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Class of 1971 Peter Alfond Memorial Scholarship Fundraising Efforts Meet and Surpass Original Goal

Fall 2019

In the summer of 2018, the Class of 1971 launched an ambitious fundraising effort to establish an endowed scholarship fund in memory of beloved classmate Peter Alfond, who passed away unexpectedly in 2017. The class had originally announced the intention of raising $250,000 by their 50th Reunion in 2021. As of October 2019, the original $250,000 goal has not only been met, but has been exceeded with a total of $323,000 raised to date and a new goal of $500,000 set.

In addition to this impressive fundraising achievement, Peter Alfond’s classmate and friend Andy Nelson ’71 attended The Governor’s Academy Trustee retreat this past September and, along with Board President Jim Pierce ’72, P’08, announced that a $1 million challenge grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation has been awarded to the Academy. The Foundation, established by Peter’s father in 1950 to further the family’s philanthropic legacy, awarded the grant to match two-for-one gifts made in honor of Peter Alfond between now and the class reunion in June 2021. Once the Class of 1971 has completed its new goal, the Class of 1971 Peter Alfond Memorial Scholarship will total $1.5 million to support the endowed financial aid program at the Academy.

The thoughtful philanthropy in honor of Peter Alfond’s memory and the generosity of the Harold Alfond Foundation provides an especially meaningful tribute to Peter, who was an inspiration to his friends, classmates, and family. As Andy Nelson remarked during the Trustee retreat, Peter Alfond was a “connector;” he embodied the Govs ideal of community and had the true courage to try new things as a student; he was not defined by one particular talent and embraced many new opportunities while here. Andy spoke of Peter’s kind, engaging, and inclusive nature, and the lifelong friendships that began at the Academy, all values that will be his legacy and continue to be part of the Academy’s enduring qualities today.

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You’ve Helped us Reach the $50M Campaign Fundraising Milestone

Summer 2019

Dear Governor’s Community,

Through your generosity, faith, and commitment, you’ve helped us reach the incredible $50M campaign fundraising milestone for the school and our highest achievement in the history of The Governor’s Fund—just over $2M!

I am as excited about our courageous campaign today as I was on the day of its launch. Over the past three years, I’ve heard beautiful stories from all of you—alumni, parents, students, and friends—about what the Academy means to you.

The results of your support are already having an impact on our campus: generous support for our students through gifts to financial aid, new housing for our dedicated faculty, a new track, and the restoration of historic buildings. We have raised more than half of the funds needed to break ground on two major capital projects: a newly imagined and greatly expanded Peter Marshall French Student Center and a state-of-the-art Parker River Environmental Studies Center. These two projects will be game-changers for the Academy, and we want you to be a part of this historic moment for the school. Each gift to this campaign has truly been an act of love—your faith in the future of our great school is inspiring.

But we’re not done yet. We need your help to keep the momentum going and raise an additional $25M to meet our campaign goal. If you have not yet joined us, I urge you to play an important role in getting us over the finish line and demonstrate that with true courage, anything is possible.

With deep gratitude,
Peter H. Quimby, Ph.D. ’85, P’14

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Momentum Continues for With True Courage, The Campaign for Governor’s

Since the public launch of With True Courage, The Campaign for Governor’s in October 2017 the Academy continues to see significant progress towards the campaign goal of $75 million. With True Courage continues to inspire and set new standards of philanthropy for the Academy with over $46 million committed to date towards the $75 million goal.

With True Courage, The Campaign for Governor’s has three focus areas: endowment, annual fund, and capital projects. Growing the endowment will allow the Academy to fund additional student financial aid and continue offering robust professional development support for our faculty. The Governor’s Fund, the Academy’s annual fund program, is needed every year to supplement tuition dollars and sustain the school’s programs, curriculum, and campus. Finally, there are four exciting capital projects planned: a new environmental research and classroom building along the banks of the Parker River, a renovated and expanded student center, a renovated foreign language classroom building, and new faculty housing.

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The Robert F. Schumann Foundation Awards Grant to Support STEAM Classroom

A series of grants awarded to the Academy by The Robert F. Schumann Foundation have allowed the Academy to further embrace and commit to the integration of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) within the school’s curriculum and co-curricular programs. The STEAM concept incorporates project-based and interdisciplinary approaches to learning, encouraging students to use non-linear skills and approaches to problem solving and collaboration.

