Friday, December 23, 2005

Sleepless in Seattle with BT

One man's gift to the city for more than a decade
Volunteers make tradition out of luminarias

Friday, December 16, 2005


Even with a full moon, it was pitch black outside.

But Brogan Thomsen is hard to miss.

Nicolas Ringgold, 5, helps Brogan Thomsen light luminarias at the South Ferdinand Street boat ramp on Lake Washington as the Christmas ships pass in the background.

About this time every year, you'll hear him before you see him.

He's the guy yelling, "Woo-hoo! Luminaria! Lighting at 6!" at the top of his lungs.

Wearing a worn fireman's jacket and a Santa hat Thursday night, he whirled up and down Lake Washington Boulevard South in a beat-up blue van, its doors hanging open. Volunteers ran alongside it and grabbed thousands of white paper sacks filled with sand and votive candles, setting them along the path bordering the lake. They were in a hurry, beating the cold by rushing to beat the Christmas ships before they passed this part of Seward Park.

Soon, the sky was lit not only by the moon, but also by nearly 2,000 flames flickering inside the sacks.

So went another year of a homegrown Seattle tradition, luminarias at Seward Park, an annual gift from a guy who liked how the path lit up the way to the Christmas ships.

"I thought the city did it! I've seen it every year and I thought, what a good city to live in! Now, I think, what a great city to live in with people like this," said Sandra Kurjiaka, a Capitol Hill resident who had come down to see the Christmas ships with friends of Thomsen's and gotten drafted to help out. "I had no idea it was regular people and an individual loving the world!"

Thomsen, 55, a local general contractor and volunteer with the deaf/blind community, started the tradition in 1991 after being inspired by the luminarias at Green Lake. But he thought it was getting a little too crowded there, so he checked out other venues where he could provide an extra add-on of the holiday spirit.

At first, the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department balked at helping him. He couldn't pull it together in five days, they said. Thomsen said he could.

Thomsen, who said he's tenacious when it comes to cutting through bureaucratic red tape, got through and put out 600 bags -- almost a mile long.

The parks department now helps clean up and provides sand, but Thomsen hopes the event will be more official in the future.

It's a ragtag operation that's cost Thomsen about $4,000 over the years on votive candles, No. 8 paper sacks, cigarette lighters and the sand that keeps the luminaria from floating away on the wind. Sometimes the lighters don't work and they improvise, using blowtorches or larger, long-handled lighters. Volunteers keep warm by sneaking a snack of boiled potatoes dipped in curry mayo or hot apple cider Thomsen keeps on a camp burner nearby.

This year, Thomsen and volunteers -- some he'd met through Thumbs Up! years ago when they painted over graffiti -- laid out nearly 2,000 of the bags along the path from the South Ferdinand Street boat ramp to 50th Avenue South. About a dozen volunteers showed up, including newcomers Alex Blanton and his wife, Jenna White. They saw Thomsen's flier at the Seward Park PCC Market and linked it to the lights that had enchanted them the year before. This time, they wanted to help.

Blanton dropped off the bags while White set them up in a process relatively unchanged over the years: unfold, load with a can's worth of sand, insert candle.

As she's done in previous years, Gretchen Thomsen, 79 -- Brogan's mom -- held down the fort, loading bags into one of several vehicles and guiding volunteers who streamed through.

Marcia High met the younger Thomsen working on a job at Kubota Garden and got hooked after helping out last year.

"I had so much fun last year, I couldn't wait to do it again this year," she said.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

December 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

News from the Academy

Nature dropped a foot of snow on the campus last Friday, giving everyone a preview of what winters in western Massachusetts are like. You can still get a sense for how it looks by going to the Campus Cam on top of the Main School Building.

The Deerfield Debating Team gave the new Head of School a taste for what she’s getting into last Sunday when 18 students traveled to Andover and finished first among eight schools in the competition. When I reminded Tom O’Gara, co-captain of the Debating Team our senior year, that the team had been undefeated in 1969, he deadpanned “Undefeated meant we beat the local grade school, etc.” Whether or not that’s true, it’s probably no coincidence that the rest of our orators all went on to law school: Bill Bowman, Zech Chafee, David Colker, Neil Jacobs and Alan Jolis.

The Theater Department has settled on Our Town for the winter production and finalized the cast. The only thing they might need now is an impresario like Christopher Beach or (see below) Rusty Young.

Class Trivia

A number of classmates correctly guessed the name of the Mystery Classmate last month although most mangled the spelling of the name: it’s Z-e-c-h C-h-a-f-e-e for those with a spelling block. Strangely, one classmate identified Zech, not by his facial features, but by his posture. In any case, Zech was speaking at the Bath Shipbuilding Yard at a ceremony celebrating the christening of the U.S.S. Chafee in honor of his father, a past Secretary of the Navy. Among those who correctly identified Zech were Rob Almy, Steve Bisbee, Michael Buerger, David Chittim and John Lacey. Jim Lunt, who also guessed correctly, remembered sitting in the same pew with Zech each Sunday and being the only ones asked not to sing. He also asked facetiously whether Lunt Silversmiths had agreed to supply the prize for correctly answering the photo trivia question which, on further thought, seems like it might be a good idea for future contests.

For this month I selected a picture of a classmate who lived to tell of his leap into the Grand Canyon. Can anyone identify this intrepid soul who is the founder and owner of a construction company called, appropriately, Flying Gorilla Circus?

As is often the case with the verbal portions of the quiz, there were fewer who volunteered answers, in this instance, as to how many of our classmates had ventured into the field of education. For the curious at heart, here is my list: Barry Ahearn, Pitch Allen, Michael Buerger, Brian Connery, Ed Cooke, John Davison, Tom Ehrgood, Steve Esthimer, Drew Gibson, Tommy Gregory, Frank Henry, Dan McNulty, Jack Spitznagel, David Suitor, Larry Theuer and Jere Urban. Please let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone.

In one of my past e-mails listing captains of industry I neglected to include Frank Underwood who, since 1982, has been President of Underwood Engineers, Inc. with offices in Portsmouth and Concord, New Hampshire. I also omitted to mention in my list of attorneys that Tom Ehrgood had worked in private practice and as a corporate lawyer before becoming head of 50th reunion year giving at Amherst, his alma mater.

A group which included Doug Arnstein, John Davies, Larry Gottlieb, Mark Hall, Jim Lunt and Todd Stone all ventured to Redbank, NJ last June where Rusty Young, until recently the Vice Chairman of The Count Basie Theatre, had organized a sold-out benefit concert featuring The Fab Faux, a Beatles tribute band.

Annual Support

John Kjorlien joined me at the Cornell Club for the NYC Phonathon on November 16th, and we gathered a few pledges in the course of catching up with some classmates. As those of you know who contributed last year, we are off to a fine start and currently rank third among the classes of the ‘60’s. If the rest of December is true to form, we will close the calendar year ahead of where we were last year, our record-setting year in terms of participation. We have picked up two new contributors so far, and I have hopes that we will add to that list as the fiscal year progresses. If you’d like to support a good cause and get another deduction before year-end, here’s the link for Online Annual Support Giving.

School lets out for Winter Break today, which probably couldn’t come soon enough.

Best wishes to all for the Holiday Season and for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2006. Please send your news and photos to

Sunday, November 13, 2005

November 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

Around a year ago, several months after our 35th reunion for those of you who still are counting, I undertook in earnest responsibility for communicating with the Great Class of 1969, as I like to refer to this group which has grown only more remarkable as I have renewed acquaintances. In the past year there has been great progress by a number of measures:

1. We increased the number of classmates for whom we have valid e-mail addresses from approximately 60 to over 100, thereby facilitating more timely communication;

2. We created a unique meeting place at Albany Road Redux and, in so doing, became the first class to have its own blog; and

3. We increased the number of contributors in our Class by 30% and, on an absolute scale, ranked fifth among the classes of the 60’s for the past gift year.

