593 Middlebury students graduated on Sunday. The weather held and even stayed sunny for the Class of 2011’s commencement after almost a week of rain showers.
Addressing yesterday’s graduates were student speaker Donnie Dickson and celebrated Paralympic skiier and motivational speaker Chris Waddell of Middlebury’s Class of 1991. Dickson spoke of the changes the entire class had undergone in 4 years and what it truly means to be a MiddKid (full text). Meanwhile, Waddell emphasized the gift that comes from facing challenges, using his own disability as an example. His main message to the graduates: “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.” (full text) Both Dickson and Waddell spoke of the incredible bonds within the Middlebury community and how those connections are not severed when one leaves our beautiful campus in Vermont.
Receiving honorary degrees yesterday were economics scholar and international adviser to political leaders Padma Desai, doctor of laws; Vermont’s long-serving senator, Patrick Leahy, doctor of laws; local volunteer and activist Dorothy Bigelow Neuberger ’58, doctor of humane letters; internationally recognized geneticist and director of the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute Edward M. Rubin, doctor of science; and civil rights activist Maxine Atkins Smith, doctor of humane letters, who earned a master’s degree in French from Middlebury in 1950 and won the Freedom Award from the Memphis-based National Civil Rights Museum in 2003, as well as speaker Chris Waddell with a doctor of humane letters.
Video of the speeches can be found here. Below is a quick snapshot of the day in tweets. Congratulations to the Class of 2011 and best of luck in your future endeavors!