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May 11, 2016

Trustee events feature retiree tributes and a fundraising surprise

Board convenes for annual spring meetings
by Phillips Academy

A special dinner on May 6 joined members of the faculty, the Board of Trustees and Alumni Council. Phillips Academy’s annual event to honor retiring and departing colleagues was marked by gratitude, colleagueship and touching personal tributes. Reflecting the Academy’s blend of knowledge and goodness, retiring trustees Mari Wellin King ’75 and Rejji Hayes ’93 were feted by fellow trustees Peter Currie ’74, president of the board, and Misty Muscatel Davis ’01, president of the Alumni Council.

Head of School John Palfrey then set the stage for retiring faculty. This exceptionally talented group of educators has extended their service far beyond the walls of their classrooms. Together they represent 158 years of teaching at Andover and include a Roosevelt scholar, a birder, a jazz aficionado, coaches, counselors, a professional mediator, and two U.S. Army veterans. What they share in common are remarkable careers in education and positive influence in the lives of thousands of young people. Congratulations to the retiring faculty Class of 2016:

  • Max Alovisetti, instructor in psychology and associate director of counseling
  • Seth Bardo, instructor in English
  • Kathy Dalton, instructor in history and social science
  • Marc Koolen, instructor in biology
  • Chris Walter, instructor in music

Included among that distinguished group is Steve Carter, COO/CFO, with 36 years of service—in the classroom, on the athletic fields and in nearly every administrative capacity possible at Andover.

A Special Gift

In a presentation to close the dinner, Palfrey, Trustee Amy Falls ’82 and Nancy Jeton, special assistant to the head of school, announced that a behind-the-scenes campaign has raised $1.1 million to ensure Carter’s legacy remains central to campus life. A portion of the money will name the Snyder Center’s upper lobby—a spacious setting for hospitality featuring a glass wall overlooking Phelps Stadium, where Carter coached football for 32 years. The naming also recognizes Carter’s support for myriad facilities projects throughout the years and, most recently, his expert guidance on the Campus Master Plan and Athletic Facilities Plan.

Ever the educator, Carter has held strong to his original calling as a teacher. Even as he took on increasing administrative responsibilities, he continued to teach math whenever possible. To mark his devotion to the profession, the Academy will establish an endowed scholarship in his name.

The board’s business agenda included the following highlights:

Strategic pathways: Animating the Strategic Plan pillar of Creativity & Innovation, teams from the Tang Institute and Addison Gallery of American Art each presented visionary directions guiding their near and longer term goals.

  • Tang Institute: Director Caroline Nolan described “two years of learning” (since the October 2014 launch) that now provide the foundation for a burgeoning “ideas lab” centered on developing teaching and learning innovations that will benefit Andover as well as secondary education more broadly. Seeking to support projects with direct links to practical outcomes, Nolan said the Tang team expects to increase opportunities for faculty fellows as well as programs associated with Learning in the World and Hybrid Andover. While the institute operates primarily on current use and endowment funding, Dean of Studies Trish Russell said a sustainable financial model relies on increased philanthropic support.
  • Addison Gallery: Director Judith Dolkart outlined still-emerging strategic priorities framed by the provocation: What is America? “At any point in the history of the country and depending on the artists and objects,” she wrote in her board report, “the answers may simultaneously provide unanimous agreement or vehement dissent, reflecting the complexity of the country’s past, present and imagined future.” The Academy’s teaching museum—with 17,000 “primary sources” as Dolkart describes the permanent collection—is well positioned to realize this vision. Among the goals being considered by a campus steering committee and the Addison’s board of governors are curricular and residential program integration, enhanced access for K-12 communities and strategic growth and management of the collection.

Finance: Andrea Nix, director of finance, and Steve Carter, in his final presentation to the board, reported that the Academy budget remains on track to finish favorably thanks to disciplined management of resources across campus. Looking ahead, trustees approved the FY 2017 budget, which preserves need-blind admission for the 10th consecutive year and includes boarding tuition of $52,100 and day tuition of $40,500. Prior to adjourning, Carter was treated to an emotional display of gratitude punctuated by a standing ovation.

Admission: Dean of Admission Jim Ventre reported excellent news for the 2016 season, which included a 14 percent admit rate and 81 percent yield during Andover’s ninth straight year of need-blind admission. Ventre thanked trustees and all campus partners who contributed to another remarkable year and noted the spring revisit program, in particular, as pivotal in families’ decision-making. More than 330 students, about 79 percent of the admitted pool, took part this year, and about 80 percent of those visitors chose to enroll. “Families were so impressed by the personal outreach and support from faculty and staff. Even families who declined our offer of admission spoke at length about their positive experience on campus,” he said.

Academy Resources: Building on momentum from recent milestones, including the dedication of the Sykes Wellness Center and leadership funding for the Snyder Center, Secretary of the Academy Thom Lockerby led a conversation centered on Andover’s next campaign effort. With a number of program and capital priorities already lined up and others still to emerge, Lockerby shared a possible framework for campaign leadership and broadly defined funding goals consistent with Strategic Plan initiatives.

Book-ending the business agendas of trustees and Alumni Council were perennial favorites—dinner with the senior class on Thursday night, featuring keynote speaker Dan Koh ’03, chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and breakfast with the STARS (Senior Alumni Representatives) on Saturday.

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