Midd in Solidarity with Ayotzinapa

Less than two months ago on September 26, 2014, 43 students attending a protest at a rural teachers college in Iguala, Mexico were kidnapped presumably by crime syndicate Los Guerreros Unidos, the latest and among the most horrific events of Mexico’s ongoing civil strife. In this particular case, it appears that the local government had collaborated with the crime organization to squash the efforts of the protesting students to bring attention to illegal and discriminatory hiring practices of the Mexican government.  In Mexico, people from all corners of the country have mobilized in support of the students demanding answers from the government, and the international student community has been showing solidarity with the student protesters (as seen in the video above), prompting Midd’s Alianza to organize a panel discussion and demonstration to bring awareness to the plight of the Ayotzinapa 43.  Cindy Esparza ’17 writes in:

What if 43 Middlebury students disappeared?

Join Alianza this Thursday November 20 in Warner Hemicycle from 4:30-6:30 pm to discuss and learn more about the horrendous events that have been plaguing Mexico. This event will consist of two parts:

1) A teach-in from 4:30-5:30 pm and
2) A march in solidarity from 5:30-6:30 pm. As a means of expressing your solidarity please wear ALL BLACK.

“This is not the first, biggest, or most gruesome mass disappearance during Mexico’s past eight years of brutal drug violence. More than 106,000 have died in what government data term ‘executions,”confrontations,’ and ‘homicide-aggressions’ since former President Felipe Calderon informally declared his war on drugs in 2006. But the tragedy of Ayotzinapa is different. Rarely has the collusion between local authorities and the cartels been so obvious and the consequences so dire. Unsurprisingly, the events surrounding the case have captivated Mexico and the international community for weeks.”

When: Thursday November 20, 4:30-6:30
Where: Warner Hemicycle
Cost: n/a

F Is For Failure: Art Show Tonight

F is for failure poster

Tonight, three Middlebury artists— Dylan Redford ’15Robbie Seltzer ’15, and Sally Caruso ‘15.5—will open a collaborative show at the M Gallery. The show will include new work in painting, video, and photography, as well as a joint performance piece. The performance will also feature August Rosenthal ’17 of the Otter Nonsense Players.

We’ve heard rumors that there will be pie in some capacity.

Date: TONIGHT (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM. Performance begins at 8:30 sharp. 
Place: M Gallery (in the Old Stone Mill Building, above Storm Café)

Midd Alums Tik Root and Wyatt Orme Pursuing Multimedia Piece on Rwandan Youth Culture

Tik Project

Tik Root ‘12 and Wyatt Orme ‘12.5 need your help!  The two recent alums were selected as finalists for Matter Magazine’s International Reporting Fellowship for a project on Rwanda’s transition from “an agrarian to a knowledge-based service economy” under longtime leader President Paul Kagame.  Undergoing a massive demographic transition with half of the population coming of age in the post-genocide context, Rwanda is under considerable pressure to prepare its economy for its burgeoning entrepreneurial youth.  Tik and Wyatt are hoping to explore this transition through a multimedia piece of journalism, radio, and photography, and in order to do so need to edge out their competition to pursue their proposal.  Tik writes in:

The process of determining a winner is like a combination of the movies “Gladiator” (2000) and “Seabiscuit” (2004). Of the 200+ applicants, our proposal was selected with five others to spar/race online for the highest number of votes (or, in their parlance, “Recommendations”).

We’re in 2nd…a tantalizing 70 votes away from the lead and, in 15 seconds, you could help us take it. For more on our proposal and to VOTE, click here.

Instructions are at the top of the page, but a word to the wise: make sure the heart-shaped “Recommend” button turns and stays green!

See after the jump for the body of their proposal, and more information on how you can help them pursue the project.  It will take no more time than sending a snapchat to bring a few Midd alum closer to pursuing an inspiring project.  See the link again here.

