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October 16, 2020

Six honored with Distinguished Service Award

Award recognizes volunteer service characterized by commitment, uniqueness, and effectiveness
by Karleigh Antista

The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually by the Academy Resources Committee of the Board of Trustees and recognizes those alumni and parents whose volunteer service is characterized by commitment, uniqueness, and effectiveness. Each of these honorees has left a lasting imprint on our school, alumni, and parent community, and we are deeply grateful.

The 2020 recipients of this award are Tom Beaton ’73, Les Callahan ’68, Susan Goodwillie Stedman ’59, Kent Strong ’89, and Cherry and Frank Tang P’18, ’20.

Thomas A. Beaton ’73

Tom Beaton’s enthusiasm and non sibi spirit are infused in all that he does for Andover. His lengthy volunteer service encompasses multiple roles, as a co-class agent, Alumni Council member and president, co-chair of the council’s Mentoring Committee, and alumni trustee. Tom leads by example—by donating both time and treasure. At the conclusion of Tom’s tenure as Alumni Council president, his successor, Misty Muscatel Davis ’01, announced the “Tom Beaton Challenge,” encouraging 100 percent of council members to make a donation of any size to Annual Giving.

Tom partnered with the Office of Alumni Engagement to launch Non Sibi Day in 2007 and the Andover and the Military Committee in 2009. Those initiatives continue to strengthen the ties of thousands of alumni, students, and parents to Andover. It was Tom’s vision to launch non sibi projects around the world. Each year, more than 100 projects take place during a memorable weekend of community service and reflection. Tom chaired the Non Sibi Committee from 2007 to 2014 and continues to organize a project at Boston’s largest homeless shelter, the Pine Street Inn. In 2009, Tom was also integral in launching—and co-chairing until 2015—Andover and the Military. Today, this affinity group has over 800 members. Its mission is to honor Andover and Abbot veterans and those currently serving in the military, facilitate discussions about military history, and endow Summer Session scholarships for young members of military families. As Tom wrote in his “Out of the Blue” article in the spring 2015 Andover magazine, he had a transformational experience as a scholarship student and is proud to be “Blue for life.”

Thomas A. Beaton ’73 Reflection

Congratulations to my fellow Distinguished Service Award winners!

Fifty years ago, I came to PA as a full-scholarship student and was the beneficiary of PA’s values: Non Sibi and Youth From Every Quarter. I learned so much about service, inclusion, hard work, kindness and loyalty from classmates and faculty mentors.

I treasure every day I spent as an Andover volunteer and was particularly honored to serve as the Alumni Council President and Alumni Trustee. Here are some personal service snapshots:

  • The Alumni Council’s breakthrough, strategic planning session led by then President Peter Hetzler ’72, P’10
  • Smiling whenever any of these leaders appeared:
    • Jim Ventre ’79, John Palfrey P’21 and Barbara Landis Chase
    • Jenny Savino P’21, ’24, Debby Murphy ’86, P’16, ’19, ‘22, Thom Lockerby and Peter Ramsey and everyone from the Office of Alumni Engagement
    • Peter Currie ’74, P’03, Amy Falls 82, P19, ‘21, and the Trustees
    • Alumni Council members
  • Hundreds of Non Sibi Day projects, including those led by Seth Moulton ’97 in Iraq, Rob Patrick ’88 in Djibouti, Christine Balling ’86 in Colombia and Mike Koehler ’94 on Thompson’s Island in Boston
  • Andover and the Military; among the many alumni we honored: Navy SEAL, LTCR Erik Kristensen ’91, Navy Captain Tom Hudner ’43 and Marine 1st LT David Hackett ’61
  • Time spent with Dick Phelps ’46, P'73, '89, GP'14 – every volunteer’s role model
  • Humbly learning about the “Tom Beaton Challenge” – established by Council President Misty Muscatel Davis ’01 – that encourages 100% of the members to make a donation of any size to the Annual Fund
  • New, lifetime relationships formed through service to Andover

I’ve received 100 times more than I’ve given to Andover. I’m Blue for life. Semper Non Sibi.


Leslie G. Callahan III ’68

Like the best alumni volunteers, Les Callahan has sought out opportunities to have a truly positive impact on the Academy. As a result, he has impressively qualified as a triple-threat volunteer: he is an Andover leader in his local community of Atlanta, a dedicated fundraiser and reunion gift committee member for his class, and an engaged, insightful Academy voice for alumni and the school’s recognition of its most accomplished graduates. Les served two terms on the Alumni Council, including three years as vice president (2009–2012), working on governance issues and strategic Andover Fund growth. He was the inaugural chair of the Andover Alumni Award of Distinction Committee, helping to shape the selection process and ensure that students had the chance to hear the awardees speak not only in Cochran Chapel, but also in classrooms and at informal gatherings.

