Citation of Merit
The Citation of Merit, Blair’s highest honor, is presented to those men and women whose meritorious service to Blair has helped chart the course of the School.
- 2018: John E. Alden Jr. ’63
- 2017: James H.G. Naisby ’57
- 2016: Richard Graber P’06 ’09
- 2015: Anne E. Cramer '75
- 2014: Kevin L. Clayton
- 2013: W. Jeffery Seubel '63; T. Chandler & Monie T. Hardwick
- 2012: Donald H. McCree Jr. ’54
- 2011: David T. & Candida C. Low
- 2010: James D. Krugman ’65
In the 55 years since John Alden’s Blair graduation, his love for the School has never wavered. He has demonstrated this deep and abiding dedication at every level, from his longstanding and exceptional service on the Board of Trustees to the caring, personal connections he maintains with his 1963 classmates. Thoughtfulness, intelligence, humility and warmth characterize all of John’s efforts on behalf of his alma mater, and his energetic work celebrates the traditions of relationships and learning at the core of our heritage, while propelling the School to the brightest possible future.
John’s Board tenure spans a remarkable 43 years of engaged and active service. As a Trustee from 1975 to 1990 and as emeritus ever since, he has brought to the table invaluable business acumen and insight into boarding-school best practices, gleaned from successful careers in the hospitality industry and as an independent school CFO and treasurer. He has answered the call to leadership in Board endeavors time and again—not surprising for a former class officer, football and track captain, and Headmaster’s Prize winner—including, most recently, his enthusiastic commitment to serve on the Financial Sustainability and Capital Campaign Strategic Planning Committee. In this vital role, John will help chart the course of Blair’s future, ensuring its strength for generations of students.
The School’s future is something that John has considered personally and with his classmates, as well. He and his wife, Sherry, a gracious supporter of all things Blair, are members of the John C. Sharpe Society of planned givers, and John is a champion fundraiser and advocate for the Class of 1963 Faculty Chair, a class legacy that will help Blair continue to attract and retain the finest teachers. John has also been instrumental in the establishment of Blair’s Planned Giving Advisory Council, through which he and his fellow Council members promote gift-planning as a means of securing Blair’s ongoing financial stability.
Through the decades, as John has undertaken important initiatives on behalf of the School, he has also maintained close, lifelong friendships with his classmates by planning get-togethers, working on reunion committees and keeping in frequent touch. This is simply who he is and what he does—he is a man of great heart and character; he is good and kind; and, above all, he gets things done. Blair Academy is a better School for John Alden’s generous investment of time, talent and treasure over many years, and this 2018 Citation of Merit, the School’s highest honor, is well-deserved recognition for all he has contributed and accomplished.
Jim Naisby’s noble service to Blair Academy has been deeply impactful to the School he loves and will resonate across generations of future Buccaneers. A dedicated class representative and member of the Board of Governors since 2004, Jim is a keenly discerning leader with a “hands-on” style, and he is a master at taking action to help achieve the School’s short- and long-term goals. And, in all his work on Blair’s behalf, Jim’s warmth and care for each member of the School community make him a consummate ambassador for his alma mater wherever he goes. The School is especially proud to recognize him with its highest honor on the occasion of his 60th Blair reunion.
As an alumni leader, Jim has tackled initiatives large and small for more than a decade, including spearheading 1957’s reunions and fundraising efforts; connecting classmates and friends from other classes to the School; and volunteering at many campus events. Above all, he has shone in his work with the alumni Board of Governors (BOG). As BOG vice president and president—and one who is highly knowledgeable of Blair’s operations and needs—Jim has fully engaged BOG members in the life of the School and opened the door to Trusteeship for several younger alumni. His careful attention to the BOG and its advisory role in School governance has raised the bar for BOG participation and leaves a lasting legacy of excellence.
The Blair community is deeply grateful to Jim and his wife of more than 55 years, Diane, for their generous and loyal philanthropy. As members of the John C. Sharpe Society of planned givers, Jim and Diane have provided for future Blair students and faculty with the creation of an endowed teaching chair, knowing that it will help attract and retain outstanding teachers and foster the relationships that are the bedrock of the Blair experience. The Naisbys are frequent attendees at campus events, and all who meet them enjoy good conversation and their genuine kindness.
Jim’s exceptional Blair volunteerism has been recognized with three previous awards—he was Class Representative of the Year in 2007, Outstanding Class Correspondent in 2009 and Alumnus of the Year in 2012. As he celebrates another milestone reunion with his beloved classmates and prepares to retire after four exemplary years as BOG president, it is most fitting that we honor Jim Naisby with the 2017 Citation of Merit.
Throughout more than a decade of exemplary service to Blair Academy, Richard Graber has been a driving force and key participant in the School’s programmatic, administrative and philanthropic advancement. He began as an enthusiastic parent volunteer and generous supporter of the School, increasing his involvement—and impact—a thousand fold since his 2009 election as a Trustee. Bringing keen intellect, unflagging energy and wise counsel to his work on several critical Board committees, Richard’s genuine desire to best serve the School’s current and next-generation students has helped the Board steer a course toward a strong and vibrant future. And to say he has accomplished all of this with a smile would come as no surprise to any parent, student, Trustee or teacher who has ever had the pleasure of engaging him in conversation, as his warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit have touched many members of the Blair family.
The parents of Alexander ’06 and Nicholas ’09, Richard and his wife, Chrysa, deeply appreciated their sons’ educational experience and were active and dedicated volunteers during the boys’ years on the hilltop. “Yes, of course,” was their immediate response to any request for help, be it manning the Peddie Day hospitality tent, sharing their love of Blair with prospective families at receptions or leading parent fundraising efforts as members of the Parent Fund Group. The quintessential Blair ambassadors—positive, approachable and down-to-earth—the Grabers have continued in this essential role well after their sons’ graduations, and this ambassadorship has formed a solid foundation for Richard’s invaluable work as a Trustee.
Richard has been a member of the Board’s Buildings and Grounds, Education and School Life, and Advancement Committees, and in his service in these core areas, his business expertise, common sense and high regard for the School’s people and traditions have helped him discern Blair’s true needs and the best way to move forward. Ever with an eye to the School’s future—and to ensuring that the Blair experience his sons enjoyed will be just as impactful for future students—he was instrumental in crafting the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan and in the Head of School search that brought Chris Fortunato to Blair in 2013. Most recently, Richard dedicated significant time to the East and Davies Task Force, where his thorough research, intensive consideration of stakeholders’ needs and vision for an even-greater academic and co-curricular experience for Blair’s future students led him to champion the Center for Innovation and Collaboration and concurrent Bogle Hall and Weber Hall realignment projects. A model of trusteeship, Richard has worked tirelessly behind the scenes on any and every project the Board has undertaken over the past seven years, and his perceptive understanding of the Blair community has contributed to sound governance and a bright outlook for the future.
A superb leader and steadfast member of the Board of Trustees for more than 20 years, Anne’s deeply held love for Blair characterizes her distinguished service to the School. By coupling her professional expertise with an unwavering commitment to Blair’s mission, Anne has in many ways become the conscience of the Board—a strong and steady voice of reason. Her wise counsel, balanced perspective and thoughtful contributions make her one of the most valued and respected alumni Trustees in School history.
Anne entered Blair soon after its return to coeducation in the early 1970s and immediately seized the opportunity to excel in all areas of School life. Winner of the Philip James Rosen Trophy as a junior, she went on to captain the field hockey team and graduate as valedictorian of her class. As a promising student-athlete, Anne embodied the timeless values and ideals that Blair seeks to instill in its students: academic excellence, personal integrity, a strong work ethic and commitment to service. She stood out then, as she does now, and won the coveted Headmaster’s Prize, given annually to the student in the senior class who displays “conspicuous loyalty, outstanding leadership and a fine spirit in Blair life.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and JD from the University of Wisconsin, Anne began her law career. She is a board member, former board chair and shareholder of Primmer, Piper, Eggelston & Cramer PC, where she practices health care and employment law, and brings considerable expertise and experience to her roles on Blair’s Board of Trustees as Chair of the Governance Committee, Secretary of the Board and member of the Executive Committee. Her colleagues consistently credit Anne with shaping and influencing good choices for Blair’s governance, using her well-informed historical perspective and extensive knowledge of Blair’s culture to advance the School’s mission with poise and integrity.
Anne also played an integral role on the Head of School Search Committee, which was responsible for selecting Blair’s next leader—a critically important task following Chan Hardwick’s 2012 announcement that he would retire. Throughout the search process, Anne was a key facilitator, displaying her deft ability to consider different points of view and to achieve consensus among diverse constituents. She accomplished all of this selflessly, with grace and good cheer, and above all, with a consistent focus on achieving an outcome that was in the best interest of Blair. Perhaps one of Anne’s most far-reaching contributions, however, has been serving as the public face of strong female Board leadership during a male-dominated era in Blair history. At the dedication of Annie Hall in 1999, she was the first woman to speak at such a high-profile Blair event, which paved the way for other women to make similar contributions on behalf of the School.
