Eight alumni inducted to Foxcroft Academy Hall of Fame, membership now totals 50

May 20, 2014

2014 Academic Hall of Fame and Rose Award winners

Eight Foxcroft Academy alumni were inducted to the Academic Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in the FA gymnasium on the afternoon of Saturday, May 17. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the presentation of medallions to the Class of 2014’s Rose Award winners in order to connect great students of the present with those of the past.

The idea of starting both an Athletic and Academic Hall of Fame was conceived by Head of School Arnold Shorey in 2012, and 50 alumni have now been inducted. (Dean Smith ’86 belongs to each Hall, so he is counted twice.) The inaugural academic class was inducted on May 19, 2012, and comprised Dave Mallett ’69, Laurie Gagnon Lachance ’79, Smith, Chad Poland ’91, Stephen Witmer ’94, Andrew Witmer ’94, Heid Ryder Bray ’94, and Stacy Stitham ’98.

Nominations for the Academic Hall of Fame are generated by the Foxcroft Academy Alumni Office, which each year asks alumni, community members, parents, and faculty (past and present) to nominate alumni who demonstrated “success at Foxcroft Academy through academics and/or visual and performing arts, leading to notable accomplishments in a chosen career path.” FA’s selection committee then draws from a large pool of worthy candidates and carefully selects a new class each spring. Foxcroft Academy is proud to present the Class of 2014:


Dr. Robert L. Thomas, Class of 1956

Robert L. Thomas was born in Dover-Foxcroft, where he graduated from Foxcroft Academy in 1956. He completed his undergraduate studies at Bowdoin College in 1960, majoring in Physics. Bob’s graduate work in Physics took place at Brown University, where he completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Physics in 1965, at which time he joined the Department of Physics at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. An elected member of Wayne State University’s Academy of Scholars and an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, he served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at WSU and Professor of Physics and Astronomy from 2000 to 2012, retiring to Portland, Oregon, with his wife Sandra in 2013. Their son Stephen, daughter-in-law Melissa, grandson Grant (15), and granddaughter Alison (13) reside nearby to them in Portland, and Bob and Sandy are currently residents of the Willamette View Retirement Community.

Bob’s research interests began in the area of experimental solid-state physics, studying superconductivity, magnetism, amorphous materials, and the electronic properties of alkali metals at low temperatures, using ultrasonic measurements. In the late 1970s, his research group in applied physics pioneered the field of thermal wave imaging for the non-destructive evaluation of defects in aerospace and electric power generation materials and parts. Bob has authored or co-authored six book chapters, 64 refereed journal publications, and 78 refereed conference proceedings, and he is a co-inventor on 19 patents, including three patents on confocal optical microscopy and nine patents on sonic infrared imaging. Most of these patents have been licensed to various corporations and companies by Wayne State University for the licensees’ commercial use.

Bob has traveled to China 19 times since 1985, and as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he led the establishment of the Confucius Institute at WSU in collaboration with Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China.  A strong advocate of Wayne State University’s commitment to significant improvement in K-12 education in Detroit, he has championed the nationally-recognized Math Corps Summer Camp and the establishment of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics for that purpose.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

Foxcroft Academy, the administration, its faculty, and my fellow students had a significant impact on my life and career. Tillson D. Thomas, my late father, was the principal of FA during my studies, and Ruth L. Thomas helped prepare me for high school as one of my teachers at Dover Grammar School. Together they instilled in me a love for Dover-Foxcroft and Foxcroft Academy. Leah “Ma” Brown (English grammar and composition), Raymond Wallace (Math and Science), and Raymond Fremaut (French) prepared me well in the fundamentals needed for college success. Phyllis Wiley taught me to touch-type (incredibly useful skill from then to now!), and Jack Butterfield taught me competitive discipline through his dedicated and skillful coaching in baseball and football. During a summer work project, custodian Roland Zwicker tutored me in the fine arts of mowing the FA grounds and cleaning, polishing, and buffing the floors of the Academy! The Chairman of the Trustee Board in 1956 was Ora L. Evans, the long-time publisher of the Piscataquis Observer. Ora, himself a Bowdoin graduate, took time from a busy schedule to drive me to Brunswick and see that I saw the benefits of that fine undergraduate institution. Since my sister Louise, herself an FA alumna, would eventually marry Dr. J.P. Dow (FA and Bowdoin), my choice was an easy one, and one in which I received valuable guidance from across the spectrum of Academy mentors, family, and friends.

