It is with a deep sadness that I report the passing of longtime former faculty member Paul Luikart this past weekend after his long battle with cancer.
As many of you may know, Paul officially retired from Williston at the end of the 2021 academic year, following remote work during the heart of the pandemic. At last year’s year-end faculty and staff celebration, Jen Fulcher captured the breadth of his legacy, built from a career at Williston that began in 1997, teaching science in both the upper and middle schools and coaching judo for many years. As she said, “Paul’s passion for science and teaching are what got him out of bed every morning. No matter what the day before threw at him, he would make his way across campus to the Middle School. He had to be there to show those kids how amazing and fun life and science are.”
In his subject area, chemistry, Paul was encyclopedic, but his interests and life experience revealed a Renaissance scholar’s breadth of knowledge, and he was an absolutely devoted mentor to his students and advisees. A Vermonter to the core, Paul’s presence on campus was unmistakable and it did not take much to elicit his broad smile by asking him about a canoe trip or fishing expedition.
For most of the past decade, Paul taught exclusively in Whitaker-Bement, and so there are many current upper school day students who will have known him well and seen him teach despite days of obvious discomfort. As former Dean of Faculty Peter Valine stated so succinctly, “It was a privilege to know Paul and always inspiring to watch him teach.”
We will post a full obituary when one becomes available. In the meantime, I know I speak for so many of his friends, colleagues, and former students in saying that all of Williston extends our deepest sympathy and support to his daughter Bella ’16 and to Paul’s extended family.
Robert W. Hill III, P’15, ’19
Head of School