When did it click for you?

Whether you realized it right then, or it came to you later—we’ve all had those moments when Middlebury changed us. It could have been during a hike with friends in the mountains, a meeting with a professor, or succeeding (or failing) at a class project. These moments are gifts from our friends, classmates, professors, and from generations of alumni who have supported the College.

So when did it click for you? Share your story below and read others from Middlebury alumni.

  • Jack Penrod ’64

    Of course Midd changed me but, not to dismiss Midd, so did much before and after. The ‘click’ I relate to Midd occurs when I think how my Mom and Dad sacrificed for me to attend a fine and expensive New England college pretty far from home at that time. Mom, the first in her family to attend college, taught in high school. Dad was an engineer, and worked in the Middle East and Asia to earn enough extra for my brothers’ educations and for mine.

    Midd was vital to the course of my very happy life, an Mom and Dad gave that to me.

  • Bob Bourque ’75 P’16

    Among the many things that clicked for me at Middlebury was the incredible importance of the generosity of the College’s alumni community, and how that generosity has a profound impact on the young people who are current students.

    During my second year, I totally ran out of money. Even though I was on a scholarship, had loans, and had an on-campus job, I didn’t have enough money to stay at Middlebury. As my grandmother used to say, I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I glumly considered my limited options — none of which seemed to include being able to continue at Middlebury. Somehow, I got the courage to walk down the hill to the Financial Aid office, where Mr. Brakeley ushered me in, listened to my tale of woe, and said, “How about two hundred bucks, would that get you through the year?” (In 1972, $200 was a lot of money.) On the spot, he gave me a grant, not a loan. In that instant, I felt the proverbial great weight lift from my shoulders — I would be able to stay at Middlebury. All the hard work I had put in to get to Middlebury and to build a secure life for myself and my future family would not be in vain. That act of generosity (and compassion) was made possible by contributions from alumni who I never met, but who understood the importance of giving to the future generations of kids.

    The critical role that generosity and “giving back” plays in life — it clicked for me at Middlebury.

  • Elise Cohen ’11

    Mine happened before I made life-long friends, read my first sentence of Chinese, or couldn’t stop smiling while studying for my psychology midterm because I loved it so much. I first visited Middlebury on Martin Luther King weekend. It was cold, dreary, and the campus was empty. Despite all that, there was something that clicked the second I walked on campus. After hearing about everything my mom asked the tour guide: “How do you get students to leave?” From that dreary early Saturday morning I saw all that Middlebury is and to this day struggle to leave each time I go back.

  • Anne Villalon Speyer

    Anne Villalon Speyer ’71
    It was 1970, the second half of my junior year. I was in
    Robert Hill’s electrifying Yeats seminar, and every Monday night, our discussions, passionate and intense, would go on for hours after the class officially ended. More than once, it was midnight before we all finally headed back to our dorms. I had known since kindergarten I wanted to be a teacher, but that experience brought into final focus the kind of teacher I was determined to be— one whose students would not be halfway out the door when the bell
    rang—and one who’d stay as long as anyone wanted to go on learning.

  • Jessica Levin ’07

    It’s actually been clicking quite a lot lately as I navigate
    my place in the workforce. I realize more each day that I am not confined to my position or what others believe my position should be. While I make sure to perform my basic duties well, I try to think outside of the box for my own professional growth, and not simply something to put on my resume. This may seem to be an obvious approach, but as I only finished graduate school two years ago, 9-5 is something new to me, and unsurprisingly, a struggle sometimes.
    However, I’m reaching back more and more to the spirit I learned at Middlebury where you are supposed to challenge ideas, find out how things can work for you, and make them happen.

  • Ted Morse

    The teaching of Pardon Tillinghast, Doc Cook, and Robert Martin rendered to me the excitement of pursuing a career in History which resulted in 38 years in US and Chinese History, being fortunate enough to be head secondary school leader of the Advanced Placement Exam and finally, Headmaster of Antilles School in the Virgin Islands. Without question, all the courses and stimulation at Middlebury were the launching point for my career.

  • Leslie Virostek ’88

    It clicked for me dozens of times–that’s what happens when you take a lot of courses with Prof. Margaret Nelson (sociology), who made me see the world in a different way (many different ways, actually), and Prof. John Elder (English). Who in that Shakespeare class with John Elder could forget the moment he got choked up while talking about King Lear’s loss of his beloved daughter Cordelia? But the big click came after a long winter term of studying for the English majors’ comprehensive exams. All of those pages I read gave me eye strain, but all of those review sessions with various faculty members–it was like going to see your favorite band and having them play all their greatest hits. On the exam itself, I had the big epiphany. I was explicating a passage from Milton’s Paradise Lost (it was a description of Hell) and as I went word by word, line by line, I realized fully and profoundly how amazing the writing was and that you really could make every single word count, you could make every single word work on multiple levels. We all grumbled about comps at the time, but to this day I am grateful for the experience. As a freelance writer, I think about that epiphany and relish the task of trying and trying and trying to make every word count.

  • Mia Monnier ’10

    My junior year abroad in Kyoto, Japan.

    I came to Middlebury wanting to be an English major, but I also knew I wanted to study Japanese. My mom is Japanese, so I grew up hearing it and speaking a little, but because we lived in the Midwest for most of my childhood, she didn’t push me to become fluent. Actually, living in a predominately white area, she made the active decision to focus on English so that my brothers and I would be able to express ourselves just as well as all the kids with two American parents. I can’t resent that decision, but I always wanted to learn Japanese and have a chance to live in Japan, where I only visited twice for a few days each as a very small child.

    So as a freshman at Middlebury, I took Japanese 101 and fell in love: with the experience of finally learning the language, with the amazing Japanese department faculty, and with all my classmates (Japanese Studies people get a bad rap for being socially awkward anime nerds, but Middlebury broke that stereotype for me). As Japanese language and culture classes began to take up more and more of my schedule, I finally admitted to myself that this was what I wanted to do with my time in college. Junior year, I went to Japan, where I lived with a host family, met my uncle and little cousins, and felt that strange sensation of being at home yet being a foreigner, the converse of what my mom has probably felt in the U.S. for decades. I had so many moments of pain and frustration in Japan, but I also had some of my strongest ever moments of feeling connected to the world, when standing at the foot of an enormous Buddha statue, or lighting incense at my grandparents’ graves for the first time. It may be cheesy to say that I discovered myself, but in a way I really did.

    Though I didn’t end up an English major and probably took more geography than English classes, I still ended up pursuing the dream I took to college, of becoming a writer and editor. I now work at a Japanese American newspaper and an Asian American publishing house, while getting an MFA in writing. I’m so grateful to Middlebury for giving me a means to connect with a buried part of myself, and for showing me that I can find a way to make all of my passions a part of my life.

  • Matthew Slaughter

    I realized it when I was applying for a job on the west coast. Back in those days, few people out west knew too much about Middlebury. I even had one person ask me if it was a two year school. When I ultimately got the job and performed so well I was up for a promotion within months, I realized my education wasn’t as recognizable as the local state university, but it certainly gave me the skills to think creatively and independently. Middlebury is unique in it’s focus on those skills. I hope that’s something they never give up.

