The Exeter Bulletin
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The New Old Face of Phillips Hall
Welcome Back to Exeter
Reconnect with old friends
Tour your family around old haunts
Relive the Harkness experience
Visit with your favorite teachers
See changes on campus
CONNECT THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE POSSIBLE.
REUNIONS 2013 REUNION DATE YEAR
May 3–5, 2013
30th 25th 20th 15th
1983 1988 1993 1998
May 10–12, 2013
60th 55th 35th 10th
1953* 1958 1978 2003
50th 45th 40th 5th
1963* 1968 1973 2008
70th 65th Super Senior
1943 1948 1930-52
* Starts May 9 May 17–19, 2013
* Starts May 16 May 21–23, 2013
For more information visit your online class page: www.exeter.edu/alumni or call the Alumni/ae and Parent Relations Office at 800-828-4324 ext. 3264.
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V O L U M E
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Principal Thomas E.Hassan ’56,’66,’70,’06(Hon.);P’11 Director of Communications Julie Quinn Editor Karen Ingraham Staff Writers Mike Catano, Alice Gray, Nicole Pellaton, Famebridge Witherspoon
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Features 18 | ‘A BUILDING WITHOUT A COUNTERPART’ Modernizing Phillips Hall with the past in mind By Karen Ingraham
Class Notes Editor Janice M. Reiter Editorial Assistant Susan Goraczkowski Creative Director/Design David Nelson, Nelson Design
26 | NO BOUNDARIES Six alumnae entrepreneurs share their startup stories By Craig Morgan ’84
Contributing Editor Edouard L. Desrochers ’45, ’62 (Hon.) Communications Advisory Committee Daniel G. Brown ’82, Robert C. Burtman ’74, Dorinda Elliott ’76, Alison Freeland ’72, Keith Johnson ’52, Yvonne M. Lopez ’93 TRUSTEES President G. Thompson Hutton ’73 Vice President Eunice Johnson Panetta ’84 Wole C. Coaxum ’88, Flobelle Burden Davis ’87, Marc C. de La Bruyère ’77, Walter C. Donovan ’81, John A. Downer ’75, Mark A. Edwards ’78, Jonathan W. Galassi ’67, Thomas E. Hassan ’56, ’66, ’70, ’06 (Hon.); P’11, Jennifer P. Holleran ’86, David R. Horn ’85, Alan R. Jones ’72, William K. Rawson ’71, Dr. Nina D. Russell ’82, Robert S. Silberman ’76, J. Douglas Smith ’83, Della Spring ’79, Morgan C. Sze ’83, and Remy White Trafelet ’88 The Exeter Bulletin (ISSN No. 0195-0207) is published four times each year: fall, winter, spring, and summer, by Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter NH 03833-2460, 603-772-4311. Periodicals postage paid at Exeter, NH, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA by Cummings Printing. The Exeter Bulletin is printed on recycled paper and sent free of charge to alumni/ae, parents, grandparents, friends, and educational institutions by Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. Communications may be addressed to the editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2013 by the Trustees of Phillips Exeter Academy. ISSN-0195-0207 Postmasters: Send address changes to: Phillips Exeter Academy, Records Office, 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833-2460.
Departments 4 Around the Table: Trustee roundup, decoding ancient papyri, campus life at a glance, East-West classroom collaboration, and more. 10 Table Talk with Eimer Page, PEA’s director of global initiatives 15 Exoniana: Winter reminiscences 16 Exonians in Review: In One Person by John Irving ’61 Reviewed by Mary Rindfleisch ’73 32 Sports: Game Strategy Gets High-Tech by Mike Catano Plus, PEA training videos and fall sports roundup.
