From kitchen design to Navy destroyers
S. Prestley Blake '34
S. Prestley Blake '34 is co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream Corp., which he began with his brother, Curtis, in 1935. The company's start-up in Springfield, Massachusetts, was based on a $547 loan from Blake's father and the purchase of a single ice cream freezer. Blake carved the first Friendly sign in wood. His franchise grew to more than 800 restaurants. Friendly's is now a publicly-traded corporation. During a reunion talk to alumni in June 2009, Blake recalled his arrival at NMH in 1931 and his campus workjobs: he was "house boy" in the dormitory Overtoun and later a waiter in the school's kitchen. He also shared his admiration for then-Headmaster Elliott Speer and for his English teacher Tommy Donovan. "I learned from Tommy Donovan the value of good English," Blake said. Blake is among the top lifetime donors in the school's history. The Blake Student Center at NMH is named for him, and he recently gave the school $1 million to support student scholarships.