Dedication of the Dr. James J. Conti Senior Classroom

Dedication of the Dr. James J. Conti Senior Classroom

Remarks by Dr. Peter Van Dyke '60
Homecoming, May 20th 2006 

It's both a privilege and a pleasure today for me to be able to dedicate the senior classroom to Dr. Jim Conti. Connie Conti, Dr. James J. Conti, Dr. Peter Van Dyke and Conti Classroom Plaque

When I heard that Joe Cuneo had arranged for the Reception Room to be dedicated to Charlie Visconti for his many years of service to Webb as a trustee and chairman of the board, I thought that I should do the same for the senior classroom. That is, identify someone who had made a significant contribution to Webb and remember it in that way. I thought about it for about 2 seconds, and then recalled the years I spent working with Jim as a Trustee when he was President, and I had my answer. It was Jim and Charlie who re-introduced me to Webb about 16 years ago. Since Charlie had his room, I thought Jim should have a room too.

The plaque enumerates the basics of Jim's service to Webb over 25 years, Trustee from 1974 to 1990, and President of Webb from 1990 to 1999. His contributions to the school in academics, administration, and general leadership were many, but I can't really speak to those. Charlie Visconti has agreed to speak to that in a minute. However, I do recall our interactions on the finance committee.

In October 1991 when I joined the Board, Charlie and Jim put me on the Finance Committee since they thought I might add some value there. I remember that Rob Goldbach was the Chair and Frank Graziano was a member of the committee. We had two managers, Oppenheimer for the equities and the committee managed the bond portfolio. There were a few rough spots getting started. In particular, I was analyzing the bond portfolio using a computer model supplied by Salomon Brothers. Chairman Goldbach couldn't figure out why someone who worked for T. Rowe Price produced reports which said Solomon Brothers on them. Jim smoothed out this little question and a few others, and the committee seemed to function reasonably well.

It should be noted that during Jim's tenure as President the endowment value grew at a compounded annual rate of 11.5 % and that's after a spending rate of anywhere from 6 to 8 percent every year.

I know I can speak for everyone who worked with Jim during his long service to Webb when I say that this is a very small token of appreciation for all that he has done for the Webb family.

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On the Dedication of the Dr. James J. Conti Senior Classroom

Mr. Visconti offered comments about Dr. Conti at the request of Dr. Van Dyke. He went on to say it had been a pleasure to serve as Board Chairman during Dr. Conti's nine years as President; which reminded him of the long period when I was a young boy and it seemed that we never would have a President other than Franklin Delano Roosevelt or a pope other than Pope Pius XII.

Dr. Conti was so dedicated to his position as President that he once told me it had been years since Mrs. Conti and he had spent a night in their own home in Bethpage, Long Island.

Even before he became President of Webb he had served as a Trustee for almost twenty years. It's an extreme pleasure to honor Dr. Conti in such a special way, and so deserving.

 
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