Commencement traditions at New Hampton School have shifted from decade to decade, however, the pillars of those traditions in various veins have remained true to each other. Under the shade of maple trees on Academic Row, the familiar facade of Meservey Hall has overseen numerous graduations, convocations and dedications. Within its walls, since its restoration in 2013-2014, is a plaque listing the names of our Meservey Medal recipients and a classroom dedicated by those many alumni.
Known as the school’s most prestigious award, the medal itself is named after Atwood Bond Meservey and honors a graduate each year for their contributions to academic, co-curricular and community life. While the medal may only go to one student, the spirit of the award embodies many of the qualities that have been instilled in generations of New Hampton graduates.
Students today are frequently advised to stay connected; from their encompassing community and visiting alumni, they often hear that the connections they make now will last a lifetime. That the connections they make now will surprise them in many ways in the future, from business opportunities to friendships and beyond. As they move onward from New Hampton, that connectivity will grow with each networking event, alumni game, messages from classmates, teachers or coaches, and, of course, reunions. With this in mind, and with our 197th Commencement tomorrow morning, we asked three Meservey Medal recipients to share their commencement reflection, their connection to New Hampton School, and advice for our impending graduates. Each alumna/us will join us next week in celebrating their reunion and reconnecting with their classmates, teachers and friends on campus.
Thank you to Frederick “Rick” Peyser ’68, Loraine Hobausz ’83, and James D. “Jim” Shattuck ’58 for taking time to share your reflections of New Hampton School, its people, and its dedication to fostering the qualities of Meservey Medal.
What words of advice can you offer our Class of 2018?
Many of the challenges our world faces are unprecedented, yet the education you have received at New Hampton has provided you with powerful tools that you can apply to make a real difference for yourself and for our planet. Often these challenges seem overwhelming, and lead us to wonder what difference any one person can make. Don’t be discouraged, rather, stay focused on areas and opportunities that align with interests and your personal values, and give them everything you have. If you do, I have no doubt that you will be a change-maker who will make our world a better place.
The words of advice I can offer the Class of 2018 is to keep the momentum going into your college studies or chosen path, but most importantly be the friend and family member who can always be relied upon to help out. The journey after graduating from New Hampton will present you with many choices, challenges, hardships, and triumphs; be true to yourself, family and friends. Each day, enjoy who you are, what you do, and who you are with, that opportunity or moment may not present itself to you again! You have Husky pride and you are a 2018 graduate of New Hampton School, make a difference and stay connected to this wonderful learning institution as a proud alumna/us!
Embrace the four L’s: Listen, Love, Learn, and Laugh. You select the order! Here’s the detail without being preachy:
Listen. Whether at New Hampton School, post NHS, workplace, community, or home, now is the time to think critically about personal competencies and how to leverage them to your advantage. While “listening” is but one relevant behavior, it inevitably leads to meaningful collaboration and will make a difference as the decades fly by.
Love. Embrace it, go for it. Whatever “it” is. Some may call it passion, as in extraordinary caring for a cause, an idea, and a person. A love for academics will inevitably cultivate creative, independent learners. Similarly, a love for one’s work can help define personal and organizational accomplishment. Love what you do, at least most of the time!
Learn. Take the New Hampton School experience and elevate it to the next level. In doing so, recognize and build the behaviors that define your character. Knowing how to tell your story becomes an important differentiator whether applying to college, a job, building a business, and certainly in creating relationships. Appreciate what you’ve learned and how that learning experience impacts your ‘next step.’
Laugh. Seriously. Sense of humor? Got to have it, and it can be learned. Put humor into your life and find a way to laugh while knowing what isn’t funny. Laugh and the world laughs with you – most of the time! Can’t laugh? Go to a comedy club. Try laughter yoga. Laughter is a great form of stress relief – no kidding.
Why is it important for you to remain connected with New Hampton School?
New Hampton was an important part of my life and my education. Not only did I have the opportunity to learn from motivating teachers, including the best teacher in my entire educational career (Peter Sterling), but the community encouraged me to engage in a variety of activities that helped me grow personally. In and out of class, I developed many friendships that have stood the test of time. I am now looking forward to seeing many of my classmates and best friends at our 50th class reunion. I am still grateful for my experiences at New Hampton and I have stayed connected with the school to honor this, and more, to find ways to support the school’s efforts to provide other students with this same special opportunity.
