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.