[sticklist] - Message from VF Alumni Assn President John Rapp

Richard Forno rforno at infowarrior.org
Thu Jun 14 13:07:47 UTC 2007

The following message is being sent on behalf of John Rapp, President of the
VF Alumni Association Board of Directors. I urge all interested alumni to
take a few minutes to read his comments.    --Rick Forno '90 '92C


Printed below are copies of two e-mails that may be of interest to you. The
first was sent to the Chairman of the VF Board of Trustees, Bill Floyd, last
month on behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors by John Rapp,
President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.   As of today,
however, there has been no reply.  Indeed, there have not been any replies
of which we are aware from other BOT members to similar inquiries.
The reason for copying this to all of you is two-fold:

       a. Your  Association officers want to keep you in the loop of
communications. The Association has been trying to work with the BOT and the
Administration, but have come up with little-to-no response.

      b. We wish to remind you again of the meeting 28 June 2007, 2:30pm in
Eisenhower Hall, regarding the Administration's "3 Year Plan".  This is
where, it is said, you will have a chance to hear the plan in 'most' of it's
entirety... outlining intentions for academics, tactical matters, and
property solutions. 

       The second item transcribed hereunder is likewise to Mr. Floyd and
the Truestees, and to the Alumni President, from our VF alumnus BG Richard
Artz -- now retired, but with 55 years contiguous service to the Forge. 
Dick is arguably the most widely experienced braintrust available anywhere
in the VF history of marketing, admissions and the tactical department. 
Focusing now on predictable aspects of the "3 Year Plan", he has nonetheless
seen mediocrity and permissiveness fail elsewhere.  Many VF parents and
friends would also appreciate our sharing of his wisdom.

         We need "critical mass" at this meeting.  We also need
correspondence with Bill Floyd, Chairman of the BOT, regarding your specific
and substantive concerns.   It is asked that with all such written
correspondence, a copy be sent to me (JRapp at stei.com) so I can build a
notebook, and will present copies to the entire BOT.  Although the meeting
has been scheduled at a most inconvenient time for many,  please make every
attempt to attend. And again, please be writing to Chairman Floyd. Should
you not have an address, you can write him at the school, and he
will receive the mail as forwarded.
          That's what we have at this moment. We are sure to have many other
thoughts// after the 28 June meeting. Thank you for your support and caring.
We can make a difference when we all pull in the same direction.        
               COURAGE, HONOR, CONQUER.
                 John R. Rapp,  President, AABOD
                 JRapp at stei.com


From: Rapp, John 
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 3:26 PM
To: William Floyd, Chairman, Board of Trustees
Cc: William Beute, Gene Banco, Alumni Association
Subject: Situation at VF; Solution?

Dear Bill,
In light of the situation presently at school, we would like to promote a
proposal that might do the school, the Alumni, the Parents, and the BOT some
good for the immediate future. We propose that an Independent Commission be
created to conduct an investigation into this event and provide a detailed
report of its findings to all constituents.
The reasoning is simple.  The Alumni are fast reaching a point, if not
already there, that they simply do not believe what is being said by the
Administration or any spokesperson for the administration.  And, because of
this attitude, there is a feeling growing that the BOT is ineffectual in
running the school.  An Independent Commission will not be in a position to
please any one person or group, just to report the facts and the findings.
The investigators, individuals selected because they possess impeccable
qualifications, would be alumni... as they understand the system, but not 
be anyone associated with any of the current Boards at the school.
Suggestions would be:  (names listed for now only to the addressee Chairman,
pending  his comments). This investigating group could further appoint
anyone else they would need to help on their commission, as they see fit.
Time is important and fleeting. This is not the first time that an event
like this has happened, and the news is not good (ex: Tac officer last year
being jumped in barracks). While some things have been explained, it does
not mean they were done well, or even correctly, or believed by all parties
concerned. The BOT should be able to show parents, Alumni, faculty and staff
they understand the role of a BOT member, and be willing to take action.
When all said and done, if the BOT would charge an Independent Commission,
there could be a resurgence of good faith in the BOT. You are well aware
that the general population of Alumni do not feel the BOT are up to the task
of their position. This would give them a showing that the BOT is responding
to the cries of the Alumni and even the parents.
John R. Rapp, 74C
President, Alumni Association

