Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spring Term Report Card - 2017

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The graduating class concludes their time as students at Deerfield today, taking with them their memories and leaving behind the rest of the school to finish exams.

After an opening day loss to Brunswick, boys Lacrosse won 14 out of the next 15 games, most of them by lopsided scores. The program seems to have made a full recovery following the anomalous 2015 season in which the team went 9-7. Tennis also completed another successful season and has gone 45-24 over the past five seasons without losing once to Choate. Baseball, on the other hand, suffered its fourth losing season in a row. Over that stretch it has compiled a cumulative won-lost record of 20-45, highlighting a nagging problem that Deerfield has not been able to overcome in the traditional spectator sports.

The hockey rink was demolished over Spring Break, and construction of the new athletic complex is underway. The schedule calls for completion of the new facilities in the Fall of 2018. This signature facility may enable Deerfield to address the recent slide of certain traditionally important sports, most painfully apparent for the last eight years on the football field against Choate.

One of the more interesting articles in The Scroll described an independently conducted survey of the student body by grade on various issues affecting student life. Not surprisingly, a significant majority of the students felt under either moderate or heavy pressure to get into a good college. Whether or not all that angst paid off for the Class of 2017 will have to remain a mystery because the Academy, for the fourth year in a row, has chosen not to list in the final issue of The Scroll where the graduating class plans to matriculate in the Fall. I would think parents of applicants to the Academy would be keenly interested in knowing the results since the all-in cost to attend Deerfield next year will top $60,000, only $5,000 less than a year at Harvard. You can read about the survey and the other findings here.

News of the Class

We have begun to gear up for our most consequential reunion two years from now by beginning to put together a committee. There are various subcommittees to divide up the work, however, the focus of everyone will be on maximizing attendance. Responsibility for organizing that effort once again falls upon the shoulders of the estimable John Lacey who is rediscovering the relevance of the first year marketing course he took at HBS forty years ago. In addition to the opportunity to see what changes fifty years have wrought to once familiar faces, the 2019 reunion will mark the first time that returning classes will be able to tour both the Hess Center for the Arts (which was still under construction in 2014) and the new athletic complex. Be prepared to be amazed at not only the facilities but at how well they fit in to the campus we knew.

In other news, Steve Esthimer discovered two years ago that the cure for sleep deprivation was to retire, and he now spends his time in Chapel Hill on the various extracurricular interests that used to infringe on his teaching duties, including his band. Frank Henry left Old Main Street last year for the historic East Side of Providence where his wife Wanda is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Brown. Zech Chafee is well acquainted with the quality of life benefits that Providence has to offer, and will be observing his 27th work anniversary in the United States Attorney's Office there this summer. AC Starkey, lifelong Princetonian and the only acknowledged "BowieNetter" in the Class, recently invited 300 of his best friends to a Bowie-themed birthday bash for his wife. I have pictures if your imagination is failing you. Ben Walbridge retired on April 1 from International Marine Underwriters where he had been Regional President of the Pacific Division for the past twelve years. Ben was last spotted trekking in Guatemala with his youngest son.

It's time once again to fire up the barbecue and to celebrate the change of seasons in the northeast. Best wishes to all for the summer.

DWS

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Winter Term Report Card - 2017

To the Great Class of 1969:

Whatever your political persuasions, you have to admit the last few months have been a wild ride! The election was destined to result in a sense of time warp regardless of the outcome but who would have guessed that the Newspeak-worthy phrase "alternative facts" would propel 1984 to the top of the best sellers list for the first time in 33 years or that the ratings for Saturday Night Live would be at a 20-year high or that Ladbroke's would begin quoting odds on impeachment even before the inauguration had taken place? With just over two years until our 50th Reunion, who's to say where we will be on this long and winding road when we meet again.

The one thing you can take to the bank at this time is that our Reunion will take place June 6-9, 2019. The timeline I received from the Academy indicates that preparation for the event typically begins about two years beforehand. If you would like to become proactive in the planning or would be interested in hosting a regional mini-reunion in advance, please let me know.

Our Reunion will be orchestrated by Rachel Moore who I met on a recent visit to New York. Rachel joined Deerfield's Office of Alumni and Development last fall to head up the 50th Reunions as well as the Boyden Society which previously had been managed separately. As Tom Ehrgood knows from his work at Amherst, there is an obvious synergy between 50th Reunions and Planned Giving. In that regard, eight members of the Class are members of the Boyden Society at last count, and I anticipate that number will grow meaningfully if history is any guide.