Peter Van Aken ’59

Peter Van Aken was born and raised in Dover-Foxcroft and graduated from Foxcroft Academy in 1959. From a very young age, he worked in the family greenhouse on North Main Street–a source of great stories and reminiscences. These early years left an indelible mark on his character and served as an excellent metaphor for his impactful life; everywhere he went, Peter helped communities grow and flourish.

Peter achieved the rank of first in his class of 1959. While at FA he played in the band, was in several speaking contests, performed in the contest play “She Stoops to Conquer”, and was a member of the Science Club. He was on the FA Review staff; was a member of Student Council, the Safety Council, and the National Honor Society; and and was a Rose Award recipient. He also was named “Most Studious” by his senior class. While attending FA, Peter earned the distinction of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America.

Peter went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and a minor in Electrical Engineering. In his senior year at MIT, Peter was awarded the Karl Taylor Compton Award, the highest award given to MIT students, in recognition of his extended contributions in promoting service and high standards at the university. He continued his education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, where he earned an MBA with a concentration in nonprofit management.

Peter then spent 20 years in academic administration in higher education, first in the Planning Office at MIT, then as Director of Analytical Studies and Planning at Boston University, and then as Vice President of Administration at Brandeis University. In 1986 Peter left the world of higher education and co-founded XANALOG Corporation, a manufacturer of high speed real-time computer systems, where he held the position of CFO.  

Peter resided in Winchester, Massachusetts, for most of his adult life while heading to East Boothbay, Maine, at every opportunity. He returned to Dover-Foxcroft each year to visit old friends and to keep up with the happenings at FA. In Winchester he dedicated his service to the town in many ways: he became a Town Meeting member in 1986, served as Chairman of the Capital Planning Committee, and served two terms on the Board of Selectmen and another two terms on the Planning Board. He was honored as the Winchester Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. Additionally, Peter served as an adult leader in the local Boy Scouts, served in the Friends of Scouting Annual Campaign, and was the recipient of the Silver Beaver Award for his many years of distinguished service to the youth of the council. He served as a member of the corporation of Winchester Hospital and as a director of the Mt. Vernon House, an assisted-living facility in town. He also served on a number of committees for the First Congregational Church in Winchester and finally as the treasurer.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

Peter cherished his friendships from his years at Foxcroft Academy. A small circle of close friends and their spouses continued to meet over the years. Through good times and bad, these bonds of friendship, which started in high school, have withstood the test of time. Peter understood the value of the education he received at FA. He later worked to support its mission and efforts, eventually becoming a member of the Board of Trustees. The curriculum and community of Foxcroft Academy had laid the foundation for a lifetime of learning and service for him. For this he was extremely thankful.

Louis F. Campbell ’64

Louis Campbell was born in Long Island City, New York, to the daughter of Czech immigrants and a man from Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Lou’s parents raised him in Dover-Foxcroft.  Graduating third in his class of 1964, Louis had a very active and rewarding four years at Foxcroft Academy. Sports were a focal point of his interests, playing baseball all four years, football three years, gym show three years, and wrestling one year. He is especially proud of being on the 1963 Class D State Championship Football Team and league baseball championship teams in 1962 and 1964. Lou also served on the Varsity Club and was class president his senior year. He was a recipient of the MTA Award and the Rose Award.

Louis went on to attend the University of Maine in Orono. During his senior year he was inducted into the Engineering Honor Society “Tau Beta Pi”.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1968 “with High Distinction”.

With the Vietnam War going on, Louis applied to and was accepted to the US Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island. Graduating in the upper third of his class, he then attended the Civil Engineer Corps Officers School in Port Hueneme, California. After graduating Louis was assigned to a Mobile Construction Battalion, MCB 62, in Gulfport, Mississippi. He served in Vietnam as Officer in Charge of a 13-man Seabee Team performing training of local Vietnamese followed with a deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the Officer in Charge of a 150-man Seabee Detachment performing base construction work.

