Tribute to Dean Thad Seymour Presented by the

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Tribute to Dean Thad Seymour Presented by the Powered By Docstoc
					Memories for
Dean Seymour

     Presented by the

  Class of 1962’s 70th Birthday Celebration
During much of the four years that the Class of 1962 spent at
Dartmouth College, Dean Thaddeus Seymour was a visible and
positive presence on the Campus. Fortunately, he has remained so
in our lives since graduation through his attendance and wonderful
speeches at a number of the Class of 1962’s reunions and the Class
Birthday parties, as well as in our collective reflections about the
days that we all spent on the Hanover Plain.

The contents of this book of Memories represent a modest
demonstration of the great affection that Class members have for
Dean Seymour and provide a snapshot of the very direct impact that
he had on many of our lives. Reading my Classmates’ submissions
to this collection of Memories has left me impressed and moved by
the sensitive, practical and intelligent way in which Dean Seymour
helped assure that I and a number of my Classmates would have the
life-changing experience of obtaining a liberal arts education at
Dartmouth College.

Gay and I want to express our appreciation to all those who
contributed to this collection of memories and memorabilia, with
special thanks to Richard Hannah and our daughter, Jenny, who put
all the pieces together into this book of Memories.

                      Allan & Gay Weeks
David Bergman
  As a philosophy major, during our Junior year, I took a most
  interesting class on Aristotelian Thomism (focusing on the
  philosophical proofs of God’s existence) at the home of the
  professor, a brilliant and charismatic Jesuit priest, Father Thomas
  Purcell, who awarded me a glowing, personal citation for my
  participation in his class. I didn’t know about the “citation report”
  until that summer (’61), when back home on Long Island, my mother
  excitedly brought me a letter from Dean Seymour acknowledging
  and quoting in its entirety the commendation from Fr. Purcell. I
  immediately asked her if I could have the letter laminated and
  framed. She smiled, said “of course,” and added: “I’d want to
  memorialize it too if I were a Jewish student who’d just received
  such a fabulous compliment from an outstanding Catholic priest and
  academician.” To which I responded: “Ma, I want to save it ‘cause
  Thad signed it.”
Peter Brink

  When I was a Freshman and a bit overwhelmed by Dartmouth, I had
  the chance to keep my brother's Ford Thunderbird for the year. Not
  focusing on the rule against Freshman keeping cars, I arranged a
  place for it. At some point in the year I received a rather wonderful
  letter from Dean Seymour pointing out that I was breaking the rule,
  but at the same time phrasing it so beautifully - something like, we
  don't expect our better students to cut corners in this way. The
  letter left me feeling keen admiration and gratitude to the Dean and
  was indicative of his wise and sensitive handling of our young
  souls. Somewhere in there I ended up totaling the Thunderbird
  trying to keep up with a fraternity brother as we drove on icy roads
  to a women's college. (Hmmm.)
Alan Dynner
 How I Was Saved by Thad Seymour

   As a high school student, I couldn’t wait to escape what I regarded
   as the boring climate and topography and non-existent cultural and
   intellectual life in Coral Gables, Florida. So I chose to attend
   Dartmouth and was thrilled in my Freshman year by the mountains,
   snow, winter sports, and multiple seasons, and most of all by my
   stimulating courses, professors and classmates. But in May my
   father came to Hanover to tell me that his business had failed and he
   could no longer afford the Dartmouth tuition and expenses. “Either
   you get a scholarship, or we’ll have to pack up and go home, and
   you’ll have to transfer to the University of Florida,” he said. Terribly
   upset, I went to see Dean Seymour, told him the bad news, and went
   back to the dorm to fill out the scholarship application with my dad.
   I thought it was hopeless, since the application said that a decision
   from the College would normally take four to six weeks.
Alan Dynner continued…

     My dad stayed for the weekend to help me pack. On Monday I got a
     phone call from Dean Seymour. His words were, “Alan, you’re not
     going anywhere! You’re getting a scholarship and loan.” I was
     ecstatic, knowing that I could stay at Dartmouth. Before he went
     home that day, my dad took me to Balfours and bought me the gold
     Dartmouth signet ring, engraved with my name and class, which I
     still proudly wear.
Jim Hale
                      FREELOADING WITH THAD

 It was early in our freshman year that we (or some undefined subset
 of us) were all invited to a hors d’oeuvres party at some fancy
 location (that has long slipped my mind). Dean Thad Seymour was
 hosting (or was it in his honor?).