It important for me to remain connected with New Hampton School because it reminds me of how fortunate I was to make the friends I did, it prepared me well for college which ultimately led to a very rewarding career which continues to this day. The breadth and scope of experiences at New Hampton were many and I treasure them dearly. I love to read Alumni emails, Hamptonia, and visit campus to see how this institution continues to thrive and graduate successful individuals who truly make a difference in today’s world. It is a great feeling to know that I too am a part of the New Hampton legacy which continues to thrive.
With a professional interest in helping organizations grow coupled with personal self-development, I look for the long-term benefit on both sides of that equation. New Hampton School was once borderline bankrupt, yet committed alumni, faculty, and friends of New Hampton School stayed connected to create and execute the strategy for today’s success.
While the easy answer is the cliché on ‘giving back,’ the real reason for staying connected is having a voice (no matter how small or seemingly insignificant) in change.
Alumni connected with New Hampton School do make a difference. Look at the demographics for the Class of 1958: All boys (well, most of the time!). Ninety-three percent from New England, three outliers (Iowa, Pennsylvania, and did I mention Texas?), and three classmates from outside the U.S.: Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Bermuda. Only by staying connected with New Hampton School can one help the institution grow to its current community of dedicated teachers and learners from over 32 different countries and states well beyond New England. Staying connected means listening to the School’s leaders, engaging in dialogue, understanding current and future student needs, donating dollars and time, and helping the administration, faculty, and students whenever one’s expertise and perspective may be needed.
How did it feel to be the Meservey Medal recipient at your NHS commencement?
As I look back, I realize that New Hampton School was the right place for me at precisely the right time. My parents were divorced when I was 11 years old, and I was living with my mother and sister. At my public high school I tended to apply myself in courses that were of interest to me, while I performed poorly in those that I found boring. I tended to sit toward the back of the classrooms that normally had between 25-30 students, always hoping not to be called upon by the teacher.
As a student at New Hampton, I could not hide, as classes generally had 6-10 students. I had a choice, I could either do the homework or be embarrassed. Being relatively timid, I went for the homework. I worked hard, and participated not only in sports, but in a broad variety of activities. My grades gradually improved, and by the end of my senior year I was near the top of my class.
When baccalaureate day arrived, I thought that there was a very outside chance that I could win a medal – perhaps either English or History. When both of these medals were awarded, I realized that I would leave New Hampton without this recognition, but grateful for all that I had learned and experienced. I could not have been more surprised when my name was announced as the winner of the last medal to be awarded: The Meservey Medal, the school’s highest honor.
I was stunned. I can remember T. Holmes Moore, Headmaster presenting me with the medal on the green in front of Meservey Hall. I also remember wanting to sit down as soon as he placed the ribbon with the three medals over my head. I started for my seat, when he said to me, “Wait Rick….let them cheer for you!” I was thrilled to receive this recognition, but being a shy person, I just wanted to sit down! While I was happy to have my work and efforts recognized, my overwhelming feeling at the time was sincere gratefulness for the opportunity to attend and engage myself in the New Hampton community. This gratefulness remains to this day.
When I received the Meservey Medal at graduation I was most surprised, honored and excited! The medal is symbolic of New Hampton School’s commitment to excellence in study, spirit, and sport. Throughout my four of years of study at NHS, I thoroughly enjoyed learning all facets of academics. The student to faculty ratio was small, promoting ample opportunities for questions and additional assistance from a great team of friendly and knowledgeable faculty.
The Husky spirit at NHS was tremendous! The bonds of friendships among the students, faculty and administration promoted school pride in all aspects of learning. Life on campus was enriched by many students from different cultures from all over the world. I was fortunate to play soccer, basketball, tennis, and softball. I loved every moment of it! Our sports teams traveled throughout New England and I made great friends. As a team player and captain, I learned the discipline of training, leadership skills, and a positive attitude to motivate others. Further, I developed a competitive inner drive to always do my best to not let my team or coach down. These skills and experiences helped prepare me for many personal and professional challenges and celebrations I continue to embrace daily.
