Convocation Marks The Start Of Williston’s 177th Year

On a cool evening on September 15, students, faculty, and guests gathered on the quad to formally kick off Williston’s 177th year.

Keynote speaker Dr. Beverly Tatum, a former trustee and parent of Williston graduates from the classes of 2000 and 2004, initiated a conversation about the uncomfortable history of race in this country that she argued must be faced and fixed. The author of the much-studied and recently rereleased book, “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race,” Dr. Tatum also has led Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college in Atlanta, and Mount Holyoke College. The text of her speech is here.

Class president Anabelle Farnham ’18 also delivered an address to her fellow students. She spoke about the way she was accepted at Williston and urged students to be kind. “Look around you,” she said. “Everyone here has something to teach and share about something outside of Williston that has shaped them into who they are today. And each of us has our own experiences, stories, and empathy to give in return; because, when you leave this community, which of your high school ‘successes’ will you remember? The grade you got on your APUSH paper and the game you are so nervous for now may fade compared to the stories, the perspectives, and the values we learned from the people around us, and the memories that we have made doing the things we love with the people we love.” The full text of her address is here.

Dean of Faculty Peter Valine presented the Richard C. Gregory Chair to History and Global Studies Department Head Sarah Klumpp (read his remarks here), and the Sandra B. and Joseph C. Mesics Instructorship to Math Department Head Josh Seamon (read his remarks here). Head of School Robert W. Hill III acknowledged Middle School Director Jen Fulcher and Director of Middle School Admission Allison Marsland for their 25 years of service to Williston (read more here).

Photos of the event are here. Video of the entire event is here and of Dr. Tatum’s speech is here.