Anne has always been and continues to be a good friend to many and a consummate supporter of the School. She takes the time to ask about others’ personal happiness—and despite her busy schedule and geographical distance from the School—she makes a considerable effort to be a visible and active presence at Trustee meetings and in School life. She is wise, kind, trustworthy and genuine. For her tremendous devotion and invaluable contributions to Blair, we are proud to recognize Anne E. Cramer with the School’s highest honor, the 2015 Citation of Merit.
The son of a former Board member and parent of two Blair graduates, Kevin Clayton embraced his family’s tradition of service and philanthropy and has served with distinction on the Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2014, providing generous financial support and wise investment counsel to advance Blair’s mission.
Kevin earned his bachelor’s degree from nearby Lehigh University and his master’s degree in business administration from St. Joseph’s University. During his tenure as a Board member and while a Blair parent, his dedication to Blair is underscored by his many familial ties to the institution: his father, William, served as a Trustee for many years; Kevin’s brother, Chris, graduated in 1984; while his daughter, Jessica, graduated in 2003 and his son, Patrick, graduated in 2009.
Elected to the Board in 2008, Kevin assumed leadership of the Investment Committee at a critical time during the great recession of 2008. Tasked with the responsibility of protecting and maximizing Blair’s assets during a period of deep uncertainty about the future of the financial markets, he thoughtfully restructured the committee and provided strong leadership and direction when the School faced a challenging economic and investment landscape. Under his capable guidance and skillful oversight, Blair has consistently ranked among the top of its peers with regard to the management of its endowed funds. Kevin’s stewardship of Blair’s endowment has secured the School’s long-term financial vitality, thus providing a strong foundation for its future.
Known for his ability to lead and his keen understanding of capital markets and portfolio management, Jack Bogle ’47, Blair Board Chairman Emeritus and founder of The Vanguard Group remarked, “Kevin brought to Blair a confidence gained from his extremely successful career with a distinguished money management firm. He largely shares my conservative investment philosophy and, over the years, I have been impressed with his leadership. I have great respect for his knowledge, management, and wisdom, and it’s been my privilege to partner with him to advance Blair’s mission.”
As the parent of two graduates, Kevin both understands and appreciates the value of a Blair education; with that in mind, he and his wife, Lisa, established the Clayton Family Scholarship in 2008, which generously provides educational opportunity to current and future generations of Blair students. Furthermore, in recognizing that the benefits of a boarding school education take place both inside and outside the classroom, Kevin has taken a leadership role in providing support for the new dormitory project which will help the School to attract top candidates and achieve a much-desired balance between boys and girls.
Benefactor, Trustee, parent, friend; in each of his roles, Kevin has displayed a deep devotion to Blair through the unselfish dedication of his time, professional expertise and personal resources, and so it is with great appreciation that we are proud to honor him with the 2014 Citation of Merit.
Jeff first arrived on Blair’s campus in 1961 as a new junior. Described by Henry Cowan as “a sincere and forthright boy with a wholesome and positive attitude,” Jeff joined Blue and White Key and became a varsity swimmer and football player. After Blair, Jeff attended Roanoke College, later earning both an MBA and an MHA from the University of Chicago and going on to build a successful career as an investment banker. For nearly 20 years, Jeff has served on the Blair Board of Trustees, first elected in 1994 and continuing as an Emeritus Trustee in 2012. A faithful member of the Budget Committee, Jeff advised the administration and worked closely with other Trustees to produce balanced budgets annually. Most importantly, Jeff provided expert financial counsel as Blair obtained and structured public funding to make possible the significant capital projects the School has undertaken during the past two decades. In that regard, Jeff Seubel was as instrumental in the construction of the modern halls of Blair as the architects and builders. Further, he often serves as a financial conscience and prudent voice in Board discussions, all the while fully understanding the practical value of harnessing public credit for the benefit of the institution.
While essential to the Board, Jeff remains always loyal to the class of 1963 and its place in Blair history. Indeed, he was one of the driving forces behind the creation and funding of the Class of 1963 Faculty Chair, the first time a Blair class has sought to raise $1 million for the establishment of a Teaching Chair. In addition, Jeff and his wife, Sally, created the Class of l963 Timeshare for Faculty Support, and they are members of the John C. Sharpe Society, planning for the School’s future even as Jeff continues his service on the Board. His support of Blair is underscored by his many familial ties to the School: his father, Warren Seubel, served as a Blair Trustee for many years; Jeff’s son, Sam, graduated in l987; while his granddaughter, Alexandra, graduated in 2011, and grandson, Andrew, is a member of the Blair class of 2015.
Finally, Jeff’s own words as a young alumnus reveal his unusual and thoughtful appreciation for Blair. In his file, a letter was discovered that Jeff wrote to classmate John Alden over 40 years ago in 1971: “You know, it may sound awfully sentimental, but looking back, I really miss Blair. You would think that after nine years, I would have forgotten about the old place; however, now that I have had a few years to reflect, I find myself admitting that I got a darn good education there. More importantly, I met some great guys whom I would like to see again…With the above in mind, I enthusiastically volunteer my services in helping with the class reunion activities, as well as any other project that could be of benefit to Blair.”
And so, today, on the occasion of his 50th reunion, his School, his classmates, and his many Blair friends know that we are both privileged and grateful to have a man of his knowledge, stature and experience working diligently on Blair’s behalf. Therefore, we are proud to honor W. Jeffrey Seubel with this School’s highest honor, the 2013 Citation of Merit.
The Hardwicks’ tenure began in July 1989 when they moved to Blairstown with their three young daughters: Thayer, Elizabeth and Katherine. Appointed Blair’s 15th Headmaster, Chan assumed leadership of a school community that was anxiously awaiting the promise that this young educator offered. Although his first day began inauspiciously with the unexpected discovery that he now owned a sewage treatment plant that owed the State of New Jersey $50,000 in fines, throughout those early years, Chan displayed decisiveness, creativity, flexibility and an irrepressible humor—all qualities that more than made up for his lack of experience. By the mid-1990s, his intuitive grasp of the direction Blair should take resulted in establishing the dual aims of raising the academic bar for all students, while strengthening the fundamental relationship between students and teachers. These objectives were then achieved through a series of calculated changes involving advising, communicating, grading and the daily structure of School life.
Chan would be the first to say that he was surrounded by a remarkably dedicated group of teachers, supported especially by the counsel of Assistant Headmaster David Low, and bolstered by strong Trustee leadership—as well as a robust economy. The confluence of those people and the resulting continuity of leadership allowed Blair to ascend the boarding school ranks in steps roughly matching the successful completion of various projects and two transforming campaigns. During those years, there was also the strategic addition of academic courses, athletic teams and an expansion of the arts, all complementing the ongoing growth and renaissance of Blair’s historic buildings and campus.
Throughout the past quarter century, there was also Monie. All of us today recognize the unusual nature of her partnership with Chan and the joy they both found in sharing their lives with young people. Monie brought to Blair her own professional experience as an educator, and, over the years, took on increasing responsibility, serving the School in whatever ways were needed most. She established Blair’s teacher training program, directed Timken Library and, in 2003, at the urging of Bill Timken, then Chairman of the Board, took over the advancement office to lead Blair’s successful Ever, Always Campaign. Today, she directs the School’s strategic planning process and continues her outreach with many of those people responsible for Blair’s sustained momentum.
Throughout their tenure, two essential commitments have guided the Hardwicks’ efforts: first, an unwavering focus on students, their education and well-being; and second, the growth and creation of a faculty culture that attracted, and, in many cases, retained exceptional boarding school educators. Believing that a culture of dynamic, organic growth was critical to a vibrant educational enterprise, Chan allowed many ideas and initiatives to flourish at Blair, nourishing those teachers and projects which proved effective in promoting the School’s mission. Today, boarding school education, unlike almost any other profession, remains a “calling,” rarely ceasing at night or on weekends. Yet, in spite of the many external demands and the travel required of their work, Chan and Monie somehow managed to stay firmly rooted in the daily life of the community. They taught classes, worked with advisees, opened their home, and were a regular presence at games and art performances. Usually accompanied by a dog—first Boswell, then Charlie—they engaged students, faculty, parents and alumni in the life of the School and set the welcoming and open tone that characterizes the Blair community. Finally—quietly and known only by Blair’s Trustees—Monie and Chan also became among the School’s most generous benefactors, directing their gifts in support of those two commitments they valued most: providing scholarship aid for deserving students and supporting Blair’s outstanding faculty.
Above all, the Hardwicks never lost sight of their ultimate mission: to educate and advance the growth of young people, to support faculty in their quest to do the same and to promote the immutable values of Blair Academy. In that success, coming over more than two decades, it is certain that the Hardwick legacy will reflect one of the most productive chapters in the history of the School. No two individuals, in such a distinct and even unique partnership, are more deserving of Blair Academy’s highest honor, and it is with deep appreciation that we present them with this special Citation of Merit.
