Putney Post, Spring 2017

Page 1

ISSUE

# 134

fight

SPRING 2017

Putney Post


THE SOLDIERS IN THE GARDEN Isla Negra, Chile, September 1973 After the coup, the soldiers appeared in Neruda’s garden one night, raising lanterns to interrogate the trees, cursing at the rocks that tripped them. From the bedroom window they could have been the conquistadores of drowned galleons, back from the sea to finish plundering the coast. The poet was dying; cancer flashed through his body and left him rolling in the bed to kill the flames. Still, when the lieutenant stormed upstairs, Neruda faced him and said: There is only one danger for you here: poetry. The lieutenant brought his helmet to his chest, apologized to señor Neruda and squeezed himself back down the stairs. The lanterns dissolved one by one from the trees.

-

Martín joined us for a reading in Calder Hall in February (see page 25). His new collection, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed includes a series of poems on the death of his father, a civil rights activist and documentary photographer— in Whitman’s words, one of the “numberless unknown heroes.” www.martinespada.net

For thirty years we have been searching for another incantation to make the soldiers vanish from the garden. Martín Espada

TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT facebook.com/theputneyschool

@putneyschool

@theputneyschool

youtube.com/ThePutneySchoolVT


FEATURE

fight 03

Letter from the Publisher and Editor

04

16

Seed, Strategy, Security

Deep Roots

10

18

Fight for Justice

Marching to be Heard

20

12

Mark Schlefer v. The United States of America

Tons of Granite Sheets of Steel

ALUMNI CONNECTIONS

28

Alumni Books

29

Alumni Notes

52

In Memoriam

TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

22

Letter from Head of School + Campus Updates

TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

ON THE HILL

On the Cover: Miles Chapin ’06 wrestles with his granite work in progress Picture Above: Mark Schlefer Photos (cover & above) by Jeff Woodward



fight DEAR READER, You have been busy. We don’t

MICHAEL BODEL

Director of Communications and Publisher of The Putney Post

remember a recent time during which we’ve heard from so many of you—stories of engagement, connection, and persistence. Because of this, the word that continually bubbled up when we discussed the spring issue was fight. For, against, with, on behalf of…Putneyites are fighting. We wanted this issue to capture the breadth of these fights and the tenacity needed to make lasting progress. Deep inside a Nordic mountain above the Arctic Circle, frozen seeds rest safely on shelves—safeguards in the fight to preserve global crop diversity (p.4). Nearly 100 students descended on DC to make their voices heard (p.10). Back in Vermont studios, two Putney sculptors grapple with stone, fire, and steel, reveling in the fight to arrive at form (p.12). An alumna engaged in international aid strives to teach women how to fight effectively as activists (p.16). Two attorneys in the fight for justice offer insight on how both sides of the legal world protect us (p.18). Finally, a pioneer in the fight for governmental transparency reflects on the significance of his life’s work and the importance of service (p.20). Throughout the years Putneyites have shown up and made their voices heard. Alumni marched for civil rights and protested at Brattleboro lunch counters in the 1960s, protested the Vietnam War in the 1970s, and joined in climate marches in New York City and Washington more recently. In January, alumni from around the world participated in the women’s marches, and your wonderful pictures pepper the later pages of this issue. As always, we aim to tell your stories well. We hope that they will inspire you and continue to nourish your work.

ALISON FRYE

Alumni Relations Manager and Editor of The Putney Post

SPRING 2017

03


CARY FOWLER AND THE FUTURE OF CROP DIVERSITY

04

PU TNEY P O S T

[SEED] [STRATEGY] [SECURITY] BY MICHAEL BODEL


SPRING 05 PHOTO BY 2017 JIM RICHARDSON


fight

ANY TIME SEEDS NEED TO BE RETRIEVED FROM THE GLOBAL SEED VAULT, IT’S BECAUSE OF A DISASTER. The vault is harbored in the frozen hillside of Svalbard, an Arctic island chain halfway between Norway and the North Pole. The terrain is uncannily inhabited by humans, but perfect for protecting dormant seeds. The Seed Vault represents the largest agricultural archive ever—a safeguard for preserving biodiversity in the form of frozen seeds: 930,000 samples and counting. It also represents the 40-plus-year fight of Cary Fowler P ’15 and a herculean collaboration among farms, scientists, and agricultural organizations in over 233 countries. It is an Ark of sorts, meticulously designed to withstand doomsday conditions (think irradiation or power grid failure). Someday this vault may help humanity avoid ruinous crop failure, whether caused by climate change or unforeseen forces. The failure of a single staple crop would lead to famines “beyond imagination.”

-

So warns the former president of the Crop Science Society of America, Jack Harlan, in the foreword to Cary’s new book, Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault. The book details the crop diversity crisis and global solutions in process. It’s illuminated by rich infographics and awe-inspiring photographs from grain harvesting in Ethiopia to the austere tundra of Svalbard.

06

PU TNEY P O S T

The first seed withdrawal has come much sooner than expected. This “proof of concept,” as Cary puts it, was in 2015 when the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas said they were ready for their samples to be returned. ICARDA was home to a critical collection of wheat, barley, chickpea, lentil, fava bean, and other crops, including species specially engineered to be productive in North Africa. The organization supplies thousands of samples annually to regional breeders. It is also based in Aleppo, Syria.


930,000+ PHOTOS BY CARY FOWLER (LEFT) AND JIM RICHARDSON (RIGHT)

SEED SAMPLES AND COUNTING

Fortunately, Cary had worked with the center to transport 116,000 samples to Svalbard before the Syrian civil war erupted. At least the seeds were safe. Now that they are repatriated, they are being carefully grown, such that newly harvested seeds can be redeposited in the vault. We are all lucky that ICARDA had the foresight and resources to duplicate its stores and send them to Svalbard for safekeeping, but this success story stands in the company of horrific losses at other gene banks. A bank in the Philippines was lost to fire, and ones in Afghanistan and Iraq were destroyed in war. Local gene banks are often underfunded and overly relied upon. Many run constant

risk of forever losing species to equipment failure, human error, or natural disaster. Cary had firsthand experience investigating this systemic failure when he was tapped by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization to assess the state of the world’s crop diversity in the early ’90s. Since the completion of Svalbard, much of Cary’s work has been collaborating with seed organizations and convincing governments of the timely importance of such a vault. The clock is ticking. The Seed Vault is Cary’s brainchild, although he is quick to point out that the miracle of each seed sample is not that it made it to the Arctic archive, but rather

that it was protected and passed from generation to generation over thousands of years. “I think of it like the fire brigade. There’s the guy scooping water from the pond, then all guys in the middle leading up to the one who actually throws water onto the flames. He’s not the only one that deserves credit.” Global climate change threatens to elevate temperatures, cause droughts and floods, and alter growing conditions on a time scale too brief for plants to adapt or plant breeders to react; the varieties in the breeder’s lab today may not make it to the field for a decade. Biodiversity will be essential as scientists and farmers seek solutions to drought, heat, and disease.

SPRING 2017

07


fight

08

PU TNEY P OS T


fight

I don’t get discouraged easily. You have to be smart and you have to be persistent. And even then, there’s luck involved.

PHOTO BY INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE

[

Cary joins a heroic history of scientists who devoted their lives to the preservation of plants. A 2013 documentary, Seeds of Time, details the creation of the Global Seed Vault, but also provides harrowing accounts, such as that of the botanists sequestered in the Institute of Plant Industry during the siege of Leningrad, some of whom starved while protecting their archive.

