February grads complete old Middlebury College tradition

MIDDLEBURY — The 126 seniors who completed their academic requirements this winter rejoiced in the completion of their undergraduate careers during Middlebury College’s annual February Celebration Saturday on campus and at the college’s Snow Bowl in the Green Mountains.
The “Febs” — so called because the majority of them started their college education four years ago in February — will officially earn their bachelor of arts degrees on March 1.
College President Ronald D. Liebowitz spoke at a ceremony inside Mead Chapel, where nearly every pew was filled with family members and friends taking pictures and shooting video. He talked about the Febs who were instrumental in recovery efforts from Hurricane Irene. He commended the seniors who worked on “InSite,” the college’s demonstration solar home. He honored the altruism of the graduates who volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, DREAM and the Page 1 Literacy Project. And he acknowledged the seniors who formed influential campus organizations like StopTraffick, Middlebury Music United, MiddBeat and JusTalks.
He also gave tribute to the seniors who devoted themselves to documenting stories about war veterans across the country, and to those who improved the lives of people living in Zambia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere.
“Seated around you today are 125 of your fellow Febs, many of whom are very likely to be your friends for life,” he said. “Friendships like these, which began in the cold winter and bluster of February, are often intense, especially when they develop in a community that is small and relatively isolated, and where there are few distractions to compete for one’s social and intellectual energies.”
Political science major Daniel Loehr delivered the student address, a dexterous piece of oratory in which he connected three elements: the marble that forms the walls of Mead Chapel with what he learned in his Classics class about Sparta with what it means to be a Feb at Middlebury.
February Celebration continued at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl where members of the class participated in the traditional “ski down the mountain” on the Allen Trail. On snowboards and skis, on snowshoes and on foot, and even a few on sleds, the graduates descended Worth Mountain — amid the cheers and screams of their family members and friends — in one of Middlebury’s most-cherished traditions.
The classmates had one final opportunity to exchange hugs, say goodbye and wish each other good luck at the family luncheon back on campus in Proctor Dining Hall on Saturday afternoon. Then it’s on to internships, travel, jobs, graduate school or job-hunting for the Feb class. Every member of the class is invited back in the spring to participate in the formal Commencement exercises on May 25.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Robert Keren of Middlebury College.

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