Game Changer Tripp Welborne is the new face of Big Red athletics
Murray installed as 13th head master A seismic shift changes Bill Harrison â€™62 Hidden artwork paints a mystery
Departments 2 From the Head Master 3 Editor’s Note
On the Cover: Tripp Welborne, director of athletics Photo by Michael Branscom
F e at u r e s
4 1,000 Words
10 an era of optimism Murray is installed as Lawrenceville’s 13th head master.
6 News in Brief
28 A Tripp to the Future Tripp Welborne is the new face of Big Red athletics.
The Grand Canyon wasn’t rocky for young Lawrentians.
Things get woolly at the solar farm, and big support for local education.
9 Funding the Future 36 After the Final Whistle Between the games, what goes on inside Lavino Field House? 40 Hands Across the Sea Bill Harrison ’62 brings change to Burmese migrants.
Kosher for more than Passover.
12 Sports roundup Three teams claim state titles and Big Red dominates Hill.
TA K E T H I S J O B A N D L O V E I T
16 Go Big Red! Flaherty looks to the past to inspire the future.
18 On the Arts Choose your ending in Drood; faculty arts grace Gruss Center.
20 Take This Job and Love It Porter Braswell ’07 banks on diversifying the workforce.
22 Table Talk An insightful Q&A with Math Chair Daren Starnes.
24 Ask the Archivist Hidden for years in a wall, several historic works paint a mystery at Lawrenceville.
84 By the Numbers
What’s the score with Big Red Athletics?
85 Student Snap
Amanda Tung ’16 reflects on nature.
ON THE ARTS
S p o r ts r o u nd u p
18 Alumni 48 Alumni News 51 Class Notes
From the Head Master
Y “We watch athletes play their hearts out all season; they dedicate themselves to a goal, to an ideal. They grow, suffer disappointments, get back up, and try again. Taken from the right perspective, athletic competition is never really ‘just a game.’”
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
ogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Well, I’ve been doing a bit of that, and after seventeen years of coaching and what feels like a lifetime on the sidelines of high school sporting events, I have concluded a few things about the lessons we learn from competition and the role that coaches play in a young person’s development. Athletic competition in a school setting evokes tremendous emotion. When we watch our students, our children, or our friends compete, we become so invested at times; some would say overly invested. Why is that? Why do these earnest efforts of young people grip us in such a profound way? Emotions can cause us to lose perspective in sports, and it is in those very moments we have to remind ourselves to let go just a little bit, that it’s “just a game.” But this doesn’t always work for me. Competition can inspire an emotional response for so many deeply important reasons. We watch athletes play their hearts out all season; they dedicate themselves to a goal, to an ideal. They grow, suffer disappointments, get back up, and try again. Taken from the right perspective, athletic competition is never really “just a game.” When I reflect on certain moments in sports history, they give us something to believe in, and in some cases, they are profoundly important human events. Think of Jesse Owens, son of a sharecropper, and a world-class athlete, competing in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Challenging Adolf Hitler’s claims of racial superiority, Owens put on a determined display, not only of extraordinary athleticism with his four gold medals and four Olympic records, but of superlative courage and dignity. And then there is Lou Gehrig’s 1939 “Farewell Speech,” which makes me cry every time. One sportswriter commented: “In a moment forever held in time for every figure in sports history to heed, a dying man stood before over 60,000 people, and the world, to impart the genuine feeling that he was ‘the luckiest man in the world’ for having the opportunity to endeavor through the love of his craft. Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, who had not missed a game his entire 13-plus year career […] lowered his head and became the symbol of what sports, and maybe all of life is about; accept your destiny, give it your all, and enjoy every moment, good or ill.” And how about Mia Hamm? This prolific two-time World Cup champion and Olympic soccer gold medalist began as a child with a club foot. Apparently a coach once told her she ran like a girl. She shot back, “If he could run a little faster, he could, too.” Then there are those tales that highlight an innately good human instinct, stories that just make you smile and say, “Yep, that’s what it’s all about.” Like that college
softball story that went viral a few years ago, with powerhouse Central Washington squaring off against underdog Western Oregon in a regional championship game. The game was scoreless when, with runners on base, an unheralded played from Western Oregon drove a pitch clear over the centerfield fence – the first home run of her life. Rounding first base, however, she collapsed with a knee injury. The umpire ruled that she would be called out if any teammates assisted her, but when the Central Washington first baseman asked if she could help, the umpire knew of no rule against it. With that, two members of the opposing team “stunned spectators,” as one reporter wrote, “by carrying [her] around the bases so the three-run homer would count – an act that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs.” With the opposing first baseman on one side and the shortstop on the other, they helped her touch each base with her good leg. “As the trio reached home plate,” the scribe continued, “the entire team was in tears.” At Lawrenceville, this emotional attachment to competition endures in the woodwork of the institution. I had lunch recently with an alumnus who played football many decades ago. He got a lump in his throat recalling the coach’s decision to put him into the Hill game when Lawrenceville was trailing and in danger of compromising an undefeated season. “I wasn’t a big player, and other coaches would have passed me over, but he saw something in me, something I didn’t see,” he recalled. “I caught an interception in the third quarter that led to our first touchdown and reversed the whole momentum of the game. We won. And I’ll never forget it.” These are the moments when we are reminded that it is a privilege to wear a uniform, to represent a team, and to learn from an admired coach that to play with character and sportsmanship is the only way to play, ever. In fact, when we compete this way, we are learning a way of life. We learn to take risks and strive toward a common goal. We learn to respect everyone’s efforts on the field, teammates and opponents, and why it is important never to give up – that it is the trying, not the winning, that matters in the end. At the end of the movie Coach Carter, there is one of the all-time great locker room speeches. Samuel L. Jackson gathers his team to salvage their pride from the depths of disappointment after their loss at the buzzer of a key game: “I came here to coach athletes, and you became students,” he says. “I came here to teach boys, and you became men.” No, indeed, it is not “just a game.” Sincerely, Stephen S. Murray H’55 ’65 P’16 The Shelby Cullom Davis ’26 Head Master
From the Editor
Volume 80 Number 1
publisher Jennifer Szwalek Editor Sean Ramsden art director Phyllis Lerner staff photographer Paloma torres proofreaders Carol Cole P’91 ’95 Timothy C. Doyle ’69 H’79 P’99 Rob Reinalda ’76 Edward A. Robbins H’68 ’69 ’71 ’11 Linda Hlavacek Silver H’59 ’61 ’62 ’63 ’64 GP’06 ’08 contributors Katherine Birkenstock Michael Branscom karla guido Lisa M. Gillard Hanson Barbara Horn Donnelly Marks sarah Mezzino genevieve shiffrar amanda tung ’16
The Lawrentian (USPS #306-700) is published quarterly (winter, spring, summer, and fall) by The Lawrenceville School, P.O. Box 6008, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648, for alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends. Periodical postage paid at Trenton, NJ, and additional mailing offices.
The Lawrentian welcomes letters from readers. Please send all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the above address, care of The Lawrentian Editor. Letters may be edited for publication. The Lawrentian welcomes submissions and suggestions for magazine departments. If you have an idea for a feature story, please query first to The Lawrentian Editor. Visit us on the web at www.lawrenceville.org. www.lawrenceville.org/alumni/the-lawrentian Postmaster
Please send address corrections to: The Lawrentian The Lawrenceville School P.O. Box 6008 Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
ince joining your community as editor of The Lawrentian, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several dozen Lawrenceville alumni, and you never cease to amaze me. Collectively, you are an interesting, engaging, and witty lot who have combined to make my first two issues of the magazine a pleasure to produce. But another thing that invariably strikes me is the integrity and courage you exhibit in your lives. Sometimes it reveals itself in subtle ways, but that defining characteristic of a Lawrenceville graduate is often also on much larger display. Bill Harrison ’62, about whom you’ll read in this issue, had already developed a love of the southeastern Asian nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, when the “Christmas Tsunami” rocked the country in 2004. Bill took it as a duty to start a nonprofit organization to help educate thousands of Burmese migrant workers in Thailand so that they may return home and help restore democracy to their homeland. And Bill’s not leading from afar; he is about as hands-on as you can get. What’s more, he has been supported generously by hundreds of his Lawrenceville classmates. Back on campus, athletics have long helped forge the character of the Lawrenceville students who compete for the glory of Big Red. Alumni like Porter Braswell ’07, who once lit up the basketball scoreboard, is now working hard to provide increased visibility and opportunities to a more diverse workforce as the CEO of Jopwell. And today’s student-athletes can also look to Tripp Welborne, Lawrenceville’s new athletic director, to always lead with the same honor and sportsmanship that made him a top student and a two-time All-American in football at the University of Michigan. You’ll meet both of them in this issue of The Lawrentian. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with comments or ideas, or even just to say hello. Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy new year.
All the best,
Sean Ramsden Editor email@example.com
Setting the Record Straight Boys’ lacrosse already faced a demanding schedule as it was last spring, even before injuries took their toll. Nevertheless, Allen Fitzpatrick’s ’73 H’85 ’89 P’99 ’04 charges fought their way to an even record at 10 wins, 10 losses, not the 9-10 record we reported in the fall Lawrentian. In the same issue, the Reuben T. and Charlotte Boykin Carlson Scholarship was also incorrectly identified. The editor regrets these errors.
©The Lawrenceville School Lawrenceville, New Jersey All rights reserved.
Hiking Rocks! Young Lawrentians took an experiential trip to the Grand Canyon last spring that included clambering up and down the rocky terrain in the desert heat. They learned a good deal about resource management, having to conserve their limited supply of water and sunscreen during their days in the blazing Arizona sun.
News in Brief
awrentians benefit daily from
modified his teaching to help students gain a
the expertise of the School’s
deeper understanding of statistical analysis
top-notch faculty – and that
and to more clearly communicate what they
expertise is being shared well
have learned. Though it is geared toward
beyond the gates.
teachers, Starnes’ guide to the holistic grad-
Jeff Durso-Finley P’13 ’14 ’19, co-di-
ing of the exam’s free-response questions
rector of the School’s College Counseling
also provides helpful guidance to students
Department, co-authored The Secrets of
preparing for the test.
Picking a College (and Getting In!), a practical guide with more than 600 helpful tips, techniques, and strategies to demystify the
‘Winter Patriots’ Come to Life on Campus Lawrentians know well their historical campus is situated among numerous battle sites that saw the tide of the
college application process, reduce the stress
of the route involved, and, most important,
within that cradle of American indepen-
maximize each student’s chances of being
dence, the School played an ideal host
accepted to the college of his or her choice.
for Rob Shenk, senior vice president for
Durso-Finley’s co-authors are college profes-
visitor engagement at George Washing-
sors Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman,
ton’s Mount Vernon, on October 29 to
and high school senior Jonah T. Hyman.
discuss the Continental Army’s Revolu-
Elsewhere at Lawrenceville, Daren
tionary War campaign in New Jersey and
Starnes, chair of the Mathematics Depart-
New York against the British and Hes-
ment, penned “The AP Statistics Exam: An
sian forces. The day ended with a free,
Insider’s Guide to its Distinctive Features”
public screening of The Winter Patriots:
for CHANCE: Using Data to Advance
the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, a
Science, Education, and Society. In it, Starnes discusses the innovative ways he has
film produced by George Washington’s Mount Vernon with support from the F.M. Kirby Foundation.