We have begun the new academic year with the wind at our backs and the exciting announcement that Margarita O’Byrne Curtis, the current Dean of Studies at Andover, will become the 55th Head of School upon the retirement of Eric Widmer in July. (Whether she is the first female Head of School at Deerfield remains unsettled unless someone can confirm the gender of Orpha Julina Hall who held the position in the 1870's.) As many of you know from my prior postings, the Board of Trustees ran a very transparent selection process, the product of which is a choice whose impeccable academic and managerial credentials withstood a rigorous vetting. (It is probably worth noting that while Choate has been our traditional sports rival since 1922, Andover is the only boarding school today with as low an acceptance rate as Deerfield’s.) Although I have not met the new Head of School, I think we can all rest assured that the Academy will be in safe hands with Dr. Curtis who is respectful of Deerfield’s traditions and will work diligently to uphold the Academy’s culture and values.

Class Trivia

In response to my question asking how many Heads of School Deerfield has had, the numbers were all over the lot, and many expressed disbelief upon learning the actual number. Casey Reed proved to be the best School historian (or at least the most attentive reader of the Headmaster’s September letter). There were more classmates who recognized Brogan Thomsen as the Mystery Classmate, including Patrick Murphy who remembered the name, the species, the gender and the final resting place of Brogan’s monkey and who also pointed out that the coffee cup strapped to his forehead had the initials “BT” on the bottom, a clue I had failed to notice. Other classmates who submitted correct answers included former junior year dorm mates Hank Wetzel, Steve Esthimer and Joe Moriarty from Dean Hall as well as Ben Walbridge and Michael Buerger.

In view of the School’s recent announcement and the fact that Deerfield has always been known for turning out educators, I decided it would be appropriate for this month’s trivia question to be the following: How many classmates can you name who are teachers or school administrators?

Class Blog

You may be interested to know that Albany Road has become the “best in class” blog to beat. I was visiting the School recently and ran into a member of the class of ’84 who told me he was beta testing with several of his fellow class agents a blog which duplicated our template, once again validating that “imitation is the greatest form of flattery”. Since the blog was launched on September 4, I have added eight postings covering a range of subjects, including the selection of a new Head of School, a classmate’s obituary, two recent alumni gatherings in New York and other news. I also have added photos of Christopher Beach, Steve Bisbee, Tom Ehrgood, John Kjorlien, Hank Minor, David Suitor and Tim Truby. Please e-mail your photo to me at so that I can add it to the Online Yearbook which now includes 37 classmates. From my perspective, the interesting thing is that one photo has been viewed twice as often as the next most popular one. For that reason, I have selected the following classmate for this month’s photo trivia contest:

Please tell me if you can identify this illustrious classmate for whom public speaking seems to run in the family.

Choate Day

In a nutshell: Wait till next year. The football season ended on a down note with a 14-0 loss, the second time the Varsity got shut out this season, finishing 3-5. The four other Varsity games were all won by Choate. Better times may lie ahead for the football team at least, as the undefeated Junior Varsity recorded its fifth shutout of the season by defeating Choate 28-0.

Other News

The Academy held an alumni swim meet and memorial service for Mr. Boyle the last weekend in October. At the time of his retirement, Mr. Boyle was the longest serving master (other than the Boydens, of course), although his 45 year tenure now has been eclipsed by Mr. Morsman (who looks like he could challenge the Boydens’ record). You can see the School's revamped website and read about the weekend by going to Welcome to Deerfield Academy News.

Eight members of the Class recently got together for dinner in New York, including visitors Robert Clough and Tom Ehrgood. You can read about the group and see a photo by going to Albany Road Redux: New York Chapter Reconvenes. In other Class sightings, I also met Nat Brayton recently for dinner while visiting Cambridge. Nat runs his own eponymous money management business in Boston and looks none the worse for wear, despite another trying year for stocks. I also visited with Tee Johnson who set up shop in October at the annual Audio Engineering Society convention in New York where he displayed some of the high tech, professional microphones produced by his company T.H.E. Audio. Finally, John Mills broke his 36 year silence recently and gave me an overview of his wide ranging interests which include being a gentleman farmer as well as a senior patent attorney for the Navy and a noted author. In March 2003, the United States Navy awarded John two Edison Awards for drafting and prosecuting patents having the greatest commercial benefit to the nation. He is also the editor of the definitive, comprehensive three volume set of Patent Law Fundamentals (retail price $1,258) that was published in March 2003 and is in over 700 law libraries.

I recently agreed to join the Steering Committee for Annual Support and to be the liaison between the Class Captains for the Classes of the ‘60’s and the Academy. I can only conclude that I was selected as a result of the favorable response of a record-setting number of classmates to Annual Support over the past year. I thank all of you who have demonstrated a willingness to support the School financially in the past and hope that you will join me in supporting the School at a time when the budget is being pinched by dramatically higher energy bills and a reduced draw from the endowment. I have a goal of exceeding last year’s participation and hope that you will respond positively should you get a call from one or more classmates who have agreed to help with the fundraising.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New York Chapter Reconvenes

When members of the class met for dinner in July, everyone seemed to "pick up conversations that started decades ago" as Tom O'Gara wrote afterwards. We agreed on the spot that we would not wait another 36 years for our next gathering. Last night the core group reconvened at The Union Club in NYC to resume those same conversations with Tom Ehrgood and Robert Clough and to bid farewell to Christopher Beach. Christopher will become a non-resident member of the New York Chapter next month when he relocates to sunny California where he has pledged to organize a similar alumni gathering.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Deerfield's New Head of School

Please read the announcement by Andover of Deerfield's choice as the new Head of School:

Dean of Studies Dr. Margarita Curtis will take over the head of school’s position at Deerfield Academy next fall to become the 200-year-old school’s first female head.

Upon learning of the decision, Dr. Curtis told the Deerfield community, “I am delighted and honored to join such a thriving, dynamic and caring community of learners. I look forward to the opportunity to lead a school with such a distinguished heritage and promising future.”

Dr. Curtis will be the 55th head of school at Deerfield, a selective 600-student boarding school located in Deerfield, Massachusetts. She succeeds Eric Widmer, who has led Deerfield since 1994.

Mr. Widmer is stepping down in June to become the founding head of school at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan. King Abdullah II, a member of Deerfield’s class of 1980, has decided to bring educational opportunities, modeled after his experience at Deerfield, to students in his country.

Mr. Widmer said, “To Deerfield she will bring the highest qualities of leadership, character and intellect. She is a rare scholar and educator with skills to inspire, to lead, and to manage a diverse educational community like Deerfield.”

Dr. Curtis first came to Andover in 1986 to teach Spanish, and was appointed head of the Division of World Languages in 1997. She then became the Dean of Studies in 2004.

In an email to the student body announcing the decision, Andover Head of School Barbara Landis Chase praised Dr. Curtis, saying, “Dean Curtis’s work at PA has always been animated by a profound belief in the importance of working for the benefit of students, present and future.”

Deerfield’s Board of Trustees formally announced the decision on Saturday, Nov. 5, after a long search by administrators and New York executive search and assessment firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

“For all of these head of school jobs, you have ‘headhunters,’ or companies that help schools find heads,” Dr. Curtis said.

Although the selection process began almost 18 months ago, Dr. Curtis only became involved in the later stages of the process. At first, there were over 80 applicants for the job. This candidate pool was whittled down until there were only six semifinalists in June. When she was contacted in June, she initially refused to consider leaving Andover.

Dr. Curtis said, “I had been contacted in the summer, but I was not interested because I really like my job here.”

On October 20th, she had dinner with the eight-person search committee, consisting of parents, alumni, and two faculty members, which was charged with reviewing all applications along with Russell Reynolds Associates. The committee asked Dr. Curtis again to put her name forward for the job, and she accepted. At this stage in the search process, there were only two other candidates.

“The whole thing was very last-minute,” said Dr. Curtis.

