Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award Honorees

List of 55 items.

  • Clara Converse, 1879

    After graduating from Vermont State Teachers School at age 16 and working as a public school teacher, Clara Converse entered the newly established Vermont Academy in 1877.
    After graduating from Vermont State Teachers School at age 16 and working as a public school teacher, Clara Converse entered the newly established Vermont Academy in 1877. Graduating with the Class of 1879, she was one of Vermont Academy’s first female graduates, as well as one of only two women in her class. After receiving a degree from Smith College, Converse returned to Vermont Academy, where she taught Greek, German, rhetoric, and mathematics from 1884-1889. Florence Sabin was one of her students. Converse felt compelled to serve the Lord and resigned her post in 1889 to apply for a missionary position with the Women’s Division of the American Baptist Mission. The mission was searching for a suitably qualified educator to take over the leadership of a new school for girls established by Baptist missionaries in Yokohama, Japan. She began her new responsibilities in January 1890.

    Over the next 35 years, Converse built this school, which adopted the name “Soshin Jo-Gakko,” meaning Truth-Seeking Girls School, into a respected institution of women’s education in Japan. Soshin came under the direct control of the Japanese government when the unequal treaties were renegotiated in 1899. Miss Converse proved the worth of her school’s methods to the authorities, and Soshin soon received a license from the Ministry of Education. While she was building Soshin, Converse purused other missionary activities, including teaching Sunday school, Bible classes, and founding a kindergarden. Following her retirement as principal of Soshin in 1925, Converse continued her involvement with the school and her other missionary works. In 1929, Emperor Showa (Hirohito) conferred the Blue Ribbon Medal upon her, honoring her many years of service in education to the Japanese nation. In a letter to former Headmaster Laurence G. Leavitt, Converse expressed hope that Vermont Academy would continue to promote the intellectual, physical, and spiritual formation of young adults, and the values that had many times been a source of strength to her as she labored to build up the Soshin School. Those values, which she gained from Vermont Academy and applied at Soshin, are best summed up in the advice that Miss Converse left to her students in Japan, words that have endured as both a motto of Soshin School and a precious memory of its founder to this day: “Trust in God. Be true to your best self.”
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  • John Barrett, 1885

    John Barrett was a US diplomat that ardently worked for international peace.
    John Barrett was a US diplomat that ardently worked for international peace. For his service, Vermont Academy honors Barrett with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award. Barrett graduated Dartmouth College in 1889. By the age of thirty, he was appointed Minister to Siam and settled claims worth millions of dollars.

    During the Spanish American War he worked as foreign correspondent, and in 1901 became delegate to the Second International Conference of American States in Mexico City. Barrett worked to secure participation in the St. Louis expedition (1902-3), served as Minister to Argentina (1903-4), and as the first Minister to Panama (1904-5). Roosevelt transferred him to Panama in 1906 to settle conflict over the Panama Canal. Barrett then served as Director of the Bureau of American Republics for fourteen years, and his efforts led to the formation of the Pan American Union. In reference to Barrett, Andrew Carnegie stated, “nothing could shake his devotion to his mission.” Barrett wrote six books on South America and international relations, and the Barrett Medal is named in his honor.
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  • Paul Percy Harris, 1888

    Paul Percy Harris, creator of The Rotary Club.
    At Vermont Academy, Paul Percy Harris, creator of The Rotary Club, received the discipline and motivation he needed to graduate Princeton University and the University of Iowa Law School.

    Vermont Academy is proud to honor Harris, class of 1888, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award (1987). Harris traveled the U.S. as a cowhand, teacher, newspaper reporter, and seaman until 1900. Before starting a law practice, Harris formed a service group, The Rotary Club, which became one of the world’s most important social organizations. Today, Rotary International has chapters in 166 countries. In 1948, Roger Levy, a staff member of Rotary International, eulogized Harris: “Everywhere he impresses those who met him, and heard him with his simplicity and sincerity and his refusal to be seen as a visionary. He had happened to found a club, which turned into an international movement, but he remained a gentle, humorous, and friendly man, until his death…a quiet American who was unforgotten by those who had the privilege of meeting him.” In The First Rotarian -- The Life and Times of Paul Percy Harris, he is deemed “one of the great social architects of this, or any other century.”
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  • Russell Porter, 1891

    Russell Porter was an architect, explorer, astrophysicist, artist, and composer.
    For his extraordinary life of discovery and achievement, Vermont Academy is proud to honor the memory of Dr. Russell Porter, an 1891 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award (1988).
    Born in Vermont in 1871, Russell Porter was an architect, explorer, astrophysicist, artist, and composer. After attending Vermont Academy, he studied at Norwich University, the University of Vermont, and earned a degree in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also won an award from the National Society of Beaux Arts in Architecture. As a scientist, surveyor, and artist, Porter traveled eight times to the Arctic. Later, following his interest in astrophysics, he designed a reflecting telescope, and wrote the book, Amateur Telescope Making.”

    In 1922, he founded the Amateur Telescope Makers of America, which ignited a backyard astronomy “craze”. Beginning in 1928 Porter worked for twenty years to help develop the Palomar telescope, the largest and most powerful in the world. During World War II, he secretly mobilized 20,000 amateur telescope makers to design roof prisms for sights used on field and aircraft guns and other military equipment. Russell Porter’s associates dubbed him the “Dean of Amateur Astronomers” and a “later-day Leonardo da Vinci.” After his death in 1949, the British Astronomical Association honored Porter by renaming a moon crater the Porter Crater. Vermont Academy celebrates Dr. Russell Porter and his lifetime of accomplishments.
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  • Samuel B. Pettengill, 1904

    An influential member of the House of Representatives, philosopher, poet, and best-selling author.
    For his achievements as an influential member of the House of Representatives, philosopher, poet, and best-selling author, Vermont Academy honors Samuel B. Pettengill, a 1904 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award. After graduating Middlebury College, Pettengill earned his law degree from Yale. He practiced law in Indiana, argued cases before the Supreme Court, and was elected to the US Congress based on a campaign for the repeal of prohibition.

    Pettengill served four terms in the House of Representatives, helping to formulate the Securities Act, the Motor Carrier Act, the Stock Exchange Act, and other legislation dealing with railroads, aviation, commodity, exchange, public utilities, and the Panama Canal. Pettengill was designated “friend of the people” by Life and TIME magazines upon his 1939 retirement from the House. He then became spokesman for the Committee for Constitutional Government, worked as a columnist, and author. He published poetry and books, including Jefferson, The Forgotten Man and the national best seller, Smoke Screen.
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  • Olin D. Gay, 1905

    Olin served as a trustee of Vermont academy from 1921 until his death in 1977.
    For his dedication to Vermont Academy and civic leadership in the state, Vermont Academy honors Olin D. Gay, class of 1905, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award. Gay served as a trustee of Vermont academy from 1921 until his death in 1977. He became a board president when the Academy was nearly bankrupt, and was an integral in the school’s financial recovery. He later served as chairman of buildings and grounds. With a hands-on approach, Gay was actively involved in the school’s welfare.

    In 1934, he brought Laurence Leavitt to Vermont Academy. Leavitt became headmaster and was exceptional. In the 40s, Gay helped the board of trustees put a bill through legislature to sever the legal ties between Vermont Academy and the Vermont Baptists. Gay served two terms in the Vermont House of Representatives, was on the Vermont State Senate for nearly 20 years, and was Chairman of the Senate Institutions Committee for 15 years, playing a major role in improving Vermont’s corrections department. Of all the sons of Vermont Academy, surely no one has served his Alma Mater so long, or so well.” – Dorothy Leavitt
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  • Frederick W. Shepardson, 1908

    Frederick was a pioneer in Vermont aviation, and founded the state civil air patrol.
    Frederick W. Shepardson (Fritz), class of 1908, was a successful businessman dedicated to community service, especially at Vermont Academy, where he was a valued trustee for many years. Fritz Shepardson received the Condict Cup “Man of the Year” award in 1961, for his many years of service the campus dining hall is named the Shepardson Center, and Vermont Academy now honors him with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Shepardson studied chemistry at the University of Vermont, where he was a trustee, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1962. During World War I, he was a quartermaster sergeant at a US Army base hospital. After leaving the military, he was Vice President and Treasurer of the Maltex Company in Burlington, VT, served as President and Trustee of civic organizations including: Central Vermont Railway, Mary Fletcher Hospital, New England Regional Planning Commission, Vermont State Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries in Vermont, and the State Advisory Board on Aeronautics. Shepardson was a pioneer in Vermont aviation, and founded the state civil air patrol.
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  • Thelma Wood Carroll, 1925

    Thelma is an accomplished educator, writer, and drama producer.
    Thelma Wood Carroll, 1925, is an accomplished educator, writer, and drama producer. Like Florence Sabin, Carroll overcame obstacles to achieve her goals in school and beyond, and Vermont Academy is proud to honor her with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Carroll earned a degree in English and Drama at Syracuse University, graduating with honors. During the Depression, she taught high school in New York, and organized/supervised clubs related to drama and English. Later, she worked as a social worker and English teacher in France, but returned home to teach, write, and take classes at Universities during the summers. In her studies, Carroll learned the value of puppets as a teaching tool. She also found that they were great for political satire, and produced a one-woman show when Eisenhower was running for President. On election eve, her show was broadcast on television.

    Carol was President of the Heads of High School English Departments in Connecticut for three years, before retiring and traveling the world. Throughout her life she also won awards in puppetry, playwriting, and pageantry, wrote a children’s book titled The Magic Quarter and is currently chapter President of the National League of American Pen Women, and a member of several other national and local organizations.
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  • Joseph W. Bogdanski, 1931

    Commitment to justice as a law practitioner and judge, his civil contributions, and his efforts for environmentalism and world peace.
    For his commitment to justice as a law practitioner and judge, his civil contributions, and his efforts for environmentalism and world peace, Vermont Academy honors Joseph W. Bogdanski, a 1931 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    At the Academy, Bogdanski was an honor student, a class agent, and a star on the 1930 undefeated football team. At Colgate University, he was an All-American football player on their not scored-upon team in 1934. Sports Illustrated recognized him as a Silver Anniversary All-American 25 years later. Bogdanski was a college professor, attended Yale University as a graduate student, and received a degree from Hartford College of Law. He practiced law before serving in the US Navy during World War II, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

    After the war he worked on the military staff of the Connecticut Governor. In 1947, Bogdanski became a judge, and served on the Meriden Police Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Connecticut Superior Court. In 1972 he was appointed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, and in 1981 became Chief Justice. A year later he retired, but served as Senior Judge of the Superior Court of New Haven County until 1991.
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  • Joseph P. Vetrano, 1932

    Real estate investor, consultant, and broker, he co-owned the Westfarm Mall, merged Bradlees and Stop and Shop.
    Joseph P. Vetrano graduated Vermont Academy in 1932, and with hard work and persistence, began an entrepreneurial career that epitomizes the American dream. With pride, Vermont Academy honors Vetrano with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award (1987).

