Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fall Term Report Card - 2013

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

The Fall Term ended Friday, and the school is now in recess for the week.

Enrollment for the 2013-2014 year totals 646 students, slightly north of the target, with 42 states and 37 countries represented. The admissions rate this year was 17%, up slightly from recent years, and 65% of those admitted chose to enroll. Room and board, for the first time, topped $50,000. One-third of the student body receives financial aid, which totals $7.8 million this year.  

It was a tale of two seasons on the Lower Level this fall for the football team. After winning its first three games, the team succumbed to the next five opponents by a cumulative margin of 192-45. The coup de grace was the Choate Game on November 9th which was streamed for the third year in a row. Sadly, past proved prologue, with Choate winning 27-0 on Jim Smith Field. This marked the fifth consecutive loss to Choate which now holds a 43-42-10 lead in the series.

The 1797 Dinner was held at the New York Public Library this fall where David Koch announced that Rob Hale ’84 had pledged $25 million to the endowment for financial aid. That gift, together with others, brings the Imagine Deerfield Campaign to $167 million. At the dinner, Rob raised the bar and challenged parents and alumni to surpass the goal by 20% to $240 million which, if successful, would be more (he said) than had ever been raised by any college or prep school per alum.

News of the Class

Neil Jacobs has returned to teach, this time for the full year. You may recall that Neil taught Ethics and Virtue in the spring of 2012, while living in Hitchcock House. Neil will also be coaching Boys Thirds Basketball and providing tips to NBA aspirants. Neil is long-time counsel to the Celtics.

"I coulda been a contender!"
Recognizing his calling as a long distance runner only after graduating, Brian Connery came to New York this fall and joined over 50,000 runners in the Marathon. Here’s his account:

I'd been trying/planning to run the NYC marathon since 2009, when it was one of the two final marathons on my bucket list -- and I'd decided I could live without running London.  (I'd run 7 others since 2005).  So I entered the lottery for 2009 and lost, for 2010 and lost, and for 2011 and lost.  The rule was that if you entered and lost three times consecutively, then you got guaranteed entry and so they guaranteed my entry in 2012.  But, of course, Sandy hit, and after I'd been down to the Javits Center to pick up my bib number, I went back to the hotel, turned on the tv news, and found out that the race was canceled.  
That was a pretty interesting experience in itself.  A lot of us who were in town anyway went out to Staten Island on the Saturday to help out.  And then on the Sunday a lot more (like maybe10,000) put on our shorts and bibs and ran up and down West Side Drive and around Central Park for a few hours.  

So then it was guaranteed entry for this year -- 2013.  I was five years older than when I first started to try to get entered, and it was five years since I last ran a marathon, and so I was a little apprehensive.  But I trained well and didn't injure myself too much in the run up.  I ran strong and well though not fast. But as Meatloaf used to sing (and maybe still does), two out of three ain't bad.  Finishing time 4:39:33.  Not my fastest but not my slowest either.  Oddly, I was kind of sad when it was all over!
New York was absolutely the best urban marathon I've run.  The route, the bridges, the crowds, the organization -- all absolutely fantastic.  And the field is far more international than anything else I've run: Ecuadorans to the left of me, Welsh women to the right of me.  Really a fabulous experience.  Things you wish you had known thirty years ago so you could have done them more often. 

Rusty Young was a volunteer cyclist in this year’s Marathon, an annual ritual for him. Rusty accompanied an elite wheelchair racer from Japan whose time of 01:45:23 earned him a ninth place finish, but no prize money. Rusty wrote:

“As his escort, it is my job to ride 10-15 yards ahead of the racer and to "clear" the course for him….as we are the fastest competitors our race starts and finishes before the elite runners….The course is often not fully set up by the time our racers come through, and there are near misses with cabs, cars and peds every year. This year’s race was made more challenging by 15-20 mph headwinds and freezing temperatures. I felt great after the race…It’s so exhilarating being 'inside the ropes' for 26 miles that I hardly remember riding any of it…and that was after we rode from Manhattan to the start to meet up with our racers….

