Friday, March 25, 2016

Winter Term Report Card - 2016

To the Great Class of 1969:

The Academy is on Spring Break, and I am delinquent in reporting to you for the first time since I adopted the school calendar for my updates. Like the swallows at Capistrano, we return each March to our seasonal destination, and time ran out this year before I could decide what news was fit to print this term.

Unfortunately, the news is neither good nor necessarily fit to print. We learned this term that the school had settled a case with a student involving Mr. Lambert for $500,000, three years after the Academy confirmed that Mr. Hindle had engaged in inappropriate behavior. This news was followed in short order by another lawsuit against the Academy involving Mr. Hindle dating back to 1979. Needless to say, these allegations are not unique to Deerfield or to all boys schools since there also was a report this term of abuse dating back to the same era involving a female student at St. George's School in Newport, RI.

On a more positive note, the Village Green has a new look this term. The Civil War Soldier who has stood guard since 1867 at the site of the original Meeting House on Old Main Street was carefully shored up and crated off down the road to the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association where he spent the winter. Work on the 29' pedestal which lists the residents of Deerfield who died in the Civil War is expected to begin this summer. The fate of the 1,300 lb. statue is still to be determined. While purists would prefer that he either be restored or remain in a museum, the former seems impractical due to the ravages of time, and the latter alternative would leave the pediment denuded. One alternative under consideration is to create a bronze replica which could be coated so that it appeared, for all intents and purposes, the same as the original. Although the Academy does not own the monument, the school has established a fund to assist with the restoration. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me.

News of the Class

Frank Henry, in his capacity of interim head of Bement, registered his opposition to a proposed 400 mile long natural gas pipeline which will run through the north meadows of Old Deerfield. As of earlier this month the Academy had not taken a position and, according to a spokesman, has no plans to do so yet.

AC Starkey was in St Barth's last month where he and his wife attended a small gathering with Jimmy Buffett. As the only known BowieNetter in the Class, AC is still coping with the untimely demise of David Bowie. As evidence of of his bona fides, AC attended six Bowie concerts during the Reality Concert Tour in 2006.

For the second year in a row, Rusty Young produced the "Masters of Music" series in Vero Beach, FL. This term's performers featured Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary fame, the Kingston Trio and The McCartney Years, a tribute band celebrating the work of Paul McCartney.

Hank Minor and his wife have relocated from upstate New York where he had run the family business for many years to more temperate North Carolina where they bought a horse farm. Among his varied interests, Hank is a licensed falconer and has been training hawks for seven years. You can read what else he's been up to on his personal website.

I find myself continually surprised as how time seems to be accelerating. With most of the Class turning 65 this year, I suspect that there is more to news report than I have been able to uncover. Please help by emailing me your news or posting it to the school directly.

Best wishes to all.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Fall Term Report Card - 2015

To the Great Class of 1969:

The Choate Boars, which might easily be mistaken for a NESCAC team, trampled Deerfield 48-13 on the Lower Level, winning for the seventh straight year and capping off another undefeated season in which their average margin of victory was 33 points. Mercifully, the game wasn't streamed this year, concluding an expensive four year experiment.

As it turns out, Choate's prowess on the football field has not translated to superior fundraising. In July, Deerfield announced that it had raised $254 million (vs. a $200 million goal) in just four years (vs. a five year target). This titanic result equated to an average contribution per "alumni opportunity" of $26,000+ per head, twice as much per capita as Choate was able to raise in its most recent campaign.

In case you were wondering how some of this munificence would be spent, the Boyden Library will be home to more classrooms, group study rooms, student seating and several new offices. The new space will also include a permanent "Innovation Lab" in the basement. Overall, the Library will offer students additional space and comfort for studying, as well as additional resources.

July 2005
Earlier this month, six of us met for our annual dinner in New York. The classmates who appear with me in the inaugural photo as well as the most recent are Steve BisbeeJohn KjorlienJohn Lacey and Tom O'GaraTodd Stone, who has made virtually all of the dinners, is the only one not pictured in the 2005 gathering. Tee Johnson, who lived in Buenos Aires at the time, and Christopher Beach, who departed that fall for La Jolla, are in the 2005 group.
November 2015
One regular who had to pass this year was Rusty Young who has become a Florida resident where he is busy with his concert promotion business on the senior circuit. Others who have made at least one of our gatherings include Robert Clough, Tom EhrgoodAC Starkey and Will Colwell.