    Vetrano turned down a college scholarship to help his family during the Depression. He worked odd jobs, yet managed to make small real estate investments and important contacts with developers. Before long, Vetrano was orchestrating major deals within the industry. As a real estate investor, consultant, and broker, he co-owned the Westfarm Mall, merged Bradlees and Stop and Shop, and was involved in the construction of more than 20 supermarkets and shopping centers. In the 1950s, Vetrano worked in Rome as an American industrialist to help open market opportunities. There, he befriended the Pope and several Cardinals, associations that lead to the negotiated sale of a monastery to the Sheraton Hotel division of ITT.

    In 1982, President Ronald Reagan named him to the advisory committee on the arts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Although he maintained offices worldwide, he maintained local loyalty. A Connecticut newspaper publisher stated, “I don’t think you could add up the number of generous contributions in the town. He has touched thousands of lives”.
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  • Robert M. Campbell 1937

    Founding Vermont Filmmaker

    For Robert “Bob” M. Campbell ’37, attending Vermont Academy for his senior year was a turning point in his life. The school acted as a launching pad for him in the earliest years of his career, and once he was established, he turned around and began giving back almost immediately.

    After graduating from Vermont Academy, Bob attended Dartmouth College and earned his MBA at the Tuck School of Business in 1942. Although he could not join the military due to medical issues, he was proud to play his part in WWII by working for Remington Firearms until the war ended. He and his wife, Beth, then moved to Manhattan and he joined Willard Pictures, an industrial film company, as they started a family.

    In 1948, Bob returned to Saxtons River to become Vermont Academy’s director of development. He never lost his passion for film, and as his family grew—eventually he and Beth had 11 children—Bob began freelancing as a filmmaker again. By 1956, he had turned it into his full-time work, founding Campbell Films, the first commercial film company in Vermont. 

    Specializing in productions that supported the fundraising campaigns of universities and nonprofit organizations, the organization helped schools like MIT, Middlebury, and the Perkins School for the Blind raise capital and build awareness of their missions. With the Perkins School for the Blind, Bob’s efforts were critical to raising awareness of the rubella epidemic and of the growing population who were made deafblind by the disease. 

    In addition to doing good with his professional work, Bob felt compelled to give back as well. In 1973, hoping to revitalize his adopted hometown of Saxtons River, he purchased the Saxtons River Inn and set to work renovating and restoring it, bringing a center of community life back to the town he loved. Each of his children were involved in the restoration and running of the Inn, helping to ensure the vitality of Saxtons River for future generations. 

    As for his relationship to Vermont Academy, it continued well past his tenure as director of development. From 1957 to 1970, Bob was on the board of trustees, and his children attended the school. Bob and his wife also endowed a vital part of the Vermont Academy experience when they created the Bob ’37 and Beth Campbell Arts and Lecture Series. The program brings contemporary artists to Vermont Academy to speak with individual classes and to the whole school about their work and artistic process. It is a fitting legacy for a man who cared deeply about filmmaking and how art can change the world.

    Though Bob died in 2018 just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday, his impact on the school and on the wider Saxtons River community is indelible. We are proud to honor his devoted service to the school, community, and his profession with the posthumous presentation of The Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.  

    – Awarded in 2023
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  • David Stick, 1937

    Accomplished writer and public servant
    For his accomplishments as a writer and public servant, Vermont Academy honors David Stick, a 1937 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Stick has also received the University of North Carolina’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Before and during his time at Vermont Academy, Stick spent summers working for newspapers. At the University of North Carolina, he focused his energy on the school paper and on his work as the Director of the North Carolina Scholastic Press Institute. Despite his hard working nature, Stick left school before graduating and hitchhiked around the country, writing along the way. Stick continued to write, and worked as a political beat reporter in North Carolina, for a noted Washington radio commentator during President Roosevelt’s news conferences, and then as a Marine Corps correspondent during World War II. He was Associate Editor of American Legion Magazine in New York after the war.

    Since the ’40s, he has been in North Carolina writing books, including a dozen on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, operating a variety of businesses, and working in public service. Stick led a movement for better libraries in the state, and helped develop the coastal zone management program – efforts publicly recognized by the State Supreme Court Justice.
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  • Glenn A. Reed, 1938

    An nuclear engineer and commitment to industry safety and improvement.
    For achievements as a nuclear engineer and commitment to industry safety and improvement, Vermont Academy honors Glenn Reed, a 1938 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After graduating Vermont Academy as Valedictorian and recipient of the Barrett Medal, Reed, with the Headmaster’s encouragement, saved money and enrolled at Northeastern University where he studied mechanical engineering. He left school to serve as a platoon sergeant working in intelligence during World War II, and returned to graduate with honors in 1947. Reed then worked for The New England Electric System, and on secret assignment helped research and develop the first nuclear submarine, the first electricity producing nuclear reactor, the first boiling water reactor, and other groundbreaking projects in nuclear fission.

    Beginning in 1956, Reed was a project engineer and manager of the Yankee Atomic Rowe Plant, where he was promoted to design and operate the Connecticut-Haddam Plant. He later moved to manage a new, state-of-the-art plant that became a model of safety and efficiency. After retirement in 1983, Reed served on committees for design, operational, and safety improvements in nuclear energy fields. In 1992, Reed received the Dr. Walter Zinn Award from the American Nuclear Society for his “notable and sustained contribution to the nuclear power industry.”
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  • Willis L. Curtis, 1938

    Dairy farmer, legislator, broadcaster, writer, activist, and President of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.
    Will Curtis worked as a dairy farmer, legislator, broadcaster, writer, activist, and as President of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, an organization known nationally for its educational programs and environmental projects. For his brilliant career, focused on enriching lives and the environment, Vermont Academy honors Curtis, class of 1938, with the Florence Sabin distinguished Alumni Award.

    Curtis and his wife owned a shoe manufacturing business, and later bought a Vermont dairy farm and raised cows until 1963. Near this time, Curtis was elected to the Vermont legislature. He was instrumental in the initial development of conservation and environmental regulations. Curtis and his wife owned the Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, VT, one of the finest bookstores in New England. They were also writers, authoring Times Gone By, The World of George Perkins Marsh, America’s First Environmentalist and Return to These Hills: The Vermont Years of Calvin Coolidge.

    Will Curtis began his career as a radio broadcaster with a three-minute, twice-a-day nature program on a local Vermont station. The show, “The Nature of Things,” is now syndicated and boasts more than a million listeners worldwide. Looking back at his life, Curtis stated, “It has had so many satisfactions, I think it could have only happened in Vermont.”
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  • Stacey w. Cole, 1939

    Farmer, radio broadcaster, legislator, lobbyist, and newspaper columnist.
    At his 1939 graduation, Stacey W. Cole was presented a special award by Headmaster Leavitt that read, “To Stacey Cole: Delightful comedian and enthusiastic naturalist, you have added pleasure and interest to our school life by sharing with us all the hobbies you enjoy so keenly.” For his achievements as a farmer, radio broadcaster, legislator, lobbyist, and newspaper columnist, Vermont Academy honors Cole with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After graduating University of New Hampshire, Cole became a successful poultry farmer and sold his goods roadside. Community focused, he took on leadership positions with state and national farming organizations. Later, Cole was a lobbyist for the New Hampshire Petroleum Council and on the University System of New Hampshire’s Board of Trustees. In 1965, Cole was elected to state legislature, where he helped write New Hampshire’s first clean-air act and led the enforcing commission.

    From 1989-1996, Cole served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, elected as Deputy Speaker in 1994. He also had his own radio show and newspaper column, “Nature Talks Down on the Farm.” Keene State College awarded Cole with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree (1996), UNH recently named an academic building Cole Hall, and there is a Stacey W. Cole Scholarship. Vermont Academy applauds its alumnus, Stacey Cole.
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  • Eugene M. Kinney, 1940

    35-year career at the Zenith Radio Corporation, worked tirelessly as a civic leader, and served on Vermont Academy’s Board of Trustees from 1958-1983
    Vermont Academy is proud to honor Gene Kinney, class of 1940 with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award. Kinney had a successful, 35-year career at the Zenith Radio Corporation, worked tirelessly as a civic leader, and served on Vermont Academy’s Board of Trustees from 1958-1983.

    Kinney graduated Dartmouth College, served three years in the Navy, then joined Zenith where he worked as Director, Senior Vice President of Special Products, Senior Vice President of Administration, and President of Zenith’s Hearing Aids. Benefiting the Chicago community and beyond, Kinney held leadership positions at the Lake Shore National Bank, Vivitar Corporation, Evanston Hospital, Henrotin Hospital, the National Association of Hearing and Speech Agencies, the National Hearing Association, Dartmouth’s Alumni Association, and Chicago’s Crime Commission. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Heart of America Challenge, Commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club, an active contributor to the Boy Scouts of America, and has been a member of the Chicago Council of the BSA for more than 25 years. In 1985, the BSA presented Kinney an award for his “outstanding and exceptional service to youth within a regional area.”
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  • Donald deJongh Cutter, 1941

    US Military and as a municipal leader in New Hampshire
    For his service in the US Military and as a municipal leader in New Hampshire, Vermont Academy honors Donald deJongh Cutter, class of 1941, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Active in sports and clubs at Vermont academy, his extra-curricular interests continued at Dartmouth College where he was on the ski team, as well as troop commander and supervisor of ski training in the Tenth Mountain Division of the US Army. During World War II, Cutter served in the Aleutian Island Campaign, Kiska Island Invasion, the Asiatic Pacific Theaters, and with the Army of Occupation in Germany. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict and served as a director of winter sports and coach/member of the Army’s European Ski Team. During his 17 years of reserve service Cutter received many awards and decorations, and retired with the rank of Captain in 1961.

    Cutter has worked as General Manager of Okemo Mountain and Mount Ascutney ski areas, legal consultant on ski safety, high school ski coach, Selectman, Planning Board member, and served as acting chief of the volunteer fire department. He was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award for fifty years of service to his community and state.
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  • Ralph O. West, 1942

    Improving the prospects of young people through his dedicated service to the independent school community.
    At Vermont Academy, Ralph West, class of 1942, was an honor student, active in sports, clubs, and school government, voted “most likely to succeed,” “most versatile,” and “senior who had done the most for VA.” He did achieve success and continued to contribute to schools like the Academy. For improving the prospects of young people through his dedicated service to the independent school community, Vermont Academy honors Ralph O. West with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After graduating Harvard University, West returned to Vermont Academy to teach, before renewing his studies and receiving his Masters Degree in Education from Harvard in 1951. He became head of the history department and Assistant Director of Admissions at St. John’s School in Texas, returned to New England to be Headmaster of Cushing Academy, and served two years as Executive Secretary of Harvard’s Gradate School of Education Association. While working at Harvard, he was also Director of the Evaluation Program for Independent Secondary Schools of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In 1963 he was appointed as Director of the NEAC, and later became Director of the Commission on Independent Schools. Ralph West retired in 1989, after 23 years of service to the NEASC and 42 years in independent school education.
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  • Donald D. Durkee, 1943

    President of Durkee Mower, Inc., the company that manufactures Marshmallow Fluff.
    Vermont Academy is proud to recognize Donald D. Durkee ’43 with the Florence Sabin Award. Don is a longtime president of Durkee Mower, Inc., the company that manufactures Marshmallow Fluff– a simple product that has inspired beloved recipes like “Fluffernutter” and “Rice Krispy Treat.”