 In any event, it didn’t take me long to angle my way up to a table set
 with some of the best-looking hors d’oeuvres I had ever seen. Up
 until that occasion, like all good freshmen I had subsisted on Thayer
 food, so it seemed I had died and gone to culinary heaven.

 After wolfing down as many items as I could reasonably digest at
 one time, it occurred to me that it was a crying shame that some of
 the remaining morsels would be discarded at the end of the evening.

 Remembering my Mother’s admonition that something dire would
 happen to starving children in India (or somewhere) if I didn’t clean
Jim Hale continued . . .

      my plate, it seemed only fitting that I would take a few items ‘for the
      road.’ Looking furtively around it seemed I could pilfer some of the
      tableful without being detected.

      I was wrong. Just as I was putting a handful into my sports coat
      pocket (yes, the event was that fancy), I looked up and there across
      the table was Dean Thad observing everything I was doing.

      At that moment it flashed through my mind that my short-lived
      career at Dartmouth may have ended, or that I would end up on
      double secret probation. But at that same moment, despite the
      terror that gripped me, I observed a saving grace – Dean That was
      stuffing his pockets too!

      We both grinned at each other and went about our separate ways.
      Both of us survived that moment, and without a word said between
      us, we knew that one of those bonds that make the Dartmouth
      experience so special had just been formed.
Roy Halstead
  There are not many people in my life of whom I could say their
  presence truly altered my life. Thad, in 1960, was one of those

  It was spring of our Sophomore year and I was floundering in all
  areas. Thad and I had several meetings and I was heading into
  finals with a low E in quantum mechanics, a higher E in a math
  course and a D in a third course. Dartmouth engineering was not
  made for me, and what’s more, my interests in the sailing team,
  fraternity life, dating, etc. were not helping either. I was truly a flunk
  out candidate.

  Then Thad, two weeks before finals, came up with his classic out of
  the box thinking. “Roy, why don’t you just withdraw? If you
  withdraw there will be no negative marks on your record and you
  can decide when you want to come back without asking anyone for
Roy Halstead continued…

     readmission.” I think it took me about five minutes to agree to the
     strategic retreat even though it meant a lot of pressure at home for
     having wasted a semester.

     The rest is history. Fifteen months went by very quickly. Three
     months as second assistant construction superintendent on a major
     NYC housing project, six months in the Marine Corps active duty,
     and three months as an assistant superintendent on a San
     Francisco bay area construction project.

     Under Thad’s tutelage I was back as a full fledged Junior in the fall
     of 1961. Tried Dartmouth civil engineering one more semester but
     clearly we were not meant for each other! Thanks again to
     innovative thinking from Thad I was able to change my major to
     economics and even came within one decimal point from graduating
     cum laude in June 1963.
Roy Halstead continued…

     Thad Seymour changed what could have been a career ending
     catastrophe into a minor hiccup in my life’s evolution. Even the
     hiccup was fruitful. How many graduates had a full six months of
     practical management experience plus were proud to have
     completed their active duty obligation?