Lawrentians Sing Their Way to Spots at ACDA Regionals Melissa Batz ’17, Chibueze Ihuoma ’17, Bert Getz III ’18, Alan Lin ’18, and Neo Shin ’18 were selected to represent Lawrenceville at The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Regionals in Boston in February. This year regional honors were awarded to just 175 students chosen from over 1,100 auditions. The ACDA is the nation’s largest professional organization for community, college, and school vocal music. Competitive auditions for high school students are held every two years in the areas of musicianship, rehearsal skills, and vocal technique. The Eastern Region competition covers 11 states, from Maine to Maryland, with some of the most selective music programs in the country.
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
Heely Scholars Study the ’60s
Things Get Woolly at Solar Farm
The third class of the Lawrenceville Heely
yearbook, The Lit, admission records,
Scholars program – Akash Bagaria ’16,
School catalogs, faculty meeting minutes,
Eva Blake ’16, Larry Cummings ’16,
and Board of Trustees reports – to learn all
Gina Kahng ’16, Anna Milliken ’16, Tri-
they could. The Scholars gleaned overview
sha Mukherjee ’16, and Simran Suri ’16
and background information through Mark
– spent two weeks last summer studying
Kurlansky’s book 1968, which chronicled
Lawrenceville and its relation to the world
the year’s political and cultural upheaval.
during the turbulent 1960s.
The Heely Scholars created group proj-
Under the direction of History Master
ects and individual senior thesis papers, as
Anne Louise Smit P’10 ’13, the schol-
well as an exhibit showcasing documents
ars interviewed alumni and combed the
and artifacts from the era and a podcast
Stephan Archives – including former Head
using the audio collected from oral histories
Master Bruce McClellan’s Lawrenceville
papers, The Lawrence, the Olla Podrida
Have weeds got your goat? At The Lawrenceville School’s 30-acre solar farm, it’s the other way around. Approximately 70 sheep and goats on loan from nearby Cherry Grove Farm are busily munching away at the weeds and grass that grow between the solar panels, providing a cheaper, greener alternative to gas-guzzling, emissions-causing lawn maintenance machinery. The woolly subcontractors save the School as much as $20,000 annually in landscaping and maintenance costs. Lawrenceville’s 6.1 megawatt solar farm is the largest solar power producer at any school in the United States, providing over 90 percent of the School’s electrical needs.
News in Brief
Fun at Run for Color School Donations to LTEF Top
Community service was off to a colorful start this year! The second annual Run for Color on October 3 drew hundreds of participants to the School’s cross country course to raise nearly $2,000 for the Williams Syndrome Association.
$1.3 Million Head Master Stephen S. Murray H’55 ’65 P’19 presented $65,000, The Lawrenceville School’s annual donation, to the Lawrence Township Education Foundation (LTEF)
achievement in education
The School welcomed hundreds of current Lawrenceville families back to campus October 23-24 for its annual Parents’ Weekend activities. The weekend provided an opportunity to attend parent-teacher conferences, sit in on presentations relevant to Lawrentian life, and watch Lawrenceville
for all students in Lawrence
student-athletes and student-artists perform.
in September. Since 1995, the School has donated a total of $1,310,000 to LTEF to support programs that foster excellence, creativity, and
Township Public Schools. This aligns with Lawrenceville’s larger efforts to promote a cooperative, collegial spirit with the township and provide educational access to its residents.
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Funding the Future
for More than Passover Religious belief and practice have been integral to Lawrenceville’s culture since the very beginning, when the Rev. Isaac Van Arsdale Brown commenced teaching nine local boys in the Presbyterian Church on Main Street. Recently, a gift from the Perles family helped to deepen the roots of Jewish practice at Lawrenceville while enriching the religious education of all students. When Sara Perles ’10 learned that Rabbi Lauren Levy H’97 P’01 ’02 ’09, who sits on the Joseph S. Gruss Chair in Rabbinical Studies, was planning to move into faculty housing, she queried, “What will you do about cooking? We were able to come to your house and be family.” Working through the Development Office, the Perles family came forward with support for a kosher kitchen that would continue the rabbi’s tradition of holiday and Shabbat dinners for both Jewish and non-Jewish students and faculty. “The first step after that,” says Levy, “was educating Facilities in the basics of keeping kosher.” Working closely with Dan Peterson, manager of structural trades, and Bob Smith, manager of mechanical trades, and under the leadership of Facilities Director Helen Livingston, Levy explained the need for separate ovens for meat and dairy products, the functional utility of two dishwashers and two sinks, and the necessity of sufficient cabinet space to accommodate multiple sets of dishes, silverware, cookware, and utensils. “They totally got it and put together an amazing kitchen,” she says. Levy has already hosted Rosh Hashanah dinner for 35 students plus faculty, staff, and Head Master Stephen S. Murray H’55 ’65 P’16; the break-fast after Yom Kippur; and a Shabbat dinner. She has also made use of the new kitchen to teach her classes. “It’s been pretty busy in here,” she admits, “but I’m hoping to do even more. I look forward to having the Muslim students over for dinner since the kitchen also meets halal requirements. And in the spring I teach two sections of Judaism with a unit on kosher practice. Now I can bring my classes here to demonstrate, since the majority of kids I teach aren’t Jewish. “All the groups I interact with feel really good about this move,” Levy adds. “They like having me here on campus, and I’m loving it. We are the only non-parochial school in the world with a full-time endowed chair for a rabbi. I’m so grateful to everyone involved: the Perles family, Martin Gruss ’60 and his family, and all the people at Lawrenceville who made this possible.”
Stephen S. Murray H’55 ’65 P’16
An Era of Optimism Stephen S. Murray H’55 ’65 P’16 was installed as the 13th head master of The Lawrenceville School by Thomas L. Carter Jr. ’70 P’01’05, president of the School’s Board of Trustees, on October 9. The ceremony inside the Lavino Field House was warm and welcoming, with representatives from all parts of the School community sharing their well wishes for Murray, who began his duties on July 1, 2015.
n his address, Murray championed the value of optimism. “Lawrence-
ville is preserved as a place of enduring beauty and strength, because what we do here is important; it is important for the world,” he said. “We practice a certain hope and optimism each and every day in our approach to educating and preparing our students to launch, to go out and make a difference.”
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
fter the installation ceremony, the celebration began with a festive cocktail hour, featuring live music, in the Kirby
Arts Center. Friends, family, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees then headed to a tented outdoor dinner on Green Field, followed by a rousing performing arts variety show by some of Lawrenceville’s most talented students to
honor Murray and his family.
e also expressed his confidence that Lawrentians graduate from the School “recognizing the privilege of being associated with a great school
untouched by cynicism, where good character matters deeply, and where lessons learned around a Harkness table will guide you in life as you seek to make a difference.” WINTER
Boys’ Cross Country M.A.P.L. Champions N.J.I.S.A.A. Champions Record: 6-0 Coach: Ed Poreda H’61 ’63 ’69 ’70
’89 P’77 Captains: S am Noden ’17
Marcus Trenfield ’17 Jake Zabaleta ’16
Girls’ Cross Country
FALL Season STATS
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
Record: 5-1 Coach: Melissa Kreppel
By Karla Guido
Captains: Anais Gonzalez ’16
Faith Moore ’16
Field Hockey M.A.P.L. Champions N.J.I.S.A.A. Champions Record: 12-6 Coach: Lisa Ewanchyna Captains: Amelia McLaughlin’16
Lindsay Quackenbush ’16
Football Record: 3-5 Coach: Harry Flaherty Captains: Emile Bamfield ’16
Henry Flannery ’16
For the most current athletic news visit www.lawrenceville.org/athletics
Boys’ Soccer Record: 6-9-2 Coach: Blake Eldridge ’96 Captains: Khedive McIntosh ’16
Jason Lee ’16
Girls’ Soccer M.A.P.L. Champions Record: 8-6-1 Coach: Jessica Magnuson Captains: Sammy Kunkel ’16
Katie Leininger ’16 Kathleen Quackenbush ’16
Girls’ Tennis M.A.P.L. Champions N.J.I.S.A.A. Champions Record: 15-0 Coach: Nick Lewis Captains: Skylar Bradley ’16
Sophia Cai ’17
Girls’ Volleyball Record: 11-7 Coach: Katie O’Malley Captains: Caroline Allen ’16
Kendall Ott ’16
Boys’ Water Polo Record: 13-15 Coach: Ramon Olivier Captain: A ndrew Damian ’16
Alex Essig ’16
Girls’ Water Polo Record: 6-12 Coach: Ramon Olivier Captain: A manda Cooleen ’16
Hill Weekend Stokes Rivalry
he anticipation of Hill weekend
hockey were particularly satisfying, as both
did not disappoint, with Big Red
earned Mid-Atlantic Prep League titles on
varsity teams going 6-0-1 against
the big Saturday in their final games of the
the Hill, with wins in boys’ and girls’ cross
2015 season. The soccer team crushed Hill,
country, field hockey, football, boys’ soccer
6-1, while field hockey, which also won the
and girls’ tennis.
NJISAA championship three days earlier,
The victories by girls’ soccer and field
defeated the Blues 4-2.
Recalling Big Red’s Heisman Hero With college football’s historic Heisman Tro-
Big Red didn’t let a little – or even a lot of – rain stand in the way of a state championship,
phy celebrating its 80th anniversary during the
Prep A state title at Blair Academy in
2015 season, it was also a good time to recall
late October. Lawrenceville was led by
that Lawrenceville’s Clint E. Frank ’34 P’65 GP
Marcus Trenfield ’17 and Sam Noden
’91, just the third recipient of the fabled award,
’17, who finished first and second
would have turned 100 years old this past Sep-
in the race. Robert Enck ’19, Jake Zabaletta ’16, Cameron Wenzel ’18,
tember 13. After leaving Lawrenceville, Frank
Elias Salander ’18, and Injil Muhammad
played for Yale, where he was a two-time cap-
’17 all finished among the top 25
tain and a member of Skull and Bones. At the
competitors. The team, led by Head
conclusion of his senior season in 1937, he
Coach Ed Poreda, H’61 ’63 ’69 ’70 ’89
was honored as the collegiate game’s premier player by the Downtown Athletic Club in New York, edging Colorado’s Byron “Whizzer” White,
P’77 GP’07 ’08, also claimed the Mid▲ An injury kept Clint Frank off the field at Lawrenceville.
who went on to serve as a United States Supreme Court justice. Amid a stellar career as an advertising executive in Chicago, Frank was also elected to the National Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and was named recipient of the Gold Medal, the Hall’s highest award, in 1988. He died in 1992 at age 76.
Boys’ Cross Country Wins Prep A State Title
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
Atlantic Prep League championship.
Field Hockey Wins State Championship Big Red outscored Blair 5-1 to win the
NJISAA Prep A Championship in November at Blair Academy. Lawrenceville was led by Chloe Jones ’17 and Lexi Grossman ’17, who each scored two goals, and Annie Morgan ’18, who netted one. Goalie Aisha Oshilaja ’16 had to make only one save in the contest. Days later, Lisa Ewanchyna’s team claimed the Mid-Atlantic Prep League championship with a win against Hill.