In 2013, seeing a chance to learn more about a unique Andover resource, Les joined the Addison Gallery of American Art’s Board of Governors and also recently served on the Addison’s Trustee Task Force. Les stepped forward as his class approached its 50th Reunion. Continuing his class agent role, he also joined the Class of 1968’s 50th Reunion Gift Committee while serving as class gift planning agent. When he is not at Andover, Les often hosts events for Atlanta-area alumni and parents, effortlessly bringing recent graduates together with older alumni to strengthen their connection to Andover and one another. His most recent coup was recruiting his wife, Barbara, to join the Peabody Institute Advisory Board!

Leslie G. Callahan III ’68 Reflection

Like many alumni/alumnae, Andover was a life-changing experience resulting in strong ties to the school and to my classmates. I visited Andover several times a year during college and immediately following, but visited campus less frequently except for Reunions as I grew my business and raised my children. To my great pleasure, I was able to stay in touch with the Class of ’68 with a stint as Class Secretary and as a Co-Agent. Shortly after the Thirtieth Reunion, I joined the Alumni Council and began a journey which continues to this day. Grace Curley ’81, P’14, ’20, Pete Hetzler ’72, P’10, Susan Donahue ’73, P’05, ’08, Tom Beaton ’73, Lee Sullivan ’68, Al Blum ’62, P’15, Michael Schmertzler ’70, P’05, ’07, Steve Matloff ’91 and others from different classes and different geographies soon became best friends. Debbie Murphy ’86, P’16, ’19, ’22, Jenny Savino P ’21 ’24, Peter Ramsey, and Thom Lockerby were always there with an encouraging smile and a fresh idea. The first Phillips Academy website of the Twentieth Century, Non Sibi Day, the Athletic Hall of Honor, and the Alumni Award of Distinction all came into being during my Council service. Since then I have served on the Addison Gallery Board trying to help the world discover and appreciate this hidden gem as a leader in education and thought leadership.

As Susan Donahue said in her own Distinguished Service Award acceptance speech several years ago, the more you give, the more you get. Thank you, Andover, and congratulations to my fellow Award recipients.


Susan Goodwillie Stedman ’59

Susie Stedman’s service to Andover extends across several programs, reflecting her creativity and broad intellectual interests. A longstanding member of the Abbot Academy Fund (2011–2016), Susie concluded her tenure as president of its board from 2014 to 2016. In addition to this formal leadership role, she provided invaluable counsel that led to Phillips Academy’s improved engagement with Abbot Academy alumnae. These conversations culminated in the launch of the Alumni Council’s Abbot@Andover committee. Susie was an active leader on her 50th Reunion planning committee, both editing her class’s reunion yearbook and orchestrating a new model of a blended reunion of Abbot and Phillips academy classes. She also has served on the Alumni Council.

Susie’s lifelong commitment to social justice drew her to Andover’s outreach programs and their mission to effect change, resulting in her current service on the (MS)2 Advisory Board. In her capacity as an (MS)2 volunteer, she has regularly gone above and beyond to promote the work of this program and to elevate its scholars, personally and strategically. From taking an active role in fundraising initiatives to advising (MS)2 alumni studying at nearby Bowdoin College (then hosting them for Thanksgiving!), Susie continues to exemplify the non sibi spirit. A 2014 recipient of Andover’s Alumni Award of Distinction, Susie’s dedication and accomplishments in her professional life are mirrored in her service to Abbot Academy, Phillips Academy, and the broader communities they engage.

Susan Goodwillie Stedman ’59 Reflection

Engagement as an alumna at my various alma maters never appealed to me, so when my 50th reunion at Andover approached, I wondered why I’d want to attend. Then, I read a story about (MS)2. Struck by the bold, creative, transformative power (MS)2 brings to campus and its participants, I decided this was a school I wanted to be involved with. I offered to do The Book for our reunion, a delightfully challenging project that reconnected me with most of my Abbot pals and with our Andover classmates—friends I’d never met before.

It was an honor to serve on the board of the Abbot Academy Association, to lead it as President, and suggest its name change to Abbot Academy Fund. As Abbot’s living legacy the AAF has supported creativity and innovation on campus (and beyond) for almost 50 years. I’ll never forget the first time we met with student proposers over dinner in McKeen Hall—a rich pot pourri of nationalities, ethnicities, genders—so different from the monochromatic, homogenous all-female student body that hung out there 60 years ago!

Now, as a member of the (MS)2 Advisory Council I am privileged to learn and wonder at the extraordinary discovery, nurturing and life-changing opportunities Dianne Domenech-Burgos and her staff provide to exceptionally bright, highly motivated African-American, Latinx, and Native American students from around the country.