However, crop biodiversity has been falling. As a young scientist, Cary saw indisputable data pointing to the dangerous decline. Much of his career has been interpolating scientific studies and communicating the threats to nonscientists who may nevertheless control the programs and purse strings critical to the preservation effort. Apples are often allegorical, and the story of apples in Vermont is emblematic of broader trends in crop diversity. The hundreds of heirloom varieties that once populated our local orchards and homesteads gave way to relatively few commercial varieties, bred for their looks and longevity in grocery store cases. In recent years, market demand has helped to promote heirloom varieties and greater diversity in fruits and vegetables. Yet the trend does not hold for staple crops like wheat—crops where the consumer can’t taste a difference, but whose genetic profile may prove advantageous in the face of future disease or adverse conditions. These are the crops whose failure could lead to famine and so are a major focus of the seed bank. Wheat accounts for 18% of the total samples collected to date. Cary rarely focuses on who’s to blame for the trend toward crop homogeneity. Whether a multi-national seed corporation, a grain farmer, or consumer at the grocery store, actors make decisions beneficial to themselves. Cary describes how our agricultural system is more complex and productive than ever before, and how homogeneity may just be an unfortunate, inevitable by-product.

Cary is a passionate advocate for liberal arts schools and educational environments that stress the ethical imperative of giving back. That is what drew him and his son, Thomas ’15, to Putney, and why he serves on the board of Rhodes College in Memphis, where Thomas is now a sophomore. Social justice and sustainability have always been tied to our curriculum, and Cary is proud that, similarly, Rhodes College is often ranked as one of the top “service-minded” colleges in the country. When Cary was a college kid during the civil rights movement, he joined protests alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., and later obtained conscientious objector status to the Vietnam War. In many ways, his fight to secure the global food system is also a human rights battle. Those in poorer nations are sure to feel the disastrous effects of crop failure far sooner than most in the global north. Cary is thoughtful and charismatic, but he attributes much of his success to tenacity. “I don’t get discouraged easily,” he states. “You have to be smart and you have to be persistent. And even then, there’s luck involved. So many great ideas don’t ever come to fruition.” He hopes that his signature success will not deter students in its grandiosity— in all the time and labor it took to achieve. He wants them to know that the Seed Vault stands “at the end of a million baby steps.” His project is also far from the sole solution to preserving biodiversity. There are field conservation efforts like the Potato Park in Peru, burgeoning collaborations among farming communities, and peer-to-peer seed exchanges. The vault is just one, phenomenal fail-safe. It’s a crystal clear concept that, like most crystals, took a lifetime to create.

SPRING 2017

09


fight BY SHIRA MOYER

On January 20,

the morning of the inauguration, 112 Putney students and faculty boarded busses to Washington, DC, to march for women’s rights. Armed with signs and the courage of their convictions, they made the 11-hour trip to the elementary school gymnasium where they would spend the night before the march. Alexei ’19 remarked, “No one was excited for the long bus ride, or that we would be sleeping on a gym floor. But we wanted our voices to be heard. That in itself, was worth it.” Following the election results in November, students approached Head of School Emily Jones about how they could participate in the march. Students and faculty came together to ensure a

MARCHING BY SHIRA MOYER

smooth, safe, and meaningful experience. They chartered busses, decided on travel routes, and agreed upon checkpoints. They divided into groups, shared cell phone numbers, and assembled packing lists. In spite of the inherent uncertainty of such a massive demonstration, the vast majority of parents supported their children in making the journey. On the morning of January 21, the excitement was palpable. For many, this was their first political protest. Molly ’18 shared, “Even being on the train to the march was empowering. We got on at the first metro stop, and as we got closer to the march more and more people got on. Everyone had hats and signs. Even though it was crowded, everyone

10

PU TNEY P O S T


ARD

BE HE

To

strive for a world outlook, putting oneself in others’ places, no matter how far away or how remote. Carmelita Hinton

was friendly, talking, and even bonding. We had created a community.” Kristina ’17 reflected, “Admittedly, at first I was quite nervous to march. But after complete strangers offered me granola bars and three people helped lift me onto a wall so I could get a better view, I realized what a compassionate environment we had created.” The students did not come back emptyhanded. Upon returning to Putney, students engaged in lively conversation both in and out of class. They discussed the pros and cons of the march, and what next steps they could take to stay involved. This includes staying on top of the news, circulating petitions, and contacting public officials. The impact of the march has only just begun to sink into the students. We hope, like Putney founder Carmelita Hinton herself, our students continue to think about the greater community and “putting oneself in others’ places, no matter how far away or how remote.”

4

Doug Christian ’80 is a terrific photographer. It was at Putney that he first developed his interest in photography, rebuilding a 4x5 camera. Doug has photographed several political events including the Women’s March, Congressional hearings, and Republican and Democratic conventions. He lives with his wife in Washington, DC.


Tons of Granite Sheets of Steel TWO PUTNEY SCULPTORS TALK

THROUGH THEIR LOVE OF

TOUGH MATERIALS AND THE

FIGHT TO ARRIVE AT FORM BY MICHAEL BODEL

12

PU TNEY P O S T

PHOTOS BY HARRY BAO (LEFT) AND JEFF WOODWARD (RIGHT)


I would say the finishing process is the real fight. Creating and getting the basic form is such a release and that’s what I’m doing it for. MILES CHAPIN ’06 SPRING 2017

13


fight

Rodrigo Nava ’96 teaches art at The Putney School. He has recently been exploring what he calls expanded forms—large, welded steel shapes, which are pumped with gas and detonated to create unique forms. Find photos of his work and videos of his explosive processes at www.rodrigonava.com.

Miles Chapin ’06 has returned to the Putney area to live and sculpt stone out of his selfconstructed studio in Westminster West. His curvaceous granite forms are conceived as a collaboration between sculptor, stone, and landscape. More at www.mileschapin.com.

14

PU TNEY P OS T

Nava: I used to do stone stuff. In stone sculpture there are these huge logistical hurdles: there’s the weight, the dust. I ended up in steel because it was the best medium for what I was trying to say. Chapin: I guess I’m just stubborn. I started in stone and fell in love with it. Nava: I struggle with trying not to get caught up in the logistics. You could spend all day researching the best chain hoist. But more than the tools, it’s the material. When you understand the material, you know its limitations and you appreciate its values. Then you can push those boundaries, and to me that’s what makes interesting work. You look at a canvas on the wall and it’s still limited by the fact that it has four sides, it’s two-dimensional. Sculpture is limitless; it is anything and everything. So at some point you’ve got to hone in. And that’s where the boundaries of the material come in. Chapin: I try to get down to my basic relationship with the material. A lot of my pieces are directly carved—splitting, pulling, following the natural shapes in a stone. Splitting is how I fell in love with granite. Nava: So much of stone sculpture has to do with the piece of stone itself. To me splitting stone is exactly the same idea as expanding forms. You wait and see what the form wants to do. Chapin: When I have a clean block, I find myself splitting right

