Brooke Family Establishes Ethics and Spirituality Chair

Middlesex School Faculty Chair

On Thursday, September 12, 2013, we had the pleasure of celebrating and recognizing the importance of our chapel program through the dedication of The Brooke Family Chair in Ethics and Spirituality.

John Brooke ’81 P’12 spoke of the chair as an investment in the “people that drive this place,” both through the faculty recipient of the chair and the students affected by the Chapel program. “While Middlesex is an academic institution,” he said, “it is far more than that.” The Chair “is not for athletics, it’s not necessarily for academics, and it’s not really for the Arts. And that fit us as a family,” John asserted, referring to his brothers Peter ’79 and Sam ’76, his parents Peter and Anne, and his daughter Hadley ’12.

Head of School Kathy Giles called the creation of a faculty chair “a gift of tremendous magnitude, in its capacity to strengthen our mission of ‘finding the promise’ in our students; in its perpetuity, over generations and decades of future students; and in its centrality and permanence at the core of our faculty.” She emphasized the impact of a gift supporting spirituality and ethics, an investment “in the care of our students’ souls and their understanding of what it means to be a citizen of an ethical, loving community.” 

The inaugural holder of the Brooke Chair is Cabell King, who came to Middlesex in 2012 to oversee the Chapel Program, teach religious studies and English, and coach. In his address, Cabell described the uniqueness of the Middlesex Chapel program: “In a school that espouses no particular religion we nevertheless assert the value of spiritual life…Our nonsectarian commitment is not simply negative, a promise not to interfere in the religious lives of students; it is positive, a promise to work together amicably with respect and civility for meaningful and just ends.”

Through this Chair, Cabell affirmed that Middlesex “will continue to engage in deep, meaningful, spiritual questions, and puzzle over the relationship between spiritual and academic ends.” On a more basic level, the Chapel remains a weekly venue for the whole community to, as Mrs. Giles summarized, "tell our stories and share what is most important in our lives and in our beliefs." For John Brooke and his family, a gift toward ethics and spirituality ensures that Middlesex students receive an education that extends beyond academics and extracurricular talents: “Any school might declare that it has the best athletes or the smartest students, but without a sense of spirituality, morality, and ethics, it is a hollow victory.”

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