Celebrating Homecoming, Reunion, and the Dedication of O’Keeffe Field
On Saturday, September 25, hundreds of Roxbury Latin fans—students, alumni, faculty, families, and friends—gathered on campus for a long-awaited Homecoming/Fall Family Day and Reunion, the first athletic and social event of its kind on campus since October 2019.
The day brought athletic competitions across campus, including varsity matches in cross country, soccer, and football. Cross country topped Rivers 16-47; football beat Middlesex in a nail-biter match by a score of 16-13; and soccer put up a valiant effort against Brooks, but ultimately fell 2-1. Before kick-off, Headmaster Brennan—along with members of the O’Keeffe family and trustees—gathered at the 50-yard line to officially dedicate the turf football/lacrosse field as O’Keeffe Field, in honor of the late trustee and loyal alumnus, Bill O’Keeffe ’57.
“The O’Keeffes, through various acts of kindness to their school, have honored our fondest hopes and offered their leadership, service, and generosity on behalf of this old school and our mission,” said Headmaster Brennan. “Though a dozen or so O’Keeffes have attended the school, today we focus especially on Bill O’Keeffe, from the Class of 1957. Bill’s father, Bernard, was a member of the Class of 1924, and attended the old school on Kearsarge Avenue in Roxbury. Bill’s two sons, Ian, Class of 1986, and Tim, Class of 1989, made their own mark on the school during their time as students and subsequently as especially devoted alumni. In fact, Ian just completed a term as a member of the Board of Trustees. Ian’s son, Ben, is currently a member of Class III. But today I want especially to honor Bill O’Keeffe who for 25 years served faithfully on the Board of Trustees and as secretary and vice president. He was known for his deep devotion to the school, his hard work, and his ever-present wit. He could be counted on to leaven any discussion with both wisdom and humor. One of those epochal Board discussions occurred in 2013 when the Board of Trustees were considering taking on the process of renovating and building the athletic facilities we all enjoy. After a lot of understandable hand wringing, it was Bill who brought the meeting to a conclusion and a resolution when he said simply ‘How can we not do this?’ So, here today on the field on which Bill’s grandson plays, on the field on which both Ian and Tim played, on the field on which Bill himself played—where he led his team as its quarterback—we honor Bill who on his deathbed ensured the benefaction that led to our realizing this special, improved, all-turf facility. With us today are Bill’s sons, Ian and Tim, and his wife, Paula. To all of them, who together have not just made this gift possible but who have been faithful stewards of our school, I offer my deepest gratitude.”
Following the dedication, and just prior to the game, the Latonics performed the National Anthem from the steps of the Indoor Athletic Facility. At halftime, on the football field, Sixies and Fifthies battled it out in the annual tug-of-war. (Class V emerged victorious, continuing a years-long championship.)
The weekend-long celebration was also in honor of those classes whose Reunions had been disrupted by the pandemic. Alumni from classes ending in 0, 1, 5, and 6 were on campus for a variety of celebratory events, beginning Friday evening—with the 25th Reunion BBQ for the Class of 1995 and the Class of 1996 and their families—and concluding with the Reunion Dinner on Saturday evening, which included more than 300 alumni and their guests, representing the Class of 1951 through the Class of 2016!
Reunited alumni also enjoyed a series of events throughout Saturday morning, including a 50th Reunion breakfast held in the Kelsey Faculty Room; classes taught by faculty members Mike Pojman (Chemistry), Mo Randall (English), Sue McCrory (Art History) and John Lieb (STEM). Headmaster Brennan then offered welcoming remarks and an update on the school today, and a panel of five members of Class I spoke to alumni about their experiences at RL over the years, answering questions on an array of lively topics.