Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spring Term 2008

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

Commencement ceremonies for the 209th graduating class were held on May 24th under picture-perfect conditions. The keynote speaker this year was Henry Morgenthau ’37 whose grandson was a member of the Class of 2008. In 1985 Mr. Morgenthau received the Deerfield Heritage Award which is given annually in recognition of that alumnus whose professional and personal achievements represent a special contribution to the betterment of society. Since 1974 Mr. Morgenthau has served as District Attorney for New York County.

The Academy announced the retirement of Jeff Louis ’81 and the selection of Philip Greer ’53 as Head of the Board of Trustees. After graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Business School, Mr. Greer co-founded Weiss Peck & Greer, a highly regarded pioneer in venture capital investing. The Greer Family Distinguished Teaching Chair honors the legacy of great teaching at Deerfield, and the Greer Store in the Gymnasium remains one of the favorite gathering spots on the campus.

The preliminary college results confirmed that Deerfield graduates continue to crowd into the same colleges. By my unofficial tally, while Deerfield graduates have enrolled in more than 150 colleges over the past ten years, half have enrolled in just 15 colleges. Brown remains the most popular school over that stretch, however, Georgetown is gaining ground and has overtaken Penn in second place. Students spread their nets wide this year, submitting an average of nearly 13 college applications. Of the 196 graduates, approximately 8-10 are considering a gap year.

Boys Varsity Lacrosse had another stunning year, missing a perfect season at Avon with a one goal loss in May. According to LaxPower, the team ranked second in New England and 19th in the country. The Deerfield Tennis program continues to rock: Girls Varsity went undefeated at 10-0, and JV wasn’t far behind at 8-1. Mr. Morsman’s Boys Varsity more than held its own, finishing 13-2. For those who are counting, Mr. Morsman completed his 48th year at Deerfield and is the longest serving Master other than, of course, the Boydens.

News of the Class

For at least the fourth consecutive year, the parent body at Commencement included representatives of the Class of 1969. This year Frank Henry’s daughter and Steve Sheresky’s son became alumni, bringing the total number of classmates whose children have graduated to 12. Steve and his wife Tapley headed the Senior Parents Committee this year which shattered all previous fundraising records by raising approximately $2.6 million for a new exercise facility to be constructed next year where the old squash courts are located.

Ben Walbridge wrote recently that the youngest of his children will be attending the University of California at Berkeley next year. If Ben makes it down to the boathouse, he’ll probably run into Eric Tompkins whose son was recruited to row at Berkeley a year ago.

Christian Liipfert completed his third BP MS150 bike tour from Houston to Austin in April under trying weather conditions. As you may recall from prior postings, Christian’s brother was diagnosed with MS several years ago, and Christian has been participating since then in this annual fundraising event. This year Christian raised approximately $4,000 for the cause from friends which BP matched.

In another act of generosity, Rusty Young hosted a benefit concert featuring The Boss in May. The sold out event netted over $3 million for the renovation of the Count Basie Theatre and also provided seating at no cost to 40 wounded New Jersey war vets who were bussed up by the military from Walter Reade Hospital for the event. Another Jersey Boy, AC Starkey, passed on a Deerfield Phonathon that night in order to hear Springsteen play Born to Run from start to finish. AC continues to be active in the Princeton community where he recently was named a trustee of the Morven Museum which showcases the cultural heritage of the Garden State.

In April, Folio Magazine published its list of 40 people to watch in 2009. Ed Grosvenor was singled out for having bought 75% of American Heritage “with the intention of reviving the magazine’s historic, literary roots”.

While visiting the Academy last month, I stopped in to see Mimi Morsman who is in charge of Deerfield Reunions as well as the Lambert memorial service. I am pleased to tell you that John Lacey, with assistance from Ben Walbridge, has agreed to head up attendance. In his most recent e-mail to me, Lacey indicated he is considering asking Mr. Merriam to check names off on a clipboard upon arrival next June 12th to make sure that everyone gets in the spirit of the weekend. You all will be hearing from John shortly. This year’s reunion will conclude with a service honoring the life of Bryce Lambert on June 15th at 10:30 in Memorial Hall. If you have been procrastinating, you may still be able to get a room at The Hotel Northampton (413-584-3100).

Class Trivia

Eric Tompkins and John Lacey correctly identified Marty Kaiser as the Mystery Classmate in my Winter Term Report Card.

Best wishes for the summer.