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Middlebury college

"[formerly] Mead Memorial Chapel at Middlebury College, Vermont" by Niranjan Arminius is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

In October 1912, John A. Mead, then-Governor of Vermont, gave his farewell speech to the state legislature. He addressed the problem of “our degenerates,” what he called “a class of individuals in whose mental or nervous construction there is something lacking.”

Two years later, Mead and his wife, Mary Madelia Sherman, donated $74,000 to build a new chapel at Middlebury College in Vermont, a small liberal arts college founded in 1800 and the governor’s alma mater. Per his instructions, it would bear the name “Mead Memorial Chapel.”

Standing at the highest point of the campus, the chapel imposes a commanding presence with a colonnade of marble. Inside, the wooden panels inspire the comfort of a New England gathering hall. The chapel hosts convocations, baccalaureates, weddings, and a cappella performances. Every day, the bells of the carillon chime a familiar song from atop the chapel, and the architecture itself has come to symbolize the college.

In September of 2021, Mead’s name was removed...