A UnresoTHE LIBBY PEI PROJECTlved Journey
Through the Phillips Exeter Academy
Libby Pei, a senior at the Phillips Exeter Academy, a 227-year-old prep school located in southern New Hampshire, has designed a book based on an article that was posted on Squashtalk.com three years ago, “A History Of Squash at Phillips Exeter Academy,” written by senior Squashtalk writer/archivist Rob Dinerman. The latter, an Academy alumnus himself as a four-year member of the class of ’72, presented this article to his alma mater on the occasion of the formal dedication on October 29th, 2005, of the Fisher Squash Center, whose ten glass-back-wall courts (two of them exhibition courts with viewing capacity of 500 people) have already hosted New England regional and national junior championships and been featured (with color photographs) in a New York Times article earlier this year about New England prep schools.
Pei, 18, is the only four-year letter-winner on the current girls varsity squash team, on which she serves as co-captain. The soft-cover handsomely-bound 106-page book that she has designed from the text of the 7,900-word article concludes with her own brief epilogue, entitled “The Faces Of Exeter Squash,” consisting of team photographs of all 112 Exeter varsity squash teams ---77 boys teams, beginning with the 1931-32 squad that debuted during future U. S. Squash Hall Of Famer Germain Glidden’s senior year, and 35 girls teams, the first of which, the 1973-74 squad, was launched a few years after the previously boys-only school went co-educational in 1970.
The book contains much archival material and is presented in the kind of nuanced fashion that offers a comprehensive window into the overall New England prep-school squash experience during the past three-quarters of a century.
It also showcases the many former racquet-wielding Exonians who went on to prominent on- and off-court positions in the sport, a roster that includes Hall Of Famers Glidden ’32 and Demer Holleran ’85, as well as WPSA top-ten performers Frank Satterthwaite ’61 and Dinerman; legendary Harvard coach Dave Fish ’68, whose Crimson squads went undefeated against arch-rival Yale throughout his 13-year (1976-89) tenure; three Exeter coaches (namely George Bennett ’23, Werner Brandes and Spruill Kilgore) who each guided the program for more than two decades; Yale all-American and mid-1980’s U. S. Squash President Charlie Kingsley ’55; and New England Interschols champs Richard Hoehn ’55, Louis Williams ’60, Ray Godfrey ’63, Arif Sarfraz ’72, Mitch Reese ’77, Geordie Lemmon ’79, Holleran, Priscilla Marshall and Hayden Felice, both ’94, and Rina Borromeo ’97.
Pei’s praiseworthy production comprised her senior-project in the advanced Studio Art course that she and seven of her fellow schoolmates were enrolled in during the fall semester. All of the class members’ senior projects, representing widely varying motifs, were placed on display this past Sunday evening on campus at the Lamont Gallery, an exhibit that saw the venue’s main upper-level hallway overflowing with friends, family members and fellow students. In addition to copies of the book itself, Pei’s gallery exhibit included several of the old-style small-headed wood-framed racquets that were used until the 1970’s, as well as a number of large photographs from a fondly remembered by-gone era in prep-school lore.
(This article first appeared on SquashTalk.com)