away. Just to get away from the square block and flat edges. Nava: You’re taking off huge chunks with pretty primitive instruments. Chapin: Side note, have you done carved splits before? [another long tangent ensued on Japanese carved splits] Nava: With the larger works I feel the battle. I make a small paper piece, try to understand the shape. Then I make a small metal piece as a working model. Then I make a medium-sized piece, just to figure out how the hell I’m going to assemble it when it’s 4' x 10' sheets of 20-gauge sheet metal. You have to have a real plan of action. I don’t have fifty guys to each grab a corner. So, I find myself squeezing it together and trying to weld a seam—just get a tack in there. Chapin: I would say the finishing process is the real fight. Creating and getting the basic form is such a release, and that’s what I’m doing it for. But then I’m only halfway done, and I have to clean it up and polish it, which takes a lifetime. Nava: Once I reach that point, really all the creative work was done in the small concepts. Then it’s like “Cool, now I need to weld for fifty hours.” Chapin: So which part do you like more? Nava: I like getting my hands dirty, being in the shop, wrestling with the material. I like the fight. There’s something very therapeutic about the welding— running this continuous bead along the thin metal. You’re

really getting to know your form, because you’re on it, literally draped over the thing. Chapin: I find myself in my pieces. I’ll get so focused that I’m not paying attention to my own body. Then I stop for a moment and realize I’m wedged in this tunnel of granite. Nava: I used to love that feeling, after a long day of working with power tools, when your hands are still tingling. The smell of steel, the smell of stone. I think of steel as soft after having worked in stone. Chapin: I think of all materials as gentle. There’s some sort of peacefulness to granite that can’t be replicated. Nava: There’s so much time, so much energy and fight that goes into making the product that you end up fetishizing it as an object, when really it has entirely to do with action. You become envious of artists like dancers, who don’t

PHOTOS BY RACHEL PORTESI (TOP LEFT) AND JEFF WOODWARD (BOTTOM LEFT)

Our conversation kicked off in Miles’s studio with a lengthy discussion on how the I-beams were erected to support his 5-ton stones. These men love lifting.


fight

Entwine (2016) by Miles Chapin (left), Expanded Form (2015) by Rodrigo Nava (above)

I like getting my hands dirty, being in the shop, wrestling with the material. I like the fight. RODRIGO NAVA ’96

have to deal with the object afterwards. Chapin: For me, once I finish a piece there’s this magical moment where I take it out of the shop and stand it up in its landscape. And all of a sudden, it’s a stranger.

Nava: I describe my expanded forms as remnants of an experience. They are real expressions of an event—an interaction between material and process. That’s why I ended up working with these expansions, so I could just walk away and have the sculpture become its own thing. Chapin: I think that’s why I like splitting so much. It’s something that happens in that moment. You can exercise a huge amount of control, but once it splits, then there’s nothing you can do. If you touch it, it shows. The moment of that split is captured in the stone forever. So last summer, I broke a piece in half, but I realized that even if that hadn’t happened, the piece still wouldn’t have

been a success. The proportions weren’t correct. I’ve pushed the limit a lot that way. I made a piece that looked like it was blowing through the wind. It had these two tendrils of stone. I still have nightmares about it breaking. Nava: When I expand my pieces, every time it’s like that. I add the gas, then my assistant is going to push the detonator button, and it’s like, “Wait, gimme a second! I just spend a lot of hours making this thing happen and it might be gone.”

JOE FICHTER While students at Putney, both Rodrigo and Miles were students of Joe Fichter ’71, who continues to sculpt about a mile away from their two studios. See alumni notes p.39

P.S. Both Rodrigo and Miles are fathers of young kids, and I regret we didn’t manage to cover what it’s like to work with blow torches and granite blocks while their kids play around.

SPRING 2017

15


fight

D E E P

16

PU TNEY P OS T

BY SHIRA MOYER

Laura Henderson ’78 ACTIVIST When I dialed Laura Henderson ’78 I didn’t know what to expect. After some internet sleuthing I learned that she had worked for Women Thrive Worldwide in Washington, DC, and after reading a few of her Huffington Post articles I expected to talk to an activist. But I had no idea how deep her roots would go. The phone rings, and Laura answers. After learning that Laura now works for the international humanitarian organization CARE, I ask my first question. Indeed, it’s the question I’m always curious about when I meet someone so clearly passionate about her career: Why this? I listen closely and can almost hear her smile on her end of the phone. “I’ve been an activist for as long as I can remember.” Her family moved to Poland when she was 11, where she went to public school and traveled throughout Eastern Europe. This cemented her desire to work abroad. “It’s important to look beyond your own borders to create friendships as well as good working relationships with the whole world. I have a better understanding of other countries, and helping to solve problems builds a more robust economy and keeps us safer.” She shares her early memory of going to Washington, DC, with her parents to protest the Vietnam War. Perched on her father’s shoulders, the expansive crowd stretched as far as the eye could see. And she absorbed the forceful yet optimistic message: Give Peace a Chance. I immediately think about our students who attended the Women’s March in DC during inauguration week (see p.10). For many, this was their first experience at a political protest, their first chance at being activists. Laura goes on to explain that, in international politics, one cannot be a

lone wolf; working with like-minded organizations is essential. “The most strategic thing that you can do is to find out who is doing what and try to work together.” She even taught me some jargon: I knew about grassroots organizers going door-to-door to create a critical mass of support, but I had never heard of “grasstops.” These are the influential figures of community organizations that Laura works with for change. Laura often calls upon local perspective to influence large-scale policy. A few years ago, Laura invited Debra, a 19-year-old Nigerian woman, to join her at United Nations meetings. Debra explained that over 10 million Nigerian children do not have access to education. At the U.N. in New York, Debra gave a gripping presentation on Nigeria’s education crisis. Stepping onto the world stage at the U.N. was a transformative experience for her. Since then she has discussed Nigeria’s education challenges with Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, and trained dozens of Nigerian girls and young women to advocate for greater access to quality education for all. What Laura does encapsulates the Putney way. Laura teaches women to be activists. She leads by example and gives them opportunities to advocate for themselves. Perhaps one of the students who attended the Women’s March will be the next Laura Henderson.


fight

Laura with a family of cocoa farmers in Ghana’s Ashanti Region.

SPRING 2017

17


As a prosecutor, you must produce sufficient evidence that supports a conviction, but you also should make sure that the evidence was obtained lawfully. Sometimes it’s clear that a defendant is guilty, but if his or her constitutional rights were violated, the prosecution of your case should end. When I see such issues in cases, I speak directly to the investigating officer. I want and encourage the police officer to share his or her thought process with me as I explain my conclusions along with the legal authority that supports them. During my career, I have had the opportunity to work with members of law enforcement who telephone me and other prosecutors for guidance. They want to make sure that they are performing their duties correctly. They do want to serve and protect.

The prosecutor’s role in the criminal justice system is unique. Our fiduciary duty is to the community, which interestingly includes the person who has been accused of committing a crime. And with this duty comes the awesome power of discretion. This discretion engenders the decisions we make on whether to charge, what to charge, how to proceed in prosecution, what sentences to recommend, and the position to take on a modification or termination of a sentence. With having the individual victim and community in mind, you must still look at the individual defendant. There are many factors to consider, including the defendant’s age, criminal record, how he or she responded to previous diversion and treatment programs, incarcerations, and probations, and his or her level of accountability and remorse. There are instances when a prosecutor will choose not to proceed in the prosecution of a case even though it is clear that a crime has been committed. For example, due to recent shifts in legislative and societal trends concerning the possession of marijuana, one might decide that prosecuting the case will not serve the community or the accused.