  • Schuyler Beeman ’10

    Hepburn Zoo, Freshman Year, Fall 2006, mid-semester.

    The performance: “Beirut” a one-act play directed by Leah Day, ‘07.5.

    I had my heart set on being a Biology major in order to follow dreams of becoming a zoo-habitat designer. Seeing that I basically grew up onstage, singing and dancing in recitals and musicals, I knew I’d have chances to both see and continue to be a part of performing arts at Middlebury while pursuing academia.

    Before I became a part of Middlebury’s theatre family, I joined another: the co-ed a cappella group, The Bobolinks. Leah Day, my big sister in the group – a theatre/english major – was directing a show that many Bobolinks went to (“Beirut”).

    Sitting in the audience, blown away by a type of theatre I had never experienced, I kept thinking, “A student created this? THIS is what I want to do.”

    So long Biology and hello Theatre! I can happily say I’m writing this from Jupiter, Florida where I’m a visiting artist in a regional production of “Annie”. With Middlebury’s liberal arts format and fantastic Theatre program, I have been given many tools to pursue this creative career. I will forever be grateful for all that I learned and became at Middlebury.

  • Jim Phillips ‘90.5

    It “clicked” for me in my last semester on campus, Fall 1990 (I was a Febbie), in a seminar with Professor Rockefeller called “Religion, Ethics, and Environmental Crisis”. The course was an outgrowth of a conference of well-known religious leaders and scholars (including the Dalai Lama) that took place during the first week of class that term.

I was a chemistry major, and quite interested in environmental issues, but prior to this course I had no appreciation or understanding of the role that humanism played in this arena – let alone spirituality. I was falsely under the impression that knowledge was the sole solution: If we knew the facts, we, as a society would act rationally to find a solution. (Yes, I was naïve and idealistic back then.)

    For one thing, we read material that was very critical of science, which got under my skin, and Professor Rockefeller took note of this (and in fact, probably enjoyed my reaction). Suddenly, after thinking that science had all the answers, and I was forced to deal with a critical questioning of my field of study. At that point I went back and re-read the first section of “Science and Human Values”, which Professor Prigo had us read in Physics 109. It was by virtue of that essay, “The Creative Mind”, that I set out on the path to become a scientist (not a doctor or an engineer), and it was quite reaffirming to read again during my later Middlebury days (and also during my graduate school low points).

    Ultimately, in Rockefeller’s course, I learned it took more than knowledge to actually take action. One had to care, and to care about our home planet one had to consider one’s relationship with it. Moreover, I discovered that spirituality was one path by which to build this relationship, and change communities. This was a cosmic and spiritual awakening that changed my entire outlook. Just recently, I once again reflected on this realization, while learning a parallel lesson in spiritual growth in the context of some personal challenges.

    Nonetheless, after 15 years of college teaching, I can honestly say that I have put these experiences to practical use in my own work. Most of my general chemistry students have read “The Creative Mind”, and I have struck up a regular teaching collaboration with colleagues in Economics and Philosophy, who visit my environmental chemistry courses every term. Hopefully my students have also seen that science does not hold a monopoly on the solutions.

  • Alyssa Puccinelli ’12

    It clicked for me one morning on my way to an early morning tennis practice my freshman fall. It was completely quiet, uncharacteristically cold (of course!) but the sunrise was incredible. That coupled with the best of VT fall foliage made me stop for a second on my walk to Nelson. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to spend 4 years in such a beautiful place.

  • Brigit Carlson ’13

    There were so many moments at Middlebury where it ‘clicked’ for me, where I realized how incredible a place it was and what incredible people lived and worked and went to school there. The biggest moment of Middlebury magic, though, came after graduation. I moved to New York City a week after graduating and spent a crazy summer trying to settle in, get adjusted to a new job and pursue creative endeavors. I had been lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to attend the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and so at the end of August, I threw a handful of flannels and sundresses in a bag, ripped my last semester’s English notes out of a spiral bound and hit the road with my high school CD case and a roast beef sandwich. I drove the whole way with the windows down, not wanting to miss a second of mountain air, letting go of the every day stress that I had stopped even realizing was there and by the sixth hour of driving, I was singing to myself. Loudly. And then I came up over the hill just beyond campus, where you go down into a deep valley, past a lot of cows and then up another steep hill and as you crest it, it’s suddenly the Panther on the rock is there, welcoming you home? That hill. And I lost it. I started bawling, feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed. I hadn’t even cried that much when I left after graduation. I had to pull over in town and give myself a second to get it together. I parked in Frog Hollow and stood next to the Otter Creek, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was thrilled to be back, why was I crying? And it was in that moment that it clicked. I wasn’t sad – I was home.

  • B2NMF.08

    Hoedown night. Figuratively speaking, it was springtime at Club Midd. The birds chirped vociferously to welcome the sun. Flower buds abounded.

    It was a Wednesday, I believe. The first night when all Freshman were on campus. Classes? Nope. Not starting until Monday.

    I was immediately blown away by the awesomeness of my hallmates. As crazy as it sounds, we forged lifetime bonds that very first night.

    I don’t think the hoedown ever even happened (due to technical issues?). Nor was the New Library open when we wandered there to make late-night copies (of what I do not recall).

    But wow did it “click.” I was so lucky, so thrilled to be attending the awesomest college … ever.

    Bookending my Midd adventure, it “clicked” again when Senior Week commenced. Though, this time, almost all faces were familiar. And we knew our time was limited.

    Time is a funny thing, that way.

    Coincidentally, like hoedown night, classes were also a “non-issue” during Senior Week. A happy image in our rearview mirror. Not that I disliked class. It was, in some respects, the best part of Midd. Certainly the most challenging part.

    But the unbridled freedom of Senior Week allowed us to truly soar, uncaged birds ready to take on the world’s toughest challenges.

    But the autumn air was stale with sweat, as the scarlet leaves sensed the bitter winter winds. Nostalgia set in. Like waking up from an amazing, lucid dream.

    But goodbyes are not goodbyes. For it is the people who make the experience, not the place.

    The old adage is true. At Midd, you learn more from your peers than your professors.

  • Reetz44

    There were many moments that clicked at Middlebury but probably more that clicked afterward like this one….

    I was volunteering in my children’s elementary school. Someone asked if I would like to help in teaching a short river ecology course to fourth graders. The purpose was to stress the importance of watersheds and would involve both classroom work and field trips with the kids. It sounded interesting and a nice change from shelving library books, being room mother and working bake sales so I thought, why not? It had been twelve years since I’d sat in a classroom and taken notes and I wasn’t sure I was up to it but I was game. The preparation for the volunteers involved three demanding, intensive days of lectures and slides — one day each covering the flora, fauna and geology of the area. At one point on the last day, the instructor looked out at our dazed, worried expressions and cramped hands and said, “Relax! No matter how little you know, you will still know more than a 10 year-old and the main thing we are trying to get across is stewardship.” I thought back to all the wonderful geography lectures and field trips with Mr. Illick at Middlebury. There was such quiet respect in his tone and the gentle way he ran his hand over glacial striations or the bark of a tree. Without ever saying the word stewardship, he instilled in me an awareness, appreciation and concern for the environment. Everything in his manner and tone communicated respect, caring and the idea of safeguarding and sustaining the world around us. So in the fall of 1978, I channeled my inner Roland Illick and led my group of ten year olds in discussions of habitats, tributaries and estuaries and along the banks of our local river in search of raccoon tracks, water striders, mosses, lichens and jack-in-the-pulpits. When a student asked a question and I didn’t know the answer, I would simply say, “That’s an excellent question! What do you think?” The important thing was getting them to think and care……as Mr. Illick had done with me.