A few days later, Dr. Curtis was interviewed on the Deerfield campus. She said, “That’s a very rigorous process because when you go to campus, you meet with every administrator, some students, and the entire faculty. Lastly, you address the entire community about your vision [for the school] and what about the school appeals to you.”

Mrs. Chase expressed mixed emotions regarding Dr. Curtis’ new position at Deerfield. “On the one hand, I will truly miss working with Dean Curtis on a day-to-day basis…On the other hand, I know all too well that there are few people with character and talent such as Dean Curtis’, who have an interest in leading schools these days, and I am thrilled that she has chosen to do so - especially at a sister school,” she said.

The process of finding Dr. Curtis’ successor will begin sometime this or next week. Mrs. Chase will ask the faculty members to nominate a new Dean of Studies, as well as others to fill the positions of Dean of CAMD and Dean of Students and Residential Life. The decision on whether to have Interim Dean of CAMD Linda Griffith keep the position and on another two-year term for Dean of Students Marlys Edwards will be made by Mrs. Chase and other administrators after nominations are discussed by the faculty.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Deerfield Selects Margarita O'Byrne Curtis

Please see below an e-mail from Jeff Louis '81, Chair of the Search Committee and President of the Board of Trustees:

"With great pleasure, I write to announce that the Deerfield Academy Board of Trustees has named Dr. Margarita O’Byrne Curtis as Deerfield’s 55th Head of School.

Dr. Curtis, the Dean of Academic Studies at Andover, brings the highest qualities of leadership, character, and intellect required to lead Deerfield Academy. She is a rare scholar/educator with energy, commitment, passion, academic administrative experience, executive judgment and the interpersonal skills necessary to inspire, lead, and manage a diverse educational community like Deerfield. We are lucky to have her.

Dr. Curtis’s educational philosophy begins and ends with the welfare of students. She leads with ideas, common sense, and eloquent language. She respects school traditions and will work diligently to uphold the culture and values that Deerfield holds most dear, especially our dedication to remaining a caring community devoted to the building of character along with commitment to educational excellence.

I have had moments of enormous pride in Deerfield throughout this experience for the care and consideration you have given to our finalists. I hope all of you will offer Dr. Curtis and her husband Manning a warm Deerfield welcome when they return to campus. We are trying to schedule a time, perhaps between Thanksgiving and the Christmas break."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Third Finalist is Announced

On Saturday, Deerfield announced that Margarita Curtis, Dean of Studies at Andover, is under consideration to become Deerfield's next head of school. She was scheduled to arrive on campus this evening with her husband and will be at Deerfield until Tuesday morning. Here is what I have been able to learn from the Andover website:

Margarita Curtis, a native of Cali, Colombia, immigrated to the United States to attend high school. As a student at Tulane University majoring in French, she spent her junior year at the Sorbonne in Paris. She received a B.A. degree from Tulane, a B.S. degree from Mankato State University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Her award-winning dissertation on Benito Perez Galdos was published in Spain in 1996. Curtis was awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching for four consecutive years by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University, where she taught before coming to Andover.

Curtis joined PA’s Spanish faculty in 1986 and was named head of the Division of World Languages in 1997. In 2004 she was selected to be dean of studies and a member of the eight person Dean's Council at Andover.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Candidates for Headmaster

To the Great Class of 1969:

I received word today that the Academy has announced two candidates to succeed Eric Widmer as Headmaster. A third candidate is under consideration as well, but has not been announced. Please see below a description of each of the candidates which I excerpted from Peterson's Online Guide to Private Schools.

Drew Casertano was appointed Headmaster of Millbrook in 1990. He is a graduate of the Choate School and Amherst College and holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University. Prior to his appointment at Millbrook, Mr. Casertano served as a teacher, a coach, a dorm parent, and the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid over the course of his ten-year tenure at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. (See Millbrook School.)

Fountain Valley's sixth headmaster, John E. Creeden, assumed the leadership of the School in 1995. He graduated from Holy Cross College and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin (doctorate in educational administration). Prior to his appointment as Headmaster, he held several teaching and administrative positions at Phillips Andover; the University of Sussex, England; the University of Wisconsin; and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he served most recently as Associate Provost for Faculty Personnel and Planning. He serves as president of the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS). (See Fountain Valley School of Colorado.)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

October Musings

To the Great Class of 1969:

I just returned from a rain-drenched weekend at Deerfield where I had gone for a series of meetings on Volunteerism and the financial state of the school. This is the sixth of such annual get-togethers and the second that I have attended. On account of the standout performance of the Class last year, I was strategically seated for dinner on Friday next to John Knight, the Director of Annual Support, who had asked me in advance to speak to the other class representatives on the topic of communications. While we did not achieve the exemplary status of the legendary classes of 1961 (112 donors), 1964 (94 donors) or 1966 (70 donors), we clearly are on the path to redemption. Thank you for your support this past year, which I am counting on you now more than ever to renew since I have agreed to serve on the Steering Committee for Annual Support.

The deluge on Saturday forced cancellation of most - but not enough in retrospect - of the day's scheduled contests. As I drove down Albany Road on my way home, the bus carrying the Hotchkiss football team ominously arrived. This year's game represented a reversal of fortune from last year's shut out win, and Hotchkiss swam back to Lakeville the victor, 21-0. For an account of the game, see Deerfield Athletics. For more pictures of the athletic fields, go to Ten Inches of Rain in One Day.

Today I took my son Nick to the Audio Engineering Society's annual show at the Javits Convention Center in NYC, courtesy of Tee Johnson, who demonstrated for us the professional quality microphones he is producing in Buenos Aires at a booth for his company T.H.E. Audio. In addition to exhibition booths for over 1,000 companies, there also were seminars for the true believers on such arcane topics as "The Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers", "Delta-Sigma Converters" and "Planar Magnetics". Tee will explain all of that and more at the next reunion.

Over and out.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Beach Heading for the Beach

After 16 years as artistic director of The Performing Arts Center in Purchase, New York, Christopher Beach has accepted the position of President and Artistic Director of the La Jolla Music Society. Since 1989, Christopher guided The Center through 16 years of uninterrupted growth. He grew the budget during that time from $1.2 million to $5.2 million, and expanded The Center’s Season from 21 performances in 1989 to over 120 in the 2005 season. Under his leadership, The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College has grown from a local venue for primarily classical music to the largest professional performing arts series in the SUNY system.

The La Jolla Music Society is one of the West Coast’s leading presenters of world-class performing arts and is heir to a distinguished tradition reaching back to the Musical Arts Society of La Jolla founded in 1941 by Nikolai Sokoloff, the former conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Christopher has wisely decided to leave New York just before winter sets in. To view the news of his appointment, see the article in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bypassing Thousands

Where can a medical pioneer, a caring physician, and an avid fly-fisherman all happily dwell? Right here in the heart of Maine.

Heart surgeon Robert Clough has a sizeable fan club in these parts. Here’s a recent encounter: Dr. Clough is in Calais, on his way to Canada to go fly-fishing. A local gentleman approaches him. “You’re Dr. Clough, aren’t you?” he says. “You gave me five bypasses!” The man lifts up his shirt to show his scarred chest as proof. Dr. Clough shakes his patient’s hand and asks him how he’s feeling. “Well, I just put up 16 cord of wood this weekend,” he replies. “What does that tell you?”

With 10,100-plus heart surgeries since Eastern Maine Medical Center’s cardiac surgery program debuted in 1987, Dr. Clough is hailed by appreciative patients often. And he loves every minute of it. “This kind of thing would never happen if I’d ended up in Boston,” he says. “It’s one reason why it’s so nice to be in Bangor, Maine.”

When Clough was recruited to help found the area’s first cardiac surgery program, about 200 area patients a year needed heart surgery. “The closest place to have it done was Portland, although patients were sometimes sent to Boston and Cleveland,” he says. Clough, who had been living in Texas, jumped at the chance to help design the new operating facility, write the protocols, and even train the operating room staff. “With all the support I had, there was no excuse for failure.” He performed EMMC’s first cardiac surgery, a triple bypass, on July 22, 1987, on a man named Lee Turner, from Shirley Mills. “Someone asked Lee if he was nervous about being the first patient,” Clough remembers, “and Lee said, ‘No—if they really thought I was going to die, they wouldn’t operate on me first.’” EMMC’s first cardiac surgery patient not only recovered nicely from his triple bypass, but he’s still doing well, 18 years later.