It wasn't the race that got to me…it was being run off 9th Avenue and onto the sidewalk as I was riding back to my car …by a driver that was being squeezed by a cab. He/she moved left and I got clipped and was on the pavement in no time…Driver never stopped, although the pedestrians that saw it happening gave the driver pieces of their minds. Ah….  New York!”

I hope that you have marked your calendars for our 45th Reunion June 6-8. John Lacey will be reprising his role and sending reminders as the date approaches.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Update - 2013

To the Great Class of 1969:

I haven't lost sight of the fact that there has been significant interest among classmates in learning more about the the Hindle matter and thought many of you would like to be kept current. Toward that end, I think you may be interested in reading the first person account of Whit Sheppard '83 which appeared July 21st in The Boston Globe and then watching an interview of him on WGBH which Deerfield posted earlier today on Facebook.

If you would like to comment privately, you can do so by going to the Peter Hindle page on Google+.

I hope that you are all enjoying the summer and have marked your calendars for our 45th reunion next June. I look forward to seeing you.

Best wishes.


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Spring Term Report Card - 2013

To the Great Class of 1969:

The Academy held its 214th Commencement on May 26th, and the rest of the school dispersed the following Friday until next fall. In case you’re wondering whether my urge to time the posting my blog to coincide with these seasonal milestones may be waning, the answer is “No”, particularly with our 45th Reunion now just a year away. My usual end of term report card is delayed this year for the simple reason that I thought that to post it without telling you where this year’s graduating class was heading would be the equivalent of an “incomplete”, which was worse than delaying it a week.

News of the Academy

As it turns out, the 191 members of this year’s graduating class are dispersing to 79 colleges, up from 67 a year ago. This diaspora plus the fact that 35 colleges are getting just one newly-minted Deerfield alum highlight how dexterous the college placement office needs to be these days. Yale and Dartmouth proved the two most popular with ten each. Overall, 25% of the class will be going to Ivy League schools.

Boys Lacrosse got off to a rocky start, losing its season opener to Brunswick, but never looked back. The team finished the season 15-1, ranking first in New England and seventh nationally. Also of note this spring, Deerfield won the 2013 New England Girls’ Water Polo Championship. The team finished 16-0 in league play.

What we have always known as the Memorial Building is being transformed into the Deerfield Center for the Arts beginning this summer. Construction is scheduled be completed in time for the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year. You can read the full story in the May issue of The Scroll.

We all know by now that the email in January that named Mr. Hindle was followed up in March with a second email confirming the original allegations and disclosing that the inquiry had uncovered other inappropriate behavior. This was a disappointing, if not a surprising outcome, and the reaction of the members of the Class I was in touch with was muted. While some initially questioned the need to look for skeletons in the closet after so many years, all expressed sadness. As a reminder, you can post your own thoughts on our Class’s members-only Google site if you wish.

News of the Class

Charlie Bishop is now President and CEO of the Renal Products division of OpKo Health. OpKo completed the previously announced acquisition of Cytochroma, which Charlie headed, in March. On June 4th he spoke at the Jefferies global healthcare conference.

From the alumni website of New York Medical College comes this bit of news, “Richard C. Prokesch, M.D. ’76, continues in the private practice of adult infectious diseases with two other physicians. He is also on the board of directors of their primary hospital and for the past two years served as chair. His daughter is in her first year of an infectious diseases fellowship and plans to join the practice upon completion”.

Christopher Beach, the President and Artistic Director of the La Jolla Music Society since 2005, is going strong. This spring the organization announced 29 concerts, the most in its 45-year history.

Money Matters

Imagine Deerfield moved $27 million closer to its $200 million goal since this time a year ago, and now stands at $140 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.  Here’s a link for the well-intentioned which will spare you a follow-up e-mail or call from John Kjorlien.

