Hours before he accepted the Alumni Association Award recognizing his life of service and achievement as a cancer clinician and researcher, Dr. Bayard Clarkson ’44 took a stroll around the grounds of St. Paul’s School.
“It brought back so many memories,” said Dr. Clarkson, who has been a leader in cancer research at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for 50 years. “I arrived here at age 13. We took walks to Long Pond on Sundays, where we could rent canoes for $1. Some of our pleasures were a movie in the gym, Sixth Form speeches. Most of us were academic underachievers. We lived for football, hockey, rowing.”
Dr. Clarkson was the second alumnus honored for his life’s work at the annual meeting of the School’s alumni, following the Alumni Association Award presentation to and remarks by Richard Barth ’85, CEO of the KIPP Foundation, a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools in underserved communities.
Sharing the story of a pair of 24-year-old Houston teachers who conceived KIPP in 1994, Mr. Barth said he hoped the story would “inspire people that something entirely different is possible.”
The presentation of the Alumni Association Awards – the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a graduate of the School – came at the conclusion of the annual meeting, which traditionally kicks off the busiest day of Anniversary Weekend at the School.
With Association President Jim Frates ‘85 presiding, the School also made presentations to several others in attendance. Among those joining Mr. Frates on stage were Bill Matthews ‘61, Rector; Bill Kennedy ‘65, treasurer and alumni fund chair; Tina Abramson ‘82, executive director of the Alumni Association; and the Reverend Michael Spencer, dean of chapel.
Faculty members Alisa Barnard ’94, Tom Solter, Sharon Randolph, and Jeff Crosby were applauded for five years of service. Receiving special recognition for 25 years of service was languages faculty member Masa Shimano, who teaches Japanese. Acting Vice Rector for Faculty Theresa Gerardo-Gettens also honored retiree Larry Braden, who will leave St. Paul's this month after 20 years of teaching mathematics at the School.
Also on the docket for the Alumni Association Meeting were reports from Mr. Frates and Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy announced that the 2009 Annual Fund – which combines the Alumni and Parents Funds – stands at just over $3.8 million in cash and pledges.
"I would be remiss if I didn’t put in this pitch: If you haven’t already contributed, it isn’t too late,” Mr. Kennedy said.
It was also reported that the Form of 1989 has raised $107,979 for the Alumni Fund, setting a record for a 20th anniversary form. Others forms setting new Alumni Fund records include the Form of 1979 ($86,934 in honor of its 30th); the Form of 1944 ($43,255 in honor of its 65th); and the Form of 1984 ($240,931 in honor of its 25th). In addition, Mr. Kennedy reported that the $517,855 raised by the 50th anniversary Form of 1959 “is not only an Alumni Fund record for a 50th reunion, but is also the largest gift from any form ever to the Alumni Fund.”
Mr. Kennedy also praised the work of the Sixth Form of 2009, which designated its gift to the Alumni Fund with 100 percent participation.
Mr. Frates honored Mr. Kennedy for his three years of service, presenting him with an SPS bowl as thanks for his dedication to his post.
“His energy for SPS is unrivaled,” said Mr. Frates, who also introduced newly elected Treasurer and Alumni Fund Chair Scott Fossel ‘71.
Following further remarks by Mr. Frates, in which he urged the graduating Form of 2009 to “remember and recognize the gifts St. Paul’s has given you,” Rector Matthews then took the stage, noting that there is not always a tangible way to measure an institution’s success.
“I was asked in my first year [as Rector] what St. Paul’s stands for,” said Mr. Matthews. “I answered very simply that what we stand for is found in the words of the School Prayer – thoughtfulness, selflessness, eagerness to bear the burden of others. Those words are hard to measure, but we work enormously hard to measure up to the words of the School Prayer.”
Mr. Matthews also shared a story of a teaching candidate who asked him recently what the Rector hopes students will carry away with them upon graduation.
“I said I hope they will carry away a trust in the value of relationships,” said Mr. Matthews, “and a commitment to honesty in those relationships.”