Dr. Michael Lockshin ’55 attended Williston Academy with his twin brother, Richard Lockshin ’55. Originally from Ohio, the brothers had at first scoffed about enrolling in a prep school, but Dr. Lockshin says his “Midwestern horror quickly faded.” After Williston, he attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and is now a professor of medicine and obstetrics-gynecology at Weill- Cornell Medical Center.
What did you try at Williston that surprised you?
I was shy and never thought I could speak in public, but I joined the debate society and I was surprised how much fun it was to formulate an argument and put it into a logical sequence. It forced me to have a more rigorous thinking pattern. That gave me a lot of confidence. I did try out for
the Glee Club, my brother and I, and we were thrown out within a day by the leader, who said, ‘What’s that monotone section over there?’ ”
What was it like to attend Williston Academy with your twin brother?
We were independent. We didn’t go to the same classes. We didn’t have a lot of competition, except which one of us was going to be the valedictorian. He beat me by a quarter of a point.
What do you remember was happening in the world while you were at Williston?
Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio at that time. Any teenage boy in that era was enamored with Marilyn Monroe. And Joe DiMaggio was one of the great heroes of all time. Everyone talked about that. Also, the Anne Frank book came out. The town I had come from in Ohio had a number of refugees from World War II, but I had not put it into my consciousness what it all meant. It was a big realization when I read it, I think, in Mr. Rouse’s English class.
What’s one of your favorite memories from Williston?
My family had a jeep—an old WWII-style jeep. When my brother and I got driver’s licenses, we were allowed to drive to school in it. There was a moment when Williston acquired property rights to a ski area on Mt. Tom. But it was still wooded and they had to remove tree stumps. My brother and I volunteered the jeep to help remove tree stumps. I don’t think you want a 16-year-old boy to be doing that kind of thing. There was a moment when I got physics in mind, I was on a very steep slope, and I said, ‘If I don’t get out of here, the jeep is going to roll over with me in it.’ They didn’t have roll bars or anything like that. It was one of those quickly eliminated experiments.
What impact did Williston have on your life?
Williston opened up to me the possibility of a very wide world and that I could achieve whatever I wanted to achieve. I didn’t have a huge amount of ambition when I was there. When I started at Williston, the concept of me going to anything other than a state school was not on my radar. I got the idea that I could go for things, and that I would be the limit of what I could do.