News of the Academy

The big news this term, if you haven't had a chance to read the most recent issue of Deerfield Magazine, was that the Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead to replace the hockey rink with a new $68 million Field House which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2018. The new athletic complex will include, in addition to a new hockey rink, more locker rooms, year round practice facilities, an indoor tennis court, a "spinning room" with 20 bikes, an elevated track and a golf simulator. Let's hope the new facilities improve the fortunes of the hockey team which had a losing record for the fourth year in a row as well as the other teams which now will be able to practice during the offseason in the Field House. The addition of new squash facilities ten years ago succeeded in transforming the squash program as demonstrated once again this year by the girls' squash team which went 14-1 and tied Greenwich Academy for the New England Championship.

News of the Class

Marty Kaiser has been named a Senior Fellow of the Public Square Program which is an initiative of The Democracy Fund, a bipartisan organization which makes grants to organizations it believes will improve the political system.

Ed Grosvenor is hoping to relaunch American Heritage Magazine which has been dedicated to improving historical and civic literacy since its founding in 1949. Ed raised money through a crowdfunding platform in December but will need additional funding to save American Heritage. You can help Ed meet his worthy objective by making a tax deductible contribution to the American Heritage Society, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit.

AC Starkey joined Rusty Young recently for a John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful) concert in Delray, FL. By all appearances, Rusty has had a busy winter organizing classic rock and folk music concerts featuring music from the '60's and the '70's all along the I-95 corridor from Vero Beach to Ft. Lauderdale.

You can add my name to the growing list of retirees in the Class. I decided that 40-years on Wall Street was enough and will now be focusing on what the future may hold. The wisdom of this decision was reinforced recently by John Mills who called me to recount a harrowing personal experience and made the observation that it had forced him to recognize that life was not some sort of dress rehearsal for whatever's next.

Best wishes to all.

DWS

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fall Term Report Card - 2016

To the Great Class of 1969:

School let out on Friday for Thanksgiving Recess, probably to the relief of all.

News of the Academy

The Headmaster believed that some of life's best lessons were to be learned through sports, and for those who measure the success of the athletic program by the result of the Choate game, the lessons could begin to comprise an entire curriculum. In a game that was streamed from Wallingford, Deerfield suffered an eighth straight loss to Choate and finished the season 3-5. Although the game was not close, there is something heartening to be learned from Yale's unexpected win over Harvard this weekend in "The Game" which ended a nine year losing streak. As surely as the sun rises, that day will come for Deerfield, but for now we are left to ponder how long it may be before we too can say, like Yale alums, "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet".

In other athletic news, The Scroll reported in January 2015 that the school was developing plans for replacing the ice rink and building a field house on top of it. From what I can tell, those plans continue to move forward, but remain contingent upon obtaining sufficient commitments. Although Deerfield completed a successful capital campaign only last year, this project was not part of Imagine Deerfield which was launched in 2011.

I suspect that many of you are scratching your heads (if not tearing out your hair) over the recent election results. With negligible dissent, nineteen members of the Editorial Board of The Scroll endorsed Hillary Clinton. While I could find no indication that there had been a mock election this term, a poll last Spring showed the top three choices to be Sanders (40%), Clinton (21%) and Trump (17%). For the historians in the Class, we held a mock election in 1968 at another very divided time in our history. The results that year were as follows: Nixon 50%, Humphrey 38% and Wallace 12%. The actual popular vote tallies that year were Nixon 43.4%, Humphrey 42.7% and Wallace 13.5%. Nixon won 301 electoral votes (which is probably less than Trump will wind up with) and, of course, wound up being re-elected. We all know how that ended. I would venture a guess - which we can all debate in June 2019 with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight - that the largest beneficiaries of the President-elect's economic policies, ironically, will live in blue states on either coast. For additional perspective, listen here to Howie Carr's interview from last June.

News of the Class

This September marked, sadly, the 15th anniversary of 9/11. As you know, Todd Stone has dedicated his life since then to capturing not only the horror of the moment but also the rebirth of Lower Manhattan in the aftermath. In that effort, Todd has been aided by Larry Silverstein who bought the Twin Towers several weeks before the attack and has spent his time since then rebuilding the site. As part of the commemoration of the anniversary, Todd participated in a video interview which was taped in space made available to Todd by Silverstein for a studio. I encourage you to watch the interview by scrolling down this page link and to celebrate one of our classmates. You can see some of Todd's work at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Rusty Young's concert business in Vero has diversified into comedy events in Delray. If you're in FL this winter, you might want to see if you can get tickets. You can check out upcoming events here. Ed Grosvenor continues to work to save American Heritage Magazine and launched a page on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, to raise funds. You can contribute by going here before December 16th and sharing the link. Ed attributes his love of history to Mr. Crow and to his great grandfather Edwin Grosvenor who, the Headmaster often reminded him, was his history professor at Amherst.

Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving.

DWS