The following speech was delivered during an event to celebrate the retirement of Assistant Head of School Ann Pickrell and Academic Dean Greg Tuleja on June 9, 2022. More here.
Greg Tuleja has been my colleague and friend of 39 years. Greg arrived at Williston in the fall of 1983 as an intern. Greg was a dorm parent in Mem Dorm before the School built a cement wall dividing the dorm into Mem East and Mem West. Ask Greg sometime about his apartment layout and fellow dorm parents! You may not believe his responses, but they will be true! Karin O’Neil, Dick Gregory, and Rick Francis had the foresight to connect Greg with the school’s music, cross-country, and academic programs. The outcomes speak for themselves: Greg has made an indelible mark on Williston students, runners, and musicians as Academic Dean, advisor, coach, and member of the Senior Administrative team. I fondly refer to Greg as a “Renaissance Man.” Many of you may not know that Greg is a published poet, gifted musician, and co-author of Williston’s alma mater along with Adele Tonge, former Director of Communications and one of my best friends, CFO Chuck McCullagh, and former Alumni Director John Anz.
Greg and I have served as Dorm Heads, Head Coaches, and Advisors together, often sharing best practices, failures, and successes. What I admire most about Greg is his desire to do the right thing in each situation. He is fair, honest, and truly lives the school’s mission of Purpose, Passion, and Integrity.
Greg and I have collaborated on many efforts from the infamous “Leap Year Committee” in 1984, implementation of the Academic Request for new students to more recent projects. Greg and I participated on many panels together over the years and we both can finish each other’s sentences while describing aspects of Williston culture. I think the only other person I know that I could finish sentences for would be my husband, Doug!
Speaking of family, Frances, and Owen have been part of the Williston extended family. Greg and Frances were married in 1985 and moved to Willy Cottage, now known as Conant House, as dorm parents. Frances went on to law school and later was an invaluable resource to me as a college administrator at Amherst. Greg would often visit my office with Owen as a toddler. I can’t think of a more devoted spouse and parent than Greg. Owen’s success at Williston as a student, then as a summer admission intern, UPenn graduate, and now as an international educator are no surprise to me. While cleaning a drawer in my desk recently, I found this wooden toy top that Owen used to enjoy spinning while Greg and I talked. Owen, I hope you will relieve me of this top and find a use for it in your future.
I wish Greg and Frances a long, happy, and healthy retirement filled with lots of travel, good books, and great wine. You can still call on me, Greg, for gardening advice! Our lives have been enriched by your time at Williston. I certainly will miss you, Greg!