Friday, November 20, 2015

Fall Term Report Card - 2015

To the Great Class of 1969:

The Choate Boars, which might easily be mistaken for a NESCAC team, trampled Deerfield 48-13 on the Lower Level, winning for the seventh straight year and capping off another undefeated season in which their average margin of victory was 33 points. Mercifully, the game wasn't streamed this year, concluding an expensive four year experiment.

As it turns out, Choate's prowess on the football field has not translated to superior fundraising. In July, Deerfield announced that it had raised $254 million (vs. a $200 million goal) in just four years (vs. a five year target). This titanic result equated to an average contribution per "alumni opportunity" of $26,000+ per head, twice as much per capita as Choate was able to raise in its most recent campaign.

In case you were wondering how some of this munificence would be spent, the Boyden Library will be home to more classrooms, group study rooms, student seating and several new offices. The new space will also include a permanent "Innovation Lab" in the basement. Overall, the Library will offer students additional space and comfort for studying, as well as additional resources.

July 2005
Earlier this month, six of us met for our annual dinner in New York. The classmates who appear with me in the inaugural photo as well as the most recent are Steve BisbeeJohn KjorlienJohn Lacey and Tom O'GaraTodd Stone, who has made virtually all of the dinners, is the only one not pictured in the 2005 gathering. Tee Johnson, who lived in Buenos Aires at the time, and Christopher Beach, who departed that fall for La Jolla, are in the 2005 group.
November 2015
One regular who had to pass this year was Rusty Young who has become a Florida resident where he is busy with his concert promotion business on the senior circuit. Others who have made at least one of our gatherings include Robert Clough, Tom EhrgoodAC Starkey and Will Colwell.

In October, the La Jolla Music Society named a new president and artistic director to replace the irreplaceable Christopher Beach after ten years with a new president and artistic director. Christopher will devote himself to a career as a theater and development consultant. He will continue to reside in La Jolla with his partner Wesley and will remain with LJMS on a part-time basis to complete the design and construction of the Conrad Prebys Performing Art Center.

Just this month, Architectural Record named six schools with "stellar design-build programs" in its annual ranking. For regular readers of the blog, it probably comes as no surprise that Hank Louis's DesignBuildBLUFF program at the University of Utah was among those listed. See the story here.

Austin Clarence Starkey, Jr.
In case you were wondering what ever had happened to AC Starkey after all these years, you needn't worry. As I have known for some time, AC lives the good life, splitting his retirement years between the northern clime of New Jersey, his native state, and the warmer southern reaches where he usually winters in St Barts, Nassau and Palm Beach. In the photo to the left, AC appears to be a dead ringer for Daddy Warbucks in the lobby of the Graycliff Hotel where he is enjoying a custom rolled Graycliff Cigar after a tough day on the beach, a perfect complement to what the Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant has always been known for: excellent cuisine, fine wines and luxurious accommodations. The hotel will probably be the last to ban smoking in public places since the hotel is a national landmark and the founder of the cigar company also owns the hotel. On the theory of "no wine before its time", AC set aside a $200,000 bottle, a price point Hank Wetzel was able to achieve for a single case for the more budget-minded in 2006.

Fall term grades are available on December 1. In the meantime, remember the joy of the Thanksgiving Break and no longer having to worry about all this.

Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes to all.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eric Tompkins 1951 - 2015

Eric Tompkins
I learned this week from Ed Grosvenor - Eric's roommate senior year in Hitchcock - that Eric had passed away in April. I might have suspected something was amiss when Eric cancelled his reservation for the 45th Reunion at the last minute for what I was told was an operation. At the time, however, he wrote Participation Chair Lacey and me in his typically upbeat fashion, "Looking forward to seeing you guys again at another further meeting at Deerfield!" Eric may be gone but he will not forgotten at our 50th.

Eric enrolled as a freshman in 1965, a year ahead of his brother Clay, and was on the editorial board of both The Scroll and PocumtuckWhile not an athlete at Deerfield, Eric developed a passion for competitive rowing and was a member of the San Diego Rowing Club. As recently as February 2014 he competed in the world indoor rowing championships in Boston and finished 18th in his age and weight class.

For the last twenty years Eric advised healthcare clients in strategic planning, medical office building management and leasing, development services, and financing and sales transactions nationally for CBRE (f/k/a CB Richard Ellis), one of the foremost commercial real estate and investment firms in the world. 

