2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
2020 Convocation
Blair Opens 173rd Year at Convocation

Blair’s 173rd year opened on August 30 with an outdoor Convocation that brought the community together, both in person and virtually, on the eve of the academic year. Head of School Chris Fortunato set the tone for a year that will surely hold a special place in School history as he encouraged faculty and students to keep trying no matter what challenges they face and no matter what the world throws their way. To view the ceremony, click “play” below.

As the School community endeavors to stay healthy and well amid the coronavirus pandemic, Convocation necessarily looked a bit different than it has in the past, yet the joy and excitement of starting a new school year were the same as ever. Only seniors took part in the traditional bagpiper-led procession, and they wore face masks and maintained appropriate physical distance as they excitedly walked through campus. Several faculty members and underclassmen, holding the flags of every nation represented by this year’s student body, cheered the seniors as they entered Meerwarth Courtyard and proceeded through the Arch to Hardwick Lawn. There, the members of the class of 2021 took seats—six feet apart—in colorful portable chairs. Faculty and underclassmen watched the proceedings via livestream from dormitories and other campus locations, while online learners and Blair families tuned in from their homes around the world.

Convocation proceeded with pomp and ceremony, as well as great optimism for the 2020-2021 school year. Trustee the Rev. David Harvey and Senior Class Council members Emma Van Der Veen ’21 and John Boelhoff ’21 welcomed all who were in attendance in person and remotely. Ava Roche ’21 sang “It’s the Climb,” sharing the song’s inspiring message with her peers, and Mr. Fortunato spoke from his heart as he reflected on the “Blair way” and encouraged community members to endeavor to achieve that ideal every day in the year about to get underway.

Mr. Fortunato explained that people have different definitions for the Blair way, but he has come to understand it as Blair family members’ courageous commitment to do three things: to stand up for each other and have each other’s backs; to sit down with each other, connect deeply and discuss our differences; and to never, ever stop trying to learn and be better.

On that final point, Mr. Fortunato offered advice for the year ahead as he concluded his remarks. “Never stop trying to stay together—wear a mask, stay six feet apart and do everything we must to do,” he said. “Never stop trying to learn from one another, to believe and see the best in one another and to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Never stop trying to find the good, the humor, the joy. And never stop trying to be the person you are and wish to become and to honor that opportunity for others around you.”

It has become Mr. Fortunato’s tradition to share a gift with the campus community at Convocation, and he announced that this year, every student, faculty and staff member would receive a portable Blair chair like the ones in which seniors had been seated during the ceremony. The chairs will help everyone spend as much time outdoors together as possible this fall and, in the Blair way, stay closely connected, even from six feet apart. 
 

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Blair Academy is pleased to welcome James H. Dickerson, PhD, who will speak to students, faculty and staff during a virtual Society of Skeptics lecture on September 29 at 7 p.m. His presentation, “Using Science for Good,” will center around his work at Consumer Reports and the use of scientific findings to drive marketplaces changes to improve products.

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Curran Family

Dear Blair Family, 

I write to you today about the end of one chapter in Blair’s history and an exciting new beginning. After more than seven years at Blair, Chris Fortunato has decided to return with his family to New England, where he will lead Thayer Academy, a day school outside of Boston. We are most grateful to Chris for his excellent leadership and many contributions over the course of his tenure and wish him and his family well. As we now look to Blair’s future, I am thrilled to announce that our Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Associate Head of School and Dean of Admission Peter G. Curran as Blair’s 17th Head of School, effective January 1, 2021.

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