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Alumni Prize Winners for 2007
Posted May 21
Headmaster Edward J. Shanahan presented the Alumni Seal Prize and the Rosemary Hall Alumnae Award at the annual meeting of the Choate Rosemary Hall Alumni Association on May 19, 2007. The recipients were John J. Danilovich '68 and Lyn Foster McNaught '55. The citations read by the Headmaster are as follows:
2007 Choate Alumni Seal Prize
The Choate Alumni Seal Prize is awarded annually to an alumnus who has shown outstanding leadership and has made a significant contribution to his country, his community, or his school.
A native of California, John Danilovich came east to Choate from Antioch High School for his fifth and sixth form years. In just two short years he managed to leave an indelible mark on his classmates and his teachers. Says longtime Choate friend Nick Zoullas, Class of 1971, “John was my ‘old boy’ at Choate and as he came up to Long House to see his freshman charge, it became clear to me that because of John my transition into Choate life would be smooth and painless. He was confident, smart, and above all caring—even to freshmen. He has been the most consistent friend to me, exhibiting all the model qualities of the perfect Choate graduate. His intelligence, charm and loyalty are unique. It has been my honor to have him as a friend.”
His teachers were equally impressed. A member of the History and Democratic Clubs, John was elected co-chairman of the Political Union. He was one of a group of students selected to host Rose Kennedy when she came to dedicate the bust of John F. Kennedy that is now housed in Archbold. I should add that prior to coming to Choate, John worked for a time as a page for the Majority Leader of the California State Assembly, Rep. Jerry Waldie, a staunch Democrat. While John found politics to be intriguing, he excelled in other areas as well, and was elected vice–president of the Spanish Club and Editor-in-Chief of The Lit. John’s independent study of Milton’s Paradise Lost drew high praise from his English master Paul Kalkstein who admired his sensitive poetry analysis. John wisely limited his paper to a study of Milton’s Satan, one of the most fascinating characters of the epic. Said Kalkstein, “I was delighted when his knowledge of his subject outstripped mine.” This grappling with demons may have stood John in good stead as he gradually shed his Democratic leanings, became a Republican, and chose a career in international business over government and politics.
Upon graduating from Choate, he returned to his native California, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University, and a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California’s London campus. It was in London that John met his wife Irene. For the next two decades, the couple raised their three children John, Alice, and Alex while John was active in the international shipping business and served as director of companies in the shipping, property, publishing and investment fields.
John began to get involved in politics while living overseas. He was appointed by the first President Bush to serve on the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Commission from 1991 though 1996. He chaired the Commission’s Transition Committee prior to the transfer of the Canal to the Panamanians. He was also a leader of Republicans Abroad and served as Chairman of Americans Abroad for both the first President Bush and the current one.
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Ambassador Danilovich to serve as the American Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica where he was instrumental in the successful negotiations of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). In 2004 he was then asked to take a second ambassadorship to Brazil where he remained until November 2005, when he began his current duties as Chief Executive Officer for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Washington D.C.
The MCC was established under President Bush’s leadership, and with the bipartisan support of Congress, with the mandate to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth in developing countries. In his new role, his mantra has been, “foreign aid with accountability.” Historian Arnold Toynbee said it best:
"As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is our responsibility."
Ambassador Danilovich believes foreign aid should be predicated on partnership, not paternalism and the MCC is teaching its partners how to shoulder responsibility for their citizens. What is most impressive about MCC’s start-up phase, says the Ambassador, “is that we are now seeing the tremendous effect we are having in motivating and giving an incentive to countries to enact political, economic and social reforms to qualify for funding.”
The MCC Effect has been widely recognized. Twenty-four countries specifically cite the Millennium Challenge Corporation as the primary motivation for their efforts to improve their business environments. As of last November the MCC, under Ambassador Danilovich’s leadership, committed more than $3 billion in project aid to lift communities in Africa, Central America, and Eurasia out of poverty through sustainable economic growth.
