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Mark Nuytkens ’12 was back on campus April 13 to deliver a Science Department Brown Bag Lecture titled, “Minion to Master,” about his journey from SG to college to his current job at a medical device start-up. Mark, who graduated from UMass-Amherst with a degree in mechanical engineering, said, “SG was an important stepping stone” as he began to pursue his college studies and career.
After meeting the demands of St. George’s challenging curriculum and busy schedule, college at first felt like “a huge let-down,” he said. “I couldn’t go surfing before class!” But with much more free time on his hands he began to seek out new opportunities. He was able to join the Commonwealth Honors Program, finding other students who shared his same drive and enthusiasm for learning. When it came time to begin his thesis project, he started researching whether a pedal-powered lawn mower he was designing had a chance of succeeding in the marketplace. Key to the research was talking up his idea to dozens of local business people. “One piece of advice I’d give is that if you have an idea, the easiest way to find out if it’s a good idea is to talk to as many people about it that you can,” he said. “Don’t worry that someone’s going to steal it.”
During his junior year at UMass, Mark landed a prestigious internship at Bose Corp. in Framingham, Massachusetts, working in product development in the company’s headset division. He said he had many formative experiences there, including experiencing the company’s ultra-silent testing facilities.
Currently Mark works for Diagnostyx Inc., his father’s medical-device company in Melrose, Massachusetts.
All his recent experiences, he said, have led him to one important conclusion: that the ultimate goal of any education program is to become “self-learning” – so while he thought he’d continue to take more and more courses, right now he finds ways to learn on his own.
Following a 43-year career providing medical care and compassion to hundreds of St. George’s students, School Physician Dr. Robin Wallace announced this week he would retire at the end of this school year. In a faculty meeting Monday Head of School Eric Peterson called Robin “one of the giants” of the St. George’s faculty who has devoted his life to caring for others.
Born and educated in England, a Vietnam veteran and a longtime pediatrician at the Aquidneck Medical Center in Newport, Dr. Wallace was integral in establishing the modern health center we have today and elevating the importance of preventing, not just treating illness.
Throughout his tenure on the Hilltop Dr. Wallace has also shown that his dedication to St. George’s and the care of its students extended beyond the Health Center walls. To this day, he remains a dedicated supporter of St. George’s athletics, an enthusiastic helper with the Christmas Festival, and a near fixture at music, theater and chapel events. In 1995 he was awarded the Helen Porter Dyke Chair for the Support of Students, awarded to “a member of the faculty or health services staff whose special care and concern for the health and overall well-being of students transcend daily labors and help make St. George’s School a nurturing community in which to grow and learn.”
Dr. Wallace also holds near-celebrity status among the local sailing community. A longtime race manager for some of the region’s most preeminent regattas, his passion for the sport, which he learned from his parents at a young age, drove him to co-found Sail Newport, one of the largest public sailing programs in New England.
If you wish to share an anecdote about Doc Wallace, or send your appreciation, please share your thoughts on our tribute page. View Sail Newport’s recent tribute video for Robin, co-produced by Joe Berkeley ’84.
A nearly yearlong celebration of the work of Mike Hansel ’76 came to a close last weekend at the prestigious 30th Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Mike took first place in the 2016-17 exhibition, which ran from May 27, 2016 - April 1, 2017, for his stainless steel sculpture, “Intestinal Fortitude.”
Reached at his office this week, artist W. Ray Parish, who served as juror and judged the exhibition entries, called Mike’s sculpture “a powerful presence.”
“Mike's use of materials is masterful and the lack of pretense is impressive,” said Parish, former chair of the art department and professor emeritus at the University of Texas at El Paso. “The awards decision-making process was much more difficult than selecting the show, but my feeling that "Intestinal Fortitude" would win the top award was never a question.”
Three talented SG artists garnered national acclaim in Scholastic Art competition this month. After receiving state awards earlier in the school year, Angel Yang ’18 and Eric Durudogan ’17 went on to receive sought-after gold medals at the national level — and Alden Grimes ’17 was one of only 79 U.S. students to earn a prestigious American Visions Award.
Angel was awarded a gold medal for her drawing entitled “Slamming” (above left). Eric captured the attention of the judges with his sculpture “Texture” (above center). And Alden’s award was in honor of his sculpture “Flight,” comprised of a steel frame, a solid base and approximately 350 feathers (above right). “The final design actually came when I was on a college visit and had to burn some time in the library,” Alden said. “I was doodling on a napkin and came up with the idea.”
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Promotional literature for the nationwide, New York-based program notes that “the Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships. Students across America submitted 330,000 original works during our 2017 program year across 29 different categories of art and writing.”
Overall, St. George’s captured three of the 10 national medals awarded to Rhode Island students in this year’s competition.
The series of special receptions across the country honoring Head of School Eric Peterson and his wife, Senior Associate Director of Admission Krista Peterson, continues this spring with gatherings on the West Coast, Boston, New York, Washington and Bermuda. Next week the two will be in California for a reception at the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica on March 14, and another at the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco on March 15.
The events are part of a yearlong slate of gatherings in special recognition of the Petersons’ 13 years of devotion to St. George’s. Events honoring the Petersons began with a reception in Newport on Sept. 15 and have continued in Houston; New York City; Chicago; Seoul, Korea; and Charleston.
Most recently, several generations of SG faithful gathered Feb. 28 at the Sailfish Club in Palm Beach, Florida, during a reception for the Petersons hosted by Christopher and Binkie McSweeney Orthwein '94. “Eric spoke of the strength and support of the community, the strong interest shown by prospective families this admission season, the continued innovation and evolution of the academic program, and the pride we all feel in the accomplishments and bright futures of our students today,” reported Assistant Head of School for External Affairs Bob Weston. It was a joyful gathering of grandparents, past parents, current parents and alumni.
The Parents Committee arranged its own tribute event on Friday, Feb. 17, during which Eric and Krista were the recipients of much admiration and appreciation. The committee, chaired by Lisa and Francis Molinari P'16, '18, surprised the two with a special tribute luncheon attended by more than 50 past and present committee members. Speakers included past Parents Committee chairs Janette and Robert Macaulay P'12, '14, '16; Lorrie and Tim Burns P'13, '16, '18; Suzanne and George Gebelein '73, P'08, '10, '11; and Betts and Wisner Murray P'07, P'10.
“The Molinari family believes that an angel surely got its wings when it sent Eric and Krista Peterson to St. George’s School,” the Parents Committee chairs said. “They changed the trajectory of this school, the futures of our children, and this entire community for the better.”
View the full calendar of tribute events for the Petersons here.
Watch a special video tribute to the Petersons produced by Tony Wang ’19 on our YouTube page.
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