Academy Celebrates 225 Years of History With Alumni, Faculty, and Student Events

Kicking off the celebration of the 225th anniversary of Phillips Academy, the 175th birthday of Abbot Academy, and the 30th anniversary of the merger of the two schools, events on campus this weekend will feature alumni visits, seminars, banquets, and concerts to honor the historic occasion. The festivities, which coincide with Trustees’ Weekend, will also commemorate the successful completion of Campaign Andover. Highlights of the schedule include Saturday’s speech by former President of the United States George Bush ’42 and a concert given by Mr. Brad Corrigan, former lead singer for the band Dispatch. The Committee for the 225th Celebration, co-chaired by Director of Alumni Affairs Reverend Michael Ebner ’70, former Abbot teacher and current Instructor in English Jean St. Pierre, and Abbot alumnus Tamara Elliot Rogers ’70, have met weekly since early fall to plan this weekend’s events. The Committee consists also of teachers, administrators, alumni, and Student Council President Kanyi Maqubela ’03. Ms. St. Pierre stated, “No one at PA is ever short on dreams, but the practicality of making them happen is the real challenge. It is amazing that [this weekend] has all fallen into place. It is also important that we not get so caught in the celebration that we don’t look [back at] where we’ve been.” This afternoon, students will attend seminars that range in subject matter from scavenger hunts to poetry readings to a discussion about community service on campus. Director of the Community Service Office Mike Koehler ’94 described the Academy’s long-standing tradition of community service and his hope that students may learn from this tradition, stating, “Hopefully students and alums will benefit from and be inspired by learning about the various ways that Andover students, past and present, strive to combine goodness and knowledge in their work.” Director of the Office of Student Activities Kevin Driscoll also hopes that students will enjoy the afternoon’s sessions. He explained, “We made a concerted effort to make these sessions not only informative, but entertaining for the students who are required to attend.” The All-School Meeting (ASM) tonight at 5 p.m. will feature a presentation of voices from the past and present of Phillips and Abbot Academies. The meeting will also include the presentation of the Claude M. Fuess Award to the alumnus who has made a distinguished contribution to public service, with performances by pianist Luis Ortiz ’05, the Fidelio Society, and the Concert Band to follow. The gathering precedes a special dinner in the Cage that will feature diverse ethnic foods. Dessert will be presented in special commemorative mugs and the Academy Jazz Ensemble will provide musical entertainment. Saturday’s schedule will provide a variety of panels and discussions about the Academy’s history and future. Notable alumni, including former 20/20 producer Kayce Freed ’76, “muppeteer” Brian Henson ’82, poet Chris Agee ’74, former Peace Corps President Dane Smith ’58, and producer and director Tom Seligson ’64, will be speaking at “Broadening Horizons,” a program for select Uppers and Seniors. Several Abbot alumni, in conjunction with Ms. St. Pierre, will present a program relating to women’s leadership roles. “On the Committee, it has been my job to ensure that Abbot Academy and its legacy are well-represented in the weekend activities,” Ms. St. Pierre said. “It’s fascinating to consider the extraordinary place we are in, 30 years after the merger. The school has become much more of a multi-layered community and I am honored to be able to share the opportunity that I have had to watch the journey during my 40 years of teaching.” On Saturday evening, Head of School Barbara Landis Chase, President of the Board of Trustees David Underwood ’54, and former U.S. President Bush will address members of the Andover community and invited guests. The presentation, which includes performances by the Fidelio Society and the Chorus and Brass Ensemble, will salute the successful end of the $208.9 million Campaign Andover, the largest fundraising effort in independent school history. In addition to Honorary Campaign Chair Bush, honorary vice chairs Richard Gelb ’41 and Donna Brace Ogilvie ’30 will also attend. “It is clear that without Dick and Donna’s strong financial support that we wouldn’t have made our goal,” Mr. Underwood said in a statement prepared by the Office of Communications, “In addition, President Bush’s willingness to take part in campaign events here and on the road delighted faculty, student, students, parents, and alumni who had the chance to meet him. We are honored that he, Dick Gelb, and Donna Ogilvie will join us to celebrate.” Mr. Gelb’s $11 million gift made possible the construction of the Richard L. Gelb Science Center, and Mrs. Ogilvie’s substantial contribution financed the renovation of Abbot Hall and endowed the Brace Center for Gender Studies. Saturday night’s performance by Corrigan in the Borden Gym, which doubles as an AIDS benefit, promises to be well-attended, considering the artist’s strong Andover fan base. On Sunday, former chaplains will officiate a special worship service commemorating the establishment of the interfaith chaplaincy on campus. “It should be a very exciting weekend,” said Mr. Driscoll. “I expect that students who come into the weekend with open minds will be pleased with the results.”