the offices’ carbon footprint, to collecting data and creating building energy models for the town of Bristol. We’ve also made significant progress towards our goals in using 100% renewable energy by 2028 and reducing our energy consumption by 25%.

Speaker 3:
A natural gas, anaerobic digester, fondly known as cow power, has been completed in the summer of 2021, which will help us reach our goal of heating our campus with 100% renewable fuel along with a biomass heating system, which uses wood chips as fuel. And we’ve broken ground on a five-megawat solar project that will provide about 40% of our electricity beginning in 2023. These are both exciting projects. Patrick Leahy joined us for the inauguration of our solar field, and we are so excited to continue that work in the future. And I am confident that we will reach our ambitious goals and that you can be part of that journey. Think about your own carbon footprint and look to Middlebury for best practices on how to reduce it. If you are already working in the environmental field, share your experience with students, offer internships and consider our grads for jobs. And to those who have already done so, thank you.

Speaker 3:
The other thing that I am so excited about is the way that we have used our global connections to make the world a better place. The best example I can share with you right now was less than a year ago in August when the Taliban were taking over Afghanistan and particularly Kabul. We were able to support two young alums, 2010 and 2011 in finding a way out. I’ll share more of that story with our dinner companions in a sec.

Speaker 3:
But I do want to say that at the end of that harrowing escape of both of our alums, one of them, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, reached out to me just three days after she herself had made it to safety with 200 of the alums who had accompanied her out of Kabul. And said, “We have nine alums who would prefer to study in the United States. Can’t go home and would not feel safe currently studying at their Asian universities because of the instability of travel in the region. Would you be willing to take those nine SOLA alums,” the alums of the boarding school that she had started, “And make the Middlebury students?” I said, “Let’s make it happen.” We created a process. We created an assessment tool. And I am thrilled to say that nine Afghan alums of the boarding school that our alum started, SOLA, have just completed their first spring semester here at Middlebury. We’re so happy to have them here

Speaker 3:
Yet another way in which our global reach is part of the work that we do every day in addressing the world’s most challenging problem. So this is your Middlebury. It’s a 2022 Middlebury. It is strong because of the support it has received from you and other alums who have volunteered their time and contributed their dollars over many decades. And now we are embarked on a campaign that will shape Middlebury’s future. And this is everyone’s campaign. Your gifts in honor of reunion count toward the campaign goal. In fact, reunion classes are already leading the way, including your own. Our goal this year was $90 million. We have surpassed it. About two or three weeks ago, we were at 94 million. Thank you. Thank you. This matters because of what the campaign will enable us to do next. We have four main goals for Middlebury’s future. We want to increase access to our Middlebury education, enhance our academic programs and create 21st century forms of literacy for our campus and the world.

Speaker 3:
Ensuring our students are world ready and work ready through our characteristic immersive learning opportunities. And finally create campus environments to support the academic mission and build community. There’s so much more to share, but I’ll end by saying that this weekend we are celebrating your Middlebury past, present, and future. We are celebrating you and your bond to the college and to each other. We are celebrating your generosity and your optimism for us and for our futures. And we particularly want to celebrate our reunion volunteers, the many people who worked so hard to make this special reunion happen. Thanks to all of you who are part of reunion planning and preparation. You’ve been extraordinary. I’ve loved meeting you. And your classmates and I, and all of us here on campus appreciate your work and you very much. I’m so proud and honored to be with you at this turning point in your Middlebury lives. Without you and the strength of your past and present commitment to Middlebury, we could not imagine our future. Thank you for helping us to imagine our future. Welcome back and welcome home.

Speaker 2:
As we prepare to conclude with the singing of our alma mater. Receive now this good word, this benediction. O divine moment, our hearts are made glad by such sweet convocation, sweet reunion. Make it our practice to notice and to be glad. O divine noticing, let it be our posture, our orientation from this gathering to be generous and open, and receptive. Let us set our intention to be right and true and good as we are now to one another and as we would be for the whole world. As we have been learners in this place and companions in this time, may it be for us always for the sake of kindness and compassion. Ever good stewards of our consciences, caretakers of our conscience consciousness. Go now and enjoy each other, rejoicing in your bonds of affection and intentions around the things that belong to this Middlebury blue. Blessed be. Amen. Let us stand as we are able and join in the alma mater.

Convocation (2s and 7s)

Meg Story Groves:
Welcome. Welcome, everyone. It’s our special time of opening up this ceremony, by welcoming the Class of 1972, celebrating their 50th reunion. We’re going to all sing Gamaliel Painter’s Cane in your program, and please rise if you’re able. (singing)

Meg Story Groves:
Okay. Hang on. Hang on. Please. Okay, let’s stop. Stop. Stop. Okay, please. No, no, no stop, stop. Stop. I need to talk to you. All right. For those who are going to listen, please welcome the Class of 1947.

Saifa Hussain:
We pause to acknowledge that Middlebury College sits on land which has served as a site of meeting and exchange among indigenous peoples since time immemorial. Thus, the Western Abenaki are the traditional caretakers of these Vermont lands and waters, which they call Ndakinna or Homeland. We remember their connection to this region, and the hardships they continue to endure. Let us take a moment of silence to pay respect to the Abenaki elders, and to the indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island, past and present.

Saifa Hussain:
We give thanks for the opportunity to share in the bounty of this place and to protect it. We are all one in the sacred web of life that connects people, animals, plants, air, water, and earth. I invoke an all-encompassing, loving awareness to support and affirm all who are in this room. For a moment, shed anything that may take you away from this very moment, and instead, let us center intention, celebration and gratitude. Let us take a moment of silence to welcome this in. James Russell Lowell, the great New England romantic poet wrote that a true liberal arts education emancipates the mind from every narrow provincialism, whether of egoism or tradition, and is the apprenticeship that everyone must serve become before becoming free.

