The rush, the anticipation; for most, it's a once in a lifetime chance to see His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
"His message for humanity is so simple, yet very important in this age," said Thupten Yenotsang of Toronto.
This was the Dalai Lama's third visit to Middlebury College. The most recent was 22 years ago. Most of these students hadn't been born yet.
In addition to a bit of humor, the 77-year-old exiled Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet spoke of peace and humanity.
"Anger is a sign of weakness," he said.
He mixed his life experiences with whimsical wit to cultivate hope wisdom and compassion-- the theme of the talk. He said the world has become too materialistic.
"I love that he expressed you can have compassion without faith and with faith, and there's no distinctions between the two," said Victoria Baptiste, an alumna.
The Dalai Lama spoke for about an hour and a half and took written questions from students. One read, "Are both people of faith and people without religion equally capable of cultivating hope, wisdom and compassion?"
"Oh yes, there's no question simple," the Dalai Lama laughed.
He left the crowd of 2,800 with one last message.
"So please think seriously about these points," he said. "If you don't agree, that doesn't matter. If you have interest, you should think more and implement-- that's important."
"The manner... he was so normal, and so unassuming," said James Berg, a faculty member.
And his holiness hopes to visit again in another 22 years.
"Physically on wheelchair, but mouth blah, blah, blah, like that," he said laughing.
The Dalai Lama will give another sold out talk Saturday at Middlebury College. Sen. Patrick Leahy will introduce him.