November 18, 2016

PA legends honored

Celebration features portraits, a plaque and announcement of Chase residence hall
by Phillips Academy

“We are here this weekend to honor leadership, and tonight we are surrounded by the very best leaders I know.” Trustee Emerita Mollie Lasater AA ’56 captured, simply and eloquently, the setting in Cochran Chapel Friday night, as Andover celebrated the legacies of Oscar Tang ’56, trustee president emeritus, Barbara Chase, 14th head of school, and the late David Underwood ’54, trustee president emeritus.

Trustee President Peter Currie ’74 opened the event, welcoming the hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, and former colleagues in attendance. It was an occasion to honor three extraordinary individuals who represent nearly 30 years of Andover history and dozens of landmark initiatives that shaped the school from 1983 to 2012.

The ceremony featured the unveiling of portraits of Tang and Chase masterfully created by Chas Fagan ’84. The lifelike renderings include symbols of their personalities—a crew shell for Tang, captain of Andover’s first varsity team, and for Chase, a field hockey stick, iconic among alumni who experienced Head of School Day under her leadership.

Following tradition, Tang’s portrait will join those of his predecessors in the Trustees Room, and Chase’s, among hers, will live at the entrance to the Head of School office suite, both in George Washington Hall.

Also unveiled, a plaque in memory of Underwood, inscribed as follows, will be installed in Cochran Chapel next to the plaque of Melville Chapin ’36, board president from 1981 to 1989:

David M. Underwood 1937 – 2015
Trustee of Phillips Academy 1983 – 2004 President of the Board 1989 – 2004
A Courageous Leader He Guided the Academy He Loved with Clear Wisdom, Patient Resolve, and Visionary Generosity To Andover He Gave The Surest Foundation

An already momentous evening grew more so when Head of School John Palfrey gave his closing remarks.

After thanking the slate of speakers and performers, Palfrey noted the campus spaces that bear the names of the honorees—Tang Theatre, the Tang Institute, and the Underwood Room. “But as you will note, there is one missing piece in this particular equation,” he said, going on to explain the transformation of the former Isham Infirmary to “West Dorm.” After extensive renovation, the dorm opened this fall and is home to 29 girls.

“Thanks to an anonymous donor who has made a very generous gift, and who has encouraged this particular act, the board has voted to name West Dorm, Chase Hall, honoring Barbara Landis Chase.”

Palfrey’s announcement brought the chapel crowd to its feet and took Chase completely by surprise. On Saturday morning, she visited the boardroom to personally thank the trustees.

“The generosity of the donor, the thoughtfulness to name a dormitory, and the board’s support—it all took my breath away. To have so many friends in attendance made it all the sweeter,” said Chase. “Beginning with my predecessor, Don McNemar, and continuing with my successor, John Palfrey, the Academy has focused on the quality of student life—particularly in the residential program. I certainly cared deeply about this important work, but so many people in the community worked by my side. A huge part of our success belongs to them, as well.”

As news of the naming continues to spread, others have stepped forward pledging additional support for the dorm in honor of Chase. The “second act” of Friday night’s celebration took place in the Smith Center, where three faculty members and a retiring trustee were feted for their service to Andover.

Dean of Faculty Pat Farrell presented the following awards, which recognize outstanding talent in all aspects of teaching at Andover:

  • Independence Foundation Teaching Endowment—Fei Yao, instructor in physics
  • Walter Scott Leeds Teaching Foundation—Holly Barnes, instructor in music, director of performance
  • Ansin Family Instructorship—Matt Lisa, instructor in mathematics, statistics and computer science

Trustee Joshua Steiner ’83 honored Trustee Emeritus Thomas Israel ’62, who served two eight-year terms, plus an additional three years, in an ex officio capacity, to co-chair the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center fundraising campaign. His willingness to extend his board service is characteristic of the trustee whose wisdom and philanthropy have enriched everything from athletic programs to campus buildings, from financial aid to faculty chairs. “Your giving has not only been generous, but generative—quiet, early-in, major contributions launching important Academy initiatives,” read the resolution from the Board of Trustees.

Categories: Alumni

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