I grew up in Millbrook Housing in the South Bronx where sometimes I felt invisible. I recall noticing the amount of time that would pass before I saw a police unit respond to an incident in my neighborhood. Even while riding the subway uptown, I was always aware of where the police officers would leave the train. This would be a few stops before mine, which left me feeling that someone believed that we did not need protection, that we did not matter. I also witnessed crimes committed by people in my community who I believed needed to be punished. Growing up in a place that I felt was neglected made me want to be a person who would protect others. I always knew that I wanted to be a prosecutor.

Molly Kovel ’97

is a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, the NY state affiliate of the ACLU, following several years with the Bronx Defenders.

THE FIGHT

COLLABORATION WITH POLICE

COMMUNITY

INJUSTICE

has served as an assistant state’s attorney in Maryland for the past 20 years. Tasha joined our board of trustees in 2016.

Natasha Byus ’88

FROM TWO SIDES OF THE GAVEL

We recently settled a class action case that has forced the NYPD to change the way they patrol inside apartment buildings. The police were stopping, frisking, and often arresting black and Latino men who lived in or were simply visiting people in the building. Officers were being evaluated based purely on the quantity of stops and arrests, which led to an enormous number of unconstitutional interactions with members of the community. It took five years for us to craft a solution with the city. We are enacting policies that are changing the way police work city-wide. For example, we are changing the way police are evaluated and disciplined, so that there is no longer such a strong incentive to stop and frisk so many people. The policies have been created with input from stakeholders in the community—grassroots organizations, police officials, criminal defense attorneys and civil rights lawyers—and going forward we will be monitoring the police department to make

For young social justice activists, I would like to emphasize that it’s important to think about ways that you can fight on behalf of marginalized and disenfranchised populations without ever forgetting that their voices are the most important part of that fight. To be a good lawyer you have to be a good listener, and the same is true to be a good activist. It’s my ethical duty to remember the interests of the community that I serve and the interests of the clients that I serve have to come first.

There are problems in the justice system at many different levels, and they need comprehensive solutions. As an undergraduate at Columbia studying history and heavily involved in activism to end police brutality and capital punishment, I was compelled by the human rights violations and civil rights violations I saw in the American criminal justice system. In the last 50 years this system has exploded in size. There are over a million in prison at any time. Those who go through the system are generally marked for life with a criminal record— even for just getting arrested without a conviction—which can cause problems in a huge variety of ways. Besides a prison sentence, a nonviolent drug possession conviction can make a legal immigrant deportable. Many arrests and prosecutions lead to serious consequences in family court, including removal of one’s child. And in the civil realm, an arrest or conviction can lead to asset forfeiture and can keep you from getting an apartment or a job. I specialized in the civil consequences of arrests for eight years while I worked with public defenders in the Bronx. Many of my clients had done low level, “quality of life” crimes that simply did not merit the enormous crush that they suffered after their arrests.

fight


I don’t take recommending any sentence lightly, especially one that involves jail—even a week. I have been inside prisons for tours and to interview witnesses, and I am ready to leave as soon as the door slams behind me. I get it. But do I experience regret after a person is sentenced to jail for a period of time that I have recommended? No. Knowing that the defendant has been afforded protection of all of his or her rights with competent counsel, I feel that justice has been served and, for a period of time, the community is protected. During the past twenty years I have prosecuted almost every crime, from littering to child sexual abuse and murder. The occasions when I have regret or lose sleep are those times I’ve felt that my job as an advocate did not lead to justice. This might be a trial that did not result in a conviction or when a defendant’s sentence did not adequately address the severity of his actions. As a prosecutor, I try to hold both the accused and the police accountable. The issues arising from police misconduct and lack of proper training are not new to the criminal justice system and must continue to be spotlighted and corrected. But I am also concerned that in our society, the role of personal accountability is dissipating. We have come to a place where the cause of a crime moves away from the person who committed it, to some other entity: addiction, mental health, or socio-economic issues. Let me just say that before the addiction, there was the choice to use the substance. I am in no way saying that there is a leveled playing field for all, whether it be in education or the criminal justice system. But the fact still remains that people need to be held accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take. Especially when those decisions harm others and the community.

I think for many good attorneys and police officers—I mean ones that are really striving for justice—their work stems from personal experience. Something inspired them to want to contribute. At one time they might have recognized their privilege and wanted to use it to help others, or they themselves felt voiceless and wanted to be the voice that fought for others. Growing up, I witnessed people being victimized by crime (including the violation of rights) and felt powerless. With that, I resolved that I was going to try to be a voice for the voiceless and punish those who needed to be held accountable. So if you want to be a “fighter”, look inside yourself and find those issues about which you feel deeply. What strikes a chord with you? Be confident that your contribution is important, as it is not about you, but something much bigger than you.

Coming from the South Bronx, I definitely felt that Putney was insular and protected. Although I never had a problem with voicing my opinions as a child, Putney taught me to give due consideration to a matter before speaking, while providing me with a supportive forum. Putney is a part of my life experience that has contributed to my being a compassionate, zealous, and humble fighter for justice.

Justice is vital, but justice is tricky. The word has been a rallying cry for those in competing political spaces and with various concerns. Justice is invoked at once to enforce laws and to protect civil rights. To protect communities and bring closure, but also to inspire continued struggle against systemic inequities. We spoke with two alumnae—a prosecutor and a defense attorney—about what justice means in their work and experience and what the fight looks like on the front lines.

BRINGING JUSTICE

FUTURE FIGHTERS

PUTNEY

FOR JUSTICE INTERVIEWS BY MICHAEL BODEL & SHIRA MOYER ILLUSTRATIONS BY RYUSEI SAWADA

After working on criminal justice reform for over a decade, I have come to believe that putting people behind bars (especially considering the horrific conditions of American prisons and jails) is not a system that promotes justice. To create justice, we need to reimagine our society so that our collective solutions to individual conflicts can create peace between the parties and prevent problems going forward. Without a problem-solving system that respects the humanity of everyone involved, we are never going to have an equal society. It’s important to uplift and educate people who are caught up in the justice system and give them other opportunities in life. It’s better than saying, this person got in a fist fight so we should lock them up for five or ten years. Our prison system warehouses poor and uneducated people and they have little hope of effectively reentering society when they get out. We can do much better than this—and I’m happy that even with the current “law and order” federal government we are seeing a lot of creative criminal justice reforms in local and state governments.

I am a more effective social justice warrior because I studied the history of American and international social justice movements. You can’t reinvent the wheel. You need to learn about the history of these movements—what succeeds and what doesn’t. And again, it is critical to prioritize your battles and create solutions based on the needs and wants of a community, and not what you, the activist, thinks would be best for them.

