The following is a transcript of Charles S.K. Scudder’s introductory remarks on being elected President of the Scudder Association, at the Annual Meeting of the General Membership, December,4, 2017.
Well, thank you all very much indeed for electing me President. I deeply appreciate your vote of confidence and will do everything I can to live up to the demands of the office. I intend to move the Association forward, building on what Rob Fish has managed to do in his six years in office which you have already heard described earlier in this meeting. I want to do it in a collegial, non-confrontational manner which has been the spirit of the Association for many years in the past where everyone’s input is encouraged and valued. There is much good ahead for the Association if we together take the right path and work together harmoniously.
For those of you who don’t know me, let me say a little about my background. I was born and grew up in London shortly after the Second World War. My father was Evarts Seelye Scudder from Boston who had married my mother, Dr. Nina Kellgren who was English and had her medical practice in London. They hosted a group from the Scudder Association in the 1970s at our home on Regents Park. My grandfather Charles Locke Scudder was a physician in Boston and was a member of the original Scudder Association formed in 1912. He also was an organizer of the Scudder reunion in Boston in 1918 in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the Rev. John Scudder’s sailing to begin the long tradition of Scudder medical missionaries to India. We will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Dr. John’s departure for India in Boston next year.
I received my BA from Yale in 1968 and then spent three years in the US Army in a NATO Military Intelligence unit based in Vicenza, Italy. I then attended Merton College, Oxford in the UK where I received an MA in Law. I later received a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law. I have practiced law for about 40 years in large firms in New York and Philadelphia. However, this has been punctuated by stints as Assistant General Counsel and General Counsel for DuPont, Conoco, Unisys, Carnaudmetalbox and the Dutch firm AkzoNobel. My specialty has been Corporate Law and Mergers and Acquisitions. I have been legal counsel for the Association for about 7 years.
I have three children all of whom are members of the Association. Whit Scudder, who is here tonight, is an attorney practicing in Westport Connecticut. My daughter Jocelyn runs an Art Institute in Park City, Utah, and my daughter Ansley is the Northeast manager for the online auction company “Everything but the House” and is based in Stamford.
I was married two months ago to my wife, Mary Olson Scudder who I believe is on the telephone. We were married in England on October 1 in the chapel at Merton College, Oxford. Mary is a clinical psychologist and teaches at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
Turning to Association matters, as Rob mentioned in his remarks, we have increased the Association’s assets from under $2 million in 2015 to over $4.8 million today. This was primarily due to the bequest by Eric Scudder of his home in Pacific Palisades, California. The property turned out to be problematic to sell, but after about 9 months, Rob and I were able to make the sale at $2.1 million which more than doubled the Association’s endowment. The Association has also managed to generate good returns on its investments over the last 1 year period ranging from $11% to 18%. All this increases the funding the Association will be able to provide to its philanthropic causes, most notably the Indian institutions founded by Scudders, CMC (The Christian Medical College) in Vellore and the Scudder Memorial Hospital in Ranipet. It will also enable us to expand the Association’s educational grants program, and possibly branch out into other philanthropic areas as well. We intend to continue to increase the Association’s financial base through expanding membership and contributions to enhance our funding capabilities within the parameters of our 501 (c) 3 status, which requires us to contribute a certain percentage of our assets to charitable causes on an annual basis.
The next important item is the Web site. Under the guidance of Rich Scudder and Bill Scudder, it is poised to expand membership and increase contributions to the Association. Already membership alerts are being sent out to those who need to pay their dues together with the mechanism for making payments (I got one of those last month). I know Rich and Bill are ready to contact hundreds of potential Scudder members who they have identified across the country and abroad. I believe the web site will be the key to expanding membership, increasing contributions and disseminating information about the Association.
If you have not already done so, please access the web site scudder.org. There are amazing stories about past and present Scudders. One of the people highlighted is Chris Scudder, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who is a current Board member and is attending the meeting tonight, although remotely. Another is Boris Johnson, former Lord Mayor of London and now Foreign Secretary in Teresa May’s cabinet. Boris has recently been in the headlines with his propensity to make some ill-advised public gaffs. However, every family has its bad boys.
There is still a lot of work to be done on the Web site to make it fully functional, but that will be one of our priorities.
On another front, many of you know, we changed auditors this year. Marks Paneth, the same auditor chosen by CMC, was selected as our new auditor. In addition to preparing the Association’s 2016 financials, Marks Paneth was asked to review the Association’s policies and procedures because of their expertise in advising many other 501(c) 3 companies. We were very happy that they concluded that there were no material deficiencies in any of the Association’s current policies and procedures. However, they made a number of recommendations to improve and enhance our corporate governance. These ranged from training directors on financial statement presentation and interpretation, implementing two signature requirements on corporate checking and investment accounts and monthly formal reviews of the Association’s financial statements by both the President and the Treasurer. In the near future we will be considering all their suggestions and determining which are appropriate for the Association and making a proposal to the Board. The changes which are put in place will be reported to the Membership at the next Annual Meeting.
Additionally, the Association’s financials from 2013 through 2015 were subjected to a forensic accounting review by Marks Paneth. I won’t get into detail about why or whether that was necessary, but I am pleased to report that the conclusion of the forensic accounting review was that Richard Williamson, the Association’s Treasurer, had done an excellent job during that period in the oversight and preparation of the Association’s financials, and no irregularities were found at all.
As you have already heard, Rob Fish and Jim Taylor have made considerable financial contributions to the Association’s interests and projects in India. Kudos to both of them for this effort which I hope will be an inspiration to others in the Membership to make contributions themselves.
On another front, we have been in the process of updating the Association’s By Laws, and the revisions are nearly in final form. However, they will also need to be further reviewed and amended in light of our new auditors’ suggestions for improving corporate controls. This will be accomplished during the first quarter of next year, and we will need to come back to the Membership for final approval.
I look forward to a great Annual Meeting next year in Boston, which is being organized by Annmarie Bunce, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first Scudders sailing to India. This will be followed by a trip to India in early 2019 to visit CMC and Scudder Memorial. I hope as many of you as possible can attend one or both of these events.
All that said, I will do my utmost to move the Association forward in a positive way. My goal is to foster a more collegial, productive and optimistic organization which can realize the diverse charitable objectives of the Association set out in its Charter and By Laws. I will have no hesitation to do what is necessary to achieve these goals. I look forward to taking the Association to a new level on many fronts. I am very excited to have been elected President and hope that I live up to your expectations.
Charles S. K. Scudder
The Scudder Association, Inc.
Tel: 914 536 1504
203 318 5057
Sending my best wishes. I have fond memories of your father and mother.
Sue née Whiteside Cleveland