    In the attached photo taken in 1965 we are sitting next to Route 7 sketching Bristol gap.

    Rita King, ’66

  • Danny ’01

    My MOO trip during orientation freshmen year. I had not spent even one night outside before those days in early September. I had even packed an issue of Sports Illustrated to read as I walked down the trail–I couldn’t figure out what else I would do while walking all day! But I still remember walking down the Long Trail, slowing realizing how much I was loving this brand new experience. It turned out that this three-day trip changed the course of my Middlebury career and, without exaggeration, my life. For this, and many other reasons, I am grateful
    to Middlebury.

  • Ben Hundley

    The beauty of the Middlebury Campus. It was love at first sight. I came for a Fall Weekend and it just felt right. I applied Early Decision and the rest is history. Now, I’m still a MiddKid in the Bread Loaf program. I figure I’m a “lifelong learner” and Middlebury brings it all home for me. Thank you.

    • Ben Hundley

      Middlebury continues to shape me over the years, but there was a particular moment went I took out a canoe from the MMC onto Otter Creek one evening. That was transformative, as we sat there, taking in the stillness of the night sky.

  • Lauren Vollmer ’10

    I was a ‘language person’ in high school – I studied French and Latin, loved English, and wrote stories on the side. I signed up for Frank Swenton’s Linear Algebra class my first semester at Middlebury because I knew I would have to take math and didn’t want to prolong the agony. After a few weeks, I realized that I had never really understood what math was before, and more importantly, that I loved it. I majored in math and am now studying statistics at Harvard, well on my way to doing math for the rest of my life. Thanks, Professor Swenton!

  • Thomas Williams ’62

    Middlebury was indeed one of the “best clicks” of my life and experiences on campus led to many other wondrous clicks! I am convinced Ole Midd put significant and crucial momentum in my life. Why? Since I was a wee lad, I had a vague, and sometimes not so vague, ambition to be a writer. But, believe me, I never thought I would arrive in print!

    My Dad, a wonderful guy and humorous personality, wanted me to go to Yale. But, I couldn’t get in! Today, I have no doubt that I would never have a chance of being admitted into Middlebury. I KNOW! Over scores of years since my own graduation, I interviewed many a brilliant student, much smarter than I am, on behalf of the admissions department, and later discovered some of them didn’t get accepted.

    My American Literature professors, Munson and Horace Beck, were inspirational and kept me going despite flunking Middle European history in my freshman year. As a soccer player, I also gained valuable youthful confidence from four years of coaching by the athletic leader of all leaders, Joe Morrone..

    After graduating, I was thrilled to become a Middlebury admissions department interviewer and college promotion traveler to prep schools on the East Coast.

    Because I disliked the military, I flunked out of the college course to become an Army officer, I was then drafted by that Army, fell into bullying basic training and afterward applied to officer candidate school in Ft.Sill, Oklahoma. Surprise! I flunked out of the harassing lower class, but depressed as I then was, I reapplied. This time I made it through lower, middle and upper class super mental and physical harassments to become a second lieutenant. Then, I was accepted in the Army Intelligence school in Baltimore, Maryland. Once again my grades were low, but this time I really became somewhat enchanted by learning to follow a fake and tricky intelligence suspect on Baltimore streets with two other coordinating student followers. One day all the followed rabbits decided to have coffee at a miniature city coffee shop, causing a mammoth crowd of followers bumping into one another outside. Later, I was a bit afraid, but fascinated by being forced to interview actors and actresses, as if I were doing so to discover security risks. These interviews were conducted on stage in a room while being watched through a one-way mirror by the rest of the class. They could be heard laughing when you were routinely embarrassed by those weird and funny actors.

    I just made it though intelligence school, and was assigned to South Korea during the Vietnam War to check out North Korean border crossers and spies. It was fun, but sometimes a bit scary. Incredibly, my superior officer was Bruce Bailey, a fellow Middlebury graduate. Assigned to a unit nearby was Lt. Craig Stewart, another Midd grad.

    After finishing a year’s assignment there, I got sent to the nation’s capitol to work on fascinating security probes. Once out of the service, I applied to the CIA and separately to intelligence liaison work in Vietnam. But, I decided writing was my true ambition, so I became a news reporter for The Hartford Courant, eventually leading me into investigations of lawyers,judges, government and corporate officials.

    What an experience and a joy 45 years of reporting at The Courant and as a freelancer became. More recently I have written an unusual nature book about interaction and communications among wild creatures and humans.

    Had it not been for my wonderful professors’ instruction and inspiration at Middlebury, there is no doubt at all that I would never have developed the skills to become a writer. Talk about “best clicks!” Middlebury was a prime click of my life!

  • Charlie Tilford

    Mine came with Dean Tom Reynolds, when as a junior I needed his permission to switch majors from Physics to Economics. I was good at Newtonian physics from Prof Ben Wissler (who was the lab assistant when my Dad ’36 took the course), but quantum physics, not so much. Dean Reynolds told me about the 3-2 program, where you get a Midd BA and engineering BS from Duke, Rochester, or Columbia. Seemed like a good idea. I went to Columbia in 1966, got the BS and MS, and became an engineer. Still at it. There’s a 40 ft shipping container on the ocean somewhere between Oakland and Dubai headed to a factory, with a machine I designed and built; the calculations go straight back to Sears and Zemansky’s freshman physics text.

  • sheara

    Freshman year. Within one week of beginning school, I contracted mono and was in the infirmary for one month. Although I knew noone, I had many visits from classmates who felt badly that a new classmate was sick. I also remember hearing yells about the northern lights at that time and I looked out the window.. I knew I was in a caring environment; it clicked then.
    It clicked again, a few years later when Prof. Dry and I had several diaglogs in the school paper; I wrote an article about “apple pie and plato”; Professor Dry felt compelled to answer. It clicked again.

  • Peter Knobler ’68

    In March 1965 when I was a freshman, as Dr. Martin Luther King was completing his march from Selma to Montgomery, a bunch of us decided we should march with him. Of the approximately 2000 members of the Middlebury community on campus, 26 faculty and students made the drive from Vermont to Alabama. At the time there was a Middlebury academic regulation that if you cut three classes in one semester you automatically flunked the course. I had Introductory Spanish on Wednesday and Friday, and when I called my professor to tell her I would be missing those classes because I was marching with Dr. King she told me, “I really think you should think of yourself first.” It was at that moment, if I hadn’t known it before, it became clear to me that there was more to education than was taught in the classroom, certainly than I was being taught at Middlebury. I went, I marched, I cut the classes, I came back and talked about the experience with everyone who would listen. More than not failing, I succeeded in having a much greater effect than two hours of freshman Spanish would have on my life, on the campus and on the world. For its part, Middlebury did learn. By October 1967 when it was time to levitate the Pentagon and mobilize to end the war in Vietnam, the Middlebury administration didn’t protest our attendance.