Serving in the Seabees sparked Louis’s true interest in heavy construction. Consequently, after his honorable discharge as Lieutenant JG from the Navy in 1972, he joined Cianbro Corporation. His engineering background served him well in assignments to key positions on Cianbro’s Project Management Teams. Over the course of his career he was involved with the construction of sewer and treatment plants, shipways, roads, bridges, hydroelectric plants, and buildings. Louis is most proud of his involvement with the design build construction of the Portsmouth, NH, Parking Garage; the construction of the Pejepscot Hydroelectric Facility; the construction of the Salem, NH, “Flyover Bridge”; the construction management of LL Bean’s 1st Desert Road Expansion to include a Customer Service Center and new Distribution Center; the construction of the Beverly/Salem, MA, Bridge; and the design build construction of the new Fore River Parkway in Portland, Maine, which connects I-295 to W. Commercial Street. Lou loved doing bridges most of all.

In April Lou and his wife Sharon will celebrate 40 years of marriage. They have one son, Glenn, and several grandchildren. Over the years they have enjoyed boating, sailing, skiing, and traveling. Now in retirement, Lou enjoys a diverse lifestyle that includes many little fixer-up jobs out in his workshop and around the house, getting in several walks each week, still doing some traveling, and helping his wife look after her aging father.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

As I look back over my life, I feel that being raised in Dover-Foxcroft provided me with the foundation to build my life upon. Having good parents, neighbors, and friends played a key role in my life. Of course, Foxcroft Academy was a big part of that. FA has “class”, provides an excellent secondary education, offers many extracurricular activities, and instills in students the confidence to go after their life’s dreams.

Linda J. Gammon ’71

Linda J. Gammon is a native of Dover-Foxcroft and graduated from Foxcroft Academy in 1971. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts degree in conducting from George Mason University.

Under Ms. Gammon’s direction, her middle school bands have earned consistent superior ratings and awards and have enjoyed state, regional, and national recognition, including multiple appearances at the Virginia Music Educators State Conferences and the 1993 and 2000 Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. In 1997 Ms. Gammon and the Robinson Middle School Symphonic Band were awarded the prestigious John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Silver Cup Award, the highest honor bestowed on a middle school band program. In the fall of 2014 she will be the conductor for the inaugural season of the Northern Virginia Junior Winds.

Ms. Gammon currently serves as the VMEA Conference Coordinator and is a Past President of the Virginia Music Educators Association, the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, and the Fairfax County Band Directors Association. She is active as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician, and is a contributing author to the music curriculum “Band Expressions” published by Alfred and “Teaching Music through Performance in Band” published by GIA. She has been recognized twice by the School Band and Orchestra Magazine as one of the “Fifty Directors Who Make A Difference”, has been awarded numerous National Band Association “Citations of Excellence”, and was recognized by the Women Band Directors International as a 2003 Scroll of Excellence recipient.  In 2007 Ms. Gammon was awarded the Virginia Outstanding Music Educator Award and in 2014 the Fairfax County Secondary Band Director of the Year.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

Foxcroft Academy provided a wonderful foundation of education and was instrumental in affording opportunities for leadership in many areas.  My time as the yearbook editor, band president, and student leader of the dance band were just the beginning of the multiple leadership roles in my career in public education. I will be forever grateful for all the teachers who provided an excellent education and enrichment activities, and to Bob Thorne for the many musical skills that I learned while a student at FA.

Jesse Byam Klein ’80

Jesse and her family moved to Dover-Foxcroft in 1972 because her mother Dorie Corliss, a passionate educator, had done her homework. Dorie knew that the town had an outstanding school system with top-ranked academics, sports, and performing arts, and she wanted her three youngest kids to be part of it! It was a transformative experience for all of them. Jesse loved athletics, her older sister Melissa loved music and the dramatic arts, and their younger brother Roger was big on basketball.