A third-generation Blair alumnus and perhaps the only graduate of the School whose grandmother and grandfather met as Blair students, Don McCree’s knowledge and appreciation of the School’s history and traditions are deeply rooted. Yet, in his service as a Trustee, he has been an expert strategic thinker and has devoted extraordinary effort to planning for Blair’s future. Don brought focused energy, an ambitious sense of purpose and an innate understanding of the School’s core values to our recent strategic planning process. His quiet, yet determined leadership facilitated meaningful discussion that ultimately shaped a cogent, visionary plan for Blair. Don’s guidance and wise counsel will continue to resonate as the School’s strategic plan is implemented and the very best of Blair is preserved and strengthened.
A boy who was “sincere, honest and dependable in every respect,” Don distinguished himself during his Blair days as an excellent student, varsity swimmer and ACTA co-editor. In a letter to Don’s father, Donald McCree ’29, acting Headmaster Harold F. Walker wrote: “I know you must agree with me that the kid has done all right for himself. To be accepted at Williams, Dartmouth and Princeton these days is unusual…Besides what he has accomplished as a student, there are not many boys who have ranked as high as he in what I call all-round citizenship, and he is, of course, the handsomest fellow in the class for which he is not to blame.” Don graduated from Dartmouth in 1958, married his wonderful wife, Patsy, the following year, and embarked on a rewarding 42-year career in commercial banking.
Around the time of his 50th Reunion in 2004, Don turned his attention to Blair. He and Patsy were now retired, enjoying frequent visits with their three grown sons and their families, traveling, and contributing in various ways to educational, civic and charitable causes. From that comfortable vantage point, he viewed Blair—a “wonderful, vibrant institution” ready to “meet the challenges of today’s world”—and became re-engaged with the School that started him on his own path to success. To this day, he has never looked back; rather, he has looked forward, and has made all of us look forward, to the future of this great institution.
Over the past few years, Don and Patsy have established Blair as their philanthropic priority, providing educational opportunity to current and subsequent generations of students through gifts to the Blair Fund, the Ever, Always Campaign and to the Class of 1954 New Horizons Scholarship. Their generosity is deeply appreciated, yet the heart of Don’s many contributions to Blair lies in his extraordinary service as a Trustee. Elected to the Board in 2007, Don, together with fellow Trustees David Wakefield and Stephanie Bennett-Smith, chaired the Strategic Planning Committee. His input was critical in the development of an ambitious plan to chart the School’s course for the future, and he continues to oversee the plan’s implementation. Don had the foresight and conviction to realize that no institution can remain the same—either it is moving forward or falling behind—and, in his thoughtful way, he has been determined that the only way for Blair to go is forward.
There is no ego or fanfare about Don’s leadership—only attentive consideration and intelligent guidance. Don’s service to Blair has been exemplary throughout the strategic planning process, as he has selflessly devoted his expertise and time to guide the School to a secure and strong future that is yet firmly rooted in its core values. For this, I am proud to name Don McCree the recipient of the 2012 Citation of Merit.
Dave and Candy Low are the very heart and soul of Blair Academy. For 32 years, they have devoted their lives to the well-being of Blair’s students and to upholding Blair’s core values of intellectual curiosity, selfless service and integrity in all things. Together, Dave and Candy are the quintessential members of the Blair community, the embodiment of the leadership and service to which all Blair graduates and teachers aspire.
Dave’s storied tenure began in 1979 when he arrived, an enthusiastic, fresh-faced, not-quite-seasoned administrator, from the Cranbrook School in Michigan. Appointed Blair’s first-ever Dean of Student Affairs, he and Candy took up residence on campus with their three young children, David Jr., Katie and Seth, all of whom would eventually become Blair graduates. In his new role, Dave undertook the development and management of the non-academic life of the School. Counseling, residential life, extracurricular activities and a host of collateral duties became his responsibility, and under his leadership and measured, thoughtful guidance, the student affairs office has become the epicenter of the vibrant, positive living and learning atmosphere of Blair Academy. In 1990, Dave was elevated to Assistant Headmaster for Student Affairs.
The welfare of the School, the faculty and, most of all, the students has been paramount in every decision, discussion and action Dave has undertaken in his Blair career. Guided by an innate sense of fairness and unerring moral compass, his contributions to the life of the School will resonate for years to come. With absolute attention to detail, he has resolved issues large and small with grace, humor and/or sternness, as the situation required. In addition, his reasonable, unbiased judgment has made him a most valuable asset to Blair’s administration. Dave has embraced a healthy respect for the traditions of the School, as he recognizes their value to the community and their important role in the education of our students. Yet with a philosophic openness, he has constantly evaluated those traditions and helped to find the best course of action for Blair. Dave’s even-tempered personality, characteristic kindness and compassion, and truly friendly nature have made him a role model for the entire School community.
Candy’s early years on campus were devoted to family, yet once she was able to join the professional staff, she became indispensable in the student affairs office. Pursuing her passion for photography, she became the faculty advisor to the yearbook and the School’s official photographer, capturing a generation of Blair students and faculty on film. Her constancy and dedication assured that no matter how late or early an event was scheduled, nor how bad the weather, she would be there to record the action. Even as Candy supported Dave in his role, he, in turn, supported her, becoming her “junior technician” and driving the golf cart whenever he was called upon.
Together, Dave and Candy are the School’s best ambassadors, not merely welcoming visitors to campus, but setting a tone of thoughtfulness and congeniality that is willingly and genuinely emulated by Blair’s students and staff. As we have prepared for their retirement this past year with a reorganization of the student affairs office, we know, deep in our hearts, that Dave and Candy are irreplaceable at Blair. Their passion for education, love of this School and its students, and keen understanding of what makes a school not just good, but great, combined with the enduring support they have been to one another in their careers, simply cannot be matched. There have rarely been two people who are more deserving of Blair’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit, and it is with great pride that we recognize Dave and Candy Low as its recipients for 2011.
A heartfelt love of Blair ideals, creative and generous leadership, and a desire to sustain and build upon those ideals for future generations of Blair students have inspired Jim Krugman’s three decades of service to the School. Starting his service as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors, Jim was first elected as a Trustee in 1986. He has served in this capacity for over 20 years and been active on 10 different Board committees. Now an emeritus Trustee, Jim has a true understanding of the School’s needs and has undertaken unique projects to successfully address those needs. His energy, inventiveness and, above all, his devotion to Blair, its students and faculty, have made him an outstanding steward of all that is best about Blair.
“A clean cut, friendly young man who is well-liked by all,” according to college advisor John Carhart, Jim played tennis and golf, wrote for The Breeze and participated in the student council and debate society during his Blair days. Jim’s fine work ethic earned him admission to Colgate University, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1969. Then it was on to law school at George Washington University and a career as an attorney and entrepreneur.
With Jim’s election to the Blair Board of Trustees in 1986, he turned his attention to the School, and students and faculty have been the grateful beneficiaries of his generosity ever since. Over the years, as Jim discerned a problem or an area that was lacking sufficient support at Blair, he personally devised and often funded an innovative solution. His particular focus has been programs that impact students and young alumni.
Beyond his role as a Trustee, Jim is also a Blair parent and saw the community through his sons’ experiences at Blair. Thus inspired, Jim devised many strategies to strengthen the School. Specifically, Blair’s video studies program was established in 2003 with a gift from Jim. This exciting program has proven extremely popular among students while showcasing Blair’s fine arts program. Further, Jim’s inventiveness and generosity is at work in his annual offer to “match” three-to-one all dollars raised by the senior class for their first gift to the School, raising awareness among each graduating class of their responsibility to give back to Blair. And, together with his mother, Tippie, Jim established an endowed scholarship named in memory of his father, Martin Krugman, which supports a deserving student each year at Blair.
At their home in New York, Jim and his wife, Connie Simmons, have been indefatigable hosts for the School at events ranging from Trustee meetings, to special dinners honoring faculty, to a young alumni gathering in the winter of 2010. Gracious, generous and creative in their energies and leadership, Jim and Connie have allowed Blair to present itself as the great School that Jim has worked hard to support throughout his many years of service here.
Always challenging the School to be better tomorrow than today, Jim Krugman has been and continues to be a unique force supporting all that is best about Blair. He cares deeply about the people of the School and has consistently and whole-heartedly given of his time, expertise and resources to guide us toward a secure future. His involvement in the School has resulted in new initiatives that have raised the overall level of excellence of the Blair experience. Jim richly deserves this honor. For his sustained involvement and unparalleled commitment to all that is Blair, we are proud to name James D. Krugman the recipient of the 2010 Citation of Merit.
