What We Keep

Professor Robert Darnton ’57 and Professor George Whitesides ’57, both Harvard University professors and now both recipients of the Claude Moore Fuess Award, Andover’s highest distinction, left one common message behind for students, particularly for Seniors.

In remembering Andover during their remarks, Darnton and Whitesides highlighted the foundation that Andover provided for their academic careers. Darnton described a question he posed to a speaker at an All-School Meeting—though he could not remember the speaker’s name nor the question he asked—as a starting point for his interest in cultural history. Whitesides explained that his liberal arts preparation at Andover, particularly in the humanities, prepared him for the rigors of high-level science.

As Andover students receive midterms this week, these lessons are important to keep in mind. Neither professor mentioned the threes on papers or occasional failed test that at some point become a part of every student’s career. Neither professor mentioned the discomfort of late nights or the stress of balancing all the aspects of Andover life. They discussed, rather, the educational experience that was realistically important: the Andover picture as a whole.

Looking back years on from now, students won’t remember what happened on each day of their time as school or even remember each event. But the value of the experience, the whole sum of every part of Andover life, will stay with them, an ever-present “surest foundation” from which academic, professional and personal lives can flourish.

The day-to-day slog at Andover often seems like an unending series of individual tasks and challenges. In the end, the Andover whole ends up greater than the sum of its parts.

This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV.