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A Century of Honor and Integrity

October 4, 2013

My grandfather was born in the living room of a house he still owns on October 3, 1918, eleven years before St. Andrew’s began to take shape. We celebrated his 95th birthday yesterday over dinner with my grandmother, his wife of 65 years, their seven children and subsequent offspring. My grandfather still goes to work every day, plays soccer with my four- and six-year old sons and shares a gentle attentiveness with my grandmother that makes you believe in humanity. Still, there are few things I value more than my grandfather’s example of how to live life with honor and integrity.

For as long as I’ve known him, my grandfather has favored hard work over shortcuts, clear truth over shades of gray, and earning what you deserve, no more, no less. He is never far from my mind, but was firmly at the front late last night while I discussed the honor code with the earnest residents of Baum corridor. The boys sat attentively while I explained the consequences of lying, cheating, and stealing, but also the aspirations of the code.

Like many institutions, we think of honor as a way of life we value and strive to maintain. We ask the students to take individual and collective ownership of it. Last night, the boys of Baum ratified a code they made and posted on their common room wall. Neely Egan ’16 and Luke Forsthoefel ’16 celebrated a classmate this week during School Meeting who held himself accountable and told the truth after a mistake. We try to celebrate these small acts every day as the world continues to dictate a constant need to reinforce a high standard of honor.

I’m not naïve enough to believe my grandfather never fell short of his own high standard. I am sure, however, that his belief in the value of living with honor and integrity helped him live a life worth celebrating. That is my hope for today’s students.

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