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VAMPIRE Play Starting Tomorrow, Get Your Tickets!

vampire-blue_lipsIf you’ve been intrigued by this sinister-sexual image advertised on your dining hall table all week, get stoked. “Vampire,” a badass play put on by the Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will open for its first performance TOMORROW. Snoo Wilson’s play “Vampire” will be performed November 20–22 at the Seeler Studio Theatre, and is “officially” described as “A bawdy, exuberant, and very smart play that careens through history and around the globe, revealing the grotesque opportunists in every era.” Unsure what this summary really means, we asked Chelsea Malone ’15 and Leah Sarbib ‘15.5, two stars of the Vampire student cast, what’s really going down:

Do you like homo-erotic punk bikers?  Horny oxen? Cricket matches? Incest in coffins? Suffragettes? Charles Dickens? Sigmund Freud? Middlebrow’s Jackson Prince? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes!” or if you’re just vaguely intrigued, then Snoo Wilson’s Vampire is for you. Come to Seeler Studio Theatre in the Mahaney Center for the Arts this weekend for accents, gore, and vampires galore. And did we mention Jackson Prince?

Performances will be this Thursday November 20, Friday November 21, and Saturday November 22 at 7:30pm. There is also a 2pm performance on Saturday November 22. There will be an optional talk back after Friday’s show, to discuss what the hell just happened?!

The cast includes: Evann Normandin ’14.5*, Nicholas Hemerling ’14.5, Thomas Scott ’14.5, Chelsea Melone ‘15*, Leah Sarbib ’15.5, Lana Meyer ’17, Caitlyn Meagher ’17, Jackson Prince ’17, Kean Haunt ’17, and David Fine ’17.

They had us at homo-erotic punk bikers. Needless to say, this play is gonna be outstanding. Be sure to GET YOUR TICKETS NOW at go/Vampire/Tickets are $12 for the general public; $10 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students.

Performance Dates and Times: Thursday, November 20 and Friday, November 21, 2014 at 7:30 P.M,; and Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 2:00 and 7:30 P.M.
Place: Seeler Studio Theatre at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts
For us, $6

International Education Week at Mt. Abraham Union High School


IEW 2014 logo

International Student and Scholar Advisor Joani Taylor writes in about this year’s International Education Week.  Today, there’s an program running, along with a number of others both on campus and up in Bristol.  Read on for more:

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at Middlebury College has been organizing a program with Mt. Abraham Union High School in Bristol as part of this year’s International Education Week (IEW), which runs from November 17 to 21IEW is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education which aims to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the U.S.

This year ISSS wanted to focus programming efforts for IEW on engaging students in the community.  Joani Taylor, an advisor with ISSS, worked with Anne Friedrichs of Mt. Abe last year and knew she would be an enthusiastic supporter of a bigger collaboration.  Thus, International Education Day with Mt. Abe was created and will take place on Wednesday, November 19 from 9 AM to 2 PM on the Middlebury College campus in the McCullough Social Space.  The goal of the program is to foster a global perspective among these ninth grade students and connect them with internationally-focused communities at Middlebury.  Approximately 120 ninth graders and 9 staff members from Mt. Abe will attend.  This event is cosponsored by International Programs and Off-Campus Study, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Community Engagement/Language in Motion, the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, the Department of Political Science and the Department of Environmental Studies.

See after the jump for more information about the schedule for the remainder of the week.

When: Monday Nov. 17- Friday Nov. 21
Where: Middlebury College, Mount Abraham Union High School
Cost: N/A

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Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 8.35.30 PM

Tonight we have the special treat of listening to one of Middlebury’s newest bands, Monday Night Happy Hour. This tremendous ensemble will blow your minds with their chill, funky vibe and recent additions of instruments and vocals. We’d love all musicians out there to come and accompany their act with your wonderful talents at tonights Wednesday Open Mic Party. There aren’t many Wednesdays left this semester, so come on out and enjoy the show!

When: Tonight at 9pm
Where: The Gamut Room

Laurie L. Patton, the 17th President of Middlebury College


ok sorry, sorry, but is it just us or could Ron and Laurie be siblings? Serious facial resemblance goin on here in the best possible way.