The long-term success of Eastern Maine’s cardiac program has been as healthy as Lee Turner’s surgery. Clough believes this is due, in part, to a groundbreaking organization called the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group. Comprised of all eight heart centers throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, the members have been pooling data, designing improvements, and visiting each other's facilities since ‘87.

“When we started out, the places with poorer outcomes thought it was because their patients were sicker,” he says. But as the group continued to share best practices, they all became equally successful. “Today, there’s no difference statistically between any of the members,” Clough says. These same NNECDSG hospitals, he says, are also “the best places in the United States to have bypass surgery.” The experience taught him that “competition might be good for bringing down the price of shoes or cars or plasma TVs, but in medicine, cooperation is what is good for patients.”

So is gratitude. For the vast majority of cardiac patients who come through their surgeries successfully, life is no longer something they take for granted. Over the years, many have shared their gratitude with Clough. The office waiting room shows off a cross-country skiing trophy won by a patient after her EMMC bypass surgery. Other patients have given Clough paintings, handmade heirlooms, a Passamaquoddy good luck charm. But the best rewards are intrinsic. “If I had gone to Milwaukee, I would have been the 49th cardiac surgeon on staff,” he says. “Here, I feel I’ve made a difference. I feel very lucky.”

So do his patients.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Philip Laurent Poirier

To the Great Class of 1969:

It is with regret that I write you that Phil Poirier (alias "Demon") died September 14th in Santiago, Chile of a staph infection following leg surgery. Phil attended Trinity College following graduation where he played on the Varsity Football and Lacrosse teams. Prior to completing college, Phil joined the Navy and served for three years. Following his discharge, he finished college at the Socorro Technical School of Mining in New Mexico. After graduation he participated for more than ten years on a rugby team that travelled throughout the Southwest. In 1989, Phil moved to Santiago where he worked in the copper mining industry. Survivors include his wife of fourteen years and a son.

Phil entered Deerfield as a Junior where he was an excellent athlete who played on the Varsity Football and Lacrosse teams both years. There is an intense action shot of Phil against Mount Hermon on page 102 of the senior yearbook, for those of you who keep a copy handy.

There currently are still a number of classmates for whom we have no address, as was the case with Phil. (See my Volunteers' Weekend Letter for a list as of a year ago.) Anything you can do to help locate these missing members of the Class would be appreciated. At last count, the list of those classmates no longer among us also includes David Brown, George Burr, Tom Coughlin, Alan Jolis, Tim Marcum, Jeff O'Neil, David Reynolds and Pad Wales.

Be well and stay in touch at Albany Road.

Friday, September 16, 2005

1797 Dinner

To the Great Class of 1969:

Last night I attended the 32nd Annual 1797 Dinner in New York at The Pierre. The dinner coincided with the UN confab as well as with the most sweltering September weather anyone could remember in New York.

As you would expect, the celebratory event was staged with the customary aplomb, courtesy of Mimi Morsman. Jeff Louis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (and the third lineal descendant to serve in that capacity), gave an upbeat assessment on the state of the School and, most importantly, on the search for a new Headmaster, the first since our 25th Reunion. It will come as no surprise that the School has had no trouble in attracting qualified candidates. Sometime this fall the School will disclose the names of the remaining candidates (expected to be between four and six) who will be invited to campus for day long exposure. The Board hopes to announce the new Headmaster (or Headmistress) by year end.

The occasion was a bittersweet one, insofar as it represented the last of the 1797 Dinners of the Widmer era in New York, a tradition begun 32 years ago by Mr. Crow. The Headmaster feigned having only just prepared his remarks after Bob Dewey's introduction, but it was evident from where I was seated that his handwritten notes had been prepared well in advance. The Headmaster laced his remarks with anecdotes, recalling the importance of New York in the history of the School, including the presentation to Mr. Boyden at The Waldorf at a dinner on the occasion of his 50th year as Headmaster of not only a buggy, but also a horse. The Headmaster also analogized the intellectual and moral support which Deerfield is providing to King's Academy in Jordan to the financial help which Deerfield received from Exeter, Andover and Taft during the dark days of the 1920's when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts terminated state support for private schools. Meera Viswanathan (or "Miz Viz" as she is known by students) delivered a heartfelt, extemporaneous speech about the last eleven years and what a sense of heritage meant to her, which encompassed not only the past, but also shared hopes for the future. The evening concluded with a DVD devoted to the Headmaster featuring tributes from students, teachers, alumni and trustees.

I expect to report back in early October, following Volunteers Weekend. Weather permitting, I hope to post some photos of the Koch SM&T Building as well as the Deerfield - Hotchkiss football game. In the interim, please follow the lead of Tim Truby and Steve Bisbee and send portrait photos for posting by clicking on the Class Postings link.

Be well and stay in touch.

P.S. Trivia Question: Who can tell me how many Headmasters the Academy has had since its founding? Send your guess to me via the Class Postings link.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

"Beam me up, Scotty!"

To the Great Class of 1969:

As I mulled over last month how much Google has changed my daily life – not because I had been so prescient as to have invested in the IPO – I realized that Google could make a difference in how we related to each other. The more I reflected on this and that 100,000 new blogs reportedly are being created each day, it seemed totally fitting that our class – which graduated one month prior to the historic lunar landing – also should be first class to set foot in the blogosphere. It is with that sense of adventure that I decided to launch Albany Road Redux into cyberspace as a tribute to the Great Class of 1969. I hope you like it and will help to make it a success by contributing future content.

Albany Road Redux is, first and foremost, a meeting place for members of the class who would like to remain in touch electronically, as the statement at the top of the website indicates. I am, unlike many bloggers, the traffic coordinator through whom postings travel. In that sense, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the blog, just like Marty Kaiser has the ultimate say at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. You will notice on the right of the website a handful of links which I hope you will find useful. For example, you can send me news and photos by clicking on the Class Postings link or catch up on news about the Academy by clicking on either Deerfield News or Google Deerfield. I also have included a link to the Alumni Website as well as a direct link to the online giving form at Annual Support for those of you who would like to make a financial commitment to Deerfield. Finally – and this is what I am most excited about – I have included a link to what I am calling the Online Yearbook which is the beginning of a compendium of individual portrait photos of class members. I hope that you will forward to me a suitable photo (or a replacement photo) for inclusion in the “Yearbook”.

Class Trivia

While the photo of Ed Grosvenor in my June Letter drew some quick responses, no one could answer who the first classmate was to run a public company. That distinction goes to Charlie Bishop who was not only the President of Bone Care International when it became a public company in 1996, but also its first employee when it was formed in 1987. Some other classmates who currently head up enterprises include Andy Cohn (Duncan Bolt Company), David Colker (National Stock Exchange), Tee Johnson (T.H.E. Audio), Jim Lunt (Lunt Silversmiths), (Hank Minor (P.W. Minor & Son), Kevin Murphy (Ocean Cuisine International) and Hank Wetzel (Alexander Valley Vineyards).

In keeping with the captains of industry theme this month, can anyone identify the smiling classmate pictured in the Online Yearbook at Starbucks’ annual shareholders meeting?


Since my last class-wide e-mail, the Academy sent out my August Letter with a short questionnaire and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. Please take a minute, if you haven’t done so already, to send it back so that I can learn more about how each of you wants to relate to the Academy in the current school year.

New faculty orientation began on Wednesday, August 24th, and the campus is beginning to buzz again after a long, hot summer. Returning students are due to arrive on Friday, September 9th, and will be joined the following day by new students.