In case you were thinking about upgrading from the dorms to the Deerfield Inn for our 45th Reunion next June 6-8, you’re already too late.  The Inn, which had been closed since Hurricane Irene flooded the Lower Level and Main Street in August 2011, reopened in April following a $2 million renovation.

Classes begin on September 6th. Make the most of the summer.

Best wishes to all.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter Term Report Card - 2013

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

Albany Road
The Winter Term has now ended, however, not without two reminders of our common past. The first of these was the announcement in December that Jay and Mimi Morsman would be retiring at the end of the school year. Mr. Morsman joined the faculty in 1960 and is the last remaining faculty member from our era following Mr. Brush’s retirement in 2009. In recent years he has served as Director of Dining Services, following in the footsteps of Mr. Sullivan. Mimi has worked tirelessly as Director of Alumni Relations for a number of years.  Both will be sorely missed.

The second instance was the disturbing email in late January alleging misconduct by Mr. Hindle, which news seems to have induced symptoms of cognitive dissonance for many alumni judging from the comments on Deerfield’s Facebook page. Anyone wishing to share thoughts on either of these announcements may do so privately on either our Albany Redux Facebook or Google Groups pages.

This weekend, applicants to Deerfield and its peer schools learned whether they had been admitted or not.  This year marked the last for Pat Gimbel (sister of Gil Lamphere ’70).  Pat, who has worked for three heads of school over the course of the past 23 years, announced her retirement earlier this year.  Her successor, an alumna of Ethel Walker, spent the past twelve years at Concord Academy and was at Northfield Mount Hermon before that.  For the 2012-2013 school year, the Academy received nearly 2,400 applications for 200 spots.

As for sports this term, the Division I New England Prep School Swimming and Diving Championships concluded March 2 at Deerfield where thirteen schools and over three hundred athletes competed.  The Boys team edged out Suffield by a point to finish first, recalling the greatness of the undefeated 1968-1969 team under Mr. Boyle.  Girls Squash concluded another unblemished season in which they steamrolled every opponent, in most cases by a shutout.

Class News

Congratulations to Charlie Bishop, CEO of Cytochroma, a clinical stage specialty pharmaceutical company focused on chronic kidney disease. Cytochroma agreed to be acquired in January by OPKO Health, a NYSE-listed biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company, for $100 million in stock and up to $190 million in contingent consideration.  Charlie is an authority on developing and commercializing successful new vitamin D therapies who previously served as President and CEO of Bone Care International, a public company, from 1996-2001.

Rusty Young has booked Judy Collins for a benefit performance in Stuart, FL for March 13th if any of you are wintering nearby and have time next week. Rusty reports that sales for the event have been robust.  AC Starkey, who discovered the good life wintering in St. Barts and Palm Beach, got together with Rusty for dinner last week in FL.  In other news, Rusty booked The Fab Faux, a top Beatles tribute band that he has worked with over the years, for a benefit concert in Chicago earlier this year.

Hank Wetzel, when he isn’t running Alexander Valley Vineyards, keeps busy with hobbies that include raising nearly 1,000 free range chickens for their eggs, saving honeybees and growing fruits such as loquats, yellow-green plums and figs for sale in the local farmers market.

Bob Ashton, President of Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire, has proposed a significant expansion designed to turn the resort into a year round destination. The owners of Ragged Mountain are in the process of seeking approvals and obtaining financing.

Tee Johnson checked in from Knoxville recently where he has been involved in a variety of endeavors the past few years, including managing by long distance his microphone manufacturing business in Argentina.  Tee wrote, “I am working out how to get my studio and lab back into the US – under one roof – and then I want to work with different Fine Arts programs (teaching programs) and do my own experiments in spatial localization, psychoacoustics and ‘sound healing’.” Psychoacoustics, in case you’re wondering as I was, is the study of sound perception.

The first reminder of our 45th Reunion arrived this week. Mark your calendars for June 6-8, 2014. I hope to see you on Albany Road.

Best wishes.