Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fall Term Report Card - 2010

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The marking period for the Fall Term concluded on Friday, and the School let out for Thanksgiving vacation. 

Based on what I could tell at a breakfast which Margarita Curtis and Phil Greer, the Head of the Board of Trustees, hosted last week in New York, the Academy seems to have found its groove after the dark days of 2008 and early 2009.  The School attracted slightly over 2,000 applications last year for the first time and is extending its reach in mainland China and the Far East. On the financial side, the endowment has made headway in recovering some of its losses, and costs are under control.  A new capital campaign, the first since 1997, is planned for official unveiling next fall and will focus on three themes - "People, Program and Place".  The campaign, after extensive input from Deerfield's various constituencies, is designed to align with and preserve the core values of the Academy.  

The Menu at the New Greer
You would be pleased to see the changes to the physical plant just since our Reunion which include a substantial expansion of the seating in the Dining Hall following the fire and a renovation of space in the Gymnasium once occupied by the squash courts.  Last month I visited Deerfield for the dedication of the Greer Store and the Fitness Center which jointly occupy that space and what we once knew as the school store.  The project, which was planned during headier economic times and funded in part by the '08 and '09 parents, would have languished on the drawing boards were it not for the generosity of the Trustees who personally picked up the majority of the tab.  The Greer, as it's popularly known, has been a central meeting spot on campus for years and now can accommodate 300 students.  The fitness center, which can be entered from the Greer or via the locker room one flight down, is a first class facility that is no comparison with the windowless weight room it replaced.

Whether or not you are able to discern the familiar words of encouragement at the top of the menu, they were to no avail as Varsity Football lost to Choate in the season finale for the second year in a row. Although the season ended on a sour note, the team finished 6-2 which was a vast improvement over last year's 3-5 record.  There is hope for next year, as the JV team won nine games in a row after a season opening loss.

While reading the most recent issue of The Scroll, two articles caught my eye which I thought might be of interest.  The first, "Bring Morsman Back!" had me concerned that we had lost our last link to the faculty (other than Frank, of course).  Instead, the article was an appeal to allow Mr. Morsman to decide on table assignments in the Dining Hall once again which are now being done on the basis of some computer algorithm which doesn't have the same sense of panache.  The second was entitled "The New York Scandal" which was a reminder that, as much as things change, the exuberance of Deerfield students while on leave hasn't changed that much over 40 years.

Class News

As has been our habit the past six years, a group of us in the New York area gathered for dinner and a few hours of discussion last week.  Pictured from the left are Rusty Young, Todd Stone, myself, John Kjorlien P'13, AC Starkey and John LaceyPeter Bernstein, just back from two weeks in China, joined us at the restaurant. 

Earlier this month Tom Merrigan was re-elected as representative of the 8th District (which includes Franklin County) to the Governors Council by a 63-37 margin.  The Governor’s Council – whose main job is considering judicial candidates – also votes on pardons and commutations, warrants from the treasurer for state spending, appointments of constitutional officers when the Legislature is out of session and appointments of notaries public and justices of the peace.

DesignBuildBLUFF, founded by Hank Louis, was honored as the Agency of the Year by the Utah Housing Coalition in October for its innovative approaches to creating not only housing for an underserved population but also in creating a community of collaboration and understanding.

Todd Stone, who lives blocks from Ground Zero and has made 9/11 a recurring theme of his art the past nine years, was interviewed by Shepard Smith on Fox News in September.  Here's a link to the story which includes the embedded Fox video and a link to Todd's e-gallery.

In somewhat more dated news, Police Chief Drew Marchiano retired and was honored for his service as the Town of Lewisboro, New York's first full-time police chief in October 2009.

Marty Kaiser, about whom I've written a number of times, was known for many things but not as far as I can recall for his prowess on the baseball diamond. In a story that only recently came to my attention, Marty was asked to throw out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers' game on April 13, 2009.  I thought you would enjoy seeing Marty's one hop to the plate which was captured on this YouTube clip before 25,000 fans.

Tim Truby has been after me the past few years to identify Classmates in my Online Yearbook and, although it will take the mystery out of my occasional "Mystery Classmate" quiz, I concluded there was no point in disguising the identities any longer. As a result, now you can see not only names but also some information from Pocumtuck on the 52 Classmates pictured if you scroll your mouse over the upper right corner of the Flickr page when it opens and select "Show info".

For those of you who haven't contributed a photo - and there were 157 graduates on June 8, 1969 - or who would like to post a better photo, please send me an image shot with a camera having a 5 MP or better resolution and a height of 640 pixels or more.

