The following speech was given by Board Chair, Tom Ellis, during the June 8th graduation ceremony as a tribute to Edith Eisner.
Mrs. Finley Odell, the Class of 2018, and all in attendance today, it is my distinct honor and privilege to take a few moments in our program to recognize Mrs. Edith Eisner and to present her a Diploma from Roycemore School.
Mrs. Eisner obtained her undergraduate degree in Latin earned Summa Cum Laude at Duke University in 1946, a time when less than 5% of women in the United States completed a four year college education.
And, she didn’t stop there. She went on to earn a graduate degree in English Literature from Columbia University, and engaged in further advanced studies at George Washington University. Mrs. Eisner was a Phi Beta Kappa with teaching experience at Mineral Springs High School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, at Central High School in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Maryland.
But, she didn’t stop there – she came to Roycemore. Mrs. Eisner was hired at Roycemore in 1956 as a teacher of Latin and English, but has filled many roles over the years. She served as a teacher of Humanities and as an adviser to an award-winning yearbook staff for several years. She assumed duties as Roycemore’s coordinator of public relations and communications in 1969 and became its director of admissions in 1972. Mrs. Eisner ultimately retired from her employment at Roycemore in 1985 capping a remarkable 29 year career.
But, she didn’t stop there, either. In July 1989, Mrs. Eisner was elected to the Roycemore School Board of Trustees. She is the school’s longest serving trustee, having remained continuously active on the Board from 1989 to present. At what will surely be a landmark moment, Mrs. Eisner’s service as an active trustee will conclude at the end of this month after yet another 29 years of service in that role.
But, she won’t stop there, because the Board of Trustees at its annual meeting last month took the unprecedented action of conferring upon Mrs. Eisner the status of Life Trustee.
[Aside] And, Mrs. Eisner, we are looking forward to your service in that role for at least another 29 years, and that you don’t stop there!
In addition to her personal service, Mrs. Eisner and her family have been steadfast benefactors of Roycemore through philanthropy and deed. Mrs. Eisner married Robert Eisner in 1946. Robert Eisner was an author and professor of economics who served on the faculty of Northwestern University for 42 years, chaired its economics department, and served, among many other capacities, as an adviser on economic policy to President Bill Clinton and, more importantly as Chair of Roycemore’s Board of Trustees. Upon her husband’s passing in 1998, Mrs. Eisner established the Robert Eisner Distinguished Scholarship Program in his memory. The Eisner Scholarship Program continues to award up to three new full tuition scholarships each year to Roycemore students based on the student’s demonstrated academic achievement and outstanding leadership abilities. Each scholarship is renewed for subsequent years as long as the student maintains a 3.5 grade point average or better and contributes positively to the school community. The Eisner Scholarship Program has provided and continues to provide many students the tremendous benefits of a Roycemore education which may not have otherwise been available to them. I know there are several former and current Eisner Distinguished Scholars in attendance today. I ask that you all stand for a moment in appreciation of Mrs. Eisner and her family.
I also wish to recognize Mrs. Eisner’s daughters, Emily Eisner and Mary Eisner Eccles, her son-in-law, Bob Eccles, and the rest of the Eisner family and thank them for allowing us to share in the treasure of Mrs. Eisner. For many, many years, Roycemore’s students, alumni, teachers, parents, trustees, and administrators have each enjoyed and appreciated Mrs. Eisner’s intelligence, wit, wisdom, love, and affection. She leads by example and embodies the soul of this great institution.
It is with the greatest humility and deepest gratitude that I ask Mrs. Edith Eisner, Class of 2018, to come forward and accept her diploma from Roycemore School along with this vase to commemorate her status as a Life Trustee.