On Tuesday, November 29, Celgene Corporation hosted a dinner at the Union League Club to honor Bill Scully '57 for his loyal support as this nascent biomedical company developed several important cancer fighting drugs over the course of the past 30 years. Bill was an early investor in the company and stuck with the company believing in the value of the medications. As a result of his loyalty, thousands of lives have been saved or extended due to the efficacy of the drugs. Headmaster Arch Smith was asked to speak about Bill's generosity to Trinity-Pawling. It was indeed an honor for Trinity-Pawling to be part of this august occasion. (Photo above of Marlynn and Bill Scully '57 at the Scully Hall Dedication.)
Bill and I have some common loves. Bill spent three years at Trinity-Pawling and has supported and loved the School in the years since. I have spent the last 37 years teaching, coaching, and leading Trinity-Pawling.
How Bill got to Trinity-Pawling is a story of itself. Like all stories, a little bit has probably been lost over the years, but here is the gist of it. Dr. Matthew Dann was Headmaster of Trinity-Pawling and knew of the Scully family because he taught Bill’s older brothers at the Trinity School in New York. Dr. Dann was an irascible soul; if you were on his good list, he favored you; if you were on the other list, well….it was different. In September 1954 as school was opening, Dr. Dann called the Scully home and probably said something like, “Bill, get your tail up here. I’ve got a place for you and don’t worry about tuition.” Bill lived on the third floor of the Headmaster’s house until some hapless soul permanently vacated his dormitory room.
Bill lived up to what Dr. Dann saw in him. He was an honor student, a Prefect during his senior year, and a star of the basketball and soccer teams.
I would like to talk a little about Bill and Marlynn’s philanthropy. While, we are recognizing Bill, we all know that Bill and Marlynn are a team and are partners in their generosity. I do not know of all of the places that they support, and there are many. Andrew Carnegie believed in reading and built 2509 libraries around the world, many of which still bear his name. John D. Rockefeller worried about open spaces and devoted billions to protecting our natural spaces. Bill and Marlynn, believing in the importance of helping young people grow, have chosen education.
Bill and Marlynn take personal interest in their philanthropy. When Scully Hall was being designed to replace our 1970 store-front dining hall, Bill knew the importance of the family-style dinners at Trinity-Pawling. Marlynn walked around campus taking pictures of various architectural elements of our brick campus to be included in the new design to make the building consistent with the campus. They wanted brick, a slate roof, and geothermal HVAC. Let me add that Scully Hall is 41 % bigger than the previous dining space and its energy use is 31% lower including the air conditioning which we did not previously have. Not afraid of new concepts, Marlynn encouraged me to use old blue jeans as insulation, something that their contractor in Vermont latched onto.
Over the fireplace, is one of my favorite quotes from St. Luke, “To whom much is given much is expected.” Students at Trinity-Pawling of every socio-economic background are given much.
Bill is a modest man. He would be embarrassed to know how many times a day 300 students and nearly 100 faculty and staff say, “I’ll see you at Scully.” More than anything that we have done in the past twenty years, the Scully Dining Hall has had a bigger impact on the morale of the students than anything else.
Bill is a thinker. He is a man of few words, except when talking about his 12 grandchildren. But I can see the wheels turning. He always wants to know what is next on my list. He sees how the pieces of the school community are intertwined to educate each boy. Two summers ago, he and I walked the campus looking at the deplorable buildings known as the Barracks built by the Army during World War II and now used for faculty housing. Next summer, we will complete the second phase of ten new housing units, some free standing homes, and others in a condominium format. Like Scully Hall, these will be brick, have slate roofs, and geothermal HVAC. Not only does this give long suffering dorm masters a reprieve, but it also enables us to have more options in the hiring practice. School teachers do not earn a great deal of money, but are compensated by the quality of life. Bill and Marlynn’s gift will help me attract and retain the very best faculty.
In closing, I am reminded of the words of the American 19th century journalist Gamaliel Bailey who said, “ Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.” Bill, you are the brightest orb in the sky and have used your resources to help many others for centuries to come. On behalf of all of us who believe in education, I thank you and Marlynn for your generosity and example.