Why Alumni Weekend Made Me Quote Kierkegaard

October 2, 2012

“Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards.”   – Søren Kierkegaard


We had over 350 alumni and their families on campus this past weekend.


A great looking family.

I’ve studied Gould for over a year now, but this past weekend was the “grand tour,” with the Academy laid out like a living timeline stretching from Edna York ’27 (Go, Edna!) to the present.

It’s a powerful experience for a new head of school to plug directly into the history of the Academy with 85 years of stories, perspective, and questions right on campus. I was inspired, challenged, embraced and centered by our alums’ clear and abiding sense of their school.


Edna celebrates her 85th reunion with friends.


It’s hard to imagine leading Gould without this supercharged infusion. I saw how the school has evolved through the eyes of those who could see the continuity and change, the core and the ephemeral.

I saw relationships that have endured for years in friendships, marriages, and advisories.


A thousand words.


I heard vivid stories of the hard, sometimes harrowing, work of alums and trustees to sustain the school through difficult times. I saw our mission alive as I learned more about Gould graduates leading lives of purpose, action, and compassion. And, I was embraced and encouraged with a generosity of spirit that is one of Gould’s hallmarks.


Thanks for a great weekend.


So, I think that Kierkegaard was right, but the history he described was an abstraction. Ours is alive and high-kicking in our alumni. Ours is not something to be studied post facto, but a vital impetus in the continued success of the Academy – and its new head of school.



4 Responses

  1. Avatar kimsiebert says:

    It was great to meet you, Matt, and to feel an uplift of spirits at Gould. New beginnings are always exciting and I know many were energized by a particularly wonderful Alumni weekend. It did feel good to come “home”!

    • Avatar Matt Ruby says:

      Thanks, Kim. It was a pleasure to meet you and to meet so many wonderful alums and their families. See you soon, I hope. Best, Matt

  2. Avatar Eileen Chretien says:

    Such a great quote to represent the essence of this weekend. Seeing Hanscom Hall, the athletic fields, old and new friends and hearing about others’ life’s journeys only clarified the importance of Gould in my life…
    Matt–Gould’s past English teachers would praise your writing skills. Thanks for the quotation and welcome!

  3. Avatar Matt Ruby says:

    You are very kind, Eileen. You set the bar very high at the Athletic Hall of Fame induction. Your words on Mike’s behalf were both a tribute to a great life and an inspiration for all of us to live as truly and generously. Best, Matt

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