Dedication of the Charles G. Visconti Sophomore Classroom

Remarks by Ulrich H. Koch '55
Homecoming, May 20th 2006

Ulrich Koch '55 at the Charles G. Visconti Sophomore Classroom dedication.
Last year the class of 1955 made a donation to Webb in recognition of our 50th anniversary and decided to "name" the sophomore classroom. We then wondered what to say on the plaque. The usual recognition of a "generous donation" is appropriate for a donation by an outside benefactor, but in this case it seemed like just giving ourselves a nice pat on the back and that wasn't our reason. So what was our reason?

I think it was motivated by our appreciation of the education we received and a desire to perpetuate it for future generations. Therefore, we chose to present it in recognition of a person who has exemplified that motivation by his dedicated service to Webb, Charlie Visconti.

A few years ago in 1951, well okay more than a few but that sounds better than more than a half century ago, a group of freshmen arrived here in Glen Cove. The youngest was Charlie Visconti, one who soon made his mark on our group.

Charlie was from New York City and grew up accustomed to a life style rather different that known by most of us who came from more suburban or rural areas.

  • He was a true New Yorker.
  • He grew up in Manhattan.
  • Was an expert on the NY subway system, including unbelievable stories (probably not true.)
  • Lived in midtown 10th avenue in an area known as "Hell's Kitchen" for reasons he never explained and I won't ask.

I sometimes wondered how anyone could sleep surrounded by the noise of a big city and especially with a noisy subway directly below the building. But it's all in what you get used to. Each fall when we returned to this quite spot on Long Island, Charlie complained that he couldn't sleep. Why? Well, those darn noisy crickets kept him awake at night.

As a true New Yorker Charlie was an avid Yankees fan and a sports fan in general, and not just a spectator. He was on the Webb basketball team for four years, including a couple as captain.

Lacking a Webb baseball team, Charlie organized occasional class softball games and dubbed the teams the "Rats" and "Mice". Why? Well, it seemed to make sense at the time.

Charlie was the class artist.

  • He designed caricatures of each of us which were cut out as life-sized silhouettes and decorated our Ring Dance.
  • He designed the new cover for the "Binnacle".
  • He drew the familiar logo of an anchor encircled by a chain. Perhaps not the original but a large scale version for the plaque on the new yacht club building that was just completed.

Charlie's artistry was more than just entertainment, it was part of his nature of being very detail-oriented and persistent. A true engineer, the devil lives in the details. That continued after Webb in all his activities.

After graduation he soon became active in the Webb Alumni Association and held each executive committee position including President and Trustee from 1980-82.

  • He was elected to the board of Trustees again in 1983 to 2005, a 22 year tenure.
  • Vice Chairman in 1984
  • Board Chairman 1988 to 2005, a 17 year tenure, one of the longest in Webb's history.

His tenure as Board Chairman was characterized by his attention to detail, persistence, and tenacity.

  • With his attention to detail he became noted for his memos written in the Faulkner style of the longest grammatically correct sentences possible. One sentence equals one paragraph equals one page. At least.
  • By his persistence made sure that no detail was overlooked.
  • And by his tenacity he saw to it that no issue was set aside until it was fully resolved.

As a result Webb has survived some difficult challenges over the last half century. More than survive, Webb has grown, improved, and has a strong, bright future ahead.

For all of that and much more we thank you, Charlie.

We also know that your accomplishments have taken a large piece of your personal time, effort, and attention and you could not have done it alone. You had a strong and loyal partner and supporter, Roberta. For all of that and much more that we don't know about, we thank you, Roberta.

Congratulations to both of you,

Your friends and classmates.


On the Dedication of the Charles G. Visconti Sophomore Classroom

As for the dedication of the Charles G. Visconti Sophomore Classroom, Ulrich Koch did the honors and also read a letter that our Class President had sent to me about the dedication.

Mr. Visconti thanked his classmates and said "The honor they gave to me was exceeded by the honor I have to be included as a member of the distinguished class of '55."

Mr. Visconti introduced members of his class to all present. He presented a brief statement describing how he and all his classmates benefited from having been at Webb and what they did professionally using the Webb education they received. Admiral Olsen then presented Mr. Visconti with the replica of the plaque to be mounted near the Sophomore Classroom.

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