October 25, 2018

Four to receive 2018 Alumni Award of Distinction

The annual award honors alumni for making “significant positive impact on their communities, society, or the world”

The Alumni Council of Phillips Academy has selected four individuals to receive the 2018 Andover Alumni Award of Distinction. First presented in 2012, the annual award honors individual members of the alumni body for making “significant positive impact on their communities, society, or the world.” The honorees will receive the awards on Wednesday, Nov. 7, during All School Meeting. The 2018 recipients are:

Michael R. Beschloss ’73

Michael Beschloss is an award-winning presidential historian and author. He is the NBC News presidential historian, a role he also fills for PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In 2005, he received the News & Documentary Emmy Award for Discovery Channel’s Decisions That Shook the World.

Trained at Harvard Business School in leadership studies, Beschloss unravels the mysteries of powerful and effective leadership in areas from business to politics to sports. He is a contributing columnist for the New York Times, writing a monthly Sunday column on business history and a weekly column on sports history. He is the author of 10 best-selling books, including Presidents of War; Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789–1989; Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy (coauthored with Caroline Kennedy); and two volumes on President Lyndon Johnson’s secret White House tapes. With more than 110,000 followers, @BeschlossDC has the largest Twitter following of any historian and appears on TIME magazine’s list of the world’s top Twitter feeds.

Additional honors received by Beschloss include the Williams College Bicentennial Medal; the State of Illinois’s highest honor, the Order of the Lincoln; the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award; the Ambassador Book Prize; the Rutgers University Living History Award; the New York State Archives History Award; and the Founders Award of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He has received honorary doctorates from Lafayette College, Williams College, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Saint Peter’s College, Governors State University, and Allegheny College.

He and his wife, Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss, are advisory board members of Resources for Inner City Children. They have been guests of President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush ’64 at White House state dinners.

Beschloss was born in Chicago and grew up in Flossmoor, Ill. He was educated at Eaglebrook School, Phillips Academy, Williams College, and Harvard University. After earning an MBA degree at Harvard Business School, his original intention was to write history while serving as a foundation executive.

Peter Chermayeff ’53

World-renowned architect Peter Chermayeff began his work in the design field in 1962 as the lead of a multidisciplinary team charged with developing the site planning, urban design, and architecture and exhibit design of the New England Aquarium in Boston. In the midst of that project, he and six colleagues founded Cambridge Seven Associates and went on to undertake many realms of design, including urban transportation, retail, public exhibitions, museums, offices, hotels, housing, and diverse mixed-use development. Among the firm’s many awards in the ensuing three decades was the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Firm of the Year award in 1993.

Aquariums became a specialized design niche and were often combined with mixed-use development to generate long-lasting urban, social, and economic synergies and to create institutions and places that would revitalize cities, contribute to urban life, and promote environmental awareness and conservation. Chermayeff continually searched for project ideas that would create value for owners, investors, and users and achieve positive social and economic impact for the communities and regions in which they occur.

Chermayeff earned an AB degree from Harvard College and an MArch degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His many projects have included the U.S. exhibition at Expo ’67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; design guidelines and standards for Boston’s transit system; the San Antonio Museum of Art; and “Where’s Boston?”, an exhibition for the U.S. Bicentennial—plus aquariums in Baltimore, Boston, Chattanooga, Genoa, Osaka, and Lisbon.

Since 1990, Chermayeff has been president of IDEA, a firm that manages aquarium development and operations; he has been president of Peter Chermayeff LLC since 2009. An AIA fellow, he has served on the visiting committee of the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Chermayeff and his wife, Andrea, live in Andover, Mass., within walking distance to campus. The Chermayeff family has a long legacy at Andover and continues to be involved with the Academy in a variety of ways.

Eileen Christelow ’61

Eileen Christelow is an award-winning author and illustrator of many popular picture books for children. Her works include the Five Little Monkeys and Henry Rabbit series. Many of her books have been awarded IRA/CBC Children’s Choice awards and chosen as Junior Library Guild selections.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Christelow also lived in Connecticut as a child. Books were an important part of her family life. Her parents read to her and her brother every night, and much of her early childhood was spent in an armchair up in a tree house with her nose in a book.

It was through English classes taught by Barbara Sisson at Abbot Academy that Christelow discovered her love of writing. After graduating from Abbot Academy, Christelow went on to earn a BA degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied architecture and learned the basic principles of design that would inform her later work in photography and illustration. She spent her early career working as a freelance photographer in Philadelphia and in Berkeley, Calif. She photographed architecture, inner-city street life, schools, and the political demonstrations of the 1960s.

In the 1970s, Christelow began working on book ideas and sent numerous proposals to publishers. In 1981, her first book, Henry and the Red Stripes, was bought by Jim Giblin at Clarion Books and published in 1982. More than 30 books followed, with Giblin continuing as Christelow’s editor until his death in 2016.

In addition to the Five Little Monkeys and Henry Rabbit series, Christelow’s books include stories inspired by her beloved dog, Emma, who passed away in 2013. Emma lives on in Letters from a Desperate Dog and The Desperate Dog Writes Again. Other stories inspired by true events include The Five-Dog Night and The Great Pig Escape. Christelow has also published nonfiction work, including What Do Authors Do?, What Do Illustrators Do?, Vote!, and Robins!

She and husband Ahren Ahrenholz, a potter, have one daughter. In 1981, they moved to a house in Dummerston, Vermont.

Tamar Szabó Gendler ’83

Tamar Szabó Gendler is Yale’s inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy, and Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science. She earned a BA degree summa cum laude with distinction in humanities and in mathematics and philosophy from Yale University in 1987 and a PhD degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1996. After teaching at Syracuse and Cornell universities for nearly a decade, she returned to Yale in 2006 as Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Cognitive Science Program.

Supported by the Mellon Foundation’s New Directions program, Gendler became a full-time student at Yale during the 2009–2010 academic year, completing coursework in psychology, neuroscience, and statistics. In 2010, she was appointed the first woman chair of Yale’s philosophy department in its two-century history. In 2013, she was appointed Deputy Provost for Humanities and Initiatives, a position she held until she assumed her current role.

Gendler’s research brings together the techniques of traditional Anglo-American philosophy with empirical work from psychology and other social sciences; her interests include the relation between imagination and belief, the contrast between rational and non-rational persuasion, and the role of habits in shaping behavior and judgment. Many of these issues are explored in her Open Yale course, titled Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature. As Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and previously as Deputy Provost for Humanities and Initiatives, Gendler has focused on opportunities for collaboration and dialogue across traditional disciplinary boundaries within and across the divisions in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and across the university more broadly. She also has interests in education policy and practice. For several years after graduating from Yale she worked as an education policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Gendler has held fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship Program in the Humanities, Mellon New Directions program, National Science Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies/Ryskamp Fellowship Program, and Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Studies. In 2013, she was awarded Yale College’s Sidonie Miskimin Clauss ’75 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.

Categories: Alumni, Magazine Online

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