Saifa Hussain:
This path of freedom also requires the ignition of dreaming, for as a great African American poet, Langston Hughes writes, bring me all of your dreams, you dreamers. Bring me all of your heart melodies that I may wrap them in a blue cloud cloth, away from the too rough fingers of the world. May you remember the deepest whispers of your heart that brought you on this journey. May your dreams and sincere yearnings rise to the surface, and remind you of your great sacred storytelling, and may your story be that blue cloud cloth that takes away the too roughness of the world and brings forth a melodic love.

Meg Story Groves:
Welcome everyone to Reunion Convocation 2022. How great it is to welcome alumni back to campus for reunion celebrations after two long years without them. Zoom is great, but not that great. There are over 1700 alumni and guests back on campus, spanning eight decades, and we are thrilled to see you all. As you reflect upon 80 years of memories, there are some things that never change, like sudden rain showers followed by blue skies and hopefully a rainbow or two. We don’t have mud season for you, but that’s good. We are going to celebrate after this down behind the tents with fireworks, a great meal, reception and dancing with The Grift.

Meg Story Groves:
Let us, so we’re right now, we’re going to begin to share memories of all of your years at Middlebury, through the voices of your classmates. We are going to begin to help share ‘47, and then we will go all the way through and end with 2017 with these great alumni class readers from your classes. Then we will have a special tribute to 1972.

David Ellis:
All right. So we are honored to have five members of the class of 1947 with us celebrating their 75th reunion. So, these remarks were written by Phil Briggs and Alice nee Perrine. The class of 1947 was composed of children of the Great Depression, brought to adulthood or early by a devastating war. In 1943, the student body was mostly made up of women, and a few civilian men. Then for about two years, we had just over 500 Navy men in a V12 unit. Gradually, we shifted to a mixture of returning veterans, and young high school graduates.

David Ellis:
Students in those days lived a frugal life. There were very few cars on campus, and just a few bicycles. People did a lot of walking. Food rationing meant few options and strange meals that included mystery meat. Winter Carnival was a highlight of the year. The snow sculptures were pretty amazing. Students who went skiing at the Snow Bowl, traveled in open mountain club trucks. There was only a rope tow at the time, but the lift, transportation and a sandwich cost 50 cents. What a deal. Welcome back.

Meg Story Groves:
Please welcome Sally Baldwin Udiger to celebrate the 70th reunion for the Class of 1952.

Sally Baldwin Udiger:
Will you fix it for me? That’s okay.

Speaker 3:
It’s pretty loud.

Sally Baldwin Udiger:
Thank you. We, the class of 1952 take great pride in reminding you that you more recent grads, of the very strict rules and regulations in our time. Except for a few grumbles, we didn’t complain. And we kind of brag about them now. Chapel attendance was required, and we had to sit in alphabetically-assigned seats, always. For meals, tables were also assigned, and fellow students served our meals, and we women had to wear skirts. No pants allowed. Ladies had to check into their dorms by 10 o’clock at night. No excuses, or else. We can’t mention every person and every special event that blessed our time here. The Robert Frost reading his poems, and Dr. Stratton carrying Gamaliel Painter’s Cane after the big football game victory over UVM.

Sally Baldwin Udiger:
We remember the fire in Gifford Hall, and the terrible hurricane of 1951. As a result of widespread damage in the area where they closed the college down and sent all of us, many of us out onto the farms and the homes that had been damaged, to help with the cleanup. So, 70 years does change things, but we continue to be so proud of our college and our time here. Thank you, Middlebury for the education, the inspiration, the lifetime friendships, but above all, the memories. Welcome back.

Meg Story Groves:
Please welcome Peter Reed and Pat Judah Palmer to celebrate the 65th reunion for the class of 195-

Speaker 4:
… Palmer to celebrate the 65th reunion for the Class of 1957.

Speaker 5:
Whew.

Pat Palmer:
Okay. Yo ‘57. Our memories, going back to ‘53 when we were freshmen a bit like ancient Greek to most recent graduates. Men required to wear beanies. They were real cute. The women, freshman year had a thing called Hell Week, which none of the men totally understood. A freshman woman who happened to get pinned during her freshman year usually prompted a call from Dean “Ma” Kelly to have a little chat.

Pat Palmer:
Saturday classes were for everyone. Chapel, here, was compulsory. You already heard about the skirts and the pants. The end of the road to the snowball was not paved. Therefore, it was occasionally wet and muddy. And the buses, if there was a bus, could not take anyone to the lifts. A long walk. And the lifts, rope tows. Ever tried grabbing a wet rope tow?

Pat Palmer:
Middlebury’s last big football game of the year was against who?…

Audience:
UVM.

Pat Palmer:
… And if I can refer to verse three of Gamaliel Painter’s Cane, many of you particularly very recent don’t know when we sing, “Our brothers by the lake. Oh, they shiver and they shake,” that’s UVM. We’re talking about. And finally, we graduated and we had a graduation ceremony and our speaker was a gentleman named Eric Jackson. And he consistently, repeatedly in his talk, congratulated our class of graduates from Middleborough college.

Speaker 6:
And, we hissed.

Pat Palmer:
Yes.

Speaker 6:
Twitter and TikTok are no longer referring to birds and clocks. Telegrams are Instagrams. Cryptocurrency and cyber security are no longer science fiction or relegated to the comic books much has changed during our life, both good and bad. But as we stand here today, we say that the best of Middlebury has prevailed throughout. We’re proud of our alma mater and we are thrilled to be here for our 65th reunion. Go Mid!

Pat Palmer:
Go Mid?

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Chuck Gately to celebrate the 60th reunion for the class of 1962.