  • Gillian Goodman ’84

    Sophomore fall, 1981. By accident of great good fortune, I was among the last group of students to take William Catton’s American History 101 course. Professor Catton retired at the end of that semester, and his final lecture packed Dana Hall to the rafters. Initially unmoved by the extraordinary moment, I snapped to rapt attention no more than three sentences in. He embodied the very best Middlebury had to offer: a renowned scholar and gifted speaker who put teaching undergraduates first. I sat up a bit straighter in my history classes after that day, made history my major, and continued to learn from incomparable teachers like Pardon Tillinghast, John McCardell, John Spencer, Marjorie Lamberti and others. Today, my history degree informs my world view, my thought process, and certainly my career. I am deeply grateful for the moment it clicked.

  • Francie Alexandre ’12

    There are so many things I could write here, but I think of a few things in particular. It clicked for me my first day on my freshman hallway when I was so nervous that it would be difficult to meet people, only to spend an entire afternoon sitting on the floor outside my dormroom as more and more of my classmates came to join. I met the best friends I have ever had on that first day. It clicked for me my sophomore year when I took my first Italian class and went to a department dinner, only to realize that picking a major can provide you not only with an academic path but with a community (and some amazing meals!). The last time it clicked for me was the night before graduation (technically morning, actually) standing on the football field watching the sun rise surrounded by the people I had been lucky enough to call my classmates over the previous 4 years.

  • Nora Cregan ’84

    The fall of 1983 was unusually warm. Mr. Littlefield often took his 17th Century Literature class outside to enjoy the sun and listen as he read to us in his mellifluous, magical voice. Nothing could have given us a greater love of poetry than those extraordinary days sitting on the grass outside the Chateau.

  • Meg Storey Groves ’85

    It started my first year at Midd, when i was intrigued by upperclassmen writing Chinese characters. So i signed up. Then i took the language pledge and saw how beautiful Middlebury is in the summer. Soon i found myself in Taiwan immersed in Mandarin, followed by an internship in Hong Kong, thanks to a Middlebury alumna. What a great ride. And i thought i was going to study French when i started at Midd! I guess those are several ways that collectively made it click for me at Middlebury.

  • Ted Morse

    Pardon Tillinghast fighting the Battle of Hastings on stage at the theater which contributed to my love of History and becoming Chief Reader of the Advanced Placement Exam in US History from 2000-2005 and Headmaster of the Antilles School in St. Thomas, USVI.

  • CDH

    I forgot to add, it clicked for me when I took a philosophy class my freshman year, and fell asleep in a discussion session while seated about 15 feet away, and directly across, from Professor Nuovo. the sun was shining on me, and I felt warm and peaceful. When I woke up, Professor Nuovo was looking right at me and smiling. He never said a word to me about it. One of my fellow students later told me I had been snoring.

  • CDH

    It clicked for me the Spring of my Freshman year when I attended the discussion section of Professor Nelson’s Political Science 107 class at 3:30 on Friday afternoons, and read Aristotle and Macaulay for the first time. After the first class I abandoned any thought of a biology major and threw myself headlong into political philosophy. It clicked for me my freshman year doing a 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning shift at WRMC, and actually getting phone calls from students making requests. We actually spun vinyl discs in those days as CD technology was just becoming available. It clicked for me my junior year when Professor Adler sang the opening thirty lines of the Iliad to the class, in Greek. It clicked for me my junior year when I sat in the front row center of Professor Dry’s PS 305 class (the Federal system), believing (foolishly) that I would learn better if I absorbed as much punishment as possible. It clicked for me my Senior year when Professor Nelson started referring to me by my nickname.

  • Lou Mills

    It clicked when Duke Nelson called most of us Freshmen on the football team , Charlie or Bubba… or “.Millsy” in early practice sessions Fall 1967. Then there was the first week of European History with Parden Tillinghouse(sp.?) explaining how the British won the Armada with their high tech Dutch artillery on their boats. It wasn’t just the storm that did in the Spanish; also Technology, Sailing Skill, Perseverance. Skills very appropriate in today’s world.

  • Co9

    1) When celebrating Prof. Russ Leng’s final lecture before retirement all my classmates automatically rose on their feet. For long, and almost tearful applauds. 2) In Prof. Kateri Carmola’s 2006 Ethnics, Law and War class. She brought in a Marine friend of hers to explain how the war in Iraq was being fought. The military gear available for observing. The gap between the ivory tower and reality of a war was bridged all in a Coffrin class room. 3) When Professor Dry didn’t have to make much of an effort to make us all 50+ students realize we had much to learn and fear despite the pompous egos of many of us. 4) When I could live in a 10 room summer house with 10 or so people from 10 different countries–almost all continents covered. 5) When I realized cigarettes and conversations outside the new library in freezing *** exam periods were actually no less educational.

    • A. Weisman

      To add some color to Leng’s final lecture, this is the last thing I remember him saying: “Oh and one more thing. As I have been asked to clean out my office and don’t have room for all of my books at home, you’ll notice that I’ve left boxes of books out in the hallway. Please help yourselves. Just give them a good home — they’re old friends.” Just beautiful. Though I’ll be the first to admit, the standing ovation might have lasted 30-60 seconds too long….

  • Alex Margarite

    It clicked for me in fall of my junior year in Laurie Essig’s Intro: Sociology of Gender lecture in the Gifford Annex. I was a confused but otherwise rather steadfast proponent of the hard sciences until Laurie introduced me to a discipline where my inclinations as a researcher and writer plugged in naturally. I began to see the strong intuitions I had as someone who examined and deconstructed things ideologically, rather than materially. This was an absolutely seminal moment in my academic journey, and Laurie knows how thankful I am for her planting the seed that led to a sea change in personal and academic philosophy.

  • Ben Bruno (’06)

    It clicked for me at the beginning of my sophomore year (2004) when I was back on campus as a Middlebury Outdoor Orientation (MOO) leader for a mountain biking trip. We were getting ready to start our leader training, and I was invited to go on a bike ride with my MOO leader from the previous year, Matt Johanson, and another MOO leader, Isaac (Ike) Pattis up at Bread Loaf. After being dropped off and biking around for a while on some previously unknown-to-me trails, we got caught in a torrential summer downpour. We biked around for a while longer in the rain and ended up back at the completely vacant Barn at Bread Loaf. As we sat around and dried off, warmed up, and explored the barn while waiting for a ride back into town, I realized what a unique place I was in, and it made me even more excited to lead a group of new students on their first adventure as a Middlebury student in the following weeks. This memory has become more meaningful for me over time, as I have stayed connected to the Johanson family over the years through Matt and his brother, Russ. My wife and I got engaged while staying at their house in New Hampshire in 2009.