In closing, I regret to tell you that two classmates have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath: Barry Ahearn is an English professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, and Paul Galuszka is an attorney in private practice in neighboring Metairie. Best wishes to all, but most especially to Barry and Paul at this time of unfathomable adversity.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

G7 Summit Meeting in NYC

O'Gara, Beach, Lacey, Squires, Kjorlien, Bisbee, Johnson, H.T.

The Group of Seven convened for dinner in New York at The Union Club in July for its first meeting since graduation. There was universal agreement that the intervening years had treated some more kindly than others and that the Group should not wait another 36 years for its next gathering. Therefore, a tentative date of November 11th has been circled so as to coincide with the week of the annual dinner of the Atlantic Salmon Federation which Robert Clough has indicated he will be attending. In the words of one G7 member, "I am still amazed how people could seemingly pick up conversations that started decades ago. There really is a bond formed during those Deerfield years." Another member wrote, "No matter that I did not "hang out" a lot with many of the classmates of the last G7 dinner; we had an immediate and deep bond that transcended any of our previous experience together and emanated from a respect for the intelligence, perseverance, and experience of the last 36 years. In celebrating all of the things that are similar and that bring us together we have celebrated the best of ourselves and the best of what our "Deerfield experience" gave us. This is what our class shares and what we should always support."

The 11th Man

Rob Almy cooling off after the Alumni Lacrosse game on May 21, 2005. He still had the Deerfield-Exeter Varsity Lacrosse game to referee, which Deerfield won (with no help from the ref) 12-6. For an account of the game, go to Deerfield Athletics.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

HAA Recognizes Sandy Weissent

The March-April 2005 issue of Harvard Magazine announced that the Clubs Committee of the Harvard Alumni Association had selected Sandy Weissent as one of only two recipients of the annual Outstanding Club Contribution Award for 2004. Here's a picture of Sandy, on the right, and the story:

Alexander B. Weissent '73, of Chicago, has helped lead the Harvard Club of Chicago's successful Adopt-A-School program, providing more than 200 alumni volunteers to meet needs at the urban Walter Payton College Prep High School. "Harvols," as they are called at the club, have helped with academic tutoring, college counseling, and athletics, among other things. Weissent is now working to expand volunteer activities city-wide, and is active in Alumni for Public Schools (a network of college and university alumni founded in 2001 that is committed to enriching the city's educational system).

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lessons Learned

Tee Johnson recently forwarded the following excerpt from the book Dumbing Down Our Kids by Charles J. Sykes for anyone who may have missed class:

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it.

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough ... wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: “Flipping burgers” is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping ... they called it “opportunity”.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes ... learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers ... but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

August 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

Our alma mater recently held its 206th commencement, a feat exceeded by only two peer secondary schools in America. The year was marked by many significant milestones:

Over 1,600 applications were received — a new record, and evidence of the School’s ongoing appeal;

Graduates continued to matriculate overwhelmingly at the most competitive colleges and universities;

Annual Support, the financial lifeblood of the School, exceeded $4.1 million and surpassed 51% participation, once again demonstrating the generosity of Deerfield’s graduates and providing a subsidy of more than 10% towards the cost of a first-class education to Deerfield’s 600 students;

Sports remained an integral part of daily life with both Boys’ Varsity Crew and Lacrosse each distinguishing the School this spring by winning New England championships and receiving national recognition;

An unmatched, secondary school state-of-the-art science, math and technology building neared completion, now less than six months away; and

The School began the search for a new Headmaster, the first change since our 25th Reunion.

A record number in our Class responded to my appeals this year on behalf of Annual Support. Others found different ways to demonstrate their appreciation for what the School has meant to them. My purpose in writing is to tell you something about the various ways our Classmates support the School and to ask that you take a moment to tell me what you would like your relationship to be with the School in the new academic year.

Annual Support

Our Class achieved something unprecedented this past year: the number of contributors exceeded that for our 25th Reunion. I am unaware of any other class that has ever achieved this prior to its 50th Reunion and, if so, doubt that it was achieved in a non-Reunion year. In addition, we received contributions from 18 Classmates who had not contributed in fiscal 2004, including some who had no prior record of having given. While the median gift was unchanged at $200, individual contributions of around $20 reinforced the fact that no gift is too small: class participation exceeded the school-wide average for the first time.

If you are among those who held back because you would prefer to know how your contribution is being spent, please note that the Academy has been letting donors designate six different areas of interest: Arts, Athletics, Faculty Support, Financial Aid, the Library and Technology. The School has also taken steps to facilitate online giving at Deerfield Alumni and by accepting gifts by credit card (which a number of Classmates chose to do this year for the first time).

Capital Gifts and Gifts in Kind

Some Classmates prefer to make unrestricted gifts to the endowment or gifts to one of the more than 600 individual endowment funds. In the past year, The Christopher Beach Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts was established. This year’s recipient was recognized at the Saturday awards ceremony during Commencement Weekend. Other funds established by classmates in prior years include the David S. Brown ’69 Arbor Fund and the Grace M. Henry Book Fund, which are listed each year in the Annual Report.

The School proved receptive this year to matching its needs with the interests of Tee Johnson. Tee has submitted a proposal to lend his design expertise to the School and to upgrade the radio station and the auditorium in the Memorial Building with high-performance audio and video equipment. Along these same lines, as the proprietor and general manager of Alexander Valley Vineyards, Hank Wetzel has made contributions-in-kind of wine to Reunion Weekend.

Career Guidance

Awhile back some students expressed a wish that the School organize an event featuring alumni/ae speakers who were pursuing various interesting careers. In response, the School established the PATHWAYS series, and both Zech Chafee and Howie Carr have returned to campus to speak with interested seniors about their occupations. They have been joined by dozens other alumni/ae from a range of professions at this event.

The Boyden Society

The Boyden Society was founded 15 years ago to accommodate benefactors wishing to make legacy gifts. Classmates who have made planned gifts to Deerfield through the Boyden Society are listed in the Annual Report each year and include Steve Esthimer, Joe Moriarty, Stuart Ray and Casey Reed.


These examples demonstrate some of the worthwhile ways our Classmates remain a vital part of the community of alumni as well as the ability of the School to accommodate graduates with varied means and talents. I hope that you will consider the basis on which you might support the effort to maintain Deerfield’s position at the forefront of secondary education. Deerfield has moved on in so many ways from the School we once knew while preserving that which was best. As one of our Classmates wrote, “From my point of view, it's a substantially different (and better) school than the one we attended. When I visit, I have the surprising reaction that it has the same buildings and location, but is really a new institution with the same name.”

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Huber to the Rescue!

19th Century Linekin Bay Cottage Saved From Morning Fire

Daniel Fayen

"The Cliffs," a 112-year-old wooden cottage on the east shore of Linekin Bay, was damaged in a mid-morning fire on Wednesday, June 15.
The fact that the expansive Boothbay summer cottage still stands is a tribute to two observant samaritans and the swift response and performance of area firefighters.

Lare Huber and Adam Rumsell, working 100 yards south of the fire at a neighboring cottage, became aware of the cottage's peril detecting what they believed was a brush fire.

The men ventured closer to the cottage to discern the origin of the smoke, and witnessed flames bursting from a first floor window on the cottage's south side, curling skyward around the shingled porch roof. Rumsell notified the Boothbay Region Communications Center of the fire using his cell-phone around 11 a.m.

The two men scrambled filling five gallon plastic pails of water which they breathlessly sprinted to The Cliffs.

Upon reaching the house the two hollered within to determine if the cottage was occupied.

It wasn't.

Realizing their efforts to transport water over the distance of a football field was inadequate to make headway versus the fire, the two frantically searched for an exterior water spigot to attach a hose. Thwarted in their spigot search the two men found a shower on the bottom level of the cottage and broke the shower head off to fill their buckets.

Huber and Rumsell furiously shuttled water buckets to the source of the flames until the fire crews began arriving at the fire scene minutes later.

"If it wasn't for those two men noticing the fire and responding to the fire, the cottage would most likely would have been fully engulfed and lost by the time fire crews arrived," said Boothbay Fire Department Chief Dick Spofford.