I often look at and still cherish the Meservey Medal as a symbol of a lifelong commitment to school that helped me become the person I am today, I remain grateful and still humbled by this award. Thank you for this!
When the Meservey Medal came my way 60 years ago, I felt a combination of honor as well as, frankly, embarrassment at the time because so many of my 81 classmates at this ‘New Hampshire School for Boys’ were more deserving. After all, I was a public school kid from Texas who suddenly found himself immersed in an ‘independent’ school in New Hampshire at a cost of nearly $1,900 for tuition, room, and board. The notion of hard work, measuring academic performance, competing, participating in extracurricular activities, overcoming disappointments, and much more, all started as a build-up to the Meservey Medal. Only, I didn’t recognize it as such at the time.
So, too, was the notion of ‘study, sport, and spirit’ as modeled by leaders like then Executive Headmaster T. Holmes ‘Bud’ Moore and his indomitable wife Jinga, Headmaster Fred Smith and faculty members like Lou Gnerre, Joe Gauld, David Rice, Ed Madan, Ira and Alice Creelman, Lansing Bicknell, and Richard Trenholm. Those leaders, coupled with the entire student body at the time (182 in all), plus innocent bystanders living in New Hampton, Bristol, and nearby towns, really drove my ‘appreciation factor’ for the Meservey Medal – but only after I reflected on the relevance of those specific constituencies to the overall New Hampton experience.
Frederick “Rick” Peyser ’68
Rick Peyser is Senior Relationship Manager, Coffee & Cocoa for Lutheran World Relief, a non-profit organization that works with local partners to provide lasting solutions to poverty, injustice, and human suffering. Rick graduated from New Hampton School in 1968 and Denison University in 1972. Prior to his current role, he led Keurig Green Mountain’s Supply Chain Community Outreach efforts, where he worked for close to 27 years. Rick served as President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) the world’s largest coffee trade association, as a member of the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) Board of Directors for 6 years, and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Food4Farmers (a NGO he co-founded), Root Capital, The Coffee Trust, and Project Alianza. Rick co-authored “Brewing Change: Behind the Bean at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters” (2012), was instrumental in producing the video “After the Harvest,” and in convening The Coalition for Coffee Communities – comprised of coffee companies working pre-competitively to improve the quality of life for coffee farming families.
Loraine Houbausz ’83
Loraine Hobausz received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, graduating cum laude from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and a Master in Business Administration from Plymouth State University. Her career has spanned more twenty years in business development, renewable energy, manufacturing, grant management, higher education, and a non-profit community action program in New Hampshire. Her professional expertise includes budget management, grant administration, hiring and training, data analysis, enrollment management, academic advising, recruitment, admissions, community outreach, job placement, marketing communications, and facility operations. At present, she is a Career Counselor for Southern New Hampshire Services. Loraine is currently married to Laszlo Hobausz living in Manchester, NH with two daughters, Emily 13 and Mallory 10. Her hobbies include running, photography, and traveling.
James D. “Jim” Shattuck ’58
With deep experience in both corporate and entrepreneurial enterprise, Jim provides transition support, coaching, and retained search services for organizations and individuals. He worked for ExxonMobil Corporation in the 1970s and 1980s, Right Management Consultants in the 1990s, and started his own practice, Shattuck & Associates LLC, in 1996. Since then, he has helped hundreds of individuals transition successfully from one situation (college, corporate, and/or nonprofit) to another – in many cases simply by ‘working differently.’ Currently, Jim provides project leadership for the National Executive Service Corps – an organization that helps nonprofits with affordable business planning, staffing, and operations management.
After graduating from New Hampton School and Middlebury College, Jim served in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer and subsequently earned a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Vienna, Austria. Today, he champions the idea of national service – especially for young people (whether Military, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or other), and, to that end, is an active volunteer with American Corporate Partners (New York) and SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors. He has, over the years, also served on a number of boards, including Yellowstone Park Foundation, New Hampton School, Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, and Greenwich Emergency Medical Services.
Jim and his wife, Carol, live in Riverside, Connecticut.