Fred Seebeck Honored with Mentoring Prize

Recently retired Loomis Chaffee faculty member Fred Seebeck has been awarded the inaugural Lena M. Chen M.D. ’87 Faculty Prize for Mentoring.

Established in 2020 by Lena’s family, the prize will be awarded annually to a member of the faculty who excels in the role of mentor to students. Given in loving memory of Lena, who died in July 2019, the award honors and celebrates the impact that faculty members have on the lives of students in and outside of the classroom.

The school had planned to present the award to Fred at the close of the 2019–20 school year during a ceremony on campus honoring the year’s retirees, including Fred, but the ceremony had to be postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Head of School Sheila Culbert notified Fred of the award via telephone in December 2020.

Fred inspired many members of the Loomis community as a teacher, coach, mentor, and professional colleague throughout his 37-year tenure on the Island. Fred taught English; coached boys swimming, diving, and water polo; and at various times served as English Department head, a dean of students, an admission associate, dorm head in Batchelder and Taylor halls, an affiliate in Flagg and Warham halls, a trusted and valued advisor to students, and a faculty advisor to the Student Council, among others. “Seebs,” as he was affectionately known by his teams, was a fixture in Hedges Pool, coaching every fall and winter during his tenure at the school.

“We really could not think of anybody else who so embodied the ideal of mentorship, not just for students but for all of us,” Sheila said in announcing that Fred was the award recipient for 2019-20. “He has made a positive difference in his students’ lives. He is the sort of teacher for whom we are celebrated — dedicated, professional, extremely erudite, and always caring. He is, quite simply, the model.”

Connect to the Loomis Chaffee Magazine Summer 2020 issue for a more in-depth look at Fred’s career at the school. 

Sheila acknowledged the Chen family’s long-standing dedication to Loomis, their tragic loss, and their generosity in creating the prize in Lena’s memory.

An exceptional student and active alumna at Loomis, Lena earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania before her notable career as a physician, scientist, educator, and advisor to federal health policy leaders. At the University of Michigan Health System, Lena is remembered for her kindness and compassion in her care of hospital patients as well as for her mentoring of new physicians and medical students as a clinical lecturer. The award is a tribute to Lena’s legacy.

Connect to view Lena’s obituary in the Loomis Chaffee Magazine Winter 2020 issue.