I was so glad to be in a place where students were encouraged to speak out, to organize, and where they were given a voice. The way that students get to be involved in the school, from washing the dishes to the highest level of decision-making in school government, presents this ideal form of thinking about democracy. There is a deliberative process for students to share grievances and work towards justice. Democracy is internally represented in the school’s attempts at procedural justice.

sure that they don’t return to their previous behavior. You can visit nypdmonitor.org to learn more about this case.

fight


fight

Mark Schlefer v. The United States of America BY BRIAN D. COHEN

In 1945 Mark Schlefer was a 23-year old Putney history teacher, recently married to a Putney graduate, Marion King Schlefer ’41. Mark and Marion had moved to Putney to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. Mark loved teaching. He scrapped the customary textbook and based his classes entirely in the case study discussion method with students arguing either side of the question (did medieval theologians truly believe they were dispensing the blood and body of Christ, or was this a metaphor?). However, he sensed that he and Carmelita might butt heads at some point, and the couple wanted to earn enough to raise a family. Mark enrolled at Harvard Law School, and Marion at the Harvard School of Design. Following Harvard Law, Mark clerked with Supreme Court Justice Joseph Gavagan, and then became an associate at a distinguished New York law firm and later in Washington, DC, where he specialized in maritime and international law. As the firm’s counsel Mark was asked to file a tariff with the U.S. Maritime Commission to cover trade to the Marianas. A few days later he received a call from the commission’s staff advising him that the tariff was illegal. When Mark requested to see the judge’s opinion on the matter, he was told that the decision was sealed. Not only could he not see the decision, he was not even allowed to find out why it was being kept confidential. Mark brought his frustrations to the chairman of the Practice and Procedure Committee of the American Bar Association, where two attorneys were already working on a draft bill to address such intransigence and opacity—the original Freedom of Information Act. Mark learned that a Democratic California congressman, John E. Moss, had voiced his own frustrations with executive privilege and governmental secrecy, earning him the enmity of J. Edgar Hoover and at least three presidents. Moss asked Mark to join forces with him to advance the draft bill, and told Mark: “I will deliver the House if you deliver the Senate.” Mark had no idea how to do that, but he started with the Senate Judiciary Committee. With the tacit support of Senator James Eastland, a conservative southern Democrat from Mississippi, and a young Ted Kennedy, he brought the bill to hearings. Twenty-seven federal agencies testified against the draft legislation. Print and television media cautiously supported the bill, though with concern about maintaining the confidentiality of their sources. Members of the committee offered a compromise, exempting confidential internal documents that a court would not order produced in litigation with the agency. The committee unanimously supported the bill and it passed the Congress. Moss had delivered the House and

20

PU TNEY P OS T


I would like to remind students that they have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy an extremely privileged education. In justice you owe something back to society for that great privilege.

Mark the Senate. On July 4, 1966, President Johnson signed the bill into law against the advice of his cabinet. He was quoted as muttering: “I may be making a mistake…” The Freedom of Information Act is the principal and most far-reaching instrument media and private citizens possess to seek information from government and to hold that government accountable. Even ordinary citizens can request access to government information through FOIA. The statute has been used to expose waste and mismanagement in every federal agency and in the military. Most recently the FOIA was invoked in a ruling to expose Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court declarations that the National Security Agency had been violating the Constitution for years by collecting emails and other Internet communications without a warrant. Mark was then able to use the legislation that he himself helped push through Congress. In appellate court, the judge cited the FOIA statute in ruling in Mark’s favor. The judge’s name was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The case: Mark Schlefer v. The United States of America. Mark later became president of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC, dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons and working to encourage arms control treaties. Mark was instrumental in drafting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He managed to persuade President Clinton to sign the agreement over the objections of the As an undergraduate, Mark had joined the Harvard Pentagon. Mark seems to possess the gift of Liberal Union, and along getting presidents to do what their own better with three friends (quite judgment might suggest they not do. a foursome, including the I asked Mark what he considered the founder of the Peace Corps, most significant achievement in his life. an attorney who argued Mark without hesitation said that it was his Brown v. Board of Education, effort to desegregate independent schools the author of Getting to Yes, in Washington, DC. He was instrumental and the attorney who argued in compelling two schools—Sidwell Friends the Freedom of Information and The Potomac School—to accept AfricanAct) was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to visit the American students. He did this not through the courts but through a combination of moral White House. The quartet persuasion and realpolitik at the board level. He was escorted to the Oval Office by Mrs. Roosevelt and fellow board member Lydia Katzenbach and introduced to FDR. He helped recruit qualified black students to was sitting behind his desk, apply to those schools, and founded the Negro wearing a bow tie and sipping (now Black) Student Fund to provide financial a martini. Mark adopted both assistance and support services to them. stylistic statements. Mark is acutely conscious of how far we have come, but wary of complacency. I asked him what he would tell current Putney students. “I would like to remind students that they have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy an extremely privileged education. In justice you owe something back to society for that great privilege. We have a crisis in ethics in the United States. Try to reverse that in your time.” Mark lives in the house on West Hill in Putney that Marion’s mother had purchased in the early 1940s. Marion, who passed away in 2015, had a distinguished career as an architect and city planner. Two of their children, Jonathan ’67 and Ellen ’73, attended Putney. Their third child, Kate, went on to “fight the establishment,” in Mark’s words, at Concord Academy and later as an attorney in Vermont. Both Mark and Kate have served as members of Putney’s board of trustees. Mark is actively involved with the Windham World Affairs Council and is at work on an account of the most significant involvements in his legal career. He wears a bow tie every day, even at home, and is known to enjoy a martini sometime around 5 o’clock, home or away. FDR, who would recognize in Mark that remarkably effective combination of high moral imperative and bare-knuckle negotiation, would be pleased to see what he had inspired.

SPRING 2017

21


ON THE HILL

Still from a film

22 PUTN EY P OS by Ben Shumlin ’16T


ON TH E H ILL

LETTER FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL

John Dewey wrote, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.” I recently spent time talking with several heads of progressive high schools about how this new generation is wrestling with topics of power, authority, and community building. The millennial generation is raising children by listening, explaining, and negotiating; those children are just beginning to appear at Putney. Putney gives considerable authority to student government, and expects its students to create and maintain a civil society on the hill. It is fascinating to watch how different cohorts of students take and use the same freedoms and responsibilities. Some years back I was a little concerned with the degree to which young people were adult referential—they seemed to look instinctively to adults to solve their problems, personal and social. They were not all averse to breaking rules, but they needed to know exactly where the lines were. They were, at least on the surface, surprisingly accepting of authority. I have seen this shift in the last couple of years, and my peers in other schools are seeing the same. Our students are learning a great deal from the Internet, and there is a clear generational vocabulary emerging. They do not automatically assume that the administration of the school is right, and most of them don’t automatically assume that it’s wrong—they ask questions and are willing to spend considerable time thinking things through. The best of them are intellectual skeptics in the fullest sense. They are most critical when they believe that Putney is not living up to its own ideals—they are still young enough to want us to be perfect, without seeing that perfection would likely preclude the place being run largely by teenagers. I am optimistic about the ability of this generation to rebirth our democracy. I don’t think most American schools are paying much, if any, attention to this need, but most students are no longer getting the majority of their knowledge and understanding from their schools in any case. Here at Putney, in true Dewey fashion, we let them practice the skills of leadership in real ways. A few weeks ago the four heads of our student diversity committee spent a couple of days with the ninth grade class, doing exercises and discussions on power, privilege, and communicating difference. I asked one of them how it had gone, and she smiled and said that spending time with the ninth graders made her optimistic about Putney’s future. All the best to all of you, and as always an open invitation to visit and to engage us in dialogue about what is important to you.

SHOUT OUT! Thank you to everyone that joined us for special Sings in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this year. The photo above is of me with alum Mel Oppenheim ’15 playing skeeball at Urban Putt following Sing in San Francisco. It was wonderful to reminisce and see our West Coast family thriving.

facebook.com/ theputneyschool Congratulations to John Caldwell ‘46 and Martha Rockwell ‘62, who will both be inducted into the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame in April. Not working for marks or badges, but for a lifetime of dedication to Nordic skiing, a sport they love.