Chuck Gately:
Thank you. When we arrived in 1958, ROTC was mandatory for men. There was a nightly curfew for women, and chapel was compulsory for all. We were captivated by the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate, the first to be televised. 1961 was incredible. Middlebury hosted a national collegiate ski championship, and our hockey team had a record of 19 and two including wins over Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Army. Chubby Checker’s, “Twist,” and Dee Dee Sharps, “Mashed Potato,” were popular at fraternity parties.

Chuck Gately:
In 1962, many of us joined the Army. Some joined the new Peace Corps, some headed for graduate school, and some started their careers in business or education. My classmate, John Sinclair said it best at our last reunion when he observed that, “What we cherished most about our Middlebury years were the wonderful friendships that were made and have endured for a lifetime. I am very grateful for my years at Middlebury College.” It is my pleasure to note that our class is the recipient of the Gold Key Award, given to the post-50th reunion class, with the highest percent of giving participation. 58% of us participated. You can clap. Thank you. We’re all also the recipient of the Parton Family Award, given to the reunion class, other than the 25th or 50th with the greatest increase in participation. We jumped 12% this year over last year.

Chuck Gately:
Congratulations and welcome back.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Marion Boltbe to celebrate the 55th reunion for the class of 1967.

Marian Boltbe:
We are the not quite, post-war baby boomers, the Vanguard for the tumultuous cultural changes of the sixties and seventies. As freshmen, we know where we were when JFK was assassinated. And when the Beatles first appeared on TV. We had classes on Saturday mornings, exams in McCullough gym, and one phone per corridor. Freshman men serenaded the bats. Sophomore men rushed fraternities, and we all chose our majors. At least for a while. Some of us became junior counselors, others, studied abroad or went to Talladega. We danced in McCullough gym through the great Northeast blackout. As seniors, we worried about the Six-Day War and the expansion of the Vietnam War, with its implications for many of our futures. We typed our senior thesis, correcting with whiteout. And a theme for the day, women could finally wear pants in the library. We frequented the alibi in the Pine room. And we eagerly looked forward to our post-graduation life, or we didn’t.

Marian Boltbe:
And finally, we remember sticky buns from the dog team. And I am very proud to share that our class is the recipient of the Raymond A. Ablondi ‘52 Cup, given to the reunion class with the largest title class gift. Take a breath. We raised $14,146,830.

Marian Boltbe:
And, you won’t be surprised to hear that we are also the recipient of the Gordon C. Perine ‘49 Award, given to the reunion class other than the 25th or 50th, with the greatest increase in total glass class gift. We raised 13 million more than last year at this time. So congratulations and welcome back.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Dwayne Wilcox to celebrate the 45th reunion for the class of 1977.

Dwayne Wilcox:
The ancient Celt believed in thin places. Places where the distance between heaven and earth is thin. That’s my middle break. And I hope it’s yours for four years. We shared the sound of what’s now-classic rock, the tastes of FADC at the Rosebud, nickel draft at the Alibi, and hot chocolate at the Crest Room. The fun of scare diving at slug in days not here, man, the disappointments of Vietnam and Watergate, the sites of the sun setting over the Adirondacks, and a fresh snow blanketing the town. Lord Buckley, from the beat generation, said, “People are kind of like flowers. Every five years, I return to this college because I so look forward to taking a walk through this, our garden. Together, we all grew and flourished. Together, we made this campus so special as individuals. Together, we made this place thin.” God bless you. Let’s have some fun tonight. And welcome back.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Emma Mayor to celebrate the 40th reunion for the class of 1982.

Emma Mayor:
Life in the country, nature books, music, love for one’s neighbor, such is my idea of happiness. “Tall Story.” A spectacular setting. Many, many books. And if not always love, affection. Genuine affection. That was us. And that was happiness. Some big transitions shared. Typewriters to word processing. No more whiteout. The first computer-generated thesis. Carter to Reagan, and the start of recycling. And we wore a lot of skirts because we could choose.

Emma Mayor:
Some points of view divided, protesting the environmental policies of then, Secretary of the Interior, James Watt. And the future Ari Fleischer, spokesperson for George W. Bush, of whom we’re very proud. He’s not here today, but according to his former freshman roommate, Rob Stein, Ari gave him his diversity creds., Rob, being a hemorrhaging heart liberal from Colorado. So we really knew how to bond.

Emma Mayor:
We were mostly united at Mister Up’s Salad Bar, the Alibi, and everybody running the Covered Bridge Run at one pace or another. Graduation morning, dozens of us gathered to run one last loop together. I have a photo of myself later, ecstatic as I walk on stage towards President Oland Robison, not because of the diploma that was received more in astonishment, but the sparkling day, the magnificent mountains, and the sunny faces of you all sitting on the lawn behind Forest clapping. No wonder I cried all the way home, and no wonder we come back. And speaking of coming back, we want to acknowledge, we will more shortly Stephen Kiernan, who’s the recipient of this year’s Alumni Achievement Award, and Nancy Relle, who is celebrating a birthday. Let’s make it a very happy one with Nancy. Thank you. Thank you all.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Bill Eshert to celebrate the 35th reunion for the class of 1987.

Bill Eshert:
Good afternoon Middlebury. Shout out to ‘87. I think you’re back there in the row. Thanks for coming guys. I think we have 20% attendance today, and 46% class participation. Thanks for your hard work.

Bill Eshert:
I can’t speak without thanking my friend, our friend, Sean dumpy, who can’t be here today, who wrote most of this speech and helped us put it together. But we’re thinking of Sean right now, who had a conflict. The last 35 years have been a kaleidoscope of events. Here’s what stayed with us. Bonds of deep friendship that you share in those seats before me, items and roles of self-discovery started here at Middlebury, top friendship, all of us, look to your right, look to your left. For those of you in the military. I think you used to have words like that as well. And look at your friends, lifelong friends you’ve made here at the school.