Last month I received an e-mail from Google that some of the current functionality of its Google Groups sites will no longer be supported as of February 2011.  Since the networking site I set up never realized its potential, I am considering whether a group site on Facebook would be a better alternative.  Since this is a bit out of my depth, I'm hoping that some of our more tech savvy Classmates will volunteer some suggestions.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back to School - 2010

To the Great Class of 1969:

All the students have arrived at Deerfield by now, and the Academy will begin its 212th year - and fifth year under Margarita Curtis - when classes begin on Monday.  Although the Academy has reduced enrollment to a level more in keeping with the "high touch" philosophy of the school, the Admissions Office continues to underestimate the school's appeal.  Ironically, the newly expanded dining hall - a product last December's adversity - can now accommodate everyone, even if conditions in the dormitories remain tight.

As you will see from the summary below, some members of the Great Class of 1969 continued to make hay while the sun was out over the summer recess.  If there is news I have overlooked, I hope you will let me know or will e-mail it directly to Class Notes.

Class News

Wind power continues to be a big issue in Maine, and Jonathan Carter remains in the middle of the debate. Here's a link to an op-ed piece he wrote in July for the Bangor Daily News. While the man who would be King to us was opining, Ed Grosvenor was busy preparing for the 60th anniversary of American Heritage Magazine, which Ed bought a controlling interest in three years ago.  You can watch Ed, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, delivering the opening remarks at the celebration in this clip.

Howie Carr ventured north from his native Massachussets in August to speak at a Republican rally in New Hampshire. Howie was introduced by John H. Sununo, the former chief of staff to President George W.H. Bush and erstwhile Republican Governor of the Live Free or Die State, who began his remarks by saying, "It’s very rare for me to introduce someone more obnoxious and irascible than I am."

Hank Louis was interviewed in a documentary that was aired nationally on PBS in August. You can listen to Hank and see examples of his work by skipping forward to 41:27 of this clip and watching the next three minutes.

Beginning this month you can buy an updated copy of the definitive, five volume work on patent law fundamentals by John G. Mills for a cool $2,800, the price of which should provide John with a comfortable retirement and make college textbooks seem like a positive bargain. The United States Navy awarded John two Edison Awards for drafting and prosecuting patents having the greatest commercial benefit to the nation.  John is also, by his own account, a mean swing dancer on the DC circuit.

Five years ago last week I sent "Beam me up, Scotty!" into cyberspace and, with that, launched Albany Road Redux.  Over 70 postings later, you can find all the news fit to print during that time in the "Lost and Found" search box on the right side of the page. A less successful experiment has been the social networking site I set up using Google Groups in the hope that it might provide an easy way for classmates to interact.  If you have any thoughts about how the site could be improved or whether you think a Facebook page would a better alternative, let me know.

As the the summer days shorten and the shadows begin to lengthen, I am reminded of the brief time we crossed paths on Albany Road and the good fortune I had to be there.  Best wishes to all.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring Term Report Card - 2010

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The Academy enjoyed another year of extraordinary demand from applicants. As I mentioned in my last report, applications from legacies and siblings alone exceeded the total number of spaces. Despite the best of intentions to reduce enrollment to a more desirable level, the Admissions Office had only modest success. Offsetting the parsimonious admissions rate of 14.3% was the fact that 68% of those accepted sent in deposit checks, eager to pay more than 13x the cost of tuition, room and board our senior year.

If you think that the Academy seems to be hitting on all cylinders, you would not be mistaken. The endowment has had a nice bounce from the nadir in 2008, like all who stuck it out, although it is still well off its peak. Boys sports which had been so lackluster this Fall and Winter, came to life on the Lower Level this Spring where the Lacrosse team compiled a 16-1 record and finished best in New England and 9th nationally. Until a late season loss to all-boys Salisbury, Deerfield had ranked best in the country, an honor I can't recall.  In contrast, Baseball suffered a reversal of fortunes, going from 11-5 to 6-12. 

On the college admissions side, the Class of 2010 which will graduate this weekend acquitted itself with honor despite whatever misgivings the Great Class of '09 may have had about their juniors.  On a pure numbers basis, a few things stood out this year in relation to the results during the 12 years I have tracked this: (1) Georgetown, which attracted a record-tying number of graduates (14), has passed Harvard as the most popular destination for Deerfield graduates; (2) Middlebury (5 matriculants) maintained its cumulative lead by a wide margin among the liberal arts college crowd; and (3) reflecting the enormous increase in applications at the Ivies, a smaller number of Deerfield graduates (37) will attend than in any other year.

The construction projects are moving apace. The expansion of the South Bubble in the dining room following the fire is expected to be completed when school reopens in September and will enlarge the seating capacity to 700. Next door in the Gymnasium, the school store closed its doors on May 1, and the old squash courts are now only a memory. Thanks to the generosity of the Trustees, the new health and fitness center and expanded Greer Store are expected to be placed in service sometime this fall.

