Honoring the Past. Propelling the Future
Alumni Homecoming 2022 Recap
Homecoming this year was one for the record books as it had been two years since we had been able to gather in person. This event proved to be very special and was held for the first time in the Winter hoping for larger crowds of northern alumni who wanted to enjoy the sun and warmth that is St. Petersburg in February. The weather and activities did not disappoint.
Alumni weekend kicked off with the 50th Anniversary Celebration for Charlie Duke’s Walk on the Moon in 1972 on Apollo 16. A cocktail reception and dinner with a jazz quartet were held to honor Charlie’s historical moment. The evening was hosted with retired NASA astronaut, author, and former Farragut’s parent, Nicole Stott, who commemorated Charlie’s career at NASA through images and video and explained the close friendship that has developed over the years.
View Alumni Homecoming images from the weekend.
A special congratulatory video message was given by the NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson. Mr. Nelson congratulated Charlie on his NASA career and referenced the steep historical moonwalk that has led to future exploration such as going back to the moon and eventually launching a manned mission to Mars calling this “The Artemis Generation”.
Dr. Holden, Farragut President and Head of School, presented Charlie with the President’s Award for Distinguished Service. Charlie took time to share his experience of how he always had the urge to fly, attending Farragut, the Naval Academy, and MIT, growing up during the space age and joining the US Air Force, and graduating. Charlie referenced, how “my father was able to witness the Wright brother’s first flight and to his amazement, my Daddy was able to see his own son land on the moon.” It was a heartwarming and inspirational speech given by Charlie.
During the reception, Doug Pearson ‘66 gave a heartwarming talk commemorating CAPT Fine on his 30 years of leadership at the Academy and remembering Dr. Phil Gilbert ‘66 who passed away late last year. Doug presented a donation from the Class of 1966 to the Admiral Farragut Academy Foundation in memory of Dr. Gilbert.
Alumni watched the basketball game versus IMG, there was not an empty seat in the house. Between the first and second quarters, members of the 1971 undefeated regular season basketball team were brought to center court and honored for their outstanding accomplishments. Team members present were Robert Hudson, Mike Crossen, Steve Dunn, and Frank Woolf. The 1971 team members were also able to give a pep talk to the current Farragut team prior to the game. Frank Woolf shared “Talking to the Farragut basketball team means more than you will ever know, a flood of memories rushed back. Thank you for giving us the time to do so. It impacted me more than you will ever know.”
The energy in the gym was felt by all and we are proud of our BlueJackets who hustled and played a great game but unfortunately took a tough loss to one of the best teams in the country.
A young alumni gathering took place after the game at 400 Beach in downtown St. Petersburg –owned by former Farragut parents Jeanna and Shawn Damkohler. The young alumni showed up in big numbers of over 40 attendees throughout the evening and shared great memories. The Farragut faculty also attended, of whom are a part of the Farragut experience for over 25 years, this made for an extraordinary time.
The reunion weekend concluded on Saturday evening with the alumni Homecoming reception and dinner with Dr. Holden who honored the thirty years of Bob Fine’s tenure at Farragut. The Chairwoman of the Board, Ashley Patterson Beaty ‘02 gave a heartfelt speech commemorating Bob’s servant leadership, thanked his wife, Anita, and family for sharing Bob with the Academy all these years. Ashley further stated, “Together, Bob and Anita led transformative decades in Farragut’s history. Under their leadership, our mission to prepare the next generation of leaders expanded from self-discipline to self-realization.” Bob was awarded the President’s Distinguished Service Medal by Dr. Holden in a moving ceremony, with a touching video presentation showing many special memories over the years was played.
During the evening’s celebration, new Blue Jacket Club members were announced with the bestowing of coveted tailored Blue Jackets with the Farragut crest. To achieve Blue Jacket Club status one must have contributed a cumulative $100,000.00 to the Academy. New members are Bob and Anita Fine, Ashley Patterson Beaty ‘02, Mike Fisher ‘59, and former parents Jake and Ingrid Jacobus. Each of these individuals has shown a commitment to the values and ideals upon which Admiral Farragut Academy is based and reflects the importance the Academy has had in their lives.
Homecoming weekend 2022 exceeded expectations, especially during these unprecedented times. The Farragut alumni community came together and shared in the common bond of their alma mater. It was a great time hearing all the memories shared with the different classes from 1946 to 2017. As the Academy continues to strengthen and evolve, the alumni are still able to honor the Farragut traditions while championing the bright future that lay ahead.