As a freshman at FA, Jesse tried out for the field hockey team, earning a spot on the varsity squad as left wing, the position she would play for the next four years. In her sophomore year, Gene Philpot came to FA as the coach and physical education director. Under Miss Philpot’s guidance the team would go to the Eastern Maine State Championships for the next three years.  Despite sustaining a serious knee injury during a game late in the season her junior year, Jesse came back from surgery to play and was elected co-captain of the team her senior year. She credits Miss Philpot for outstanding leadership that forged a team of rock-solid athletes and for helping to foster more than a dozen friendships among the team that last to this day.

Another influential coach was Tammy Rawcliffe, former UMO cheerleader and member of the National Cheerleading Association (NCA). Tammy’s enthusiasm was contagious and in an instant the girls were hooked on the high-energy, precision-dance style of the sport. Though Miss Rawcliffe would leave after Jesse’s freshman year to go to Hampden, her influence remained and the FA cheerleading squad won the Maine State Championships the following three years in a row. In her senior year Jesse was recognized as an All-American Cheerleader by the NCA.

Jesse also remembers the many outstanding teachers at FA, including Mr. Champeon, Mr. Beek, Mr. Willette, and Mrs. McPherson. While math was not Jesse’s strong suit, under the guidance of the outstanding teachers in the math department she learned to excel in trigonometry and calculus. Mr. Willette’s passion for history opened her eyes to the world and inspired her to travel. Jesse loved to read and write and under Mrs. MacPherson’s guidance she became an accomplished essayist, and received a minor in English along with her B.S. in College. She was blessed to have a tight group of classmates that studied together, including Mary Ellen Pullen, Bob Croan, Joe Masteika, Kevin French, and Peter Ingraham, who encouraged her to strive for excellence and “remember her books” after a long day of sports practice. This group and many other classmates were inducted into the National Honor Society.

Upon graduation, Jesse received a full scholarship to attend Simmons College. While at first reluctant to attend a women’s college, she quickly appreciated the strong bonds she made with fellow classmates and professors and all that Boston had to offer. She graduated with honors, earning a B.S. in Biology and minor in English.

Jesse chose to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry and spent 14 years at Wyeth, where she rose through the sales division and received the President’s Golden Circle Award. She then went into pharmaceutical marketing and launched several brands. In 2000, she transitioned to pharmaceutical advertising and worked for several award-winning firms. In 2011, she received the Rising Star Award from the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

I credit much of my success to my mom, an avid educator who always reminded me how much she believed in me. There were many other mentors along the way–teachers, professors, friends, and colleagues–because it takes a village and it all began in the little village of Dover-Foxcroft. I feel blessed for the unique experiences FA offered, particularly the well-rounded education and devoted staff; their legacy continues to help me recognize my full potential.

Kirsten White ’95

While at Foxcroft Academy, Kirsten White played softball, ran cross country, and was active on Student Council. She was selected as FA’s MPA Principal’s Award recipient her senior year,

Kirsten attended Middlebury College, where she majored in history and played varsity softball. She spent a semester studying at the University of Nottingham in England. She spent her summers working as a nanny in her hometown of Charleston, interning at CNN in Washington, D.C., and working and hiking in Glacier National Park in Montana.

After college, Kirsten served as a clerk on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee staff of Senator Russell D. Feingold, where she prepared the Senator for hearings and votes on judicial nominations, and on civil rights, crime and justice, congressional reform, and civil liberties issues.  In 2004, Kirsten entered the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as a senior editor on the Journal of Labor and Employment Law and on the Prisoner’s Rights Clinic. After graduation and the bar exam, Kirsten climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and traveled in Africa before she began practicing at a Washington law firm.

In 2009, Kirsten joined the Office of the Vice President of the United States, where she served as the Policy Director to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden.  In the White House, Kirsten worked with Dr. Biden on a range of domestic policy initiatives, including increasing access to higher education and strengthening support for military families and veterans.

Kirsten returned to practicing law in February 2013 and in June of that year she returned to Foxcroft Academy to deliver the commencement address at the graduation ceremony.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

I still call the Dover-Foxcroft area “home” and am grateful for my time at FA, where my teachers and coaches prepared me for life’s adventures, challenged me to dream big, and continue to give me a place to come home to.