Bill Eshert:
We discovered in the class of ‘87, we could survive anything. A white-out blizzard, a hurricane, a terrible number in the room lottery. Dining hall food that curiously looked very familiar on Saturday, from what we dined on Thursday. It’s much better now. A classic question, our ability to cut, and whether that would work out okay with the professor. We did it ‘87 and we made it. Whether in the arts studio, our athletic fields, or the lab, we discovered our talents and took them forward. In all, we discovered ourselves. As we move forward here today, this weekend, and going ahead, remember the immortal words from those poets, “The Breakfast Club, “Don’t you forget about us.” Thank you and have a great weekend.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Matt LaRue to celebrate the 30th reunion for the class of 1992.

Matt LaRue:
It’s great to be back class of 1992. Hello, up there.

Matt LaRue:
The class of 1992 attended Middlebury during the best possible years. We saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and felt pretty sure that the whole cold war thing was a thing of the past. But here in Vermont, we had Lion’s Place, EQ cups, and the first Mac computers. Sophomore year was in the new dorms, where bathrooms were hallways. We ate mozzarella sticks at the SDUs. An email was a thing for computer nerds who hung out in the basement of Voter, or some other dorms. We had three different college presidents during our tenure. We entered with single-sex fraternities and left with co-ed social houses. We were the first class where none of us were grandfathered into the old drinking age of 18, but we had four years of incredible memories, and we’ve stayed in touch to create more. Welcome back class of 1992.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Abe Carey to celebrate the 25th reunion for the class of 1997.

Abe Carey:
Thank you very much. You’d be excused if you didn’t recognize me without the long hair. Class of 1997, during our time here at Mid, there were no pandemics. There was no major war. There were no smartphones to distract us from meaningful human interaction. And interact we did. At KDRs pig roast, at SIGAPs Robin Hood days, at The Mill, and the Tavern in Allen and Patel’s Nunnery in Stewart.

Abe Carey:
We embraced the long winters. Snowy J term, gave us a chance to learn about something offbeat, and to ski at the bowl at sugar Bush. In our case, without helmets. One winter night, in 1996, a late-night knock on our Forest door, led to friends crashing in our room because the new dorms were on fire. Luckily, all evacuated students found a friend’s couch to sleep on. Do you remember where you were? We were the class who first met at Moo, and The Screw Your Roommate Dance. We were the class who saw the birth of dynasties in both men’s hockey and women’s slacks. Yeah.

Abe Carey:
We were the class who saw Trey Anastasio, perform unplugged in the Gamut room. Yeah, that was awesome. And we were the class who danced to the music of our classmates, Bristol Gap, The Ushers of Jonesville, Wadelicious, and Horatio. Class of 1997, welcome home.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Morgan Jones and Eric Devon to celebrate the 20th reunion for the class of 2002.

Morgan Jones:
Middlebury instilled many meaningful qualities in us, namely confidence. So it is with true humility that we stand here, honored to represent the class of 2002, undeniably, the greatest class in the history of the school.

Eric Devon:
The greatest class in the history of the school.

Morgan Jones:
During our four years at Middlebury, we checked email on Mid-Unix, downloaded music on Napster, and laughed about hair gel while enjoying fine cinema. Like, “There’s Something About Mary.” We watched the twin towers fall, learned the definition of hanging Chad, and discovered for the first time that getting impeached doesn’t mean you need to leave the White House.

Eric Devon:
So to commemorate our 20th reunion, we present the top three things overheard at our 2002 graduation.

Morgan Jones:
Number three.

Eric Devon:
Now that I’ve delivered baby sheep on a farm, and written a 50-page thesis on Hamlet. What do I do with this English degree?

Morgan Jones:
Number two.

Eric Devon:
Why do you have a pager?

Morgan Jones:
Why do you have a cell phone?

Eric Devon:
And finally, number one.

Morgan Jones:
I’ve got a great bit for convocation 20 years from now.

Eric Devon:
What’s that?

Morgan Jones:
Look to your left. Look to your right. One of these people could be your second marriage. Welcome back.

Eric Devon:
Welcome back ‘02.

Speaker 4:
Please welcome Minna brown to celebrate the 15th reunion for that class of 2007.

Minna Brown:
Thank you. So diving in with Moo, icy lakes, dehydrated beans, brand new people, the sounds and smells. Lots of smells of Batel.

Speaker 7:
The sounds and smells, lots of smells, of Patel, Proctor paninis, we had never-ending Alaskan salmon for weeks for a while. Dancing to Shari Poons in Johnson. Rylo Kiley in Forest basement. It was the end of the A-frames and the opening of Atwater and the new library. We made plans from rotary phones and we tracked down spotty internet connections where we could find them. We shared party photos on the newly launched college-only Facebook at the time. We were watching and organizing around George W. Bush, Howard Dean, Chief Justice John Roberts’ appearance. And Katrina swept in during our junior year or before our junior year. Climate change concerns were rising. SNG started. The first blushes of future350.org were starting. We were debating social policy and wearing out highlighters, playing sports, ultimate for me. Hiking that first time up Snake Mountain. Relishing meals out, Black Sheep fries and potatoes are still a highlight. Skiing, or trying. Hopping, shivering, into polar bear vans late at night, trying out new day term things. My fingers are indeed too small for the guitar, I learned. Unfurling towels on Battell Beach at the first glimpse of spring sun. And then Bill Clinton’s graduation speech sent us off into a world heading right into the great recession, but there was massive energy gathering around Obama’s election for us. That’s it. But thank you and welcome.

Speaker 8:
Please welcome Silvano DiMonte to celebrate the 10th reunion for the class of 2012.

Silvano DiMonte:
In 2008, when our class first arrived on this campus in the midst of a looming economic downturn and the historic election of Barack Obama, what the class of 2012 found here at Middlebury was an institution that thrived on the spirits of a liberal arts education. We entered a college whose very mission was to push each of our intellectual and emotional boundaries and empower us to confront status quo, and in doing so asked all of us to think deeply and critically about who we were as emerging adults. I can say that without that spirit, without that learned impulse to question core values and strive for a greater understanding of both self and world, I would probably not be who I am today, a sentiment I imagine echoes in this room very much.

Silvano DiMonte:
I’m proud to say that 10 years later, that is the Middlebury that I remember, and I’m forever thankful for that journey. I’m also happy to share that our classmates, Paige Karen and my girl, Sarah Cohen are the recipients of the Jean Seeler-Gifford Class of 1960 Outstanding Class Correspondent Award, given to class correspondents who have gone above and beyond. Congratulations and welcome back, everyone.

Speaker 8:
Please welcome Michael Brady to celebrate the fifth reunion for the class of 2017.

Michael Brady:
Let’s go 2017. We are last, but we’re certainly not least. Five years ago, it wasn’t that long, but we did have some changes when we arrived on campus as well. May not be aware, but when we arrived, that was also the first semester that they started selling sushi, packaged sushi in Macola. We were a lot like that sushi when we came here. Some people were excited, some were deeply suspicious of us, but I like to think unlike the sushi at the end of the day when we found our place, we were very much welcomed here and we had a wonderful four years. There were great changes while we were here. We had the opportunity to welcome our first female president of the college, Laurie Patton.

Michael Brady:
We also got to see the campus change and transform, and we saw the completion of Virtue Field House. And our classmates also became leaders in fighting to make our institution a better place for everyone. A lot of classmates of mine were leaders in starting the Anderson Freeman Resource Center, which to this day serves as a place to help those who historically have been underrepresented at the college and it’s a home for many to this day. While there were many wonderful moments and victories, we also grappled with really difficult events and topics while we were at Middlebury. There was police violence, racism, economic inequality, and the climate crisis. As our nation confronted that, we did as well. Our senior year, we also voted in an acrimonious presidential election, but through such difficulties, we learned to take care of one another. We found strength in each other and we found strength in the Hills. I’m so happy to be back on campus to celebrate our bond. Looking out at all of you today, I can tell that the strength of the Hills will be ours for many, many years to come. Welcome back, everyone.

Laurie Patton:
Well, Meg mentioned rain showers and mud season and sunshine. She forgot about the manure smell to welcome you, which we made sure was here this morning. I’m sure that does go back at least 75 years. It is my great pleasure and privilege to welcome members of the class of 1972 back to Middlebury for your 50th reunion.

Laurie Patton:
I understand that 188 of you are here today, and I’m delighted that so many of you were able to come. You entered Middlebury at a pivotal moment in the history of our country and our college. In 1968, our nation was deeply divided over the war in Vietnam and the struggle for racial justice at home. Many Americans were losing faith in their government, questioning whether their leaders could be believed and whether America could ever be one nation with liberty and justice for all. It was, in short, a time very much like today. As Simon and Garfunkel sang and you chose as your 50th reunion yearbook theme, “Time it was and what a time it was.” Leafing through that beautifully curated yearbook, I was reminded of how many significant events took place over your four years at the college.

Laurie Patton:
Here are a few. Astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, taking one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Four students were killed by the national guard at Kent State and two by police at Jackson State College. The first successful computer-to-computer communication, the first gay pride marches, President Nixon became the first American president to visit China, ending 25 years without diplomatic ties. Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification. The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers. The Watergate scandal, five white house operatives were arrested for the burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices. And clearly, as Bob Dylan has warned us, “The times, they were a-changin’,” and Middlebury was not exempt. By the way, Bob Dylan is one of the singers from your generation that is universally recognized by students today.

Laurie Patton:
There were 531 students in the class of 72, 288 men and 243 women. The comprehensive fee for a year at Middlebury was $3,198. The number one song on the was Hey Jude by the Beatles. You were also listening to Love Child by Diana Ross and the Supremes, I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, and Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. Television shows you were watching in glorious black and white included the first broadcast of 60 Minutes and Hawaii 5-0 and the 79th and final episodes of the original Star Trek. You were reading Airport by Arthur Hailey, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, and Dean Koontz’s first novel Star Quest. Some of the biggest years of that movie were 2001: A Space Odyssey, Midnight Cowboy, and Funny Girl. And although they technically happened in your sophomore year, I wouldn’t be remiss if I didn’t mention the Woodstock festival, the first airing of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and the Beatles’ breakup. You were paying attention to national news and espoused new causes like the environment. And you protested the Vietnam war, held an environmental teach-in during the first Earth Day.

Laurie Patton:
And many of the changes you witnessed at Middlebury had to do with the status of women, as you heard earlier. Although rules regarding what women could do, where they could go, what they could wear, and when they had to be back in their dorms began to relax in the early sixties, women still had to deal with many restrictions and limitations. Your class saw the end of curfews, parietal rules, restrictive dress codes, and was part of the transition to co-ed dorms. For most of its history, Middlebury regarded sports as something men did and women watched. When you arrived, the college had more than a dozen men’s varsity sports and only one women’s varsity sport, skiing, but you helped to organize women’s teams in field hockey, swimming, and lacrosse. And after Congress passed the Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, the number of women’s varsity teams grew to 15, what it is today. I hope that those of you who fought for women’s athletics are proud of our three NCAA national titles for women’s teams this year.

Laurie Patton:
Other changes you witnessed at Middlebury are the end of sororities. In the spring of ‘69, 4 sororities decided to disband because their national organizations would not allow them to accept Black or Jewish pledges. The first Black students weekend, introduction of January term, and the 4-1-4 academic calendar, the dedication of the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Music and Art Building, the opening of a science center, and the construction of the social dining units and what were known for generations as the new dorms, Milliken, Hadley, Kelly, and Lang. They’re not known that way now. And least, but not least, a winter snowfall of 132.2 inches, a record for the greatest snowfall in one season that still stands. You are undefeated in snowfall.