    Durkee Mower has been making Fluff in the same personal manner since 1920. Their success has come from adhering closely to its traditions and resisting offers to be purchased and assimilated into large conglomerates. As President, Don has been able to maintain his dedicated work force, expand production capacity, and increase sales every year since 1982 – even when faced with a recession. Don relies on word of mouth and the promotion of special recipes during the holidays to spread the word about Fluff and its versatility and usefulness.

    At Vermont Academy, Don was an active member of the community during his two years as a student and has remained one of our most loyal and supportive alumni since his graduation in 1943. Don understands the small family nature of Vermont Academy, and he treats the employees of Durkee Mower in a similar fashion. He often recalls the time when he was a VA student and had a ruptured appendix and needed a blood transfusion. The only person in town who shared his blood type was Headmaster Laurence Leavitt, who willingly agreed to a blood transfusion. To this day, Don still considers Larry Leavitt as his “blood brother.” Don is also a pillar within the community where he lives and works and serves on the boards of numerous health and community organizations. We thank him for bringing honor (and Rice Krispy Treats) to Vermont Academy.
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  • Joseph Metcalf III, 1946

    Outstanding military and civilian career.
    Joseph Metcalf III rose through the ranks of the US Navy to become a leader in America’s armed forces. For his outstanding military and civilian career, Vermont Academy honors Joseph Metcalf III, a 1946 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After Vermont Academy, Metcalf joined the US Navy and entered the US Naval Academy, graduating in 1951. He also completed a two-year course in operations analysis at the US Naval Post-Graduate School, and earned the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Gold Star for serving on the ship that made one of the initial amphibious landings in Vietnam. Metcalf was program manager in the Research and Development Center, Bangkok, Thailand, where he was awarded the Legion of Merit, headed the Planning and Program branch of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and served as a Commander at Pearl Harbor. Selected as Rear Admiral in 1976, he also became director of the Navy’s general planning and programming division, and went to sea again as a Commander in 1979.

    In 1983 Metcalf was promoted to Vice Admiral, and then advanced to Chief of Naval Operations for Surface Warfare, one of the highest ranks in the US Navy. After 41 years of dedicated service, Metcalf retired from the Navy but remained involved in both military and civilian pursuits.
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  • Michael Choukas, Jr., 1946

    Devoted his career to improving education and the student experience.
    Michael Choukas, Jr. devoted his career to improving education and the student experience. For his dedication and accomplishments, Vermont Academy honors Choukas, a 1946 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After graduating Dartmouth College, Choukas served in the US Marine Corps as Captain of the Marine Reserve. From there, he taught at the Milbrook School, and in 1954 returned to Vermont Academy as faculty. At VA, Choukas created a course called “Man and His World,” that inspires students to think about opportunities available to them, as well as the difficult issues facing they world they would inherit. This course brings more than 20 college professors to campus each year. He also instituted an urban studies program.

    In 1962 Choukas was awarded the Condict Cup for his outstanding service to his alma mater, and was appointed Headmaster of Vermont Academy in 1966. He also participated in several organizations, which included his service as President of the Vermont Independent Schools Association, the Northern New England Independent Schools Association, and the prestigious Headmaster’s Association. In 1977, Choukas accepted the position of Director of Alumni Relations at Dartmouth -- after 11 years as Headmaster and 23 years of service to Vermont Academy.
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  • John W. Luce, 1946

    Engineer, Inventor
    John Luce earned a BS in electrical engineering at Norwich University. After graduation he was commissioned in the Army Reserves. He did a short stint at Fort Monmouth, NJ, and then joined Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh. He designed instruments for nuclear reactors for Navy submarines and surface ships as well as electric power generation. While at Westinghouse, he co-authored a text book The Shippingport Pressurized Water Reactor. John then transferred to Baltimore, where he designed systems for launching missiles from submarines, the first satellite navigation system, and equipment for scanning and surveying the ocean bottom. He then got married and he built his own 33 foot ocean cruising sailboat.

    After 17 years with Westinghouse, he quit his job, sold the cars and house, put the furniture in storage, and cruised for two years. John and his wife covered the East Coast from Maine to Florida, and the Bahamas and Caribbean. After cruising, John worked for a number of companies, including Black & Decker and General Electric, where he designed automatic assembly machinery, plastics processing machinery, cutting-edge sonar, neutron generators, and anti-shoplifting systems. John received nine U.S. Patents, two in sonar development and seven in electric power conversion. He also published many technical papers.

    John finished up his career as a tenured professor of electronics at Hillsborough Community College and taught electrical engineering at the University of South Florida. He was a registered professional engineer and was named eminent engineer by Tau Beta PI, the national engineering honor society. He also holds commercial and amateur radio operator licenses. He is a 32nd degree Mason and past master of his lodge.

    Today, he spends his time as a volunteer for the retirement community he lives in and is also a volunteer at a WWII cargo ship museum in Tampa where he serves as the electrical engineer when they take the ship out for test drives. John Luce has been the recipient of the distinguished alumni award at Norwich University.
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  • David J. Maysilles, 1947

    Educator and devoted to creating opportunity for children from troubled families
    For his achievements as an educator and devotion to creating opportunity for children from troubled families, Vermont Academy honors David Maysilles, class of 1947, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After Vermont Academy, Maysilles attended Middlebury College where he was one of 1500 men selected from colleges throughout the nation to receive commissions in the Marine Corps Reserve. He graduated Middlebury and continued in the military as a Lt. Colonel, serving in Korea and Vietnam. While in the service, Maysilles earned a Master’s Degree from George Washington University.

    In 1976, Maysilles returned to Vermont to serve as Executive Director of the Kurn Hattin School, a position he held for 18 years. There, he renewed the school’s mission as a residential and educational sanctuary for children from troubled families. He began a revitalization process that included renovating the academic program, creating a formal counseling department, constructing an integrated educational, dining, and activities center, and organizing the unification of Kurn Hattin’s campus at its Westminster location. Maysilles also actively involved in other organizations that better the lives of children, including the Boy Scouts, the Bellows Falls Rotary, and the National Association of Homes for Children.
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  • George D. Cheney, 1948

    Contributions to the field of science, including work toward the invention of the Hubble Telescope.
    For his many contributions to the field of science, including work toward the invention of the Hubble Telescope, Vermont Academy honors George D. Cheney, a 1948 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Cheney earned two Bachelor’s Degrees, from Middlebury College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and worked as an engineer for the Goodyear Company designing aircraft fuel tanks. He entered the US Navy in 1955 and served as Combat Information Center Officer. After leaving the military, George worked as Research and Development Manager for Bryant Chucking in Springfield, VT, during which time he registered six patents in the field of computer memory. He then became a Senior Staff Engineer at Perkin-Elmer’s Government Systems (later Hughes Optical), developing several more patented technologies, including a small night camera that used lasers and a prototype for a deep-submergence laser camera. As a Mechanical Engineer for Hughes Optical, Cheney was instrumental in the design of the original telescope, particularly its super-structure and its 1,700-pound primary mirror.

    Most significant, though, was his work on the team that built the Hubble Space Telescope, which opened up a new field of insight into space for scientists, and charged the imagination of the American public unlike any technology since the lunar landing.
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  • John D. Seelye, 1949

    Professor, scholar, and author.
    For his achievements as a professor, scholar, and author, Vermont Academy is proud to honor John D. Seelye, a 1949 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Seelye graduated Wesleyan University with honors in English. He served two years in the Navy, then entered Claremont Graduate School, where he earned a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., writing his dissertation on Herman Melville. Seelye has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Connecticut, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, and the University of Florida, where he holds the chair as Graduate Research Professor. He has received several research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

    A version of his Melville dissertation was published, as was The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his rewriting of Twain’s classic. His other titles include The Kid, Dirty Tricks: Or, Nick Noxin’s Natural Nobility, Mark Twain: A Meditation with Pictures and Prophetic Waters: The River in Early American Life and Literature, Beautiful Machine: Rivers and the American Republic, 1750-1825. His latest book, Memory’s Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock, is being published, and he is still working. Vermont Academy is honored that John Seelye wrote The Vermont Centennial Poem for the Academy’s centennial celebration.
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  • Alan B. Gould, 1951

    Speech Pathologist
    Alan Gould has improved many lives through his work on behalf of the speech and hearing impaired. Vermont Academy honors Gould with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Gould graduated Middlebury College and earned a Master’s Degree from Southern Connecticut State University. He spent a sixth year in Management Administration at the University of Bridgeport and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech Pathology. After serving in the Army, Gould taught at the Kolburne School, then became Coordinator of Speech-Language and Hearing for the New Canaan Public Schools.

    He established one of the first pre-kindergarten speech-language and hearing programs in Connecticut and founded the Connecticut Speech and Hearing Foundation. Gould has a speech pathology practice, and is active in the Connecticut Speech and Hearing Association. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Association, which reads, “Alan exemplifies the dedication and long-term commitment needed for furthering the needs of our association and for promoting the role of speech pathologists in serving the needs of the communicatively handicapped.”

    Gould’s commitment is further demonstrated by his work at the Wilton Playshop. He organized their first signed stage performance, has written productions, and produced shows and seminars for the hearing impaired. The Connecticut chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf honored Gould with a distinguished service award.
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  • Douglas N. Archibald, 1951

    Professor, Scholar
    Douglas N. Archibald ’51 is an esteemed professor, scholar and administrator, who, in his many years in higher education, has influenced hundreds of students in their appreciation of literature and their command of the English language. Douglas was selected as the member of his senior class who had "done most" for Vermont Academy, evidenced by his activities as Editor-In-chief of VA Life, member of VASA, and Marshal of the Junior Class.

    Following his graduation from VA, Douglas went on to Dartmouth, graduating in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in English. He received both his master's degree and his doctorate in English from the University of Michigan. Douglas began his career as a professor of English at Cornell University, where he served as an assistant professor and assistant dean. Since the early '70s, he has been a faculty member of Colby college, serving in many capacities. Between 1973-79, he served as chairman of the Colby English Department, a position he recently took on again; between 1982-88, he served as dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs of the college.

    Douglas is a specialist in Anglo-Irish history and culture, the work of W.B. Yeats, and issues of literary influence and history. His study of John Butler Yeats, painter, writer, conversationalist, and father of famous sons, was published by the Bucknell University Press in 1973. His book about one of those sons, the poet William Butler Yeats, was published in the spring of 1982. His edition of Yeats's Autobiographies, v.III of The Collected Works, was published in 1999. In addition to his several books, Douglas has written essays about literary influence, literary history, and the relationship between literature, politics and psychology for journals such as New Literary History, the Massachusetts Review, and the Colby Quarterly, which he edits.
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  • William A. Torrey, 1952

    Sports Executive
    Bill Torrey was captain of his Vermont Academy hockey team, played in two NCAA hockey championships at St. Lawrence University, and became one of the most accomplished executives in professional sports. For his outstanding career, Vermont academy honors Torrey, class of 1952, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award (1987).

