Phillips Academy

Parent Bulletin

Phillips Academy Head of School Office
Rebecca Sykes, associate head of school

September 20, 2012

In Touch with…
John Palfrey, Head of School

It has been my great pleasure to take part in the opening of school ceremonies as one of Phillips Academy’s newest residents. My family and I moved into Phelps House in August, and I’ve officially been on the job since July 1. Each day I have enjoyed learning more about this extraordinary community. It’s been a wonderfully intense and fulfilling introduction, from the matriculation ceremony welcoming our newest students to the Vista Walk with the senior class; from the faculty convocation to our professional development session, which began a multi-dimensional conversation on connected learning.

It wasn’t until the year’s first All-School Meeting, however, that the many elements of Andover converged and I felt the true meaning of Big Blue pride. Student representatives carried the flags of their nations — 50 in all — into Cochran Chapel. Our senior-most teacher, Tom Cone (46 years at PA), led the faculty procession, followed by the Class of 2013. Their thunderous arrival could easily have been heard downtown. Their spirit is infectious!

My message to students that morning focused on the balance between tradition and innovation—about what we want to keep, and what we need to change—and about the role that each of us plays in that process over time. Phillips Academy has always been a place where tradition and values—non sibi, youth from every quarter, knowledge with goodness—matter a great deal. PA also is a place where innovation happens, where reform has happened in ways that are consistent with the school’s founding principles.

This balance between tradition and innovation has been a hallmark of Andover for generations. I hope today’s students see this as an exciting opportunity to build on Andover’s rich history and play an active role in its promising future. I look forward to our work together in the year ahead.

Trustees Invite you to Investiture this Sunday

For the 15th time in the school’s 234 years (and only the 6th time in the past 100 years) Phillips Academy will install a new head of school on Sunday, September 23, 2012. The program will begin promptly at 1:00 p.m. in front of Samuel Phillips Hall, followed by a reception in Flagstaff Courtyard. All members of the academy community are invited to take part in this exciting event. The trustees will be joined by guests from many schools and universities, and while this is not a required event, students who do not have other commitments are expected to attend. We look forward to a wonderful celebration of our new head of school, John G. Palfrey Jr.

Dedication of the William H. Brown 1934 Boathouse

Alumni and parents are cordially invited to the dedication of the William H. Brown 1934 Boathouse, and early morning row on Sunday, September 23. Shells will be leaving the docks periodically, beginning at 6:30 a.m. The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. A continental breakfast will be available.

The William H. Brown 1934 Boathouse, located at 620 Lowell Street in Methuen, Mass., is named in memory of the founder of Andover’s crew program, who passed away on November 17, 2010. Bill Brown also was an English instructor, dorm counselor, and parent of three PA alums.

Update Regarding Former Medical Director

As you know, the excitement of a new academic year has been tempered by the unthinkable circumstances surrounding the arrest of the academy’s former medical director, Dr. Richard Keller. I want to reiterate, on behalf of the entire Academy, that the safety and well-being of our students remains our highest priority. We will continue to share as much information as we can with the PA community as the situation continues to unfold. The school’s most recent statements regarding this matter may be found at online.

Dean of Students Paul Murphy ’84 has encouraged any student who is struggling with the news to reach out to a teacher, house counselor or coach. If you are concerned about your child for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact one of these adults, as well.

Among our next steps, the Board of Trustees and I, led by Trustee President Peter Currie ’74, are conducting a review of the school’s policies and procedures to make sure that we are doing everything possible to support and protect our students. The Phillips Academy administration undertook a review of these policies, in consultation with the academy’s legal counsel, last academic year; we used the United Educator’s Policy and Audit Guide for Protecting Children as a benchmark. While Mr. Currie and I are confident that the academy’s current policies and procedures meet the highest standard, we will continuously review and improve them for the benefit of the community and the institution.

– John Palfrey

A Reminder from the Dean of Students Office

If you will not be available at the emergency numbers listed on your child’s registration form at any time during the school year, please contact Claudia Scofield in the Dean of Students Office at or 978-749-4175.

PSPA Non Sibi Projects for Parents

Backpack drive for school children in the Middle East. PSPA is partnering with U.S. Marines working with schools in the Middle East to gather new backpacks and write letters to the students and the Marines. Parents may send backpacks, with a letter written in English (letters will be translated into the native language by PA students) prior to Non Sibi Day 2012 (October 6) or join us on campus on Non Sibi Day to write letters and package donations. Items should be mailed by October 6 to: Backpacks for Afghanistan, Alumni Affairs, c/o Phillips Academy Andover, 180 Main Street, Andover, MA 01810. To help us on Non Sibi Day, visit the backpack drive webpage. Questions? Contact Min Wang

Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity Triathlon. MV Habitat is sponsoring a Triathlon on Sunday, 9/30 and is looking for parent volunteers to help set up, staff, and clean up. Sign up today! Interested in competing in the triathlon? Visit the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity website.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, September 23

  • Dedication of the William H. Brown 1934 Boathouse, 9:00 a.m. (see article)
  • Investiture of John G. Palfrey Jr., 15th Head of School, 1:00 p.m. (see article)

Friday, September 28

  • CAMD Scholar Presentation: Sung Woo Hong ’13 presents “North Korean Political Prisoner Camps: An Examination of Politics and Human Rights,” 6:30 p.m., Kemper Auditorium

Sunday, September 30

  • Panel Discussion on “American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, de Kooning, and Their Circle, 1927–1942,” 2:00 p.m., Addison Gallery of American Art
  • Opening Reception for the Fall Exhibitions, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Addison Gallery of American Art

Wednesday, October 3

  • College Fair for PA students and their families. Representatives from 50 colleges and universities will be in the Borden Gym, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Please contact Karen Wakeling in the Counseling Office at or 978-749-4155 for more information.

Saturday, October 6

  • Non Sibi Day 2012
  • Sol y Canto, an internationally known Pan-Latin ensemble, Kemper Auditorium 7:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. For further information please contact the Music Department at (978)749-4260 or
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