Martin Boyer Reflects on Foreign Exchange Program

Martin Boyer is a former French exchange student who attended PC in 1960-61, his junior year returned for OPC Weekend 2019. He recently reflected on his PC experience.

Now the spoiled grandfather of four lovely youngsters, I wish them to live through the same enriching adventure that I enjoyed at age 15, when I was so lucky to be awarded a scholarship by the Religious Society of Friends to attend PC for one full year.

In June 1961, I was proud to introduce my Paris-based parents to PC—and since then, my two sons—for them all to see and understand how meaningful such an extraordinary year-abroad experience was for me.

In 1960-61, I stayed successively with four different families, each having a son in the Class of 1961: Henry Lynn Herbst (in Wyndmoor), John Dwyer (in Jenkintown), Jeff Tindall (in Oreland) and Bill Biddle (in Newtown). Academically, I was not the best but not the worst around! I played varsity soccer (captain was Pete Humbert OPC ’61). We did win PC/GA Day in the fall of 1960, and I scored goals. In the spring of 1961, I played tennis and remember we did quite well in the Inter-Ac League. I played mainly doubles, with Bill MacDonald OPC ’62 and Pete Wills OPC ’62. The strongest players were playing singles: Bill Biddle and Pete Humbert. And I made friends with so many classmates in both the senior and junior classes that I would need to review the yearbooks to name them all! Amongst my vivid memories is the Army-Navy game in the fall of 1960 with Joe Bellino running faster than anybody else!

Now 73 and a former banker, I am still actively running my international executive search company.

I am president of the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution of France. My direct ancestor Viscount de Turpin, as commodore in the French Royal Navy, was introduced to Gen. George Washington by Admiral de Grasse on board the powerful ship Ville de Paris and took part in the decisive naval battle off the Chesapeake Bay in 1781, against the British Navy.

As a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, founded in 1783 by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution, I shall attend a special meeting in Philadelphia in May as part of the French delegation.

When coming back to the USA, I always try to visit New York, as I lived and studied at New York University, receiving an MBA from the Stern School of Business in 1973.

I am happy to congratulate all those in charge of Penn Charter today for their great accomplishments in the education programs and the improved facilities, always keeping in mind that good instruction is better than riches! I am sure that Dr. Gummere would be most proud of the results. I am grateful to all at Penn Charter who did welcome me so warmly back in the 1960s and to my new friends as well. It will be a pleasure to come back to PC in May and to see you!

– Martin Boyer