2016 Alumni award recipients
Ward Medal Recipient Sees Micro Lending as Cure to Poverty
For a student who was kicked out of school two months before graduation, there’s a lot of love between Ed Michael Reggie ’71 and Williston Northampton. So much so, that this spring, Williston bestowed upon Reggie its highest honor: the Robert A. Ward Medal. (Read the full text of Reggie’s acceptance speech here. See photos here.)
The Ward Medal, which was given during a special assembly in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 13, 2016, recognizes individuals who exemplify the values of humanitarian service and volunteerism, and who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.
To graduate from Williston, Reggie completed an independent study project at home in Louisiana, and his focus—the history of banking—changed the trajectory of his life. Ironically, the same characteristics that put Reggie in hot water at Williston in the 70s as a political anti-war agitator have led him to fight hunger and poverty worldwide in his philanthropy and work as a venture capitalist.
But not just any philanthropy—in typical Reggie style, he’s shaking up the donor world, asking people to rethink how they give money. He’s a trustee for Freedom from Hunger, a micro-lending initiative in developing nations like Haiti and Ghana, and he’s asking for better accountability from charities and stronger outcomes from donations. In essence, where is the money going and how is it really working?
“We want to transform the world for the better, and not just feel good for giving to a local charity who doesn’t give us the proof that they deserve it,” Reggie says.
He views micro lending to small businesses as a long-term solution to poverty. “Placing capital in the hands of those with initiatives and character is the way to pull people up from poverty,” he says. “Investing in communities is much more effective than simply delivering a soup bowl.”
Reggie began his professional life in banking, founded and sold a healthcare company, and then became a venture capitalist. He’s the managing director for FutureFactory, an early-stage investor in new companies. Reggie has one word for investing in startups: “Fun,” he says. “I love the entire process. I have a blank canvas, and I’m going to start something new with the best thinking I’ve ever had.”
At Williston, Reggie’s experiences protesting everything from the Vietnam War to the food on campus shaped his worldview.
“So much of my awareness and respect for other people, for civil rights, all of that emanated from my Williston experience,” he says, “and philanthropy was just another extension of that.
Founders’ Award: John Booth ’83
John Booth ’83 received the Founders’ Award during a Reunion award ceremony in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 14, 2016. Nate Gordon ’16 presented the award.
The Founders’ Award, created by the merger of the Whitaker-Bement Award and the Samuel & Emily Williston Award, honors the founders and principals of The Northampton School for Girls and Williston Academy. It is awarded annually to an alumnus or alumna whose loyalty, devotion and service to The Williston Northampton School has been outstanding.
Booth, a current trustee of the Williston Northampton School, was awarded the Class of 1941 Scholarship at graduation for outstanding service to the school and community. He was the head student representative on the Student/Faculty Discipline Committee and played varsity soccer; ice hockey, where he was a two-time captain; lacrosse; and golf. His favorite memories of Williston include Ann Vanderburgh’s Precalculus class and racing to ring the Victory Bell after hockey wins. After graduation, he earned a B.A. in history from Williams College in 1987 where he was a Herbert H. Lehman Scholar, and a Master’s degree in American history from Fordham University in 1994.
Booth is the upper school academic dean at Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT, having joined the school in 1991. Before being academic dean, he was chairman of the History/Social Sciences Department from 2000-2013. His first teaching assignment was in Tokyo, Japan, where he worked for two years at the Overseas Training Corporation (OTC).
Booth’s local community efforts include serving on the Greenwich Town Board of Social Services from 2003-2006, including a year as chairman of the Board. He currently serves as a Justice of the Peace and is also a member of the Greenwich 9th District Veterans Association.
He is married to Laura Booth and they have two children, Julia and Aimee.
Distinguished Service Award: Jay and Betsy Grant
Natalie Aquadro ’17 presented Jay and Betsy Grant the Distinguished Service Award during a ceremony at the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 14, 2016.
The Distinguished Service Award is the preeminent service award the school can give. Since its inception in 1959, the Distinguished Service Award has been given to the person who has shown through his or her actions an exceptional measure of devotion to The Williston Northampton School. That clearly applies to Jay and Betsy.
