01 Jun 2007
A Class All His OwnTopics:
It doesn’t seem right that F. Gorham Brigham Jr. (MBA 1939) should drive to the Bulletin’s offices in Teele Hall to discuss his 58 years (and counting) as class secretary. After so many years of service, it would be much more fitting for the magazine (to which he’s contributed hundreds of handwritten pages of Class Notes) to come to his home in nearby West Newton. But Brigham, 92, will hear nothing of it.
“It’s just a short drive down the Pike,” he says.
Hip replacement surgery has done little to slow down Brigham, who played tennis until just a few years ago with his friends and business associates from Citizens Bank, where he worked as a senior vice president until June 2004. Upon arrival at Teele, he hands in his contribution to Class Notes Editor Keith Larson, then quickly outpaces his guide on a tour of the building before settling down to share stories as one of the School’s most dedicated, long-serving volunteers.
In typical fashion, Brigham says little about himself, instead focusing on his classmates. “There was a fellow from North Dakota whose father was president of the local bank,” he recalls. “The bank went broke during the Depression, so when the son came to HBS he lived in the basement of the Dean’s House. His job was to keep Dean Donham’s car clean, put wood on the fire, do chores, and wait tables in the dining hall for his meals.”
He also reminisces about fellow classmates like Robert McNamara and HBS professor emeritus Charlie Williams. “Our alumni body includes so many remarkable individuals,” he comments. “Keeping in touch with them is fun.” Brigham is forthright about using his position as a “quiet fundraising effort,” too. “I want to do anything I can to help the School,” he says.
That commitment extends to other activities as well, including the cofounding forty years ago of The Carroll School, which specializes in teaching children with language-based learning differences. He’s also active with his class at Harvard College (celebrating its 70th Reunion this year) and the Treasurers’ Club of Boston, a forum for financial professionals that he founded in 1956. Last November, Brigham was among the first to be elected to the Hall of Fame of Financial Executives International, a professional organization for CFOs and senior finance executives where he has been a member for 45 years.
After a quick lunch of clam chowder in Teele’s B’stro with one of his friends, Brigham is on the road again — back to his desk to catch up with correspondence and cajole a few classmates into sending their latest news (and a check).
For someone thirty years younger, it might be considered a full schedule. But for Brigham, who is already looking forward to the School’s Centennial celebration next year, it’s nothing unusual.
Class of MBA 1939