In October, the La Jolla Music Society named a new president and artistic director to replace the irreplaceable Christopher Beach after ten years with a new president and artistic director. Christopher will devote himself to a career as a theater and development consultant. He will continue to reside in La Jolla with his partner Wesley and will remain with LJMS on a part-time basis to complete the design and construction of the Conrad Prebys Performing Art Center.

Just this month, Architectural Record named six schools with "stellar design-build programs" in its annual ranking. For regular readers of the blog, it probably comes as no surprise that Hank Louis's DesignBuildBLUFF program at the University of Utah was among those listed. See the story here.

Austin Clarence Starkey, Jr.
In case you were wondering what ever had happened to AC Starkey after all these years, you needn't worry. As I have known for some time, AC lives the good life, splitting his retirement years between the northern clime of New Jersey, his native state, and the warmer southern reaches where he usually winters in St Barts, Nassau and Palm Beach. In the photo to the left, AC appears to be a dead ringer for Daddy Warbucks in the lobby of the Graycliff Hotel where he is enjoying a custom rolled Graycliff Cigar after a tough day on the beach, a perfect complement to what the Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant has always been known for: excellent cuisine, fine wines and luxurious accommodations. The hotel will probably be the last to ban smoking in public places since the hotel is a national landmark and the founder of the cigar company also owns the hotel. On the theory of "no wine before its time", AC set aside a $200,000 bottle, a price point Hank Wetzel was able to achieve for a single case for the more budget-minded in 2006.

Fall term grades are available on December 1. In the meantime, remember the joy of the Thanksgiving Break and no longer having to worry about all this.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eric Tompkins 1951 - 2015

Eric Tompkins
I learned this week from Ed Grosvenor - Eric's roommate senior year in Hitchcock - that Eric had passed away in April. I might have suspected something was amiss when Eric cancelled his reservation for the 45th Reunion at the last minute for what I was told was an operation. At the time, however, he wrote Participation Chair Lacey and me in his typically upbeat fashion, "Looking forward to seeing you guys again at another further meeting at Deerfield!" Eric may be gone but he will not forgotten at our 50th.

Eric enrolled as a freshman in 1965, a year ahead of his brother Clay, and was on the editorial board of both The Scroll and PocumtuckWhile not an athlete at Deerfield, Eric developed a passion for competitive rowing and was a member of the San Diego Rowing Club. As recently as February 2014 he competed in the world indoor rowing championships in Boston and finished 18th in his age and weight class.

For the last twenty years Eric advised healthcare clients in strategic planning, medical office building management and leasing, development services, and financing and sales transactions nationally for CBRE (f/k/a CB Richard Ellis), one of the foremost commercial real estate and investment firms in the world. 

Although he lived on the West Coast, Eric remained involved with Deerfield on a local level and returned for the 40th Reunion. You will see him in the first photo of the 40th Reunion pictures standing next to Ed and a group of rather suspect characters on the first night. 

His obituary is reprinted below:

TOMPKINS--Frederic F.

Frederic F. "Eric" Tompkins, died on April 21, 2015 in San Diego, California. He was the son of Mrs. Frederic P. Tompkins, Rumson, New Jersey and the late Mr. Tompkins. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Hamilton, their two children, Catherine S. and Frederic H. Tompkins. He is also survived by two sisters, Caroline T. Garrity (Mrs. Jonathan) and Evelyn W. Tompkins, two brothers, R. Clayton (Karen) Tompkins and Christopher P. (Cade) Tompkins and seven nieces and nephews. He was a Vice President in the Healthcare Services Group of CBRE. Eric was a graduate of Rumson Country Day School, Deerfield Academy, with distinction from University of Virginia and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. In lieu of flowers, donations to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center would be appreciated.