The Greenhill School Alumni Association has named Tom Perryman ’81 as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for his 25 years of dedicated service to Greenhill students and faculty, and the greater Dallas community.
This award is designated for an alumnus/alumna whose career and endeavors have achieved prominence in a particular field, bringing credit to himself/herself and, in turn, bringing credit to Greenhill. The award honors graduates whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and service embody characteristics and spirit of Greenhill’s mission of service and leadership in the diverse global society.
In his 25 years of teaching at Greenhill, Perryman has had a direct impact on thousands of students. He originally came to Greenhill in 1967 at the age of three. After graduating in 1981, Perryman attended Northwestern University for his Bachelors and Masters degrees and then attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago for his Masters of Theological Studies. Perryman came back to Greenhill and has served his alma mater as a sixth grade English teacher, coach, Head of Lower School, Director of Admission, and currently serves as Assistant Head of School. He has coached over 30 seasons of football and baseball at various levels and is the play-by-play announcer at Friday night football games. Since 1991, he has taught Upper School English courses including poetry, rhetoric and Southwestern literature.
Perryman is also strongly dedicated to preserving Greenhill’s legacy. He was instrumental in creating the Faculty Leaders program, now in the tenth year, which has recognized 43 outstanding faculty members. He is the co-founder and director of the Lucinda F. Carter Teaching Fellow program, which exposes young people to the joys of teaching. Since 1991, more than 178 men and women have been through the program and 24 are now full-time faculty at Greenhill. He created the Legends program to recognize faculty and staff that have been on the Hill for 25 years. Greenhill has 47 faculty and staff who have reached this milestone and 21 are still working on campus – including Perryman. He started the Founder’s Day assembly – a morning when the entire school comes together each year to celebrate the individuals and ideals upon which Greenhill has been built. Perryman works with landscapers in planting “memory trees” throughout campus; he leads the wild flower stomp every year in memory of Estelle Dickens, and was a driving force to build Founder’s Place, dedicated to Helen and Bernard Fulton and the School’s founders. He also helped to create the Senior Awards wall in the Upper School, and he started the Alumni Athletics photo gallery in Tom Perryman Alumni Center. Perryman co-authored the book, From Humble Beginnings, with his brother David Perryman ’83, documenting the first 50 years of Greenhill School with great care and detail.
“Tom Perryman’s career and life shows us that whatever path you choose, if you deeply believe in something, if every day you live what you believe, your life will have a special impact on those around you,” said Deniger.
During Tom’s distinguished service to Greenhill, he has supported 30 different funding initiatives including capital campaigns, endowments, annual fund, library gifts, and miscellaneous operating. He, along with his brothers David ’83 and John ’86, established the Ann and Ray Perryman Archive Fund in 2000 in honor of their parents. The fund supports the research, acquisition, cataloging and preservation of documents and items which celebrate Greenhill’s history. Perryman has served on the Board of Trustees for both the Fulton School and St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church. He has worked as an educational consultant for several smaller independent schools in Texas, as well as the School Operations Services Company.
An alumnus recently wrote “Mr. Perryman had a great impact on my experience at Greenhill. He was my teacher for an English elective, and I am now an English teacher myself due to that class. He gave me the confidence to express myself, and fostered my love of literature.”
Another said “Tom Perryman is the singular person on campus who can connect the past of Greenhill with the present and be a part of leading it into the future.”
The announcement was made at the Commencement ceremony for the class of 2012 on June 3, 2012 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
Alumni Board President Clay Deniger ’86 introduced the award, which was kept secret until the ceremony. Mr. Perryman is present at all Commencement proceedings so his attendance was confirmed. The Perryman family was in attendance including his parents, Ann and Ray Perryman, brothers, David Perryman ’83 and John Perryman ’86, along with his wife, Sally Perryman and son, Ryan Ritz ’11.
Perryman joins only eleven other alumni who have been honored with this distinction.