Today’s a big day: this afternoon, for the 17th time in Middlebury’s 214-year history, the Board of Trustees has revealed the college’s next president. Middbeat wants to extend an extremely warm welcome to Laurie L. Patton, future president of Middlebury College.

We had the honor to attend the revealing meeting in Mead Chapel this morning, and were quite impressed by Laurie’s first speech (which we did our best to transcribe here), as well as the extensive recruitment process described by the Board of Trustees. Clearly, beyond significant time and energy was devoted to finding a president with the best possible administrative experience, leadership potential, academic history, innovative personality, commitment to diversity, and potential to continue advancing the always augmenting aspirations of Middlebury College. For this, we are grateful. From her high-brow educative and academic achievements to her soothing voice and calm, collected demeanor, we’ve got a good feeling about Laurie.

So, who is Laurie? What’s she bringing to the table? When’s she gonna start and how are we gonna meet her? Are we gonna like her? Can anyone touch Ron? Will tailgates revamp and Atwater will start serving dinner and Proctor Cat will come back to life (kidding)? Will the cultural center thrive and academic workloads be reconsidered and administration take a more effective approach to providing safe spaces for intersecting racial, sexual, and socioeconomic identities and will we fully live up to our proclaimed environmental consciousness (serious)?

Clearly, it’s going to take quite a while to really get to know future President Patton. These are questions we can’t answer fully now, and probably won’t be able to until she’s packed her bags and left sunny Duke behind to take on Vermont, Addison County, Middlebury, the snow, the students, the faculty, staff, etc. in all our glory, and lack thereof. While we’ve got high expectations, only time will tell, and aggressive pre-judgement is never a great idea.

That being said, we’re fascinated by this highly intelligent and accomplished academic, and yes, tremendously proud to have a WOMAN as president — Laurie will the FIRST female president in Middlebury’s history — so for now, middbeat would like to share Laurie’s general background. We hope you attend today’s reception for Laurie in Wilson Hall (McCullough Social Space) at 3:45, introduce yourself to Laurie today or sometime in the near future, and most importantly, think about what you hope Laurie to embody, work towards, and accomplish alongside the existing Middlebury community as the next president of Middlebury College. Upon her arrival in July, Laurie will be eager to listen to students, faculty, and staff so to understand Middlebury culture, present issues and concerns, and ideas for the future, and it will be up to you all to contribute honestly and effectively so to advance our community and academic experience alongside new leadership. Additionally, look forward to upcoming middbeat interaction with Laurie, as we hope to establish a middbeat-president friendship (continuing Ron’s demonstrated middbeat love) as soon as possible.

So, without further ado, here’s the deets (courtesy of the Middlebury President-Elect Website):

The Middlebury Board of Trustees today named Laurie L. Patton, dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion, as Middlebury’s next president. Patton will take office on July 1, 2015, succeeding Ronald D. Liebowitz, who has served as president since July 2004.

Patton, a distinguished religion scholar and translator of classic Indian Sanskrit texts, joined Duke in her current position in 2011. Trinity College is the largest of Duke’s undergraduate schools, with 5,200 students, 36 academic departments and programs, and 640 faculty members. It awards nearly 80 percent of the university’s bachelor degrees. As dean, she is responsible for overseeing the educational mission of Duke’s core undergraduate liberal arts programs, including curriculum, faculty hiring and development, student research, assessment, and the College’s $370 million annual budget. Under her leadership, Trinity College raised more than $300 million for professorships, financial aid, educational initiatives, and other priorities.

Patton’s selection followed an extensive, six-month search conducted by a 20-member search committee chaired by Middlebury trustee Allan Dragone Jr. ’78. The committee engaged in a process of broad outreach to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. From an initial list of more than 250 individuals nominated or put under consideration, the committee gradually narrowed the pool to a dozen and then to a small list of finalists, before unanimously recommending Patton to the full board on Tuesday. Patton will be the first woman to lead Middlebury in its 214-year history.

“I can’t imagine a place that more fully exemplifies my interests and commitments to higher education than Middlebury,” said Patton. “These last five months have been a wonderful experience for me as I have had the opportunity to learn more about this great institution and the values it holds dear. I have so many people to thank, starting with the search committee and Al Dragone, and I am truly honored with the confidence the Board of Trustees has shown in me today. I look forward with anticipation to joining this community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends.”