     I will be forever thankful to Thad for having been the right man, in
     the right place at the right time.
Richard Hannah
 The Susie Incident

    Thad Seymour convened all of the Freshmen and Sophomores one
    evening in Webster Hall. He had spoken with the Juniors and
    Seniors the night before. The newspapers were full of stories about
    the huge black eye Yale had received because of the Susie Incident.
    It seems there was this promiscuous woman who had "entertained"
    Yale students in a most intimate way in Yale University dorm rooms.
    She looked and acted older than her sixteen years. She was under
    the age of consent and Yale was in very big trouble. The Police and
    DAs were circling. The Yale administration was in siege mentality.

    Dean of Students Thad explained, "If any Dartmouth student is
    caught having sexual intercourse with a woman in a Dartmouth
    building he will be expelled." There was a long pause. Thad
    continued "When I explained this to the Juniors and Seniors last
    night the room became very quiet…About as quiet as it is right
Richard Hannah continued…


     I recall the tremendous presence of Dean Seymour when he spoke
     with us.
Colin E. Harley

 I was lured to Dartmouth--a school I had never heard of in Laurens,
 S.C.--by Bob Blackmun's carefully planned introduction, the
 highlight of which was meeting with this 6'6" dynamo of an English
 professor wearing colorful suspenders and crushing my hand in his
 big bear paw. As a future English major, I was wowed by Thad and
 left with an indelible impression of a school with nothing but
 charismatic professors. I guess I was pretty tame during my four
 years there because I had very little contact with Thad after that.
Charles Henderson

 Unfortunately, I got to know Dean Thad quite well, since my
 academic achievements were little. After he coached me on how to
 finish school, at graduation, he handed me my diploma and said,
 “Well, Charlie, we made it!!!” And he made it possible.
Michael Howard
  A Recollection of Thad Seymour

  Thad must have been in his job for a little while, since we all started
  at the same time and you couldn't join a fraternity until Sophomore
  year. In any case, he came around to DU one evening for a
  question-and-answer séance. Almost inevitably the conversation
  got around to social issues. And girls. And the restrictions. So
  Thad began to talk about what a difficult line he had to tread, with
  myriad expectations related to rules, the administration, the role of
  the college as in loco parentis. And then at the end, he blurted out:
  "Sometimes it seems like you can hear bedsprings squeaking all
  over campus!“

  I've thought about what made this memorable, and concluded that it
  contained essential elements of what has kept our class so
  connected with Thad over all these years. He wasn’t stuffy. He
  spoke with what seemed like incredible candor for someone
Michael Howard continued…

       from the administration. He made us feel as though we were all
       in this together, with responsibilities that were sometimes in
       synch and sometimes not. He talked to us as though we were
       adults (or at least headed in that direction).

       Looking back on it, I'm sure we had no real concept of how
       young he was. What wonderful days!
Eric Mathies

  I remember the afternoon conversations in Thad's office during my
  Sophomore year trying to decide how to get Eric through his
  sequential science requirement (in the end it was waived), and the
  subject turned to joining the Navy for a couple of years, probably
  not unique to me. But the Navy didn't happen then, although it did
  after law school. Some years after graduation Thad became
  president of Rollins College in Winter Park, and Judy and I attended
  a Dartmouth seminar that Rollins was sponsoring, and at the
  receiving line for the reception following, Thad remarked that he well
  remembered what he called "those long afternoon meetings in my
  office". Now, I prefer to think that I was not that memorable and the
  meetings were not that long, and that Thad had a list of the
  attendees and had prepared comments, but then, who knows?

  Another memory is that of asking Thad to write a letter of
  recommendation for an exchange program in Europe that I did
  during law school. The letter was sealed and signed on the flap (so I
  couldn't open it), but after the program ended the sponsor sent back
  to me the entire file, and there was Thad's letter. Not as
  complimentary as I would have liked....but remarkably on target. (I
Eric Mathies continued…

     still have the letter.) Some years after that I called Thad at Rollins
     when our son, who had missed the application deadline, wanted to
     apply. Thad, of course, said to send the application along to his
     attention (Marc was admitted, did well and graduated). What a guy!
Jim Murar
                   The Great Caper in Thayer Hall

 Three Freshmen sat one night in the dorm talking about critical
 thinking and many more fun things. One said it would really be
 great if we could enjoy a beer in Thayer Hall with dinner. The
Jim Murar continued…

     others chimed “let’s think about that” and the idea behind the great
     beer in the milk container caper was hatched. How such an event
     could be carried out without the perpetrators being caught and
     hauled into Dean Thad’s office was debated. It was high risk as all
     three were on scholarship but the challenge was too exhilarating to
     pass up.

