SJA News


Lee Hackett '57, Former President of SJA Board of Trustees, is SJA Commencement Speaker

St. Johnsbury Academy's speaker at the school’s 176th Commencement taking place on Monday, June 3rd, 2019, will be Lee Hackett, member of the SJA Board of Trustees since 1985, former President and Treasurer of the SJA Board, and retired executive vice president of American Appraisal Associates, Inc.

Mr. Hackett joined American Appraisal in 1963 and served in various appraisal and managerial positions throughout his career. He was elected vice president in 1976; in 1979, he became president of The American Appraisal Company. He served as president until the consolidation of all operating units in 1984. Mr. Hackett’s valuation experience included serving clients in public, private, and governmental sectors in all appraisal and valuation services offered by American Appraisal. These services included consultation, depreciation, engineering, and solvency and fairness opinion services relating to restructuring and ownership transfer to businesses; concept of the firm and total business enterprise; capital stock and intangible assets; engineering analyses for feasibility studies; and the physical property unit analysis and systems control. In addition to administrative responsibilities, Mr. Hackett provided valuation counsel to corporate clientele and directed appraisal research and development practices globally, with a concentration in the Asia-Pacific region. He retired from American Appraisal after 52 years of service; however, that retirement was short-lived, as at the request of the Board of the American Society of Appraisers, he has been serving as their Interim Chief Executive Officer for the past 19 months.

Lee Hackett has served on many boards in addition to the St. Johnsbury Academy Board of Trustees. These include The American Society of Appraisers Educational Foundation, Milwaukee School of Engineering Corporate Board, The Appraisal Foundation, The Appraisal Foundation Trust, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and the International Valuation Standards Council.

Mr. Hackett received an MBA from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

In the years since his retirement, Mr. Hackett has continued to be a key member of the SJA Board of Trustees and loyal supporter of the school. Assistant Headmaster Tammi Cady said, “Lee has led the way in generosity, providing an example of altruism virtually unmatched in Academy history. He gave hundreds of hours of his time as Board President, and thousands of hours over his tenure as Treasurer, Chair of the Investment Committee, member of the Executive Committee, and chair of various fundraising campaigns. We say that a Trustee can contribute by giving either time, talent, or treasure; Lee has consistently given all three since he joined the Board.”

Headmaster Tom Lovett said, “We are extremely fortunate to have Lee speaking to our graduates! I invited him to speak for several reasons, but three main ones come to mind. First, his career is an example of long and successful service to a profession that spans the world; he is a model for our graduates of how to have a successful life-long career. Furthermore, his service to the Academy and to the Board of Trustees has been exemplary. Not only is he one of the school’s most generous benefactors, he has served in key roles at key times, including being Board Chair during the years in which my team was coming into its own. His expert guidance and enthusiastic support made all of them feel valued and successful. I want our Class of 2019 to see a model of such service and leadership as they graduate. Finally, his friendship to me over these many years has been invaluable. I always knew I could call him, confide in him, or complain to him; he always seemed open, welcoming, and never bothered, no matter when I called or what I asked. He propped me up when I was down and calmed me down when I was wound up. I know he has been a similar kind of friend to members of this graduating class, and I know they look forward to hearing his remarks. In short, his love of life, his belief in service, his commitment to SJA, and his life values are all rich sources of possible messages that will resonate with our graduates.”

Lee Hackett said, “When Tom asked me to be the Class of 2019 commencement speaker, I was literally at a loss for words. I likely would have been less flustered had he asked on April 1st! My feeling will always be that the four years at SJA shaped my future in ways I could not have imagined in 1957. My hope is that all of the 2019 graduates will experience that same feeling as they progress through life, no matter the path they choose.”