Banner Day for Boarding School Alumni in the Sunday New York Times

Two boarding school alumni featured prominently in the Sunday New York Times (8/1)- retired baseball player, now, real estate developer, Mo Vaughn and actress Laura Linney; Trinity Pawling and Northfield Mount Hermon appear as contributors to the pair’s formative years.

Vaughn’s piece ran in the first section of my national edition (Power Player); Linney’s story ran as the cover article of The New York Times Magazine (The Age of Laura Linney).

Vaughn is making his baseball “afterlife” the rehabilitation of low income housing in New York City.

“…His six-year-old company, Omni New York LLC, is on its way to becoming a major player in the low-income housing world. It has acquired 4,000 apartments, most of them in New York State’s scrappiest neighborhoods, housing the poorest of tenants (98 percent of them qualify for Section 8 rent subsidies).

In a city obsessed with the gilded cocoons of the rich, the company has forged a reputation for turning around properties once deemed untouchable in the caste system of New York real estate — like the Plaza, where drug dealers once openly sold their own brand of heroin, guarded by pit bulls whose food was laced with gunpowder…

…“I love them — as much as I can love any landlord,” said Megan Reed, an Urban Homesteading organizer.”

Linney plays the lead, a terminally ill cancer patient, and serves as an executive producer, in Showtime’s new series “The Big C.”

Author Frank Bruni argues that Linney is hitting her stride, producing an outstanding body of work later in her career than most.

Linney works hard; takes nothing for granted; and seems to have checked, or set aside, modern cynicism.

“…Her path to this privileged point has been an unusual and interesting one. Although an actress with her kind of blond, girl-next-door prettiness would seem best positioned for parts in her 20s and early 30s, Linney really started turning heads around 35, and her trajectory has been ever upward since then. In fact, she has done much of her highest-profile (and best) work since she turned 40.” (NYT)

“…’Her family life was — what’s the right word? — let’s say it’s deeply textured and leave it at that,’ says the actor David Eigenberg, best known as Miranda’s husband, Steve, in ‘Sex and the City,’ who worked with Linney in the early 1990s on the Broadway production of ‘Six Degrees of Separation,’ in which he had a small part and she was an understudy. Linney’s father and mother, a transplanted Southerner, divorced when she was still in diapers, and her father went on to marry several more times. Linney, their only child, lived in a one-bedroom apartment with her mother, who worked long shifts as a cancer nurse at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and slept on a pullout in the living room.
 ‘She busted her butt to provide,’ Linney says, the uncharacteristically coarse language underscoring her desire to emphasize the point. ‘She worked really hard to make sure that I would have a good, solid life.’ Even so, it took additional help from Linney’s relatives for her to be able to afford the fancy schools…” (NYT)

Linney and Vaughn both seem testimonies to the transformational powers and opportunities of boarding schools. Neither takes for granted their boarding school opportunities.

For some kids, boarding school is the best way to go to school; this certainly seems true for these two. Each seems to have soaked-up, and internalized, the lessons and opportunities presented by their respective boarding environments. They both seem amazingly connected and empathetic in our world that makes connection and sensitivity difficult to harness and express.

T-P and NMH should be proud.

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