     Precise and meticulous planning ensued. The comings and goings
     of full and empty 10 gallon milk cans were tracked. It was
     determined that control over the number of empty cans sent back to
     the dairy was lax. The schedules of the DDA workers were analyzed
     to determine who replaced the empty milk cans with full ones.

     Funding for such a caper was another issue given the limited
     financial resources of the three but they believed fellow dorm mates
     would contribute in effect to a blind pool.
Jim Murar continued…

     The stars aligned and two of the three were scheduled for a dinner
     shift while the third was not on for that specific night. Quick action
     was required. Donations had been received from dorm mates to
     fund a truly unique opportunity. Enough money was raised to head
     off to Tanzi’s to acquire the beer. Carting huge numbers of quart
     bottles of beer back to Brown Hall was a Herculean task but no
     greater than hijacking a 10 gallon empty milk can and
     inconspicuously carting it off to Brown. So far so good -- no
     suspicions aroused. The milk can was filled with cheap beer (only
     about half full as that was all the beer that could be afforded).

     Getting it back into Thayer was quite a trick and keeping track of its
     location was the responsibility of the insiders.
Jim Murar continued…

     At the agreed upon time one of the two inserted the can into the milk
     dispenser with the other watching. To ensure anonymity the one
     placing the can appeared to cut the plastic tube to allow the milk to
     flow as that was the required procedure. The second insider
     signaled to the outsider who approached the dispenser to refill his
     milk glass. Upon filling his glass he exclaimed “My God, it’s beer
     not milk!” Chaos ensued as the Freshmen in the dining hall rushed
     to the dispenser to get their glasses of beer. The DDA lady standing
     next to the milk dispenser had no idea what had just happened but
     was aghast at what she was seeing.

     Alas the beer was flat but that wasn’t the point anyway.

     The three slipped back into their normal routine and marveled with
     the other Freshman at the guys who had pulled this off. There was
     no back patting or taking credit but only self fulfillment of having
     accomplished their goal and yet remaining anonymous.
Jim Murar continued…

     No - they were never called into Dean Thad's office.

     Only Dean Thad knows if they truly remained unidentified or whether
     he recognized “no harm – no foul” and saluted their ingenuity by
     looking the other way.

                  The Three
Marsh Potterton
  I entered Dartmouth through the White River train depot with Future
  Doctors of America, Benjamin S. Vogel and Stephen M. Serlin, at the
  ripe old age of 17.

  I had never been away from home without my parents for one night
  in my entire life.

  I was determined to begin life's journey on my own. I would not let
  my parents drive me to Hanover from north Joisey. I took the train
  from Grand Central with my foot locker.

  My hubris lasted one week!

  I went to see Dean Seymour to inform him that I was terminally home
  sick, and would leave the campus immediately.
Marsh "Spider" Potterton continued…

     The funny part is that my appointment was the Monday morning
     after the Saturday night riot and food fight of 1958. As I entered
     Thad's office, I stopped about twenty feet from his desk. He was
     standing behind the desk.

     Without greeting me, he picked up a bullhorn on that desk, and, at
     maximum volume, blasted: "THE NEXT GUY THAT THROWS ANY

     Then he says to me: "How did you like that?”

     That was my introduction to the Dean of Men at Dartmouth College.
Roy Schoen

  My relationship with Dean Seymour took root when I was in his last
  Freshman English class. I'll never forget how I tested his patience
  that trimester as he coaxed me away from what he called my "Dear
  Grandma" themes and tried to tease me into creating thoughts that
  were logical, concise and cohesive. My poor progress led him to
  suggest that I rethink my dream of becoming a writer; so I settled on
  medicine as a career.

