Olney Friends School
Board of Trustees
My life is horribly consistent. My brother Sam (Olney ’67) remembers how I organized our cousins at Gamble reunions to play school, appointing myself the teacher. The cousins hated it and fled to ball games as quickly as possible. Decades later, I am still teaching, even though formally retired after 50+ years in higher education—starting as a teaching assistant and finishing as full professor of English. Today I am an adjunct again (some might say I have come full circle!), but now I teach what I like: business communication to undergraduates online and detective fiction to retirees face-to-face. The other horribly consistent thread in my life (or curse, depending on your viewpoint) is organizational skills. You’ll notice I mentioned organizing the Gamble cousins. By the time I was a senior at Olney, as self-gov directors Harold Cooper and I were trying to organize student body business. At Earlham I was “head desk,” scheduler and timekeeper for us work-granters who staffed reception and the pbx system in the women’s dorms (a great way to learn who was dating whom). In grad school I supervised and evaluated English Dept. teaching assistants. At Purdue’s business school I directed the graduate communications courses and instructors. With 20/20 hindsight it’s no surprise, then, that I eventually became a department chair. Managing 25 full-time faculty and 50 adjuncts is often like herding cats. Developing and staffing academically rich, pedagogically sound programs on a very tight budget amid conflicting institutional priorities can be like pushing the proverbial rock uphill. Balancing hiring committees, classroom observations, and performance reviews with one’s own teaching load can cause tooth grinding late at night. And yet, I wouldn’t trade the warm friendships, amazing students, and deep sense of accomplishment for anything. What we do in education matters, and sometimes we get to see dramatic results in students’ lives. What have I learned along the way? To be patient, but to recognize when it’s time to act. To be forgiving, but not to suffer fools gladly. To guide, hopefully by example. To listen. To trust the process when it’s a sound one; to build sound processes when they are lacking. To compromise. To remember to laugh. To identify the greatest good for the greatest number and act accordingly. What else have I learned? To marry my college sweetheart (47 years and counting). To ski (at age 32). To travel the world and delight in its cultures. To find the bathroom in six languages. To know that I still have a lot to learn, hallelujah.
I grew up in New Jersey in a family with strong roots in Ohio Yearly Meeting. It was assumed that my brothers and I would be Olney students and carry on the traditions of our parents and grandparents. My family spent time every summer in Barnesville, Flushing, and Middleton visiting grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Of course, we went to meeting on First Day, often at Stillwater. Life at Olney was a good fit for me. I loved being in the dorm and sharing a room with two, three—or even many more (Big Attic)—roommates. I even enjoyed my classes! Learning about the spring wildflowers in the Belmont County woods made a lifelong impression on me. I returned to Olney for my first teaching job, and I often think of those students and how much they taught me!! I left after one year to get married and move to another Quaker school in Tennessee. After Tennessee it was graduate school (astronomy for Ed and mathematics for me), becoming parents and moving to astronomy centers: Charlottesville, VA and Green Bank, WV, followed by several years in the Bonn area of Germany before moving to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Though based in Madison for the past 39 years, we have traveled extensively to international astronomy conferences and telescope sites. We have friends all over the world.
Teaching math at various levels has been one of my passions. I love being able to work with a student and help that student find enthusiasm for math and also success. Contact with students is what I really miss with retirement. What else do I love? I am a passionate gardener when the climate and other commitments allow. Wildflowers and gardening have led to a volunteer leadership position with our Arboretum’s Native Plant sale. I have shepherded a children’s summer camp for over ten years. It was a project that was “dumped” on me when the founders suddenly retired. I didn’t know there was so much to learn about running a summer camp, forming a non-profit organization, raising money to buy property and the ongoing fundraising to keep the project going. Forging connections and keeping the contacts active have been very important. Along the way I have met many interesting people and watched a generation of campers grow up to become counselors. I think we now have a solid foundation of camp families and finances for the future. It is time to work on nurturing new leadership for my position.
Lars’ legal practice focuses on estate planning and administration, charitable giving and nonprofit governance. He works with individuals and families, and with local and national cultural, education and health organizations. He started his legal career as Counsel with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and was then Counselor to the Vice Chair at the Interstate Commerce Commission. Lars served also in senior and cabinet appointments for four mayors in two cities (Bosley and Harmon in St. Louis, MO; and Williams and Fenty in Washington, DC). In addition to practicing law, he is a trustee of Olney Friends School, in Barnesville, OH, and is a member of the Alumni Board of Governors at Washington University in St. Louis. By mayoral appointment, he is a member of the DC Commission on National and Community Service (Serve DC), and is Vice Chair of the Saint Elizabeths East Advisory Board. Lars is a cum laude graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law, where he was Editor in Chief of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis. Lars is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and the State of Missouri. He lives in DC with his husband, Gregory Hoss, the President of David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc., and their energetic dachshund, Ada.
When I left Olney, I never dreamed I’d be back someday with a teenager of my own: my son, Joe Velick, is a junior. Between my junior year and his, I’ve graduated from Earlham College (majoring in classics), lived overseas as a teacher of English, gone to graduate school in linguistics, and worked as the editor of an arcane academic bibliography. While living in Austin, I met a fellow Michigander, Henry Velick; we moved back to Ann Arbor, and somehow I ended up going to business school. We live in a crumbling old house near downtown, with two big hairy dogs, and Joe, when he’s here. During the day, I teach entrepreneurship to undergraduates and consult with small businesses and start-ups about marketing. In the evenings, I make art in my basement and pack up care packages with dried fruit and warm socks to send to Joe at Olney.
More information coming soon
Frank has a long history with Quaker education. He has taught at five Friends’ schools, including Olney in the mid-80’s. Currently he is teaching History at the Friends Central School in Wynnewood, PA and serves as an Advisor and Grade Dean. He earned a BA in History from Earlham College and received his MA in History from Ohio University. Frank is a member of the Germantown Friends Monthly Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, and his meeting duties include Hospitality, Worship and Ministry.
More information coming soon
Olney Friends School is an independent, co-educational, college preparatory boarding and day school offering individualized instruction in small class settings for grades 9-12.
The Main Office is staffed seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. till about 10:00 p.m. when school is in session. The administrator on call is available for emergencies 24 hours a day during the school year at 740-359-4015.