2024 Alumni Leadership Award

2024 Alumni Leadership Award

The 2024 Alumni Leadership Award was presented to Jody Cranmore ’73 P’10 on May 6. Head of School Charlie Cahn opened the program by sharing that the Alumni Leadership Day and these awards were created by the Suffield Academy Alumni Association to recognize graduates for outstanding leadership in their professional fields or communities. “It is incredibly fitting that a school that places such high emphasis on teaching leadership skills honors alumni who have made a significant impact within and beyond our community. You can’t help but be inspired by the magnitude and diversity of the accomplishments of the Suffield Academy women and men who have received this award.”

Jody Cranmore has been a leader in the legal field since beginning in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1979. In his corporate law career Jody has represented financial institutions and their affiliates in all operational and regulatory matters and has represented more than 50 financial institutions in successful merger and acquisition transactions. Jody played a lead role in starting Suffield’s Alumni Association and establishing the Alumni Leadership Award in 2003. Jody was selected as this year’s recipient in recognition of both his honorable and successful professional career, and his enthusiastic and steadfast support of Suffield.

Following Mr. Cahn’s remarks, Co-Director of Athletics Drew Gamere '93 introduced Jody. Drew first met the Cranmore family on his first official day of work at Suffield Academy during preseason athletics over eighteen years ago. He was an assistant football coach and Jody and his wife Susan were dropping off their son Shane, an incoming freshman, for his first day of practice. Drew shared “They enthusiastically introduced themselves and were incredibly welcoming. Their pride and excitement for having Shane start at Suffield was palpable. Win or lose, the Cranmore’s pride in being a part of the Suffield Academy community was apparent to all and they were eager to help in any way they could.” Drew shared that Jody has been among Suffield Academy’s most supportive and proud alumni and parents—especially emotionally—in supporting the school’s mission and philosophy. “Mr. Cahn speaks often about the partnership that our faculty have with the larger Suffield Academy community—students, parents, and alumni all working together to make Suffield a special place. Jody exemplifies this cooperative spirit better than anyone—representing everything that makes Suffield Academy special. From his days as a student in the Class of 1973 through his years as a parent of the Class of 2010 and continuing as an enthusiastic alum and benefactor, Jody has relentlessly contributed to making our school the remarkable place it is today.”

Jody centered his talk around the incredible impact Suffield has had on him for over fifty years. He returned in the fall of 2023 for his fiftieth-class reunion and shared how special it was to be reunited with classmates from around the country and the world. “Suffield represents a great deal to me. During my four years here I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime and my experience really shaped my life and my values.” He continued by expressing his gratitude for extraordinary teachers who taught him how to think and communicate both in and out of the classroom.  

Jody concluded with five important lessons that he’s learned throughout his life.

“Avoid short-timer syndrome. Short-timer syndrome refers to the last few weeks or months of an individual’s service to the military. Oftentimes mistakes would happen during this time due to errors of judgement—I advise you to close the academic year on a positive note and finish strong.

Be courageous. In the courses you take, the decisions you make, and the way you choose to live your life. Don’t have regrets about the roads not taken.

Measure twice, cut once. Verify everything before you make a decision. Before you cut a piece of wood, you must be certain that you’ve checked it out thoroughly. Before you formulate an opinion, conduct as much research as you can.  

Know who you are. That goes back to faith, family, friends, and community. They are the ones who are going to stand by you when you really need them and they’re the ones that you want to live your life for. Spend time to make sure you’re giving back to them all the way through.

The final lesson I’d like to share is to use all your time and gifts wisely. Suffield has prepared you to be successful in college and beyond and you will make us all very proud.”

It was a special afternoon celebrating Jody’s dedication and service to Suffield. You can watch Jody’s talk and learn more about past award recipients here