    Ineligible to play hockey his senior year of college, Torrey spent his final season announcing the games on the radio. His broadcasts impressed the Eastern Hockey Radio Network and they hired him as an announcer. In 1959, Torrey became Manager of the Pittsburgh Hornets, and began his National Hockey League career as Executive Vice President of an expansion team, the California Golden Seals.

    As General Manager, he lead another team, the New York Islanders, in a 14 season winning streak that included six Patrick Division titles, three Campbell Conference titles, three Prince of Wales titles, and four consecutive Stanley Cups. Torrey was twice named NHL Executive of the Year and received the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey. In 1993, Torrey became President of the Florida Panthers expansion team, and in 1995, he was inducted into the National Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
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  • David L. White, 1952

    For nearly fifty years, David White has dedicated his life to journalism and serving his native home, Bermuda. His career began in 1950 when, as a 16 year-old Vermont Academy junior, David interned at the Royal Gazette, Bermuda's daily newspaper.

    A four-year student at Vermont Academy, graduating in 1952, David was active in all facets of life at the Academy. After graduation, David enrolled at Bard College in New York, where his love of the written word flourished. Upon graduating from Bard, David was recognized as a John Bard Scholar and received the Fairbaim Prize, the highest academic award presented by the College. After graduation, David went to England, where he studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, earning a Bachelors of Jurisprudence.

    In 1967, he became the first Bermudian ever designated as a Commonwealth Press Union Fellow, the Commonwealth's highest educational award for journalists. Later that year, he became assistant editor of the Mid-Ocean News, and was appointed editor when it became a weekly newspaper in 1968. After five years in this position, David became assistant editor of the Royal Gazette in 1973. On July 1, 1976, he rose to become editor and remained in that position until retiring in 1998. During his tenure, the paper thrived. When David went abroad to press meetings, people would remark that the Royal Gazette was one of the best small papers in the world. David summarizes his work as "writing editorials, supervising and delegating work," and always saw things that could be improved. In fact, David credits Vermont Academy for instilling "the kind of Puritan conscience which says you must always strive to do better.”

    In addition to David's achievements as a journalist, his accomplishments as a volunteer and ambassador are even more impressive. Throughout his professional career, David has been involved with dozens of charities, many of which he has served as chairman. Some of these include the Bermuda Historical Society, the Bermuda Society of Arts, the Bermuda TB, Cancer and Health Association, and the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society. For 17 years, David served as a member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and was a founding appointee to Bermuda's National Alcohol and Drug Agency.

    In 1993, David became president of the Bermuda National Trust for Preservation and Conservation--Bermuda's largest charity. He also found time to volunteer at Vermont Academy, serving as class agent for the Class of 1952 for 20 years, and hosting several admissions recruiting receptions in his Bermuda home. Perhaps the crowning jewel of David's life, however (other than his daughter Leslie Ann), was his investment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, during a ceremony that took place at Buckingham Palace on November 1, 1994. It took some doing to get David back to the Vermont Academy campus to receive his Sabin Award.

    He hosted a reception for 100 at his house on Thursday; on Thursday and Friday, he presided over the largest-ever opening at the Bermuda National Gallery, where he is Chairman of the Board, and he had to return to Bermuda on Sunday to host Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, for a fund-raising dinner the next Tuesday at the Gallery. We are proud of David White, both for the work he did while at Vermont Academy, and for being such an excellent ambassador for our school and for his country.
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  • Herb Ellis, 1953

    Business Leader

    In his Vermont Academy valedictory speech, Herb Ellis called upon his classmates to make a difference in the world through the knowledge gained while attending Vermont Academy: How to approach a problem, whether it be how to do a job (or how to get out of doing a job), and to solve it using clear thinking and group action. He urged his classmates to follow the words of Edward Everett Hale, which Herb has followed his entire life: “I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and I will do.”

    Herb speaks about leading a life of successes and near successes. “Vermont Academy instilled strength to start anew when the ups occasionally turned to downs,” he has said. “I learned to always reach for the brass ring. You might not get it half the time, but if you don’t reach, you’re not doing anything.”

    Herb embodies the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award qualifications through his professional accomplishments and his passion for Vermont Academy. Herb's work defining and creating the modern aquatic experience through innovative waterpark design and construction gained him entrance to the World Waterpark Association Hall of Fame in 2000. His support of Vermont Academy through annual giving and consistent event participation has made him a wonderful partner over the decades.

    When Herb first started building pools over 50 years ago, he had bigger ideas in mind and envisioned water experiences that went well beyond the traditional pool. Herb started in the industry with a summer job as a part-time salesman at Paddock Pools in the Albany, New York area. Within a few short years he would become the company’s CEO, consistently pushing the company to new heights. He first shifted the company’s focus to public and collegiate pool installations before transforming the company into Aquatic Development Group, which has designed and constructed some of the most iconic water parks in the world. Lazy rivers, wave pools, and surf simulators are all waterpark advancements that Herb’s company introduced. Herb helped found the World Waterpark Association and has had such an impact on the industry that he was one of their original Hall of Fame inductees.

    Herb says, “Vermont Academy is a part of my bloodstream.” His devotion to the school runs deep. He was deeply involved in the first annual fund with Headmaster Laurence Leavitt and served as the Annual Giving Chair from 2013 to 2014. He has put his devotion into action by serving on the Vermont Academy Board of Trustees for several terms and, most recently, by focusing on capital projects that help the school welcome families and recruit new students. 

    Herb has also dedicated himself to the betterment of his hometown of Albany. He has served on numerous school and theater boards, was the co-founder of two semi-professional Albany sports teams, and became a real estate developer responsible for the revitalization of several well-known business and residential complexes.

    We are proud to award Herb Ellis the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award. Awarded in 2021.
  • George H. Welles, Jr., 1953

    Minister, Humanitarian
    George Welles arrived at Vermont Academy in September 1951 at the behest of his father. Born and raised in Norwood, Massachusetts, George had never heard of Saxtons River, but his father, who ran a wool company, often called on the mills in Saxtons River and surrounding communities. When George’s father was transferred to Europe, he felt George needed a structured environment in which to finish high school, and matriculated him at Vermont Academy. George embraced the opportunities at Vermont Academy, and during his two years in Saxtons River, he excelled as a student, athlete, and citizen. During commencement exercises in 1953, George was inducted into the Cum Laude Society, awarded the Barrett Medal for all-around achievement in academics, athletics, and citizenship, and won a total of six varsity letters in football, hockey, and baseball.

    George went on to Williams, where he graduated in 1957. After four years as a prep-school teacher and coach, George entered Virginia Seminary, graduating in 1964. The years he spent there were a profoundly influential time in the history of our nation. As a young theologian, studying and living near Washington DC, George was keenly aware of the pulse of Washington, and that the world was quickly getting smaller. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the “Race to the Moon,” civil rights, President Kennedy’s assassination, and the start of the Cold War were some of the events Americans experienced at that time.

    In 1963, George and his family participated in the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. After that, George began to dedicate his life to others. Through his ministry, and his personal commitment, George has established, led, and participated in countless volunteer and community service organizations. Adoption advocacy, family planning, citizen forums, non-profit housing, elder hospices, Alzheimer’s associations, AIDS victim housing and advocacy, diversity alliances, ABC (A Better Chance) programs, urban ministry, and legislative advocacy are just some of the activities with which George is involved. George’s life has been filled with selfless acts.

    In 1965, he accompanied several young clergymen to Selma, Alabama, to join Martin Luther King Jr. in his march for voters’ rights. In 1988, George was nominated for Bishop of Massachusetts, and withdrew after the second ballot to support the election of the country’s first woman bishop. In addition to three children of their own, George and his wife of 43 years, Annie, have adopted four children and one granddaughter. These children are diverse racially, culturally, and religiously. In addition, George and Annie have also served as guardians to two generations of children of their best friends, who died 14 years ago. The tenets that guide George’s life are simple “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Ghandi. “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – Rosa Parks “We must learn how to walk the earth as brothers and sisters.” – Martin Luther King Jr. “If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” - Mother Teresa. As an Episcopal minister, George Welles understands and embraces the human spirit.

    For the last 40 years, he has been at the forefront, both personally and professionally, of the human and civil rights movements that have affected our country. By confronting the patterns and practices of the society he seeks to improve--whether it is sexism, racism, pollution, or classism--George challenges us to consider the lives of those around us, and to help make them better.
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  • Richard Whitcomb, 1955

    Educational Leader and Philanthropist
    Dick Whitcomb grew up feeling he really had no option for going to college. He was the youngest of three children raised by a single mother in the working-class village of Bellows Falls, Vermont. “I was brought up by my grandfather,” Dick explains, “And that was kind of tough for me.” With determination and the support of others, Dick went to college, became an educational leader and philanthropist, and changed countless lives with his significant achievements.  

    Athletics gave Dick opportunity. He was a star for Bellows Falls’ football, basketball, baseball, and track teams, which were renowned in Vermont. He was an all-state football player in his junior and senior years and was the leading basketball scorer in southern Vermont. Vermont Academy gave Dick a full scholarship for a post graduate year. He became a more confident student while adding to his athletic accomplishments, becoming the leading scorer in basketball and track as well as in the New England Prep School semifinals played in the original Boston Garden.  

    “I loved my experience at Vermont Academy! It gave me the opportunity to pursue a college education on a full athletic scholarship and ultimately two master’s degrees, all fully paid – finally ending up as headmaster at St. Luke’s School for 24 years. Who would have guessed! If I have attained any success along the way, I can attribute a good deal of it to Vermont Academy.”

    Dick wanted to be a teacher, a coach, and ultimately an athletic director. These are all milestones he achieved early in his career at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, Connecticut. In his twenty-four years as headmaster, Dick became a legend on the St. Luke’s hilltop. He built a community known for its warmth and devotion to every student. Enrollment increased from 190 students to 300 students in just three years. The school’s endowment drastically increased, and he helped grow the Richard M. Whitcomb St. Luke’s Scholarship Endowment Foundation, devoted to students in need, to $6.5 million. Dick was the first headmaster in the three-state Fairchester Athletic Association to be recognized by the Urban League for his work with minority students.

    Dick’s early years as a coach helped him to build a natural and authentic style of communication so that everyone brightens up when they see him. People around New Canaan call him “Coach,” and they share what is in their hearts and minds, showing their deep respect for this man who inspired athletes and made St. Luke’s a leader in character education, academics and athletics. His community work in Connecticut is renowned, as he has supported countless organizations including Norwalk’s Carver Center, the New Canaan Community Foundation, Norwalk Community College, New Beginnings Family Academy, and more. Dick possesses a special gene for making everyone around him feel hopeful, important, recognized, and part of his “team.”  That team is focused on transforming the lives of young people and hardworking, dedicated adults, opening horizons of possibility for them.

    Dick’s roots in Vermont run deep and his philanthropic work shows how much the area means to him. When the University of Bridgeport named him a Distinguished Alumni in 2019, he quipped, “I got to go back to Bellows Falls and tell the people I’m distinguished, because I guarantee they won’t believe it.” The Richard and Barbara Whitcomb Foundation has given tens of thousands of dollars to Bellows Falls area organizations over the years, including the Bellows Falls Area Senior Center, Parks Place Community Resource Center, Our Place Drop In Center, and the Greater Falls Warming Shelter. Vermont Academy has benefited from Dick’s generosity as well. 

