Lufkin Prize Recipient Chris Burchfield Praises Hotchkiss Community
Hotchkiss Chris Burchfield Lufkin Prize

Watch a recording of the ceremony below and view more photos.

By Darryl Gangloff

Chris Burchfield P'08,'10,'18 was the guest of honor at the Lufkin Prize ceremony on May 7, and he turned his appreciation toward the students, faculty, staff, family, and friends who filled Katherine M. Elfers Hall. “Recognition of any kind is never individual, and I stand here recognizing all of you for how we bring out the best in each other,” he said.

Burchfield, instructor in English and the L. Blair Torrey Jr. '50 Chair, said he had months to think about the message he wanted to share in his acceptance speech. After changing topic ideas many times, he realized it’s not that complicated. “What it all boils down to is just how much fun it is to work here. How much I feel at home in this beautiful corner of the world and how plain old lucky I feel to be surrounded by funny, compassionate, smart, and willing young people day after day,” he said, turning around on the stage and looking directly at every audience member. “That's all of you.”

Hotchkiss Chris Burchfield Lufkin Prize

The Lufkin Prize was established in 2006 by Dan Lufkin '49, P'80,'82,'88,'23, and it is awarded annually to a faculty member who serves as a role model for students and consistently demonstrates a commitment to ethical character and moral leadership.

In his introduction, Head of School Craig Bradley addressed the students in the audience. “Your teachers are available to you outside of classes, in the evenings, and on weekends. They care deeply about your wellbeing, not just as students but as people. This level of care and commitment is remarkable, and it is evident in each and every teacher at Hotchkiss. Today, as we present the Lufkin Prize, we add a new name to a short list of truly exceptional teachers who stand out even among such esteemed company.”

Charlie Frankenbach P’12,’16, the Russel Murray Bigelow Teaching Chair, interim dean of faculty, and instructor in English, introduced Burchfield as his colleague, friend, and fellow Lufkin Prize recipient. “Since he came across town from the other hilltop at Salisbury School in 1991, Mr. Burchfield has become much more than simply the Syrup Czar,” Frankenbach said, referring to Burchfield’s role leading a longstanding tradition of harvesting maple syrup at Hotchkiss. “Students will often find the classroom walls dissolving, as Chris Burchfield at times has students roaming campus and woods—and making syrup or pressing cider or identifying bird songs or flowers.”

Hotchkiss Chris Burchfield Lufkin Prize

Frankenbach shared quotes from Burchfield’s former students and players:

  • “We can all strive to follow his unwavering example by finding deep value in the little things, caring for one another, and this place.”
  • “He taught me to never stop wondering, to never stop sauntering, and most importantly, no matter how hard it might feel, to never stop appreciating.”
  • Burchfield “inspired confidence in each of us. And that confidence didn't just make us better lacrosse players, but better teammates and classmates. Better colleagues, better mentors. Better spouses. Better parents. Better people.”

Burchfield extended his “heartfelt gratitude” to Lufkin for his “generosity and devotion” to Hotchkiss. “Mr. Lufkin established this award as a reminder to us of just how shaping day-to-day development of character can be. I think we can all agree that is central to how we grow,” Burchfield said. He also thanked “thousands of alums who sustain our school and provide the means for it to grow and prosper.”

Hotchkiss Chris Burchfield Lufkin Prize

Thanking the teachers in the crowd, he emphasized that the proverb “it takes a village” has never been more true than at Hotchkiss. “The proverb conveys the message that it takes many people, the village, to provide a safe, healthy environment for children where children are given the security they need to develop and flourish. We are that village,” he said. “Having the opportunity to raise a family on this campus with all of you and many others has brought years of pleasure and lasting memories.” Burchfield’s family includes his wife, Director of Community Partnerships Caroline Kenny-Burchfield '77, P'08,'10,'18, his sons Will ’10 and Nico, his daughters Alexandra ’08 and Caleigh ’18, and his grandson.

Burchfield ended the ceremony by inviting All-School Presidents Anji Ashaye ’24 and Jacquo Pierre ’24 on stage to lead the community in rhythmic claps in unison. “This is about unity. This is about togetherness,” Burchfield shouted. “Big blue on two! One, two, big blue!”


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