Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall Term Report Card - 2012

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The Fall Term concluded on Friday, and the Academy has let out for Thanksgiving vacation.  Of particular note this term, the Class of 2013 will graduate without having beaten Choate in Varsity Football.  For those of you who may not have watched the lopsided contest stream across your screen last Saturday or who may not appreciate the historical significance of this, I am told this is the first time since the 1940’s that a graduating class at either school will have suffered this ignominy.  Before you decide to cut off financial support for Deerfield on the basis of this single event, I think it also should be noted that football was eclipsed some time ago as a dependable athletic hook into the most selective colleges by sports in which Deerfield excels.
The most recent issue of The Scroll indicated that Deerfield has adopted a “two strikes and you’re out” policy with a uniquely tolerant twist that would have made the Headmaster proud.  The “twist”, as I understand it, is that the second strike has to be for the same offense that resulted in the first reprimand.  I’m sure that even the least enterprising members of our Class would have no problem finding a work around to that loophole.  By the way, if you have any doubts about how much more complex it has become to run Deerfield, I encourage you to read this article I came across in Vanity Fair.

On the political front, a Presidential straw poll revealed a student body that was a microcosm of the broader society.  Final tally: Obama 235, Romney 233. I think we similarly forecast the winner in a straw poll in 1968, but others may have a better recollection.

The $200 million capital campaign continues to roll along and now has raised $120 million, up from $85 million a year ago.  The last time I checked, the new dormitory, which took the place of Ashley on the east side of the campus, remains a naming opportunity for anyone in the Class with the financial capacity who is so inclined.

News of the Class

Earlier this week eight of us got together for dinner in what has become an annual ritual in New York.  The group was comprised of the usual suspects, namely, Peter Bernstein, Steve Bisbee, John Kjorlien, John Lacey, Tom O’Gara, Todd Stone and Rusty YoungRobert Clough, who was in town for the annual dinner of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, was able to stop by before heading off for a prior commitment.  Although there is no photographic record of this year’s event (some would say by design), I can assure you that the group is little the worse for wear after another year, despite the fact that five members had to rough it without electricity for varying periods as a result of Super Storm Sandy.
As testimony to the enduring youthfulness of the Class, Hank Louis became the 15th member (and presumably the last!) to enroll a child at Deerfield.  His son played soccer for Frank Henry this term.
After representing Western Massachusetts for six years on the Governor’s Council, Tom Merrigan decided not to seek re-election for a fourth term on the Governor’s Council this fall, citing increased out-of-state travel commitments for his job as executive vice president and general counsel to California-based Easton-Bell Sports.  Tom joined Easton-Bell in June 2010.

Rick Swig, a California hotelier, bought the John Muir Inn, a 60-room hotel in Napa in May which he spruced up over the summer and rebranded as the Napa Winery Inn.  Rick also owns the Harvest Inn in Napa Valley.

Marty Kaiser participated on a panel at Colby College discussing investigative journalism in the digital age earlier this month.  The panel was convened in connection with the presentation of the annual Lovejoy award for courageous journalism to Bob Woodward.

Steve Esthimer posted to our Facebook group a message describing what he had been doing to raise the awareness of his students in the political process.  If you missed his post and would like to join the 40 Classmates in our group on Facebook, let me know.  We also have a similar group on Google+.

Jonathan Carter continues to do battle with environmental predators.  In addition to leading the opposition to a mountain top wind farm, King has found a new cause, opposing a proposal to construct a privately funded toll road across Maine.

To the bane of Massachusetts’ newest Senator and her constituency, WRKO exercised its option to extend Howie Carr’s contract last summer.  Howie anchors a program from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM and has been with WRKO since 1994.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Spring Term Report Card - 2012

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

School let out for summer vacation today.  As has been the pattern for some years, the senior class has been long gone, having received their diplomas last Sunday at Deerfield’s 213th Commencement.

The year-end issue of The Scroll reported that more than 50 members of the Class of 2012 will be moving on to Ivy League schools in the fall.  For the class as a whole, the most popular universities were Yale and Princeton, each of which will matriculate ten graduates.  The most popular liberal arts college was Davidson which attracted six graduates.

On the Lower Level this spring, Boys Varsity Lacrosse compiled a 14-2 record, the highlight of which was an overtime victory against Salisbury, the only all-boys team on the schedule and the fifth best team nationally.  The losses, each by a single goal, were at the hands of Trinity-Pawling and Lawrenceville, neither of which, judging from their records, measured up to Deerfield.

News of the Class

Neil Jacobs took up residence in Hitchcock House this term and taught courses in Ethics and Virtue, two related subjects which date back at least to Socrates.  Neil joined Hale & Dorr, the predecessor of WilmerHale, in 1977 where he specializes in employment and labor law.

