Seventy years after he entered Brooks School as a 12-year-old, Michael Keating ’58, P’97 received the honor of being named a Distinguished Brooksian on campus May 5.
“I can’t tell you how meaningful this is to me and my family,” Keating said in his remarks after accepting the alumni award, which “recognizes and promotes from the Brooks family those individuals whose life and contributions to society exemplify the nobility of character and usefulness to humanity embodied in the spirit of the school.”
A trustee emeritus, who served as a trustee from 1976 to 2005, Keating was the third son in his family to attend Brooks. One of his three children graduated in the class of 1997, too.
Naturally, the dinner in his honor was held in the newly renovated room adjacent to Wilder Dining Hall bearing his last name. (He and his brother Jack ’50, P’88 established the space in memory of their brother Tim ’53).
Prior to introducing Keating as guest of honor at the ceremony, Head of School John Packard declared that the attorney, currently serving as senior counsel at Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow, “personifies all this award seeks to honor.”
He praised Keating for “his devotion and dedication throughout his adult life to serving and supporting the school in any way he could.”
In addition to serving as a trustee for nearly 30 years, Keating has been a class chair, reunion committee member and donor to Brooks for 30 consecutive years. His contributions to the community are no less impressive.
The two-time, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly “Lawyer of the Year” — and past president of the Boston Bar Association — has taken on many pro-bono cases during his career, 30 years of which he spent as the leading trial lawyer at Foley Hoag LLP. The Boston Bar Association awarded him its Gold Medal Award for distinguished public service in 2011.
“Whatever I accomplished professionally,” Keating noted in his acceptance speech, “I think the seeds for those accomplishments were found in this school: The ability to work with other people, the sense of community, the sense of hard work, the sense of pursuit of excellence.”
In its early years, Brooks included first- and second-form "junior high school" students. Keating was one of those scholars and made the most of his six years on campus, participating in a wide range of activities including camera club, choir, Concord Chorus, debating society, dramatic association, Phillips Brooks Society and the player’s club, as well as writing and editing the Brooks Shield, among other school publications.
He learned to play squash at Brooks and went on to become a state squash champion. He also played baseball, captained his football team, and held the honor of being Senior Prefect, before attending Williams College and Harvard Law School.
“We had so many interesting experiences together,” Keating told his pals gathered in the audience. “And the fact that we've stayed friends for, I hate to say it, the 65 years since we graduated, is really a testament to the friendships we formed here.”