Faculty member Marcus Soule who has been one of several faculty members leading opportunities for school-wide engagement in STEAM related activities says of the initiative, “Thirty years ago these hands on skills were taught in shop-class. With that gone from many high schools, this is the next iteration and a good way to get students working with their hands. It’s not just a teacher talking at them. They are experiencing the process physically. It’s a combination of hand and intellect.”

The grants, a gift to With True Courage, The Campaign for Governor’s, were awarded to fund the renovation of an unused storage area into a new makerspace and to fund the construction of a small greenhouse on the east end of campus. The first grant, awarded in June 2017, funded the renovation and provided additional supplies and tools necessary for engineering classes and for the Academy’s robotics team. The classroom, completed this fall, provides a much needed central location to house the Academy’s 3D printers, laser cutters, and other engineering tools.

Initial construction of the greenhouse was largely completed by Marcus Soule and students who participated in the project as part of their afternoon program last winter. Almost complete, the greenhouse will soon provide another opportunity to incorporate the STEAM concept into the classroom by including the environmental science and biology classes. The next phase of the greenhouse project will include the installation of running water, electricity, and an Ethernet switch to allow for the collection and communication of data.

Engineering and science classes spent the first semester on programming microcontrollers and will move on to design-based projects in the second semester. Inherent in this process is that students will fail and therefore engage in an iterative process to solve problems. Doing so directly incorporates several of the Academy’s 7 Essential Skills: critical thinking and problem-solving; effective collaboration to achieve common goals; communication in written, oral digital and graphic formats; and adaptation to new situations and information. Students also will develop a project portfolio to documents their efforts which they can then use for college applications or to gain internships.

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Exciting Plans for the Renovation and Expansion of the Peter Marshall French Student Center

An exciting plan is unfolding to renovate and expand the Peter Marshall French Student Center. Dedicated in 1978 by Trustee Emeritus Shirley French and family in memory of their son Peter Marshall French, the center has long served the Governor’s community with just minor modifications and limited expansion throughout the years. However, our campus community has significantly outgrown the building as it stands now and a reimagined, renovated, and expanded student center is a key funding priority within the fundraising campaign With True Courage, The Campaign for Governor’s.

“The project is motivated by two primary opportunities: first, to create a place that is a hub of campus activity and engagement for the community. A welcoming place where students feel comfortable, either as a group or alone, knowing that they will find others to connect with or a comfortable spot where they can relax and recharge. Either way, it will be a central location where students from all corners of the campus can come to connect, debate, laugh, play, meet, and relax” said Jed Wartman, Dean of Students. Wartman has been working in collaboration with the Academy’s Director of Student Activities, student and school leadership, and TMS architects to help develop a renovation and expansion design that provides the maximum flexibility for students and cocurricular student programming.

The renovation will expand and improve functional space with multiple common areas that are defined by movable walls. On any given evening the space could host three separate events and then be reconfigured the next evening to accommodate one large event for the entire community. A new café and grill will feature an additional gathering place and offer a variety of hot food options for students as well.

Wartman pointed out that the second motivation for the renovation and expansion is to “directly meet the needs of our day student community, to create a home base on campus that is accessible and comfortable. A place where students can easily access lockers, be dropped off and picked up, and will also accommodate multiple needs throughout their long day. In this renovated space, day students can easily transition from the academic day to afternoon athletics and programs, and into evening activities, rehearsals, club meetings, and study groups.”

The plan also calls for improved accessibility, shower and changing facilities for day students, and a large outside terrace spanning the northern side of the building. Faculty housing and classroom space will remain an important component of the overall building, ensuring consistent student and faculty interaction in a variety of ways throughout the day.

To date the Academy has raised $3 million towards the estimated $4.5 million project and fundraising for the final $1.5 million remains a top priority. We will be ready to set a construction start date and define a timeline as soon as this fundraising effort is complete. For information on supporting the project please contact the Office of Advancement at 978.499.3185.

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Two Campaign Gifts Support the Academy’s Access Fund

Last spring, Board of Trustees President Jim Pierce ’72, P’08 announced a significant campaign commitment from a board member and current parent who wishes to remain anonymous. A portion of the gift is a multi-year commitment to fully fund the Academy’s Access Fund for five years by providing $70,000 annually for the fund, a gift that will total $350,000.

