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The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence, presented by Head of School Bob Henderson '76

My responsibility at this moment is to honor a member of the faculty whose care and attention have helped to make Nobles a very special place.

The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence was established in 1982 by David Arnold of the Class of 1940 in honor of Vernon Greene, who for many years and many people embodied faculty excellence. The award is presented yearly to a member of this faculty who encourages and nurtures academic excellence, whose pedagogy is distinguished and whose commitment to students and school community is thorough.

Over a decade ago, I had dinner with some graduates of Nobles from the 1940’s. At one point, I commented that excellence in teaching and the relationship between students and faculty were still at the heart of this school. One of these men then asked if everyone would comment on a teacher who had made a significant impact on him. Almost to a person, these men then spoke about Vernon Greene. Sixty years after the fact, these men remembered Vernon Greene as one of the great models and inspirations of their lives. No award can speak more deeply about the soul and value of the Nobles experience than this one. Indeed, we are today gathered on Greene Field, named in his honor many years ago.

I would like to ask this year’s recipient of the Vernon Greene Award to please come forward and join me here on the podium while I say a few words about him.  Please congratulate Dominic Manzo.

Mr. Manzo…I say that name, and his students just smile. One of his kids said to me that he is a “stealth” teacher: You learn way more than you think you are because you have such a good time doing it. Class is about storytelling and personal connections and joyful exploration. Relentlessly curious, with an eclectic intellect, he seems to be interested in all the things the person he is talking to is interested in. Mr. Manzo, one of his former students said, is the sort of person who can have an animated conversation with a rock, and the rock will feel good about it!

There is no pretense to Mr. Manzo, no airs, and no assumptions about others. He is even-keeled, genial, charming, humble and kind. He is also a heavy-lifter, both in the school and in his department, developing ideas for new courses, including robotics and engineering, and then repeatedly refining those courses, and his physics class, to make them better and more effective. When needed, he steps up; for instance, taking over the Senior Project Program, but then reconceiving that program, reorganizing it and making it more meaningful. He makes it a point to meet and engage every member of the First Class before graduation. He notices people and what they care about and he listens to them. He knows a better idea than his own when he hears one, and he builds upon that, collaborating effortlessly and intuitively.

Dominic is, in sum, a delightful human being who makes a tremendous difference for the better in the lives of his students and colleagues. President of the Board of Trustees Beth Reilly will present the Vernon Greene Prize for Faculty Excellence to a master teacher, a wonderful mentor, a dedicated citizen of this community and the community beyond our walls, and a role model for all of us, Dominic Manzo.

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The Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence, presented by Head of School Bob Henderson '76