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Robert Duhaime D.M.D. '57

John F. Barry '40 Spirit of Saint Anselm College Award

Robert Duhaime D.M.D. '57Some people say that 50 is the new 40. We honor Dr. Robert Duhaime, Class of 1957, who, embodying the spirit of Saint Anselm offers a far more impressive rearrangement of numbers. For Bob, 82 is the new 18.

The youngest of eight children, Bob grew up in Manchester helping his father in the family plumbing and heating business. What he would ultimately do with his hands, his heart and his mind would have been an unfathomable daydream to him back then. But the day after finishing his stint as an army gunnery instructor at Fort Knox, Bob found himself sitting in Professor Barbara Stahl's Biology class. The rest is history.  Anselmian history.

From the Hilltop to Tufts University Dental School and then to Harvard for more advanced training, all of which led to a remarkable career as a capable and caring dentist, so admired that he was elected president of the New Hampshire Dental Society, became one of the co-founders of Delta Dental and was appointed to the Jurisprudence Committee of the New Hampshire Dental Society. All the while he served his community of Peterborough energetically. Budget, planning, conservation, and charity were such an integral part of Selectman Duhaime's civic life that if today you walk with him on the sidewalks of Peterborough and someone doesn't greet him affectionately as "Doc" or "Bob," you will know they are a tourist.

But for all this, it is in Bob's so-called retirement that he has most manifested the deepest values that Saint Anselm College professes. Having journeyed to the Arctic to photograph polar bears, and to the jungles and grasslands of the African continent, and to the 18,000 foot base of Mount Everest, Bob left his ascent of Everest for another day, and in 2003 made a more familiar climb: up the stairs of Alumni Hall to the classrooms where he had begun his college education some fifty years earlier.  He started with a U.S. history class and went on to complete the entire two sequence Humanities program and several Theology courses. All this while still using his dentistry skills to help the underprivileged and enjoying a rich "co-curricular life" of service, lectures, liturgies and of course reading a sonnet each year on Shakespeare's Birthday.

The very presence, curiosity, wisdom and the humility of "that older guy" in the classroom has inspired members of the new generation of Anselmians as much as the words in the books they study and discuss alongside of him. In his effusive gratitude for all that life offers, Bob urges his younger classmates with his words and example to cherish the remarkable opportunity afforded them to do as he has done for six decades: think reflectively, love abundantly and serve magnanimously. After all, 82 is the new 18 and '57 is the new 2015 and we are proud to present the John F. Barry '40 Spirit of Saint Anselm Award to Dr. Robert Duhaime, Class of 1957.

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