  • Jocelyn Breton

    It clicked for me during Prof. Stefani’s Physio Psych class. Specifically, I was cutting open a sheep’s brain to identify its neuroanatomy – I knew then that I wanted to study Neuroscience. Prof. Stefani and many others like him inspired me to pursue a graduate degree, with the eventual goal of teaching and passing along my excitement for studying the brain to others. Thanks to Middlebury, I have a strong foundation upon which to build, and a unique perspective to carry into my future.

  • Alex Wellman

    During the fall of my sophomore year (2004), I studied literature with Dan Brayton. That course was a paradigm shift for me; it not only helped me change the way I looked at literature, but also proved to be an experience in which I finally began to put my finger on the essence of who I am.

    As I moved through that semester, I came to realize that one of the most beautiful things about a Middlebury education is the dialogue that it creates between introspection and external awareness. For me, gaining a sense of who I was came in the form of interactions that ran the gamut from professors and staff members who had been integral parts of my life to people I was meeting for the first time as I watched the sun rise over Youngman Field on the morning of my class’s graduation.

    • danielbroberts

      I was in this same class with Alex– Maritime Lit. But I was a freshman. (If that isn’t the class Alex means, fine, but still, Brayton is the constant.) I suppose it wasn’t any identity reversal for me since I already knew I was and could only be an English major, but it was a fantastic class where we read books I never would have thought I’d love, and in which Prof Brayton pushed us to go further in our thinking and analysis. He became my advisor and helped me all the way through my senior thesis and counseled me when I was thinking about journalism school. Brayton and a score of other lit professors at Midd were unforgettable.

  • Ken Stockbridge

    It was Parents’ Weekend during my sophomore year (1978-9), and Math Professor Bob Martin was giving a (very entertaining) Saturday lecture on the book “Flatland” by Edwin Abbott Abbott. At the time, I was a convinced agnostic. Intellectual integrity was important to me, and I had bought into the idea that empiricism was the best (or even only?) basis for knowledge. Accordingly, I had convinced myself that it was impossible for me to know whether or not God existed; it simply was not provable. But Flatland’s story was about 2-dimensional beings in the form of geometric shapes, their inability to perceive themselves from the 3rd dimension, and the implications for their view of themselves and reality. With that imagery, it clicked for me that some knowledge and truth could be beyond the ability of empirical methods or human powers to observe or test. As it happened, that same year, I attended the memorial service for my mother’s mother, which was my very first Quaker Meeting for worship. Though a time of deep sorrow, as family members shared their reflections and memories out of the silent worship, an indescribable sense of profound joy and blessing arose among us. With them, I experienced a spiritual reality and truth that was clearly beyond empirical science to observe or explain. Bob’s lecture had prepared my (very analytical) mind to be open to and able to accept that watershed moment in my spiritual life.

  • Peter B. Erdmann

    Sitting in Am. Lit class taught by Stephen Danadio when he asked the class a very simple question, we were reading Saul Bellow’s “Dangling Man”, . . . . “what was influencing Bellow at the time?” I recall my classmate Hiro Kanagawa responded with a list of books, movies, and current events that coincided with the writing of the book . . . and boom . . . I was introduced to critical thinking beyond the words on a page . . . seemingly small event, but one I have referred to again and again. Danadio is a true Midd treasure!

  • Lara Rosenbaum

    It clicked for me when John Bertolini spit on me while reciting King Lear. I hadn’t even matriculated, and was checking out Middlebury with my mom. I happened to sit in on a Shakespeare seminar, and that’s when I knew: Middlebury was for me.

    I’d looked at other schools on my ‘tour:’ Bowdoin, Colby, Williams and Dartmouth, and knowing I wanted to write professionally, sat in on English classes, to check the fit. I don’t remember that much about the other schools… I do remember students falling asleep in one class, and well, that’s about it.

    But when John spit on me, as he bellowed and pumped his fists, reciting Lear from memory, I just knew. Middlebury was the place for me! 🙂

    • John Bertolini

      Dear Lara,

      I’m mortified to learn that I spit on you in the
      Shakespeare seminar, but glad you decided on Middlebury notwithstanding.
      I’m reminded of when Laurence Olivier was playing Heathcliff opposite
      Merle Oberon in the film of Wuthering Heights, and she complained to the
      director that Olivier kept spitting on her during his more passionate
      speeches. Olivier commented, “What’s a little spit between friends!” So I
      hope we’re still friends! And I bet I teased you about being named
      after the Julie Christie character in Doctor Zhivago. Lovely to hear
      from you, and hope you are thriving.

      Best,John Bertolini

    • Lauren Greer

      Lara, I agree completely. Lectures by John Bertolini are some of the highlights of my time at Middlebury. (I took Shakespeare and Hitchcock with him, and he served as an advisor and thesis reader for me!) The breadth of information, language and entertainment… still makes me smile, and will always stay with me. I can remember one lecture in particular in Twilight auditorium… we were discussing A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a girl in the front row started to raise her hand but then put it down…John, standing right in front of her noticed and said, ” Oh my, you look impregnated with thought, let me deliver it!” I’m still laughing to this day. What a lovely phrase!

  • Allie Beck

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved Middlebury as a college student and it was a real home for me. But how much I appreciated it, what it gave me, the people it connected me with (even those who I didn’t know before), and how it prepared me for every twist and turn in life wasn’t realized until this summer. Out west in the place I thought was home, amidst a massive career change eight years after my BA. I wouldn’t have found my dream job without Middlebury. Taken the greatest risk in my life without Middlebury. Middlebury allowed me to explore everything I was interested in and passionate about and enabled me to craft an unusual but incredibly rich and (surprisingly) logical path to where I am now.

  • Amy Kepler

    As part of John Elder and Pete Shumer’s freshman seminar, Go & Haiku, we spent a day up at Breadloaf writing poetry in the fields. It was peak fall, and it was just the quintessentially perfect New England college experience. Later in the semester, we visited Robert Frost’s cabin on the same day as the first snow of the school year. Magical.

  • Carl Reed

    My freshman year (1967) when Roland Illick opened my eyes to the wonders of geography and then my sophomore year when Vince Malmstrom introduced me to computing and I blended my love of geography/maps and programming to generate computer maps and do statistical analysis. This led to a life long career on the technical side of GIS, location services, and numerous other aspects of using geography in the digital (and now mobile) world. And of course I still ski but in the Rockies! Had to love the Snow Bowl.

  • Jani Heikkonen

    It clicked the 4 years I was there. It was an amazing experience from first year residing in Allen Hall. Second year, being on team and winning Midd’s first title NCAA championship in hockey (1995). Working at summer school between sophomore and junior year. Junior year, joining Kappa Delta Rho and being JC in Battell. Fourth year, just enjoying and savoring every moment. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the start of those amazing 4 years.