William Beute, 63C
Chairman, Alumni Association


From: BG Richard M. Artz '46
Subject: 3 Year Planning meeting
Sent: June 13, 2007 9:05 PM
As Transcribed: June 14, 2007

         I appreciate being apprised of this planning session announcement
for alumni, but will be unable to attend.   My 4 years as a cadet, 11 years
as a Tactical Officer (beginning in 1953), 15 years on the Valley Forge
Camps Staff, and 25 years in the Admissions Department give me a continual
interest in the success of the school.  I am proud to state that much of my
early years had the benefit of the direction of Generals Baker and
Medenbach.  They innovated new programs and procedures
with each new challenge, while all of the time holding on to their standards
and strong policies.

        General Baker, as well as most of the military school founders in
America, had a background of Army Reserve or National Guard commissions, a
record of strong political activity in their states, and business experience
and contacts.  General Baker, more than others, had a gift to see
opportunities arise... and how he could use them to advance the status of
himself or his school.  Many of his policies or procedures were well known
by early alumni, and he would freely explain to an inquisitive faculty his
special formula for VF successes.   Because of the unique location of Valley
Forge, in the midst of some of the most highly-endowed prep schools in the
nation, it always had to have a specialty, in order for it to compete:  a
strong appearance in the quality of its precision marching at parades,  and
a fantastic band to give the visual impression that, if the parades were
that good, so was the math department.   We had parades Saturday and Sunday
in late fall and then starting in early spring so that guests could view our
salesman - The Corps of Cadets. (No cadet ever left VF or failed to return
the following year because he had had too many people clapping for him at
parades.)  Very strict procedures were installed to demand weekly classroom
success, and instructors were challenged to produce an improvement in cadet
academic achievement.

         The Baker formula worked well until later administrators failed to
maintain it.  It is true that boys and situations have changed over the
years, and yet Baker would have innovated new programs and opportunities
that increased the appeal.  As 700 military schools dwindled to 40 survivors
during Viet Nam, I made a study of the failed schools and learned that each
had abandoned their founding beliefs and tried to become just a prep school,
or one with day students . They had distinguished administrators by that
time, but whom did not have the skills of their founders.  In talking
personally to some schools we found they had made fundamental mistakes with
their original marketing plans.

         As much as I would thank Tony McGeorge for the incredible schedule
that he maintains, it is my opinion that his best contribution from now on
could be made by being back on the board of trustees, for he does not have a
military status, and no military school that has competitors has really
prospered without the "President" having a legitimate uniform.  I would
suggest that when possible an Alumnus who has some of the background of the
founder be appointed to take advantage of the policies and procedures that
he has retained from his own early days.  (Perhaps he was not even a flag
officer, but close enough that the Board of Trustees could promote him.  The
most successful of all of the military school founders were not career
         In academic matters, General Baker, in lieu of hiring a full pay
assistant of academic affairs to supervise the Deans, hired instead a part
time consultant from the University of Pennsylvania.
The Ass't. President was in fact the Commandant of Cadets, and this gave
prestige and status to the Tactical Department.   It also was a man that in
a few years might be the best candidate for President,   assuring
continuity.   An Alumnus should also be sought for this position, thus to
have less "on the job training".  I have watched a large number of
Commandants who were here for 2 to 4 years each,  but who actually made few
contributions to the school.  They were fine soldiers and great Americans,
but military schools are a special business .  A commandant has to handle
things in a way that can influence the Corps to grow in size.  All alumni
are not candidates, but there are always a few that could make all of the
           Advertising must be innovative and tell the parent and the boy
exactly what Valley Forge will accomplish for them for their future, while
being adventurous as they attend.  Demographics for school age children will
take a dip in the next 10 years.  I write and implore you to please
understand that your decisions as a Board should permit the school to have
its strongest appeal, the most experienced personnel, and a modern
innovative program.   Find people with fresh ideas based on their own
military school experience, thus to meet the challenges.  Most of all,
honorably disregard and abandon the idea of changing the Baker formula.

           I do thank all of the Board Members for the contributions that
you make daily for the continued success of Valley Forge.
Richard M Artz  "46"
Colonel, Infantry, Pa.Guard, ret.
BG, VFMA, ret.

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