  For that and other reasons I owe him a great deal of gratitude. To
  me he was the Best at Dartmouth. And, although those were some
  fuzzy years for me, he still stands out clearly.
Dave Usher

 Sadly, Dave is no longer with us, but as was recalled in his eulogy,
 Dave had cause to meet with the Dean quite frequently. As
 evidenced by the fact that he kept the following letter from Dean
 Seymour stapled to the inside cover of his Book of Lies, it is not
 difficult to imagine that he may have wanted to submit it as a
 cherished memory.
John Walters

  During the first two weeks into our senior year, I got involved in two
  unfortunate "trashing" events at a couple of fraternity houses,
  together with some fraternity brothers and other social deviants.
  Unknown to me, both fraternities sent notes of protest to the Dean's
  Office, in each case singling me out as being among the riff raff
  causing the problems ("John Walters '62 was one" is how they
  referred to me in their letters, which Thad read to me). Based on my
  somewhat checkered record of social conduct over my first three
  years, which had included two or three probation sentences, Dean
  Seymour had reached his tolerance level, and summoned me in to
  see him.

  He proceeded to tell me that I had finally gone too far, and would
  have to leave school for a couple of years, after which I would be
  eligible to return. I pleaded my case, noting the various
  responsibilities I had for my Senior year, including being House VP,
  Dragon VP and Lacrosse Captain. Understandably, Thad was not
  swayed by any of this, and again said I would have to leave.
John Walters continued…

     Grasping for straws, I blurted out that I had been dating my
     girlfriend since 8th grade, and that we had planned to get married
     right after graduation. As he stared at me, trying to figure out the
     possible relevance of that expectation, I suggested to him that I
     would be willing to get married right away, the concept being that if
     the Dean allowed me to stay in school, Nancy would be a sobering
     influence on me, and I would manage to stay out of his hair and line
     of fire.

     Thad just continued to stare at me, as if I had lost my mind, then
     suddenly rose out of his chair, leaned across his desk, shook my
     hand, and said "If you do that, I'll let you stay". That was in mid-
     October, 1961. Nancy and I got married on December 23, moved
     into Sachem (where all the other married student wives couldn't
     figure out why she wasn't pregnant), and I somehow managed to
     stay (relatively) clean until graduation.

     As a result, I was - and remain - incredibly grateful for Thad's mercy.
     Needless to say, my life would have been considerably different if I
     had been forced to leave school, got drafted, etc.
Allan Weeks

  My fond memories of Dean Seymour begin with Freshman English. I
  think that he was the tallest and biggest man that I had ever seen. In
  addition, his blue button-down shirts and tweedy sport coats with
  leather patches on the sleeves made him the epitome of a college
  English professor in my somewhat parochial eyes. Unfortunately,
  with the exception of the Bible, I do not remember anything about
  the course’s curriculum. But I do know that I was shocked that we
  would be studying the Bible in a college English class, because I
  thought the study of the Bible was applicable primarily to Sunday
  school or church services. It is a tribute to his teaching skills that I
  acquired a deep understanding of the Bible’s central place in the
  development of English-language literature.

  As a consequence of my various failures during the Sophomore
  year, including Chemistry, I commenced a serious relationship with
  Dean Seymour. Basically, I had my teenage rebellion during that
  year, which took the form of a strong desire to leave the soft
  intellectual environment of Dartmouth College and engage in an
Allan Weeks continued…

     activity that required hard physical work. The way things were
     going, I had decided that I wanted to drop out of school, spend my
     Junior year in Alaska working on an offshore oil drilling rig and earn
     some real money.