    Dick’s background and the people he grew up with in Bellows Falls have led him to focus his life on helping people. As for his own success, Dick says, “I’ve never been big on individual accomplishments. I don’t think anyone can be successful individually. You can’t accomplish anything without the support of others.”

    In helping so many others follow their dreams, Dick has become a distinguished educator and community supporter. 

    We are proud to award Dick Whitcomb the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.
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  • Frederic H. Nichols, 1956

    Biological oceanographer whose work is important for the ecology of urban coastal waters.
    Frederic Nichols is a biological oceanographer whose work is important for the ecology of urban coastal waters. For his accomplishments benefiting the environment, Vermont Academy honors Nichols, class of 1956, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After graduating Hamilton College, Nichols spent four years in the Navy where he participated in the US strategy to defend itself during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He then earned a Master’s Degree and Doctorate from the University of Washington, and joined the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA to study the San Francisco Bay. His research has focused on maintaining the ecological balance of the Bay. Nichols hopes that his studies will lead to a greater understanding of coastal processes and subsequently to the protection and improvement of coastal bay areas worldwide.

    To promote this goal, he appeared on PBS’s Nova in a presentation entitled “Inside the Golden Gate.” Involved in several environmental organizations, Nichols has been President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and President of the USGS Water Resources Federation. He is also on the governing board of the Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies and an adjunct professor at California State University.
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  • Stephen K. Richardson, 1957

    Inventor and founder of Stave Puzzles.
    For his success exercising imaginations worldwide as an inventor and founder of Stave Puzzles, and for sharing his nutritional philosophy, Vermont Academy honors Richardson, a 1957 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award (1989).

    Richardson attended Colby College and the University of Michigan, where he earned his MBA in 1963. He worked several years in the business world, but was inspired to experiment with mind games and conundrums. He worked out ways for multiple people to work on a crossword puzzle at once, and patented the games "Crossblock, Crosswork" and "Crossword" as well as a series of ski games. After creating a customized jigsaw puzzle, Richardson started a company called Stave Puzzles, which has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, The New Yorker, and Sports Illustrated.

    A typical Steve Richardson creation features tricks such as extra pieces, empty spaces, false edges, and complicated word games. They are so tough that a man once wondered about "the malevolent, diabolical characters who work for that infernal, demoniac, fiendish, bestial company." For Richardson, such a comment is the highest form of praise.

    In 1979 he developed and marketed a mathematical method of losing weight based on exact caloric intake. Richardson’s diet program utilized "sophisticated awareness and outrageous entertainment techniques," just like his puzzles!
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  • Arthur Kelton, Jr., 1957

    Real Estate Developer
    Arthur Kelton, Jr. grew up in Peru, Vermont and attended a one room school house for eight years. He then went on to Burr and Burton Academy, but soon discovered that he needed more structure. His mother, a Vermont Academy graduate, class of 1924 decided that Vermont Academy was the place to provide academic discipline and focus. In fact Art credits his education at Vermont Academy as extremely meaningful and “established in him excellent work habits and goal objectives.” He applied these life skills not only to his higher education and degrees at Dartmouth and the University of Vermont but beyond in his professional career.

    In 1965, Art moved to Vail, Colorado and has always been an active resident in the Vail Valley with his wife, Elaine, whom he married in 1986. His career, real estate development, syndication and sales, includes Colorado projects in Vail and Eagle County, Boulder, and at Denver International Airport. He was the managing partner of Christopher Denton Kelton and Kendall. He has developed golf courses, custom homes and various multi-family developments throughout the Greater Vail Valley. Additionally, Art’s career incorporates projects and investments in Idaho, Wyoming and Vermont.

    Included in these investments, he acted as a general partner in Boulder Beer, which is now The Rockies Brewing Company. Although no longer involved with the brewing company, he continues to be active in the management and operation of other investments. Always actively involved in both non-profit and educational institutions, Art served as President of the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation from 1991 to 2006. He’s been a member of the Governing Board of the Vail Valley Medical Center since 2006. He serves on two boards at Dartmouth College, as well as on the boards of several other charitable organizations.
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  • Donald Gordon McInnes 1959

    Rail Transportation Executive

    Donald “Don” Gordon McInnes ’59 has long been devoted to the service of others and ensuring the smooth running of rail transportation in the United States. After graduating from Vermont Academy, he received his BA in economics from Denison University, his MS in transportation at Northwestern University, as well as a certificate in transportation from Yale University. After completing his formal education, Don then joined the military and served in the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant from 1965 to 1967, when he became a Captain in the United States Army. Also in 1967, Don married Betsy Campbell, and the couple had two children, Campbell and Cody. They would remain happily married until Betsy’s death in 1995. 

    When he left military service in 1969 after serving in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, Don joined what was then known as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company as a budget manager for operations. The position combined his passion for transportation with his economics background, and his career launched from there. By 1979, Don was superintendent of the Los Angeles division of the company, and throughout the 1980s, he moved up from assistant to the executive vice president to becoming vice president intermodal himself in 1989. That same year, Don was instrumental in the founding of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and was elected their first chairman of the board, serving two terms.

    From 1993 to 1995, Don was senior vice president and chief operations officer, and helped the company navigate a merger with the Burlington Northern Railroad to create the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF Railway). In 1996, Don married Carol Haverty and welcomed two stepchildren, Molly and Jay, into the family. 

    Don was chief operations officer of BSNF Railway for three years and retired in 2000 after a long and illustrious career in transportation. Since retiring, he has devoted his time to serving others, acting as chair of the board of the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Cape Cod, MA and joining Vermont Academy’s Board of Trustees. Acting as trustee gave him the opportunity to return to campus and reflect on his time at Vermont Academy, where he had been a member of the dramatics club, glee club, VA Voice, and the outing club, and where he played football and ran track & field.

    As a long-serving member of the Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2017, Don served as vice chair for a of number years and was involved in many projects that helped ensure the vitality of the school. Importantly, during Headmaster Jim Mooney’s tenure, Don chaired the highly successful Fulfilling Our Promise: The Campaign for Vermont Academy initiative.

    We are proud to recognize his outstanding career and honor his devoted service to the school and the community with the presentation of The Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.  

    – Awarded in 2023
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  • Mark Palmer, 1959

    Global accomplishments and work for freedom.
    For his global accomplishments and work for freedom, Vermont Academy honors Mark Palmer, a 1959 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    Palmer attended Yale University where he majored in Soviet Studies and graduated Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He joined the Foreign Service in 1964, entering a world consumed by international conflict and nuclear threat. Rising through the ranks of the State Department, he moved from India to Russia to Yugoslavia. Palmer served as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and as Director of the Office of Arms Control.

    In 1980 he was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his negotiations on security matters with the Soviet Union. Palmer became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and played a pivotal role in the success of the Reagan/Gorbachev summit in Geneva. For his democracy initiatives, Palmer received special commendations from President Reagan. Named US Ambassador to Hungary in 1986, he helped facilitate the dissolution of the Iron Curtain, and worked for the institution of a democratic and market-based society. He entered the private sector in 1990 and is a major venture capitalist in the newly liberated countries of Eastern Europe. He has also an investor, building up poor parts of Washington, DC.
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  • C.B. Vaughan, 1959

    C.B. Vaughan, Vermont Academy Class of 1959, blazed to the World Speed Skiing Record in 1963 by going 106.89 mph. In 1969 he designed and sold his first pair of ski “Super Pants” from his car.

    In short order, the 29-year-old took a bit of cash and a barrel-full of grit and created CB Sports. By the 1990s, CB Sports was a $45M sports apparel company with 600 employees, 6 retail stores, and 850 dealers. C.B. credits his time at Vermont Academy as one that gave him discipline and accountability—traits that later helped him to meet all of life’s challenges and rewards. C.B.’s family moved to Manchester, VT, when he was six years old. His freshman year, he attended Burr and Burton Academy. As a teenager, C.B. was admittedly “pretty loose and easy going” and focused more on athletics than academics. By the end of his freshman year, he needed a change and his family began looking at neighboring schools. Ultimately, he was drawn to the “feeling” of Vermont Academy. At VA, C.B. was able to enjoy his independence, while benefiting from the guidance of faculty and administrators to find a balance between his studies and sports. Looking in the rearview mirror, he is profoundly grateful for the impact Mike Choukas, John Lucy, Beano Tripp, and Warren Chivers—to name a few—made on his life.

    After Vermont Academy, C.B. attended St. Lawrence University, a decision he credits as one of the best in his life. After graduating from St. Lawrence, C.B. continued his pursuit of making the US Olympic Ski team. Not realizing this dream was a crushing disappointment, and one from which he realized he needed to move on. It also made him realize that he had to get a “real” job—fast! He quickly discovered he was not cut out for corporate America. Leveraging his knowledge of the ski industry, and with some modest startup money from his ski career, he started CB Sports in Bennington, VT. It quickly grew into one of America’s leading ski apparel and outerwear brands.

    These days, C.B. looks for opportunities where he can make a difference. With his love of athletics, he supports sports’ programs wherever he can, including the Special Olympics and the America Youth Soccer Organization. In addition to being Vermont Academy’s 44th Florence Sabin Award Winner, C.B. Vaughan was inducted into both the Vermont Academy and St. Lawrence University Hall of Fames. In October of 2013, Mr. Vaughan was inducted into the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame for his contributions to Vermont skiing, which helped put Manchester and Stratton regions on the snow sports map.
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  • Glenn A. Baxter, 1961

    Radio communications and worked to help people in times of crisis.
    For his many accomplishments in radio communications and his work to help people in times of crisis, Vermont Academy honors a 1961 graduate, Glenn Baxter, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award (1992).

    Baxter’s interest in radio began at Vermont Academy, where he set up an amateur station and made contact with an Operator in Spain. He attended Northwestern University and studied industrial engineering before transferring to the University of Rhode Island and earning his degree. He also completed business administration studies at the University of Iowa while working as an engineer. He was a consultant, an engineer, and ran an electronics business in Maine before founding the International Amateur Radio Network (IARN) in 1985. The IARN is now a volunteer radio emergency communications system with 4,500 members in 80 countries. It has provided service to the Red Cross and press organizations during international communications crisis caused by natural disasters.

    In addition to producing programs that are broadcast worldwide, Baxter’s organization has also set up independent stations in strife torn regions, and established an IARN Amateur Radio Peace Corp Foundation. In 1991, the State of Maine Senate and the House of Representatives formally recognized Glen Baxter’s international work.
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  • Lee Stanley, 1961

    Film Producer, Activist
    Activist Lee Stanley, class of 1961, has achieved tremendous success in the entertainment industry while devoting energy to improving the lives of troubled youth. He has earned the respect and endorsement of the White House, the Department of Justice, and leaders nationwide. For his achievements, Vermont Academy honors Stanley with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

    After Vermont Academy, Stanley was selected to be a part of MGM Studio’s new talent workshop. He acted in several feature films and television productions, yet shifted directions and became a cameraman, editor, and finally producer, director, and writer. Stanley has been nominated for ten Emmy Awards and won five of them – two as Director, one as Producer, and two for his camera work. He has also won national and international filmmaking awards, two Cine Golden Eagle Awards, and the Christopher Award.