Girls’ Tennis Wins Prep A State Title The Big Red girls’ varsity tennis team came up aces, winning the 2015 Prep A State championship in October. In first
M.A.P.L. Launches Website
eep an eye on Big Red’s biggest
includes league standings for all M.A.P.L.
rivals on the new Mid-Atlantic
sports that use a regular season matrix to
Prep League website, maplath-
determine a league champion (as opposed
letics.org, which debuted this past fall.
to sports such as track and field that have
while Sydney Friedland ’17 captured her
Created by league school athletic directors
a league championship competition) and a
match in third singles. Julia Dinmore
from Lawrenceville, Blair Academy, Peddie
comprehensive schedule and results for all
’17 and Grace Aaronson ’17 earned the
School, Mercersburg Academy, the Hun
league schools in all M.A.P.L. sports.
second doubles title.
School, and the Hill School, the website
singles, Khat Tuchscherer ’19 triumphed,
Hannah Hwa ’17 and Sandy Martinovic ’17 also placed second in first doubles. Days later, Head Coach Nick Lewis’s team added another triumph to their season: The Mid-Atlantic Prep League championship. Big Red has now won five consecutive M.A.P.L. titles, and 14 in the league’s 17-year history.
Go Big Red!
And The Rest is
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
New head football coach and history master Harry Flaherty looks to the past to inspire the future.
t a place like Lawrenceville, so steeped in history, Harry Flaherty seems like just the right fit. The School’s firstyear head football coach and history master, who also played at Princeton, has a varied football résumé and an impressive coaching lineage behind him. But the New Jersey native with a degree in law also maintains an appreciation for the past that will serve him just as well as he leads the Big Red into the future. “Lawrenceville was really one of the first football programs in the country. It followed pretty closely after they started playing at Princeton,” said Flaherty, who played tight end for the Tigers before a series of brief stops with the NFL’s Saints, Buccaneers and Cowboys. “That’s one of the things I loved about Princeton, and it’s one of the things I love about Lawrenceville as well, the history and the tradition. You’re standing on the shoulders of many great people who came before you, not only in terms of attending here, but working here, as well.” Flaherty, who was hired last spring to lead the program, has an impressive coaching pedigree of his own. His grandfather, Jim Garrett, is a former head coach at Columbia and a longtime NFL assistant, while uncle Jason Garrett is the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Uncle Judd Garrett is the director of pro scouting for the Cowboys, while another uncle, John Garrett, is on the staff at the University of Florida. What’s more, uncle Jim Garrett III ’77, eldest of the Garrett brothers, is a Lawrenceville alum who coached at the University School in Ohio for nearly 25 years. Flaherty also drew wisdom from two of his own high school coaches, Red Bank Catholic head coach Frank Edgerly, now an offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns, and his own father, Harry. Flaherty spent a year on the Lawrenceville football staff after graduating from Princeton in 2011 with a degree in history and spending training camp with the Saints, but had yet to surrender himself to coaching. “I had two more opportunities [to continue playing] after that. I was with the Buccaneers briefly in the spring, and then I was with Dallas during training camp the following year,” he says. “So it was truly an in-between period where I was still sort of chasing the dream, but
also starting to think about the next step.” With Flaherty’s playing days at an end, that meant law school at the University of Tennessee, where he once again found himself gravitating toward the field. He spent two seasons as a graduate assistant to Volunteers coach Butch Jones in the fabled Southeastern Conference, where teams routinely play in colossal stadiums bulging with 100,000 or more rabid fans. The scale, he says, is unparalleled in sports, but his varied experiences also served to inform Flaherty that in football, some principles are universal. “They all sort of serve to emphasize that there are certain core values that remain consistent regardless of what level you’re at,” he explains. “I think you see pretty consistently that the teams that play with the most love for their teammates, and the highest amount of toughness, and the greatest amount of effort are the teams that are going to be successful.” Since assuming the reins of the Big Red program, Flaherty has been able to lever-
age his appreciation of tradition to shape his young players. He says it’s important for them to understand they are part of something bigger than themselves. History, he believes, helps instill a sense of perspective and even humility that can go a long way toward a student’s development. “I don’t know if they get that, but that’s the goal, to get them to understand. One of the first things I said in the team meeting back in the spring was that it’s a privilege for all of us to be a part of a place like this,” Flaherty explains. “There are really very few places like it, and whether it’s attending as a student and competing as an athlete or working as a faculty member, it’s not something we’re entitled to. It’s a tremendous privilege. And to make the most of this tremendous experience, you start by appreciating that. “We’re trying to emphasize that this is the best school in the country, with some of the best history in the country,” he says. “And we need to match that.”
On the Arts
Whodunit? You Decide in Drood
n this year’s fall musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Lawrenceville asked the audience to play the role of director … well, almost. The show, which brings to life the final, unfinished work of Charles Dickens, tells the tale of a British theatre troupe attempting an 1870 production of Drood – but Dickens dies before writing the end of the murder mystery. So, what to do? “Each night, the audience votes to decide who committed the crime,” explained Drama Master Chris Cull, who directed the pro-
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
duction in October. As a result, the cast was tasked with rehearsing six different endings, as well as plenty of improvisational work in order to be ready for anything. Because the production is actually a show within a show, the actors had the additional challenge of playing both Victorian-era thespians as well as Drood characters. The audience was greeted by cast members, in character and in costume, as they entered the Kirby Arts Center. Lawrentians, unsurprisingly, rose to the challenge with enthusiasm, working on the
production since the Periwig preseason began in August. Four-hour rehearsals in the final week built to an exhilarating crescendo by opening night, a dizzying succession of lighting design, scene transitions, and food. “But it is undeniably true that once you hear the audience’s boisterous applause after every musical number, and finally the deafening roar that fills the auditorium during bows, every minute of this sacrifice becomes worth it,” said Panos Vandris ’17, a member of the backstage tech crew.
Faculty Art Show Graces Gruss Lawrenceville’s annual Faculty Art Show brought some homegrown culture to the Gruss Center of Visual Arts for a monthlong exhibit this past fall. An assortment of ceramics, drawings, paintings, photography, sculpture, and mixed media works by Lawrenceville Art Masters Brian Daniell H’89 ’06, Gil Domb P’17, Allen Fitzpatrick ’73 H’85 ’89 P’99 ’04, Jamie Greenfield H’00 P’05, Leonid Siveriver, and William Vandever were featured.
Take This Job & Love It
ot even 30 years old, Porter Braswell ’07 can already look back upon the moments that have proven most pivotal for him. “The best things in my life have happened when I’ve done things that were a shock to my system or a little bit uncomfortable,” Braswell says. It begins, he says, with his decision to enroll at Lawrenceville, followed by a trip to the Serengeti as a Fourth Former. Now, most recently, Braswell’s decision to leave a stable, rewarding position with Goldman Sachs to establish Jopwell, an online minority recruiting platform, has given him immediate success while answering his deeper call to diversify the workforce. For Braswell, founding Jopwell has reinforced the rewards of going out on a limb. “Every time I’ve made myself a little uncomfortable, the most amazing breakthroughs have occurred,” he says. “And starting Jopwell, I got this shock like, what am I doing starting a business?” It wasn’t like Braswell had nothing to lose.
“I was incredibly privileged to build an amazing network of people, and I truly felt that I had a responsibility to offer it in some capacity to other people who may not have had the same privileges,”
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Taking a chance has always paid dividends for Jopwell CEO Porter Braswell ’07.
Both he and co-founder Ryan Williams, with whom he operated on the foreign exchange sales desk at Goldman Sachs, enjoyed working with the prestigious multinational investment banking firm. But when they began talking in 2014 about big ideas, they realized they had arrived at a place where their entrepreneurial spirits intersected with a desire to give access to the kind of opportunities they had enjoyed. “We knew we were privileged to have the jobs we had at the time, but we were also passionate about solving a problem that he and I were both intimately familiar with,” says Braswell who, like Williams, was introduced to the financial industry through a diversity internship program. Sam Washington ’81 P’14 ’17, Lawrenceville’s director of multicultural affairs, connected Braswell with Morgan Stanley during his school days. His internships continued while at Yale, where he also starred in basketball. “I was incredibly privileged to build an amazing network of people, and I truly felt that I had a responsibility to offer it in some capacity to other people who may not have had the same privileges,” Braswell says. “And because we had a lot of friends in other industries, we knew the ‘pain points’ a lot of companies face when it comes to diversity recruiting.” The two friends put their heads together to sketch out a business plan, which, fueled by their shared vision, came together quickly. “It got us excited, because it was the perfect blend of giving back in some way and helping people, yet it was still a profitable business,” Braswell recalls. “At that point, we knew
that we had to take a leap of faith and follow through with that concept. And that was the genesis of Jopwell.” New York-based Jopwell, whose online platform debuted in January 2015, is a two-sided marketplace website that connects job candidates from underrepresented ethnic groups with companies that have an interest in recruiting diverse talent. The profit-generating side is its relationship with partner companies, which earn greater exposure and meet deeper candidate pools through Jopwell’s innovative marketing efforts. “We build customizable employer profile pages for them on Jopwell, so when a candidate logs in on their side of the platform – their side of the marketplace, essentially – they can view our clients’ employer pages and see the roles and divisions that the customer wants to market,” Braswell explains. “So, half of our platform is a large marketing play to really drive home that point – there is a role for you within all of our companies.” Braswell says his own experience helped him understand the mindset of the job candidates Jopwell seeks to help. He recalls learning about the financial services industry on the fly during his internships, and he was amazed at the scope of responsibilities within each organization. “The difference between investment banking and sales and trading, private wealth management, HR, legal, and all the different aspects of it; I had no clue,” he recalls. “But it was a great exposure at a really early age to see the vast amounts of opportunities avail-
Photograph by Donnelly Marks
able within one organization. You could pretty much do any type of job function.” Fostering that awareness and then connecting candidates with good jobs is what’s behind the Jopwell model. “A large part of our thesis is that while these companies are known for one or two things, they also have roles that they may not be known for,” Braswell says. “We highlight different opportunities that might not necessarily meet your eye. We love exposing people to what companies are known for, but maybe what they’re not known for, too.” Of course, what sets Jopwell apart from other job sites is its focus on diversity recruitment, a mutually beneficial mission for employers and candidates from underrepresented groups alike. “We are very upfront with our customers: You’ll never hire a Jopwell candidate because of their color of their skin. That’s not what we’re trying to do,” he says. “What we’re saying is, your applicant pool, as a customer of ours, will become more diversified, and then you hire the best person.” In a business world where outcomes matter above all, it is not a matter of corporate social responsibility. It’s a matter of gaining a competitive edge. “It’s been proven time and time again that your bottom line increases when you have a more diverse workforce. It makes business sense now,” he says. “In this day and age, where there is so much globalization, you’re operating around the world, in all different kinds of communities. So if your workforce doesn’t reflect the communities in which you operate, you’re going to lose. You’re just not going to understand the culture and the creativity.” After just one year, Braswell says that Jopwell has moved the needle. “Our candidates are now competing on a level playing field, and the success is happening,” he says. “A lot of our candidates are getting hired, and it was just a matter of exposing them to those different opportunities.” Although taking a risk has once again rewarded Braswell for his boldness, he is quick to add that the mindset he honed at Lawrenceville also helped him identify a need and a hole in the marketplace. “Lawrenceville helped us realize that you’ve got to look at the world a little bit differently than everybody else,” he says. “We saw this opportunity and decided to jump at it.”