The Access Fund was created after a 2013 committee composed of faculty and staff was formed to assess the impact of the non-tuition expenses upon students’ ability to fully participate in the life of the school. Directly addressing this topic was—and still remains—consistent with the Academy’s dedication to being an equitable and inclusive community of people from diverse socioeconomic, racial, and geographic backgrounds. The resulting fund, the Access Fund, began providing financial support for activities and programs like music lessons, laptop computers, athletic apparel, SAT/PSAT testing fees, formal dress attire, and travel costs associated with school-sponsored exchange opportunities. Although the fund met the initial demands of those in need, the continued growth in the Academy’s educational and co-curricular programs coupled with a limited budget structure meant that need quickly outpaced the fund’s resources. With the anonymous gift now in place, the Access Fund can provide a more comprehensive and consistent level of support to students with demonstrated financial need.

There is also a simultaneous effort to support the Access Fund being led by the class of 1973 in honor of their 45th reunion and their late classmate, Ed Young ’73. The class will establish a permanent, endowed fund that will continue to provide support to the Access Fund beyond the five-year commitment of the anonymous gift.

By establishing a permanent source of funding for the Access Fund, the class of 1973 will honor the spirit of inclusivity and kindness that Ed represented to so many as a classmate, colleague, and teacher at the Academy. Bob Phillips ’73 remarked, “When I came to Byfield feeling very much like an outsider, Ed’s generous spirit and outreach made me feel welcome and a part of the school. In this spirit of generosity and inclusive friendship, I have committed with other classmates to support the Access Fund.” The Governor’s Academy community continues to be greatly enriched by the diversity of our student body. In the classrooms and the dormitories, in the arts and on the athletic fields, our students bring a range of backgrounds, interests, ideas, and talents. By supporting the Access Fund our alumni, parents, and friends are generously ensuring that all students can experience the academic, social, cultural, and co-curricular programs provided at The Governor’s Academy.

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The Class of 1967 Honors Community Builder, Record Holder, and Classmate Bennett H. Beach ’67 With New Track

As the 50th reunion year approached for the class of 1967, so did an opportunity to rally around an important fundraising initiative for the Academy. The project would also provide a fitting platform for the group to recognize and honor classmate Ben Beach ’67, who many in the class credit for keeping this close-knit group connected to the Academy and to each other.

Several class members were aware that the Academy’s running track was in dire need of replacement. The track, built in 1999 as part of the extensive Porter Field athletic complex project, had served the Academy well over its eighteen-year lifespan. But the years of consistent use, countless competitions, and harsh New England weather had taken its toll. The track no longer met the safety standards for ISL competitions and needed to be replaced. The scope of the half-million-dollar project would be significant and included replacing the track with a new state-of-the-art surface, an improved drainage system, additional competition areas, and aesthetic enhancements.

With an impressive history of engaging in fundraising projects around their reunions, members of the class of 1967 decided to meet the challenge of providing the school with a new track and at the same time, realized this was an opportunity to show their gratitude and love for classmate and friend Bennett Beach in a meaningful and fitting way.

During this time, Ben was preparing to run his 50th consecutive Boston Marathon, a first in the Marathon’s history. As the two significant events approached, classmates decided to move forward with the fundraising efforts and they decided to name the track in Ben’s honor. The second part of the plan was successfully kept from Ben until the dedication ceremony at reunion. The surprise moved Ben and his classmates to tears.

Class member Chuck Davis had taken the lead early on when he pledged a lead gift of $250,000. “It is very fitting—[Ben] is the runner amongst us—that we have this track project. This is going to be the ultimate tie that we have to the school and to each other,” said Davis during the dedication ceremony. He went on to say that it was a “privilege to have spent time here in this school. What a privilege it is to come back and see each other.” And so, it is in that spirit that the class of 1967 has given back to the Academy once again by providing the school with this most impressive running track that will be a centerpiece for Academy athletes today and for years to come.

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Maria Polcari ’73, A Member Of the First Female Graduating Class, Makes Significant Planned Gift

Board President Jim Pierce shared news of a significant planned gift recently established by Maria Polcari ’73, naming the Academy as beneficiary. The gift, which is part of Ms. Polcari’s estate planning, is estimated at $3 million.

