Letter to the editor: Mead name is part of history

I have been thinking about an article published in the Addison Independent on April 6, 2023. It refers to a lawsuit brought against Middlebury College by former Vermont Gov, James Douglas, for dropping the name of “Mead” from Mead Memorial Chapel.

It was in 1914 that another former Vermont governor and graduate of Middlebury College, John Abner Mead, contributed $75,000 to the construction of the chapel w/the specific requirement that it be titled the “Mead” Memorial Chapel.

On Sept 27, 2021, the Chair of Middlebury’s board of trustees and the President Laurie Patton, all on their own, decided to eliminate Mead’s name from the Chapel’s title. The reason being that Mead in his role as Governor and a few others endorsed the sterilization of people in part with the growing eugenics movement in Vermont. It was a terrible thing that would be unacceptable today.

This is our history! So why are we trying to hide our past? Whether we like it or not it plays a role in the development of our state. There are statues, buildings, and crematoriums that can be seen in full view. They act as symbols, reminders of how far we have come, our evolution, and what we have accomplished. These are our legacies.

The Chapel is a place of strength, compassion and faith and has guided us through eras of change, unrest and peace. Let the title be what it was agreed upon, the Mead Memorial Chapel.

Sandy Mayo


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