Ambassador Danilovich is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an Associate Fellow of Pierson College (Yale University), a Knight of Malta and the recipient of several national and international awards. Today, we are privileged to bestow upon him his alma mater’s highest honor.
For his vision, leadership, and his own remarkable commitment to the challenges of developing nations in our global village, we are proud to present the
2007 Choate Alumni Seal Prize to
John Joseph Danilovich
Choate Class of 1968
2007 Rosemary Hall Alumnae Award
The Rosemary Hall Alumnae Award is given annually to a distinguished alumna who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in a given field of endeavor.
A two-year student from Fairfield, Connecticut, Carolyn (Lyn) Reed Foster entered Rosemary Hall in the Fifth Form in 1953 and hit the ground running. She quickly achieved honor roll standing, was elected Head Boarder Marshal, received a bar on the committee, was choir mistress her senior year, and was “conscientious and efficient,” according to Headmistress Helen Williamson. At Rosemary she befriended Pamela Bisbee Simonds and the two have shared a close relationship ever since. Both women went on to Smith College and became godmothers to each other’s daughters, and have been best friends for 50 years.
Lyn and Pam came of age at an uncertain time. There was much confusion over the roles and paths of young educated women. Were they to seek careers or become wives and mothers? Were the two mutually exclusive? In 1963, when Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique was first published in the United States, it sparked a national debate about women's roles. Freidan, also a Smith graduate, blamed an idealized image of femininity that encouraged women to confine themselves to the narrow roles of housewife and mother, forsaking education and career aspirations in the process. Obviously Friedan did not have the benefit of a Rosemary Hall education. In the recently published Centennial Edition of “Letters to Rosemary,” Headmistress Caroline Ruutz-Rees wrote to her girls:
To learn to give easily is one of the secrets of a happy life. Every day brings us an opportunity of giving something to others and the unhappy people are those who only grasp and keep. Every day of our life brings you the opportunity of giving something to the school you profess to love, of doing something which shall leave it better-off for your belonging to it.
Girls, who go through life merely drinking in, gain less than anyone and when they leave their place knows them no more. Be something, put your shoulders to the common burden . . . and you will be surprised to find how much you yourself gain.
Although Lyn attended Rosemary Hall nearly a half-century after these words were written, the Ruutz-Rees spirit of a femininity on fire, if you will, was very much a part of the education Lyn received at Rosemary Hall. Lyn followed suit and “put her shoulder to the common burden.”
After graduating from Smith, Lyn taught in Cambridge, Massachusetts and, for awhile, in New York City before taking a 10-year hiatus to raise her children. When her husband became an administrator at New Canaan Country Day School, Lyn took a part-time position with the Horizons Student Enrichment Program, a scholarship program on the campus of New Canaan Country School, which provided academic, athletic and cultural opportunities to low-income students from Norwalk, Stamford, New Canaan and surrounding communities. She became its Executive Director in 1983.
In 1995, under Lyn’s leadership, the founding Horizons program received a grant to replicate its program in other states. Currently, 13 Horizons Affiliates serve students living in urban, suburban and rural communities in nine states. Under Lyn’s nurturing wing, Horizons remained committed to its mission: the development of the whole child through experiences that build problem-solving skills, fostering awareness of community responsibility, instilling respect for oneself and others, and encouraging a life-long interest in learning.
Says her friend of 50 years, Pam Simonds, “The seeds of Lyn’s extraordinary national success were indeed fostered at Rosemary Hall where as a strong, firm, and just leader, Lyn honed her skills working with others and problem solving. With her intelligence and practical sense, her optimism, and her indefatigable drive for excellence, it is no wonder Lyn initiated the vision to build up the Horizons program into the national model it has become under her leadership.”
Miss Ruutz-Rees was right. “To learn to give easily is one of the secrets of a happy life.” And Lyn, your fine example has taught us that “Every day brings us an opportunity of giving something to others.”
For your ability to give easily, your indefatigable drive for excellence, and for your significant and unique contribution to children’s lives, we are proud to present the
2007 Rosemary Hall Alumnae Award to
Lyn Foster McNaught
Rosemary Hall Class of 1955