     My series of meetings with Dean Seymour during that year
     culminated with a meeting in the Spring that included my parents.
     As he was able to accomplish with so many of our Classmates,
     during the meeting Dean Seymour addressed me and the oil drilling
     adventure situation by artfully telling me and my parents about the
     tough environment in which I would be working and the extreme
     dangers to which I routinely would be exposed while working on the
     drilling rig’s icy floor, including death, lost fingers and other
     appendages, and severe burns. So, I came back after the summer
     vacation and dug in.

     And when Dean Seymour handed me the Diploma, he said: “Well,
     Allan, we made it”! I have a mental picture of that moment that will
     never fade.
John Wilkinson
  I did not get to know Dean Thad personally because I did not get
  caught in what now seem like two minor transgressions. The first
  and more egregious was spending a lot of time during spring term of
  our Freshman year at the AD house rehearsing the brotherhood for
  their hums competition, which they actually performed fairly well. (I
  lived next door to an AD who recruited my modest musical talent
  into that den of iniquity.) In addition to being out of bounds as a
  Freshman in a fraternity house, I had my first, second, third and
  more drinks on one of those rehearsal nights. In the midst of their
  cheering me on to consume more, I tore off ALL my clothes and
  headed back to my room stark ass naked. Instead of heading into
  the dorm, I started growling like a bear behind Topliff, which you
  may recall was also the front door to the campus police. I am
  certain that had I been caught, I would have disappointed Dean Thad
  almost as much as it would have my placard-wielding WCTU mother.

  The other, was masquerading as Bill Hayes' father during Freshman
  Father's weekend. We went to all of the events as father and son
John Wilkinson continued…

     and it was not until we were standing in front of the weekend
     banner, when the cameraman laughed out loud and with a wry smile
     said "Well, well, well, what have we here? That is some kind of
     father". I think both Dean Thad and my mother would have enjoyed
     that little prank.

     I only regret I did not get to know him better: Those of you who did,
     know him as a great guy who was one of us. It is a pity that our
     good friend Michael Coffield is not still with us because he more
     than anyone I know loved Dean Thad and would fill the book with
     wonderful stories, embellished with the Coffield verve.
    No memory book would be complete without the inclusion of the
    following unforgettable additions:

   Dave Usher Eulogy

   25th Reunion Letter from Dean Seymour

   Sachem Oration

   Class of 1962 65th Birthday Celebration, New Orleans, February 16,
    2005, John Walters’ Introduction for Dean Seymour

   Campus Building
                       David Preston Usher

Dave Usher, one of the more memorable members of the Dartmouth
Class of 1962, was born December 7, 1939 and left us suddenly
March 15, 1997 in a tragic boating accident on Long Island Sound.

Raised as an only child in Ohio, Dave came to Dartmouth after Bob
Blackman out-recruited Woody Hayes and Ohio State. An
outstanding two-way end for the Big Green football team, Dave also
took up lacrosse and became a ferocious All-Ivy defenseman with a
knack for inciting bench-clearing brawls at the hint of a perceived
insult. A Sociology major with a seemingly incongruous passion for
art, Dave spent a lot of time road-tripping with his Phi Gamma Delta
fraternity brothers until Gail Russell stole his heart during his Junior
year. Their 1961 wedding produced what may have been the first ’62
child born post-graduation: Elizabeth arrived in mid-June, followed
by Scott, Kim and Chris.

Prior to his domestication, Dave was a frequent visitor to the Dean’s
Office in Parkhurst. His escapades culminated in a classic note
penned by Dean Thaddeus Seymour, found stapled to the inside
cover of Dave’s Book of Lies, a bawdy and somewhat obscene log of
events he kept during his Junior year living off-campus with some of
his enlightened fraternity brothers. His son Scott presented the
Book to John Walters, a lacrosse teammate of Dave’s and Godfather
of his daughter Liz, after Dave’s tragic accident, believing it should
be retained by the Class. Thad wrote:
     Dear Dave:

     A few days have gone by now without your name on a police
     report, so I can only assume that you have been out of town.
     Ever since your fight in the fraternity house last fall, I have had
     a growing apprehension about your instinct to get into trouble.
     I hope you will make an appointment to see me and to discuss
     such matters.