36 Connections: News and Notes from the Alumni/ae Community 38 Profiles: Thomas Reckford ’60, Robin (Kelley) Kelson ’77 and Sarah Milkovich ’96 102 Memorial Minute: Alan Vrooman, emeritus chair of the Department of English 104 Finis Origine Pendet: Musings in Nature Poems by Sarah Chisholm ’14 and Grace Yin ’15
Visit Exeter on the web at www.exeter.edu. Email us at email@example.com.
10 THE EXETER BULLETIN IS PRINTED ON PAPER WITH 10% POST-CONSUMER CONTENT, USING SOY-BASED INKS.
COVER PHOTO BY WARREN PATTERSON
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Showtime! Student dancers prepare for opening night during a dress rehearsal for PEA's annual fall dance concert. â€”Photos by Cheryl Senter
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The View from Here
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What’s new and notable at the Academy
A Revival of Tradition By Principal Thomas E. Hassan ’56, ’66, ’70, ’06 (Hon.); P’11
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Principal Hassan sits in on an English class in Phillips Hall.
ust prior to the start of this school year, I had the chance to tour the renovated Phillips Hall. Upon entering the building’s lobby, my eyes were drawn to five ornately carved medallions located above the molding: the Great Seal of the United States, the state of New Hampshire’s seal, the Phillips family’s seal, the Academy’s seal, and the town of Exeter, England’s seal. When I remarked on these medallions and how attractive they were, I was told that they were not new but in fact had been in place since the building opened in 1932. Refurbished and relit, the seals now stand out, adding depth and character to the entry of that venerable classroom building. A feature story in this issue of The Exeter Bulletin (page 18) chronicles the project. It also highlights the impeccable attention given by the architects and the Academy’s Facilities Management team not only to the main purpose of the building as a place for teaching and learning, but also to its iconic place on this campus. Even with its now modern amenities, such as wireless Internet access and a heating-and-cooling system driven by a series of geothermal wells buried under the Academy Building lawn, Phillips Hall maintains the patina of a wellloved and well-used center of academic endeavor. The building’s new and refurbished Harkness tables are symbolic of this combination of freshness and tradition. It might seem that the modern additions form a contrast with our traditional teaching method. In fact, while much has changed behind the walls and ceilings, the heart of each classroom remains the table and the discussions that go on around it. I can remember powerful moments during my time teaching Junior Studies in Phillips Hall. The course, once required of preps and now reflected in English 110, introduced new students to discussion strategies, writing skills and reading practices that would prepare them for involvement in Harkness learning. Many quiet youngsters found their voices in that room and some others learned to modulate their eager opinions. I fondly recall one exercise where I gave each student five poker chips, and the contributor used one chip each time he or she wanted to enter a discussion. It quickly became evident which budding “Harkness warriors” had rapidly run out of chips and which reticent participants had to become more active in the discussion in order to cash out. The result was a class that valued inclusive discussions. That level of appreciation will not diminish as students today and in the future employ new technologies and ways of communicating to augment and amplify their time at the table. Exeter will not lose the power of Harkness discussion, which has been a vital part of what has gone on in Phillips Hall for more than 80 years. The opportunities for students to experience the tradition of work, study and learning in that building have been enhanced by this renovation in much the same way the project revived and reinvigorated the seals in the foyer of Phillips Hall, and we should all take notice.