As a volunteer these past several years, I have gained far more insight, wisdom, joy, and friendship than I could possibly have given in return. If anything, my experience has been more pro sibi than non sibi. I am beyond grateful to have reconnected with Andover in my dotage!


Kent A. Strong ’89

After graduating, Kent Strong remained connected to Andover through the Office of Admission, serving as an alumni interviewer and assisting with diversity recruiting events. He began serving as a class co-agent in 2008 and then stepped into the role of co–head agent prior to his 30th Reunion in 2019. That year, Kent served on the Reunion Planning Committee for his class and was also a key partner in the Class of 1989’s success on PA Giving Day. Through personal outreach to classmates, Kent helped secure 84 gifts from his class on the annual day of giving, successfully meeting a $30,000 match challenge set by a classmate. This match challenge combined with individual gifts for a total of $291,000 raised by the Class of 1989—a 479 percent increase from the previous year!

In 2018, Kent enthusiastically and thoughtfully served as a member of the Af-Lat-Am 50th Reunion fundraising committee, which tallied more than $1 million. He offered counsel in shaping Af-Lat-Am’s campaign focus and also reached out to fellow alumni to encourage their support of key priorities that aligned with the mission and objectives of Af-Lat-Am, a dynamic student organization first formed in 1968.

Kent is a current member of the Alumni Council and serves on the Annual Giving Board (AGB). An astute contributor to the AGB, he has helped lead conversations around the establishment and refinement of the Bulfinch Loyalty Society, class agent engagement efforts, and the Academy’s approach to leadership and affinity giving. In addition to his wide scope of volunteer service in development, Kent has also been a consistent partner in continuing the Todd Isaac Day of Remembrance in New York City.

Kent A. Strong ’89 Reflection

Words cannot adequately express how deeply grateful I am to receive the 2020 Andover Distinguished Service Award. Andover is family to me. From the first day I arrived on campus back in the fall of 1987, I knew there was something different and extraordinary about Phillips Academy. It wasn’t the beautiful campus, its place in the history of our nation, or the incredible educational and athletic resources. It was and is the community of students, faculty, and alumni that make Andover such an incredibly special endeavor.

I say endeavor because it describes the dynamic and continuous effort of the Andover community to realize our mission of educating youth from every quarter who aspire to serve others and make the world a better place. Andover never sits on its accomplishments. Instead, we strive every day, through the hard work of faculty, alumni volunteers, and students to realize our highest ideals of non sibi and knowledge and goodness.

My alumni volunteer experience has made clear to me that we stand on the shoulders of giants who worked hard before us to build the Andover we know and love today. I am deeply humbled to be recognized as part of that foundation and only hope that I can give back and do more for many years to come. It is truly a labor of love. Thank you for one of the greatest honors of my life.


Cherry and Frank Tang P’18, ’20

Fostering a sense of community is vital not only on Andover Hill, but also for our alumni and parents near and far. From halfway around the world, Frank and Cherry Tang—with their abundance of warmth and kindness—have played an invaluable role in nurturing close connections among our Hong Kong families and with our campus community.

The Tangs became Andover parents in fall 2015, when their son, JP ’18, arrived as a lower. Two years later, their daughter, Valerie ’20, began her own Andover journey, also as a lower. Throughout their children’s five years at the Academy, Frank and Cherry served as dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic ambassadors for Andover. From hosting receptions, dinners, and welcome events to strategizing with Office of Academy Resources leadership on our Knowledge & Goodness campaign, we could always count on and learn from Frank and Cherry.

In 2017, the Tangs agreed to serve as our inaugural co-chairs of the Parent Advancement Council for the Asia region. Their effective leadership during their two-year term had a significant impact on building parent philanthropy and engagement in Asia. Their impact further increased when they became members of the Campaign Council for the Asia region, a role in which Frank and Cherry continued to lead by example and action with their steadfast involvement and deep generosity. The couple has helped make possible the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library renovation and annually strengthened our Parent Fund resource in support of every student’s experience. The Tangs’ partnership and friendship, in combination with their dedication and personal commitment to Andover’s mission, are an enduring inspiration.

Cherry and Frank Tang P’18, ’20 Reflection

It is truly an honor to receive such a recognition. We are grateful to be part of the Andover family. I still remember the first day we sent our son to the school in 2015 and thought how lucky JP was to have a chance to study at such a great school. Two years later, our daughter Valerie also joined Andover. Throughout the years, we have witnessed our children transforming and blossoming. To them, their Andover education has been a life-changing experience. To us, it has been an incredible journey as parents and partners of the school. This award reminds us of how strong a connection we have had with Andover. Even though both of our children have graduated, we hope that we can continue our engagement with the school and be supportive of the Andover community in whatever way we can.

Categories: Alumni, Leadership

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