Marna C. Whittington, chair of the Middlebury Board of Trustees, called Patton an “outstanding choice” to be the next president. “Laurie is an accomplished scholar with a deep commitment to the liberal arts and a global perspective on the value and role of education,” said Whittington. “She lives the values of Middlebury, and I am confident she will provide the leadership and innovative thinking required to maintain the positive momentum and success Middlebury has experienced during Ron Liebowitz’s tenure as president.”

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Tonight: African Music and Dance Ensemble Performance


Tonight, the Middlebury African Music and Dance Ensemble will perform in its end-of-the-semester concert. The performance is the culmination of a semester’s work of the African Music and Dance Performance class, offered in both the fall and spring. Whether you’re supporting friends or just hoping to glean inspiration for some new moves to spice up your Atwater-ready repertoire, this concert should be an absolute blast.

Ensemble members present an interactive concert of East African music and dance performed on bow-harps, thumb-pianos, xylophones, tube-fiddles, bowl-lyres, gourd shakers, struck gourds, reed-box rattles, ankle bells, leg rattles, and various kinds of drums.

Date: Tuesday, November 18th
Time: 8-10PM
Place: CFA concert hall
Cost: Not one cent

J Prov: A Winter Term Improv Workshop


We at middbeat are fans of a lot of things.  We’re lovers.  Not haters.

Three of the things we love most are Improv comedy, J Term, and free, open opportunities for people to try new things.  So nothing gets us jazzed quite like J Prov.  J Prov is a J Term workshop run by Middlebury’s two improv comedy groups, Middlebrow and the Otter Nonsense Players, which offers all students the chance to try their hand at improv.  For those who have auditioned for the groups in the past, or wish to do so in the future, J Prov is the best way to hone your skills and get some experience; however, you don’t need to be keen on joining a group to participate.  Any interest in comedy, theater, improvising, or becoming more comfortable speaking in public, is reason enough to check it out.

Some logistics: J Prov is NOT registered in the official Winter Workshop Catalog.  Why?  Because, somewhat unbelievably, they require all workshops to charge a fee, and neither the Brow or Otters are interested in your filthy money.  To sign up, email [email protected]  Meetings will be Monday and Thursday nights at 8 PM, during J Term.  Location to be determined.  We good?  Cool.

17th President Revealing: LIVE BLOG

Laurie L. Patton, the next president of Middlebury College

Laurie L. Patton, the next president of Middlebury College

We’re here at Mead Chapel, waiting for the big reveal to begin. Already, the chapel is pretty packed. Sitting next to an admissions officer who has equally no clue what’s about to happen, tensions are high. A fellow senior says it’s a woman…

Ron takes the stage. Today is a very special day, for in the entire history of middlebury college, a day like today when the Board of Trustees has announced a new president has only happened 17 times.

Ron introduces Marna Whittington, the president of the Board of Trustees. The boad UNANIMOUSLY DECIDED TO ELECT

LAURIE L. PATTON (sorry if this is spelt wrong!!)


Now the process will be described:

The committee was formed to find the 17th president 8 months ago, with members of faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and students (from Monterey and Midd). The next phase was to create a process involving the other constituencies, townspeople, parents, groups already on search committee, in a series of meetings here, in Monterey, and other US cities (20 meetings today). We were set on answering three questions 1. What did people feel were the characteristics midd distinctive? 2. What were seen as challenges facing the next president? 3. What are the core competencies that president should have?

Aided by team of higher ed search specialists from Spence Steward. The five following values were presented as key for the next president:

1. scholarly values

2. leadership

3. management expertise

4. commitment to diversity

5. cultural fluency

We also wanted to ensure that in rapidly changing future, that Middlebury could

Consideration process: Sitting presidents of Liberal Arts institutions, deans, foundation leaders with ties to the academy, thought leaders from private sector, non-traditional candidates, over 260 candidates were considered. Approximately 100 had qualifications, then 50 were evaluated by committee.

