Ben Callinder ’11, known for his leadership and star athleticism as a Deerfield student, passed away from cancer in May 2016. After graduating from Deerfield Academy in 2011, Ben went on to attend Davidson College. His kind and compassionate spirit impacted the lives of his teammates on the field and his peers in the classroom at Deerfield and Davidson. Ben’s positive and joyful personality carefully hid his fight with cancer even as a Deerfield student. He courageously fought his disease multiple times throughout his lifetime, taking a year off from Deerfield and a semester off from Davidson in order to receive treatment. At the Academy, Ben didn’t let his cancer diagnosis stop him from playing football. Science teacher Toby Emerson first got to know Ben as the JV football Coach. Mr. Emerson recalled, “What really set Ben apart on the football field was his ability to run into people at full speed, [but] what really set Ben apart off the field was his smile and soft-spoken demeanor.” At Davidson, Ben distinguished himself as student body president, a health advisor, and a co-founder of the Black Men’s Union. Ben had interned for both Bloomberg L.P. and the Clinton Foundation, and had secured a position in data analytics with the Brooklyn Nets.
Prep for Prep is an educational program that allowed Ben to attend Deerfield Academy for all four years at no cost to his family. The program also helped him secure internships, jobs, and provided post graduate advising. Ben’s fraternity at Davidson, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, has started fundraising to create a scholarship through Prep for Prep to honor his memory. With a $50,000 goal, this scholarship fund would pay for all four years of high school for one student. SAE hopes to honor Ben’s memory through giving another dedicated scholar the same generous opportunities that Ben received.
Lucas Tupinamba ’16, now a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Davidson, hopes that the Deerfield community can “[honor] the memory of Ben and [allow] those who knew him, as well as those who didn’t, but still hold respect for his courageous life, to come together.”