Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award to Honor Denny Emerson ’59 and Johnny Rosen ’63 at Reunion

Established in 1985 by the Vermont Academy Alumni Association, the Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes and honors Vermont Academy alumni who, through their diligence and efforts, have used the basic academic and life skills acquired at the Academy to achieve significant success in their professional careers or have made outstanding contributions in community involvement thereby bringing honor to themselves and to Vermont Academy. This award is named for Vermont Academy alumna and health pioneer Florence Sabin.

The 2024 Florence R. Sabin Class of 1889 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees, Edward “Denny” Emerson ’59 and Johnny Rosen ’63, will be recognized during Reunion on Saturday, June 8.
Edward “Denny” Emerson ’59 is an activist, author, leader, trainer, eventer, and coach who has been influential in the equestrian community for more than 60 years. He’s also the only equestrian to have won both an international gold medal in eventing and a Tevis Cup buckle in endurance.

After being named the United States Eventing Association's Rider of the Year in 1972, Denny represented the United States in the 1974 World Championships as part of the Three Day Eventing Team, winning the gold medal.

As a coach, Denny has hosted clinics, championed his gymnastic jumping exercises, and trained internationally recognized athletes including Olympian Kelli Temple, and international riders Dorothy Trapp, Nancy Bliss, and so many others. 

Denny was inducted into Dartmouth’s Wearers of the Green Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Hall of Fame in 2006, and Vermont Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. He also received both the USEA’s Wofford Cup for lifetime service to eventing and, in 1991, the American Riding Instructor Certification Program (ARICP) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Few individuals have achieved higher recognition or national acclaim in their profession than Denny, who is widely renowned as one of this country's national treasures when it comes to horsemanship and equestrian disciplines. 

For these reasons and many more, the Vermont Academy Alumni Association celebrates Denny Emerson ’59 as a 2024 Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award honoree.

Johnny Rosen ’63 grew up surrounded by art, music, and physics. As a young man, Johnny knew he wanted to get into the music business and was introduced to musician and record producer Owen Bradley by his parents. He was enthralled and became one of the most accomplished recording engineers in the United States.

Johnny founded Fanta Professional Services in 1975 when he built a groundbreaking mobile recording studio in the back of an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer truck to provide on-location recording services for Neil Young. With his mobile recording studio truck, Johnny and his crew traveled to live shows to record and mix performances by some of the greats including Neil Young, The Doobie Brothers, The Charlie Daniels Band, Barry Manilow, Kenny Loggins, Lou Rawls, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Journey, Tina Turner, The Beach Boys, and, and many more. He was lured into the motion picture industry by noteworthy films including Robert Altman’s Nashville, The Blues Brothers, Tender Mercies, and Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Over the course of his career, Johnny would work on over 5,900 projects ranging in complexity. He implemented problem-solving skills every day as he tackled new set-ups at each new venue. Johnny noted that this was what made the work so exciting. One of the most exciting projects that Johnny worked on was the 1987 Chet Atkins and Friends 24-track recording for NPR. The show featured special guests like Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, the Everly Brothers, Mark Knopfler, and more. It was for this project that Johnny won an Emmy Award.

In 1996, Johnny retired from sound engineering and joined the staff at Cumberland Heights Treatment Center as the aftercare director. In this role, Johnny supports ongoing recovery for alumni of the treatment center. He also supports the Center by cultivating donor relationships that will help this 57-year institution thrive. 

In 2018, Johnny was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Nashville Section of the Audio Engineering Society on behalf of the Recording Industry of Nashville in recognition of his work to improve the quality of music recording throughout his lifetime of engineering and technical excellence. 

For these reasons and many more, the Vermont Academy Alumni Association celebrates Johnny Rosen ’63 as a 2024 Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award honoree.

The Vermont Academy Alumni Association takes nominations for the Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award on a rolling basis. If you wish to submit a nomination, please visit www.vermontacademy.org/alumni/alumni-recognition.
Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.