Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Term Report Card - 2009

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The Academy opened its doors this fall with more girls than boys for the first time since co-education was reintroduced twenty years ago. Over the summer, a construction crew reconfigured the dorms in order to accommodate 650 students due to a higher than anticipated yield. The expectation is that the Academy will work down the size of the school through the admissions process over the next couple of years.

Despite the somewhat overcrowded conditions in the dorms, the Academy experienced only a handful of swine flu cases during the fall term. This might not have been so remarkable except that Andover, Exeter, St. Paul's, Choate and Hotchkiss each had between 85 and 100 cases according to The Scroll.

A healthy and record student body was not sufficient to deter Deerfield's principal rivals on the lower level. After two winning seasons, each of which culminated in lopsided wins over Choate, Deerfield football finished the year with a 3-5 record by losing to Choate at Deerfield in heavy rain. That there was only a three game swing in the won lost record was fortunate since this year's team gave up 14 more points and scored 11 fewer points per game than last year's team. You don't need to be a math major to know that a 25 point swing per game is a tough hurdle to overcome.

Those who attended the Reunion this year had their first chance to tour the Koch Center which went into service in 2007. The construction of such a complicated building led to disputes between the Academy and both the construction company and the architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The construction company settled with the Academy last year, and in August the Academy received an undisclosed amount from the architects in an out-of-court settlement following a four year lawsuit.

Hoping for a better result this time, the Academy will begin construction of a new Health & Fitness Center where the old squash courts are located and a substantial expansion of the adjoining school store, now known as "The Greer" in March. The new facilities were funded by the parents of the past two graduating classes, which Steve Sheresky P'08 and I headed successively, and friends of the Academy.

News of the Class

This June I returned to Deerfield to attend graduation for the first time since 1969. Although most of the Great Class of 1969 decided that one march down Albany Road was sufficient, I suspect that even the most hardened among us would feel moved wondering where all the time had gone since standing in that same spot years ago. Whether or not you agree, I wanted to share this link to the Graduation Procession which another '09 parent was kind enough to post on YouTube. A few highlights: Head of School Margarita Curtis (0:10), Mr. Morsman (0:15), our own Frank Henry (1:07) and my legatee Nick (2:58-3:01). You also will notice a number of very (apologies BVL, but I had McGlynn and never sat at table 49) attractive alumnae who weren't eligible for the procession 40 years ago. I think that's what Howie Carr must have had in mind when he said, after revisiting Deerfield, that at least half the class was more attractive than he remembered.

Robert Clough e-mailed me after reading my report on the Reunion while in a cyber cafe in Stockholm to say that he was off to Russia in search of salmon. As you may know, Robert is an avid outdoorsman, like many in Maine, and is also a member of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. I instructed Robert to catch every last salmon in Russia, and he wound up with nine. When I asked him about the cost per fish, he told me, "You don't want to 'amortize' your salmon fishing as there is so much more to it than numbers of fish". He indicated that it was "ridiculously expensive" but less than the cost of a shrink. As for the quality of the salmon, he said that it was "the same species as in Canada and Maine, but the setting was much wilder. The only comparison would be the George River in Ungava Bay, Quebec".

If you look closely at the photo you will see that Robert is wearing his Deerfield Reunion cap with the Doors from John Williams.

Also sporting Deerfield apparel is Tee Johnson who is now within 12 lbs. of his graduation weight after weight loss surgery. Tee and his wife are departing Argentina after five years and heading for Knoxville, Tennessee where Tee will run a new office. On the side, he and the executive producer of the documentary Evita just signed a deal to do eight half hour films for PBS in 2010.

AC Starkey will retire at yearend after 40 years with PNC and predecessor companies. AC is on various charities and non-profit boards in New Jersey and maintains a house in St. Barts where he seems to spend half his time.

Sandy Weissent wrote that he had sustained an injury while helping the "National Pastime" baseball team win the World Series title recently in Arizona for the sixth time in twenty years in advancing age brackets. As a result of the injury, Sandy had to skip the Roy Hobbs Tournament in Florida where he regularly plays for the "Windy City Fire".

Earlier this month, a number of us convened in New York for our first dinner together in two years. The group included Tom Ehrgood, my successor as chief fundraiser who was able to join us for the first time in several years, and Will Colwell, who made it for the first time. Faces you will recognize from the 2007 dinner included Peter Bernstein, John Lacey, John Kjorlien P '13, Rusty Young and Todd Stone. Tom O'Gara missed the photo op again but joined us at the restaurant where the conversation went on unabated for three hours.

Photo Trivia

According to BusinessWeek, our mystery classmate has over 24 years of management experience in the pharmaceutical industry across multiple disciplines including R&D, Regulatory Affairs, Operations, and Business Development. He is currently President and CEO of Cytochroma, a specialty pharmaceutical company. From September 1987 to June 2005, he held various positions, including President, at Bone Care International Inc., a public company which was acquired by Genzyme. He completed a four-year National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship in Vitamin D Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his Ph.D. degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, after earning an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Virginia. Do you know who he is?

In closing, I wanted to highlight that I have redone the links on the right side of the blog to include the Deerfield Channel on YouTube as well as photos from our 40th Reunion. Hope you like it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.