Currently viewing posts tagged with graduation

Olmsted Teaching Prizes

Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but one of my absolute favorite things about Williams graduation is the awarding of the George Olmsted Jr., Class of 1924, Prizes for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching (to use their full name).  I loved nominating one of my high school teachers, and I embrace fully the idea of Williams recognizing those who helped get the fabulous students to Williams in the first place.  Tom Friedman wrote about them in his column back in 2005 after speaking at graduation that year, providing a nice bit of notoriety for this great program.  A great quote from Morty in that article:

“When you are at a place like Williams and you are able to benefit from these wonderful kids, sometimes you take it for granted. You think we produce these kids. But as faculty members, we should always be reminded that we stand on the shoulders of great high school teachers, we get great material to work with: well educated, well trained, with a thirst for learning.”

I noticed in our feed from Williams (on the left side there for those who may not have noticed) that the prizes were announced yesterday (click here for the full press release).  I don’t expect that everyone will read below the fold, so I wanted to put their names here on the front page…after the jump I’ve put in a few highlights from the full release.  For those who don’t know, the winning four teachers get flown in with their families for graduation and are recognized as part of the overall graduation hoopla.  They receive a cash prize and their respective school receives a donation as well.  Please do follow the links above for more info on the program.

  • Bradley E. Conant, Dirigo High School in Dixfield, Maine
  • Karen S. Franke, Kennett High School in North Conway, N.H.
  • Jeffrey C. Markham, New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill.
  • Tracey M. Wilson, Conard High School in West Hartford, Conn.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks again to all of those high school teachers who inspired us, guided us, and also pushed us when that was needed!

Anyone have a particular high school teacher or coach that influenced you in a way you still remember?  Please share stories in the comments…. Read more


Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degrees 2009

I know a lot of (most?) people don’t actually pay attention to the sidebars, so I wanted to call this one to your attention.

Today the college announced the 2009 Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.  You can read the whole thing for the long background, but here is the quick and dirty version:

Clarence Otis ’77 – chairman and chief executive officer of Darden Restaurants – will be the principal speaker at the college’s 220th Commencement exercises on Sunday, June 7.  Anne Garrels – senior foreign correspondent of National Public Radio – will be the Baccalaureate speaker on Saturday, June 6.

President of the College Morton Owen Schapiro will confer honorary degrees on both of them as well as to astronaut and Senator John H. Glenn, writer Tracy Kidder, historian James M. McPherson, and musician James Taylor.

Quite the eclectic group this year:  businessman, journalist, astronaut, author, professor/scholar, and musician.  Should be a fun group.  Hopefully there are other side events where the honorary degree recipients can speak/perform.  Having James Taylor join in the Ivy Exercises singing of The Mountains would be pretty cool.

In various committee/meet the alumni settings I had the good fortune to meet Otis a handful of times.  He seemed like a great guy.  I hope he’ll give an interesting speech – commencement addresses are a notoriously difficult balance.