President Patton Confers Degrees, Inspires ‘Quiet and Loud Revolutions’

Nov 24th, 2016 | By | Category: Campus News, Fall 2016

Text excerpted from “Bread Loaf School of English Celebrates Commencement,” Middlebury Newsroom, authored by Dana Olsen.

RIPTON, Vt. – The Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English completed its 97th summer session with Commencement exercises for 50 master’s degree candidates at the Bread Loaf campus here on August 6.

Emily Bartels, director of the School of English, said the 2016 graduates helped shape “one of the most productive, dynamic, and exciting learning communities on the planet.” She commended the senior class for taking on the challenges of critical inquiry, writing, collaborating, and performing – all with an eye toward using what they learned to make a difference in their own classrooms and communities.

Middlebury President Laurie L. Patton conferred the 49 Master of Arts degrees and one Master of Letters degree, and spoke to the gathering in the Burgess Meredith Little Theater about one of her own remarkable high school English teachers who had taught her to remember the balance between dreaming and waking. Patton described Bread Loaf graduates’ work as finding and teaching a better equilibrium between the world as dreamt and the world as it is.

“You have become the creators of that transformational space where students live, breathe, and make quiet and loud revolutions because you teach them that they can. You will be the ones who help them balance their dreaming and their waking.”

The president also conferred honorary Doctor of Letters degrees upon Louis M. Bernieri MA ’80 and Nancie Atwell, who attended Bread Loaf from 1979-82. Bernieri, an English teacher at Phillips Andover Academy, is the founder of the Andover Bread Loaf partnership created in 1987 to promote literacy and educational revitalization inside and outside the classroom. Andover Bread Loaf has earned acclaim for its work in the Lawrence, Mass., public schools and at international locations from Kenya to Pakistan. Atwell, the author of the classic text “In the Middle: A Lifetime of Learning About Writing, Reading, and Adolescents” (Heinemann, 2014), received the first Global Teacher Prize from the Varkey Foundation and has been recognized as the Poetry Teacher of the Year by the Library of Congress.

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