What’s happening inside the classroom at Lawrenceville?
Already a renowned expert in the field of statistics when he arrived at Lawrenceville in 2007, Daren Starnes, the Robert S. and Christina Seix Dow P’08 Distinguished Master Teacher Chair in Mathematics, has only strengthened his academic profile since then. Starnes, who has led more than one hundred AP Statistics workshops for new and experienced teachers, is the lead author of the best-selling high school AP Statistics text The Practice of Statistics, now in its fifth edition. Recently, he spoke with The Lawrentian for the debut of Table Talk, a new feature designed to bring readers inside the classroom to meet the people steering the curriculum of today’s Lawrenceville. Mathematics has been good to you. What brought you to it? I had a really good experience with math in the formative years. I felt very fortunate to have come along in the era of open classrooms, where you could self-pace as an elementary-school student. For me, math was the thing that got me really excited. I also had fantastic teachers for algebra and pre-calculus, and when they got students who were interested in the subject, they made it come to life. They didn’t all teach the same way, but they found ways to engage my mind and engage my classmates’ minds.
Were there any influences at home? My mom was a big accounting executive; she was the first female partner with Deloitte & Touche in the country. She was a single mom at that point, working 60- to 80-hour weeks trying to make partner, and then to keep up that level of work and performance in an industry where females were very unlikely to get management positions. 22
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When did you see your love of math moving toward a career in the classroom? I was very much inspired in my junior year calculus course at the North Carolina School of Science and Math by Dan Teague, who had a knack for asking just the right question at the opportune moment to make you really curious. Then he could pull you along toward an answer just as you had that question resolved, and he would ask another one. It was just a masterful, artistic use of questioning at a time when lecture was much more popular. And at that moment, I said, “I’d like to be able to do what he’s doing right now. He’s really good at it. I don’t know if I can be that good, but I’d like to try, because I think he’s having a really good time doing it.”
It sounds like your desire to teach was really fueled by the connection you had with your instructors. I think the relationship piece is one that I didn’t fully get at that time. The relationship
the teacher has with you, and that you have with the teacher, is one of the most powerful things in the classroom dynamic – more so than the content on a lot of days.
But the content is still the foundation of the subject, no? There are days when the content is very stimulating, and there are days when it’s just what we need to do to get on to the next thing, especially in a discipline like math. But today was one of my really cool content pieces. I knew I had a 50-minute period today, and it meant that minute 47 was when the a-ha moment came, with a group of really talented, calculus-based probability and statistics students. At minute 47, there was a No way… wow … cool! moment. And I had said not five minutes before, “You’re probably wondering right now why we’re even doing this…”
It must be extremely gratifying at that moment. Yes. I had said, “You’re going to have to trust me for a few more minutes.” And then, as they saw this amazing result unfold, it’s the reaction. And I think it’s that reaction that makes me love teaching.
Your childhood experience with good teacher-student interaction must translate well to a school like Lawrenceville. That’s been a big adjustment for me in one sense. The ability to teach around the oval table was new to me here. The idea of having student-centered lessons was not new, but the degree to which the lessons are student-centered here is much higher than other places where I’ve taught.
The Harkness method is integral to Lawrenceville. What sort of role does it play in the Math Department? For us, trying to become more student-centered and to truly embrace the Harkness learning philosophy has meant questioning the piece of furniture, the table. I’ve used the table for eight years now, and there are things about it that have really enhanced my teaching and broadened my way of thinking about student-centered approaches, but it also is quite limiting in the sense that it’s one fixed piece of furniture. So if you walk into my room now you’ll see the fixed piece of furniture where we spend some of our time. But there are also big, long spaces of whiteboards where kids spend a lot of their time. And there are formal outpost tables where I can send groups of three of four kids away from the main table for deeper group discussion before we come back, either to the table or the board, for them to present. So I think I’ve almost found my optimal model.
And how has that influenced the way Lawrenceville equips math classrooms? You’d be interested to know that in the new F.M. Kirby Math and Science Building, we will not have any oval tables. I’m avoiding the “H” word because I’ve known we were going in this direction for some time, so I don’t want to call the table “Harkness.” To me, Harkness is the way of teaching more than the piece of furniture. The method is what’s most im-
portant. But we’re really excited to be doing flexible, adaptable furnishings in a space that allows for students to engage each other and create knowledge, in the spirit of Harkness, rather than have it like I had it, mostly just stand-and-deliver method.
You were hired by Lawrenceville to recast the math curriculum along more practical lines. How did that work? When Tim Brown first pitched to me the idea of me coming here and being a teacher-leader from within, both he and [former Dean of Faculty] Kevin Mattingly painted a picture of a really dynamic, exciting, mid-career opportunity that would challenge me for a number of years. And that’s been absolutely accurate. It’s been incredibly stimulating and challenging – and at times, frustrating.
How was it frustrating? Perhaps the biggest challenge I faced early on was that not everyone in the department realized the role I would be playing. The idea of being shaken up when you don’t know you’re going to be shaken can be a little off-putting. So I spent the first few years deliberately partnering, or co-teaching, with more senior members of the department, people who would be more likely to question my ability to deliver on that – making their teaching better somehow – when they had perhaps taught longer than I had. They probably understood this place, and Harkness, and kids at Lawrenceville, better than I did, too. Interestingly though,
after a few partnerships and collaborations, I think the view changed. I think the view was, I am getting some ideas from this fellow, and he is also engaging me about my practices, acknowledging that some of my practices are really worth considering in his classroom. So it was a mutual exchange of ideas, as opposed to one view of teaching and learning being the right view, and another being the wrong view.
What is it like today? It’s different when you’re working with someone who’s not been teaching as long – like me, when I came – who doesn’t totally have the picture of Lawrenceville, our students, and how things work at Lawrenceville, Harkness-style. So if you imagine coming into a new place, with a different pedagogical style than you’ve taught in before, and possibly then co-teaching with someone as part of that … all in all, I think the vision was an ambitious one, and I’d like to think we’ve fulfilled a good deal of it.
It appears as if it’s been done to great effect. I think we’ve made headway. I think the pedagogical practices in the department are more carefully considered in terms of who is driving the instruction. It is more the students and less the teacher. The teacher is the designer of instruction – the coach, for sure – but ideally, not the deliverer. Like all great coaches, though, sometimes you do need to give the pep talk.
Lawrenceville has benefited quite a bit from your ideas. What have you received? I had a kid stay behind today after class who asked me, “Something we were talking about in one of my other classes, related to this same term that you used – ‘moments’ – are they related? Are they the same thing, or not? I’m really curious.” I was able to say, “You know, my physics background is not my strong suit; I’m a pure mathematician. Why don’t you tell me what you understood this term to mean, and let me learn something?” So, to teach in a place like this, where I can learn something from my students, even at this stage in my career, is pretty powerful.
Ask the Archivist
Hidden for years in a wall, several historic works paint a mystery at Lawrenceville. By Sarah Mezzino
t started with four simple words: “Sarah, we found something.” The day was September 26, 2012, and Dan Peterson, Lawrenceville’s manager of structural trades, called me on the phone. He explained that his team was reconfiguring the layout of the “old barn,” behind Facilities Services, alongside the golf course, where they had stumbled upon something unusual. The barn – Lawrenceville’s original, 19th-century gymnasium – was relocated across campus following construction of Peabody & Stearns’ sports complex in 1902, on the site of the current Irwin Dining Hall. “Could you come down here?” Dan urged. “I really need you to see this.” With so much history attached to the barn, it could quite possibly yield anything. In my two years at Lawrenceville to the point, Colonial-era glass bottles, Stickley furniture, and
"Standing before me, amid debris from demolition, was an enormous framed 19thcentury portrait of John Cleve Green that had been concealed in the wall. I was dumbfounded."
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▲ One of two pointillist landscapes by American Impressionist William Henry Singer Jr., the son of a steel magnate who sold his family’s business to Andrew Carnegie. It was presented to Lawrenceville by Singer’s wife, Anna, in 1949 – more than sixty years before being rediscovered sealed in a wall.
four pieces from a Tiffany Chrysanthemum tea set had surfaced. My thoughts raced as Dan met me at the barn’s main entrance and ushered me through to a small room. Standing
before me, amid debris from demolition, was an enormous framed 19th-century portrait of John Cleve Green that had been concealed in the wall. I was dumbfounded.
â–˛ An oil-on-canvas portrait of Charles Oechler, president of the Fathersâ€™ Association, once hung in Pop Hall. The painting, by Beatrice Kendall (1902-1968), was among those found sealed in a wall of the old barn.
▲ A circa 1899 photograph revealed that this portrait of Charles Ewing Green, first president of Lawrenceville’s Board of Trustees, once hung inside Foundation House.
“Does the Archives want this? We’ll bring it to your office tomorrow,” he asked, mindful of my role as curator of decorative arts and design for the Stephan Archives. “And I should warn you – there might be more.” With that, I was escorted out of the barn, and Dan’s crew rushed in to continue extraction. The John Cleve Green portrait, along with five large wooden crates, was delivered to the Stephan Archives the next morning. Although the discovery of the paintings was exhilarating, the reality of the situation from a museum standpoint was bleak. John Cleve Green’s frame had been badly damaged from the initial strike of a sledge hammer and it, along with
"I watched with bated breath as master carpenter Tim McElroy carefully lifted the lids off each crate with a crowbar to reveal their treasures. The first crate was empty, but the rest held impressive framed works – three portraits, and two pointillist landscapes."
