In 1988 when then President Rod Gander welcomed Fred Kunreuther
to the Board of Trustees, the welcome mat, so to speak, was too
thin to support another ounce of debt, to say nothing of Marlboro's
newest trustee. But Fred simply stepped over that considerable worry,
uninterested in the past, he claimed, and went looking for Marlboro's
When he died just three months ago he knew that future was bright and that he had had an essential role in creating it. What he probably did not know was the depth of admiration and appreciation so many in Marlboro Town and the College felt for him, although it was obvious to everyone but Fred himself.
Born in Germany in 1916, his family fled the growing threat of Nazism in 1934 and landed in Baltimore, where Fred - Fritz to many in his extended family - worked in a whiskey distillery before entering MIT and graduating in 1941 with a degree in chemical engineering and business administration. Also in 1941, Fred married Emily Hollander, as indomitable a figure as Fred himself.
For the next 29 years, first in Houston then New York, while he and Emily raised their six children, Fred worked for Shell Oil in refinery design and troubleshooting, among other executive areas. His retirement in 1970 was immediately interrupted with the formation of his own petrochemical consulting firm. Well into his 80's, Fred delighted in the steady calls for his services and bragged about the amenities in the far off places, like rural Louisiana, where his expertise and nearly fathomless energy took him.
With good humor and sharply held opinions, he was a fierce defender of Marlboro's mission who fulfilled and exceeded the expectations of Board membership. With Emily, he opened his house and heart to all comers, forming close friendships with academics and carpenters, musicians and stonemasons. Although in truth Fred never really settled down, to us he was a Vermonter pure and simple and a member of our community in life and death.
Fred would be impatient with this ceremony, but we are most proud to confer upon him posthumously the degree: Doctor of Science, Honorary.