Henry “Terry” Christensen III ’62 passed away on Friday, November 3, 2017 in New York City. He was 72 years old.
Christensen III ’62 served as a trustee from 1986-2009 (and as co-chair from 2007-2009) and was named trustee emeritus in 2009. He founded and then served as Chair of the Planned Giving committee for 20 years. Christensen received The Thomas B. Peddie Award, the school's highest alumni honor, in 2013.
Christensen was “an example of someone who has done ‘well and good,’” said former Head of School John Green during the award ceremony.
Christensen’s involvement at Peddie ran deep. Beginning with his father Henry Christensen Jr., who graduated from Peddie in 1932 and who himself served as a Peddie trustee, Mr. Christensen’s family connections and contributions to Peddie spanned over 80 years.
“When my father died prematurely in 1979, I decided that Peddie, as our shared interest, would be the focus of my efforts to memorialize him,” Christensen said.
Sharing his father’s devotion to family and education, “Christensen was at the forefront of making sure our faculty and academic offerings were among the very best,” said Green, “He insisted on it, in fact.”
As a student, Christensen immersed himself in the track and cross-country teams, was a participant in multiple clubs and editor-in-chief of The Peddie News. In addition to winning the Reeves Speaking Contest, he was elected to both the Cum Laude and Gold Key Societies.
Educated at Yale and then Harvard Law School, Christensen was one of the most reputable private client attorneys in New York representing some of the most prominent individuals and families in the world. He was the president of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law and a regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He served as trustee for the Hillman Family Foundation, the Astor Foundation, the American Fund of the Tate Museum, Friends of the Prince's Trust, and Prospect Park Alliance. He was also trustee for Brooklyn Academy of Music, Theatre for a New Audience and chairman of the board for Freedom Institute.
Despite his many commitments, Christensen always made time for Peddie. In 2013, Christensen was awarded the Thomas B. Peddie Award, the highest honor the school bestows to those whose “personal distinction, leadership, generous spirit and impact on the greater community set them apart, thereby serving as an inspiration to Peddie alumni, students, parents and friends.”
“It was always important to Terry that the school encourage future generations and leaders to support the mission of the school,” said Headmaster Peter Quinn. “His own lifelong dedication to Peddie, a devotion he shared with his father, will certainly continue to serve as inspiration to all of us in the work that we do,” said Headmaster Peter Quinn.
In a 1996 Founders Day speech, Christensen reminded students that they are as much a part of the school’s history as the founders themselves.
“From the founders who laid the first stone, to the founders who nurture and protect today, to the founders who reach and stretch and strive and who will return to lead us in the future, we are part of a continuum, of the living being which is Peddie. All of us our founders,” he said.