The emergency phone call elicited response to the fire by four area fire departments within minutes.

"Structure fires on the peninsula are automatically paged and responded to by the mutual aid compact of Boothbay region fire departments," said Glenn Townsend, "including personnel and equipment from Boothbay (primary responder), Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Southport."

Personnel and equipment of the Wiscasset Fire Department attended the Boothbay Harbor station, enabling more local personnel and equipment to attack The Cliffs fire.

"This was one the best responses we've ever had for a daytime call," said Townsend. "We had 10 certified firefighters from this department alone.

"Containment of the fire was aided by the early supply of manpower and water. There was a hydrant in close proximity to the blaze. The hoses were already laid out to the house by the time I got there," said Townsend.

"The group made a heck of a stop on this fire," said Spofford. "Fire can spread quickly in these old open wooden cottages.

"We were able to get a good water supply on it to knock it down when we discovered where it was.

"The fire started in the wall on the south side of the cottage in the dining room area and moved quickly upwards. The cause of the fire is unknown and is pending the state fire marshal's inspection."

As the cottage fire became progressively contained, area fire departments were released from the scene to return to their respective stations. "The Boothbay Fire Department crew was the last to leave at about five that evening," said Spofford.

"I think the fire department did an excellent job," said Melanie Steane, owner of the fire-damaged cottage. "The emergency crews response to the fire was absolutely terrific. They did everything they could to save it.

"My grandfather, Edward J. Norris, had the cottage built in the late nineteenth century.

"It has tremendous sentimental value with our family. Five generations of our family have summered at the seven-bedroom Cliffs since its construction in 1893.

"There was an extensive library within the cottage, begun by my grandfather who was a publisher, as well as some invaluable oil paintings and antiques that were damaged in the fire.

"This is a tough blow coming in the wake of losing my husband last summer and my home in Florida to the hurricane this past year."

"I would like to thank everyone involved with this fire suppression," said Spofford, a 25-year veteran firefighter, "including the Miss Fires, ambulance services and firefighters. I am very fortunate to have such a great crew."

"I would like to thank all the businesses," added Townsend, "that allow the release of the volunteer firefighters to respond to emergencies like this one."

Friday, June 10, 2005

June 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

With thunderstorms forecasted for the next several days, over 500 alumni (including King Abdullah ’80), have begun to descend on Deerfield for Reunion weekend. Here’s what I can tell you in what I expect will be my last note this academic year.

Recent Additions

Since the last Class-wide e-mail, I am pleased to have added Zech Chafee and President Charlie Olchowski to the distribution list. While this brings the total to 89, there are still far too many absentees, including a handful whose addresses have gone out of service in the past year. Please forward to me the e-mail addresses of any long-lost Classmates you are in touch with or let me know if you have a preferred e-mail address for future distributions.

News from the School

The final issue of The Scroll arrived this week, and it included a first page story disclosing that the estimated completion date for the Koch SM&T building is now January ’06. The building should be fully enclosed soon at which time “the electrical and fiber optic systems, along with the glass staircases (emphasis added) will be installed”. I confess that I became a bit concerned about the fate of the Greer Store where a number of us can remember hanging out when I read that the café in the SM&T building “will offer a more upscale menu including Panini sandwiches”.

In a second item of note for anyone who is paying the annual tuition of $ 34,250 (up from $ 3,100 our senior year), the Academy continued its virtually unrivalled record among New England boarding schools in placing seniors in the most desirable colleges. The three most popular colleges (in alphabetical order) with nine matriculants each were Brown, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. By my own unofficial arithmetic, the results improved vs. last year and may, when all of the decisions are finalized, rival those of the strongest classes in recent years. Should you wish to address the more than ten-fold increase in tuition since we graduated, the easiest way is to get out your credit card before month end and go online at Deerfield Alumni and click on the link to the left "Giving to Deerfield".

Last – but not least – there is much focus on the succession plans which should be of particular interest since we were the first class in 66 years to experience this phenomenon. I am told that the search is being conducted by Russell Reynolds and that the Trustees hope to make a decision at the fall meeting or, at worst, in January. If you have comments to make about the search for a new Headmaster, you may e-mail them to

Class News

Rob Almy fulfilled a long held wish when he returned to referee the alumni game as well as the Deerfield Exeter game on Saturday, May 21st. The victory over Exeter (which required no assistance from Rob) as well as a win over Northfield Mount Hermon in the final game of the season enabled Deerfield (15-1) to clinch at least a tie for its 4th consecutive WNE Division I title. More significantly, the Varsity Lacrosse team also ranked # 11 nationally. Look for a fuller description of Rob’s activities in a future issue of Deerfield Magazine and remember that you can e-mail news to Classnotes.

The Performing Arts Initiative I first mentioned in April took a major step forward when Tee Johnson, the inspiration for the project, visited campus on May 21st for meetings with a handful of the School’s technical staff which the Development Office arranged and hosted. The project – the aim of which is to provide updated media equipment and technology to students pursuing interests in communications and the performing arts – is in the process of being defined while the School more accurately details the extent of its needs in the area. The significance of this, which I hope will not be overlooked, is how a lifelong interest of yours might coincide unexpectedly with the School’s needs.

I checked in with John Shanholt who had the honor of seeing his younger daughter graduate from Deerfield in May. Here is just some of what John had to say,

A misty rain rinsed the top of a sprawling green-and-white tent, stretched out as big as a soccer field across the lawn to the west of the Main School building. Led by pipers, the Seniors walked, arm in arm, down Albany Road. Underclassmen lined the street, cheering and waving to their older schoolmates. When the Seniors, with girls in white dresses and boys in blue blazers, finally entered the tent, a roar went up from the thousand family members. The faculty followed, to continued applause from the Seniors and Parents.

A woodwind ensemble filled the tent with amplified classics, setting the tone for the Headmaster's typically wry, gracious introduction. Speeches, awards, and diplomas followed in a rehearsed but unrushed ceremony. Two immense video screens showed all the action, with close-ups of the speakers and graduates, for those sitting too far back to see.

I will certainly miss my frequent parental visits to Deerfield, and now I await my class reunions with more desire. Again I observe that Deerfield, while appearing to be the same school in the same place, is in so many ways a substantially different and better institution than the one I left in 1969. Now I have two fond and distinct memories - what it was then, and what it recently has been.

May Class Trivia

Well, I was feelin' so bad, asked my family doctor 'bout what I had,
I said, "Doctor, Doctor, Mister M.D., can you tell me, what's ailing me?”

The Young Rascals, 1966

Had any returning alumni/ae thought to ask the question originally posed by The Young Rascals, the Great Class of 1969 would have been prepared: In attendance at the last Reunion were ER physician Lare Huber, gastroenterologist Jamie Rawles, cardiovascular surgeon Bob Clough and cardiologist Ken Huber. On call was sports medicine doc Dave Leffers for any overworked weekend warriors as well as plastic surgeon Bill DeLuca for anyone disappointed in how they had aged since graduation. Jack Spitznagel also was available by phone in the event anyone wanted a root canal as were OB/GYN Burt Harden and internist Dick Prokesch.

There were many correct responses to the picture of Dave Leffers in last month’s photo trivia contest which didn’t fool many. Here’s my “Mystery Classmate” for this month:

This Classmate is the fifth generation in his family to be involved in the media industry and now heads a private company. Previously he was CEO of a public company and co-produced with another Classmate a documentary on an American who fundamentally changed the way in which people now communicate. How many of you know who this is?

As long as I am on the “captains of industry” theme, who among you can answer the following question:

Who was the first member of the Great Class of 1969 to head a publicly-traded company?