Dr. Hillary Steinke Caruso ’96

Dr. Hillary Steinke Caruso participated in a wide range of extracurricular activities during her time at Foxcroft Academy. She played basketball and field hockey; was involved in band, chorus, musical theater, Scott Hi-Q, French Club, Key Club, and National Honor Society; and was a Rose Award recipient. Her senior year she served as vice president of Student Council, Band, and French Club.

Hillary went on to graduate with a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the Honors College at the University of Vermont in 2000 and received her D.M.D from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine in 2004, following which she returned to Dover-Foxcroft to join her father in practice.

Hillary received her Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry in 2010. In June of 2014, after completing a rigorous five-year program entailing more than 1,600 hours of continuing education, she will receive her Masters in the Academy of General Dentistry–an award achieved by fewer than 1% of all general dentists nationwide.

Hillary continues to hold leadership positions in her profession and has served seven years as Chairperson of Continuing Education for the Maine Academy of General Dentistry, and she is currently serving as president of the Maine Academy of General Dentistry, with the distinction of being the youngest president in the organization’s history. She also currently serves on the Board of the New England Masters Study Club.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

I feel extremely grateful to have started my academic career at Foxcroft Academy. By any standard, the students of FA are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities, but for a small school in rural Maine the experiences offered are simply amazing, and varied. At FA I had the privilege of learning in a safe environment where I was pushed to my potential by faculty who truly care.  

I am grateful to all those who taught me during my time at FA, but a few stand out–Dawn Allen, who fostered a love of reading, made sure I knew my Shakespeare and never accepted anything less than my absolute best. Gary Larson specifically sought me out when I didn’t sign up for AP Math (looking to have an easy senior year) and said, “Hillary, you can struggle with me this year or you can struggle without me next year.” He was right–I made it through AP Math with his full support and extra help and got an easy A in Calculus I in college. Cathy Charles organized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and a handful of students to spend the summer in France with a host family and finished out the trip by acting as our private tour guide through Paris.

To be an alumni of Foxcroft Academy feels like being part of a greater family–one that I am proud to be a part of and one that I feel fortunate that my children will be a part of as well.  

Dr. Matthew Rolleston, Class of 2002

Dr. Matthew Rolleston, DVM, grew up on a family farm located in Sebec, Maine. He started raising cattle when he was four years of age, where his passion developed and would lead him into his current career path. While at Foxcroft Academy, he enjoyed taking multiple AP courses but excelled in the sciences. He won the State Science Fair three times in talks and demonstration. He participated in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track.

Following graduation from FA, Matt attended the University of Maine and earned a B.S. in both animal science with a pre-veterinary concentration and in chemistry, graduating in 2007. From there he went on to attend Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, receiving his Doctorate of veterinary medicine in 2011. His interest in veterinary medicine includes bovine medicine and reproduction. He specializes in advanced reproductive services including ultrasound and embryo transfer. Matthew’s hobbies include raising registered Highland Cattle, Clun Forest Sheep, and Blue Faced Le Sheep.

How did your time at FA contribute to your success later in life?

My time at Foxcroft Academy allowed me to build a strong science background, especially in the field of chemistry, which allowed me to mold my success in academics at the university and beyond. The curriculum at the Academy both challenged me and allowed me to succeed at a collegiate level. I was fortunate to have my father, George Rolleston, teach and coach me while at the Academy, which will be memories I will never forget.  

Photo at top of page is 2014 Rose Award winners and 2014 Academic Hall of Fame inductees (or those accepting on their behalf).

  • Top row (L-R): Travis Vincent, Daniel Lee, Landon Page
  • Middle row (L-R): Blake Dyer, Floria Ji, Qiqi Dong, Tianqi Zhuang, Ivy Zhang, Cynthia Lin, Jiani Chen, Selina Guo
  • Front row (L-R): Jesse Byam Klein, Karen Pomeroy ’73 (accepting for sister Linda Gammon), Willie White (accepting for daughter Kirsten), Louis Campbell, Hillary Steinke Caruso, Mary Gellerson Adams ’57 (accepting for lifelong friend Peter Van Aken), George Rolleston (accepting for son Matthew), Bob Thomas

Click here to see more photos from the induction ceremony.