- 2009: Dominick J. Romano ’74
- 2008: David D. Wakefield ’48
- 2007: Carlton Chapman Durling ’47
- 2006: Dennis William Peachey ’62
- 2005: John Kroll Turpin ’62
- 2004: James P. Jenkins ’66
- 2003: John and Pat Kennedy P ’90 ’98
- 2002: Penny Frere, Janet Hutchinson, Selena Howard & Lois Underwood
- 2001: Wm. Mitchell Jennings Jr. ’63
- 2000: Frank G. Lyon, Hon. ’63
One of the most respected and committed members of Blair’s Board of Trustees, as well as an outstanding Chairman of the critical Budget Committee, you have carried the bright torch of Romano philanthropy and service passed on to you by your father and family.
Entering Blair in 1971, you established a reputation as a hard-working student with an outstanding attitude. Your “fine citizenship,” noted by faculty members, is no surprise, given the Romano family’s long history of community involvement and leadership. Upon graduation, you attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, then entered the family business, RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc. This privately-held corporation, which operates seven ShopRite stores in New Jersey, continues to thrive today, in part because of your leadership as vice president and chief operating officer. Beyond your business responsibilities, you serve an impressive list of charities and non-profit organizations: the Boy Scouts of America; Centenary College; Newton Memorial Hospital; SCARC, which serves the developmentally disabled residents of Sussex County; The Growing Stage Theatre; and Hilltop Country Day School. Each organization has benefitted greatly from your participation and leadership.
As your career advanced, you remained close to the School. Under the leadership of your father, Blair Trustee Dominick V. Romano, your family supported many campus construction and renovation projects aimed at improving life at the School and making Blair one of the great schools in this country. The Romano family name graces the dining hall as well as the atrium and gallery in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts. Your brother, David, and your sister, Nina, graduated from Blair in 1976 and 1985, respectively, and your parents, Dominick and Kay, remained active and enthusiastic volunteers for many years. Given this strong family connection to the School, you and your wife, Cathy, eventually chose Blair to educate your own children. Martine ’04, Arielle ’07 and Drew ’10 are the third generation of Romanos to join the Blair family, and as parents, you and Cathy have been superb ambassadors for the School.
Elected to Blair’s Board of Trustees in 2002, you brought leadership and vision to this School. Your seasoned business acumen, practiced eye for detail, and deep regard for the School’s mission serve the Board well, particularly in your role as Chairman of the Budget Committee. In that capacity, you have devoted countless, often unseen, hours delving into the issues we face before offering informed opinions and recommendations that best serve the School. As a business executive, you understand the many budgetary and facility issues that must be addressed, and you often ask the critical questions necessary to solve problems.
While you and your family were recently honored for your leadership gift to the Ever, Always Campaign, which made possible the new Blair Commons, your individual leadership merits special recognition today. DJ, you are always willing to listen, always willing to help, and always, always thinking about Blair. Quietly and modestly, you have been exceptionally generous to the School with your time, talent and treasure, and I am proud to recognize your remarkable commitment to Blair with the 2009 Citation of Merit.
Perhaps the most significant new member of the Blair Board of Trustees in this new century, David Wakefield immediately provided a range of experience and insight into many of the major issues facing the School. Displaying a clarity of purpose and an enthusiastic understanding of Blair’s leadership needs, Dave has served as the chairman of Ever Always: The Campaign for Blair, working both on the Board level as Chairman of the Development Committee and as an indispensable volunteer in partnership with the Headmaster and others meeting with major donors to the School. His optimism, experience, wisdom and faith in Blair—qualities begun and molded during his six years at Blair as a student in the 1940s—make Dave Wakefield a superb choice to be this year’s recipient of the 2008 Citation of Merit.
Dave came to Blair in the fall of 1942, following his older brother Bob, and stayed for six years, not unusual during that decade that was shaped by the Second World War. Active and involved in school life from the beginning—he sang in the choir all six years—Dave made the honor roll by 1944, participated in numerous clubs and societies and became the leading tour guide. In sports, Dave played football and baseball, ran track and cross country, and was a cheerleader. One of Dave’s favorite memories is of him and his classmates painting “BEAT PEDDIE” on the Blair water tower late one November night. Dave claims that was the only football game the team won in l947. After Blair, Dave attended the College of William and Mary, where he majored in economics and joined the ROTC, graduating as an officer in the U.S. Army where he served until 1954, leaving as a first lieutenant.
Although Dave and his bride, Carolyn “Lee” Bradley, were both 1952 graduates of William and Mary, they did not begin dating until after graduation. They went on to raise two children, Ellen and David Jr., and Lee has been an enthusiastic supporter of Dave in all his endeavors, graciously sharing him with Blair these past few years. After the Army, Dave’s first job was with Proctor and Gamble; later he earned his MBA at New York University and began a career in banking with J.P. Morgan in New York that would last 38 years. In 1981, J.P. Morgan asked Dave to form a subsidiary of the bank in Wilmington, Delaware, and during his time there, his staff grew from 40 to 2,000.
Throughout his busy career, Dave has been an outstanding community citizen. He has been active at William and Mary, chairing his 50th reunion committee and serving on the college’s alumni endowment committee. After retiring from the bank, Dave served as the executive director of the Longwood Foundation in Wilmington and as a trustee of the Winterthur Museum. When he joined the Blair Board of Trustees in 2003, he brought this depth of nonprofit and board experience with him to Blair. However, it is more than simply his experience that makes him such a gifted leader. He has a way of being professional and honest in everything he does, yet at the same time, so gracious, warm and good humored that he is liked and respected by everyone. When Dave asks people to help Blair, it is almost impossible for them to say no.
Dave has devoted countless hours to Blair during this campaign, and while we considered waiting until its conclusion next year, it seemed more appropriate to recognize him this year at his 60th reunion when so many of his classmates are here with him. Therefore, it is altogether fitting that we honor today this wonderful son of Blair, whose life reflects well the School’s values, and whose loyal and tireless work as a Trustee and alumnus advances our mission. The 2008 Citation of Merit most deservedly goes to David Dean Wakefield, Blair Class of 1948.
In a 2004 book on his family history, Carlton Durling noted in the chapter entitled “School Days,” that his five years at Blair were “the most rewarding experience” throughout his educational period. At Blair, he made friends, learned his lessons, pursued his first successful business initiatives, and even learned to fly a plane out of the Blairstown airport. But mostly Carlton learned the value of loyalty, planting the seeds for a lifelong commitment to the success and prosperity of his old school, eventually serving on the Board of Trustees and establishing the Durling Scholarship to allow qualified students to have the same opportunity he did to come, to study, and to learn at Blair.
A member of a centuries-old, Dutch family that emigrated from Holland, Carlton grew up in Whitehouse, New Jersey, working even as a teenager in the family dairy business. Entering Blair as a six-year student—common at the time—this year’s Citation winner wrote, “I completed the six-year tour in five by gaining the necessary credits in summer school.” His progression started in West Hall and moved through Locke, Ivy, South and East, and throughout his years, he wrote a commendable academic record, graduating from Blair a member of the distinguished Class of l947. Following Blair, Carlton moved on to Penn State University, focusing on their superior agriculture and dairy programs to prepare him for his role in the family business.
It is worth noting that Carlton’s entrepreneurial skills were evident even during his years at Blair, as he managed to get permission from the venerable Ernest Rea to establish a downtown bank account to run a daily newspaper distribution at Blair, including sole rights to sell the Newark Evening News, The New York Times, and the Herald Tribune—all necessary, according to our recipient, to maintain his “freewheeling” lifestyle, which included flying airplanes and meeting eligible young women. The latter interest narrowed considerably when his sister suggested he call Betty Jane Correll for a date, leading eventually to their marriage in 1951. Subsequently, Carlton’s freewheeling energies were transferred to the family business and to his new family.
In the 1960s, Carlton realized that the dairy business was increasingly challenging and determined that a new venture was necessary to ensure the success of the Durling family business. Just as he had at Blair, Carlton put his energies into his own entrepreneurial idea—Quik Check—a convenience store business that he carefully developed to avoid the mistakes of the others in the business. As he built Quik Check into the successful company that it is today, Carlton continued his loyal support of Blair, first and foremost through the Blair Fund, and then through his personal involvement as a member of the Board of Trustees. During the last decade, Carlton and Betty have had three grandchildren attend Blair, enjoyed friendships with new and old Blair friends, and have hosted many Blair gatherings at their home in Florida.
It is therefore fitting that we honor the man who spent the most rewarding school years of his life at Blair, served the School faithfully as a Trustee, and continues to provide future generations of young boys and girls with the opportunities offered by a Blair education. We are pleased today, on the occasion of his 60th reunion, to present the 2007 Citation of Merit to Carlton Chapman Durling.
In presenting you this citation, Blair is honoring the remarkable impact you have made on this school community since you arrived as a new junior in 1960. Over this nearly 50-year period, with only a short pause for college and some work in your native Canada, you have been an honored student, an eager and positive young faculty member, the architect of our development operation, and the School’s indispensable external affairs manager and leader in the last quarter of the 20th century. Beneath this mantle of leadership and success, you built your personal and professional life around service, friendship and loyalty to the history and values of Blair. It is undeniable that during the span of your time at the School, for many Blair alumni and families, you are “Mr. Blair.”