Last Thoughts

In the last year since our 35th I have enjoyed composing these e-mails and hearing from a number of you. E-mail correspondence has become a great convenience since I last did this a few years back, but it also can be a one-way street when I push the “Send” button and my message heads off into cyberspace. I count on feedback from all of you – whether it is simply news or, as I always ask, a contribution to the Academy by going to Deerfield Alumni and clicking on the link "Giving to Deerfield". Although the final numbers have yet to be counted, I know that we have made great progress on the participation front this year. I also am told that there has been a lot of back channel communication among those on the distribution list for these e-mails which is an unmeasured benefit. With only a few weeks left in the Academy’s gift year, I ask those of you who have not already contributed to reflect upon the unique status of this secondary school of which we are all alumni and to join me and many of our Classmates in providing support if you have not done so already.

Thank you and best wishes to all.

Monday, May 02, 2005

May 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

News from the Academy

The April issue of The Scroll arrived last week. Of particular interest is that the number of applicants this year reached an all-time high of 1,595, and the admittance rate dropped to 21%. Even with that low admittance rate, the total enrollment of 608 is about 10 more than the dormitories can accommodate comfortably. Another front page story on the uneven enforcement of the dress code asks the pointed question, “Will girls ever dress as equals?” On a final note, there are reports of paranormal activity on Main Street which is something that should come as no surprise to some members of the Great Class of 1969.

The Boys Varsity Lacrosse team hit a bump in the road last week and lost a squeaker to Loomis, 11-10. For a write-up on how the team lost an early lead on a rain soaked afternoon, here’s the link: Boys' Varsity Lacrosse. The team is now ranked # 3 in New England and plays # 2 ranked Salisbury on May 18th.

Class News

I recently visited with Todd Stone and his family at a reception honoring the artists whose works were chosen for the award ceremonies for the Tribeca Film Festival. Todd’s career as an artist has been personally affected by 9/11, most obviously because he looked out on the Twin Towers from his apartment which he had to vacate for several months afterwards because of its proximity. Initially he did a series of watercolors of the downtown area on 9/11 and the immediate aftermath Witness, however, he is now focused on the rebuilding in his series called “Seven Rising” in which he is documenting though his painting the construction of Seven World Trade Center Seven Rising. A work from this series was selected as the award for the Best Documentary Film at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Rob Almy, who has moonlighted as a lacrosse referee for the past 25 years, is returning to ref the alumni lacrosse game on May 21st, after which he will officiate the DA-Exeter game (not that we need an 11th man on the field).

Graduation ceremonies the weekend of May 28th are rapidly approaching for this year’s Senior Class which includes daughters of Tom Merrigan and John Shanholt. If you have any news for the next issue of Deerfield Magazine, please e-mail it to Class Notes. Submissions for the next issue need to be received by the end of May.

Annual Support Update

With only two months left in the fiscal year, the most recent update arrived today, and it served to underscore the importance of “finishing strong”. I took a minute to look back at the Classes of ’67 and ’68 to see what they had produced in the year following their 35th reunions, and the Class of ’67 went from 51% participation to 43%, whereas the Class of 1968 (hardly a model) managed to stay constant at 32%. At this stage, we are running at 31%, down from 43% last year. My objective remains to have 50% participation this year. For those of you to whom this pertains, this is the time to step up and to renew your commitment to Deerfield. The consumers of secondary education have affirmed the appeal of the Academy and what it has to offer with the record setting number of applications. Please join me in supporting a worthwhile cause by logging on to Deerfield Alumni and clicking on the link to the left "Giving to Deerfield".

Answers to Last Month’s Class Trivia Quiz

Jamie Rawles took the guessing out of last month’s photo trivia when he identified John Marchiano as the mystery Classmate and hit “Reply All”. In any case, the other members of the Class who went into law enforcement include Michael Buerger who started his career as a municipal police officer in New Hampshire and has alternated between academia and police practice. Michael is currently Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice Program at Bowling Green State University. In addition, Zech Chafee, when last spotted, was working in the US Attorney’s Office in Providence, RI, and Tom Merrigan (now in private practice) is former first justice of the Orange District Court in Massachusetts.

Other lawyers in private practice include the following Classmates: Skip Allen, Bill Bowman, Steve Calder, Will Colwell, Mark Ewing, Paul Galuszka, Neil Jacobs, Dave Kahn, John Marchiano, Dan Perry, Casey Reed, Jere Sullivan and Ed Vena. Other members of the Class with law degrees include Nat Brayton, David Colker and Christian Liipfert.

This Month’s Class Trivia Quiz
Can you name (without hitting the “Reply All” button), the following Classmate and, more importantly, provide his e-mail address?

This Classmate, among his many claims to fame, was drafted in the 15th round in 1973 by the Oakland Raiders and is regarded as a guru in the field of sports medicine who, on the side, has been the team physician for a number of professional teams.

Over dinner at the Reunion I confidently told David Pond, Associate Headmaster for Alumni Affairs and Development, that I was sure that the Great Class of 1969 had every possible malady covered in the event any of the attendees needed medical attention. Can you tell why I was so confident and how many members of the Class took the Hippocratic Oath after leaving Deerfield?

NYC Area Events

For those of you in the Greater New York Area, the Deerfield Club of New York City will be hosting its second annual wine tasting at Café St. Bart’s on May 19th from 7:00-10:00 PM. There is no charge for members and $40.00 for non-members. Call (413) 774-1801 if you want to reserve a place. If you’d like to see The Odd Couple on November 9th, you’ll need to call Mimi Morsman at (413) 774-1586 by May 4th to reserve a seat ($150 a head, including pre-theater buffet at Sardi’s).

Please let me know if your preferred e-mail address has changed or if you have the e-mail address of another Classmate I should add to the distribution list.

Best wishes to all in the Great Class of 1969.

Monday, April 04, 2005

April 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

I am well rested from vacation and ready to head into the last three months of this year’s Annual Support drive. Since I last wrote, here’s what I can tell you:

News from the Academy

With everyone away for two weeks over Spring Break, campus news has been sparse since I last wrote unless you work in the Admissions Office. By the end of this week, the school will have a good sense for the make-up of the incoming classes since those who were accepted will have completed their revisits and communicated their decisions by then. While it’s still way too early to start making predictions, the Deerfield Lacrosse team got off to a good start with a win over Brunswick last weekend, and the team is presently ranked # 1 in the New England regional ranking of over 400 schools. Last year’s team (16-1) ranked # 10 nationally. Rob Almy has expressed the hope of fulfilling a long-held wish to referee the annual Alumni/Varsity Lacrosse Game the weekend of May 21-22. Finally, as most of you know by now, a new Alumni Directory will be published later this year in both hardcover and CD format. In the event that you haven’t already confirmed your contact information, you should call Harris Publishing, which the Academy has chosen to publish the directory, at (800) 451-4206.

News from the Class

You should all now be in receipt of the most recent copy of the alumni magazine and, for a change, there is news of our class as well as photos. Rich Berkowitz and David Colker are both prominently displayed, as could you, if you submit information for future publication by logging on at Deerfield Alumni and going to the Class Notes link.

News of Former Masters

Sandy Weissent passed along the following snippet from a letter the Czar had written him earlier this year: "I have to send these fantastic headlines to you! 'Pats win second Super Bowl in 3 years.' 'Nils Ahbel first to sit in Peter G. Hindle Chair in mathematics.' 'Hindle gets hole-in-one (finally) after playing golf for 60 years.' 'Red Sox win World Series after 86 years.' This was a great year for me and I hope it was for you. May 2005 be even better." You may reach Mr. Hindle at 5 W. Rockland Farm, South Dartmouth, MA 02748-3727. Sandy also informed me that Larry Boyle, head coach of the undefeated 1969 Varsity Swim team, is under the care of hospice with melanoma and would enjoy hearing from former students. He can be reached at 4253 Bay Beach Lane, Ft. Myers Beach, FL 33931.

