Sunday, March 09, 2014

Winter Term Report Card - 2014

To the Great Class of 1969:

It was a winter to forget (or one to live in infamy). The Academy let out for Spring Break none too soon on Friday with an Alberta clipper expected on Monday.

News of the Academy

The Academy's website has been thoroughly overhauled this year which has made summarizing events more challenging. Articles in The Scroll featured stories on the use of prescription drugs to gain a competitive edge academically and the widespread use of SAT tutors to create an unlevel playing field, both topical this term with college applications top of mind for the Class of 2014.

Squash has become the dominant winter sport on campus ever since the new squash facility was built. Once again, the Girls Varsity team was undefeated in on-on-one match ups with peer schools. The Girls finished second in the national championships for the second time in the last three years. The Boys did similarly well, finishing undefeated in head to head competitions. This year's team finished fifth in the national championships and second in the New England's.

Imagine Deerfield, the title of the current capital campaign, continues to move forward with $174 million committed, up $7 million during the winter term. The official goal of the campaign is $200 million, although more is better. The renovation of the Memorial Building, the most important bricks and mortar element of the current campaign, is scheduled to be completed in August, too late for us to fully appreciate it at the Reunion.

News of the Class

Hank Louis, one of only two members of the Class still paying tuition at Deerfield, was noted in an article in The New York Times in connection with a house which eight of his students built largely out of recycled materials for a Native American living on the Navajo reservation in Utah. The project was a joint venture between Hank's nonprofit firm DesignBuildBLUFF and the University of Colorado.

Hank Wetzel was back in Houston last fall for the annual Livestock Show and Rodeo Wine Auction. Although Hank was unable to repeat his success from a year ago when his 2008 CYRUS Cabernet broke all records, the 2009 vintage has its advocates, judging from the local press. I'm hoping Hank may have saved a few bottles for our table on Saturday night under the tent if it hasn't already sold out.

Rick Swig, the managing partner of Not Another Winery, sold the Harvest Inn in the Napa Valley in January. Rick still owns the Napa Winery Inn which he bought two years ago.

Rusty Young has been active on the Florida circuit again this winter where he promoted concerts for Fab Faux and Early Elton, two tribute bands, in February. The Fab Faux concert was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first US release.

John Mills has hung out his law shingle in New York. He recently co-authored a brief filed with the Supreme Court in re Alice Corporation v. CLS Bank addressing the issue of whether an algorithm is patent-eligible. The case is expected to be heard this spring.

Reunion

If the online records are to be believed, my wife and I are the only ones to have signed up for the 45th Reunion which runs this year from June 6-8. By way of comparison, there were 30th of us in 2009, and we are hoping to match that this year. Lacey is our unofficial head of participation again. For the budget minded among you, the early bird savings of $50 per head expires on March 18. There's no downside to signing up now because you can get a full refund if plans change as long as you cancel by May 13. In addition to the official program, I expect that we will have a break-out session on Saturday afternoon as we did in 2009 and that Frank and Neil will talk with us about teaching at Deerfield today.

I look forward to seeing you in June.

Best wishes to all.

DWS

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fall Term Report Card - 2013

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The Fall Term ended Friday, and the school is now in recess for the week.

Enrollment for the 2013-2014 year totals 646 students, slightly north of the target, with 42 states and 37 countries represented. The admissions rate this year was 17%, up slightly from recent years, and 65% of those admitted chose to enroll. Room and board, for the first time, topped $50,000. One-third of the student body receives financial aid, which totals $7.8 million this year.  

It was a tale of two seasons on the Lower Level this fall for the football team. After winning its first three games, the team succumbed to the next five opponents by a cumulative margin of 192-45. The coup de grace was the Choate Game on November 9th which was streamed for the third year in a row. Sadly, past proved prologue, with Choate winning 27-0 on Jim Smith Field. This marked the fifth consecutive loss to Choate which now holds a 43-42-10 lead in the series.

