Louis Elson ’80: Half of the Second-Ever Father-Son Trustee Pair

Serving Phillips Academy is a family tradition for Louis Elson ’80, who was appointed Andover’s newest Charter Trustee this summer after serving as an Alumni Trustee since 2004. According to Elson, he and his father Edward Elson ’52 were the first father-son pair to serve on Phillips Academy’s Board of Trustees since founder Samuel Phillips and his own son. In an email to The Phillipian, Elson explained that he, his brothers Harry ’83 and Charles ’77 and his father all helped to fund the development of the Elson Art Center, which bears their name. “Art was a very important part of our Andover experience and my dad jumped at the chance to help enhance that experience for future PA students,” Elson wrote. Elson wrote that he became a Trustee because Andover was the “formative experience of [his] life.” “I not only owe a great debt to the Academy for what it developed in me, but I also feel an obligation to those who now follow me to both preserve and enhance the institution for their benefit, just as others had done for me before I arrived at PA,” wrote Elson. Elson’s favorite aspect of Andover was the “interchange between great teachers and dedicated students.” Elson wrote that the key role of a Trustee was being well-prepared on issues facing the school and understanding priorities. He added that part of his role was also “to seek out and listen carefully to the views of each constituency on those issues, and then to stimulate and encourage active discussion among other board members to ensure robust decision making by the Board as whole.” In 1998, Elson founded Palamon Capital Partners in London. According to him, it funds “high-potential businesses” and provides them with “long-term support to succeed.” Elson believes that living in London “certainly enhances” his role as a Trustee. “I think bringing the perspective of an American who has chosen to live and work in Europe to board deliberations will be very valuable in helping to find ways to support PA students as they seek a broader engagement with the world at large,” he wrote. Elson wrote that his experience on boards of other organizations has also made him “well-suited” to be a trustee as well. Elson is also a trustee member at the business school of the University of Virginia and is active at his alma mater, Harvard University. Elson also works with the Development Board of the Prince’s Trust, a charity that helps disadvantaged men and women under age 30 learn to start their own businesses. Elson lives in London with his wife Sarah and their three children—Edward, Evie and Isabel ’12.