Although he lived on the West Coast, Eric remained involved with Deerfield on a local level and returned for the 40th Reunion. You will see him in the first photo of the 40th Reunion pictures standing next to Ed and a group of rather suspect characters on the first night. 

His obituary is reprinted below:

TOMPKINS--Frederic F.

Frederic F. "Eric" Tompkins, died on April 21, 2015 in San Diego, California. He was the son of Mrs. Frederic P. Tompkins, Rumson, New Jersey and the late Mr. Tompkins. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Hamilton, their two children, Catherine S. and Frederic H. Tompkins. He is also survived by two sisters, Caroline T. Garrity (Mrs. Jonathan) and Evelyn W. Tompkins, two brothers, R. Clayton (Karen) Tompkins and Christopher P. (Cade) Tompkins and seven nieces and nephews. He was a Vice President in the Healthcare Services Group of CBRE. Eric was a graduate of Rumson Country Day School, Deerfield Academy, with distinction from University of Virginia and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. In lieu of flowers, donations to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center would be appreciated.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Emmett D. Marx

Emmett Marx
Tee Johnson emailed me last week with the news that Emmett had passed away in Taos, NM on August 9th. Emmett was one of nine children of Louis Marx, who sold his eponymous toy company to Quaker Oats three years after we graduated. Several of his brothers (Spencer '67, Bradley '70 and Curtis '72) were contemporaries of ours at Deerfield. As was his habit with his sons, Mr. Marx named Emmett Dwight after military figures he knew, in his case Emmett O'Donnell and Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is my understanding that President Eisenhower, with whom Mr. Marx had a long association, was Emmett's godfather.

Emmett entered Deerfield as a freshman, and it appears that he never looked back after he graduated as evidenced by the fact that his name is nowhere to be found in the Deerfield Alumni Directory App. What is known is that Emmett was an early practitioner of "classical five-element" acupuncture in the Bay Area and later in New Mexico. A former colleague of many years paid tribute on his website to Emmett's "quick wit and humor, his great skill, as well as his deep concern, care and compassion for his patients". If you have recollections of Emmett that you would like to share privately with classmates, you can post them on the "In Memoriam" page on our Google site, Albany Road Redux.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring Term Report Card - 2015

To the Great Class of 1969

School let out for the underclassmen last Friday, five days following the departure of the now Great Class of 2015.

News of the Academy

As has been true the past few years, the online version of The Scroll unfortunately no longer includes a listing of where the members of the graduating class plan to attend college. Those who are interested in such statistics will simply have to wait. Since my last posting, however, there was an interesting article on Deerfield's Master Plan which includes, most immediately, a renovation of the Boyden Library. The renovation, which will make the Library home to more classrooms, group study rooms and upgraded technology, seems generally consistent with the changing nature of libraries. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

For reasons that are not readily apparent from a distance, Boys Varsity Lacrosse suffered seven losses this spring which equaled the total for the last seven years during which time the team won 104 games. Not surprisingly, the team's national ranking slipped from 8th to 109th according to LaxPower which tracks the sport. Lacrosse has been the crown jewel in Deerfield's athletic program, and we will need to wait another year to see whether this season will prove to have been an anomaly or the end of an era.

Notwithstanding the less than dominant record of Deerfield's hockey teams in recent years, this will be the second time in recent years that a Deerfield alum will play in the Stanley Cup finals according to our son Nick '09. To my considerable distress, it was the goal by Alex Killorn '08 in game 7 of the Eastern Conference series last Friday that sealed the Rangers' fate.

News of the Class

Since his retirement in 2014 from where he had been a product manager, Tim Truby has been traveling and pursuing his interest in photography. You can see some of his work at his smugmug site. Of more immediate note is the publication of Tim's eBook Photographing the American Southwest which covers some of the best locations and times to take photos in a handful of national parks. Outdoor Photography Magazine is going to feature the book in its August issue. As an important aside, if you shop on Amazon, you can benefit not only Tim but also Deerfield at no additional cost to you by designating Deerfield for all your purchases as your charity of choice in Amazon's Smile Program.

For the past ten years Christopher Beach has been the president and artistic director of the La Jolla Music Society. In May the LJMS announced that Christopher would become artistic director emeritus on October 1 and become a consultant for the next two years focused exclusively on building the organization's new performing arts center. Christopher was instrumental in raising the necessary funds.

