Jim Mabie

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I came up to Hamilton from Peekskill, New York, in the Hudson Highlands. I followed an old family friend, Jeffrey Buchanan, class of 1965. At the time, I thought Hamilton, removed from the metropolitan area and very much unto itself, was just the place to spend four idyllic years studying the classics and discovering worlds that I didn’t know even existed. That it was, but Hamilton was also a pretty austere place in 1962. I soon concluded that life in the greater Utica area could be substantially enhanced by four wheels and good snow tires.  Thank God my parents assented. I majored in economics and spent a lot of time in math courses. But I most enjoyed the broadening influence of courses in art, music, and philosophy.  From Hamilton, John Snyder and I went directly to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for an MBA in finance. Why did I go directly to graduate school? The Vietnam War.  

I was always aiming to go into business, like my father, and commute to New York from Westchester each day.  I was going to be a banker.  That never happened.  From Wharton, I went to Berkshire School, a boys boarding school in western Massachusetts, as a math teacher.  Why teaching? The Vietnam War.  Over my six years at Berkshire, I segued from teaching math, through economics, the philosophy of science, and public speaking, to teaching English. I was also a dormitory master, a squash coach, manager of the Tuck Shop, and dean of the sophomores.  There’s not much there that an MBA trains you for, but it showed me in a very powerful way how much I enjoyed living and working with young people in an educational community.  From Berkshire, I went in 1974 to Rye Country Day School, in Rye, New York, as director of finance (the MBA finally kicked in) and, later, also the assistant headmaster.  In 1994, I moved to the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich, Connecticut, as director of finance.  I retired from working for others in 2014, and my one school commitment now is as a member of the board of trustees of Greenwich Country Day School.  

MabieAlong the way, I met and married Margot Jones, whose family had close ties to Hamilton.  Her mother claimed that every male that she was related to by blood or by marriage went to Hamilton College—except one.  Thank God I’m not that one poor guy—but he is a very nice guy.  We adopted two daughters in China and lived in Riverside, Connecticut, for 37 years.  Jocelyn, our older daughter is married to a baseball enthusiast and a pretty good coach and player who works for Bobby Valentine at his sports academy and is now embarking on his own sports enterprises.  Looking for a place to invest some venture capital money?  Jocelyn is teaching first grade at Greenwich Country Day School and chasing after two-year-old Alexander, who is a darling if I do say so myself.  Emma recently graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, with majors in English and psychology.  She has done an internship in communications and is now working on defining her next step.  So our nest is close to empty. Looking for a new home that would suit us better in retirement, Margot and I moved a mile away to a place in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.  I do not recommend moving after 37 years in the same house.  It is easier to be carried out in a wooden box.  That is my plan for the next move.  

So there have been many turns in my path from Hamilton.  I am in a very different place than I thought I would be, and I am happy for that.  In all my wanderings, I still think of myself as just a kid from the Hudson Valley.  People there, my family, Margot, and the many people along the way have guided me and helped me to define who I am, and I feel blessed to have been so lucky.  

Carissima, gentlemen.  

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