Laurie Patton:
When you graduated 50 years ago, America and Middlebury were not the same places that they had been just a few years earlier. It was a time of great uncertainty, and none of you could have imagined where your journey for Middlebury might take you. Approaching the world around you with intelligence, dedication, and compassion, you have gone on to lead, as our mission statement now states, “Engaged, consequential, and creative lives.” Some went into the military after college, others into the Peace Corps, and some into other kinds of government service, a deep Middlebury value. You became teachers, doctors, scientists, and business people. You have been active in public affairs in your communities and your states. You have traveled widely, made friends in places you visited, and helped to build new connections with other countries and cultures. And you have been more than generous with your time and your money in supporting Middlebury and the students who came after you.

Laurie Patton:
And now we celebrate you and your class with reunion awards. Class of 1972, you have been awarded the Armand N. LaFlamme Class of ‘37 Cup, given to the reunion class other than the post-50th, with the highest giving participation. And you achieved an outstanding 68% participation in giving and raised a lot more now than 10 million. Awesome, awesome work.

Laurie Patton:
We made it 11 at dinner last night. You are receiving the Governor McCullough Reunion Cup for the reunion class with a highest percentage of classmates returning for a reunion. 47% of your class is in attendance. And you have also won the Patricia Judah Palmer ’57 Cane Society Award, which honors the 50th or post-50th reunion class that raises the largest total of life income gifts and documented bequest intentions. Congratulations. Members of the Middlebury class of 1972, I salute you. Middlebury is proud to call you alumni and grateful that you have returned home to us this weekend.

David Ellis:
All right. All right. So now the fun part. As vice president of the Middlebury Alumni Association Board, I am so honored to present this year’s Alumni Achievement Award. This award is given each year to outstanding and distinguished alumni for achievement in a professional field, their personal life, and/or public service. One recipient was unable to return for reunion and will be recognized at a future date on campus and that is Alyssa Limperis from the class of 2012. And now, I am so pleased to invite Stephen Kiernan from the class of 1982 to come forward as this year’s recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award.

David Ellis:
All right. Sorry, here we go. All right. Storytelling is both compulsion and instinct for Stephen Kiernan from the class of 1982. Stephen has emerged as a formidable literary force in the years since graduating with a BA in English from Middlebury College. Though he initially worked at IBM after graduation, Stephen soon decided he wanted to pursue writing full time. He earned an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and then reported for the Daily Iowan. Vermont came calling, though, and he moved back to serve 11 years for the Burlington Free Press, where his investigative journalism resulted in a George Polk Award. However, the itch for fiction never left. The Curiosity, published in 2013, marked Stephen’s debut novel after decades of focusing on short fiction. Since that debut, he published three further novels, including the critically acclaimed best seller, the Baker’s secret. Stephen has also written two nonfiction books. Last Rites delves into the end of life care, while Authentic Patriotism reports on those across the United States who embody the idea of patriotism as an act of service. Stephen is also a staunch advocate for the importance of empathetic palliative care, serving as a member of the Vermont Legislative Committee on Pain and Palliative Care. The Alumni Achievement Award is presented to Stephen Kiernan in recognition of the personal achievements and the outstanding contributions he has made in his field.

Speaker 8:
We are now pleased to present the first of two 2022 alumni plaque awards. Every June during reunion convocation, the alumni plaque is awarded to alumni for exceptional service to Middlebury, its students, and alumni. We honor these alumni for their loyalty and their contributions to our alma mater. The first recipient of the 2022 Alumni Plaque is from the class of 1952. Would Barbara Cummiskey Villet please come forward?

Speaker 8:
Barbara Cummiskey Villet, affectionately known as “Peanuts”, graduated from Middlebury with a degree in American literature in 1952. She had a storied career as a journalist and author, working for radio for Europe from 1950 to 1956 and Life Magazine from 1956 to 1972 and as a freelance writer also. While her work took her to many destinations and introduced her to many world leaders and history makers, as well as her late husband, the photographer Grey Villet, Barbara never forgot Middlebury. Barbara, whose daughter Anne Villet from the class of 1987 is also a Middlebury graduate, served as a class college trustee and for many years as class correspondent. Sarah Marshall, alumni editor of the Middlebury magazine, describes Barbara as “an enthusiastic contributor who engaged and inspired her classmates to share their stories. To this day, Barbara calls classmates and has wonderful conversations with them that she can report out. She has been a very dedicated class correspondent,” Marshall said.

Speaker 8:
Barbara’s classmates have long looked up to the woman they know as “Peanuts.” Mary Lee McGowan Allison from ‘52 was among several who nominated Barbara for the alumni award. “I am nominating her not only for what she has achieved in her lifetime, but for the example she has set for others. I am proud to know her and to claim her as a classmate and friend,” Mary Lee said. With gratitude for her service as a trustee, for inspiring her classmates and for keeping them engaged and informed, we are so pleased to present Barbara “Peanuts” Cummiskey Villet with the Alumni Plaque Award as she celebrates her 70th reunion.

David Ellis:
All right. And now it is my honor to present the second Alumni Plaque Award to a member of the class of 1977. Dr. Robert “Bobo” Sideli, would you please come forward?

David Ellis:
All right. Bobo graduated from Middlebury in 1977 with a degree in Chemistry, and while traveling in Italy after graduation met his wife, Donna. Their daughters Liana and Marina are both Middlebury graduates from the class of 2008 and 2013 point-

David Ellis:
Both Middlebury graduates from the class of 2008 and 2013.5 respectively. Bobo graduated from the University of Rome medical school and put his degree to work in a career in medical informatics that would eventually lead him to work as a chief information officer for Columbia University Medical Center in New York city, wherever his life has taken him Bobo’s commitment to Middlebury has remained steadfast after chairing the alumni fund executive committee for a decade, Bobo was recruited to join the Middlebury Alumni Association, where he gave yet another decade of service culminating in serving as president.

