Former headmaster Eric Widmer ’57 received the Deerfield Heritage Award today in school meeting.
Before returning to Deerfield as its first alumnus to serve as headmaster, Mr. Widmer studied history at Williams College and Far Eastern Languages at Harvard and then spent a year in Taiwan on a Fulbright Fellowship. For 25 years, he served Brown University in various capacities first as a professor and then as an administrator, including dean of admissions. He mastered many languages including Russian, Chinese, and French.
Charles Jones ’12, a student member of the selection committee, elaborated on Mr. Widmer’s appeal and accomplishments. “Mr. Widmer is a Deerfield icon. His experience in Jordan is not only intriguing, it is truly inspiring. With the support of King Abdullah, he crafted King’s Academy from the drawing board and he worked to impart much of what we cherish here at Deerfield on the new school and its students.”
Gavin Fuller ’12, who also participated in the selection, pushed for Mr. Widmer because “the purpose of the Heritage Award is to recognize an individual who has been ‘worthy of his or her heritage.’ When reading biographies of several nominees, it was very clear to me that Mr. Widmer, among all the other nominees, has proven to be ‘worthy.’”
Hadley Newton ’12, the final student member of the selection committee, also found the choice of Mr. Widmer to be obvious. “His legacy is one of compassion, community, and education. As a headmaster at home and abroad, he has led with confidence and poise.”