Class of 1972 gift honors Board of Trustees President Jim Pierce ’72, P’08
It was a moment 50 years in the making when Guy and the Greasers, a band formed in the fall of 1971 by Chris Swensen '72 and Rich Hackel '72, took the stage in the Peter Marshall French Student Center to a crowd of classmates and fellow alumni. “What a way to kick off Reunion Weekend!” said Reunion Committee Member Peter Conway '72.
Planning for their 50th Reunion began two years ago. With COVID spreading across the country, Reunion Committee members Hal Curtis '72 and Jim Tikellis '72 focused their efforts first on building attendance at the event—led by the outreach of Paul Commito ’72—and then turned to fundraising. “It picked up momentum during the lockdown. Feeling bizarre, I sent an email to our class to share some of my thoughts and it started a trove of dialogue—the 50th was on our minds,” said Class Secretary George Freimarck '72.
Early on, the group reached consensus on the purpose of their class gift—honoring Board President Jim Pierce ’72, P’08 by supporting a project that was important to him: the Bill ’67 and Peter ’71 Alfond Coastal Research Center. The facility’s aquatic laboratory, which will draw water from the Parker River, will be named in honor of Pierce.
Curtis said, “A member of the class of 1967 shared with me what an exceptional moment it was when they honored a classmate with their 50th reunion gift. A transformational new building needing funding and an outstanding leader in our class— when you put those together it was an easy idea for everyone to get behind.”
Before dinner on Saturday, June 11, the class presented their gift to the Academy—to the surprise of Pierce. Peter Franklin ’72 remarked that evening, “Jim has always been a leader. He is a forthright, fun, capable guy—true now and back when we were students. He is an extraordinary classmate.”