David Ellis:
And in both cases, providing energy, dedication, and a great sense of camaraderie to keep alumni engaged with the college and each other. He served as a member of the presidential search committee that selected Laurie Patton. He has been engaged in Mid to Mid Mentor and has kept generations of Middlebury lacrosse and football players connected.

David Ellis:
He was the force behind many well attended annual alumni lacrosse gatherings in Vail, Colorado, even though as Bobo tells it, he spent most of his time as a lacrosse player on the bench. Bobo’s dedication to Middlebury and commitment to volunteering are unprecedented says Wendy Russell, Tracy class of ‘95, who served on the Middlebury alumni board with him. He throws himself headfirst in anything he does. His love of this place is palpable and Middlebury is so very lucky to call him one of our own. In recognition of Bobo’s generosity, kindness, and commitment to Middlebury its students and alumni we are honored to present him the Alumni Plaque Award as he celebrates his 45th reunion.

Laurie Patton:
Hello again. Let me say how meaningful it is for me to welcome you this year for the first in person reunion, since the global pandemic upended our lives in March, 2020. We feel an electric charge in the air because you are all, you are all back with us and we have missed you, our alums, and it’s a joy to see you everywhere on campus again. Thank you. That’s lovely.

Laurie Patton:
The pandemic has indeed tested all, but I believe as we look back on this time of social isolation, we will also remember the innovations in teaching and student life that now characterize Middlebury. I’m proud of the resilience, dedication, and creativity that our students, faculty and staff have demonstrated over the past two years. I’m going to share some remarks about Middlebury today. Just two weeks ago, we celebrated two commencements, one for the class of 2022 and 2022.5, the other, the long delayed celebration of the class of 2020.

Laurie Patton:
Together and as individuals, these young graduates have taken on more in the last two years and under exceptional and often challenging circumstances, than many people can imagine taking on in a lifetime. As I said to the class of 2022, and I mean it about the class of 2020 as well, they are recovery artists, recovery artists, par excellence. And among them are recipients of national competitive global fellowships, including the Goldwater and Keasbey scholarships, Watson Fellowships and Fulbright English teaching assistantships and travel awards.

Laurie Patton:
They have excelled in athletics, winning NESCAC and NCAA titles and numerous awards for sportsmanship, academics, and coaching. Over Memorial day weekend women’s lacrosse won the NCAA championship, its third title in seven years. That same weekend senior Stan Morris was crowned NCAA men’s tennis singles champion. This winter women’s ice hockey claimed the NCAA title, their sixth overall ending with a perfect 27-0 record. And last fall an undefeated field hockey team captured the NCAA championship. The first team to win four consecutive titles.

Laurie Patton:
Way to recover from COVID. And our students have challenged us to confront systemic racism more directly in our country and on our campus, to increase campus diversity and equal access to the full Middlebury experience, to broaden our understanding of accessibility and gender identification and inclusivity, and to acknowledge the original inhabitants of the land where the campus now sits.

Laurie Patton:
In July, we will welcome a new vice president for equity and inclusion Khuram Hussain. Khuram comes to us from Hobart William Smith with deep experience as an administrator scholar and educator. And I can’t wait for you to meet him.

Laurie Patton:
And as I look ahead to next year, I know that the next generation of students will be just as bright and active and engaged. The largest group of applicants in the history of Middlebury College, a total of 13,028, students applied for admission to the class of 2026.

Laurie Patton:
Our admissions pool has doubled in the last five years. That represents a 9% increase over the previous year’s total and an overall acceptance rate of 15%. I always feel bad when I say that, as well as good. And we will welcome them to an increasingly dynamic and diverse college focused on its mission to prepare students to lead, engaged, consequential and creative lives, to contribute to their communities and to address the world’s most challenging problems.

Laurie Patton:
They have lived that mission. They will live that mission and you too lived that mission. And I’m particularly excited and proud to share news about a new initiative that exemplifies that mission. Earlier this year, we announced in late February and early March, a $25 million grant from an anonymous donor to fund the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Collaborative in conflict transformation. We’re capitalizing on Middlebury’s deep existing expertise in conflict studies and intercultural competency to lead a critical effort to teach conflict transformation in our nation and across the world.

Laurie Patton:
Conflict transformation assumes that conflict will always be present in our lives. But as John Paul Lederach says, it can be an opportunity, even a gift, and it can be transformed toward positive rather than destructive societal goals. This approach focuses on addressing the underlying conditions that give rise to conflict and ensuring as much as possible, a sustainable peace.

Laurie Patton:
Conflict transformation attempts to reshape the social structures and dynamics behind the conflict. As a globally networked institution, one of the most in the country, we are well situated to do this work and to share with and learn from others. Middlebury will serve as an incubator for the development of a research base, key pedagogical tools and student experiences. We want to do for conflict transformation, what we did for languages 100 years ago. And I’d like to highlight two of the programs already underway. This summer the Bread Loaf School of English is inaugurating, a three course conflict transformation, curriculum teaching and writing and acting for change at its Vermont campus.

Laurie Patton:
These courses will seed transformative projects where participants working under the auspices of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network will carry out in all of these projects in their home schools and communities. That’s across thousands of high schools in the United States.

Laurie Patton:
And this past week, students participated in a conflict transformation trek to Washington, DC organized by the center for careers and internships. The trek connects students with alums, working in the areas of conflict transformation of which we have many including peace and security studies and migration and refugee issues. This exposure to real world professional experiences and real world professionals building peace will inform our students’ career explorations and their postgraduate lives. I also want to share an update on our environmental programs and energy 2028, our plan to address climate change. There is so much exciting news.

