Saturday, March 07, 2009

Winter Term 2008-2009

To the Great Class of 1969:

School let out yesterday for two weeks. Mirroring the harsh New England weather, the S&P 500 declined 24% during the Winter Term, bringing the cumulative drop since the School year began to a staggering 45%. Who would have guessed things could have gotten so bad or would like to speculate where we might be by graduation in May or our Reunion in June?

News of the Academy

Despite the pervasive doom and gloom outside, life goes on within the Deerfield bubble. By all appearances the Class of '09 is off to a good start with college admissions based on the early decision results. According to The Scroll, 85% of the senior class applied early somewhere. Some of the other hot topics covered this term in The Scroll involved a change in the day student driving policy which now allows boarding students to ride with day students, a change in the method of selecting proctors designed to make the process more equitable and the perennial issue of whether the students are getting enough sleep.

News of the Class

The newspaper industry may be on life support, but don't tell Marty Kaiser, Senior Vice president and Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In February, Marty had the distinction of being named "Editor of the Year" by E&P, a trade publication. To learn why Marty was selected, you can read all about it here.

If you are in New York on March 19th and have $16 to spare, you can catch Peter Bernstein talk about the book he co-authored a couple of years ago which was subtitled "How the Forbes 400 Make & Spend Their Fortunes". Knowing Peter for as long as I have, I have the feeling that there could be a sequel in the offing which might aptly be titled "How the Forbes 400 Lost Their Fortunes". Here are the meeting details.

Rusty Young had a successful year, raising $4.9 million - about what Deerfield Annual Support raised - for the Count Basie Theatre where he has been CEO of the Foundation since 2006. Much of the money went for the renovation of this landmark building and was made possible by the benefit concert The Boss did there last May. You can see a three minute documentary of the renovation by clicking here.

Christopher Beach, President and Artistic Director of the La Jolla Music Society, was quoted last month in an article about the difficulty of raising money for the arts in the current environment. He also appeared in an interview on a local television station in January which you can watch here.

After a respite, Jonathan Carter, two time gubernatorial candidate of Maine's Green Party, is back in the news as Executive Director of the Forest Ecology Network, a cause he has been involved with for years. Here's a link to the Fall Newsletter which includes a photo of King on the second page. Last month he was in the local news again, this time making the case for putting more than 10 million Maine acres into a "national carbon sequestration forest" which would absorb carbon in the atmosphere.

John Kjorlien, Class Agent, and John Lacey, Head of Reunion Attendance, joined me this week at the Williams Club in New York for a phonathon which seemed like a throwback to an earlier era. We managed to reach a few classmates but, more often than not, had to leave messages on answering machines. Some Classmates who have indicated they plan to attend the Reunion include Robert Clough, Ben Walbridge, Eric Tompkins, Casey Reed, Christian Liipfert, Zech Chafee, David Suitor and, for the first time, Tom Ehrgood, our Program Chair.

I have resisted shilling for Annual Support on the blog for several years, however, "Desperate times call for desperate measures" to quote a Proverb. We are trying to raise a sufficient amount of money this year to meet our Annual Support goal and to establish a memorial fund for deceased classmates, three of whom have passed away since the last Reunion. It would be a shame if we were unable to reach those twin goals in a Reunion year on account of a weak economy. Please join me in helping reaching our objective by making a generous contribution and signing up for the Reunion online now. I encourage you to sign up before March 15 to take advantage of the early bird registration special. We heard some grousing at the phonathon about the cost, so sign up now before the price increase or forever hold your peace.

I will be sending out another invitation in the near future to those who haven't yet responded to join my Google Group which I set up as an electronic meeting place for the class. To date there are a dozen members, and we need your participation to make a success of this.

End Notes

Denham C. Lunt, Jr. '43, Jim's father and former president of Lunt Silversmiths, passed away February 11th. Lunt Silversmiths was founded in 1902, a year which coincided with the beginning of the Boyden era.

I saw Steve Sheresky and Mimi Morsman at a packed memorial service in New York last month for David Olson '70 who died of heart failure after a long illness. David was the father of two Deerfield graduates (thanks to co-education) and was also a former trustee of the school. He and his wife Tara co-chaired the Senior Parents Committee in 2005 which raised nearly $2 million to establish the Albany Road Chair. The service included numerous reminders of Deerfield and concluded with the Evensong.

Best wishes to all.