EMILY JONES

Head of School SPRING 2017

23


ON THE HIL L

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TRIMESTER ABROAD PROGRAM:

NICARAGUA

Making Yogurt Homemade yogurt is back at Putney! Avery ’18, with the help of Farm Manager Pete Stickney, is making batches of yogurt for the Putney community to enjoy. Avery has brought to Putney her knowledge of livestock and experience working at the North Island Creamery on Turner Farm on Maine’s Northern Haven Island. She loves and appreciates the science behind making yogurt and the connection it has to livestock. Avery spent her Project Weeks thinking about all things yogurt, including how to make it here at Putney. Avery and Pete are still playing with the process, trying to find the perfect culture. Thanks to Avery, yogurt making is sure to become a staple here at Putney!

In January, eight students traveled to Nicaragua for a trimester abroad. This was the inaugural trip, and it was a real success. Under the direction of Rachel Mason, students improved their Spanish while immersed in Nicaraguan culture. Greta ’19 remarked, “We are learning new phrases, how to take a bucket shower, what it takes to go from a coffee plant to having a cup of coffee in the morning in the U.S.” A cornerstone of the program is the opportunity to live with host families. By living with host families, students created strong relationships and better understood the culture of Nicaragua. During the day, students made solar panels and learned about the construction of different systems, including solar ovens and water pumps. They also learned about natural building. Natural building techniques fit nicely with The Putney School mission; the process involves not only physical labor and teamwork but also a great deal of creativity, problem solving, and artistic expression. They also had the opportunity to travel, from local day trips to weekend adventures. Studying in another country is a transformative experience, and one that can positively contribute to students’ development as global citizens.

FOOTPRINT VIDEOS We are continuing to redesign our graduation requirements in terms of a student’s skills and proficiencies in specific academic areas, rather than in traditional terms of “seat time” in class. Each department has articulated the skills and content particular to that discipline, and we’re publishing a series of “footprint videos,” starting with the science department. Each tiny video is a glimpse of a project, activity, or challenge that Putney students navigate in the sciences as they learn the specific skills and knowledge required by the department. Catch the first few videos at www.putneyschool.org/footprint

We are learning … what it takes to go from a coffee plant to having a cup of coffee in the morning in the U.S. —G RE TA ’1 9

24

PU TNEY P OS T


ON TH E H ILL

WORDS FOR A NEW WORLD The air of Calder Hall was charged with poetry following two forceful and thought-provoking readings. In November, poet D. Colin performed in assembly, her rich imagery forming a mosaic of meditations on Haiti. She spoke with bold brilliance from her own HaitianAmerican experience, the complexity of her subject matched by her poetic cadence—a rhythmic soundscape punctuated by Creole words. Pulling from her new book, Dreaming in Kreyol, D. Colin celebrated Haitian culture and perseverance, shaking the trope of an “impoverished” nation. She joined us as part of Sandglass Theater’s Voices of Community, a bi-annual festival of live arts and community conversations engaging societal challenges. Then in February, Chard DeNiord, former Putney teacher and Vermont Poet Laureate, assembled some of the region’s illustrious poets and fiction writers for an evening reading. The program centered on writing as an act of witness in a time D. Colin of political dissent. Doug Anderson led off with an epistulary poem, “Letter to Martín Espada,” his unfiltered verse breaking between Spanish and English languages. Robin MacArthur (whose husband teaches songwriting in the Evening Arts program) read from her imminent novel a portrait of a family communing during an ice storm. Verandah Porche spoke of being uninsured, when her “only coverage is skin.” Bianca Stone turned backwards with reverence to the generation of her grandmother, poet Ruth Stone. She described how they broke the fetters of fearful men, how women are “born to write—born a loaded gun.” Finally Martín Espada (see inside front cover), in his tremorous voice, recounted the unsung bravery of his veteran father, a Puerto Rican veteran of the Second World War, whose refusal to get from the back of the bus sent him to jail for a week, then on a lifelong path of political resistance. He closed with his acclaimed poem “Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100,” a eulogy for the food-service workers killed in the World Trade Center attacks. Coursing through the readings were the need for empathy and the inspiration found in past artists working in the face of repression.

SUMMER ARTS

3 weeks to create, learn, and connect through art

Dive deep into any 2 workshops and join an exuberant, open community on a hilltop farm in Vermont.

Session I: June 25 – July 14 Session II: July 16 – August 4 FIND OUT MORE AT

summer.putneyschool.org OR CALL 802.387.6297

SPRING 2017

25


PEL presents

P ​ rogress in Progressive Education Educating Students to be Agents of Change

This summer, join a conference on progressive education that is progressive.

A conference for secondary school educators and activists featuring two days of presentations, curated discussions, and participatory workshops. We will tackle questions critical to our goal of creating ethical, engaged, and discerning citizens.

June 18-20, 2017

The Putney School Putney, Vermont

www.pelconference.org


ALUMNI C ONNEC TIONS

IN MEMORIAM Alan Winslow ’38

Alan was born Alan Murray Winkelstein, on June 12, 1921, and passed away peacefully at home in Pleasanton, California, on December 23, 2016, surrounded by family. One of the high points of his life was his time at Putney. He talked often about helping to build the buildings there, the morning sing, the two oxen his cousin Warren ’39 raised, the teachers, Carmelita Hinton, and the strong sense of community that was a hallmark of Putney. Alan went on to Harvard, where he received a BS in English, then later to Cornell, where he earned a PhD in physics. Between the two, he joined the war effort as part of the Manhattan Project, working on uranium refinement at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1952, he accepted a job as a theoretical physicist at what is today known as the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Livermore, California, where he worked until his retirement in 1990. Not content to be idle in retirement, he worked as a consultant for Apple, and then took a job with Adobe Systems, where for several years he was a member of the original Acrobat project. Throughout his life, Alan maintained an interest in public education, classical music, science, poetry, Shakespeare, politics, and literature. He regularly attended the Carmel Bach Festival, the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and performances of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and participated in a local book club until his early 90s. He was also involved in community activities, including the Livermore Board of Education, co-founding a film series at Lawrence Livermore Lab, and being one of the original supporters of the Livermore Independent newspaper. Alan was married to Arthur Rae Murden for 57 years until her death in 2003. They had four children, Deborah Winslow,

52

PU TNEY P O S T

Julie Winkelstein, Geoffrey Winslow, and Jonathan Winslow. He his survived by his children, his step-daughter, Rebecca Yamin ’60, nine grandchildren, including Rae Ann Winkelstein ’02, and nine great-grandchildren, as well as his sister, Phyllis Reicher ’41, his brother, Peter, and numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces. Alan had a dry sense of humor that never left him, and is greatly missed by his family and friends.

Feen Hallam ’40

Fifine Johnson Hallam died peacefully at age 95 with family at her side on December 20, 2016. Feen, as she was affectionately called, was born on December 14, 1921, in Montreal, Quebec. When she was 10 years old, the family moved from Montreal to Vermont where she grew up at “Allenwood,” a part of Greatwood Farms, later to become Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. She attended Putney, and later taught eight grades in a one-room schoolhouse in Vermont. After a short visit to Alaska to see her brother, Allen, Feen moved there in February of 1951. Driving across the United States with her five-year-old daughter was an often-told story and demonstrated the determination and adventurous attitude that she had all her life. Feen taught kindergarten in the basement of All Saints Episcopal Church and then pursued her Master’s degree in education, graduating cum laude from Alaska Pacific University. She continued her career teaching kindergarten and retired in 1986. Feen married Bill Hallam in 1958 and had three more children, Betsy, Tom, and Linda. Feen loved the outdoors and had many grand adventures hiking, river rafting, skiing, skating, pick-

ing berries, and having picnics. She was an active member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church where she completed the fouryear program of education for ministry in 2014. One of her greatest joys was being surrounded by children, and she had a positive influence on many generations, whether she was their teacher at school or they came to play in the extensive sand pile in her backyard. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association. Or go for a walk in nature, hug a child, or pat a dog.

