St. Mark's Trustee Weekend this fall featured a number of important events. In addition to regular Board meetings, on Friday, October 26, the trustees gathered to celebrate faculty and staff at a special luncheon in Taft Hall, attended a service in Belmont Chapel, participated in the dedication of the new T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr. '50 Athletic Performance and Wellness Center, and enjoyed the annual Founder's Associates dinner on the quad.
The Coolidge Center dedication was a highlight of the weekend's festivities. The new, cutting-edge facility provides students with a state-of-the-art resource to help them excel athletically and to enhance academic success through physical fitness. Participating in the dedication ceremony were Head of School John C. Warren '74, Athletic Director John Levandowski, Linzee Coolidge '55, the Right Reverend J. Clark Grew '58, and Bill Elkins '50.
The Coolidge Center is named in memory of Linzee Coolidge's older brother: T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr., St. Mark's Class of 1950. A scholar, Jeff Coolidge was a member of the Cum Laude Society. An athlete, he earned eight varsity letters at St. Mark's, playing football, hockey, and crew. A leader, he also served the School as Head Monitor in 1949-50. At Harvard, Coolidge was an All-Ivy center in football and at graduation he was presented with Harvard's highest athletic honor, the William J. Bingham Award, given for "integrity, courage, leadership and ability on the athletic field." He would go on to serve in the Marine Corps and with the CIA, before pursuing a career as both venture capitalist and philanthropist. He formed Coolidge Investment Corporation and founded the Thomas Jefferson Forum, which developed community service programs for 42 public and private schools throughout Massachusetts. In other charitable work he was particularly dedicated to serving the interests of young people in the justice system. With its commitment to both mental and physical wellness, the new Coolidge Center at St. Mark's exemplifies the best of what T. Jefferson Coolidge '50 stood for.
Open to the entire St. Mark's community, the Coolidge Center nearly doubles, to 5,000, the total square footage of the School's indoor athletics facilities for individual conditioning and wellness. Six training pods—which can be utilized by three to six students at a time—anchor one wall of the center. Each pod houses bench racks for weights and deadlift floor pads for safe strength training. Additional equipment such as plyoboxes, medicine balls, and Keiser functional trainers line the other side of the space. Centered within the 2,700-square-foot space is a 50' x 10' turf surface for agility training. A 400-square-foot training room houses eight rowing machines. The current fitness room will remain, housing cardiovascular machines and other exercise equipment open to all members of the School community. The new facility will have a direct and positive impact on St. Markers, providing opportunities for consistent aerobic exercise, weight bearing exercises, and practicing mindfulness on brain growth. Fitness sharpens the intellect, improves memory and combats stress. Athletic competition and wellness are an integral component of the educational experience at St. Mark's. The goal of the Coolidge Center is to prepare students for a healthy lifestyle beyond their days in Southborough.
The new center has transformed Elkins Field House. Positioning this athletic space just inside the main entrance to Elkins reclaims the Field House as the primary entry point to the St. Mark's athletics complex. Upon entry, visitors will arrive in the Grew Room, a lobby leading to the Coolidge Center. A generous anonymous donor has honored the Right Reverend J. Clark Grew II '58—former SM faculty member, administrator, and coach, and retired Episcopal Bishop of Ohio— with this meaningful gift to the Center project.
The existing cardio and weight room has been updated and renamed the Wiedergott Fitness Room in honor of William A. "Fritz" Wiedergott, longtime St. Mark's teacher, coach, and athletic director who served from 1958-1997. With the opening of the Coolidge Center and the renovation of the Wiedergott Room, St. Mark's now offers two spaces designed to support not only athletic success but overall health and wellness.
Other highlights of Trustee Weekend this fall included both the Chapel service and the Founder's Associates Dinner. Current co-Head Monitor Tom Paugh '19 spoke at both of these events. At the first he shared the VI Form Chapel talk he had delivered at the opening service this School year. At the second, he spoke of the St. Mark's experience and what it meant to him.
Head of School John C. Warren '74 welcomed everyone to the Founder's Associates dinner and shared a video about St. Mark's and the Lion Term experience. Alys Reynders Scott '85, President of the St. Mark's Board of Trustees, and Bruce Morgan '70, Annual Fund Chair, also spoke at the event, thanking Founder's Associates for their generosity.
Despite the threat of challenging weather, 2018-2019 fall Trustees Weekend was a success.