  • Dale Dewey

    Middlebury clicked for me way before I ever saw what I still consider to be the most beautiful college campus anywhere. I recall reviewing the Baron’s college guide and reading that Middlebury had its own ski resort, a golf course on campus and a lighted cross country ski trail – need I say more? Nevertheless I had an interview at Williams College where believe it or not I was a seven generation legacy. The campus wasn’t as nice nor were the people I met. Midd was the only place I wanted to go and so I applied early decision.

  • Sarah McGowen ’08

    A month before my September 2004 orientation, a guest at the Maine resort I had worked at since the age of 14 approached me. “Are you the one who’s going to Middlebury?” she asked. When I responded in the affirmative, she grew three feet in size and beamed, “We’re practically sisters! I went to Middlebury, too!” She graduated in 1948. That’s when I knew I was about to join something very special.

  • It happened for me when I was dancing in the Dance Company of Middlebury in 2003. Everyone else had gone abroad that semester, and I knew that the company experience would change my life. And it did. We went to Cuba, and I learned that intercultural exchange through art-making was a unique way to find common ground with people who don’t speak the same language. I went on to study abroad afterwards, then pursued similar experiences in graduate school. I am now graduating this week from UCLA with a PhD in Culture and Performance Studies from the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. (Still not sure what’s next after all this education, but I’m eager to figure it out. Somehow knowing midd is under my belt gives me comfort!)

  • Alison Weir

    My life changed drastically 13 years ago.

    When the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising) began in fall 2000, I became curious about the Israel-Palestine conflict and started to follow the news to learn what the issue was all about. As I did so, I noticed that news coverage was largely Israel-centric, giving information from and about Israelis far more than from and about Palestinians (since corroborated by my statistical studies of the issue: http://ifamericansknew.org/media/.

    I began to look into things more and more and was so astounded and disturbed at what seemed to me one of the most pervasive and long-lasting cover-ups I had ever seen, that I finally decided to quit my job as a newspaper editor in Sausalito, California, and went over to the region as a freelance journalist to see for myself what was going on.

    I traveled independently throughout the West Bank and Gaza, saw enormous tragedy, and when I returned I began an organization called “If Americans Knew” http://ifamericansknew.org/ to give the public the facts on this issue.

    I’m now also president of the Council for the National Interest http://councilforthenationalinterest.org/, and have just completed a book coming out next month, “Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the US Was Used to Create Israel.” I also speak around the country on this topic, and even spoke in Middlebury a few years ago. Next week I have a speaking tour in Kentucky.

    • Alison Weir

      — Sorry, I had meant to include the Middlebury part of this and then forgot to do so!

      Middlebury, and a Middlebury grad, had played an important role in opening my eyes to thinking beyond the obvious context. I had gone to high school in Georgia, and one summer I had been fortunate to be chosen for a new program called the Governor’s Honors Program, where a small number of high schoolers from around the state spent about a week living on a college campus and discussing everything from philosophy to math. My particular mentor, a stimulating and inspiring teacher, had gone to Middlebury. Because of him, I applied to Middlebury early decision, sight unseen, and a year later found myself in beautiful Vermont, embarked on a life of intellectual adventure.

  • Bill Souser

    Bill Souser 2009
    It wasn’t until I went to grad school that I realized precisely how significant an experience Middlebury had been. I continued to return for homecoming, I drank Green Mountain Coffee out of Middlebury mug at my desk in Pennsylvania, and I kept my Middlebury Magazine calendar up in my cubicle. Everyone else in the office approached me to comment, “Wow, I wish I liked my college that much,” or, “I haven’t been to homecoming in years,” or even, “You get a calendar?”

  • Cheryl Potter

    Cheryl Potter Marschke Class of 83
    It happened to me during my interview at Middlebury. I had taken creative writing classes at the state university the summer between my junior and senior years in high school and applied early decision to Midd hoping to not only get in, but also have a chance to go to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.

    Since I was a small child I always wanted to be a writer, but the possibility seemed so remote. I brought some short stories I had written to my interview at Midd. I had just turned 17 and was scared to death. My interviewer not only took the time to look at my stories and articles, she also called the director of Bread Loaf and I had a very short interview with him.
    Somehow I knew that day that I would go to Midd, Bread Loaf, get my MFA in Prose Fiction and be able to support myself with my writing. Driving back to my small town in Maine in my mother’s old Oldsmobile, I knew I had found my people–it all made perfect sense to me.

    I got my Early Decision acceptance the very next week. Thirty years later, here I am plugging along on my ninth book, a fantasy novel. Thank you, Middlebury!

  • Stephanie 2011

    Middlebury taught me to think critically and see the “big picture”. I received a fellowship in Mali after graduation, where my African studies were put to the test. I was able to assess the situation that I was in, and realize that if I really wanted to work on the continent in a way that fit my moral code, I needed to go back to school and become a physician. Thanks Midd 🙂

  • Timothy Keyes

    Timothy Keyes ’94
    On a trip with the Center for Northern Studies to Newfoundland with Steve Young, we visited one of the largest seabird colonies in the North Atlantic. Watching thousands of gannets, kittiwakes, murres and guillemots got me hooked on birds… so far it has been a life-long passion/obsession – leading to field work throughout the eastern US, Ecuador, and Portugal. I currently work as a bird biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural resources where I work with seabirds, shorebirds, kites and storks.

  • Aaron 1996

    I left Middlebury without the slightest idea of what to do with my life. A few months after graduation, I started the first day of my first post-college job on the North Slope of Alaska. I knew then that the world was mine! Behind me was the past, in front only frontier.

  • Laura Tabor Bastiani ’97

    As a stay-at-home mom I sometimes wonder, albeit infrequently, what use I am making of my Middlebury education. I’ve always known motherhood was my ultimate goal, yet I never questioned my desire to succeed at an elite college. Everyday I share with my young children the great joy I find in learning new things, thinking about the world critically, and looking at issues from many perspectives.

    When my older child, now 5, was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, the critical thinking skills I learned at Middlebury were put into full gear. I was teasing out the best resources, evaluating therapy options, and looking at the world not only from his perspective, but from the perspectives of the different autistics whose work I read with critical interest.

    When my children are older I plan to return to school and to work, but in a field I never considered while at Middlebury–occupational therapy, speech therapy, or behavior analysis. I could have taken a much quicker path to one of these careers, but the journey, including my time at Middlebury, has made me who I am.

    • Maria

      Laura, your response was so moving. I wonder if you’ve seen this vid with MIT Sr researcher Stephanie Seneff re: her work linking autism with Round-Up (glyphosate), which is everywhere in the US. Evidently many of today’s common diseases could stem from how glyphosate damages our gut bacteria. I don’t have any close connection with autism, except concern, and found this discussion fascinating. It seems reducing previously unknown exposures (through organic food) can improve outcomes.


    • Tanya (Hansen) Hackney ’97

      Laura–I too find myself at home with young children, passing my Middlebury education on to them. Kudos to you; mothering is the most important job you’ll ever have.

  • Doug ‘02.5

    I can think of two pivotal moments that clicked for me. First, the first time I walked into a Weybridge House Dinner. I know I had found a group of people like me and that I had found my home at Middlebury. Second, the moment I found out I made Ski Patrol!