    Stanley is also passionate about working with youth, particularly juvenile criminals. One of his Emmy winning films, Desperate Passage, follows the events of his ten-day sea voyage with seven inmates from one of the toughest detention facilities in the country. The trip was sponsored by Wing’s Foundation, Stanley’s non-profit organization that concentrates on rehabilitating probated youth.
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  • Colonel Keith Nightingale, 1961

    Retired Army Colonel, Security Consultant
    Colonel Keith Nightingale was once a young aloof kid growing up in the small town of Ojai, CA. The public school academics were not a challenge and allowed for Nightingale to have a lot of free time to hunt, fish, or go to the beach. His father, a graduate from Stanford University determined that Nightingale was not getting enough academic “rigor” and took it upon himself to arrange entrance at Exeter, Middlesex and Vermont Academy.

    After visiting all 3 schools, he chose VA because of the extensive outdoor program and “it didn’t seem stuffy”. He found that he was “suddenly academically deficient in most undertakings which focused him when he wasn’t building the boards and clamps for the outdoor hockey rink or stealing fish out of Warren Chivers private fish camp.”

    From VA, Nightingale attended Claremont Men’s College and joined the ROTC; he graduated and was commissioned on the same day, June 6, 1965 in the Regular Army Infantry. From commissioning he went to Fort Benning and immediately signed up for Jump School and Ranger School. As he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, he decided to make the army his career. His dedication to the army and to his troops eventually earned him the reputation as a “Special Operations Legend”. Nightingale served two tours in Vietnam with Airborne and Ranger (American and Vietnamese) units. He commanded airborne battalions in both the 509th and the 82nd Airborne. He later commanded the 1/75th Rangers and the Ranger Brigade. He was a member of the Iran rescue attempt in 1981 and served with several classified organizations.

    He was the assault force commander in both Grenada and Panama and managed the Department Of Defense Counter-drug support operations in Latin America. He developed a stand-alone southwest border surveillance system for the Immigration and Natural Services. Nightingale served as a principal in the FAA Sky Marshall training program post 9-11. He also provided corporate technical and scientific support to the City of New York, Police and Fire Departments as part of the 9-11 site recovery programs. In 1993, Nightingale retired from the army and accepted a job offer at the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to assist in their various technologies for border control and drug screening.

    At SAIC he evolved into becoming the “spook” and High Risk Coordinator for the 2000+ employees that we sent to GWOT (Iraq/Afghanistan). He was responsible for real time travel tracking of all SAIC employees abroad – averaging 1,000 travelers a day. He oversaw highly classified operations in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East as a consultant and business-neutral evaluator for various corporations. Among which was the contracted task to provide all of the security systems, communications and IT backbone to the Greek Olympics. Nightingale has received many honors and awards throughout his career, including; the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legions of Merit, five Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Humanitarian Service Medal (Iran) and four Bronze Stars for Valor, Vietnamese Medal of Honor, and Member Ranger Hall of Fame.

    Vermont Academy is honored to add one more award to his portfolio as we recognize Col. Keith Nightingale as the recipient of the Florence Sabin Award. His career and life path has been marked with significant contributions and accomplishments to world of national security and to society in general.
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  • John B. Chane, 1963

    Episcopal Bishop
    While enrolled at Vermont Academy, John Bryson Chane was a student of many passions, including football and music. Music won out over academics, so upon graduation, John played in bands between New England and Ohio. After a few years, John realized he wanted more from life, and enrolled at Boston University.

    With a desire to make a difference, John worked as an urban community organizer and was employed through the Boston Redevelopment Program, “Just-A-Start,” funded by HUD. During those years, John entered Yale Divinity School; served as a pastor in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Southborough, Massachusetts; was a consultant on religious affairs for the United States Olympic Committee during the 1980 winter and summer games; served as chaplain at the Lake Placid games; and served on many committees for the diocese of Massachusetts. The Episcopal Church next sent John to San Diego, California. He was an original member of the Diocesan PERCEPT team and coordinated “Church Without Borders,” a program linking the Diocese of San Diego with the Diocese of Western Mexico.

    In 2002, the Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane was consecrated as the Eighth Bishop of Washington, DC. As bishop, he serves 93 congregations and 45,000 members in the District of Columbia, and in Prince George’s, Montgomery, Charles and Saint Mary’s counties in Maryland. A liberal thinker, John fights for the acceptance of all Christians at the communion table, regardless of affiliation, economic status, or sexual orientation. He believes in the need to interpret the Gospel as culture changes, in housing for the homeless, and in building an education system that allows children alternatives to drugs and violence. John also lobbies for equality, human rights, and education on a global scale through his placement on several international task forces. He was recently appointed to serve on a global Anglican task force investigating human rights violations in the Kingdom of Swaziland, Africa, and has established a partnership with The Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa.

    As John reflects upon his time at Vermont Academy, he remembers Coach John Lucy. I attribute whatever success I’ve had in my life, in part, to a man who loved VA, cared a whole lot about his players, and taught me that winning was not the most important thing in life.”
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  • Bruce M. Lawlor, 1966

    Major General
    Bruce M. Lawlor was a student from Bellows Falls who realized that a Vermont Academy education would open the door to stronger college opportunities.

    He attended George Washington University and graduated in 1970. In 1971, Lawlor found himself working for the CIA in Viet Nam as an advisor to indigenous irregular forces. He holds bachelor of arts, master of arts, juris doctorate, and doctor of science degrees. Strong Vermont ties brought Lawlor back to his roots, where he set up a law practice in Springfield. He served in the administration of Governor Thomas Salmon and, from 1980 to 1984, he was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives. A loyal public servant, his goals were to rebuild the public’s faith in the legal system, tighten drug conspiracy laws, and create victims’ rights programs.

    In 1995, the U.S. Army selected Lawlor to become a National Security Fellow at Harvard University, where he studied information technology and warfare. The Army then posted him to NATO military headquarters in Belgium as a special assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Upon his return to the United States, Lawlor was promoted to Brigadier General and selected by the Secretary of Defense to become the U.S. Army’s Deputy Director of Operations, Readiness and Mobilization, and Deputy Director for Military Support at U.S. Army Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In that position, he monitored U.S. Army operations and planning worldwide and provided oversight for the organization and stand-up of Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.

    In 1999, he was promoted to Major General and made the first commanding general of Joint Task Force Civil Support. After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Lawlor was posted to the White House where he served as the senior director for protection and prevention for Governor Tom Ridge within the Office of Homeland Security. As a senior White House staff member, Lawlor was part of the five-person team that wrote the plan to create the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. When the Department was formed, Lawlor became Secretary Ridge’s first chief of staff.

    Lawlor retired from the U.S. Army in 2004 and is currently the chairman and CEO of Community Research Associates, Inc; supporting government and the private sector in terrorism prevention, emergency preparedness, and homeland security.
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  • Trudell Guerue, 1966

    Paratrooper, Lawyer, Tribal Judge
    Trudell “Butch” Guerue came to Vermont Academy in his junior year. He was a member of the Lakota Sioux and grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. He came to Vermont Academy for two years through the A Better Chance Program. He had his sights set on attending Dartmouth College, but when he was not accepted, he enlisted for Airborne Infantry.

    He then attended Artillery Officer Candidate School and was commissioned at age 20. He spent time in Germany before going to Vietnam and made the rank of captain. After being wounded in action while serving as the artillery forward observer with Company A, 2d Battalion, 503, Parachute Infantry, 173 Airborne Brigade, Butch was accepted at Dartmouth for the class of 1974.

    He later received his law degree from Notre Dame. His accomplishments and loyalties to his native heritage describe the type of man Butch is. He is a dedicated advocate for equal justice under the law and has been called by his colleagues a “guiding light.” As an attorney, he is responsible for the legal representation of clients at the Legal Rights Center (LRC), a nonprofit, poverty and criminal defense law firm in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The LRC supports and represents low-income people and people of color who have legal problems associated with juvenile justice, criminal justice and child welfare systems. Through a variety of programs, the LRC helps build stronger communities by reducing the number of individuals who enter or return to the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

    Guerue has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Northern Plains Tribal Court Judges Association in South Dakota and the National American Indian Court Judges Association in Washington, DC. From 1980-1984 he served as Associate Judge and then Chief Judge for the South Dakota Intertribal Court of Appeals, and was Chief Judge for the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court. He clerked for the Honorable Bernard P. Becker, U.S. Magistrate Judge in Minnesota and later worked as a staff attorney at the Office of Appeals for the Social Security Administration in Minnesota. Guerue was presented a Social Justice Award at Dartmouth, for “significant contributions to the fields of civil rights, education, environmental justice, public service and public health.” He also sits on the Native American Visiting Committee at Dartmouth College. - Awarded September 30, 2006
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  • William “Bill” Chapman, 1967

    Historic Preservationist and Educator 

    Bill Chapman grew from a small-town Vermont boy to a global authority in the fight to preserve historical sites—and Vermont Academy (VA) helped prepare him for that role. 

    He followed in his family’s footsteps to study at VA. His grandmother, great aunt, and father attended the Academy. At VA, Bill learned new ways of thinking and looking at the world. His ambition was to become a lawyer and open a practice in Vermont. An archeological dig in England at the end of his freshman year opened his eyes to the possibility of a career in anthropology. So instead of law school, he returned to the U.K. to study anthropology at the University of Oxford. 

    There Bill joined the Architecture Club which focused on historic structures. Bill had always had a deep attachment to what he calls “old time stuff.” His grandfather and great aunt lived in historic homes. His father purchased an old house in Chester now known as the Chapman House. Bill learned much of the craft of restoration working on it. VA’s focus on sustainability and preservation were also influential. 

    After receiving a Master of Studies in Anthropology at Oxford in 1974, Bill completed an MS in Historic Preservation at Columbia University in 1978—funded by a fellowship for Vermont natives. He returned to Oxford and completed his PhD in Anthropology in 1982. For Bill, historic structures are a touchstone to the past. To experience an older building is to experience the life of our forebears. “According to William Morris (the subject of Bill’s Master’s thesis), we are stewards of older buildings; they aren’t really ours. We just pass through them. And we need to pass them on to the next generations. There is a spiritual value to that for me,” Bill said.

    Morris’ philosophy guided Bill’s career combining fieldwork, consulting, teaching, and publishing in Historic Preservation, Asian Pacific Architecture, and Architectural History. He served as Architectural Historian for the Division of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for the U.S. Virgin Islands Planning Office (1979-1983) and Historian for the National Park Service in Philadelphia, PA, (1983-1985). Since 1980, he has consulted on Historic Preservation projects for distinguished clients including the National Trust for Historic Preservation; UNESCO; National Park Service; Department of Defense; Government of the Virgin Islands, and numerous other agencies, private organizations, and municipalities. Notable projects include preparing the National Trust damage report for historic properties affected by hurricanes, and an award-winning historic preservation manual for Madison, GA.