Steve Esthimer (or "Dr. E" as he is known to his students) marched at the head of the faculty line as Marshall on May 17th in this year's graduation ceremony. As mentioned in my last post, Steve is retiring this summer after 36 years at Saint Mary's School.

Maybe because I rarely visit Facebook, I receive regular notifications that "a lot has happened" since I last logged on. Whether I should care about this is unclear but, having looked at a few of these notifications, one thought that has occurred to me is that John Lacey and Steve Bisbee probably could do a credible reprise of CNN's Crossfire at our next Reunion if they're still on speaking terms. "Now boys, keep it on a high level" also comes to mind.

Imagine Deerfield, Deerfield's capital campaign, ends on June 30th. As I mentioned in my Winter Term Report Card, gifts and pledges received before then will count towards both the campaign and our 50th Reunion which officially began July 1, 2014. "Finish up strong" and "pay what you can" are two thoughts that come to mind this month.

Best wishes for the summer. Time to fire up the BBQ.


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Winter Term Report Card - 2015

To the Great Class of 1969:

As the unofficial historian of the Class, I write you once again to announce the end of a term. This pattern, though predictable, works best when there is news about the Academy or, more importantly, members of the Class. As luck would have it, there is not much on either score to pass along this time. Happily, for those whose eyes turn increasingly to the "In Memoriam" pages of the Alumni Magazine, we all survived the term as best I can tell!

News of the Academy

When I began the blog more than ten years ago, it was a relatively simple matter to go to the Academy website and find out what was going on. Those days are long gone given changes to the design of the site, and the online version of The Scroll is too truncated to provide a complete picture. What I can tell you from having spent some time spot checking results this term is that the traditional athletics program at Deerfield has continued to decline as a focal point of the school. This decline was borne out in an article this term in The Scroll which quoted Frank Henry as saying that colleges have asked Deerfield to prepare students for college level athletics.That's only part of the story of course since all our peer schools presumably are under the same pressure, and it doesn't explain why Choate has beaten Deerfield an unprecedented six years in a row in Varsity football. As further evidence, Varsity Hockey compiled a record of 4-19-3 this term and Varsity Basketball went 3-16.

In other news, the geographical separation of the upper and lower classes has undergone a shift so that the underclassmen will be east of Main Street now and the upperclassmen will once again populate Barton at the end of Albany Road. Whether or not this is a good decision probably hinges on your perspective as either a parent or a student. Many recent graduates probably would argue that it infringes on their hard earned independence and well deserved freedom from supervision. Parents might disagree.

Much has been reported of the record snowfall in Boston this winter. The Academy had its first snow day in memory this term which, conveniently, extended Long Winter Weekend following the Patriots' Super Bowl win.

News of the Class

Marty Kaiser stepped down at the end of February as Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a position he had held for nearly twenty years. During Marty's tenure, the Journal Sentinel won three Pulitzer prizes and had to contend with the technological changes that have plagued print journalism. Marty hasn't announced what he plans to do other than to say he's not retiring. I thought my job (with all the perks that come with being Blogger-in-Chief for the Class) might be a natural segue, but Marty is holding out for something better to my disappointment. You can read about Marty here.

I think I may have underestimated how much of the teenager Steve Esthimer still had left in him in my last post. Steve tells me he is enjoying his last semester at Saint Mary's School by making the most of a lifetime's collection of ties by wearing a different one every day. Were I to do that, I think I might last a month with my current inventory. I suspect some others in the Class might last even less time.

Bob Ashton is now President of Mountain Resorts Solutions in Kattsbill Bay, New York after prior stints in that capacity at Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire and Wintergreen Resort in Virginia.

Christopher Beach has proven his mettle as a fundraiser, having raised $50 million from just eleven donors to build a new concert hall for the La Jolla Music Society which he has now headed for ten years.

Rich Berkowitz, founder and CEO of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, moonlights as Chairman of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge in Miami where he participated last month in the annual charity race to benefit cancer research and raised over $4 million.

Imagine Deerfield is more than 90% of the way towards its goal, having raised $186 million to date. The campaign ends June 30. Gifts and pledges prior to then will also count towards our 50th Reunion which officially commenced July 1, 2014.

Best wishes to all.