Trinity-Pawling alum Chris Roux ’73, AJ O'Buck ’19, Tom Ahrensfeld ’73

Chris Roux arrived as a second semester sophomore in late 1970, Phil Smith’s first year as headmaster. “I came from a large high school in northern New Jersey where I was one of thousands. My mom had just died and Dad knew T-P would be a good fit for me.” Matt Dann had taught Roux’s father math at Trinity Manhattan. “I developed relationships with faculty members who worked 24/7. My teachers made themselves available so there was no excuse for me not to succeed.”

“The Effort System created opportunities to become independent,” Roux recalls. “Everyone has the same chance to succeed. It’s just a matter of how you learned to work with the System. Group One offered incentives that reward effort by reducing the number of rules a student had to comply with. Sure, the rules were still in place but we had internalized them. It was a great motivator and taught me I could be independent and control my life. That autonomy stuck with me and completely changed my perspective as a 16-year-old.”

Roux thrived at Trinity-Pawling where he could play three sports and experience leadership opportunities. “I could be on student council, start a club, or captain third hockey.” When Roux was elected head prefect by the student body, he was utterly surprised. “That gave me a confidence that carried through the rest of my life. I was thrust into a position of leadership and I learned how to handle situations.”

“I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without T-P. I was bumping along in my previous school, one of thousands. T-P provided opportunities to grow up.” Roux admits that having no girls eliminated an anxiety at that age and allowed him and his peers to grow up among brothers.

And brothers help brothers. For the past three years, Roux and several of his classmates have funded a current Trinity-Pawling student. The student’s father was a classmate of theirs who died prematurely, and the group of friends wanted to give this young man the same opportunity that they had all experienced.

“Our reunions, on and off campus, have become some of the most important events in our lives. Some of us may not have been terribly close while at T-P but we have all become best friends. Regardless of your era, all alumni share common experiences that deepen the bonds once you leave.”

Roux was invited to serve as a trustee in 2005. “Being a trustee has created something important in my life outside of work. I love and respect my fellow trustees and really enjoy having the chance to connect with students when I’m on campus for meetings. I cherish the opportunity to see how far the School has evolved and I’m happy to help however I can.” As Secretary of the Board, Roux has the honor of signing every senior’s diploma. “My hand definitely cramps up by the end!”

Roux is a partner with Alston & Bird, an international firm with more than 800 lawyers. He specializes in construction and government contracts law. Roux serves on the firm’s ten-person management team, essentially the board of directors, and he splits his time between Los Angeles, CA and McLean, VA. He and his wife, Barbara, have a 30-year old son, Michael, who lives in Hyannis, MA.

by Maria Buteux Reade