    Chapman trained a generation of architects and historic preservationists, teaching at the University of Georgia and the University of Hawai’i Mānoa. Among his many roles at the University of Hawai’i, he has served as Director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation; Affiliate Faculty member in the School of Architecture, and Departments of Anthropology and Urban and Regional Planning, and Interim Dean of the School of Architecture. Bill has contributed to numerous books and articles in scholarly journals on subjects ranging from Hawaiʻi’s historic Volcano House Hotel to the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk. Bill’s most recent book is guides readers through ancient sites of Asia. 

    Chapman’s work garnered many significant grants, fellowships, and awards including four Fulbright Fellowships, the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation’s Frank Haines Award for Lifetime Contributions to Historic Preservation; Columbia University Historic Preservation Program’s Preservation Alumni Leadership Award; and National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award. 
    We are very proud to bring Bill full circle, back to his Vermont roots with the presentation of The Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.  

    – Awarded in 2022
  • Richard W. Moulton, Jr., 1967

    Documentary Film Producer
    A year after graduating from Vermont Academy, Rick Moulton’s sense of adventure took him down the Mississippi River on a raft with a friend. The re-enactment of Huck Finn’s voyage was an indication that Rick was not going to march to the same drum as everyone else. His passion for the outdoors and recreation combined with a hobby of making movies, propelled Rick to pursue a career as an independent filmmaker. He learned his trade as an undergraduate at Denver University and time spent at the London Film School.

    Assisted by his wife, Melinda, they produced and directed projects for the National Public Broadcasting System and Vermont Public Television. Projects included Vermont Memories, for which VPT received an Emmy Award, and Legends of American Skiing which won the Banff Film Festival. Thrills and Spills, a 1997 PBS documentary, featured Warren Chivers. Vermont Memories II featured Warren as well as Vermont Academy. In addition, Rick has produced educational programming for children on PBS. A love for skiing and a desire to document the history of the sport has made Rick an internationally known ski historian. He has produced films for Sun Valley, Aspen, Killington, and Ski Magazine, to name a few. He serves on the board of several ski industry nonprofits. Rick’s work has touched the healthcare industry, politics and the print media.

    With a desire to serve the nonprofit world, Rick’s talents also served C.A.R.E, the Jimmy Fund, Cornell University, the New York City Library, and the Orton Foundation, among others. A love for the land and a desire to preserve the landscape of Vermont for future generations moved Rick into civic involvement. Rick has served the town of Huntington, Vermont as selectman. Concerned about urban sprawl, he joined the Rural Planning Organization, Chittenden County’s Regional Planning Commission, and is on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Chittenden County.

    His concern for conservation led to an appointment on the Governor’s Rail Commission, and he serves on the Vermont Rail Advocacy Network and he was a founding member of the Mad River Glen Ski Co-op. Rick is the coordinator of Rail Day in Essex Junction, and serves on the board of directors for the New England Ski Museum, the International Ski History Association and the Amateur Ski Club of New York. It is this respect for nature, open spaces and service to the greater community that completes the picture of who Rick Moulton is. He was awarded the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.
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  • Chris Sinclair, 1967

    Business Leader
    Chris Sinclair distinctly remembers arriving at Vermont Academy’s campus for the first time. Chris’s father was an executive with Esso/Exxon Oil and Chris and his family had been living in India for several years. The family’s shift back to the United States coincided with Chris’s entry into high school, so a friend of his father’s recommended Vermont Academy. “There was the sheer beauty of the place,” he says. He needed to be dropped off before the semester started. “I was suddenly there by myself as an incoming freshman… with the football team,” he recalls. “I was a much better student than an athlete.”

    Chris found Vermont Academy to be a great place to broaden his education. The school offered a much higher caliber of teacher than he was accustomed to. He found that headmaster Mr. Michael Choukas Jr. ’46 provided strong leadership for the academic team and, with his wife Nita, created a family-like peer environment that had an indelible impact on his life. “We built a very close-knit group of friends, and I’m still very close with a number of them.”

    Chris’s four years at Vermont Academy provided the academic foundation to build independence, self-reliance, and a do-it-for-yourself attitude. This gave Chris confidence as he moved into his college career. He went to his mother’s native Kansas to get a bigger school experience, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Kansas in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He then returned to New England, receiving an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business in 1973.

    Chris became a highly successful global business leader. As head of marketing at Newsweek he created a four-fold increase in capacity. He then spent more than 15 years at PepsiCo, moving from Pepsi USA’s central division president to become president of newly formed Pepsi-Cola International, where he directed Pepsi’s entry into the Indian market. In 1994 he told Fortune magazine, “If Coke starts growing 8%, we'll do 10% or 12%.” He predicted non-U.S. cola sales of $5 billion by 1995 and sales actually exceeded this goal. 

    He was chairman and CEO of Caribiner International, a global business communications company, and the executive chairman and CEO of Cambridge Solutions Ltd, the second-largest business process outsourcing company in the world. He then served as chairman and CEO of Mattel, Inc. before becoming the chairman of Reckitt Benckiser, the global producer of cleaning products including Lysol, providing critical guidance for the company during the global COVID-19 pandemic. After finding Vermont Academy to be a wonderful environment to be a part of, he served on the board of trustees from 2002 to 2005.

    We are proud to award Chris Sinclair the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.
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  • Anthony "Joe" Perry, 1969

    Anthony Perry, known to millions as guitarist Joe Perry of the band Aerosmith, is an uncompromising musician who played his way to the heights rock ‘n’ roll. In 1991, Aerosmith signed one of the most lucrative recording contracts in the history of the industry, joining the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna.

    For his creative success, Vermont Academy honors Perry, a 1969 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award. At school, Perry played guitar in a band called The Surfing Aarjarks, and later he played with The Jam Band from Sunapee, NH.

    In 1972, Perry’s mother sent a postcard to Vermont Academy that said, "Joe is a member of a rock group Aerosmith which has been signed by Columbia Records. An album will be released around January 1973 Aerosmith's first single, "Dream On" quickly reached number one on Boston charts and before long, took its place beside the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc. After a decade of making records and touring, Aerosmith lost strength.

    Perry left the band and formed a group called The Joe Perry Project. However, after only a few years apart, Aerosmith reunited, publicly renouncing drugs and alcohol. They staged one of the most extraordinary comebacks in pop music, and have continued to make music that tops the charts.
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  • Bernard Stanley Hoyes, 1970

    Bernard Stanley Hoyes ’70 career as a professional artist began at an early age in his home town of Kingston, Jamaica. At 15, he moved to New York to live with his father and pursue his art career. He attended evening classes at the Art Students League, where he matured as a painter and a sculptor under the apprenticeship of established artists. He came to Vermont Academy in the summer of 1968 to study with professional artists in a Summer Arts program.

    After that summer, he enrolled at Vermont Academy, embracing every aspect of VA with enthusiasm and creativity. He was the first student to have a solo exhibition and was instrumental in the eventual development of a formal Art Department at VA. At graduation, he received the Frederic Stanley Art Award. After graduating from college, he became a full time artist. He formed Caribbean Cultural Institute and Caribbean Arts, Inc. to further expose Caribbean culture to America, and he worked extensively with the Los Angeles Citywide Murals Programs.

    In 1982, he returned to Jamaica and became a lecturer and assessor for the Jamaica School of Art under the direction of Cecil Cooper. Bernard’s mural works and other special projects demonstrate his commitment to the public good. Vermont Academy is honored to recognize Bernard Stanley Hoyes as a recipient of the Florence Sabin Award and proud to have been an important part of his remarkable career.
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  • William N. Hosley, Jr., 1973

    Antiquarian and Curator
    Bill Hosley came to Vermont Academy to ski. Growing up in Rochester, New York, Bill had travelled with his parents to ski areas around New England. When it came time to decide on a boarding school, Vermont was Bill’s promised land. Bill toured Vermont Academy because it featured a former Olympian as a ski coach. On arrival he found an inner humility that was lacking at other schools.
    Bill’s bicycle rides and hikes around Saxtons River and beyond led to his passion for place and past. He was fascinated by old photographs in the school library that illustrated Saxtons River’s connection to Bellows Falls by trolley a half century earlier. He was first stumped by the presence of stone walls in the woods where he ran cross county. “Why would someone build stone walls in the woods?” he asked at age 14. “Because it was a treeless sheep farm a century ago,” he learned. Bill’s choice of Vermont Academy changed the trajectory of his life. His newfound love for “the local” started what became a nationally recognized career as a curator, author, historian, and protector of real places where history still surrounds us.
    Bill credits many Vermont Academy faculty and staff for giving him all the tools he needed to become a life-learner. Ski coach and lifelong student of natural history, Warren Chivers, was the embodiment of an old New England ethic. Science teacher Pete Sargent was curious and engaged with the environmental revolution just bursting forth during Bill’s time at Vermont Academy. Jack Peters instilled a passion for literature, writing, and critical thinking. Arnold Castagner ignited Bill’s flame for history. Math teacher, dorm-master and cross-country coach Franklin Geist, and his wife Roberta, inspired Bill’s love for the roving geography of Saxtons River. Bill worked joyfully for 3 of his 4 years for food service impresario Freda Adams, and she ended up writing one of his college recommendations. And he especially appreciated librarian Kat Shepard, who shared and nurtured Bill’s passion for local history.
    After graduating from Vermont Academy, Bill earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Middlebury and then a master’s degree in American Studies from a University of Delaware program at the Winterthur Museum. His dream job was to become a curator at a historic museum in the Connecticut River Valley, and the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut offered him just that position. He stayed there for 17 years, mounting two nationally recognized exhibits and becoming chief curator of American decorative arts along the way.
    Bill left the Wadsworth to become the director of Connecticut Landmarks, a state-wide network of eleven significant historic properties that span four centuries of New England history. This position allowed Bill to focus on the combination of history, place, and heritage. He worked to preserve traditions and make them available to everyone and anyone, regardless of background. He helped people feel more kinship and appreciation for the places where they live while developing a strong sense of community and connectedness.
    Bill then created an independent consulting practice that provides museums, businesses, educational institutions and communities with marketing, planning and educational services, including spoken word performance, exhibition development, historic preservation and estate and art brokering. Through this practice he fosters appreciation for regional art and culture while using the power of place and heritage to inspire citizenship and civic engagement.
    We are proud to award William N. Hosley, Jr. the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award. 
    ~awarded September 28, 2019
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  • Robert Watts Jr., 1973

    Motivational Speaker
    Robert Watts, Jr. came to Vermont Academy from the Bronx in 1969. He arrived in the fall as a freshman in the Class of 1973 and immediately made a tremendous impact as a three-season athlete in football, basketball, and track. Robert went on to be named an All-American in football at Boston College and was drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints in 1976. He also played for the Oakland Raiders and the Toronto Argonauts before an injury ended his career.

    Watts holds a bachelors degree in Speech and Communication from Boston College, a Masters Degree in Speech and Communication from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Psychology from the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management, Alliant International University.

    When you speak to Robert about his life or time at Vermont Academy, he is not nearly as interested in talking about his athletic prowess, choosing rather to focus on his academic work and his writing. Even though Robert was substantially behind in reading and writing skills when he arrived, he began his career as a writer here at Vermont Academy when he tried his hand as a poet.

    He published a number of poems at VA, as well as in the New Orleans Saints Press Guide, the New Orleans Time Picayune, and San Francisco Magazine. In 1998, Robert published his first book entitled, People Are Never The Problem. That book explores the philosophy that “people are not the problem, but people do have problems. If we can help them solve their problems, we also remove the obstacles in the way of our own goals and help us succeed.” He goes on to say that, “just as people are necessary to our success, they can never be the excuse for our failure.” Robert is the Founder, President and Chief Solutions Officer for Watts and Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on organizational development and executive coaching and training. Their company’s mission is enviable: “Achieving Success Through People.”

    Robert has garnered myriad accomplishments and accolades, but he is most proud of being a cancer survivor and father to three very wonderful children. He has touched people’s lives with his story of triumph over life’s greatest challenges, and his gift as an orator leaves many, who hear him speak, profoundly affected. He has spoken to the Vermont Academy community several times, and we truly hope to hear more from him in years to come!
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  • James E. MacLaren, 1981

    Motivational Speaker
    Jim MacLaren came to Vermont Academy as a freshman and considered Vermont Academy his home away from home. He graduated Cum Laude, Valedictorian, Academic All-American, and Barrett Prize recipient. From here he entered Yale where he was an All-American football and lacrosse player. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama and acted on stage and on television where he landed a role on the soap opera, “Another World.”

    While returning home from a job interview in New York City, Jim was hit by a bus that ran a red light. The accident resulted in amputation of his left leg below the knee. Over the years to follow, Jim made an effort to become the best one-legged athlete he could. He swam, rode a bike and learned to run with a special prosthetic. He became a top competitor racing against and often beating able-bodied competition and holds the record of fastest amputee runner and triathlete in the world. He ran the New York Marathon, Boston Marathon and Ironman Triathlons. He holds the Hawaii Ironman record for an amputee athlete with a time of 10 hours, 42 minutes and finished in the top third of able-bodied athletes. During this time, Jim became a motivational speaker inspiring others with disabilities, especially young people.

    In 1993 during the Ironman in Southern California, while on the cycling portion of the competition, Jim was hit by a van. The accident left him a quadriplegic. After months of therapy, Jim learned a lot about himself and his will to succeed returned. Within six months of the accident, he was living on his own. Jim continues his motivational speaking, writes articles and poetry and pursues charitable work with his own foundation, Choose Living. He also works with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Camp Good Days and Special Times, a camp for youth with cancer which has most recently added a program for families afflicted with AIDS.

    In 2004 filmmakers began working on a documentary, Emmanuel’s Gift. It is a story of a disabled boy from Ghana who single-handedly changed the perception of the disabled in his country by riding a bicycle across the country. The bicycle was provided by Challenged Athletes Foundation, which was founded for Jim MacLaren after his second accident. Jim MacLaren is featured in the film with Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.

    In August at the 2005 ESPY Awards Jim MacLaren and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah were presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which is presented annually to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, because they embodying the toughness of spirit and never-give-up attitude that are hallmarks of the award. Awarded September 30, 2006.
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  • Robert S. DesLauriers, 1983

    Extreme Skier, Real Estate Developer
    Extreme skiing pioneer turned professional ski mountaineer and real estate entrepreneur; Rob DesLauriers ’83 has skied from the summit of Mount Everest, brokered over $500 million in real estate transactions, and developed two luxury condominium hotels at the base of Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

    Rob’s life-long love affair with skiing began at the age of two on the slopes of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont. His parents owned, and operated the beloved ski area, giving Rob and his siblings the opportunity to ski almost every day during the winter. Rob entered Vermont Academy as a junior and made an immediate impact as captain of VA’s NEPSAC championship alpine ski team. He competed in varsity soccer and tennis when he wasn’t on the slopes and graduated as Valedictorian of his class. He went on to earn a degree from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration in 1987.

    As a professional extreme skier from 1988 to 2000, Rob was a featured skier in Warren Miller films and eventually starred in over 20 ski films. He produced five films as a member of The North Face Alpine Team and served as the founder and director of world wide Extreme Skiing Advanced Ski Clinics from 1990-2000. Powder Magazine designated DesLauriers a “Top 50 Skier in North America” in 1998. An avid cinematographer, Rob founded Straight Up Films with his brothers Eric and Adam. DesLauriers documented the first snowboard descent of Artesonraju in Peru, and in 1999 released a backcountry adventure documentary "Higher on the Mountain". DesLauriers and Eric also co-wrote Ski the Whole Mountain in 2002, a book on how to ski any terrain. Rob met his wife, Kit in 1999 while on a mountaineering trip to Mount Belukha in Siberia. He accompanied Kit, an accomplished skier in her own right, on her quest to become the first person to ski the highest summits on all seven continents, providing video documentation of her feat. With Kit, Rob has skied down Vinson Massif in Antarctica; Mt. Elbrus, Russia; Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; Denali, Alaska and Mount Everest, Nepal.

    In 2000, Rob shifted his focus to real estate and the development of the Teton Mountain Lodge, a AAA Four Diamond award-winning condominium hotel resort located at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He completed his second Jackson Hole hotel development project in 2008 with the opening of Hotel Terra. Terra is a sustainably designed and operated, Silver-LEED certified condominium hotel with modern mountain sophistication located slopeside to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Rob also founded Teton Village Realty in 2003, which he sold to Sotheby's International Realty in 2010. This past summer, Rob sold his Jackson based hotel management company to have more family playtime.

    Currently working as a broker at Sotheby’s, Rob and Kit live, ski and play with their two young daughters at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village. For his pioneering achievements in the world of extreme skiing and his accomplishments as a real estate entrepreneur, Vermont Academy is proud to honor Robert S. DesLauriers ’83 with the Florence R. Sabin ’89 Distinguished Alumni Award. Awarded September 2015
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  • Rawan W. Ibrahim, 1992

    At a time when international students were a rarity on campus, Rawan Ibrahim was a noteworthy applicant to Vermont Academy’s Class of 1992. Born in Amman, Jordan of Palestinian heritage, Rawan struggled academically and changed schools several times before ultimately being diagnosed with Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, which can interfere with reading comprehension and focus. Rawan had family in the Boston area and she started to consider attending a boarding school in the northeastern US. Although her parents were skeptical, Rawan persisted and they eventually agreed. After ‘falling in love’ with VA’s video and brochure, she made the long trip from Amman to Saxtons River and joined her class as its sole Arab student. After a brief period of adjustment, ‘Rani’ as she came to be known at VA, started to thrive both academically and socially. She was named Most Improved Rider on the equestrian team, served the community as a tour guide and proctor, and eventually earned the prestigious Ford Improvement Prize at commencement ceremonies.

    After completing her undergraduate degree in Foreign Affairs at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Rawan earned a Masters Degree in Development Economics and International Development at The University of Manchester (UK). Her career in social work developed as a result of a chance encounter with a homeless child she found trying to sleep on the streets of Amman. Rawan and her mother took the girl, Hasna, to the police station and closely monitored her situation over time. The experience proved to be life-changing, not only for Hasna, but for Rawan.

    Rawan began working for Dar Al Aman at the Jordan River Foundation, a residential care home for severely abused children, and eventually became its director. At the time, there was no foster care system in her country. Some of the children in the facility were reunited with families but others had to be placed in long-term care facilities. As she watched them progress through the system, Rawan was concerned about what would happen to them when they maxed out of care as 18 year olds. At that time, Jordan provided them no post-care policies or support.

    By then, Rawan was deeply entrenched in the field of social work, and in an effort to improve her knowledge and skills, she returned to school and completed her Ph.D. at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) in 2010. Upon her return to Jordan, Rawan joined the Columbia University Global Center in Amman and in collaboration with professors from the School of Social Work at Columbia University who had initiated a project with UNICEF Jordan and the Jordanian government, she created the country’s first foster care program. She served as the project’s director for four years before the administration was eventually handed over to the Jordanian government. She then worked as a consultant with UNICEF to continue growing this new model of care. The program is currently active in three cities with hope for further expansion. Rawan has also consulted with Iraq to begin foster care in that country. Due to the ongoing political strife in the area, her work has expanded to include refugee youth as well.

    According to Rawan, there is a saying in her part of the world: ‘Do good and toss it in the ocean.’ Rawan’s work with the children of Jordan and elsewhere will have a ripple effect far beyond her personal reach for decades to come. Rawan lives her life as the embodiment of Vermont Academy’s Core Beliefs and we are proud to award her the Florence R. Sabin 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.
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  • Demere Kasper Hess, 1999

    Health Practitioner and Educator
    Lieutenant Colonel Demere Kasper Hess always wanted to work in the medical field. In elementary and middle school she excelled academically, easily completing advanced placement classes in math and reading. During her junior high school years in Walpole, New Hampshire, her confidence waned. Her parents suggested she look at Vermont Academy as an alternative to the large local high school.
    On the Vermont Academy campus, Demere enjoyed being challenged once again. The small class sizes, the friends she made, the inspiring teachers —all helped her self-confidence grow. And that self-confidence ended up taking her from Saxtons River to Tulane to Iraq and Qatar, then to the University of Pennsylvania, to Afghanistan, and back to Penn, before finally landing her in Washington D.C., where she joined the medical staff at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
    A passion for painting led Demere to earn a studio art degree at Tulane, where she attended with an Army ROTC scholarship. One of her senior thesis paintings graces the dance studio. But medicine kept finding its way back into her life. Her grandmother had been a nurse, and Demere started thinking about earning a nursing degree as an undergraduate. She took an anatomy and physiology course in her junior year for fun but she had to wait until completing her initial commitment to the Army before pursuing that path. Demere’s full-time service as a military intelligence officer led to deployments in Iraq and Qatar. After leaving active duty she earned her BSN at the University of Pennsylvania while serving in the United States Army Reserves. She excelled at Penn, graduating Cum Laude and publishing an article on military culture and the pregnant female soldier. She credits her teachers at Vermont Academy for helping foster her thirst for knowledge, and for helping identify the best methods for her to learn.
    Shortly after graduating from Penn, Demere was conducting a drill weekend and crossed paths with a soldier she knew from a past deployment. He told her about a voluntary program that allowed women to deploy with special operations teams in remote locations in Afghanistan. In particular, the program sought female soldiers with healthcare backgrounds. Afghan cultural norms don’t allow men to interact with women, and there was a large need for women’s health education and healthcare services. After a rigorous vetting process, Demere deployed to rural Afghanistan in November of 2012. She worked tirelessly to establish the Mya Neshin Comprehensive Health Center. She endorsed and lobbied for the Community Health Workers program, which trained local men and women to act as health educators and first responders while also performing limited health checkups within their villages. These workers also received emergency birth training as well as prenatal and infant training to improve maternal and infant health in villages. Her team also created a seven-part radio program that addressed health topics ranging from vaccinations to clean water and that was broadcast across multiple districts.
    When the deployment ended, Demere returned to Penn where she earned a Master’s degree in nursing. She now works as a nurse practitioner on the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She focuses her practice on pain management and the treatment of acute and uncontrolled chronic pain. She’s married and has started a family. And she still paints, although she switched from oils to the instant gratification provided by watercolors. She also continues to serve in the United States Army Reserves, where she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2019.
    We are proud to award Lt. Col. Demere Kasper Hess the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award.
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