Convocation 2023: “A Place Apart”

Good afternoon and welcome to Convocation. I want to thank Preyas for his eloquent and funny remarks, and congratulate again each of you who were recognized with awards. Your efforts and achievements stand as symbols for the potential, promise, and goodness that resides in each and every student here this afternoon. Let me begin with a definition. Jeremiad: after the Biblical prophet Jeremiah and derived from the Book of Jeremiah: a lamentation, usually in prose, denouncing the present state of society and contrasting it with an idealized past. Jeremiads are usually delivered by someone old and cranky, and they often turn on a denunciation of the failings of a younger generation. I do not plan on making that mistake. I have unbounded faith in you—and your generation— but I will admit: There is a bit of the jeremiad in what I wish to say to you today.

Uniquely Deerfield: 2023 Spring Visit Days

On behalf of faculty, staff, and students, I’m delighted to welcome you to Deerfield. This is my fourth year as head of school, after nine years serving as Headmaster at King’s Academy in Jordan, and prior to that, 17 years as a teacher, coach, department head, and dean at St. Andrew’s school in Delaware, which is from where Monica—my wife and a teacher of English at Deerfield—and I both graduated. So, boarding school is part of my DNA.

Convocation 2022: “What Schools Are For”

Good afternoon and welcome, Deerfield. Convocation marks the formal beginning of the academic year. It’s a celebration of teaching and learning, an opportunity to reaffirm our collective sense of purpose and rededicate ourselves to defining values. It’s also an opportunity to hear from a distinguished member of our community, and shortly we will hear from Mrs. Koyama, this year’s holder of the Greer Chair, the highest honor we bestow on a member of the Deerfield faculty.

Reunions Weekends Welcome

Good morning, everyone, and welcome back to Deerfield. I know you have been waiting quite some time for this weekend. For some of you, it’s been years since your last Reunion. For others, it may be your first time back as a class since graduating. Of course, the pandemic has delayed this moment for many of you as well. But we are here, together, finally. I want to say how much I appreciate your patience and goodwill as we worked to bring all of you back to Deerfield.

A Learning Culture: 2021 Fall Family Weekend Remarks

Inclusion—the art of creating a powerful sense of community that recognizes and honors each student’s individuality and imparts to them a full and equal sense of belonging—is the foundation of Deerfield’s work as a school—and it’s a collective undertaking. Fundamentally, inclusion is about the kinds of relationships we create as adults with students, and the kinds of relationships our students forge—across race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and socio-economics—with one another: in our dorms, on our fields and performance stages, and in—and outside of—our classrooms. It’s about the quality of our advising, mentoring, coaching, and teaching—the quality of the relationships we create each day with students in all of our interactions with them.

Convocation 2021: “Make Molecules”

This, I believe, is the magic, the excitement of your years at Deerfield, whether it is one year, or four, or somewhere in between. Your time here has the promise of transforming how you learn and how you think about learning in ways that will excite, engage, and empower.

Commencement 2021: “A Remarkable Year”

Class of 2021, congratulations on this day and the efforts and achievements that led to it. You have set an example for other Deerfield classes, and your place in the Deerfield story is strong and secure. Truly, you have been worthy of your heritage, and we are very proud of you.

Anonymity and Informed Judgement

You are called to take good care of our common digital spaces. Just as we seek to keep our physical and natural commons free from trash, pollutants and other toxins, so too should we seek to steward our civic, digital, and public commons, by writing and speaking in our own voices and by engaging in respectful dialogue—rather than undermining and vandalizing it. So let’s make good decisions when we are online, and let’s refrain from hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.

The World House: 2021 MLK Day

I’m excited for our celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the opportunity for discussion it will offer. I’m grateful to all of our students, faculty, and staff who have helped organize today, and I’m grateful for your engagement and attention. I want to extend a special Deerfield welcome—and thank you—to Dr. Arthur Flowers who will be speaking and performing this afternoon.

Political Discourse, Elections, and Our Obligation to Civic Discourse

As we look to the election and beyond, we have a unique opportunity—we have an obligation—to counter these trends. A I said in my letter to you just before the beginning of school on our use of social media, our goal as a school, as a place of learning, is to elevate the tone of our school-wide discussion, stand athwart this tide of acrimony and say: no.

2020 Convocation Remarks

Our Convocation today here under this tent is a remarkable, a historic day. We formally mark our return to campus as a community after months apart; we welcome our new students, those here on campus and those learning remotely . . .

Commencement 2020: “Each Generation Must Do Its Part”

I welcome and congratulate the remarkable, and Great, Class of 2020. I knew that our journeys would be linked, with the 2019-2020 academic year being my first as Head of School at Deerfield and your last. It has led us here to this wonderful and in many ways improbable moment, Deerfield’s 221st Commencement . . .