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the exteriors of each of the crates, was marked with black, fuzzy mold. Conservation, if even possible, would be costly. I watched with bated breath as master carpenter Tim McElroy carefully lifted the lids off each crate with a crowbar to reveal their treasures. The first crate was empty, but the rest held impressive framed works – three portraits, and two pointillist landscapes. Sadly, these paintings were damaged as well, but the question of conservation was momentarily masked by dread as I stared at the works. Did they even belong to the School? What if they were extended loans or even stolen? Without documentation, it was unknown. Lisa Giberson, associate curator for the Hutchins Gallery, and I inspected each of the paintings to the best of our ability, noting artists, dates, and small plaques on the frames. They were extremely fragile and lifting them posed a serious risk to their integrity. We secured them in the Stephan Archives’ Quarantine Room, and I began to scour records for any mention of their existence at Lawrenceville. Information soon began to surface. An interior photograph of Foundation House from about 1899 confirmed ownership of a portrait of Charles Ewing Green, nephew of John Cleve Green and the first president of the Board of Trustees. Foundation House still contains the distinctive 18th-century French corner chair in which Green sat for the portrait. Beatrice Kendall’s portrait of Charles Oechler, the head of the Fathers’ Association when Pop Hall was erected in 1925, was verified by Oechler’s grandson, who related how the elder Oechler described the work hanging in the building he helped create. Perhaps the most fascinating find was a posthumous depiction of Rufus Fearing Dawes, Class of 1909, by his mother, Carol Blymer Dawes. The painting was reportedly rescued by Sidney Morgan Shea from the 1929 Dawes House fire. So, while it was clear the portraits were indeed the property of the School, the pointillist works remained a mystery. How were they linked to Lawrenceville? And why were they hidden in a wall? We knew that the two landscapes had been created by William Henry Singer Jr., a fairly prominent American Impressionist and the son of a steel magnate who sold his family’s business to Andrew Carnegie. Singer married Anna Spencer-Brugh and eventually moved
▲ Lawrenceville’s football team posed with the old barn situated behind them (left of photo) in 1877. Workers found several paintings mysteriously sealed in a wall of the barn in 2012. Note the “LHS” on the football, denoting “Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial High School,” as it was known before the reorganization into The Lawrenceville School two years later.
to Paris for training. While in Europe, Singer befriended pointillists Co Breman and Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig, and he subsequently joined the artistic movement. He and Anna settled in Olden, Norway, where Singer was inspired by the country’s mountain ranges, so it’s not surprising that A Happy Day and Down by the River – the two paintings we now possessed – were depictions of the scenic Norwegian countryside. Most notably, however, the couple managed to found the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Maryland in 1929 from overseas. Not only an art museum, it was and still is the main repository for the majority of Singer’s portfolio. However, even with this knowledge, I still could not find a connection between the artist and Lawrenceville. A year passed and the paintings remained in the Quarantine Room. I had obtained estimates from conservators, who determined that conservation was possible, even with John Cleve Green portrait’s frame covered in a layer of molten gold. Optimistic about saving these paintings, I frequently discussed them with colleagues and visitors, and interest soon spread. By November 2013, the family of William Jacob P’16 had offered to fund treatment. I was ecstatic, but my elation was soon tempered. Conservator Simon Parkes was hired in early 2014, with Art In Transit tasked with trans-
porting the works to Simon’s New York studio. Lisa and I had strategically planned to treat the portraits first, given that our ownership was established. We even developed a plausible theory as to why the paintings had been walled up, speculating they were considered assets during the Great Depression. That theory was scuttled when Art In Transit lifted Down By the River to access the portrait of John Cleve Green. In the light I was able to see a museum accession number buried on the underside of the wooden canvas stretcher, along with a faint pencil inscription that read, “To Lawrenceville – All the Best Wishes Anna Brugh Singer 1949.” We had to develop a new theory. As the School’s legal counsel researched the laws and regulations governing art, I investigated Singer’s history at Princeton University’s Marquand Library. Marquand’s sources informed me that after Singer’s death, Anna traveled to the United States in 1949 to officially open the museum they had founded twenty years earlier. During this trip, she gifted several of her husband’s paintings to what she deemed “worthy causes.” Was Lawrenceville one such cause? A few weeks later, our counsel telephoned me. She had spoken with the curators at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, and
the Singer works were most likely gifts from Anna. The paintings were ours, so we quickly sent them to Simon for treatment. We believe the accession number on the stretcher was the cataloging system ascribed by Joop Siedenburg, Singer’s art gallery agent in Amsterdam. Each of the paintings that Dan’s team discovered in the wall of the old barn has been conserved and restored. Three of them now hang in Foundation House, with the remaining works on display in the Hutchins Gallery. We may never know why the paintings were hidden in the wall of the old barn, nor whether the empty crate ever held another valuable piece of art, but it is likely that another mystery from Lawrenceville’s past is only a phone call away.
The Lawrentian thanks Sarah Mezzino, the curator of decorative arts and design for the Stephan Archives at Bunn Library, for sharing her story in this special edition of Ask the Archivist. Archivist Jacqueline Haun’s column will return in the spring. ▸ Do you have any information about the paintings hidden in the wall of the old barn? Please share your story with the editor of The Lawrentian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tripp to the
Future By Sean Ramsden
Photos By Michael branscom and Donnelly marks
Once college football’s top
defender, Tripp Welborne is now the face of Big Red athletics. His friendly, easygoing demeanor – you might even call it gentle – seems to draw a straight line from the athletic director’s office in Lavino Field House to Tripp Welborne’s family home in Greensboro, North Carolina. That’s where Welborne’s parents, Sullivan II and Gloria, imbued their son with a sense of purpose, teaching him the value of education and how life is built on having options. But along the way, Lawrenceville’s new director of athletics also discovered how much he savored a challenge. Welborne recalls his whirlwind courtship from college football coaches coast to coast, promises of a starting spot from the day he arrived on campus, but also the way the nation’s top-rated receiver – an Eagle Scout with good grades, to boot – found himself drawn to the one coach who assured him of nothing.
“Some people look at the disappointment or the sad-
ness when you can’t reach your full potential in one thing, but it helps drive other things,” Welborne says. “So when I talk to the kids, I say, ‘Look, things happen, good and bad, and sometimes you’re put into positions where it’s not what you do, it’s how you
Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics
Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics
▲ Welborne was the National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at the University of Michigan in 1990.
▲ As an All-American, Welborne had everyone covered, from star receivers to Bob Hope.
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“He said, ‘You’re a fantastic player, the best in the country. You’re a great athlete,’” Welborne recalls of his meeting with Michigan coach Bo Schembechler inside the family’s home. “Then he said, ‘So I’ll tell you, if you come to a fine institution like Michigan and you work hard, maybe by your junior year, you might be able to see the field.’” Football, like all sports, had gifted Sullivan Anthony “Tripp” Welborne III with an abundance of success, and he was accustomed to being the best player on his team, at any level. That’s just how it was. “I’m a teenager so I’m thinking, has he read my press clippings? Junior year?” Welborne recounts. “But in my mind, I already like him
because every other coach had already given me the standard, ‘you come here and you’re starting tomorrow.’ This person actually challenged me.” That’s how Welborne found himself in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the fall of 1987, the start of a colorful career that would see him named a consensus and unanimous First Team All-American in 1989 and 1990, and the National College Defensive Player of the Year in 1990. Even on a team loaded with future NFL talent, he also earned the Wolverines’ Most Valuable Player award as a senior. “So it worked out, and I was fortunate,” he explains. “But I was guided that way, and my parents had a lot to do with that, in terms of not pushing me toward one particular thing. They just guided me toward the things I had to take care of, so that I would have options.”
Welborne learned firsthand that life is easiest to navigate when that bucket of options is full. Almost twenty-five years after earning his baccalaureate degree from Michigan, he is seasoned enough to pass down such advice to his own children, as well as the students who don the uniform of the Big Red. He offers a perfect example of someone who was a National Honor Society student, an elite athlete with Division I scholarship offers in football, basketball, and baseball, and a young man who had an opportunity to play with the best in the game – all because he kept his bucket full.
Welborne brings an impressive corporate background to go with a strong résumé of athletic leadership to Lawrenceville.
“There were some rocks in the bucket, too,” he admits. In the tenth game of his senior year at Michigan, Welborne sustained a serious knee injury on a 31-yard punt return. Considered the nation’s top defensive-back prospect and expected to be a top-five selection in the 1991 NFL Draft, he lasted until the seventh round, when he was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings. After spending a full year rehabilitating his knee, Welborne returned to the field the following season, playing two games for the Vikings in 1992 before torn anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee in consecutive years brought down the curtain on his playing career. “Some people look at the disappointment or the sadness when you can’t reach your full potential in one thing, but it helps drive other things,” Welborne says. “So when I talk to the kids, I say, ‘Look, things happen, good and bad, and sometimes you’re put into positions where it’s not what you do, it’s how you respond.” Welborne relates a lesson from his own coach at Page Senior High School in North
Carolina, Marion Kirby. “He used to tell our team that no matter what happens, keep on playing. He used it in the context of the game, but I like to look at it in the context of life, because to me, the game is a microcosm of life itself,” he explains. “You can’t stop when things are not going
your way, and what you want is for people to notice that you play the same way all the time, no matter what.” After football ended for Welborne, he kept on playing, leveraging the habits, attitudes, and lessons he learned from his parents and coaches. Even during his brief stay with the
“Before long, it was Vikings, Welborne became involved in the Minneapolis community, initiating and participating in a host of community activities, including urban development and tutorial incentive programs. Once he was no longer able to compete in the NFL, he returned to North Carolina to pursue various entrepreneurial ventures before joining Wachovia Securities as a senior project manager. From there, Welborne was named vice president of risk management – technology and operations, at Bank of America in Charlotte, where he was also able to earn an M.B.A. from the McColl Graduate School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. He even lent his business acumen to the classroom for a time, teaching students the basics of business with a focus on finance, accounting, economics, and market-
ing at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. Welborne eventually returned to the Twin Cities as the director of operations for Target Corporation, where he earned valuable experience partnering with the company’s property development division. At the same time he was building an impressive corporate profile, Welborne continued to coach children at the recreational and AAU club level. Before long, it was apparent to him how much he missed being involved with children and sports. “That’s when I figured out my passion was to educate young people in the ways athletics drives and develops them for life,” he says. “The next step was being able to do that on a larger scale and get more involved administratively.” Welborne realized that opportunity in 2009
apparent to him how much he missed being involved with children and sports. “That’s when I figured out my passion was to educate young people in the ways athletics drives and develops them for life,” Welborne says.
Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics
▼ With the same tenacity he showed as a collegiate star, Welborne has Big Red charging hard into the future.
◀ Like Welborne, Head Master Stephen Murray H’55 ’65 P’16 is a strong believer in the character-building component of interscholastic sports.
when he was hired as the director of athletics at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida, an independent day school for children in grades Pre-K3 through 12. Shorecrest boasts a robust complement of athletics programs, sponsoring seventeen sports and forty-nine athletic teams for the school’s 975 students. For six years, Welborne excelled in his oversight of strategic planning for athletics, program development, and workforce management. Just as at Lawrenceville, Shorecrest’s students expect to compete for championships. Also not unlike Lawrenceville, the school’s antiquated field house brought challenges to the role. Even prior to Welborne’s arrival, there had been talk of replacing the outdated facility, but, he says, the idea was lacking any traction. “We rekindled the conversation, because it was something that was in dire need,” he recalls. “So I, along with Marc Jacobson, a trustee who was the campaign chair, spearheaded the efforts and the energy, making the case for why it was a necessity. Together, we worked with the head of school, the administration, and advancement to push the initiative forward and get the buy-in from the community.” The 34,000-square-foot project was the largest that the school had ever undertaken, Welborne notes. And though the new facility would occupy the site of the cramped field house, it was no renovation. The plans called for brand-new construction. “It was a tear-down and build-up,” he says.