  • Hilary Cunningham ’12

    It clicked every time I played snow football at the Marstons home with a group of ten or so Midd kids, (you know who you are). I remember one intense game during finals week freshman year, which taught me two very important lessons:
    1. There is always time for snow football;
    2. There is nothing better than the friendships I have gained and will continue to gain from my four years at Middlebury.

  • Jessica Minton ‘10.5

    As a kid, I wanted to be an interior designer. As a high school student, I wanted to be a journalist. As geography major at Middlebury, I realized that cartography was a thrilling combination of design and the presentation of information and analysis. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to turn that moment into the early stages of a career.

  • Kerstin Carlson Le Floch

    Setting aside the brilliant memories of debating, laughing, studying, skiing, and generally reveling in my good fortune to be at Middlebury… my senior thesis was a particularly formative experience. I was a double major in Political Science and French, with a long-standing interest in education. So I wrote my senior thesis on French education policy. I was a fledgling researcher, figuring out the methodology as I went. Twenty years later, I am an education policy analyst, and still using some of the same methodologies I started to discover as an undergrad. Without a doubt, Middlebury launched a career which I still find deeply engaging. I am thankful for professors who gave me the right balance of intellectual support and freedom to figure it out on my own. And I still love to ski!

  • Rachel Shapiro

    I spent my childhood dreaming of going to Midd, when I’d head up each summer to visit my brothers at Keewaydin on Dunmore. As I could never attend that fine camp (a boy’s camp), I dreamed of getting back to VT another way…by attending Midd. I visited in a chilly November while in high school to make sure of this choice…and yes, the cold winds could not dissuade me. I entered Midd as a Feb in 1993, and felt the warm embrace of Midd students, faculty, and staff. I spent many an afternoon looking across to the mountains from Mead Chapel, and reveling in the fact that I had accomplished my dream. I still make it up each year to watch the wonderful changes occurring at Midd and keeping tabs on the amazing students, and dream of a more permanent return.

  • Elizabeth Hackett ’84

    It clicks for me every time a Middlebury connection is made ….between an alumni mentor and student, a parent and a faculty member, watching the President interact with students, students with community members and yes, when i met my husband for the first time on Mead Chapel hill…

  • Diane Hammond

    In the last final exam of my senior year, Dr. John Elder gave us this essay question: Write about your morning in the voice of James Joyce, Virginia Wolf, or E.M. Forster. I wrote like a madwoman in James Joyce’s stream of consciousness–and found that it came not just naturally but exuberantly. Thus I discovered fiction writing, an obsession from which I’ve never recovered. My fifth novel, “Friday’s Harbor,” was just released by HarperCollins / William Morrow.

  • Diana Cotter ’63

    55 years ago. In those days you needed to apply to 4 colleges. Midd was an add-on as I thought I wanted to go to Boston. But as we drove up Rte 7 into town on my interview trip I thought OMG this is it. The next day as we headed to Boston I told my Dad “I’m going to Middlebury.” He pointed out I had to be accepted but I was sure I would be.

    Eight years ago I moved back. How lucky am I.

  • Margaret Owen ’10

    When I realized that majoring in Religion gave me a platform to have an interesting conversation with anyone for the rest of my life and playing for MWS would give me friends for the rest of my life.

  • Catherine O’Neill Grace ’72

    It was April 23, 1968–Shakespeare’s birthday. I was alone in Howard and Marian Munford’s backyard, visiting as I decided whether to come to the college that fall. The new grass was just beginning to push up through the straw of the old. I had a sudden and powerful feeling that choosing Middlebury and Vermont and literature would be a continually renewing gift. And so it has proved to be.

  • Ben Silton ’11

    During my senior year, I realized that my professors, especially those of the Math department, were the happiest group of people I knew. They all loved their work, they all loved their families and friends, and they all loved Vermont. I was lucky to study alongside them for four years. It quickly dawned on me that Middlebury, bubble or no bubble, is a gem.

  • Elizabeth Eppes Winton

    Four years of fun, friendship and, of course, a world class education, came to an end and I was on to conquer New York. I wrote to three high-level advertising executives who had gone to Midd. I met with two of them and a week later I was working in New York…shout out and thank you to Rich Pounder and DFS. Click!

  • Avery McNiff ’12

    These two make it click.

    On a lunch break this fall I visited the Middlebury College Museum
    of Art to see the exhibition, Screened and Selected II: Contemporary Photography and Video Acquisitions 2006–2011. In my sophomore year I participated in a winter-term course that helped choose several of the pieces on display (made possible by Middlebury alumna and New York gallerist Marianne Boesky ’89). Following that J-term, I declared an Art History major and continued to encounter these acquired pieces in my classes.

    Standing in the gallery, the images reminded me of people,
    places, and phases throughout college. Harri Kallio’s Dodo birds still make me laugh. Across the room, I saw the photo by a South African artist that inspired me to study abroad in Cape Town. A few feet away was the subject for my most mortifying class presentation. In the middle hung a photo that my best friend and art history comrade studied for a semester.

    It sunk in that experiences connected to art at Middlebury
    gave me memories, friendships, and inspirations that I continue to carry with me. Although these experiences are part of the past, I know they can always come alive again at the museum (not like Night at the Museum…).

    Harri Kallio, Mare Longue Reservoir #1, Mauritius from the series The Dodo and Mauritius Island: Imaginary Encounters, 2002.

  • Avery McNiff ’12

    These two make it click.

    On a lunch break this fall I visited the Middlebury College Museum
    of Art to see the exhibition, Screened and Selected II: Contemporary Photography and Video Acquisitions 2006–2011. In my sophomore year I participated in a winter-term course that helped choose several of the pieces on display (made possible by Middlebury alumna and New York gallerist Marianne Boesky ’89). Following that J-term, I declared an Art History major and continued to encounter these acquired pieces in my classes.

    Standing in the gallery, the images reminded me of people,
    places, and phases throughout college. Harri Kallio’s Dodo birds still make me laugh. Across the room, I saw the photo by a South African artist that inspired me to study abroad in Cape Town. A few feet away was the subject for my most mortifying class presentation. In the middle hung a photo that my best friend and art history comrade studied for a semester.

    It sunk in that experiences connected to art at Middlebury
    gave me memories, friendships, and inspirations that I continue to carry with me. Although these experiences are part of the past, I know they can always come alive again at the museum (not like Night at the Museum…).

  • Marlisa Simonson ’96

    I first met the Middlebury campus as a freshman in high school, reluctantly dragged along to my father’s reunion. By the end of the weekend, I didn’t want to go home. Two years later while on a college tour with a group of classmates, I urged our chaperone to drive through Middlebury, while I excitedly told the other students about “my” school. The moment it clicked for me, though, was when my acceptance was announced over the school loudspeaker. I knew that I had been invited to become a member of this incredible family who would teach me, challenge me, catch me when I stumbled, and ultimately, shape me. I am grateful every day.