Alice Tibbetts ’41

Alice Horton Tibbetts died on December 27, 2016, at the age of 92. Alice Horton was born May 19, 1924. Alice spent many of her school years in Chicago, then for three years, beginning in 1938, she attended Putney while her parents travelled around the world to visit Congregational missions and attend an Ecumenical Christian Conference in Madras, India. The Horton family moved to New York City and Alice attended Wellesley College, graduating in 1945. During her college years, she was active in youth and student movements during the war, and served as president of the United States Student Assembly. Alice attended a World Youth Conference in London in the fall of 1945, and a student conference in Prague. She was invited with the rest of the American delegation to visit the Soviet Union for six weeks during the winter of 1945-46. This marked the beginning of the United States Student Association, which is still in existence on many college campuses. Alice married Norris Tibbetts, Jr. in August of 1947. Alice and Norris lived a short time in Allentown, Pennsylvania, then five years in


IN MEMORIAM

Danville, Virginia. In 1953, they moved to Madison, Wisconsin. From 1967 to 1987, Alice taught grade school in Madison. She was active after retirement in various volunteer jobs connected with First Congregational Church UCC and with the Madison School System. Alice enjoyed the Tuesday Morning Booktalks with the University of Wisconsin Extension. She enjoyed singing and played the mandolin and the bass fiddle with informal gatherings of friends and family. Alice and Norris spent summers in Randolph, New Hampshire, a family summer location since the 1930s. Alice and Norris had four children, Mary, Ellen, Steve and Dorothy, a foster daughter, Prudence, and five grandchildren.

Howard Blair ’42

Howard passed away on September 13, 2016, at the age of 91. Howard attended Putney and Williamsburg College before he volunteered to be an ambulance driver for the American Field Service during the Second World War. He was stationed in North Africa, Italy, and Syria. He returned to the U.S. to complete his studies at the University of Chicago, majoring in English and art history. After graduation, he and a fellow graduate traveled west with the intention of opening a bookstore. That bookstore was to be The Cottage Bookshop in San Rafael which, in the late 1940s, was the only bookstore between San Francisco and the Oregon border. In the mid 1950s, he sold his interest in the store and went to Europe romantically planning to write the great American novel. He stayed and wrote in an old Bavarian farmhouse and he also met and married an Austrian girl, Anna Maria Flora. After their return to Howard’s home in San Anselmo, Howard went to San Francisco State to get his MA in English. Howard was a member of the College of Marin English department for over 25 years, and it was in his capacity as English department chair at an Asilomar conference that he met the love of his life, Susan Watrous Brennan, who taught in the English department at the Community College of San Francisco. They married in 1976 and raised a blended family which included former spouses at all family gath-

erings, something the children cherished. After retirement, he and Sue built a home at The Sea Ranch, where they lived for many years. Howard continued to write fiction and poetry and he also became involved in the activities of the Gualala Art Center, serving on the Chamber Music Committee, chairing the Monday night lecture series, and occasionally leading a book discussion. Worldwide travel was also an important component of his life. He leaves behind his wife, Sue, his former wife, Annie, his children and stepchildren Susan, Douglas, Francie, and Kate, and five grandchildren. He was loved by all for his kindness, intelligence, humor, and generosity.

Dirk Spruyt ’44

Dirk Spruyt, 91, died peacefully in his home surrounded by family and friends. He leaves his wife, Perry Martin, sons, Fric ’76, Chris, Peter, and Alan, two grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, among other family and close friends. Dirk grew up in California, Holland, Washington, Long Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont. He moved to Chapel Hill with his first wife, June (deceased), and sons in 1967. In his youth, Dirk enjoyed camping and boating with his family, secret night bike rides with his siblings, Kee ’42 and Harry ’47, and jumping off a roof with an umbrella, inspired by Mary Poppins. At 12, Dirk’s family moved to Trap Rock Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts. He became a boarder at Putney, where he enjoyed a mix of academic and hands-on farm work, and also became an accomplished cellist. After graduation, he served in the Navy in the Pacific, and was part of post-bombing survey teams in Tokyo and Nagasaki. During his college years at Swarthmore, he volunteered in Belgium and on a Navajo reservation. He earned an MD from University of Rochester and then went to Dartmouth for surgical and general practitioner residencies. Dirk met his first wife, June, an art teacher and avid folk dancer, in Hanover, New Hampshire, and in 1956 they moved to Warren, New Hampshire, where Dirk ran a small medical clinic, often receiving food for payment. The couple moved to Syracuse

for a public health residency, which led to enrolling in the Harvard School of Public Health in 1959. After earning an MPH, Dirk and his family moved to Ethiopia, where he and his medical team traveled for six years, providing primary health care from a mobile tented clinic and studying the impact of rural health services. In 1967, Dirk began teaching at UNC School of Public Health, often riding his tandem bike to campus and returning with a friend for lunch. His most satisfying job was in the Chronic Disease Branch of the North Carolina Division of Health Services. Before and after retiring, Dirk was very active with Chapel Hill Quaker Friends Meeting, Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sister Cities (Saratov, USSR), military tax awareness/resistance, and environmental sustainability efforts. He also found time for trips across the U.S. and Canada with his family, Chapel Hill International Folk Dance Club, gardening, home renovations and additions, restoring old VWs and Volvos, and helping many people along the way. Even in his mid-80s, he rode his bicycle day and night, regardless of weather conditions. Dirk’s life was the embodiment of thinking globally and acting locally. He will be missed.

Len Wilson ’44

Leonard Usher Wilson, 89, died on July 31, 2016. He was a committed public servant who worked quietly, but effectively, to help protect the natural beauty and rural character of the state he loved. After his graduation from Putney, Len served in the Army from 1944 to 1946, and graduated from Harvard College in 1950. In 1954, he married Priscilla Litchfield. After work as a journalist and at Bennington College, and an unsuccessful run for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, he moved to Washington, DC. He worked there for the State Department, later working in Geneva, Switzerland, as a liaison at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations during a period of intensive international trade negotiations. In Switzerland, he was able to pursue his love of skiing and mountain climbing. Though later he would sometimes wryly recall hikes “trailed by a string of sullen, mutinous children,” his example

SPRING 2017

53


ALUMNI C ONNEC TIONS

prevailed and many of his descendants are avid skiers and hikers. In 1965, he and his family moved to Virginia, and he worked in trade negotiations for the Executive Office of President Lyndon B. Johnson. He returned to Vermont in 1967 to work in Governor Hoff ’s administration. For the rest of his career, Len primarily focused his energy on state government and politics. He was an environmentalist, a conservationist, and a dedicated steward of the land, decades before it became fashionable or politically correct to be so. He was a lifelong believer in land use planning, and an unabashed advocate for thoughtful, organized use of all of Vermont’s natural resources. He worked under five different Vermont governors during three decades of intense change and development pressure in Vermont. He was deeply involved with the development and implementation of the state’s landmark land use and development law, Act 250. He enjoyed family vacations on the Maine coast, reading, rebuilding the old stone walls around his house and daily walks around his home. He loved to watch the changing of the seasons, spot animals in the fields, and comment on the antics of his grandchildren from the comfort of his favorite swinging porch chair. He will be remembered for his intensely blue eyes, curiosity, enthusiasm, and a dry sense of humor that revealed a keen intelligence and a lifetime of experience and learning. He passed on to his children a love for mountains and a heartfelt appreciation of the unique qualities of Vermont life. He will be sadly missed. He was predeceased by his three brothers, Lee, Roger ’39, and Douglas ’42. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Priscilla, his four children Molly, Sarah, Alice, and John, and ten grandchildren.

