From "Not much happens at Rectory" to seeing it all: Nurse Newman's distinguished career
The Farrand Training School for Nurses established the Nightingale Pledge. This pledge, the nurse's equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, named in honor of Florence Nightingale, lays out expectations for all in the nursing profession. These expectations call for nurses to cooperate faithfully with the other members of the nursing team and to carry out faithfully and to the best of one's ability the instructions of the physician assigned to supervise one's work, to work devoid of malice, and to always respect the confidentiality of the patients in one's care. Most importantly, nurses are to always act in a way that will raise the standards and the prestige of practical nursing.
For just over 40 years on the Rectory campus, Dan Newman has fulfilled all requirements in this pledge and so much more, and he has first and foremost cared for the wellbeing of our community, dressed in his colorful scrubs.
Dan was the ever present force ready to respond to any need that came to the doors of the Rogers Infirmary. In fact, he made that space his own in so many ways. The walls were adorned with pieces of historical artwork from a personal collection he generously shared with Rectory, and he maintained the space in a manner that demonstrated a reverence for the past while modernizing the services offered to our students.
I too am a fan of history, and I appreciate the respect Dan showed our medical space. However, I was even more impressed with his ability to tend to our children. It's often been stated at Rectory that if you're in need of medical care, you want to be seen by Nurse Newman. As former Head of School Tom Army stated during Mr. Newman's time, “His performance has been nothing short of outstanding. He attends to the details of his work with a conscientious enthusiasm.” Mr. Green, Head of School prior to Mr. Army, shared in a note to Mr. Newman, “Once again, you have come to the rescue,” as Dan determined how to meet new regulations regarding first aid supplies and student transport vehicles. This was but one of the many times Mr. Newman saved the day, whether at Rectory or beyond.
A captain of the emergency medical technicians for the Pomfret Fire Department, Dan did not limit his skills and his care to Rectory, much to the community's benefit. In fact, Dan was singled out by the director of the Connecticut Office of Emergency Medical Services for his exemplary service in the face of disaster in 1987, when an industrial fire in Putnam threatened both buildings and lives, and Mr. Newman's contributions helped divert a catastrophe. As the director stated, “Your service area and fire department should be proud of the way you assumed your duties and faced your responsibility. Not only with enthusiasm and dedication, but with knowledge and expertise.”
On this day, Dan was singled out because of his work associated with his EMT position, but on any other day, Dan might get similar praise for his work as an American Red Cross nurse, a Boy Scout counselor, a training official for Putnam and Pomfret ambulance services, or as a veteran of the US Army. All these roles combine to give Mr. Newman a rich bank of stories and experiences. In fact, while Mrs. Levesque is our appointed school archivist, I would argue that besides her, Mr. Newman knows more about Rectory School history and lore than any other past or current employee. This includes an extensive collection of entertaining accounts of student follies and foibles dating back to Dan's first visit while interviewing for a nursing physician.
Mr. Newman remembers the verbal job description he was told being something to the effect of, “Not much happens here on campus.” Within minutes, a Rectory student walked through the infirmary door, bloodied from head to toe after falling off a roof. Dan has seen a lot in his time at Rectory. While Dan is associated with many distinguished acts, there's one gesture that for me, most clearly reveals who he is as a person and what he means to this school.
In the summer of 2013, somewhere between her sophomore and junior years of high school, we received the horrific news that Rectory alum Lucy Wang had died of leukemia. Faced with the challenge of overcoming this tragedy, Mr. Newman not only proposed the establishment of the Lucy Wang Memorial Garden, he was the lead donor behind the effort.
Every time I walk by this garden that sits at the entrance of the infirmary, I'm reminded of Lucy and the joyful memories of her time with us. Mr. Newman made that possible and helped lessen our community's pain, just as he has done so often with the countless student and teacher maladies that crossed the infirmary threshold. Dan, we are forever grateful for all you have done for our Rectory community, our local community, and our country.
In appreciation for your four plus decades of exemplary service to our school, I'm proud to present you with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award. Thank you, Dan.
- Distinguished Service