he Trustees of the Academy met on campus Wednesday, October 24, through Friday, October 26. Four trustees have just begun their tenure: Wole Coaxum ’88, Mark Edwards ’78; P’12, P’14, Della Spring ’79; P’06, P’09, P’11 and Morgan Sze ’83. They were introduced to the work of the Trustees during this time. In addition,Trustee Walter Donovan ’81 participated in the “A Day in the Life” program by shadowing History Instructor Michael Golay the previous week. The Trustees began their official meetings Thursday morning with a report from Principal Tom Hassan. He provided them with an update on the Academy’s three imperatives from “Exeter’s Immediate Priorities”—Intellectual Ambition, Goodness and Global Exploration—as well as recent news of the school in general. The Trustees were deeply saddened to learn of the death of George Albert Wentworth Professor of Mathematics and Instructor in Mathematics Rick Parris ’95, ’97 (Hon.); P’97, P’01 and observed a moment of silence in honor of him and the innumerable contributions he made to our school for more than three decades. That morning, the Trustees joined other members of the community in Phillips Church to hear a moving meditation delivered by their colleague, Jonathan Galassi ’67.Trustee Alan Jones ’72 will deliver the meditation when the group is back on campus for their winter meeting in January. The remainder of Thursday morning was devoted to a report and discussion of the work of the Office of Institutional Advancement. Trustee David Horn ’85 described the revamped and highly successful Exeter Leadership Weekend, which took place on campus in September. Not only was there an expansion of the event to include parents for the first time, but also the entire group heard indepth reports about the Academy today, its finances, facilities and overall direction. Horn reported that the attendees at this two-day program greatly appreciated the candor and transparency of the presentations, and, as always, the annual gathering with members of
the Academy’s senior class over dinner Friday evening met with enthusiastic reviews. Spring reported on the results of the Reunion Task Force, a committee she chaired.That group surveyed alumni/ae, faculty and staff to determine if the current reunion structure, which includes reunions spread across weekends in the spring term when school is in session, should continue.The overwhelming response called for a continuation of the current practice with some minor modifications to logistics and with an eye toward containing costs for some attendees. Director of Institutional Advancement Ted Probert P’12 and Trustee Chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee Bill Rawson ’71; P’08 provided updates about the change in name and direction of the Annual Giving Fund, now recast as The Exeter Fund, as well as examined the overall landscape of raising funds in still uncertain economic times. During the various lunch sessions on Thursday, trustees participated in a discussion of our financial audit with the outside firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, a review of the Trustees’ self-assessments about the work of the group, and a conversation with staff and faculty about the Goodness imperative. In fact, the Trustees had several opportunities to talk with staff, faculty and students, which they greatly appreciated. It was clear in the discussions around goodness at the two open lunches for adults and a meeting with students that our community enjoys chances to meet one another. It is also evident, however, that the fast and full pace of life here hinders those moments. Hassan underscored his pledge to make such opportunities for interaction possible, and this commitment was illustrated by the Saturday School classes that several trustees and the Academy community participated in. Following lunch on Thursday, the Trustees took a tour of the renovated Phillips Hall, which was built in the 1930s with funds from the Harkness gift. All came away extremely impressed with (continued on page 101) the work that had been done over
Noted Jazz Musicians on Campus
Gilbert Concert Series hosts Butch Thompson’s Big Three American jazz pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson and his Big Three opened this year’s Gilbert Concert Series in November, with New Orleans trumpeter Duke Heitger and banjo virtuoso and vocalist Jimmy Mazzy.The group’s evening concert in Phillips Church included selections of ragtime, Dixieland and what they called “lowdown blues.” During their two-day residency,Thompson led a musical clinic on the roots of jazz, and the group collaborated with the PEA Faculty Jazz Ensemble, illustrating early and period jazz band technique and style. With a storied musical career of more than 40 years,Thompson is regarded internationally as a master performer of traditional jazz and ragtime music. He is perhaps best known for his 12-year term as house pianist on National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” with host Garrison Keillor.
