Meredith Price
December 16, 2020

Remembering Meredith Price

Beloved English instructor and coach passes away

Meredith Price passed away on December 11 surrounded by his family. A beloved faculty member and coach, Meredith is remembered as a kind and generous member of our community. His two children, Doug ’81 and Amy ’83, will plan a service of remembrance on campus when it is safe for us all to be together. In the meantime, you are invited to share memories and anecdotes with them—which they will share with their mom, Nancy—at [email protected] and [email protected].

In remembrance, we share this piece written by longtime friend and fellow faculty emeritus Hale Sturges, which was published in the spring 2002 Andover Bulletin. As Meredith was wrapping up his final term, Hale noted, “With stellar performances in academics, athletics, administration, and residential life, retiree Meredith Price leaves Phillips Academy several pairs of shoes to fill.”

Beyond the triple threat

by Hale Sturges

“I probably shouldn’t be saying anything, since I’m about to retire, but I care deeply about the school so I’ll speak out anyway.”

Anyone who has attended a recent faculty meeting has heard this disclaimer from the mouth of Meredith Price, who concludes his 39-year career on the Phillips Academy faculty this June. He does care and he does speak out, for few have been involved in the life of Phillips Academy to the extent he has. Much is made of the notion of “triple threat.” With nearly four decades of significant contributions to the academic, athletic, residential, and administrative life of the school, Meredith has been a quadruple threat.

Born in St. Augustine, Fla., Meredith spent his childhood in Washington, D.C. Following graduation from St. Alban’s School in that city, he attended Amherst College, whence he graduated cum laude in 1954. Upon graduation, he began a long association with the U.S. Air Force. Active service as a first lieutenant took him from Florida to Morocco to Turkey during the height of the Cold War. Subsequent reserve duty from 1956–1976 saw him rise to the rank of major. Even today he is a familiar uniformed figure at Veterans Day and Memorial Day services. Fortunately for Andover, a job at General Electric didn’t retain its initial appeal, and in 1958 Meredith accepted a teaching position at the Landon School in Bethesda, Md.

Two years later, he embarked on graduate study at Harvard University. In 1961 he received the Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Finding Harvard’s School of Education an exciting environment under new Dean Theodore Sizer, who later became headmaster of Phillips Academy, Meredith stayed on as an administrative assistant. In 1963 he came to Andover and has been an English teacher at PA ever since.

With students, Meredith was never afraid to offer advice, yet he could also listen. He knew how to be firm yet compassionate.

I came to know Meredith well when we were both house counselors in Adams Hall. He presided in Adams North from 1965–1971. During our three-year overlap, we were part of a changing era: The cluster system had its first experimental phase in Adams, Taylor, and Johnson; there was talk of coeducation; there was discussion with students about social and political issues but not yet dissent. Coats, ties, and chapel requirements were in decline. Sharing this exciting time with Meredith, his wife, Nancy, and two children, Douglas ’81 and Amy ’83, was a happy experience for me. With students, Meredith was never afraid to offer advice, yet he could also listen. He knew how to be firm yet compassionate. He completed 18 years of dormitory service in 1981 in Stearns West.

From the outset, Meredith showed an inclination and talent for administration. Summers at Carleton and Dartmouth colleges with ABC (A Better Chance), a program that gives talented minority students scholarship opportunities to attend top-notch schools, led to a position as director of the Phillips Academy Summer Session during the racially turbulent time of 1974–75. A champion of increased minority presence at Andover, he became associate dean of admissions and for 12 years played a significant role in bringing to PA students with names like Torrance and Nicole, or Nikki, names that now grace the award walls of George Washington Hall.

From 1988 to 1993, Meredith was editor of the Andover Bulletin. The issue he took greatest pride in included a group of articles on AIDS featuring former colleague and poet Paul Monette ’63 and former Adams Hall resident Dr. Charles Vander Horst ’71. Meredith’s many other assignments included chairing the Faculty Benefits Committee. It was during his watch that the trustees established a low-interest mortgage plan that helps faculty purchase real estate in order to build equity.

“I’ve heard that Mr. Price is a great teacher” is an exclamation countless advisees have passed on to me in the hope they might be so lucky as to be placed in one of his sections. Forsaking a teaching load dominated by senior electives, he preferred to concentrate on lower-level courses. Teaching proper use of the English language, asking penetrating questions about writing and literature, and inspiring younger students were his passions. One student, Mary Ziegler ’00, named him a “Presidential Teacher”—the educator who had most influenced her—on the occasion of her selection by the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. In addition, he was named to Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 2000. National recognition also came in the form of almost 10 years on the College Board Test Development Committee for the English Composition Achievement Test.

Ever since a childhood of rooting for the Washington Redskins, whom he still reveres as an adult, Meredith is an ardent spectator, coach, and participant in athletics. At PA he was first assistant varsity soccer coach under Frank DiClemente, then head coach from 1975–1986. He was also a lacrosse coach his entire career until hip-replacement surgery forced him to stop two years ago.

Meredith will continue to be a spectator fixture at athletics events, for he has decided to spend his retirement in Andover. Hip and shoulder surgery have slowed him down a bit, but it is certain his retirement will include summers at his cottage on Kezar Lake in Maine, singing basso profundo for the New England Classical Singers, and playing a very competitive game of tennis, marked by a nasty left-handed twist serve.

Hale Sturges passed away in 2014.

Categories: Academics

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