During assembly on Friday, October 28, the founders, the namesake and almost half of the recipients of the Eric P. Newman Prize were on hand to celebrate the prize’s 25th anniversary, which gives a JBS junior the opportunity to meet with a prominent American of his or her choice.
Established in 1992, the Newman Prize was initiated by Mark Vittert ’65 and named for Eric Newman ‘28. Newman is a noted attorney and internationally renowned numismatist. His desire to explore everything, along with his passionate interests, timeless energy, and inquiring mind, model the qualities this prize is intended to honor.
During assembly, Vittert said the selection criteria center on character, decency and kindness.
Mr. Abbott introduced all recipients – those who were at assembly and those who weren’t – and three spoke: Julia Macias ’93, the first recipient, who met poet/author Maya Angelou; Tom Sly ’96, who met Maestro Gilbert Levine; and Annessa Blackmun ’98, who was a 7th grader when Julia won and decided that she would be the “black Julia Macias” … Annessa met with Myrlie Evers-Williams, chair of the NAACP.
Julia said, “It was an amazing lesson in how we carry ourselves. Even at the height of success and notoriety, she [Maya Angelou] was humble and generous. She took time out to be present with me, listen to my stories. Take me seriously.”
Tom pointed out that the application process for the Newman Prize helps everyone think about what’s important to them and puts an enormous responsibility on the winners to share the story of their visits with the JBS community.
Annessa said she chose Myrlie Evers-Williams, who after her husband’s murder, picked up the pieces and forged on to make an impact.
All three recipients expressed gratitude to Burroughs for helping them become who they are today. Annessa said, ”This is a magical place where you become ‘dot, dot, dot’ – where you learn all of the skills you’ll need to fill your dreams.”
At the end of the assembly, Mr. Abbott recognized Mr. Newman who was a student at JBS when the doors opened in 1923. Now 105, Mr. Newman has served and supported Burroughs in many capacities, including serving on the school’s investment committee from 1979 to 2012. Mr. Abbott told the students that Mr. Newman and the Newman-Edison family have “ignited the work we are doing on the [new science, technology, engineering and research] building. No single gift to the school has ever been larger. [And] buoyed by that amazing support, we know that we’ll be able to get started ahead of schedule – possibly as soon as next summer.”
Newman Prize recipients
Abby McCay ’17 will meet her favorite American later this school year.
Madeleine Johnson ’16 met Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent.
Rose Sciortino ’15 met Tavi Gevinson, magazine editor, actress and singer.
Nicholas Kram Mendelsohn ’14 met Theodore Olson, attorney (who argued the Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court case).
Brad Riew ’13 met David Eagleman, neuroscientist, author and professor at Stanford.
Eileen Williams ’12 met Krista Tippet, author and NPR host/producer.
Keaton Wetzel ’11 met Dr. William Evans, director and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Alec Lee ’76, founder of Aim High San Francisco.
Alex Goel ’10 met Dr. Maria Zuber, astrophysicist at MIT.
Nick Evens ’09 met Marie Wright, flavorist, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.
Stella Dee ’08 met Temple Grandin, professor at Colorado State University, animal scientist, autism expert.
Jenny Kurz ’07 met Margaret Lloyd, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.
David Sanders ’06 met Dr. Ben Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
Sameer Bhalla ’05 met Amar Bose, founder and CEO of Bose.
Cory Rothschild ’04 met Itzhak Perlman, violinist.
Matt Naunheim ’03 met Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota.
Shannon Murphy ’02 met Chris Monteiro, creator of the “Priceless” campaign for MasterCard International.
Cari Joyce Walcott ’01 met Martha Stewart, entrepreneur and media personality.
Todd Schulte ’00 met Dr. Frank von Hippel, professor of public and international affairs at Princeton.
EB Little ’99 met Dr. Christine Lilyquist, Lila Acheson Wallace Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Annessa Blackmun ’98 met Myrlie Evers-Williams, chairman of the NAACP.
Matt Scherrer ’97 met Dr. Robert Burpee, director of the National Hurricane Center.
Tom Sly ’96 met Maestro Gilbert Levine, conductor.
Bryan Hill ’95 met Andrew Vachss, attorney, author and children’s advocate.
Josh Jacobs-Velde ’94 met Galen Rowell, mountain photographer.
Julia Macias ’93 met Maya Angelou, author, poet, dancer, actress and singer.