Jim provided kind and heartfelt recognition to Maria at a dinner during the May board meeting and noted that, as far as the Academy is aware, Maria’s is the largest gift given by a female graduate in the history of the Academy. Fittingly, Maria is a proud member of the class of 1973, which was the first class of graduating females at the Academy. Maria has remained a connected and loyal supporter of the Academy throughout the years and her decision to support the Academy’s future in such a meaningful way will impact Academy students well into the future.

Touching on the campaign theme, With True Courage, Jim noted the courage Maria demonstrated in 1971 by arriving in the fall as one of twenty-six female day students, joining the ranks of more than three hundred boys. Maria, however, says the transition from an all-girls school to the Academy was a positive one and that she wished that the Academy had been open to females before 1971. “I can’t think of anything that was negative and I wished that I had been able to attend all four years,” she said.

For Maria, the Academy was a natural choice when deciding on how her estate would be distributed, “There are many charities worth supporting, but in the end my personal connection and confidence in the Academy matters most. By putting my affairs in order and planning I was really able to realize how much I can do to support the school”.

When realized, Maria’s gift will support unrestricted endowment, meaning that the Academy will have maximum flexibility to utilize the funds where they are needed most. Leadership gifts like Maria’s have provided important momentum for the Academy as the With True Courage campaign is officially launched this fall.

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Academy Recognizes Leadership Gift from Board of Trustee Member Steve ’62 and Missy Kasnet P’95

In February, Board of Trustees President Jim Pierce had the pleasure of announcing a significant leadership gift from Steve ’62 and Missy Kasnet P’95. Leading by example, the Kasnets have demonstrated an early commitment to the Academy’s Capital Campaign with this gift of $645,000.

The Kasnets have designated several key areas of support for the Campaign that include The Governor’s Fund, the endowment, and capital projects. As established and experienced philanthropic supporters of the Academy, the Kasnets have chosen to designate the bulk of their gift to support unrestricted endowment. By doing so, they are providing the Academy with the flexibility to fund areas that are deemed most critical, and that will ultimately provide maximum benefit to the school.

“Having experienced Governor’s for several generations, including my years as a student as well as those of our nephew and son, we are committed to ensuring that future students’ opportunities to benefit from this special institution endures. The qualities of respect for others, and leadership skills are critical elements in this family school,” said Steve.

Of their decision to support the campaign and specifically the general endowment, Steve said, “I have been fortunate to have been in a position to devote the majority of the years since my graduation serving the Academy and supporting its mission. Missy and I want the Academy’s help to ensure that this 254-year legacy of leadership is maintained and strengthened. Our recent gift and commitment to future support to the general endowment fund will help ensure the financial well-being and leadership among its peers.”

The Kasnets’ generosity and support, along with others who are joining the campaign, will continue to bolster the Academy’s general endowment. An increased endowment will strengthen the school’s ability to recognize and support our talented faculty and will expand the Academy’s financial aid program, providing access to a Governor’s education for those who will most benefit from and contribute to the school’s community, regardless of financial capacity.


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Shapiro Family Makes Leadership Gift

In September, board of Trustee President Jim Pierce was pleased to announce that fellow trustee Steve Shapiro’74, P’09 and his family made a leadership gift of $1.25 million to the Academy. The gift honors Steve’s parents, Lillian and Arnold Shapiro, wife Eileen and Daughter Ariel ’09 and is designated to key areas represented in the guiding principles of the Academy’s Strategic Plan.

A substantial portion of the gift will support the Academy’s endowed financial aid program through the Michael A. Moonves Endowed Scholarship Fund. The Moonves Scholarship fund is a fully endowed fund that provides need based financial support to deserving students at the Academy. As a student who benefited greatly from the financial aid program at the Academy, Steve views this gift as a responsibility to ensure that the program is not only sustained but expanded. A strong and sustainable financial aid program gives the Academy the ability to attract exceptional students providing the building blocks to the vibrant Governor’s community.  Put simply, Steve says, “…the quality of the student begets the quality of the community.”

The Shapiro Family gift will also provide multi-year support to the Academy’s annual giving program, The Governor’s Fund. By incorporating both a current use component that provides immediate fiscal strength with a longer term, legacy gift through planned giving, the Shapiro Family’s generosity provides the Academy with a thoughtful and balanced gift that supports both current financial stability and long term strength.