We talk often about how it is the people that make Proctor such a kind, supportive, loving community. As we rapidly approach June 30 and the final official day of the 2019-2020 academic year, we bid farewell to eight talented faculty and staff who have dedicated a portion (or in some cases all) of their professional life to the Proctor community.
A week from today is July 1, a seemingly uneventful turn of the calendar for most, but for Proctor it is the start of a new fiscal year. Like many academic institutions, Proctor's June 30 fiscal year end marks the end of the 2019-2020 annual giving cycle. We don't talk often about school finances, but as a 501(c)3 non-profit, Proctor relies on tax-deductible donations to meet its operating budget, a budget that unlocks a world of opportunities for our students.
One year ago, on June 19, 2019, Governor Sununu signed a bill declaring Juneteenth a state holiday in the State of New Hampshire, 154 years after the last group of enslaved Americans learned of their freedom outside Galveston, Texas, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. The date, June 19, 1865, was recognized as the actual independence of Black Americans. Freedom, delayed.
With well over 8,000 alumni, it is impossible to pause and recognize all who pass away. But when an individual who has shaped Proctor the way James L. Dunbar ‘49 has leaves this world, we feel compelled to share his story with the greater community. Jim died on June 9 (on what would have been his 69th wedding anniversary) at the age of 90.
Born out of our belief that our deepest learning comes from a synthesis of all aspects of the Proctor experience, the Academic Concentration Program affords students an opportunity to weave content, independent research, internships, off-campus programs, and on-campus courses into a cohesive learning experience.
Each graduating class leaves a distinct impact on our school based on their personality and the collective journey that unfolded during their four years at Proctor. For the Class of 2020, that journey, shaped heavily by a remote Spring Term due to COVID-19, was as unique as any class in the school's 172 year history and culminated in the school's first ever virtual Commencement ceremony.
Now more than ever we crave connection. We miss running into each other on the pathways on the way to assembly or waiting in line for lunch. We crave the informal daily interactions that fuel us as social beings. This weekend would have been Alumni Reunion Weekend. For classes ending in 0’s and 5’s, a time to return to campus and connect with each other. For faculty and staff, a time to see our former students return as adults forging their way through life.
And just like that it’s over. The planning, the preparations, the details, the mourning of what could have been had coronavirus not upended our lives, it is all behind us, and we shift our focus to reflecting on the raw emotions we felt today as we watched the Class of 2020 graduate from high school...virtually around the globe.