Westminster’s most prestigious alumni honor, the Alan F. Brooks ’55 Distinguished Alumni Award, will be presented to Michael “Spike” Lobdell ’75, P’07 in a special ceremony during Flock Reunion Weekend, June 7-9, 2024. Established in 2013 and endowed by the Class of 1966, the award is presented annually and honors an individual who exemplifies, in thought, word and deed, the school’s mission and who practices Westminster’s core values of community, character, balance and involvement.
Upon learning of the award, Lobdell said he was deeply honored to be named the recipient, noting that during his years as a trustee he had worked closely with Alan Brooks and greatly admires him. A former director of advancement, Brooks served the school in various positions for more than 50 years.
Lobdell is currently board chair of the New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) in Stonington, Conn., which he founded in 2002. The nonprofit teaches life skills and offers a STEM-based curriculum to more than 9,000 students, using sailing, marine science and other water sports as learning platforms. In 2021, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Connecticut and Rhode Island chambers of commerce for his contribution to educating underserved youth. In 2020, he was awarded the U.S. Sailing Martin A. Luray Award, the highest honor bestowed by U.S. Sailing, the sport's governing body, for community sailing programs. He founded NESS with a vision of providing youth from all backgrounds the opportunity to get out on the water, to learn and have fun, regardless of their financial needs or ability. The organization's guiding principles of inclusiveness, experiential learning, personal growth and stewardship are closely aligned with Westminster’s core values, which greatly influenced Lobdell in his own life and career.
Before launching NESS, Lobdell was CEO of XL Capital’s non-insurance operations and worked at J.P. Morgan for 28 years in various senior management capacities across the firm. He holds a B.S./B.A. in psychology and business administration from Bucknell University and an MBA in finance from New York University.
As a student at Westminster, Lobdell was fully immersed in the school, playing football, soccer, hockey and lacrosse. He was a member of various clubs and organizations, among them the John Hay Society, Choir, Student Activities (president) and The Martlet (editor). The Class of 1975 voted him the student who does the most for Westminster. At graduation he was presented with the Keyes Bowl. Established by the Class of 1966 and recognized as the school’s most prestigious commencement award, the Keyes Bowl is presented annually to a member of the Sixth Form and recognizes the qualities of loyalty, courage, leadership and humility. Not surprisingly, his dedication and enthusiasm for the school continued long after he graduated.
Lobdell served as a trustee from 2000-2010, becoming a vice chair in 2004. He has been a Fellow since 2023 and a member of the Thring Society since 2005. He continues to be actively involved in the school, attending school alumni reunions, holiday receptions, sporting events, William Hill Society dinners, trustee meetings and has hosted Westminster events at his home. He currently resides in Mystic, Conn., and spends much of his free time pursuing his life’s passion of sailing when not volunteering at NESS. He has a son, Brian Lobdell, a daughter, Sarah Lobdell Ginsberg ’07, and a granddaughter, Lily.