In case you haven't visited the Academy's website since I last wrote, it has had a complete facelift and now includes a slideshow which includes black and white photos from our era. As the Academy extends its reach, there seems to be an effort to remind everyone of the connection with the past.  For some perspective on the past 50 years, you can read an interview with the Morsmans in this term's final issue of The Deerfield Scroll.

News of the Class

Christian Liipfert, thumb up to the left, recently announced his retirement from BP and cycled in what probably will be his final BP MS150. Christian "finished strong" as we like to say and succeeded in raising 125% of his goal in contributions for MS research. At this stage Christian is considering joining a consulting firm that advises corporations on managing information assets or teaching law school.

I checked in with a couple of our Tennessee classmates after the terrible flooding in Nashville. Casey Reed wrote that he and his family live on high ground but that some rental properties he owns were 4' underwater. Tee Johnson, who is rushing to get resettled in Knoxville following his move from BsAs took time to write, "Gottlieb lives on the top of a ridge in the western part of town and the land falls away from his place on most sides, so he probably just got wet. His studio is on the upper (main) floor, so I think that should be OK, but I haven’t spoken with him".

Ed Grosvenor was in the news earlier this month in connection with the renovation of the Jesup Blair Mansion, a rundown 1850 Italianate-style house which was built by the founding family of Silver Spring, MD. Plans are to convert the house, which had been used until 2008 for low income housing, into offices for possible tenants American Heritage Publishing and the Silver Spring Historical Society at an estimated cost of $500,000. Ed has said that he hopes to highlight the mansion's history through tours, archives and paintings. Speaking of architecture, I thought you might enjoy learning more about what Hank Louis is up to by watching this video from Park City Television in Utah.

Jonathan Carter has taken his objections to the proposed construction of a wind farm in Maine to the pages of the Yale Daily News where he has written a guest column citing his family's long history with Yale and objecting to Yale's funding of the project.

Marty Kaiser continues his climb up the corporate ladder, compensating for his membership in the Sleeping Club (according to the 1969 Pocumtuck) each of his three years at Deerfield. Last month, Marty was named a Vice President of Journal Communications, parent company of the Journal Sentinel, where he has served as editor and senior vice president since 1997. Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN) owns and operates 13 TV stations and 33 radio stations in 12 states.

On a more local level, Tom Merrigan is running for re-election this fall to the Governor's Council against the same opponent he beat by a 70-30 margin in 2008. The job of the Governor's Council in Massachusetts is to confirm judges.  Sadly, Lunt Silversmiths filed for bankruptcy in mid-December, 107 years after its founding. Privately held Reed & Barton acquired the company and will continue to use the Lunt brandname on various items.  Jim Lunt was quoted in the Daily Hampshire Gazette as saying, "We, in fact, seem to be the last silversmith left in the United States.  We just couldn't compete globally, and as hard as we tried, it's clear that it's just about an impossible task."

Given the time of year, it must mean that Rusty Young is presenting the Fab Faux at The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. This year the band will be performing Abbey Road in its entirety. You can order tickets here for the June 26th concert or through Stubhub.

I've cleaned up a few things on the blog since I last wrote and wanted to point out what's changed:

For starters, I fixed the Classnotes link which you now can find in the upper right corner. If you click on it, it should open your e-mail program so that you can send news more easily.  If you have trouble with the link, you can e-mail your news to

I also added a link to the right called Top Hits 1968-1969 where you can access in chronological order all ten songs which made it to the top of the charts our senior year. Some of the recordings are updated copies which I chose over the original versions. If you have better choices, let me know.

Lastly, I updated the link to the Annual Report which is now only published online in a cost saving initiative. If you can't remember the password you will need to access the site, click on the link I added to the Deerfield Evensong and listen to a 1988 recording of the Glee Club at the last Spring Weekend Concert before the return of co-education.

Mystery Classmate

As many of you know, my interest in adding to the Online Yearbook knows almost no bounds.  Toward that end, I recently came across the photo to the left.  If any of you have read the novel "From Time to Time" by Jack Finney or seen The Time Traveler's Wife, you will appreciate what this term's Mystery Classmate has managed to accomplish.  For those who may not recognize him, you can read about what he's been up to by going here.

End Note

When I handed the fundraising baton to Tom Ehrgood last year I didn't stop caring about the results. For the first time in our lifetimes, Deerfield's fiscal year will end on June 30th rather than August 31st. For those who would procrastinate, this is your moment. Please take a minute to contribute by going to and adding to Annual Support. We still have a long way to go and need your help to match last year.