  • Andy Gluck ’85

    I remember it like it was yesterday (ok, it was 32 years ago!). It
    almost feels manic upon reflection, but to a 18 year-old kid it was an
    adrenaline rush of fantastic activity. In a 48-hour period here’s what
    transpired. On a Friday afternoon I was in a Murray Dry Poly Sci
    discussion section that was supposed to last 1 hour and 15 minutes, but
    theFederalist Paper was way too interesting to let the discussion stop.
    Twohours-plus later I took the mad dash up the hill to Proctor to catch
    lunch. Right after that I was on a van to go to our baseball game.
    Then on Saturday evening, we had the “Stewart Olympics”. Finally, on
    Sunday afternoon, I was in the overly warm library loft (remember the
    shag rug and great napping?) preparing for the week ahead. Click!

  • Martin Beatty

    It was immediate. In January of my senior year of high school, I drove up to Middlebury through a blinding snow storm. When we arrived on campus, we parked at Forest Hall, at which point, I jumped out of the car, went to the rear of Forest and upon looking at Le Chateau and the Green Mountains, I knew that Middlebury was the place for me.

  • Abby Blum `08.5

    Although, I appreciated Middlebury throughout my college experience, I really don’t think it gets better than skiing down the Snow Bowl in a graduation cap and gown with all of your friends! What an amazing way to celebrate a meaningful and wonderful four years!

  • Tripp Burwell ’09

    I saw mountains when I looked both East and West during my recruiting visit. That was pretty much it.

  • Ali Cameron MIIS ’09

    When I took Middlebury’s immersive Arabic language summer program as a Davis scholar in 2007, I didn’t realize exactly what I was a part of. I remember being incredibly thankful for receiving that scholarship from Mrs. Davis and took my studies even more seriously since I was there under someone elses dollar. I felt connected to Middlebury and was in awe of how cool it must be to go there for 4 years. I went to Middlebury’s graduate school, the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, and only then did I realized just how big this was. With the Arabic language, I was able to live and work in Jordan for over 1 year. For 4 years, I also did fundraising and grant proposals for 3 nonprofits, helping them to secure over $10.5 million.

    The moral of the story is PHILANTHROPY. An opportunity was
    extended to me through the generosity of a donor, which obviously paid off tenfold for those organizations and their beneficiaries. I now work for the Monterey Institute and became a donor because seriously, the caliber of both schools working as a unit is incredible – it’s the mothership of education and making a difference in the world. These unique and amazing experiences between both schools cannot be replicated anywhere else, and the quality of students who graduate from them are exceptional.

  • Douglas Perkins ’94

    It clicked for me the morning of my commencement as I sat atop the old (pre-bubble) field house roof with a bunch of close friends watching the sun rise on what was supposed to be the last day of my academic career in this beautiful place. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want to leave, even though I felt the world expected me to go out and do something. It was then I realized one of the most important lessons Middlebury has taught me: doing what is expected offers little reward; doing what is inspired makes every day rewarding. So I chose to stay here, in this land of inspiration, and do something. And that has made all the difference.

  • Nadia RRS ’12

    For me, it was the first time I came back to campus. I spent a year at Midd post-grad as a CRA, and so it took me longer than most to have a first-visit-back. But when I finally did, and drove up the hill on Route 30 by the football field, I had the same feeling that I had freshman year when I arrived on campus for the first time. It was a feeling of coming home, but also a feeling of just knowing that I had arrived in the right place, at the right moment, to be with the right people. It’s happened every time, and I’m guessing it will never stop.

  • Astrid S-G ’12

    Oh my. This happens so frequently that it hurts to pick just one! Most recently, I reached out via Middnet to a complete stranger for some advice on a project at work. As soon as he picked up, I could hear how excited he was to be chatting with fellow alum. 45 minutes later, we’d barely broached the topic I meant to call about, but had swapped tons of stories about proctor, chapel hill, the Chinese department, and many other places and experiences that had shaped us in VT. It’s so powerful to think that a world of people I don’t even know has been influenced by the same place. All of those relationships out there waiting to be discovered …

  • Evan Deutsch ‘12.5

    As a senior, I was experiencing the classic anxiousness of the unknown. I was searching for jobs, but wasn’t even sure what I was searching for. A friend encouraged me to attend the Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s Friday Lunchtime talks. Instead of providing a laundry list of accomplishments (which they all could have done), these speakers spoke of failures and lessons learned on their paths to becoming successful social entrepreneurs. It made them human. I now work full time for the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and help to bring similarly inspirational speakers to campus.

  • Ashley Calkins ’06

    One evening I was in the Japanese House making sushi with a professor and fellow students during my first year at Middlebury. Realizing I could connect to my academic passion outside of class with faculty and peers (and enjoy sushi while doing so!) made me appreciate the community at Middlebury and my experience here.

  • Jeffrey Stauch ’05

    So many moments to choose from, but I think one that really made me realize that Middlebury was a special place with special people was actually a few years out of school. A few of my closest Midd buddies and I had gotten together, were enjoying a few drinks, and we got totally engrossed in a conversation discussing the Coase theorem, complete with case studies and its broader social implications. At some point, and after a healthy amount of totally nerdy (and engaged) conversation, we all stopped, paused, and then one of my buddies said, “Well, you know you went to Middlebury when this is what you talk about with your friends in your free time.” It ‘clicked,’ you could say, that Middlebury really does produce an intellectually curious corps of alumni!

  • Carey Bass ’99

    When I first arrived on campus, I was so nervous about how I would get along with my roommate. She seemed like my complete opposite—a liberal Vermont ski-racer whose parents were total hippies. I was coming from a conservative all-girls school in Tennessee that closed if there was even a chance of snow. All it took was the walk from our room in Allen to convocation in Mead for us to hit it off. I realized that I could find my way here even though I was far from home. And of course, she (and her parents) taught me how to ski!

  • Phil Oldham ’90

    It did not take long for me to figure out that life was pretty wide open when I got to Midd. I registered for math, history, French, and writing first semester… high school all over again- pretty boring. But then I dropped math and signed up for Russian and never looked back. Best decision I ever made and 4 years later left Midd fluent in Russian and headed off to a job in the Russian Far East.

  • Mike Schoenfeld ’73

    I recruited two students from Asia when I was in Admissions a decade ago and asked them the second day they were here what their impression was of Middlebury. The woman from Tokyo replied with awe that she had never seen stars before. The woman from Kuala Lampur said she had never heard silence before. Now in my 37th year here, the connection to this special place still inspires…

  • Mike Schoenfeld ’73

    I recruited two students from Asiawhen I was in Admissions a decade ago
    and asked them the second day they were here what their impression was
    of Middlebury. The woman from Tokyo replied with awe that she had never
    seen stars before. The woman from Kuala Lampur said she had never heard
    silence before. Now in my 37th year here, the connection to this special
    place still inspires…

  • Kris Williams

    The first “aha” moment I had on the campus was when I was a freshmen in 2007. I remember walking with Professor Muller to his office from his intro to micro class. Back in his office, and after an hour and a half of mind blowing revelations about the roots of environmental policy, I knew I wanted to be an environmental economics major. If that hadn’t happened I never would have become involved in the Solar Decathlon which defined the rest of my Middlebury experience, and brought me to where I am today.