     Sincerely yours,
     Thaddeus Seymour                             January 17, 1961

Dave cherished that letter.

Following graduation, Dave turned his energies to a four-year tour of
duty with the United States Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam as a
company commander. Despite receiving decorations for valor
during his tour of service, Dave recoiled at the realities of combat he
discovered, and his letters home portrayed a man who came to
appreciate the sanctity of life, a man who gained composure under
pressure and who developed an ability to define what truly was a
problem and what obviously was not. Dave quickly learned the
importance of surrounding yourself with people who are better at
what they do than you, a lesson which later served him well in
business. As Dave observed: “You don’t need to know how to
operate the artillery. All you need to know is how to call it in.”
Having risen to the rank of captain, Dave resigned his commission
to accept a sales position with Domtar Pulp and Paper, a leading
Canadian paper company. While working for Domtar in New York
City, Dave attended Columbia’s Graduate School of Business
Administration. An MBA project calling for the creation of a
business plan for a hypothetical start-up company rekindled Dave’s
interest in art. He developed the concept of a limited-edition art
print company, which subsequently resulted in the founding of The
Greenwich Workshop, a leader in the art publishing business. Dave
commissioned a painting of the Dartmouth Green entitled “Carnival
Capers” for our 20th Reunion, prints of which were signed by noted
artist Charles Wysocki and President David McLaughlin and hang on
the wall of several classmates.

Due to his corporate philosophy of quality, innovation and
service, Dave was widely regarded as a leader in the art publishing
business. He was an avid sport fisherman, tracking salt water shark,
marlin and other game fish. While he traveled extensively on
business, Dave also made numerous trips that took him on safari in
Africa, bungee jumping in Australia, exploring the Alaskan
wilderness and backpacking into remote sections of U.S. national

Dave was one of a kind, uniquely molded by his experiences as a
Dartmouth ‘62.
                Introduction for Dean Seymour

I want you all to think back 45 years to fall term of our Sophomore
year. We had survived Freshman year, with the food fight in
Thayer and the day a keg of beer mysteriously showed up in one of
the milk machines. Rudy LaRusso, Chuck Kaufman, Walt
Sosnowski, Gary Vandeweghe, et al. win the Ivy B-ball title and go
to the NCAAs.

And now comes Sophomore fall: fraternity rushing for most of us.
We can finally drink without looking over our shoulders. All-Ivy
quarterback Bill Gundy leads the Big Green football team while
brother Dave shows humility as a lowly Beta pledge (along with
brothers Beebe, Bradford and Martindale, among others here

In addition, a new Dean of Students emerges in Parkhurst:
Thaddeus Seymour, a/k/a Thad the Dad. We sort of knew him as
an English Prof. and crew coach; that distinctive bouncing gait as
he walked down North Main Street for lunch in the middle of a
winter storm, with only a scarf to keep him warm. But how many of
us know who this remarkable person really is? Let’s take a look:

Raised in New York, the son of Whitney North Seymour, prominent
attorney and one-time ABA President.
Prepped at Kent School before heading off to Princeton (hey -
everyone’s entitled to at least one mistake in life).

This one has a happy ending, though. Thad left Princeton after two
years. He had decided he was going to marry Polly, but Princeton’s
archaic regulations prohibited married undergraduates, so he
moved on. That’s called Polly trumps Princeton.

By the way, imagine the impact on ’62 if we had to deal with that
regulation at Dartmouth:
     No Jim Hale, an outstanding scholar and future Supreme Court
     clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren
     No Bill Shanahan, captain of our basketball team
     No Dave Usher, one of ‘62’s most colorful and maniacal
     And many more

Thad participated in the Olympic Rowing Trials in 1948, his boat
finishing third to the eventual gold medal winner.

