The Heart of the Slate Valley
Green Mountain College is located in the Vermont-New York Slate Valley, a region rich in Welsh heritage. Many Welsh immigrants, attracted by the area's slate industry, settled in this valley to produce one of the strongest Welsh-American communities in the country. Several local institutions, including the Slate Valley Museum in nearby Granville, N.Y., focus on this unique heritage. The Green Mountain College Welsh Heritage Program seeks to maintain and cultivate that cultural legacy and to foster an interest in Wales and Welsh culture among our students and faculty.
History of the Program
In the 1970s, Green Mountain College received a federal grant to promote the revival of the area's Welsh cultural heritage through projects involving the community and local schools. This grant led to the founding of the library's Welsh Collection and the creation of a Welsh language course. In 1995, Green Mountain established an on-going Welsh Heritage Program to preserve and celebrate Welsh and Welsh-American culture.
During Vermont's fall foliage season each October, the college holds the GMC Welsh Festival, featuring the talents of visiting artists and scholars from Wales as well as students and community members. A Welsh artist typically visits campus during the festival to give talks and workshops, and their work is displayed in the College's Feick Arts Center. Under the direction of Professor James Cassarino, Côr y Mynydd Glas and Cantorion, our student choir and ensemble, is the only American choir to perform Welsh hymns and folksongs at each of its performances. They have performed for Welsh societies across America and have toured Wales multiple times. The college anthem incorporates the music and words of the Welsh hymn Calon Lan with the poem, This Green Place, written about the college by New York City poet Ed Moran.
The College's Griswold Library houses a special collection related to Wales and Welsh culture. It contains an archive of books, documents, photographs, press clippings, oral histories, family histories and other archival material and artifacts related to the local Welsh-American community. The latest works in Welsh and Welsh-American studies are available.
Exchange and Scholarship Programs
Through an exchange agreement with our sister college, students from Green Mountain College are able to study at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. While our students spend a semester studying in Wales, Welsh students study on our campus. GMC also offers a $1,500 Welsh Heritage Scholarship for incoming students who demonstrate their potential for combining an interest in Welsh culture with academic study and student life.