Alumni Achievement Award

Church Farm School alumni have excelled in many fields including business and industry, the military, the arts, science, medicine and engineering. Some are also successful entrepreneurs or providers of professional services such as law, ministry, etc. And many are leaders in their professions who also have a history of achievements and contributions for the greater good.

To recognize these alumni is important for several reasons, not the least of which is to imbue current students with a sense of pride in their school. The school seeks to honor these distinguished alumni by creating an Alumni Achievement Award to recognize those CFS alumni whose accomplishments in their professions and lives are significant and praiseworthy.

It is expected that these honorees will be alumni exhibiting excellence and achievement in their fields. The award will be presented biannually to one or more recipients during Alumni Weekend.

• Develop a culture of pride in Church Farm School on the part of current students and all alumni.
• Instill in students a vision of success that transcends material gain.
• Recognize and showcase for others the accomplishments of successful CFS alumni.

Criteria for Selection
• Achievement: The recipient must be accomplished in his chosen profession. • Humility: The recipient must use his talents for the sake of others.
• Leadership: The recipient must be a leader in his profession and/or community.

Selection Process
The Head of School, President of the Alumni Association, one senior faculty member, President of the class and two additional alumni chosen by the Head of School in consultation with the President of the Alumni Association will comprise the Selection Committee. The Chair of the Board of Directors may attend ex officio. The Director of Alumni Relations and the Director of Development will staff the Committee. The selection process begins no later than November 15th with the Director of Alumni Relations’ announcement of the award and the deadline for nominations.

Alumni receive a straightforward and not too time-consuming nomination form. Following an initial review of the nominees, the Committee chooses finalists. More in-depth information may be requested of the nominators for these candidates, one or more of whom will be selected by the Head of School upon recommendation of the committee to receive the Alumni Achievement Award.

Presentation of the Alumni Achievement Award
The award will be presented during Alumni Weekend every other year at the annual dinner. The award itself will be an object that is reflective of leadership, altruism and talent. Church Farm School will also display a replica of the award with a listing of its recipients in a prominent place on campus.


The Alumni Awards Committee would like your help identifying alumni deserving of this award. When submitting a nomination, please include as much information as possible, including:
  • The name, phone number and email address of person making the nomination. The name of the graduate being nominated, along with class year and address.
  • Nomination statements that are no longer than 500 words.
  • Letters of support, newspaper and magazine articles, resumes and curriculum in addition to the nomination statement.
Nomination material should be mailed to:

Alumni Relations Office
Church Farm School
1001 E. Lincoln Highway, Exton, PA 19341

You can also nominate online here:
Questions? Call 610.363.5338 or email Lori McDermott, director of Alumni Relations, at
CAPT Paul Spear '81: 2023 Alumni Achievement Award 

When he graduated in 1981, CAPT Paul Spear was unsure of his next step. He worked for a bit before deciding to go into the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1982, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. He served on seven submarines, with NATO in Afghanistan, was Commanding Officer of the USS Tucson (SSN 770) in Pearl Harbor for three years and then served in the Pentagon for the Chief of Naval Operations Undersea Warfare Directorate as the Director of the SSBN Security Technology and SSN/SSGN Survivability Program for nine years. Since retiring in 2018, he has worked as a government civilian for the Navy. He is currently the Director of the Full Spectrum Undersea Warfare Innovative Naval Prototype at the Office of Naval Research. Along the way, he received a B.S. in material science from Auburn University and a master’s in business administration and management from Troy University.

Major General Eric G. Weller (USAF-Ret) '74: 2023 Alumni Achievement Award 

Major General Eric G. Weller (USAF-Ret) ’74 enlisted in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1981 and was commissioned the same year as a Second Lieutenant at the Academy of Military Science. In 1983, he graduated from Undergraduate Navigator Training, received his Navigator Wings and was assigned to the 193rd Special Operations Wing. Eric is rated as a Master Navigator and has recorded over 3,000 Flight Hours, 150 of which were combat hours. In 2001 he graduated from the Air War College, the senior professional military education school of the US Air Force. After a succession of successful assignments, he was assigned as Wing Commander and promoted in 2007 to Brigadier General, serving as Deputy Commander for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs, Special Operations Command. His career includes participation in numerous classified missions during Operations Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Uphold Democracy, Joint Endeavor/Joint Guard, Desert Thunder, Allied Force and Enduring Freedom. He has received 29 major awards and decorations. In 2013, Eric was promoted to Major General and in 2016, he retired from the USAF and assumed duties as the Deputy Adjutant General – Veterans Affairs, supervising the administration of assistance programs for more than 894,000 veterans and their dependents, as well as the operation of six state-owned veteran’s homes. After a long career of service, Eric retired in 2021.

Past Recipients

2021: Talmadge O'Neill '86 

2018: Cecil Hengeveld '64
The Church Farm School is an independent boarding and day school for boys in grades 9-12 located in Exton, PA. Founded in 1918 to provide an excellent education to young men from limited means, Church Farm School now serves boys from a range of socio-economic circumstances who are seeking an extraordinary educational opportunity. The school offers a challenging college preparatory curriculum and an exceptional level of personal attention, with class sizes averaging between just 7 and 12 students.