Annual Support Status Report

We made some further progress on the fundraising front since my last update. Through March, the total number of donors is running even with last year, however, the list includes five fresh faces. In addition, four other classmates missing from last year’s list have indicated their intention to make a contribution before June 30th. Last year, we received half of our donations in the last three months of the school’s fiscal year, and this year looks like it may follow that pattern. I can’t tell if this is due to procrastination or a desire to “finish strong”. In either case, for those of you who have misplaced your gift envelope, the easiest way to contribute is to get out your VISA or MasterCard and go to Online Annual Support Giving. If you prefer to designate how your gift is to be used, you may choose from among these six options: Faculty, Library, Technology, Arts, Athletics and Financial Aid.

The Arts Initiative

I mentioned in one of my recent e-mails that several of our classmates have expressed their generosity by establishing permanent capital funds or by joining the Boyden Society. Since I last wrote, one of our classmates has indicated his willingness to make a gift to the school in his particular area of interest. This has stimulated the active participation of the Development Office and the departments that would benefit most directly from the proposal. Because we are in the midst of scoping out the school’s needs and deciding how broadly to go with this, it would be premature to go into any greater detail at this time. I expect to have more to say on this topic before school lets out in June and, in the interim, hope that you will bear in mind this example of how a lifelong interest you’ve had might coincide unexpectedly with the school’s needs.

Trivia Quiz Winners

Last month’s quiz again proved difficult for most, and Jamie Rawles, Chris Beach and Barry Berg all readily pleaded ignorance. As for the photo trivia, I should have realized that Sandy Weissent would be the first to recognize his Harvard classmate Kevin Murphy. Several others, including Bob Clough, John Lacey and Casey Reed also recognized Kevin’s unmistakable nose and “Star Trek” ears. Kevin, who is President and Chief Operating Officer of Ocean Cuisine International, expressed the hope that displaying his mug shot would do nothing to dampen the fundraising effort. While some mistakenly thought it might be David Chittim or Patrick Murphy, happily no one suggested that it would affect their giving plans. As for the more academic questions on the quiz, no one in the class apparently attended the symposium hosted by the San Francisco Chapter of the Data Management Association at which Cass Squire spoke about Metadata Management. On the other hand, some saw the payoff for John Mills’ long hours in the library in the two Naval Research Laboratory Thomas Edison Awards he has received for patents. Finally, John Lacey expressed gratitude that Charlie Bishop was thinking about cultured human keratinocytes both active and catabolise 1 alpha-hydroxyvitamin D2 analogs. As for what any of our more scholarly classmates meant, you’ll have to await an explanation.

As you all know, spring is in the air again after a very tough winter term. This is the perennial chance for the laggards in the class to shine as the academic year draws to a close. For this month, I have chosen to focus on the topic of law and order and pose the following questions:

1. Can you identify three members of the class, including the classmate picture below, who have devoted their lives to law enforcement?

2. In a related vein, how many classmates can you name who are in private practice? Hint: Law school may well have been the most popular post-graduate program in our class.

Best wishes to all.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March 2005 Letter

To the Great Class of 1969:

For those of you who were intellectually challenged by my quiz last month, I have some good news: you weren’t alone! At the end of this e-mail, you will have a chance to redeem yourselves but, in the meantime, here are the correct answers, based on the best available information:

As to how many states and foreign countries are represented by our Class, the answer is 35 states and two foreign countries. The interesting thing here is how international the School has become. As you might guess, we live in nearly as many states as the current school population, but 21 countries are represented in the student body this year.

After Massachusetts, the five most populated states for the Class of ’69 today are: New York (12), California (10), Pennsylvania (7), Connecticut (6) and Maine (6). This compares with New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, California and Vermont in the current student body.

The bonus question asked was how many lbs. of M&Ms the Admissions office consumed in a year. The correct answer (a Scroll exclusive) is 685 lbs. (or a little over six oz. per applicant).

Since I last wrote, we have added a couple of Classmates to the e-mail list. We are always looking for more, but I was particularly gratified to have turned up Tee Johnson who, you will be glad to know, has lived the good life since graduation. He recently wrote from beautiful Buenos Aires, and I quote:

The creative energy here in Argentina is hot and heavy - I love it! The Tango....the Food...the art.....the scenery....the cost of living (1/3 of the cost of living in the U.S)...... the medical insurance....the Food.....the weather....the sun...the FOOD!.....the beautiful women......ahhhhhhh!

For those of you who don’t follow the news at the School as regularly as others, the only thing I will note is that there is mention on the web site that the School recently hosted the sixth concert in honor of Clem Schuler who served the School from 1935 until 1976 and who passed away in September 2001. You can find the article at Welcome to Deerfield Academy News.

On another note, for those of you who participate in Annual Support, 2005 has gotten off to a slow start for the Class, after a strong rush for 2004 year-end tax deductions. This, I suppose, is to be expected, however, we do need to step it up in the coming months if you’re not going to embarrass me for boldly predicting that we can achieve a 50% participation rate among those we solicit this year. For those to whom this pertains, here’s the address for making a gift online: Annual Support.

Finally, for those of you who would like a chance to improve your GPA, here’s the second in a series of Class trivia quizzes:

1. Name the Classmate who holds the following patent: Technique for Estimating the Pose of Surface Shapes Using Tripod Operators;

2. Name the Classmate who recently made a presentation entitled “Metadata: The Promise vs. the Reality”;

3. Name the Classmate who co-authored “Cultured human keratinocytes both active and catabolise 1 alpha-hydroxyvitamin D2 analogs”; and

4. Bonus Question: Explain what each of our Classmates meant.

Be well and stay in touch!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

February 2005 Letter

Members of the Great Class of 1969:

Since I last wrote, we have added a number of new e-mail addresses to the distribution list, and are now up to 79. While our mailing list is considerably more complete, we have completely lost track of the following Classmates:

Doug Collins
Bill Guthrie
Jay Hand
John Harding
Tee Johnson
Todd Johnson
Hugh Lawrence
Dennis Mitchell
John Moore
Phil Poirier
John Updike
Kim White

If you have information on their whereabouts or the e-mail addresses of others not on this distribution, please send it along to me at Class Postings.

Annual Support is kicking into full gear with five months left in the current fiscal year. We are off to a good start both in terms of participation and contributions. Steve Sheresky and John Kjorlien have agreed to serve as Class Agents again this year, and will be worthy of your support, should they call. In that regard, many of you recently received the Annual Report for the 2004 fiscal year. One development of particular interest this past year was the establishment of the Christopher Beach Award for Excellence in The Performing Arts which, by my count, becomes the third endowed fund established at the direction of a member of our Class. There are also four Classmates who are members of the Boyden Society which recognizes individuals who have made legacy gifts to Deerfield.

In the course of studying the Class list, I have been able to learn something about what we do and where we live. With that in mind, I will close with the first in an occasional series of pop quizzes:

1. This year’s student body comes from 38 states and 21 foreign countries. How many states and foreign countries are represented by our Class?

2. What are the five states, after Massachusetts, with the greatest concentration of members of the Class of 1969, and how many Classmates live in each of those five states?

I look forward to hearing from you. Best wishes to all.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

January 2005 Letter

To my Classmates:

One of the perks of being Class Agent is a free subscription to The Scroll so that I get to see what’s on everyone’s mind before it eventually gets excerpted on the Alumni Web site. The January issue is full of interesting stories, some of which would have rung true in 1968, including “The Trustees begin search for new head of school” and “Inventive table heads spice up sit-down meals”. There are the requisite sports stories with girls’ hockey and figure skating getting prominent coverage. There is also talk about the impending release of The Pocumtuck as well as commencement, where the top three picks for speaker have boiled down to Lance Armstrong, Bill Clinton and Chevy Chase.

Finally, some of you may have noticed the sad story about Gordon Bailey ’04 last fall who died at college of alcohol poisoning after a hazing incident. His family has established The Gordie Foundation in his memory, the mission of which is “to stop hazing in any form and to provide advocacy for zero tolerance laws against hazing across the country”. During the second half of the Choate game I noticed green wristbands with “WWGD” being sold up and down the sidelines. I only learned today that the letters stood for “What Would Gordie Do”, and that all proceeds will go for the benefit of The Gordie Foundation.