Coming to Blair and the United States as a new student, you immediately found a home in this small New Jersey boarding school, throwing yourself with passion, good cheer and commitment into the many activities, dorm life and demanding studies that Blair offered. As a senior, you were chosen to be a prefect—a role in which you had a positive influence on the many younger boys who, as men, still count you as their friend—and you received the Headmaster’s Prize to honor your student career of leadership and loyalty, two qualities that would be returned to Blair throughout your professional life.
Returning to Blair in the fall of 1969, you joined the School as assistant alumni secretary and, in short order, firmly anchored yourself in the Blairstown community with your marriage to Lynn. Together you worked in Blair’s dormitories, taught in the classrooms, and became helpful, supportive faculty friends to many Blair boys and girls. Over the years, Lynn’s involvement and friendship with so many Blair alumni made its own positive impact. With the addition of Derek and Meghan, your family grew, and Derek, class of 1993, and Meghan, class of 1996, became integral members of the Blair community.
At a very young age, you were made assistant headmaster for finance and development, overseeing both the business office and development operation during one of the most challenging financial periods in the School’s history. Frankly, you helped keep the ship afloat when it might well have floundered. As you reconnected so successfully with the Blair community, you also began to lead the Blair’s fundraising efforts out of the era of “keeping in touch with the old boys,” into the important new world of school advancement and development. First with the Kenan Challenge, and then in the 1990s with the successful completion of the Sesquicentennial Campaign, you helped Blair raise the resources and achieve the financial stability that have allowed it to be the School it is today.
Beyond your significant professional success reflected in Blair’s progress, your enduring strength is your abiding faith in Blair friendships and your belief that through these friendships comes Blair loyalty. Your love of hockey, of skiing, of fishing, of companionship, of experiencing life in cities, in the country, and through the seasons with your many Blair friends, underscores your philosophy that keeping the love of Blair alive comes through personal relationships. And in that regard, you have been Blair’s foremost ambassador to the world.
Successful in business, now a published author, and for many years one of Blair’s most enthusiastic and steady supporters in the Far Hills area of New Jersey, you have emerged in the new century as more than the congenial host of Blair gatherings that you have always been: you have become a leader of this School. You now serve the School and the Board of Trustees as Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. You have given your time and unwavering commitment so that Blair shall soon add a significant tract of land to the north and west, creating and expanding Blair’s present campus and at the same time providing possibilities for our future that would not have been feasible without this acquisition. There is no question that your resilient, optimistic approach and your willingness to work on this project led directly to its successful conclusion, an outcome that had eluded several generations of Blair leadership. Moreover, you have devoted countless hours the past few years helping the School to develop plans for a much needed expansion of our activity and athletic space.
Such leadership and success were not always readily apparent in your career at Blair, which began following your transfer from The Pingry School in 1960. Full of enthusiasm for your class, popular with your classmates, and loyal to the School, you were well known for bringing excitement to the community, as when you ordered the chemical makings for gunpowder (only to have the order inadvertently delivered to a faculty member). Still, you headed off to college, then law school before being drafted into the military. Following service to your country, you decided not to return to school but to pursue business, taking a position with your mother’s real estate firm in New Jersey. At the same time, you met and married your wife and companion, Margery, together building a home in Far Hills and raising four children. In the years that followed, you built Turpin Real Estate into a premier firm for highly valued real estate in northern New Jersey. Your name became synonymous with successful and noteworthy real estate transactions, and your knowledge and expertise has been underscored with the two-volume history — New Jersey Country Houses-The Somerset Hills —which you have recently written on the great homes and estates in Somerset and Morris Counties.
Your path, Jack, from enthusiastic student to successful business and family man, to your involvement and leadership on the Board of Trustees stands as a model for other loyal and dedicated Blair alumni. You saw the need to support Blair not only with your philanthropy but also with your time, intelligence, experience and leadership. For your love of Blair, and for your many hours spent guiding the important work of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, we are proud today to honor you with our highest recognition — the 2005 Blair Citation of Merit.
One of the most dedicated, loyal and selfless of our Trustees, you have characterized your service to Blair not only in generosity with your time and resources, but also in your wise and prudent leadership as Chairman of the Budget Committee, Vice Chairman of Operations, and Treasurer of the Board. Working effectively behind the scenes yet leading publicly when the situation requires, you manage to balance cooperation and respect for the Board as a whole while leading effectively the parts you oversee. In short, you are not only a superb Trustee in your own right but a model for all of us who serve Blair and the ideals of this School.
Following a Jenkins family tradition, you came to Blair from Glen Ridge High School as a new sophomore and quickly adjusted to the School, taking your place on the varsity soccer team and becoming one of the stars of Blair’s varsity baseball team as an ace pitcher. In the words of one Blair master, you conducted yourself “enthusiastically and well on campus” during that first year. The positive tone of these reports continued, summarized in your senior year with the following praise from Henry Cowan: “The best way to characterize Jim both as a student and as a person is to say that he is a truly concerned individual, using discretion and good judgment in his role as Prefect and gaining respect wherever he goes.” Your strong academic record and your leadership success gained you admission to Stanford University where you matriculated and studied English. In 1972, you earned a masters in business administration at Stanford and returned to New York to pursue a career in the investment banking world.
Watching your father’s able service as the Chairman of Blair’s Board of Trustees perhaps helped you decide to put your leadership energies here as well, and in 1976 you joined the Blair Alumni Board of Governors. While international travel eventually curtailed that role, you eventually found yourself settled in New York, having a supportive wife in Nevitt and growing children in Millie and Gus. Thus, in 1992 (as your brother Bob completed his term as Trustee) you accepted an invitation to become a Trustee of this School, and your steady, intelligent, and thorough service has been critical to the School’s governance during the past decade. In particular, your prudent and insightful management of the Budget Committee has allowed Blair to meet its ambitious mission while always staying within our financial bounds. Since you assumed the Chairmanship of the Budget Committee in 1997, we have successfully balanced the budget every year, in no small part because of your diligent oversight and leadership. Few Blair Trustees have given more generously of their time and effort than you, Jim. You have served Blair with a quiet strength and no expectation of recognition beyond your genuine love for the School and your belief in service to others. Therefore, it is with great appreciation and pride that the Board of Trustees presents you with the School’s highest honor — the 2004 Citation of Merit.
Entrepreneurs, neighbors, friends, parents, philanthropists and Trustee—these words describe the various relationships you have with this region, this town and Blair. In each connection with those around you, you have increased the possibilities, the opportunities, the friendship, and the pleasure of that relationship through your generous and caring approach toward making things—a business, a town, a school, a world—better.
First joining the Blair family as parents of Sean in the late 1980s, you were at the same time boldly developing a new company—sprung from a “killer” business application—that would become a leading employer in the Pocono region as well as one of the most successful and fastest-growing companies in the software sector. Your entrepreneurial spirit—illustrated by the company’s founding in a room over a pizza shop—not only identified your professional lives with the American dream of building wealth through inspiration and hard work, but also allowed you to use your success to serve others. As first Sean ’90 and then Kevin ’98 moved through Blair, you came to see a Blair education as an important and worthwhile opportunity for others.
When John joined the Board of Trustees, that vision was confirmed with your generous creation of scholarships for Blair Academy day students, young men and women who are now given a chance to experience a Blair education through your support and influential advocacy. The Kennedy Scholarship program confirms and underscores the importance of the local student component of the Blair family. Your hospitality of Blair Trustees and your willingness to help in so many different ways, for example this year serving together as the Hollerith Lecture speakers, demonstrate your loyal and unselfish service to this School.
Even as you envisioned your town with a great American independent school, you also wanted to live in a town with continued strong public education. To that end, you also showed remarkable support for the local elementary school, a place where your sons and hundreds of future Blair students gained a superb education. And at your annual end-of-the-summer party, your employees, neighbors, teachers and friends come together to share with you the closeness of the Blairstown community spirit.
It is with gratitude and great respect that we honor you both today for your generous and ongoing support, your committed involvement and governance, and your vision for Blair and our greater Blairstown community. As parents, neighbors, friends and visionaries, John and Pat Kennedy are the 2003 Blair Citation of Merit recipients.
Penny Frere - Known as the toughest teacher on campus, “Señora Frere” was at the time the only female faculty member teaching. Hearing Headmaster James Howard open faculty meetings with “Lady and gentlemen,...” was perhaps the only time you paid attention to that aspect of your unique position. You were simply a teacher, yet not simply, for your former students have never forgotten your commitment to academic excellence. Remembered as a teacher with a passion for teaching the Spanish language, you coupled high standards, wry humor and plain hard work. The first female department chair, a member of the activities team, and founder of the Senior Project program, you were always working to open new worlds to your Blair students and colleagues. Married to A. Jon Frere, then athletic director at Blair and now headmaster of the Webb School, you have been a staunch supporter of his work, while excelling as a librarian as well as maintaining the demanding job of being the Headmaster’s wife. Your contributions to Blair at an unusual time in its development are remembered and honored this Alumni Day, June 8, 2002, with the school’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit.
