Anniversary Weekend panel event touches on careers in the public sphere and the role of collaboration.
BY JACQUELINE PRIMO LEMMON
The notion of service to others is woven into the very fabric of St. Paul’s School, from a School Prayer that exhorts us to be “eager to bear the burden of others” to a mission squarely focused on educating students to build purposeful lives in service to the greater good. Following panel conversations earlier in the year focused on nonprofit leadership and the arts, during Anniversary Weekend SPS wrapped up its examination of what it means to live a life in service with a conversation among reunion attendees working in the art, health and legislative sectors: Kevin Gover ’73, undersecretary for museums and culture at the Smithsonian and former director of the National Museum of the American Indian; Rebecca Haffajee ’98, principal deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and John Cronin ’08 a Massachusetts state senator and former U.S. Army officer.
The standing-room-only event, held in the Friedman Community Center’s Raffini Commons on Saturday, June 10, was moderated by Rector Kathy Giles, and the wide-ranging conversation touched on everything from the reclamation of Indigenous artifacts to military service to the social systems that factor into substance abuse. Early in the conversation, Giles noted that while our School Prayer calls on us to be eager to bear the burdens of others, it does so — “conspicuously,” she said — without defining or limiting who those “others” are. “How do you approach collaboration with people who have widely different points of view from your own?” she asked the panelists.
Public service is really noble and really honorable … We should be encouraging young people to run for public office.”