Greg Norman Jr. ‘04 was named the 2021 Benjamin School Distinguished Alumnus by the Alumni Council during an annual celebration in Benjamin Hall on April 20. A member of the “14-Year-Club,” Norman was honored for his entrepreneurial spirit in launching Shark Wake Parks, cable and aqua wake parks in South Carolina and Florida.
Head of School Dave Faus welcomed an audience of seniors and Norman’s family members to the special event.
“Seniors, you should know that upon graduation you automatically become part of The Benjamin School Alumni Association, a network of 3000 plus members spread across the country and the globe. Many of them have stayed in touch with each other and the school and we hear their success stories every year,” said Faus.
“As educators, there’s nothing more thrilling than seeing former students come back to campus and share their experiences,” said Faus who went on to acknowledge this year’s 20 members of the “14-Year-Club.”
Alumni Council President and current parent Paul Lawler ‘02 spoke to the seniors in attendance, encouraging them to embrace the educational foundation Benjamin has given them along with the relationships they have made and will make as a result of their connection to the School.
Lawler, who recalled learning to love watersports behind the back of the same boat as Norman, praised his former classmate for giving communities access to a sport that they may otherwise not be able to enjoy through the creation of Shark Wake Parks.
Norman took to the podium and told students it was his first time seeing the ever evolving upper school campus.
“I walked around here for the first time today to see this high school. I graduated after 14 years from the old Benjamin School campus,” said Norman. “You are so lucky to be here. This place is incredible . . . you guys are in a very unique group of people. We are all very lucky to say we came from Benjamin.”
Norman told seniors the platform that the school provides will allow them to pursue whatever it is they want to accomplish.
“Along the path you will fail a lot. If you go google motivational speech by celebrity x, y, or z every one of them will hone in on failure and that's a gigantic part of the process,” said Norman who recalled the trial and error process of getting Shark Wake Park off the ground.
“I had to go through a lot of failure to get to the point where I was able to convince government, politicians, to build an action sports park,” said Norman.
Norman praised the value of discomfort and uncomfortable positions for their revelatory ability.
“When you are in uncomfortable positions you’re most likely doing something that’s right for yourself . . . I hope you’re nervous. If you’re nervous it means you’re fired up for it . . . and that’s true with anything in life,” he said.
Norman joins the ranks of previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, including Olympian Ryan Berube ‘92 and Congressman Tom Rooney ‘89.