Dedication of the "Two Johns" Junior Classroom

Remarks by Arthur Burr '54
Homecoming, May 20th 2006

Arthur Burr '54 at the "Two Johns" Junior Classroom dedication.Looking at all these young faces today it is hard to remember that we were all that young once.

It has been almost 52 years since the class of 1954 graduated from this institution. Of the thirteen graduates two were named John - John Franklin and John Dalzell.

Both of these classmates were special to me. When we went to sea in our freshman year, I was only seventeen, the youngest and probably most immature member of the class. I came from a very sheltered environment where an inadvertent "damn" would bring out the bar of soap. Going to sea and working with merchant seaman whose vocabulary was almost entirely unprintable was quite a transition. John Dalzell, probably the most mature member of the class, was my shipmate, big brother and guardian angel. Five years later he would be the best man at my wedding.

John Franklin was also a very good friend. We shared common interests in hunting and shooting. We also were the two members of the class that had more interest in boats than in ships. John Franklin and I were the only members of the class to eventually have careers in the recreational boating industry. In 1963, with help and encouragement from another classmate, Ken Spaulding, who unfortunately could not be with us today, I started my boat sales business. It wasn't many years later that John Franklin started a career in building Aluminum sailboats.

Unfortunately, John Franklin was the first member of our class to pass away, 18 years ago, at the very young age of 56. His death was totally unexpected, and served as an early reminder that no one lives forever. John Dalzell lost his battle with cancer just five years ago.

I sincerely believe that financial success is a result of 10 percent skill, 10 percent hard work and 80 percent dumb luck. Often it is just a matter of accidentally being in the right place at the right time. I am pleased that I have been fortunate enough and lucky enough to be in a position to make this donation to the school that has been such a big factor in my life and to honor these two good friends who are no longer with us.

At this time it gives me great pleasure on behalf of the remaining eleven graduates of the class of 54, six of which are here today, and the three honorary members of the class, represented here today by George Colburn, to dedicate the Junior classroom to the memory of these special classmates.

Knowing well the modest and unpretentious nature of these two gentlemen, I feel sure that they would be the first to suggest that the classroom be unofficially known as the Two Johns Junior classroom.

 
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