Author Archives: Robert Keren

Judge Bill Sessions ’69 Will Speak on “Passing Judgment” on April 23


Middlebury, VT…How does a judge make a sentence fit the crime or settle a contested public issue?

On April 23, 2015, at 7 pm, Judge William K. Sessions III will speak on the topic Passing Judgment at the inaugural public lecture presented by Middlebury’s Hawthorne Club in conjunction with the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History.  He will offer his own thoughtful answers to those questions.  His presentation will take place at The Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 2 Duane Court (at the corner of Charles Avenue).  Admission is free.  Parking is available at the nearby Middlebury Union High School.

Judge Sessions, a member of the Middleburg College Class of 1969, will reflect on his 20 years on the federal bench, discussing the judicial processes he uses – balancing the merits of a case, the history of relevant laws, and the impact on public policy and community sentiments.  During his judicial career, he has rendered judgment and covered such topics as climate change, campaign finance reform, equal pay for women, buffer zones at abortion clinics, application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and national sentencing policy.

Judge Sessions was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Vermont by President Bill Clinton in 1995 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  From 2002-2010, he was the Court’s Chief Judge, and has held senior status there since 2013. He was also nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1999 to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which establishes sentencing policy for the federal courts.  In 2009 he was nominated to serve as the Commission’s Chair by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Judge Sessions has lived in Addison County for more than 40 years, serving as a law clerk, an Addison County Public Defender, and in private practice.  He has also been an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School.  In addition, as visitors to the Middlebury Farmers Market are aware, he is a frequent presence selling cheese from Blue Ledge Farm, which is owned by his daughter and son-in-law.

The Hawthorne Club was founded in 1877 to establish closer relations between members of the Middlebury College community and citizens of the town.  It is named for Nathaniel Hawthorne, a national literary hero whose talks at the College made him a local celebrity as well. Historically, Hawthorne Club meetings have featured presentations by members on literary subjects and on relevant topics of interest to speakers and members.  In more recent years outside speakers regularly have been invited to address the group.

In 2014, the Club decided to broaden its horizons by sharing at least one offering a year with the community-at-large in partnership with the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History.  Chartered in 1882, the Sheldon Museum, located at One Park Street, Middlebury, tells the history of the Mid-Lake Champlain region through its rich collections, archives, and innovative exhibitions.

The two organizations chose Judge Sessions – a Middlebury College graduate, local resident, distinguished jurist, and community volunteer – as its inaugural lecturer.  His life epitomizes the values and reflects the missions of each organization.


Author Stephanie Strohm ’08 at Sheldon Museum, Oct. 4

Middlebury graduate and young-adult author Stephanie Kate Strohm ’08 will talk about her debut novel, “Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink,” on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Sheldon Museum.

Strohm, who completed a joint major in threatre and history, will discuss her writing process and how she developed ideas for her book. The Henry Sheldon Museum is an appropriate setting for the talk because the book is about a teenage girl who takes on an internship at an historical museum in Maine. While at Middlebury, Strohm volunteered at the Sheldon Museum and blossomed into a full-fledged history buff.

After graduation Strohm acted her way around the country (performing in 25 states) before settling in New York City to write. Her second book will be called “Confederates Don’t Wear Couture.”

The talk is intended for an adult audience, but teens are welcome too. For more information call the Sheldon Museum at 388-2117.



College Presents Four Staff Recognition Awards

From left: Professor Emeritus Rudolf K. Haerle Jr., Arlinda Wickland, Brent Simons, Cindy Leno, President Ronald D. Liebowitz, and Diane Munroe

Members of the Middlebury College community turned out in force to honor the recipients of the 2012 Staff Recognition Awards on September 19 in McCullough’s Crossroads Cafe/Juice Bar.

The recipients were Cindy Leno, team leader, custodial; Diane Munroe, coordinator, community based environmental studies; Brent Simons, Ross Commons dining manager; and Arlinda Ardister Wickland, director of student fellowships and health professions.

The award program was established by Professor Emeritus of Sociology Rudolf K. Haerle Jr. as a way to recognize members of the staff who contribute to the vitality of the College community and support the College’s academic mission. The criteria for selection are leadership, stewardship, attitude, and community service.

At the event President Ronald D. Liebowitz read a citation honoring each of the four recipients. Nearly 100 people attended and a buffet lunch prepared by Dining Services was served.

Earth Day Plant Giveaway for Staff and Faculty

Faculty and staff are invited to the Bicentennial Hall Greenhouse (6th floor) on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, any time between 11 a.m. and  4 p.m. to pick out a free plant.

There will be spider plants, strawberry begonias, ivy, purple hearts, cape primrose and more — all raised in the greenhouse especially for this Earth Day event.

If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry: the greenhouse curator, Patti Padua, will be on hand to offer advice on how best to care for your new plant.

And if you know any students who would like a plant, tell them to be patient: there will be a “Take Me to Your (Dorm) Room” plant giveaway for students in September.

The project is made possible through a grant from the Environmental Council. If you have any questions, contact Robert Keren,, in the Communications Office.

Plants will be given away on a first come, first served basis. One per employee please.