In September, 1958, Marshall Dalton, at the request of the Trustees, became the Chairman of the committee to choose the new Headmaster for Governor Dummer. He appointed to work with him Doctors Boyden and Fuess and Messrs. Davidson, Morgan and Moseley. Dr. Eames, expressing full confidence in such a committee, had indicated his desire to stand aside while it considered candidates to succeed him.
Working as a team, the members sought advice and suggestions from a wide variety of sources. Members of the Academy faculty were contacted and their points of view solicited. Each member of the "Old Guard" was interviewed, individually and at length, by the Chairman. To each of their opinions the Committee gave special attention. Thus the Trustees were able to avail themselves of the best advice and the fullest cooperation of all those whose judgments they valued most. As in their deliberations they narrowed the field of eligible candidates, they invited certain of the men under consideration, with their wives, to visit the Academy in order to talk with the members of the selection committee, view the school, and meet the boys and the faculty. Four final candidates were invited to revisit the Academy and to talk again with the Committee. Mr. Dalton and others of the group paid visits to the men on their home grounds. After five months of diligent search and study, the Committee was faced with the difficult task of arriving at a final recommendation to the full Board. Its decision -- and that of the whole board--was enthusiastic and unanimous. On January 17, 1959, Mr. Dalton announced the selection: Mr. Valleau Wilkie, Jr., who was, at thirty-five years of age, completing his eleventh year on the faculty at Phillips Academy, Andover. There is a particular rightness in the fact that the school to which the Academy had almost 200 years before sent Samuel Phillips, its founder, and Eliphalet Pearson, its first principal, should thus return the favor.
Although Val Wilkie has said that, until approached by Governor Dummer, he had never seriously thought of assuming the responsibilities of a headmaster, it is difficult to conceive how the Committee could have settled upon a man more perfectly fitted for the job. Dr. Eames once characterized the Board's choice of Mr. Dalton to "chair" the selection committee by saying, "The Trustees stepped
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Publication information: Book title: Governor Dummer Academy History, 1763-1963. Contributors: John W. Ragle - Author. Publisher: Governor Dummer Academy. Place of publication: South Byfield, MA. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 168.
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