Selena Howard - A wife, mother, active citizen of Blairstown and Warren County, and—if not above all, most of all to the thousands of young men who came to Blair during Jim Howard’s tenure—the definitive first lady of Blair. You came to Blair a very young wife and mother to help James Howard build the School following the unsettled leadership of the early 1950s. From the beginning, you saw your role both as supporting his leadership and being yourself a leader on campus and off. On campus, you were a cheerful, firm supporter of the School’s values and standards, never withdrawing from the thousand thankless tasks that befall a Headmaster’s wife. In town, you sat on local boards, joined civic clubs, and pioneered mental health service in northwestern New Jersey. During your 26 years in Sharpe House, you opened your home again and again to parents, alumni, and visitors, but most of all to the boys. For them you created clubs and activities (you even taught them gourmet cooking), but you were in a boarding school world far from their mothers, there for the Blair boys—a kind voice, a comforting pat or word, both a reminder and a symbol of the wonderful values of a strong, compassionate woman. And when girls came, Blair was a better place for them because you were here. No woman in Blair history more deserves to be honored this Alumni Day, June 8, 2002, with the highest recognition the School can bestow, the Blair Citation of Merit.
Jan Hutchinson - You, as Miss Jan Mitten, started the girls’ athletic program at Blair while teaching a full load of PE classes. As the only young, single, female faculty member on campus, you inspired young women with your dedication to excellence in sports. As the housemaster of Locke Hall, with your “best friend,” Tom Hutchinson, your guidance was invaluable. Most importantly, you taught Blair girls that competition, physical endurance, and hard sweaty work was not solely a male provenance. You impressed your colleagues and taught them as well—and you did so with patience, tact, and determination. Coming to Blair from East Stroudsburg University, you established a tradition of excellence in many sports and moved seamlessly into the college coaching ranks, where you have become the NCAA’s winningest coach in field hockey and softball. Your college success, which includes nine national championships, has brought you to the attention of Sports Illustrated and has earned you multiple national Coach of the Year accolades. Countless alumnae have mentioned their gratitude for your lessons, and Blair honors your significant contribution this Alumni Day, June 8, 2002, with the School’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit.
Lois Underwood - As an assistant in admission, you went on local radio to encourage girls to enroll at Blair, and as an advisor to countless girls, you made their experience at Blair truly rewarding. Principled, focused, friendly, and with an ever-present sense of humor, you taught students how to live, shaped their characters, and gave them a wonderful role model. In short, Lois, you have been one of the women of Blair’s history. Brought to Blair through your marriage to Charlie, you quickly discerned that you were also married to Blair. One of our first working housemothers, you made life comfortable for young men in the dormitories. When girls returned to Blair, you led the way. Splitting time working for TWA as well as Blair, and taking time to raise your daughter, Lesley, you worked hard to do it all, and Blair was a better place for your efforts and example. As a counselor to students and faculty, founder of the Peer Leadership program for prefects, day girls’ advisor, an academic counselor, Blair parent, and faculty spouse, your contributions to Blair have been significant. Your countless times of sitting up until all hours of the night with your adopted children has not been forgotten; indeed, Blair is grateful for the advice, counsel, and wisdom of Mrs. Underwood. While prizes and citations do not mean anything to you, as comfortable as you were, operating as a voice behind the scenes, we do honor you this Alumni Day, June 8, 2002, with the School’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit.
One of the most loyal, generous, and supportive members of the Blair Board of Trustees, you also stand as a remarkably able leader among a group of leaders. Taking over the reins of the Finance Committee of the Board—the committee which watches over the investment strategy for the Blair endowment—you have carefully balanced the contending forces and opinions, earning respect for your diplomacy as much as for your astute judgment. Your popularity has led to your continued election year after year, even to being granted the well-deserved exemption from the “year off” requirement—an exemption only a few other Trustees have earned. In short, Mitch, you are, and have been for some time, an invaluable and indispensable Trustee of Blair.
Your one year at Blair was not a clear harbinger of the commitment you would later show. After three years in a Connecticut school, you came to Blair a bright, capable, but occasionally unmotivated junior. Seeing an opportunity to move to senior status, you picked up an extra course and devoted purposeful energy to being a senior at Blair and graduating with the class of 1963. As is usually the case with a senior year transfer, your initial adjustment to Blair was not easy. While other seniors were comfortable and established, you had to break into Blair social circles, give up any hope of senior leadership and recognition, and endure the awkwardness of being the new boy, all late in your high school career. This challenge was made harder when you broke your ankle in October playing football, but it did give you more time to focus on your increased academic load. By Christmas, despite being chided by Mr. Marcial for failing to settle your library fines before Christmas, the general reports showed improvement and social progress. Soon your one Blair year was fulfilled, your college admission settled and your high school years over. You graduated from New York University and entered the banking corps at Bear Steams, a firm which has enjoyed your success and been your professional home ever since.
While records will not reveal what motivated you to take up an active involvement in Blair, you began support of the Blair Fund in the early '70s and joined the Alumni Board of Governors in 1976. Perhaps your marriage to Elizabeth Dater was the spur, for with her, you have used your influence wisely, given your resources generously, and, most importantly, offered your time and talents selflessly to many worthwhile organizations. In short, helping others, choosing involvement, and leading the progress of the School became a part of who you were then and who you are today.
As a Blair Trustee, elected in 1988, you were at first a lieutenant to the generation of Bogle, Timken, Jenkins, Lyon and Wean before taking your rightful place as one of the critical leaders on the Blair Board. Moreover, away from the campus, you and Beth have been facilitators and ambassadors for this School in New York and Connecticut, bringing to Blair successful students, supportive families and generous friends. Together with Beth, you represent one of Blair’s strongest and best and most appealing advocates, and many on the Blair Board are inspired by your service and pleased to call you a friend. We are especially happy and proud, therefore, to honor you with the School’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit.
You joined the Blair Board of Trustees when in 1969 your friend and then Blair Chairman J. Brooks Hoffman '36 asked if you had the time to serve. As Brooks recalls, you turned to him without hesitation and said, “If you think I can give you any help, I would be glad to do so.” Thus, with no other connection to Blair Academy than a Connecticut friendship, you came on the Blair Board of Trustees and have been part of this School’s governance and history ever since. Among its most dedicated, long-serving and highly respected members, Frank, your nearly four decades of service and support have seen Blair through its darkest hours and on to one of the School’s most successful and ambitious periods. Through the years you have unwaveringly and generously given your time, your resources and yourself to the good of the School.
Your past took you to California, the Navy as a pilot, to Sun Valley where you met your wonderful wife, Mimi, and eventually to the East Coast and Connecticut where you and your family resided through most of your adult life. An active investor in real estate and the arts, you once were part owner of the Empire State Building, a co-producer of the Broadway show Annie, and a partner in the famous Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Still, rather than known for productions you financed or buildings you owned, you are more recognized for the many nonprofit organizations that you served. Giving generously in time and leadership to schools, organizations and museums, you helped guide some of the world’s great institutions, as when you served on the board of The American Museum of Natural History. In that latter role, you often connected schools and the museum, providing access and encouragement for hundreds of students to study, explore and enjoy the natural world.
Just as in 1969 you joined the Blair Trustees knowing little about the School, you again returned to active service in the early 90s knowing only that we believed you could help. And help you have, Frank. You challenge the status quo with thoughtful questions about the way boarding schools finance scholarships, raise money and do business. You want your support to have critical and tangible meaning to the daily life of school, and you care less about being recognized than being helpful. Independent in spirit, thoughtful in purpose, and having no other reason than friendship to be part of this School, you are perhaps Blair’s best friend. For your long service, your generous and willing help, and, most of all, your warm friendship, we are pleased to honor you today. May 3, 2000, with Blair Academy’s highest recognition: the Citation of Merit.
- 1999: Anthony J. Maltese Jr. ’55
- 1998: William R. Timken ’53; Joel A. Kobert
- 1997: Dominick V. Romano, Hon. ’51
- 1996: George P. Jenkins ’32
- 1995: Raymond John Wean Jr.
- 1994: James M. Howard Jr.
- 1993: Fernando Marcial, Hon. ’39; J. Brooks Hoffman, MD ’36
- 1992: James H. Chesnutt, Hon. ’47
- 1991: Herbert J. Siegel ’46
- 1990: John C. Bogle ’47
Already hailed as “one of the most loyal and beloved of all Blair alumni” in your Alumnus of the Year Award in 1994, your steady, devoted leadership on the Blair Board of Trustees, your particular interest in and support of individual faculty and students, and your willingness and readiness to break away from your busy life to be at Blair for meetings, events and ceremonies mark you as deserving of Blair’s highest honor.
