This past Saturday may have been slightly unusual for our college, but what went on is an astounding example of the richness of this liberal arts college and what it offers our students. These are some of the things I witnessed as I went about my day, moving from 3 South Street to the library to the Grille (to get some coffee) to the Peterson Athletics Complex and back home. Consider this a sampling:
- Wilson Café in the library was packed, not only with students, but also faculty and staff as I walked by to return some borrowed videos. The library itself was packed with students working solo and in groups, tackling everything from reading assignments to multimedia projects in the library’s numerous smart classrooms and labs.
- Dr. Paul Farmer, the remarkable medical anthropologist/physician, who co-founded Partners in Health, spoke at 3 p.m. to an overflow crowd … or rather crowds (more than 400 were in McCullough social space and another 300 were in venues that had live video feeds.
- The annual Posse retreat, which brings together more than 100 students, faculty, and staff who support the mission of the 40-plus Posse scholars enrolled at the College from New York City, was taking place at Lake Fairlee, Vermont. I was unable to attend the retreat, but received an e-mail reporting that the retreat was extremely spirited and engaging.
- The practice rooms in the Mahaney Center for the Arts were filled with students playing a range of instruments.
- The men’s and women’s hockey teams hosted home games in their respective NESCAC conference tournaments. (Both won). As usual, the stands were filled with not only students, but staff, faculty, and townspeople, who convert Kenyon Arena into a “town hall” of sorts, where the greater Middlebury community comes together most easily and frequently between our annual town meetings.
- The ski team was competing at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Championships at Sugar Loaf in Maine (and placed third behind Dartmouth and UVM).
- And 1,250 fans (a full house) were on hand in Pepin Gymnasium to watch the Panthers defeat Bowdoin to make it to the NESCAC tournament finals against Amherst (which Middlebury won the next day).
Much more was happening on campus, of course, and these snippets represent just a slice of life at Middlebury on a Saturday afternoon in late February.