Eventually down to 12 candidates, that were interviewed by full committee.

Finally down to 5, who were vetted in multiple interviews with extensive background checks. The caliber of candidates was deeper and more accomplished than I could have possibly asked for. The reputation of Middlebury is higher than ever, academically and financially we are stronger than ever, and a leader in the liberal arts. This was a HUGE advantage in attracting best talent.

Four of the five were diversity candidates, however one candidate stood apart. She was intellectually curious, a recognized scholar, deeply committed to liberal arts, significant administrative experience, her interviews showed her to be culturally aligned with Middlebury values. Her questions to the committee showed deep understanding of issues we face today, and will in the future. Someone we felt was uniquely qualified.

At 10:30 the board of trustees, dean of arts and sciences at Duke University, Laurie was elected to become 17th president of Middlebury College.

Laurie will now make her first speech!!

“The past 5 months have been compelling discovery for me, discovery of institution that demonstrates the best ideals of the liberal arts.”

Her voice is so soothing!

“Please do not be shy. Please find me today and introduce yourself… The first way to get to know me is to know that I innocently came to Midd last February to give a lecture on liberal arts in the global age. I had no idea you were looking for a president at the time.”

She makes jokes!

“Let me share with you those ideas: I define a lib arts education in 21st century with three key words: innovation, adaptation and integration. Innovation: a change that creates new meaning for the stakeholders in the institution. Innovations in social networks, discoveries in new laws of nature. Adaptation: the ability to imagine ways of thinking, working, living that have never existed before. This is a major challenge: the need for the startup of youth. Students today need to respond to changing conditions faster than ever. They increasingly need to create their own ways of being in the world, so adaptation becomes crucial in a world where everyday decisions have consequences that we can predict less and less. Students teach us to imagine those new ways of thinking and working. Integration: not only ability to put things together, but to find new ways in which knowledge fits into the world. Fields of knowledge confer identity, even on us as we decide majors and think about new research. But if that process of integration does not occur, we are left with incoherent life, jumbled story to tell about life. We need to help students and each other make those connections and make that knowledge fit in to the world as we build that life.

She came to know that Middlebury exemplified those goals.

here is my list about what’s so great about Midd (the 7 Great Educational Virtues of Middlebury):

“First I noticed in many materials I read, startling phrase “Long tradition of innovation,” Midd accounts for changes it makes as well as th virtues it preserves. This is the place that’s taught activists, this is the place where adaptation and change is bold palate. 2. In mission statement Midd places environmental stewardship at center. Midd has figured out placement in sense of place and sense of mission in liberal arts. In 2014 it is now a moral obligation to be environmentally conscious. Midd teaches students that here place matters, here in this place, I become who I am meant to be. 3. Deeply struck by Middlebury’s commitment to restlessness, by this I mean more than the fact that 60% of students are ____. I mean that Midd has advisory board for each of its schools abroad. Commitment that students will always imagine themselves as travelers. 4. I have noticed the role of writing, language, translation is part of Middlebury’s reaching out to the world. Since Bread Loaf and Language schools are gems, they too could stay stagnant, but they too re-invent themselves every summer as the world pours into Middlebury and Midd pours into the world. 5. Even with these jewels in writing and language at Midd, there is a balance and commitment to all forms of knowledge at Midd. No coincidence that ECON and NEUROscience are top majors, MIdd has exactly the kind of balance we need in the 21st century, the balance underscores the value of integration of knowledge. The balance of body and mind, vibrant athletics. 6. Faculty and staff at Midd have started on journey for MIIS that has challenged and opened them. I have been amazed at the way students and faculty have engaged with this relationship (). Monterey around the world is already known as a place of translation. 7. Board of Trustees has been highly adaptive in its structural re-organization.

I want to sit and talk to students where they live and learn. I am excited to lead with our dedicated faculty, eager to engage with alumni, staff, and ensure that MIdd has the resources to pursue its extraordinary aspirations.

Here, we will become together, who we are meant to be. Thank you”