Monday, June 09, 2014

45th Reunion - June 2014

To the Great Class of 1969:

A reduced contingent ventured to Deerfield for our final reunion as merely a "Great" class. John Lacey, as unofficial Participation Chair, collected excuses from many classmates, the most common of which was that they would be sure to attend the 50th. At that time we will reconvene as a "Grand" class which may seem to some as too early to be considering shuffle board, hip replacement and lower taxes in Florida. I somehow expect those who feel that way to hold off for the 60th.

The weather improved over the course of the weekend in contrast to five years ago. There were too many conflicting panels to attend so I will report to you some salient facts from the State of the School presentation. Of particular interest was the following:
  • Total applications: 1951 (an easy number for most of us to remember)
  • Acceptances: 15%
  • Yield: 61.5%
  • International Students: 15%
  • Financial Aid Students: 32%
  • Most popular colleges: Cornell (11), Yale (10) and Brown (9)
  • Total colleges: 82
Deerfield's predicament, which it is currently working through, is that it is a middle-sized school with a small school feel and a large school curriculum. On the athletic field, the school's performance may be summarized as follows: Deerfield loses more often than not when relatively more people are watching and wins more often than not when relatively few are watching. I take away from this that, although Deerfield may be emphasizing the right sports to get its students into the most selective colleges, losing in the sports which matter when people are watching is a subtlety I had overlooked and a problem when it comes to school spirit.

Nine of us plus four spouses went off the grid on Saturday morning instead of attending the second scheduled panel and took a guided tour of the north end of Main Street. At the end of the tour, Christian Liipfert took me aside and said, "You're going to have a hard time topping this for the 50th". That's probably right, but the credit is all due to Ed Grosvenor who received the President's Award from Historic Deerfield in 2012 and who generously arranged this for us. As you know from previous posts, Ed is owner and editor-in-chief of American Heritage Magazine.

Following our tour and lunch under the Great Tent, we hustled off to the steps of the Library, not to pay any overdue fines, but to be photographed. The venue was different this year because the Memorial Building has been cordoned off for construction. One trustee I spoke with over the weekend who had toured the building a few weeks earlier told me (not surprisingly) that the renovation will be fantastic. I can believe it, based on corroborating accounts, but I still would have liked to have seen it firsthand. School meetings this year have been held in the West Gymnasium next to McAlister while the Memorial Building is under construction. The building is on schedule to re-open for the Fall term.

Following lunch and the all important photo shoot, I attended two panel discussions in the Koch Center. The second of these panels was hosted by the Great Class of 1969 and featured Neil Jacobs and Frank Henry who spoke about teaching at Deerfield 45 years later. Neil, who had been on sabbatical from his law practice, is returning to Boston, and Frank is preparing for his 33rd year teaching after rejoining the Deerfield faculty in 1982.

Rawles, Ewing and Clough
As you know by now, our three classmates pictured on the left succeeded in hacking into the Deerfield Athletic Department's computer system over the weekend and sent out a notice that their wresting singlets (which they appear to have obtained from the athletic store room using disguised identities) had been retired. We are grateful that they remain as we knew them and look forward to whatever new schemes they may have planned for the 50th.

Best wishes to all.