Jude Gregory ’49

Judith Palache Gregory died peacefully on January 20, 2017, surrounded by close family. Jude was born in Chicago, and attended the University of Chicago Laboratory School, before coming to Putney. She was a graduate of Radcliffe College and received a M.Ed from the University of Virginia. She worked at the Catholic Worker, the Putney Graduate School of Teacher Education, the Highlander Folk School, and the Harvard College Bureau of Study Counsel. In 1975

54

PU TNEY P OS T

she moved to Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where she helped found The Cheshire Pottery with two friends. During this time she studied permaculture with its inventor, Bill Mollison. With friends from the permaculture course she helped found Gap Mountain Permaculture Center, and started the Gap Mountain Land Trust. She also began caring for her aging parents, which she continued to do through her father’s death in 1987, and ending with her mother’s death in 1995. After a short interlude in California, she returned to live in her parents’ house with her friend, Rosemary Poole. They kept a small flock of sheep and produced various wool products under the auspices of their business, French Palache Woolens. Throughout her adult life Judith maintained contact with the Catholic Worker in New York City and elsewhere. She was editor of the Catholic Worker Paper from 1960 to 1970. She shared an apartment with Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, during her stay at the New York City House of Hospitality. They remained friends until Ms. Day’s death in 1980. Jude’s primary love was writing and she kept voluminous journals detailing her life and thoughts. Conversation was her second love and she sought it out everywhere she went, making friends with a rich diversity of people. She was also a great lover of the natural world and a skilled bird-watcher. In addition to birds, she could name trees and ferns, constellations, clouds, and tell you the Latin name for most of the common garden flowers of New England. She hiked Monadnock and Gap Mountain extensively, including on snowshoes in winter, and yet one of her favorite quotes was from a Spanish proverb: How sweet it is to do nothing! Judith is survived by her great friend in conversation, Rosemary Poole, her brother, David, two nieces, four nephews, cousins, and a host of friends from Jaffrey to India, and many places in between. She will be sorely missed.

Jennifer Barron Southcott ’79

Jennifer Southcott, 55, passed away on Monday, November 21, 2016. Jennifer was the daughter of Marshall Woodbridge Barron ’45 and the late James F. Barron, Jr. Following Putney, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and then The New England Conservatory of Music, where

she received her Bachelor of Music degree in recorder performance. Jenny performed and taught music all around the greater Boston area. She married Andrew Southcott in 1986 and although they parted ways later in life, he continued to be an enormous source of support for her until her death. Jenny always managed to find the beauty in life, whatever her activity, whether playing and teaching early music to all ages, composing and arranging manuscripts to suit her ensembles, leading dance bands and early music groups, or playing piano in her own distinctive, free-flowing style. As her life became more physically challenged, she took to crafting words in poetry, and observing and photographing birds. She continues to be a wonderful example of creative spirit for all who knew her. Jenny is survived by her children, James ’07 and Christopher, her former husband, Andrew, her mother, Marshall, her siblings, Phoebe Joan, Peter, Katherine, and Nicholas, as well as eight nieces and nephews. She is also survived by Beatrice Pettit-Barron ’48, the second wife of her father, and Bici’s daughter, Clarinda Pettit Arsenault ’79, a long-time, close friend. Editor’s Note: We occasionally receive news of deceased alumni, but do not find or receive an accompanying obituary. Six alumni and one former faculty member fell into this category in this issue, and we wanted to share their names.

Walter Pettit ’39 Paul Desjardins ’47 Elizabeth Ann Davis Falconer ’49 Nicolas Noxon ’54 Lynn Root ’60 Geoffrey Goodridge ’61 Amy Hughes, former faculty


PUTNEY POST Emily H. Jones Head of School 2016–17 TRUSTEES Joshua Laughlin ’82 , Chair Ira T. Wender P’77, ’89, Vice Chair Tonia Wheeler P’77, ’89 Vice Chair Randall Smith, Treasurer Katy Wolfe P’19, Clerk Charlie ’18, Student Trustee Mahogany ’18 Student Trustee Daniel Garcia-Galili ’02, Faculty Trustee Libby Holmes P’15, ’17, Faculty Trustee Lakshman Acuthan ’84 John Bidwell ’78 Elizabeth Eisold Blaylock ’80 Daniel Blood P’15, ’18, ’20 Dinah Buechner-Vishcer P’14 Natasha Osborne Byus ’88 Lee Combrinck-Graham, M.D. ’59 Lavinia Currier ’74, P’19 Joshua Rabb Goldberg ’75 Stephen P. Heyneman ’61 William P. Kellett G’02, ’15 Christopher Lehmann-Haupt ’52 Thao Matlock P’18 Breck Montague P’08, ’15 Mary Montague P’08, ’15 Nkomo Morris ’94 Peter Pereira ’52 Robert G. Raynolds ’69 Marni Hinton Rosner ’69, P’04, ’07 James E. Thompson ’74 Gan (Iris) Wang P’16 Tonia Wheeler P’99 TRUSTEES EMERITI Barbara Barnes ’41 Kate Ganz Belin ’62 Joan Williams Farr ’49 Sarah Kerlin Gray Gund ’60 Kendall Landis ’42, P’73, ’79 William New, Jr. Bici Binger Pettit-Barron ’48, P’77, ’79, G’07

SPRING 2017 EDITORIAL BOARD John Barrengos Michael Bodel Alison Frye Emily Jones Hugh Montgomery Shira Moyer PUBLISHER Michael Bodel Director of Communication and Marketing EDITOR Alison Frye Alumni Relations Manager PHOTOGRAPHS Michael Bodel Jeff Woodward The Putney School Archives DESIGN Lilly Pereira www.aldeia.design The Putney Post is published twice yearly. We welcome your comment and ideas. Please direct your correspondence to: Editor, Putney Post Elm Lea Farm 418 Houghton Brook Road Putney, VT 05346 802-387-6258 putneypost@putneyschool.org Please send address corrections and new phone numbers to: Alumni Office, The Putney School, 418 Houghton Brook Rd. Putney, Vermont 05346 802-387-6213 alumni@putneyschool.org

Printed right here in Vermont by Villanti Printers, Inc. Environmentally certified to the Forest Stewardship Council® Standard and Green-E® Energy Standard. Printed on FSC® Certified New Leaf Ingenuity paper, which is manufactured using 100% post-consumer, recycled fiber and Green-E® Certified Energy. Printed using Toyo 0% VOC, Soy Based Inks.

SPRING 2017

55


P.S.

A springtime snapshot taken by a student on the walk back to Gray House. —from @theputneyschool on instagram

56

PU TNEY P OS T


Return to all your favorite places… Putney Reunion 2017 JUNE 9-11, 2017

(50th reunion for class of 1967 begins on Thursday, June 8)

CLASSES OF 1952, 1957, 1961–63, 1967, 1977–78, 1986–88, 2006–08, 2011–13

Register Now. putneyschool.org/reunion

We can’t wait to see you.


Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.