On June 8, 2016, Jay and Betsy Grant will officially retire after 38 years and 37 years respectively at Williston Northampton. Since his arrival in 1978, Jay has filled many roles: the school’s first full-time athletic trainer, dorm parent living in Memorial Hall, then with Betsy in Willy Cottage (now known as Conant), Manchester House and Gilbert House before moving off campus. He coached the boys ice hockey team for four years, including the 1985-86 New England Championship team. He has seen the construction of the Athletic Center in 1990, been the faithful keeper of athletic records, taught Middle School PE, and wrapped thousands upon thousands of ankles.
Betsy arrived on campus in 1979 where she coached sailing for two years, advised the yearbook and taught all levels of Spanish in both the Middle and Upper School.
Betsy and Jay got married in the Williston chapel in July 1981 with Reverend Roger Barnett presiding over the ceremony, Al Shaler playing the organ, Armand Davy doing the catering, and Bob Couch ’50, taking the photos. Together, they raised two children, Sam Grant ’08 and Jill Grant ’11, both of whom attended the Middle and Upper Schools and are faithful alumni.
Congratulations to Jay and Betsy, and best of luck in your future endeavors!
Alumni Trailblazer Award: Mickey Meyer ’03
Michael “Mickey” Meyer ’03 received the Alumni Trailblazer Award in a ceremony in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 14, 2016. Nick Hill ’17 presented the award.
Created in 2015 for the school’s 175th Anniversary, the Alumni Trailblazer Award is presented to an alumnus or alumna of the school under the age of 40 who has demonstrated significant professional achievement and contributions to his or her profession and/or community and continued promise of success in the future.
Meyer is the cofounder of JASH, a comedy community with roots in both the digital and television world and featuring such clients as Adam Carolla, Norm Macdonald, Sarah Silverman, Tim & Eric, Reggie Watts and Michael Cera. Meyer is also a founder of Can’t Do Nothing, an effort to create action through content around various non-profits. He has met with President Obama and various other White House officials such as Joe Biden and Valerie Jarrett as part of the White House’s Entertainment advisory group. He has been named to Forbes Magazine’s 30 under 30 list as well as the Hollywood Reporter‘s Next Generation Executives under 35 list. He has also won Sundance, multiple Cannes Lion’s in the advertising space, and a Streamy for his work with the White House. Prior to JASH, Mickey was the head of the Comedy Network and then executive producer at Maker Studios, Inc. where he created content for YouTube channels like Epic Rap Battles, Bad Lip Reading, Good Neighbor and Kassem G.
While at Williston, Meyer played ice hockey, baseball, and soccer, and served as a peer educator, proctor, and gold key member. Following graduation, he attended the University of Colorado Boulder for one year before transferring to the University of Southern California.
Meyer lives in El Segundo, CA, with his wife Terra and two boys, Knox and Logan.
Daniel and Jane Carpenter Award: Tim Murphy ’96
Timothy Murphy '96 received the Daniel and Jane Carpenter Award during an award ceremony in the Phillips Stevens Chapel on May 14, 2016. Sidea Dill '16 presented the award.
Murphy attended Williston Northampton for six years when he was an active member of the Caterwaulers, performed in many theatre productions, was a four-year member of the cross-country team and was honored at graduation with the Archibald V. Galbraith Prize.
His favorite memory of Williston is the spring production of Sweeney Todd in his senior year. “It was a massive undertaking with a huge cast of students and faculty, a full orchestra, a complex and beautiful set and challenging choreography. It was a great honor to lead that production as Sweeney and the positive reception from the Williston community was one of the high points of my life.”
Established in 2006 by Daniel M. Cain '64 in honor of the late Daniel and Jane Carpenter and their commitment to and support of The Williston Northampton School, its students, parents, and alumni, The Daniel and Jane Carpenter Award is given to an active volunteer who, through “effort and energy” as well as financial contribution, has had a substantial impact raising dollars and participation for the school.
After graduating, Murphy attended Boston College where he earned a BA in English and a Masters of Liberal Studies with a focus in Religion and Politics from Dartmouth College.
He returned to Williston in 2000 to work for seven years in the Admissions Office before moving to The Fessenden School in West Newton, MA, where he is the director of secondary school advising. During his time working at Williston, Murphy also served as a trustee for The Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Camps and Berkshire Outdoor Center.
Murphy has been a faithful supporter of the Williston Northampton Fund, giving every year since he graduated. He has been featured in The Bulletin, has chaired several reunion committees, attended multiple events in the Boston area and is a selfless supporter of the school.
Congratulations, Tim, and thank you for your support!