Presented by Head of School Robert W. Hill III during The Williston Northampton School’s 172nd Convocation on September 14, 2012.
It is one of my greatest pleasures and honors to award faculty chairs—those named, honorary positions that come with a five-year stipend thanks to the incredible generosity of donors to the school. This year, we have two presentations. The first, the Hagedorn Family Faculty chair, is presented in absentia to Harris E. Thompson, member of the English Department since 1987.
The second faculty chair this afternoon takes on even greater significance, because it represents the inaugural award of a newly funded chair named after someone who is here with us. The Richard C. Gregory Faculty chair, made possible through the generosity of donors, some of whom are present, honors Mr. Gregory’s 43 years of teaching, advising, and dorm parenting. Mr. Gregory, whose company we still enjoy in the dining commons, is an accomplished musician and composer, and is legendary among decades of former Caterwaulers whom he led so successfully while they were students at Williston.
I would like to ask the person who wrote the following line to come forward:
“Dear Sir, I am a graduate student in the Music Department of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University…I should very much like to be placed in a full-time teaching position at a preparatory school somewhere in New England.”
Williston, indeed has been Greg Tuleja’s “somewhere in New England” since he wrote to then-headmaster Chris Corkery in 1983. You, of course, know Mr. Tuleja as our Academic Dean, varsity girls’ cross-country coach, ninth grade English teacher, and supreme flautist.
What you didn’t know is that Greg Tuleja is as close to the Renaissance man as you will ever meet—he holds a bachelor of science degree, a master’s degree in music, has been a professional musician. He began his career at Williston teaching music, is a published poet, and if that’s not enough, I learned from a letter in his illustrious file that he can also rebuild pianos.
Mr. Tuleja is, quite simply, a remarkable teacher, colleague, and school person. It is my enormous privilege to present Mr. Gregory Tuleja as the first recipient of the Richard C. Gregory Faculty chair.