Best wishes.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Winter Term Report Card 2009-2010

To the Great Class of 1969:

It's been a year since I wrote, "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?" This timely question set off a record rally in the markets within days and, for those whose chose to speculate that we had bottomed, it's been a remarkable run as long as you overlook the inconvenient fact that the market is trending along where it was a year before our 30th Reunion.

While things on Wall Street improved, the harsh weather on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where I live did not. In Central Park the snowfall in February eclipsed the previous record for the month by 32%, a record that had lasted for 75 winters. It also surpassed any single month since 1896.

Academy News

As a result of the fire in the basement of the the Dining Hall last December, the maintenance staff has had to improvise by moving some tables out into the lobby. The Academy is making the best of a bad situation by expanding the "south bubble" so that the Dining Hall will be able to accommodate all the students when it returns to its target size. Construction is expected finish sometime this fall.

This May "The Greer" (which we once knew simply as "the school store") will be gutted and replaced with a substantially expanded facility which is scheduled to open in October. The renovation of The Greer and the repurposing of the adjacent old squash courts as a health and fitness center were funded, in part, by the parents of the classes of 2008 and 2009. You can read about the plans in The Scroll.

The addition of new international squash courts several years ago seems to have attracted some top talent to Deerfield. This year's girls team - 15-2 heading into the New England Championships - was a standout this term. Boys Swimming finished the season with its only loss to an undefeated Andover team. It competes in the New England Championships at Hotchkiss this weekend where it has a chance to avenge its one loss and repeat last year's win in this season-ending event. Boys Hockey, once a stronghold, ended the season virtually unchanged, finishing 12-12-1 vs. 11-11-2 last year.

You may have noticed that the order of finish was the same in both men's and women's hockey at the Olympics, however, you probably overlooked that Molly Schaus '06, on leave from Boston College, was goalie for the Americans. I revisited Deerfield's athletic archives out of curiosity and found this summary of the 2005-06 season, "Despite a final showing of 11-10-3, Schaus, who was voted the team’s MVP, still managed to post some statistics that would make any college coach smile. She finished the season with a 1.99 goals against average, stopped 92 percent of the shots her opponents sent her way and registered five shutouts". From 11-10-3 in Deerfield's rink to the Silver Medal in Vancouver four years later...not bad!

Deerfield applicants will learn their fate next week. This should be a particularly competitive year on account of the Academy's desire to manage down the enrollment over the next few years. Applications from legacies and siblings once again exceed the number of available spots although they are likely to comprise less than 15% of the total applicant pool.

Last, but by no means least, Deerfield's greatest patron, David Koch '58, was named the first lifetime trustee of Deerfield.

Class News

Hank Louis continues to make news as founder of DesignBuildBLUFF. Next week Hank will speak in Salt Lake City about recent architectural projects and the importance design plays to nurture and improve the lives of people who experience it. The DBB program takes architecture graduate students from the Unversity of Utah to the Navajo Reservation in Bluff, Utah, where they design and build homes each year for Native American families.

The editors of Talkers magazine recently ranked the top 250 radio talk show hosts for 2010, and Howie Carr ranked #51. Howie is characterized as a "consistent performer" in the afternoon drive market on WRKO in Boston. Howie recently interviewed Tom Merrigan, a member of the Massachusetts Governors Council. To listen to Howie and Tom, go here and fast forward four minutes.

Last month Christopher Beach, the La Jolla Music Society’s president and artistic director since 2006, hosted the Chopin Bicentennial Celebration at a La Jolla Music Society recital which he called the “largest Chopin exploration anywhere in the U.S.” Christopher originated the idea for the Chopin festival and organized 18 concerts in coordination with three other local performing arts organizations.

Another classmate in the news was Jonathan (f/k/a "King") Carter who is the director of the Forest Ecology Network. As you may recall, Jonathan has been a devoted environmentalist and former candidate of the Maine Green Party. Despite the fact that Jonathan has favored wind farms for 25 years, last month he found himself in the unenviable position of arguing against a local project, saying that wind turbines would raise the background noise level in the forest to nearly 50 decibels and reduce the ability of animals to communicate. You may remember that about a year ago Jonathan went on record advocating using forests to sequester carbon emissions. You can read what he has to say on the topic at the Forest Ecology Network website.

Steve Estimer and his band When Cousins Marry, a long running UNC-area cover band that defies easy characterization, are planning a new release for sometime this summer which will include a song with a reference to our Class. You can get a sense for the band by visiting their website.

The "Mystery Classmate" in my photo trivia question last term elicited one or two inexplicable guesses but was too obvious for others. The correct answer was Charlie Bishop.

Best wishes to all.