He transferred to Berkeley, graduating in 1950.

He then went on to get a Masters and PhD in 18th Century English
Literature from UNC Chapel Hill.
He came to Dartmouth in 1954 as a member of the English
Department, and became an Assistant Professor in ’58. He
served as a fraternity advisor and faculty dorm advisor,
coached the Rowing Club for three years and later became
Chairman of the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing.

Named Dean of the College in 1959. That’s where we
come into the picture.

Fast-forwarding for a minute, in August 1969 he was
named President of Wabash College, and Polly and their
two sons (Thad, Sam) and three daughters (Elizabeth,
Mary Duffie and Abigail) headed out to Crawfordsville,

Thad proved to be an enormously successful fund raiser
at Wabash, heading up what the NY Times cited as “the
most successful small college campaign in the annals of
higher education”, and he tripled the college’s endowment
during his tenure. He brought stability to a school that
had gone through five presidents in six years prior to his

He also cultivated his real passion - performing magic
tricks and doing magic shows for students. By the way,
Thad has been a card-carrying member of the International
Brotherhood of Magicians since his days at Dartmouth,
and that passion continues to the present.

In March 1978 he was named President of Rollins College in Winter
Park, Florida. After 25 years of harsh New England and Indiana
winters, he finally saw the light.

He currently serves as President Emeritus and still teaches an
English Seminar on a regular basis - though he’s on sabbatical this
term so that he could be here with us!

Thad did a masterful job at improving the academic reputation of
Rollins, recognizing early on that the key to survival for small
independent colleges was academic excellence, as well as a
commitment to “total education”, both in the classroom and outside.

An interesting sidelight: after a few years at Rollins Thad started
getting calls from some of his former Dartmouth students, who had
a son or daughter applying to Rollins, asking if he could put in a
good word for them. Thad would collect their resumes in a file and
walk across campus each spring to negotiate with the Dean of
Admissions on their behalf. Rumor is that he had a pretty good
success rate.
If you stop to think about it, it’s somewhat ironic that we still call him
Dean Seymour - an unintended slight for someone who has been
“President Seymour” for well over a third of a century.

As Paul Harvey would say: “Now you know the rest of the story”.

A great friend to talk to when things weren’t going too well - his door
was always open for us.

He consistently found a way to find sunshine in the midst of some of
the darker events going on around the campus, especially in the late
‘60s, when students conducted campus protests, sit-ins and
takeovers. Thad never lost his sense of humor, even while he was
being physically removed from his Parkhurst office during a student

However, he was also an intimidating and foreboding personality to
deal when you were summoned to come see him for whatever
reason. For example, and although I alluded to this letter at a prior
’62 mini-reunion at the DOC Cabin, I’d like to share it again with you.
It was found stapled to the inside cover of Dave Usher’s Book of
Lies, a somewhat bawdy and occasionally obscene log of events he
kept during his Junior year living off-campus with some of his
enlightened Phi Gam fraternity brothers, including Andy Zigelis, Ivy
John Roth, Red Knowlton and Tom Magenau. His son Scott
presented the Book to me after Dave’s tragic accident, believing it
should be retained by the Class.
     January 17, 1961

     Dear Dave:

     A few days have gone by now without your name on a police
     report, so I can only assume that you have been out of town.
     Ever since your fight in the fraternity house last fall, I have had
     a growing apprehension about your instinct to get into trouble.
     I hope you will make an appointment to see me and to discuss
     such matters.

     Sincerely yours,
     Thaddeus Seymour

I can personally attest to the fact that Thad straightened me out,
saving me from banishment, for which Nancy and I will be eternally
grateful, and I know there are others in this room who can make the
same statement.

He has had an enormous influence on all of us, collectively, and it’s
a privilege and my pleasure to ask him to come up and “talk to his

Our friend for life: Thad the Dad.

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