Ed Grosvenor, the editor in chief of American Heritage Magazine, also returned to Deerfield this term.  In his case, it was to receive the annual President’s Award from the Historic Deerfield museum for his work supporting and promoting an interest in and the study of American History.  Ed muses that the reason he was admitted to Deerfield was that the Headmaster’s favorite history teacher at Amherst was Prof. Edwin Grosvenor for whom Ed was named. 

Steve Esthimer, who joined the faculty of St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, NC after completing his Masters in 1979, received the school’s Teacher of the Year Award.  Steve is Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department and, in his spare time, a guitarist in the band When Cousins Marry.

The Alabama Tourism Department launched “The Year of Alabama Food” in January.  The culinary campaign cites the pimento cheese sandwich on sun-dried tomato bread at Savage’s Bakery in Homewood as one of “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama before You Die”.  Van Scott, who has owned Savage’s Bakery since 1978, talked about his business in this video interview in March. 

Christopher Beach continues to enjoy success as President and Artistic Director of the La Jolla Music Society where he has managed to balance the budget while expanding offerings.  In April the LJMS announced an ambitious program for the 2012-13 season which will include performances by three of the most famous ballet companies in the world, an expansion of its core chamber music program, and a series featuring up and coming pianists.

Rusty Young’s new venture MusicWorks Entertainment is off to a fast start, having already booked more than 20 live music events since its founding less than a year ago.

Trivia Question

As everyone knows, Frank Henry is one of the longest serving members of the Deerfield faculty.  Who else in the Class besides Neil Jacobs has worked at Deerfield?

Money Matters

Imagine Deerfield moved $8 million closer to its $200 million goal this term, and now stands at $113 million according to the website. 

For those members of the Class who contribute to Annual Support each year but who have not done so yet, please remember that the fiscal year ends on June 30th.  I have been told by John Kjorlien that we are well short of our participation goal but I know, based on past experience, that we can meet expectations with a strong finish.  Here’s a link for the well-intentioned which will spare you a follow-up e-mail or call.

Time to fire up the BBQ and enjoy the summer.  Classes begin again on September 10th.

Best wishes to all.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Winter Term Report Card - 2012

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The unusually mild Winter Term came to an end yesterday, and the students are free for the next two weeks.

On the academic front, The Scroll reported that stress levels hit a new high as measured by student visits to the counseling office.  As a result of the ongoing escalation in grades, it now takes an average of 90, up from 87 where it had been for a number of years, to make the Honor Roll.  Further contributing to the stress, 84% of the Class of 2012 elected to apply early decision to college.

In sports, girls squash was again the pride of the school.  The girls varsity team had a repeat of 2011, finishing first in New England and second nationally.  The swimming program and alpine skiing also had noteworthy seasons.  This year, both the boys and the girls varsity teams moved up one spot to finish second in the Division 1 New England championships.  The alpine ski team finished first in both the boys and girls New England championships.

The Scroll announced that the Memorial Building is scheduled for its first major renovation in the last 50 years.  Given the description of the project, it is hard to know how much different it will look at our next Reunion since much of the money will be spent on infrastructure improvements.  Here’s a link to the story.

Imagine Deerfield, the school’s capital campaign, continued to make progress, and is now at $105 million, up $20 million from my last report.  Neil Jacobs is one of only three Major Gift Leaders for Boston.

Class News

Bob Ashton is President and General Manager of Ragged Mountain Resort in Danbury, New Hampshire where he is heading up expansion.  Prior to assuming his current position, Bob spent 10 years as President and CEO of the four-season Wintergreen Resort in central Virginia.

John Mills retired in 2011 after nearly 32 years of government service and formed Patent Group Counsel with a handful of other attorneys to provide patent law services to inventors, entrepreneurs and technology companies.  Given the investor focus on the patent portfolios of technologies and the interest in protecting intellectual capital in the age of globalization, it seems as if John and his partners will have no shortage of work.

Macmillan published Hard Knocks, Howie Carr’s first novel in January.  Howie’s website describes the book as “a gritty noir mystery about the intertwining worlds of crime and politics in Boston”, a subject he previously has explored in two non-fiction works.

Rich Berkowitz was elected chairman of the board of the Community Foundation of Broward in January.  A public nonprofit organization with more than 400 charitable funds and agency endowments totaling $100 million, the Community Foundation of Broward has distributed $55 million to support community solutions since its founding in 1984.

Jonathan Carter continues to take the industrial wind developers to task and has devoted the entire January issue of The Maine Woods to the topic.  In a nutshell, King’s contention is that “mountain-top wind development is both an ecological disaster and an economic boondoggle”.  You can read more about it here.

Hank and Kachina
In his spare time, Hank Minor practices the ancient art of falconry on his farm in upstate New York with Kachina, a red-tailed hawk.  For those who may not know, the red-tailed hawk is probably the most common hawk in North America.  Several years ago, a member of the species named Pale Male became the subject of worldwide media attention when the board of one of the swishest co-ops on Fifth Avenue attempted to dislodge him from the penthouse nest he had been sharing rent free with a series of companions over the years.

Best wishes to all.