In welcoming the new Headmaster to Blair in 1989, your first statement was, “What does Blair need? How can I help?” Almost the same words were repeated when the Sesquicentennial Campaign was being planned. At each step in Blair’s historic nineties, you have been a loyal part of the School’s success, just as you have been personally successful throughout your life. As with many young men, so much of your adult success began with success at Blair.
Coming to Blairstown in 1953, ready to spend your junior and senior years preparing for college, you quickly made friends and connected with veteran Blair faculty members, like Ferd Marcial and Harold Walker. Part of a strong football team—undefeated one year—and an increasingly famous wrestling program, you were also a strong student, an active member of The Breeze staff, the Varsity Show and the Blue Color Club. You won the Franklin Prize for your improvement and accomplishments during your Blair years, and you left Blair for college in North Carolina, studying for the textile industry at North Carolina State. Returning to the New York area, you found success and purpose in your business, even as you found a great companion in your wife, Cynthia, whose own ability, energy and understanding of your goals was integral to your family’s business progress. Children Kim, Kristin and Anthony-who is Blair’s class of 1988-kept your early married years busy, as you were building a prosperous company in Sunbrite Dye, leading to other related business ventures. While there were times when the changes in our economy tested your patience and your optimism, each time you resiliently persevered to earn your present impressive accomplishments. Even as business always is challenging, you are always ready, Tony, to meet those challenges. Your strong, steady leadership is confirmed in your business success.
A.J.’s coming to Blair awakened your adult interest in your old school, and you have been a vibrant member of the Board of Trustees throughout the 1990s. You have given to the Buildings Committee and to the Executive Committee your time, your energy and your thoughtfulness. Your warm, collegial approach to leadership has set a wonderful tone to the Board, and your generosity puts you in a small group of alumni who have worked to transform the School. Most importantly, you always have a kind word or a specific pat-on-the-back to faculty and students whom you meet. Just as we honored your loyalty in 1994, Tony, today we honor your commitment to Blair in all respects. We know this citation is but a symbol for your love of Blair and for the Blair friendships you have made in your long association with the School. So with deep gratitude, we present this Citation of Merit to a great friend, Tony Maltese.
As Blair faced the significant financial challenges of the 1970s, you were among the first and most generous of Blair alumni and Trustees to step forward and lead the School during that tenuous time. Though living in the San Francisco area, you crossed the country to attend Board meetings, to meet and work with other Blair alumni, and to guide the School onward.
As a young man you entered Blair following a period of adolescent illness, but you grew strong and active as a Blair boy in the early 1950s. Guided by the faculty—particularly Henry Cowan—you graduated and entered Colby College where you met and eventually married Judy, a partner whose energy and commitment to arts in the Bay Area and to education complements your own generous spirit. Together, you and Judy raised a family in New Jersey as you began a career in finance. Eventually, you were lured west to accept the opportunity to build Hambrecht & Quist, a visionary investment firm whose name is synonymous with venture capital for technology. Now, as vice-chairman of the board of H & Q, you continue to lead just as at Blair you continue to serve.
Your homes in Lafayette and Lake Tahoe have been sites for many of our West Coast gatherings. Whether for large alumni receptions or smaller dinners, highlighted with moonlight cruises in one of your vintage Gar Wood boats, you and Judy have time and again opened your home and lives to Blair friends and to the betterment of your old School. When Blair has called, Bill, you have always answered.
Today we honor you for your leadership and your long commitment to this School. From your student days to your involvement today, Blair has clearly played a positive role in your life, and you have responded to this School’s needs by helping us to chart a course into the next century. Even as your family’s name will forever be a beacon for generations of Blair boys and girls who study in the Timken Library, you and Judy will also be known for your generosity of spirit toward the many alumni. Trustees and Headmasters who have come to know you. You are a loyal alumnus, an outstanding Trustee and a great friend. Bill. We are pleased on this day, June 13, 1998, to present you with the School’s highest honor: the Blair Citation of Merit.
From the time your children, Jordan and Paige, started their careers at Blair, you and your wife, Nancy, were among the most interested, dedicated, members of Blair Parents’ Association. You were also among the most generous parents we had known, offering your Vermont home as a vacation spot, quietly underwriting professional travels for the Blair faculty, supporting our scholarship students, and socializing in ways that promoted good understanding and support for the School. Not surprisingly, the Koberts became an integral part of the Blair family in a very short time.
Joining the Blair Trustees in 1992, Joel, you continued your support of the School but clearly understood the different nature of your leadership. From lending us your outstanding legal skills in various crises, to heightening the awareness of Blair within this state, you increasingly became indispensable as a Board member. When you accepted the offer to join the Board, however, neither you nor your fellow Trustees knew that your commitment, energy and leadership would lead Blair to the success we have achieved today. Over the past five years, as National Chairman of the Blair Sesquicentennial Campaign, through many dinners and luncheons - often with Nancy at your side - during meetings and car rides, you have been there for all of us at Blair, serving a School you did not attend, and seeing the Campaign through those lulls when our goal seemed far away. Although you are justly famous for your success in New Jersey, when asked, you enthusiastically ventured when and wherever we needed you to lead the Campaign. Already a knowledgeable parent and an honorary member of the class of 1965, you effused a sweeping loyalty for Blair and for the important mission of the School. Your quick wit and good humor mixed well with your intelligent and sincere understanding of the seriousness of the Campaign and the vital impact it would have on the future of the School.
Today, we honor you for your service as the Chairman of the Sesquicentennial Campaign and also for the generosity and commitment to Blair you have shown throughout your years as parent and Trustee. As a School, we feel remarkably fortunate that you have bestowed your time, support and leadership on Blair. You have been a great Campaign Chairman; you will continue to be a superb Trustee; and you are a wonderful friend. We are pleased to award you, Joel, the highest honor Blair can bestow: the Blair Citation of Merit.
From your earliest days as a stock boy in your parents’ grocery store, to your present management of arguably the most successful privately-owned grocery store chain in New Jersey, your life has been a clear reflection of your deepest values: family, education, work and service.
Beginning when your son, DJ, entered Blair Academy in 1971, through son David, class of 1976, and daughter Nina, class of 1985, and continuing to this day, the School has been blessed with a wise and beneficent patron. Along with your wife, Kay, you have opened your heart and your home to the Blair family, drawing students, faculty, other parents and alumni into your warm circle. Many former football players relish memories of post-season lasagna dinners; other alumni fondly recall hitting the slopes with you in Colorado; and all your children’s friends cherish the times spent in your home.
As a self-educated businessman, your unfailing regard for the benefits of education is evidenced by your support of both public and private schools in Sussex and Warren Counties. To citizens of these areas, the Romano name is synonymous with dedication and generosity. From your initial involvement on the Parents’ Association Executive Committee to your more recent tenure on the Board of Trustees, your support of Blair has been remarkably proactive, marked by consistency and largess. Along with your uninterrupted annual support, you and your family have responded enthusiastically to Blair’s every challenge.
Yet above and beyond your generous response to Blair’s fundraising campaigns, you and your family have also found ways to memorialize and honor faculty and friends, well-known and well-loved individuals like Jon Frere and Ferd Marcial, who have touched your lives and the lives of your children. Blair Academy is by no means the only recipient of your support, but like the myriad other institutions who have benefited from your involvement, there is no question that Blair is a better school because of your efforts. It is especially telling that in 1992, the class of 1951 awarded you honorary alumnus status and welcomed you into their ranks, affirming your place in the heart of the community.
You once said that one of the things of which you are most proud is that you are able to support Blair. It is in that spirit then, mindful of all you have done for Blair and for the greater community in which we live, that I am proud to present you, Dominick V. Romano, with the 1997 Blair Academy Citation of Merit.
A veritable captain of American industry during the middle and latter parts of this century, you served this country, many schools and churches, and many businesses and corporations, but you have served none better than you have served Blair Academy, first as an active alumnus, then as a Trustee, and ultimately as the Chairman of the Blair Board of Trustees. Forthright, pragmatic, yet always positive and enthusiastic, you are both a leader and a model of leadership for others, underscoring your love and appreciation for Blair during those many years of service, and continuing that service as an Emeritus member of the Board.
You came to Blair from Glen Ridge, New Jersey, to prepare for Princeton. An honors student at Princeton, you graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and went on to Harvard Business School before serving as a captain in the United States Army. It seems without question, George, that you were remarkably fortunate to meet and marry Marian. With her, you have raised your family, and we thank you for encouraging James and Robert to follow your example at Blair and serve as loyal alumni and ultimately as members of the Board of Trustees. In your business life as in your personal life, you have enjoyed a sterling career of advancement, challenge and recognition. Following the war, we know that you returned to a position with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and steadily rose within the company, concentrating on finance and ultimately - as the chief financial officer - directing the investment of one of the largest supplies of private capital in the world. Your dependability, success and leadership in that area led to invitations to help direct many of the country’s most important companies and culminated in your election in 1973 as the Chairman of the Board of Metropolitan Life.