“The floor was buckling, so we tore it down and built on top of the same spot, and increased the efficient square footage by about 30 percent, with 200 percent increased productivity. It just transformed the athletic department and the school.” The new Athletic Center at Shorecrest provided the school with what Welborne calls “the crown jewel of campus,” leaving the school’s community grateful for his efforts, including its leader. “Tripp, along with Shorecrest Trustee and fellow Michigan grad Marc Jacobson, were passionate in their education and solicitation of community members to support the development of the new Athletic Center at Shorecrest,” says Shorecrest Headmaster Michael Murphy. It was Welborne, Murphy says, who developed the “Winning Beyond the Game” philosophy for Shorecrest athletics that also became the name and identity of the successful fundraising campaign. It was a rallying point for the project, spurring the school community to help, even at a time when most of the country had tightened its collective belt. “In the wake of a significant recession, Tripp and Marc were able to spread their passion to the community and raise all of the funds needed to add an athletic center that is now a point of pride for everyone in our community,” Murphy says. It’s not hard to see certain similarities between Shorecrest’s need for a new athletics center and the structural issues Lawrenceville faces in the aging Lavino Field House. A leaky roof, tight spaces for interscholastic competitions, and outdated amenities were familiar quandaries to Welborne at Shorecrest, so when Lawrenceville began the hunt for a new athletic director in early 2015, that proven skill in leading a campaign, combined with his experience in partnering with major corporate property-development projects, caught the attention of the search committee. His rich athletic and academic pedigree was certainly attractive, as well. But there was more to Tripp Welborne than just a sterling résumé, according to Jason Larson H’03, the School’s head athletic trainer. “After my first meeting with Tripp, I knew that I would be excited to go to work for him,” Larson recalls of the interview process. “I knew that he was the candidate who could get
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“In order for people to the students and faculty excited about athletics, and promote the importance of a strong athletics program.” Larson says that Welborne’s rapport with the members of the committee assured him that he was the right fit to lead Big Red. “I was really impressed with the way he listened throughout the interview and responded thoughtfully and specifically to the questions that were being asked,” Larson says. “And he’s also a good storyteller, so none of his responses were cursory.” It’s clear that Welborne enjoys sharing a tale torn from his experiences. Spend a little time in his office, and he’ll take you back to The Big House, the 110,000-seat stadium that his Michigan Wolverines fill on Saturday afternoons in the fall, for a story that helps illustrate his maturation as a teammate and a man. He’ll tell you that he actually did get on the field in the first game of his freshman year at Michigan, cracking a rotation that included four future NFL receivers, at a time when first-year players did not start games under Bo Schembechler. And why he couldn’t understand the question the Hall of Fame coach posed to him one summer day, weeks before beginning his sophomore season. “Bo called me up to the office, and said, ‘Well, Tripp, I’ve been thinking we need some help defensively. We need some size and speed, and I’ve been thinking about switching you over to cornerback. What do you think about that?’” Welborne recalls. “I said, ‘Do I have a choice on this? Are you really asking me my opinion?’” Welborne would be trading in the blue practice jersey worn by the team’s offense for the unfamiliar white of the defense. The prized receiver recruit was being asked to cover the other team’s top pass-catchers from now on. “I said, well, honestly, I would rather stay on offense, because I feel as though there is unfinished business. I didn’t get the ball a lot last year, and I think I have a lot to offer there,” he continued, making his case to the coach. “Bo said, ‘All right, I’m glad to hear your opinion. I just wanted to hear what you’re thinking.’ And then the next day, I walked into the locker room, and I had a white defensive jersey.” You can figure out the rest. Welborne, who assumed the switch was a short-term experiment by the staff, immediately roused the
go as far as they can go for you, they need to know that you love them for who they are. So they have to trust you. They have to trust you to let themselves go. And so, that’s what we do here.”
emotions of his defensive teammates in practice by causing a star running back to fumble the ball with a jarring tackle on his first play. “It was a huge hit, so everybody starts jumping on top of me,” he says. “And I’m thinking: what have I just done? I’m never going back to offense.” The lesson for Welborne was clear before too long. “I wasn’t excited about it,” he admits. “But sometimes, you don’t know what’s best for you, and what was best for the team in that case also wound up being best for me. It worked out pretty well.” Welborne took other cues from Schembechler, who coached his final game in the 1990 Rose Bowl. The gruff Midwesterner’s candor had wooed the young Welborne to Ann Arbor, but he also transferred to him the value of transparency and empathy. “And the personal touch. He taught me that knowing and understanding and getting to know people is a wonderful thing,” Welborne says. “Because in order for people to go as far as they can go for you, they need to know that you love them for who they are. So they have to trust you. They have to trust you to let themselves go. And so, that’s what we do here.” Tony Dungy, his defensive coordinator with the Vikings, also imparted lessons upon Welborne, tactics that would serve him well in the years following his playing career. “Tony was very smart, very considerate, and strategically, he was ahead,” he says. “He taught me about preparation. And that doesn’t
mean that you have prepared for everything, but it does mean that you are prepared for everything.” Above all, to function effectively at a school such as Lawrenceville, integrity and an intrinsic respect for learning must rise above anything else. In Welborne’s case, those foundations were set back at home, where his mother worked as a kindergarten teacher and his father, a chemistry professor, was the vice chancellor at North Carolina A&T State University. “Education was always paramount, but it was really the curiosity behind it, the push to learn more,” he says. “And that’s just a part of education. When I was really little, my dad used to tell me all the time, ‘You think you know it all, but that’s because you don’t know a lot.’” Along with that curiosity, Welborne also hopes to breed a certain mindfulness into the psyche of Lawrenceville students. He wants them to be passionate about athletics – about their entire Lawrenceville experience – in a way that has them savoring the now, rather than always looking ahead to the next step. “You have to be focused on what you’re doing and where you are, versus where you’re going. Sometimes people are just checking the box,” Welborne explains, his voice rising for emphasis. “It’s like you’re in school here, but you’re really in college already, and you can’t wait to get through with college so you can get out on Wall Street, or whatever you’re pursuing. We want to make it so that students want to be here – in the moment, in the current – so it has to be a great experience; it has to be something that you don’t want to look past.” Even at a school with roots in the earliest parts of the nineteenth century, being a contemporary educator often means tapping into twenty-first century tropes to make a point with students. “I jokingly told the kids that we’re in the tattoo business. These things that we’re doing athletically, they’re tattoos; they’re permanent – permanent memories – so what do you want those memories to be?” he asks. “Because there’s nothing worse than an old, ugly tattoo. And these teams you played on, the games you played, and your experiences with classmates, they are not going to leave you. So you might as well makes sure these memories are good. I want people to come out of this athletic department and feel like, you know what? I am inked up and I feel really good about that.”
Whistle by Sean Ramsden
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Photography by Michael Branscom
At almost any time during the academic year, the Edward J. Lavino Field House is a dizzying blur of activity. Hundreds of Lawrenceville students, competing on more than seventy interscholastic teams over their three seasons, make the 150,000-square-foot structure roar to life, whether for practice or formal competition. But once the games have been played and the Big Red studentathletes trade their uniforms for the sartorial solemnity that accompanies Commencement, the 65-year-old structure settles into a peaceful hibernation until the competitorsâ€™ return in late August. Right?
Actually, that’s not true at all, according to Brian Millen H’14, the facility’s equipment manager. Millen says the dog days of summer are when he’s dogged by the demands of equipment and apparel for the upcoming year. “Summer, that’s when I do most of my ordering. That’s when I can focus. That’s when I can keep the equipment window down and really turn my attention to inventory and what I need to do,” says Millen, who has enjoyed oversight of Lawrenceville’s uniforms, practice gear, equipment, and all things sports for thirteen years. “I make my connections, do the purchasing for all of the teams, all of the uniforms, and all of the accessories and everything that goes along with it.” Millen’s role demands that he maintains close contact with the various coaches and captains to plan and review uniform selections, a task that requires them to decide on an apparel provider, such as Under Armour, Nike, or Champion, and then select a uniform style and choose graphic embellishments. “And then,” Millen says, “I’ve got to get all the total costs together and make sure I stay within budget.” Of course, the devil is always in the details. Millen says he spent $2,000 on socks this fall, careful to ensure there are enough for all students who compete. “And then, I’m thinking about winter,” says Millen, whose diverse professional background includes a one-time ownership of a bed and breakfast in the Catskills, as well as a department store. “My focus is always on purchasing, so that’s where my retail background comes in handy.” The start of a new academic year means Millen must have the demands of summer squared away, because the fall season arrives in an unstoppable manner. “Preseason football is a tidal wave. You’re working a few weeks in advance preparing just for that,” he says, rattling off the list of gear every player received upon arrival: two jerseys, two pairs of shorts, practice pants, a helmet, shoulder pads, socks, girdle, a belt … “I mean, the amount of inventory they get,” Millen says in wonder, his voice trailing as he thinks about it. “Black T-shirt, gray T-shirt, thigh pads, knee pads, and it all means their laundry loops have to correspond with their locker.” Laundry loops, the sack of clean clothes every in-season athlete receives each day, keep Millen particularly busy in the preseason. “I have to be here early in the morning to
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make sure the loops are hung before morning practice in the preseason,” he explains. “Now, between the morning practice and when they start afternoon practice, those loops get brought back up here, washed, dried, and hung back up by their lockers, and sometimes you barely have enough time to do it. And at the same time, you’re preparing for preseason soccer, field hockey, volleyball, because they’re all coming in a couple days, too.” Much is made at Lawrenceville about the School’s being a home away from home for boarding students, with faculty and staff often filling a surrogate-parent role. As in so many homes, one of the notable trappings is a constant supply of clean clothes – a time-consuming task that many children see as a given. In Lavino Field House, the dynamic is similar. It’s the way so many students at Lawrenceville know Millen best once the year starts. “Sometimes, the student tour guides will be giving a tour, and they’ll stop at the equipment room and say, ‘Here’s where we get our laundry done,’” he says, a grin spreading across his face. “Because that’s what’s important to them – and it’s actually the custodians who do most of that – but that’s just a small part of it. There’s so much that goes on here.” Of course, equipment management is just one aspect of operating the Field House, a multipurpose arena whose main area features three combination basketball/volleyball/ tennis courts, a four-lane, banked 200-meter track, a long-jump pit, shot-put area, and an eight-lane straightaway track. That main area is flanked on one side by the varsity basketball court and a six-lane competition swimming pool equipped with an underwater window and heated competitor benches, and on the other side, the wrestling room, a combination basketball/volleyball/fencing court, a state-ofthe-art fitness center, and an athletic training room. The Field House also features a skating rink, six locker rooms, a snack bar, and a gathering room, as well as the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame and departmental offices. There is an endless list of details to oversee, and in a building of that size, virtually everything builds a tab. “Take the pool for example,” says Nicole Uliasz, head of operations and facilities for the Field House. “Running a pool is very costly. You have chemicals that you have to check every day, twice a day, and it’s not just the swim area. You also have to make sure the backwash and the filters are good.”
Areas like the varsity basketball court aren’t as demanding daily, but they still come with significant annual expenses. “We get them resurfaced each year, just to make sure they are fresh and nice for the new season,” Uliasz says. Lawrenceville’s centralized location makes it desirable for regional events such as Special Olympics and other scholastic track-and-field competitions, as well as various community projects and SAT hosting, according to Uliasz. But the age of the building and environment forces the staff to hustle or be creative in order to overcome inadequacies. “Parking isn’t the easiest. There are very few spaces, and with all the events we have, like Hill Weekend, and with us moving into winter sports now, everything is centered right here,” says Uliasz, who is also the head coach of girls’ varsity ice hockey. “It gets very busy. And with tournaments and track meets, it gets crazier on campus, and we’ve kind of outgrown this building.” Uliasz also says that some aspects of the Field House that made it a showplace when it was built in 1950 are now becoming competitive liabilities. “We have a track, but it’s not a racing track, where you should really have six lanes,” she explains, noting that the current version has four. “The pool could be twelve lanes. You want them to be larger; that would be nice.” Other issues with the structure, such as persistent roof leaks, also present occasional hurdles to be cleared.
