This Tuesday morning, the Introduction to Archaeology class announced their remarkable discovery of ancient carvings on the wooden podium in Mead Chapel. After consulting the Classics department, the class determined that the etches were in fact a Sanskrit transcription of President Patton’s annual convocation speech.
The etchings date to 2016 A.D. circa fall orientation, when Patton arrived at the school and first delivered the now famous speech. The original transcript appears to be in near perfect condition, with only small additions of the phrase “the marvelous business of being you,” which now appears in the script six times.
The Sanskrit scholars originally struggled to translate the text after the confusing over-repetition of the word “nice.” However, junior Patricia Longhorn ‘20 was credited with first making the connection to the President’s welcome speech.
“I knew I recognized the language from somewhere, and I couldn’t think of anyone else who could find so many ways to reiterate how wonderful the community here is,” said Longhorn to explain her finding. Her suggestion was quickly corroborated by every student who had listened to Patton speak in the past few years.
Underneath the Sanskrit text, the Archaeology class also discovered a small blurb in English. This blurb outlined lists of student accomplishments, such as numbers of Olympic athletes and published authors, and ended with an attempt at a joke about ‘a single Philosophy major.’ This secondary speech, though shorter than the first, has since been attributed to Gregory Buckles, the Dean of Admissions, and dates back to his start at Middlebury in 2008 A.D.