Throughout your business career, George, you gave your energy, financial support and leadership to many worthwhile institutions, organizations and causes. Still, you remembered and respected your year at Blair when you were known as “Jenk” and when you played varsity tennis and “Ark” basketball. In the nearly 65 years since those days, you never lost sight of the profound impact of Blair and the importance of giving to other generations the possibility of such days of learning. As the Chairman of Blair’s Board, you took the reins from Brooks Hoffman ’36 and passed them on to John Bogle ’47, becoming a part of a remarkable chain of leadership at Blair. Today we honor George P. Jenkins with the Citation of Merit for the profound and lasting stamp of your service, loyalty and devotion to Blair Academy.
Born in Ohio, educated in Connecticut, and a lifelong denizen of both Pittsburgh and Palm Beach, you have always balanced your life between the necessities of business and the callings of philanthropy. A member of dozens of nonprofit boards during your career, you came to the Blair Board of Trustees as a parent of Tom, class of 1965, and have continued your service and commitment to this School through the tenure of three Headmasters, countless changes on the Board of Trustees, and the vicissitudes of the independent school world.
At a time when Blair struggled, your support through the Raymond John Wean Foundation offered not only tangible help, but also significant encouragement to those who led this School. As Blair has prospered and risen to the challenges of that prosperity, you have been instrumental in affirming the validity of our ambitions.
Your many years of service to the independent school world provide you with keen insight into the responsibilities of the alumni, friends and trustees of this country’s great schools, and you have been always willing to share your thoughts with a visiting Headmaster over a luncheon in Pittsburgh or in the quiet of your porch in Palm Beach. Your manner at those times is ever optimistic; your wisdom sprinkled with wry humor and wit.
Behind the energy of your resources and your commitments is always your love for young people and your respect for those who teach them. The name “Jack” Wean means much to many schools, but no school holds you or your commitment in higher regard than Blair. We are pleased, then, to honor you today with our highest form of recognition, the Citation of Merit.
A generation of young men passed under your care and leadership as you moved Blair through the most dramatic societal change in this country’s history. During that time, you shaped and influenced both the School and the young people who came here—at the end, including young women—creating for Blair a future of loyalty and support which reflects the benevolent power of your influence and your wise stewardship. It is fitting that you should be the son of a Presbyterian minister, a native New Jerseyan, with strong roots in boarding school education. Well schooled at Yale and Harvard, you brought to Blair a superb combination of academic leadership and old-fashioned school mastering. Though you were honored by Lafayette College with a Doctor of Letters and though you met well the increasing demands of headmastering, your commitment to the lives of your students never ebbed. They remember your long, thoughtful letters which followed Blair boys through their college days and into their adult years. In time, many of these same students sat with you on the Blair Board of Trustees and shared with you the responsibility of guiding Blair.
For 22 years, you and Selena and your children called Sharpe House home. Ingrained in your spirit are the seasons of Blair, the opening day, the football weekends, Christmas Vespers, winter, spring, graduation. Together you and Selena provided a caring, warm sense of traditional values worthy of any great school, giving to each graduate a sense of time and place with which to anchor Blair memories. As Blair moves forward, we do so with deep appreciation for your immeasurable contributions to the history of this School. To honor your years of service, we are proud to award you Blair’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit.
You came to Blair in the fall of 1938. After a year in a New England boarding school, college at Drew University, and graduate work at Columbia University, you were ready to teach, and so Dr. Breed, Blair’s tenth Headmaster, hired you for one month. That month has extended for 55 years during which time thousands of Blair boys and girls have come to know, respect and love you. You and Joan raised your family in Blair’s dormitories as you exemplified the famous boarding school “triple threat” - teacher, coach, and dormitory faculty member. More than that, you are in every sense of the word a “School Master.” And as your reputation grew, some of the most famous boarding schools in the country pursued your services, but your loyalty to Blair was and is unwavering. We suspect, Ferd, you could not leave “your boys.”
As Blair’s Assistant Headmaster, you saw the school through three decades and many changes, including the return of girls to Blair. In the last decade, you have sought to retire, but we shall not let you. Even today you are a member of the Blair faculty. Together you and Joan link Blair to our past and to our future, welcoming your alumni boys back while also smoothing the way for their children and for our small but outstanding group of Spanish students. You have a scholarship in your honor, an award at graduation, and our teams compete for Blair on a field named in your honor. It is hard to imagine that one month could stretch so wonderfully far, but it has, and on this day we are proud to honor you with the highest honor given by the School.
With your warm smile and persuasive enthusiasm, you have carried the Blair name to more people and more places than anyone in the School’s history and have done so in a manner that brings honor to Blair and to you. Coming to Blairstown for three years of Blair schooling, you went on to graduate in 1940 from Williams College, which, beloved though it is, has not superseded Blair in your heart. After medical school at Columbia University, you settled into the role of the “good doctor” to thousands of Greenwich, Connecticut, mothers, eventually becoming among the most esteemed physicians in the metropolitan Connecticut area, deftly balancing administrative positions in the medical community while building your reputation for outstanding personal care. Moreover, your community service has always been a trademark of your life, exemplified in your being honored with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Greenwich, Connecticut, Boy Scouts.
Throughout your life, you have demonstrated great loyalty to Blair, loyalty which emerged in a lifetime of not only service but also in leadership of this School. Joining the Board of Trustees in 1957-the year after the infirmary was dedicated in your honor-you became its Chairman in 1962 and led the Board through both difficult and successful years, the latter exemplified by your vital role with The Kenan Foundation. Following your time as Chairman of the Board, you served as the Chairman of the Executive Committee and today remain as an esteemed Emeritus Trustee and founder of the Blair Fishing Group. Appropriately, your friends and supporters honored you by establishing the Hoffman Fund, a vital source of enrichment for the Blair faculty and consequently the entire School. A leader, an active advocate of Blair, and a man who solved many of Blair’s problems—including the water company!—your outstanding gift to Blair must be in your role as our ambassador to those who would be our friends, our missionary to those ignorant of Blair’s existence and importance. A devoted husband to Jane and a caring father, you seem to live on longer days than other mortals, always giving those extra hours to Blair. For those hours and for your deep love of Blair Academy, we honor you with the Blair Citation of Merit.
For 30 years you have been a devoted servant to both Blair Academy and the Presbyterian Church in your service as a Trustee of Blair. Though “good” and “faithful” indeed are adjectives that apply to your work, it is your quiet energy and vision that help you guide the School as President of the Blair Corporation, keeping Blair true to its original mission while allowing for the flexibility to respond to the complex and changing world of boarding education. Through your efforts Blair has maintained a religion program which keeps us ever faithful to our founding vision, and you have developed a commitment to our Religion Intern program which further advances the religious life of Blair.
Throughout your years as a Trustee, you have extended your leadership to the Board with a steady hand and experienced voice. Your good humor sets a positive tone, while your sensible, responsible approach to problems makes sure that they are solved. Together with Marie you have been a loyal, valuable member of the Blair family, and today we honor you as the first recipient of the Blair Academy Citation of Merit who is not also an alumnus of Blair. Your faithful service to Blair rises constantly in the support and love which you generate from the School’s many friends.
Intelligent, optimistic and uncannily perceptive, you have taken your Blair education and, together with your years at Lehigh, emerged as one of America’s most engaging, and admired corporate leaders. As a young man, you threw yourself into the business of life through your many experiences in the entertainment industry, always finding the human issues beneath the business enterprise. Incisive with your business peers, outgoing in your friendships, and devoted to your family, you show compassion and warmth as you balance business affairs and life’s demands and pleasures.
Outside of the corporate world, you have extended your concern for others in your support for hospitals, the arts and the disadvantaged; the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Foundation is a beacon for institutions and organizations who truly serve others in your characteristic selflessness. At the heart of your character is an appreciation for other people, particularly for those less fortunate than yourself, but also for those who share your ideals and values. As a Blair graduate, you bring uncommon greatness upon your School through your success in a complex and demanding world, and through your service to a larger circle of mankind. Blair is proud to honor you today with our Citation of Merit, for by your deeds and character you clearly demonstrate all Blair holds dear.
Combining a dynamic vision with a disarming honesty, you carried your preparation at Blair and Princeton to the tip of America’s most comprehensive financial industry. Your drive and genius enabled you to mold an idea into an entity, a British warship into an American business victory. As a national figure, you have firmly espoused business integrity, old-fashioned thrift, and prescient innovation. Yet, as you have looked boldly into the future, you have never lost sight of your past, giving your energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the institutions which have helped you and others to professional and personal fulfillment.
Sharing your values and ideals, your wife Eve has captained your home and family, as you both have forged a remarkable record of service to others while keeping family values at the heart of your daily lives. Giving with both heart and mind, you have brought others to share your generous spirited belief in making good things better. More than anyone in Blair’s history, you have embodied the notion that one man can make all the difference. It is therefore fitting that you should stand as the first recipient of Blair’s Citation of Merit.