“A week ago, it rained very hard, and there was flooding in the Field House. There were kids coming out of the locker rooms with umbrellas up, because there was water gushing over the railing [of the top floor],” Uliasz says “The water was coming in from the roof, spreading across the top floor and then cascading over the railing, like a waterfall. If you come here when it’s pouring outside, you’ll see so many buckets to catch the leaks.” Despite these issues, Uliasz says the coaching staff and students soldier on with smiles. “Coaches don’t complain. Everyone is very supportive here, and they know this is not something easily fixed right now, but that our ultimate goal is to have a new field house,” she says. “They understand, as do the kids. They’re really the best.” Sustaining the success of Lawrenceville’s athletic programs depends on providing our student-athletes with top-notch facilities. To inquire about supporting the major Field House renovation being studied by the Board of Trustees, please contact Erin Graham, director of capital programs, at 609895-2134.
The 2004 Christmas Tsunami stirred Bill Harrison ’62 to By SEAN RAMSden bring change to Burmese migrants.
peak of a “seismic shift” to Bill Harrison ’62, and he can certainly appreciate the metaphor. A thirty-year resident of Northern California, the retired corporate banker and real estate consultant is well acquainted with the distinct feeling of tectonic movement beneath his feet. Some are nothing more than faint tremors, barely perceptible. Then there are those earth-trembling shocks with the power to transform, unleashing the kind of strength that permanently alters the course of a life. And sometimes, the seismic shift isn’t a metaphor at all. Harrison was vacationing in Phuket, Thailand, on December 26, 2004, enjoying a languid morning in his second-floor hotel room, about two hundred yards from the beach. The day was unfolding slowly for Harrison after the prior evening’s Christmas celebration, and he was not alarmed when he sensed the familiar rumbling of the earth. “I had felt a number of those before in California, so I went down to breakfast, then went back up to my room,” he says. A short time later, Harrison was about to head to a beachside grocery store, but,
with a lingering headache, he lay down to watch highlights of the Boston Red Sox’s improbable comeback in that year’s American League Championship Series. “All of a sudden there was an explosion and I thought, wow, I don’t know what that was,” says Harrison, who then heard a second blast. “People started screaming and I saw there was a lot of water in the courtyard below. I thought that the reservoir up in the mountains had broken. Then there was second wave of water that was much deeper, and I heard more screams: From the sea! From the sea! And that’s when it was clear that this was a tsunami.” The “Christmas Tsunami” killed more than 230,000 people in fourteen countries, with waves nearly one hundred feet tall. Harrison believes his life was never in any real danger – the hotel was constructed of sturdy concrete built to endure such a situation – but he was nevertheless plunged into the peril of the event. “We had to wade through this knee-deep, filthy, snake-filled water to get up on high ground where we could watch this whole thing unfold,” Harrison recalls. “I think it was one of those moments where
you face something that tells you that life is a fragile commodity, a don’t-waste-your-time kind of thing.” Already well acquainted with the region, Harrison remained in Thailand, moving up and down the coast, trying to be of aid. “I saw for the first time how many Burmese were working along the coast, what terrible conditions they endured, and how they couldn’t even go and identify the bodies of their families because they didn’t have the right papers,” he said. “I was ready to retire from the business world, and here was a real cause that kind of hit me in the face at the right time. So I said, all right, this is what I’m going to do.”
Southeastern Asia has long brought a sense of peace to Harrison. He has traveled frequently to the region since a six-month sabbatical brought him to India, Nepal, and Thailand in 1983. “I was trying to get out of a 15-year banking career, and I was ready for a change,” he recalls of his initial trip. “The whole idea of Asia was kind of exotic to me, and I thought this would be a good place to go, about as far away as you can get.” The protracted distance from the United States appealed to Harrison, who had grown disenchanted with his banking career despite his success. After graduating from Princeton and earning an M.B.A. at Wharton, Harrison worked for a time as a corporate banker with Philadelphia National Bank before moving on to Crocker National Bank in San Francisco. Climbing the ladder, he distinguished himself in corporate lending before heading up his own department and moving into the real-estate side of the business. He was a senior vice president before deciding to get away. Harrison felt unsatisfied with his work, but in Asia, he felt revitalized. It was a place, he discovered, where his burdens melted away. “I was leaving an anxiety-filled situation at the bank, which sometimes manifested itself in crowded situations. I didn’t really like crowds. Then I got over there, and I thought, This is going to be even worse, but it was just the opposite. The crowds are much larger, yet it just felt completely calming to me,” explains Harrison, who returned ten times from 1983 to 2000 and even began practicing Buddhism
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in a way he calls “more philosophical than religious.” Upon his first visit to Myanmar (formerly Burma) in 2000, he was immediately hooked. Though he was fond of all the Asian nations he had visited, Myanmar found a place in his soul. Not only did he feel at home, but he felt needed. “It’s such a beautiful place with beautiful people, but the Burmese were just absolutely trapped in a pathetic military dictatorship, and they didn’t know what to do about it,” Harrison says.
Indeed, the nation of fifty million people has endured its share of strife. Following the end of British rule in 1948, Burma became an independent republic, but a 1962 military coup d’état saw the end of a parliamentary government and the rise of a repressive regime. Well before Harrison’s first visit, the military junta had dragged the once-prosperous country to its knees. “They just drove the economy down and sold all the natural resources directly out of the government to India, Thailand, and China, took the proceeds themselves and rather than spending them on their own country, simply built up the military,” he explains. “So it wasn’t a question of a poor country; it was a question of a rich country with bad leadership that was misusing the assets. So that’s why you see that and say, This has got to be solved.” In 1990, Myanmar held free elections for the first time in nearly thirty years. Future Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy captured more than 80 percent of the 492 seats in the country’s parliamentary government, but the regime refused to relinquish power, and Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. Worse yet, some 90 percent of the population lived near or below the poverty line, with one-third of all children suffering from malnutrition. The
national education system, once a proud Burmese institution, was decimated at all levels. The lack of jobs in Myanmar led huge numbers of Burmese to leave their families for neighboring countries – mostly Thailand – where more than 3 million Burmese migrants sought work and a better life. By 2000, Myanmar was at the bottom of misery-index categories like human rights, health care, poverty, and corruption. “It was a fascinating place where I didn’t really feel like a tourist. I felt like I was watching a really sad political situation, a place that was well beyond tourist activities,” Harrison says. “But I found myself drawn back year after year.”
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So it was that Harrison found himself in Southeastern Asia in December 2004 as the 9.2 earthquake deep beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean sent the tsunami speeding eastward at four hundred miles per hour toward the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar. The natural catastrophe spurred Harrison’s efforts to educate expatriate Burmese migrants and prepare them for a successful return to their homeland. “After the tsunami, we went on a long trip to the Andaman Sea, and we just couldn’t find anything where I could have the right kind of impact,” Harrison explains. “So I went back to Phuket, and we were taking rice to a construction camp about two blocks from my hotel. It was really run down, like a slum. So I asked the translator, ‘Do your kids need education?’ And they said no, our kids are back in Burma, but we need education.” Harrison understood their plight. “There are four million Burmese people in Thailand, a country of 60 million, and maybe two-thirds are economic migrants who came because of the failed economy in Burma,” he says. “They’re starving, so they come over to Thailand, where they do the work that the Thais don’t want to do. They work twice as hard and for a third of the wages.” But, Harrison adds, the Burmese are also routinely mistreated and disrespected in their new land, which heightens their already desperate situations. What they want more than anything is to be prepared for a return to a more prosperous Myanmar. “These were adult Burmese migrants – subsistence-level workers – sending half of their meager salary back to Myanmar, and they needed education themselves,” he continues. “So I said, ‘Hey, that’s a good idea; I haven’t really heard of anybody doing that.’” In response, Harrison started the Burmese Migrants Education Project (BMEP), soliciting donations through a sponsoring 501(c) (3) charitable organization. He started small, receiving contributions from approximately twenty-five friends, many of whom were his Lawrenceville classmates. He began traveling two or three times a year to Asia to initiate and oversee education projects, and by late 2005, two were operational in Phuket and Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.
Harrison also partnered with Dr. Thein Lwin, a leading Burmese educator who was already located in Chiang Mai, and started a Burmese migrant learning center there. The location was strategic to Harrison, who is also committed to a larger goal: the effective repatriation of the newly educated Burmese migrants back into their homeland, all in the hope of restoring democracy to Myanmar. “The political exiles and the organizations that were dealing with the problems inside Myanmar, trying to support Aung San Suu Kyi and trying to bring democracy to Myanmar, were mostly located in Chiang Mai,” he says. “That’s where Dr. Thien Lwin had his program, so that’s where we started.” At the BMEP-funded Chiang Mai Learning Center, a ten-teacher staff taught English, Thai, Burmese – many Burmese migrants speak only informal, slang-like dialects – and computer skills to adult students who worked in factories, night markets, hotels, restaurants, sex shops, and construction sites. Within two years, more than 1,400 Burmese migrant workers had attended three-month courses, and the demand continued to grow. Despite long hours at tiresome jobs, these Burmese migrants were starved for education. “For the first time in Thailand, where they had always been marginalized, they felt a sense of purpose and a sense of worth,” Harrison says. Propelled by Harrison’s efforts, BMEP forged ahead on a shoestring budget – “A little money goes a long way in Southeast Asia,” he says – and the organization was able to make physical improvements, too, including air conditioning and new computers. With an eye on the larger picture, Harrison traveled to Myanmar eight times from 2005 to 2007 to observe the situation and support discreet education and humanitarian initiatives, such as assistance for ethnic weavers studying in Yangon and a law scholarship in Mandalay. Sometimes, though, even cautious efforts had dire consequences when his actions aroused suspicions. One small education project he initiated in northern Myanmar turned tragic when contact with Harrison led to imprisonment and abuse at the hands of police for two members of a family receiving aid from BMEP.