The 1797 Dinner was held at the New York Public Library this fall where David Koch announced that Rob Hale ’84 had pledged $25 million to the endowment for financial aid. That gift, together with others, brings the Imagine Deerfield Campaign to $167 million. At the dinner, Rob raised the bar and challenged parents and alumni to surpass the goal by 20% to $240 million which, if successful, would be more (he said) than had ever been raised by any college or prep school per alum.

News of the Class

Neil Jacobs has returned to teach, this time for the full year. You may recall that Neil taught Ethics and Virtue in the spring of 2012, while living in Hitchcock House. Neil will also be coaching Boys Thirds Basketball and providing tips to NBA aspirants. Neil is long-time counsel to the Celtics.

"I coulda been a contender!"
Recognizing his calling as a long distance runner only after graduating, Brian Connery came to New York this fall and joined over 50,000 runners in the Marathon. Here’s his account:

I'd been trying/planning to run the NYC marathon since 2009, when it was one of the two final marathons on my bucket list -- and I'd decided I could live without running London.  (I'd run 7 others since 2005).  So I entered the lottery for 2009 and lost, for 2010 and lost, and for 2011 and lost.  The rule was that if you entered and lost three times consecutively, then you got guaranteed entry and so they guaranteed my entry in 2012.  But, of course, Sandy hit, and after I'd been down to the Javits Center to pick up my bib number, I went back to the hotel, turned on the tv news, and found out that the race was canceled.  
That was a pretty interesting experience in itself.  A lot of us who were in town anyway went out to Staten Island on the Saturday to help out.  And then on the Sunday a lot more (like maybe10,000) put on our shorts and bibs and ran up and down West Side Drive and around Central Park for a few hours.  

So then it was guaranteed entry for this year -- 2013.  I was five years older than when I first started to try to get entered, and it was five years since I last ran a marathon, and so I was a little apprehensive.  But I trained well and didn't injure myself too much in the run up.  I ran strong and well though not fast. But as Meatloaf used to sing (and maybe still does), two out of three ain't bad.  Finishing time 4:39:33.  Not my fastest but not my slowest either.  Oddly, I was kind of sad when it was all over!
New York was absolutely the best urban marathon I've run.  The route, the bridges, the crowds, the organization -- all absolutely fantastic.  And the field is far more international than anything else I've run: Ecuadorans to the left of me, Welsh women to the right of me.  Really a fabulous experience.  Things you wish you had known thirty years ago so you could have done them more often. 

Rusty Young was a volunteer cyclist in this year’s Marathon, an annual ritual for him. Rusty accompanied an elite wheelchair racer from Japan whose time of 01:45:23 earned him a ninth place finish, but no prize money. Rusty wrote:

“As his escort, it is my job to ride 10-15 yards ahead of the racer and to "clear" the course for him….as we are the fastest competitors our race starts and finishes before the elite runners….The course is often not fully set up by the time our racers come through, and there are near misses with cabs, cars and peds every year. This year’s race was made more challenging by 15-20 mph headwinds and freezing temperatures. I felt great after the race…It’s so exhilarating being 'inside the ropes' for 26 miles that I hardly remember riding any of it…and that was after we rode from Manhattan to the start to meet up with our racers….

It wasn't the race that got to me…it was being run off 9th Avenue and onto the sidewalk as I was riding back to my car …by a driver that was being squeezed by a cab. He/she moved left and I got clipped and was on the pavement in no time…Driver never stopped, although the pedestrians that saw it happening gave the driver pieces of their minds. Ah….  New York!”

I hope that you have marked your calendars for our 45th Reunion June 6-8. John Lacey will be reprising his role and sending reminders as the date approaches.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.

DWS

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Update - 2013

To the Great Class of 1969:

I haven't lost sight of the fact that there has been significant interest among classmates in learning more about the the Hindle matter and thought many of you would like to be kept current. Toward that end, I think you may be interested in reading the first person account of Whit Sheppard '83 which appeared July 21st in The Boston Globe and then watching an interview of him on WGBH which Deerfield posted earlier today on Facebook.

If you would like to comment privately, you can do so by going to the Peter Hindle page on Google+.

I hope that you are all enjoying the summer and have marked your calendars for our 45th reunion next June. I look forward to seeing you.

Best wishes.

DWS