Selected from more than 20,000 Andover alumni, investment manager Sandra Urie ’70, Google executive Torrence N. Boone ’87, and American public health official expert Loyce LaShawndra Pace ’95 were presented with the 2022 Andover Alumni Award of Distinction. While Urie could not attend the event, Boone and Pace both spoke during All-School Meeting on Thursday, October 20. Founded by the Alumni Council in 2012, the award aims to recognize graduates of Andover and Abbot who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields.
Emily Bernstein ’68, Chair of the Alumni Award of Distinction Committee, spoke on how the award aims to inspire and introduce distinguished alumni to the current community on campus, such as through classes and dinner groups, and how the award specifically looks for alumni making positive changes in climate activism, gender equality, racial inequity, and technology. Bernstein also commented on how the Committee aims to have a variety of awardees across years, differing in their chosen fields of work and impact in the world.
“We think a lot about [whether there] will be students in the audience who are excited by what they’re hearing. Obviously, not every student is going to be interested in what everybody does, but [the award is about] who will be interesting and inspirational for some kids in the audience. One of the things that’s interesting about this award is it’s not about people’s giving to Andover, some of the people who have come back have never been here before and they had a bad experience… It’s really about what they’ve done since [Andover] and in their chosen field. That’s the key to the award,” said Bernstein.
During her speech, award recipient Pace shared some of the challenging experiences she had during her time at Andover. Pace noted how she ultimately felt that those challenges transformed her to the person she is today.
“[Andover] affected my life in so many ways… I think mostly Andover gave me an opportunity to be myself. I just never really felt I could fully blossom at home, if that makes sense…. I hope that [my award] inspires people across the student and alumni network to work towards Non Sibi every single day. Not for an award, be we can all be celebrated for the things we do, and I think there are things that students are doing now, that alumni are doing now, that all deserve recognition,” said Pace.
During his speech, award recipient Boone shared how his time at Andover taught him valuable lessons that he continues to reflect on. Boone advised students on the importance of formulating a set of values and living a value-centered life.
“What was amazing about Andover was that it just opened up the aperture on what the world had to offer. So it was all about exploration and discovery and growth, and as a highly intellectually curious kid, it was exactly what I needed at the time. I think what was most important about the experience was just the exposure––I got to play in the sandbox. I think focusing on a core set of values is really important. So thinking about how you want to live your life, what’s important to you, and anchoring a set of values that are your guideposts. When the world is wild and unpredictable and there are lots of twists and turns, particularly when you’re in high school and you’re grappling with all [these] things and trying to figure out [your] identity, starting early with what you believe in, what’s important to you, what your values are, I think that’s a critical thing,” said Boone.
Listening to the alumni return to Andover and speak about their experiences both at and beyond Andover inspired Sami Tokat ’26 to reflect on the impact his own time at Andover might have.
“I think that they expressed the potential that is bestowed upon all Andover students, and I think it is super, super fascinating to see what they did at their time here and how the greatness was able to manifest itself. I think that that’s super special, and I think them coming back and talking about their time and over their experiences was something that really spoke to me. I think that it’s all about building a base, building a platform for me to learn and to explore, see what I truly want to do. I think that the time that I spend here, what I end up researching, the relationships and people that I meet here, I think it will really affect my future,” said Tokat.