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!