Laurie Patton:
From a program with just one graduate in the 60s and 70s, environmental studies has grown into the third largest major at the college. More than 200 courses now examine the environment from a variety of perspectives. And just a few days ago, we received a gift to establish the Middlebury Environmental Studies Professorship, which will support an eminent teacher and scholar in the field or a practitioner of equal distinction.

Laurie Patton:
And a critical goal of Energy 2028 is to provide our students with a comprehensive understanding of the climate crisis and how they can address it funded by a gift from the Arrow Foundation, the Climate Action Capacity project aims to integrate climate action into every aspect of Middlebury life. From organizing our Clifford symposium, our all community study day on a single topic in 2021 to creating alumni mentoring opportunities. The project is helping us to develop knowledge, motivation, and capacity to tackle climate change. And since 2019, our sustainability solutions lab has provided more than 100 students with opportunities to work with faculty, staff, and field experts to define and solve environmental challenges while shaping Middlebury’s sustainability journey.

Laurie Patton:
Award-winning projects range from working with the admissions office to reduce the office’s carbon footprint, to collecting data and creating building energy models for the town of Bristol to building one of the nation’s first and most sustainable elementary schools. We’ve also made significant progress toward our goal of using 100% renewable energy and reducing our energy consumption.

Laurie Patton:
A natural gas anaerobic digester project, otherwise known as cow power completed in the summer of 2021 will help us reach our goal of heating our campus with 100% renewable fuel along with our biomass heating system, which uses wood chips as fuel. And you walk right by it whenever you come back. And we’ve broken ground where Senator Patrick Lahey also joined us on a five megawatt solar project that is one of the largest in Vermont that will provide about 40% of our electricity beginning as soon as 2023.

Laurie Patton:
I am confident and excited that we will reach our ambitious goals. And you can be part of that journey. Think about your own carbon footprint and look to Middlebury for best practices on how to reduce it. And if you were working the environmental field, share your experiences with students, offer internships and consider our grads for jobs. And to those who have already done so thank you.

Laurie Patton:
Those are just a couple of updates. I could keep you here all afternoon and prevent you from your dinner and dancing, going on and on with the work that our students, faculty and staff are doing. Your Middlebury is strong because of the support it is received from you and other alums who have volunteered their time and contributed their dollars over many decades. One story I’m particularly proud of that I shared this morning is when Kabul was collapsing and the Taliban was taking over, and one of our alums was escaping.

Laurie Patton:
She brought most of the women that were members of a women’s boarding school in Kabul with her to Kigali, to safety in Rwanda. I Zoomed with her about three days later and she said, “Lori, I have one request of you. And that is nine of our alums of the boarding school who are now in university across Asia, traveled with us out of Afghanistan. They are afraid to go back. They’re afraid to be back in their universities and they are extraordinary students because they are products of our boarding school. Would you be willing to take them in this difficult moment in their lives and have them go through the Middlebury application process and join Middlebury’s community?”

Laurie Patton:
We raised $4 million in two days and I’m delighted to tell you that nine of those wonderful Afghan women scholars have completed their first semester at Middlebury this past spring. We get it done. And that was you who funded those women. And now we are embarked on a campaign that will shape Middlebury’s future. This is everyone’s campaign. Your gifts and honor of reunion count toward that campaign goal.

Laurie Patton:
We started at $90 million this year. We think we’re going to break 100 thanks to you. And in fact, reunion classes are already leading the way this matters because of what this campaign will enable us to do and has already enabled us to do.

Laurie Patton:
We have four main goals, increasing access to a Middlebury education, so more and more people can study with us and increase our excellence, enhancing our academic program and cross-cultural fluency and data fluency, and environmental fluency and in conflict transformation. Ensuring our students are world ready and work ready through immersive learning opportunities. And fourth creating campus environments to support the academic mission and to build community.

Laurie Patton:
This weekend, we are celebrating your Middlebury past, present and future. We are celebrating you and your bond to the college and to each other. We are celebrating your generosity and your optimism over eight decades. And we want to celebrate our reunion volunteers, the many people who kept Middlebury in their hearts and worked so hard to make reunion happen. Thanks to all of you who are part of that planning and preparation. Your classmates and I deeply appreciate your work. Thank you very, very much.

Laurie Patton:
I am so proud and honored to be with you at this turning point in your Middlebury lives, you have kept Middlebury in your hearts. We will keep you in ours. Welcome home.

Saifa Hussain:
I ask the most loving and all encompassing to bring us into abiding awareness of the following verses by the Islamic sage Mawlawī Rumi. The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall and falling, they’re given wings. Do not feel lonely. The entire universe is inside you. Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. I ask that these words emblazon a path leading to an exciting next chapter. And I ask that you taste the fullness of love and gratitude for all that you’ve done and all that you are. Amin and amen. Please rise, as we sing the Alma mater.

Live Webcam Over Campus

See what’s happening on campus, live from the west-facing webcam perched in Old Chapel.

Schedule at a Glance

  • Friday
    Class-specific activities
    Cane Society luncheon (by invitation)
    Campus bus tours, open houses, informational panels, facility tours
    Class Dinners

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  • Saturday
    Veterans’ gathering 
    Presidential Panel with Laurie L. Patton
    Presentations by Alumni Achievement Award winners
    Class-specific activities, memorials, and gatherings
    Campus bus tours, open houses, lectures, facility tours
    All-class golf scramble
    Ice cream social
    Reunion parade and Convocation
    All-class reception, dinner, concert, dancing, and fireworks

    See Details
  • Sunday
    Morning Christian worship
    Hillel light breakfast
    Breakfast at Proctor

    See Details
Convocation parade at Reunion, with banners from classes between 2012-1992 visible

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