“That kind of situation happened again and again in terms of people trying to do things inside Myanmar before 2010. It would backfire, or your phones were tapped and people were listening to you wherever you were; they were spying on you,” he recalls. “You get kind of comfortable thinking, well, I’m just doing education and there’s no real worry on this. For me, the risk was only deportation, but for my Burmese friends, it was far greater.” The Saffron Revolution in September 2007 turned the international community’s gaze upon Myanmar. Led by Buddhist monks, thousands of Burmese protested the decision of the military government to cease subsidies on the sales price of fuel in a display that resulted in more than a dozen deaths and earned the attention of the world. Still, though the world was able to witness the junta’s brutal tactics, the police and government soldiers crushed the peaceful marches and imprisoned many monks. Once again, the Burmese people were left demoralized. As the year drew to a close, Harrison returned home to Nicasio, California, discouraged about the failed demonstrations and the lack of political progress in Myanmar. However, the crisis did allow BMEP to finish the year with a flurry of fundraising success. “Thanks to your financial and moral support, I feel revitalized and ready to move forward,” Harrison wrote in his year-end report to donors. “As a small organization, we are nimble, fast to act, and able to alter our course quickly if conditions dictate.” It turned out to be a darkly prophetic sentiment. Cyclone Nargis, the most devastating natural disaster in the nation’s recorded history, crashed down upon the Irrawaddy Delta in southern Myanmar on May 2, 2008. In its wake, at least 140,000 were dead, while some 2.5 million survivors were left without shelter, adequate food, potable water, or medicine. Harrison says the ruling generals withheld information about the size and scale of the storm prior to its arrival in the hopes of avoiding a delay in an upcoming parliamentary election. Their decision led to a serious state of unpreparedness among the residents of the delta. “After the disaster, international aid workers and their emergency relief supplies were denied access to the delta for three weeks,”
Harrison recalls. “No one had experienced a natural disaster where the biggest obstacle to relief was the victims’ own government.” Feeling the desire and obligation to help, Harrison rushed into action. He described one relief trip to his local newspaper, The Point Reyes Light, in September 2008, writing: With $20,000 in one hundred dollar bills hidden in my pockets to avoid an illegal 33 percent currency conversion charge and possible confiscation by the military, I returned to Yangon on July 15. … Three days later, my Burmese community-based organizer, a guide, and I drove seven hours over terrible roads to the hardhit delta town of Bogalay. … Following an oppressive, sweat-soaked night, our group headed to the Irrawaddy River and boarded three boats overloaded with humanitarian supplies. … Something registered as soon as we turned into an inlet towards the village of Kyat Tanyin. It was a beautiful setting, but felt like a ghost town. What had been a healthy fishing and farming community of 400 before Nargis was now home to 133 shellshocked residents living in temporary thatched huts. The hardest statistic: 87 children before the storm, 12 after. Rice paddies were dead with salt water. No structures built before May 2 survived. Clearly, this was the place to focus our rebuilding effort. All the while, the Chiang Mai Learning Center continued to grow. By the end of 2008, some four thousand students had availed themselves of the classroom experience there, and BMEP and the teachers in Chiang Mai agreed that it was time to take the next step. The BEAM School – an acronym for Bridging Educational Access to Migrants – offered a broader and deeper curriculum that could lead to admission to a university or to advanced vocational skills. “The focus was on college-prep courses and specialized vocational skills, always with an eye on the migrants’ return to Myanmar,” Harrison says, noting that students were selected for the program based on their passion for their homeland, as well as their ambition, potential, and need. By the start of 2010, there were thirty-five students on a two-year university prep track, with another 46
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twenty-five enrolled in a six-month vocational program. In just five years, BMEP received over $500,000 in contributions from a growing list of supporters. To this day, Harrison takes no salary from BMEP and pays for all his own travel expenses, including flights, hotels, and meals. More than 90 percent of all money raised goes directly to BMEP programs. His original network of twenty-five beneficiaries has expanded to about two-hundred fifty, still composed primarily of old friends and contacts from Lawrenceville, Princeton, and Wharton, with whom he can maintain personal contact. “I continue to believe that BMEP operates most effectively as a private, grassroots, education-oriented humanitarian organization with my direct and personal involvement in all activities in Thailand and Myanmar,” he explains. “It allows a small organization to have
big goals and gives donors confidence that their gifts are put to use where they will have the greatest impact.” By the end of 2011, with the BEAM School firmly established, Harrison began to consider even more initiatives. BEAM opened a cultural center near the school, hoping to promote interaction among the Burmese and other regional groups. “We starting sponsoring entertaining and informative programs that celebrate the cultural past and present of the diverse individuals and communities in Chiang Mai and the
surrounding region” Harrison says, adding that the cultural center also taught English, Thai, Burmese, Japanese, and Chinese language courses. “Once the BEAM programs began growing in reputation, we started getting volunteers – those living in Chiang Mai or family members of BMEP donors – from organizations like Princeton in Asia and the Volunteers in Asia, which is affiliated with Stanford University,” Harrison says. Before long, BEAM became a registered Thai Education Foundation and was the regional center for GED test preparations – a standardized college-entrance exam similar to the SAT. Students from the Thailand-Myanmar border and throughout northern Thailand were finding their way to BEAM. “A lot of people were surprised, but our student success rate for the difficult, English language-based GED exam was higher than 90 percent,” Harrison says. Conditions were beginning to change inside Myanmar, as well. Thein Sein, a reform-minded ex-general, was elected president of the nation’s new, constitutionally mandated, civilian-run parliamentary democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in late 2010 after spending fifteen of the previous twenty-one years in confinement. Within a year, scores of political prisoners were also freed, and Suu Kyi was elected to Parliament. Increased personal freedoms and reduced press censorship, as well as the establishment of new diplomatic and economic contact with the world, led observers to believe there was hope in Myanmar. “The military government decided that they would engage with the world rather than be considered despots and war criminals, leaving a horrible legacy, and everybody got very excited,” Harrison says. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went, President Obama went, the world went, and the aid agencies moved inside [Myanmar], so it was very positive.” For Harrison, the endgame was always getting the migrants back to a better Myanmar, so he quickly got to work. “I started developing these programs to assist returning migrants with education, business and training opportunities through an office in Yangon, and working to support a group that worked with education authorities in Thailand and Myanmar – bridging programs for people to get credit in Myanmar for the
courses they’ve taken in Thailand,” he says. “And we were really kind of excited. But then all of a sudden, the progress started to slow.” Change in Myanmar will probably remain slow, moving in fits and starts, though the recent November 2015 elections once again seem to point the nation in the direction Harrison has long hoped for. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy appeared to have captured nearly 80 percent of the vote nationwide, and President Thein Sein has vowed to respect the results of the election. In any case, Harrison continues to position his students, the Burmese migrants, for a successful repatriation, as he tries to rebuild the educational system in Myanmar. “We have a chance to play a significant role in the unprecedented changes occurring in Myanmar,” he says. “In terms of representing the migrant students returning from Thailand, we have a seat at the negotiating table with the Myanmar education authorities.” Total contributions to BMEP passed the $1 million mark in 2014, and BMEP changed its name to Education Burma Thailand Myanmar, or EBTM, becoming a registered United States 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. This change signals optimism for Harrison’s continuing efforts in both Myanmar and Thailand, and it entails greater formal structure, with a board of directors and officers, bylaws, and financial statements, with formalized grant applications and project reporting. Harrison says the organization’s personal touch will endure – he remains the only EBTM staff member, still unpaid and covering his own travel expenses. In addition, BEAM’s recently opened office in Yangon is hard at work with programs to increase the number and pace of returning migrants who, Harrison says, “will be able to reunite with their families and use the skills they’ve learned in Thailand to become immediate and active participants in building a healthy civil society in Myanmar.” For Harrison, it’s a goal a long time in the making. “This has been my cause, my second home, and my family for the last ten years,” he says. “I find myself constantly drawn back to Asia, lured by the sounds and smells, the heat of monsoon rains, and the smiling, still hopeful faces of the people of Myanmar. I want to be part of it all.”
Creating Understanding at
‘The Crossroads’ Among the more serious recent divides in Myanmar is the one between Buddhists, who make up 90 percent of the nation’s population, and Muslims, who represent just 5 percent. Historically, Myanmar’s Buddhists and Muslims have lived and worked side by side, in peace, but in the past five years, a nationalist sect of Buddhist monks, led by a charismatic leader named Wirathu, have sought to exclude these Muslims from their communities. The monks have lobbied Buddhist shop owners to display a sign emblazoned with “969,” a traditional mark of the Buddhist core teaching of pride. But in today’s Myanmar, the sign is code for “Muslims stay away,” and “Buddhists stay away from any shop without a ‘969’ sign.” In his continuing efforts to support a tolerant and democratic Myanmar, Bill Harrison '62 has penned an illustrated book about this conflict that he hopes will help soothe feelings and promote greater understandings of their common culture.
“I said, maybe I can write a story that’s low key and nonthreatening, where nobody is right or wrong, something non-political and non-religious, that shows the problem,” he says of The Crossroads. “It’s got a happy ending and works out, because the people – friends and shop owners from two families, one Buddhist and one Muslim – align and refuse to abandon their friendship.”
An ally of Harrison who runs a human rights biweekly newspaper agreed to publish the book, which debuted in the late spring of 2015. He also provided translation and contemporary illustrations to make the work palatable to all ages. Each copy tells the tale in both English and Burmese. “It was a really tremendous exercise doing that over the last year,” Harrison says. “It’s already gotten some traction inside Myanmar, enough that I’m going to do a sequel.”
◀ South Florida Lawrentians joined legendary coach Jack Reydel H’60 ‘62 ’65 ’68 for a Big Red baseball game in Vero Beach over spring break. From left are Bob Casey ’63 P’92, Bob Legler ’61, Coach Reydel, Rick Greenleaf ’60, and Lucky Callen ’50 GP’03 ’07.
▼ Alumni, parents, and friends attended a pregame gathering at Audubon Boston prior to the Boston Red Sox game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
▲ M embers of the Lawrenceville Finance Society gathered for a reception at the Harvard Club of New York.
▶ Lawrentians, parents, and friends gathered in Lisbon, Portugal, for the annual Crescent Coastto-Coast Toast.
t h e l aw r e n t i a n
▶ Lawrentians, parents, and friends gathered for a reception to welcome Head Master Steve Murray H’55 ’65 P’16 in November at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
◀ Alumni, parents, and friends celebrated the holidays at a reception at The Ainsworth in New York City in December.
▶ Googan Bunn ’62 P’93 ’01 ’03 ’07 assists Trustee Emeritus Glenn Hutchins ’73 with his bowtie prior to the Sixth Form Dinner, hosted by Alexa and Michael Chae ’86 at the River Club in New York City in December.
▶ L awrentians, parents, and friends gathered at the Exchange Saloon in Washington, D.C., for the annual Crescent Coastto-Coast Toast.
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By the Numbers
Big Red Athletics
ope bud rat get ing , in of La dol lar wre s, nce vill Ath e's leti Dep cs art men t in 2015 -16
Height, in feet, from ground floor to roof in the main
area of Lavino Field House
1887 45 Gallons of detergent used each year to launder game and practice uniforms
Number of years Ed Poreda H’61 ’63 ’69 ’70 ’89 P’77 GP’07 ’08 has coached the boys’ cross country team
213’3” Distance, in feet and inches, of the boys’ School-record javelin throw by Tim Ulam '75
Combined number of State and Mid-Atlantic Prep League championships captured by Big Red teams in the fall 2015 season
Year of the first Lawrenceville-Hill
Number of medals
School football game
competitors have won
in the Summer Olympics
record againST Hill School, in wins,
losses, and ties
the Field House,
Height, in feet and
won by George
Gallons of water in
inches, of the girls’
“Biss” Moore ’37
the Field House
P’69 ’71 in the
School record in
on display in
the pole vault by Maeve Devlin ’14
by Amanda Tung â€™16
usps no. 306-700 the Lawrenceville School Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648 Parents of alumni: If this magazine is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with his or her new address. Thank you!