College Columns December 2016 - Page 6

Promoting Fellowship

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Who attends?

Each year, from 70 – 80 Fellows and their guests attend---including Fellows from other Circuits. (The group works to keep dinner costs at about $175, half price for academics and judges, and no charge to new Fellows.)

What happens that evening?

First, and most important, there is a serious wine-tasting.

Fellows are welcomed into a lovely room, given programs describing their various wine options, and then sample to their heart’s content from wines donated by Fellows.

The printed wine programs themselves are spectacular!

Fellow Michael Pappone currently serves as sommelier, and is responsible for assembling the high quality of wine offered.

A recent and much loved addition to the wine-tasting---Judge Hannah Blumenstiel of the Northern District of California has taken over champagne guidance.

Once better educated in the world of oenophilia, the group moves on to the elegant marble and white Massachusetts Room for dinner.

Second, the dinner itself, from all descriptions, is magical.

The Regent takes the opportunity during dinner to:

• Introduce and welcome new Fellows

• Thank Fellows for their work

• Provide a state of the circuit report

• Introduce an honoree.

Each year, the group honors a First Circuit fellow, chosen by the Regent, for exceptional achievement. The list of past recipients is stellar.

Honorees are asked for suggestions for a few people who might provide those assembled some key background.

The recognition speeches hit just the right tone—warm presentations lauding the accomplishments of those honored.

Even the honorees get some happy surprises--Fellow Judge Joan Feeney was delighted that her great friend Fellow Judge Nancy Dreher attended the dinner and spoke about her, telling the crowd that the First Circuit was very lucky to have Joan Feeney as a judge.

Nothing quite like having one of your heroes describe you that way.

The Fellows always learn something new about their colleagues at these dinners----that Fellow Sheila Smith was raised in a dirt-floor log cabin in Alaska, for example!

What does this tradition mean for a new Fellow?

Consider the impact of being invited to such an evening prior to the March formal induction. A new Fellow arrives knowing he or she is being welcomed into a group that prizes service and professional excellence--and a group of people who enjoy spending time with each other.

This is how First Circuit Regent Mark Berman first encountered the dinner that has become an important part of his own College experience.

By the time March and the formal induction and meeting come along, the new Fellow knows more about the College, and more about the incredible people who make up the College.

Talk about creating a memorable first impression, and leading by example.

Why should other Circuits consider this?

Consider the fact that there are Fellows outside the 1st who are regulars at this event!

Those attending from outside the First Circuit observe that ANY chance for Fellows to get together reinforces the fact that the College has remarkable members.

One commented that the feeling of the evening is extraordinarily warm and welcoming---that this evening works so well because people genuinely like each other, and genuinely root for one another.

And, it can’t be said enough, the wine tasting is SPECTACULAR.

Happy 17th to the First Circuit Fellows!

What a lovely tradition. Will other circuits follow? Want to see what you are missing? Consider joining in this coming January 20, 2017.