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In the Assembly Hall A S A M P L I N G O F S P E A K E R S W H O C A M E TO C A M P U S September 21: Adam Liptak The New York Times Supreme Court correspondent
September 25: Alexandra Marshall Author and journalist
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NBA senior director of basketball operations
Brandon Williams, a member of the 1998-99 NBA championship-winning San Antonio Spurs, spoke to students about the collateral impact of leadership, how one person can effect change in another. Williams came to Exeter in 1989 from a Louisiana town of 450 people. An “A” student and skilled basketball player back home, he was “stunned” by Exeter’s rigor. “I never thought I’d struggle keeping up academically and athletically,” he says. “The question I was facing was, ‘Do I have what it takes?’ And what overwhelmed me was the thought that I did not.” Williams reached an emotional low point during an assembly that year and left early. Belinda Tate ’90, a senior, followed him. “Belinda displayed incredible leadership qualities,” he says. “She was observant, having recognized over several weeks that my optimism had gone. She provided me direction by pointing out the value of my dorm head, who could mentor and advise me. She directed me to classmate study groups that could bridge the gap in my academic understanding. And most importantly, she offered encouragement.” Williams closed by saying, “A leader does not wait for an invitation. You have the ability to impact another individual: to ignite the torch of passion and determination.” Watch excerpts from the speech at www.exeter.edu/bulletinextras. October 5: Michael Crowley ’90 Time magazine’s senior correspondent and deputy Washington bureau chief
“It’s a funny thing about being back in Exeter during a presidential campaign,” Michael Crowley told students, “because when I was a student here, I did not get around the state of New Hampshire very much.” That changed when Crowley was at Yale and began his political reporting career in earnest. He ticked off the “amazing cast of characters,” or candidates, he’s covered in New Hampshire since then, giving him access to the state’s “different nooks and crannies.” As senior correspondent for Time magazine, Crowley wrote extensively about the 2012 presidential election, focusing largely MAXINE WEED
Author, journalist, film critic and educator Alexandra Marshall spoke to students about her personal journey as a new faculty wife and teacher in 1969 and on coming to terms with life’s unexpected circumstances. Forty-three years ago, Marshall arrived on campus with her former husband, the late Timothy Buxton, a PEA religion instructor. During just their second year at the Academy, she found herself widowed when Buxton died suddenly during a foreign teaching assignment. Marshall, now married to writer James Carroll, said she hoped her visit and address would help her audience identify with her experiences and learn more about Buxton, who Principal Richard Day described at the time as a young instructor showing “tremendous promise” and achieving “an incalculable amount of good.” Summing up her visit graciously, Marshall said, “It is both
September 28: Brandon Williams ’92
“Who’s on the Supreme Court? Why does it matter?” With these questions, Adam Liptak, The New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, launched his fast-paced 40-minute assembly talk. Liptak set the context for Exonians by discussing how the current court differs from previous courts. First in its gender, ethnic and religious diversity. Second in its homogeneity: notably no members have run for elected office, and all have attended Harvard or Yale, he pointed out. To round out assembly, Liptak focused on the Supreme Court case Fisher v. Texas, which addresses affirmative action in the admissions policy at the University of Texas. Describing it as a “blockbuster,” Liptak advised Exonians to watch as the case unfolds, and predicted that the outcome of Fisher v. Texas would have an impact on college admissions across the country. During class, assembly and lunch with students, Liptak welcomed questions. Topics covered recent Supreme Court decisions (Citizens United, Affordable Health Care Act), First Amendment rights, affirmative action, and what it’s like to be a journalist. Liptak’s daughter Katie ’15 proudly introduced him at assembly, and his wife Dr. Jennifer Bitman ’80 accompanied him to campus.
because of my losses and in spite of them that I have been most fortunate in my life. . . . I’m also very thankful, today, for Exeter and its enduring friendship, and for you and your most kind attention.”
on Mitt Romney’s campaign. Regularly tapped by media outlets like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, Crowley spent most of the assembly providing students with similar expert political analyses and opinion just one month before Election Day. He kicked off the conversation by asking, “How many people thought that Barack Obama won that [first] debate?” After he was met with silence, he said, “OK, well that says it all,” and then broke down why he thought Romney “won it pretty big,” along with why that candidate was having a hard time overtaking President Obama in the polls. Prior to Time, Crowley was a senior editor at The New Republic. He was also a Boston Globe reporter, and he has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. After assembly, Crowley met with students in the Latin Study.
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November 2: Rep. Patricia S. “Pat” Schroeder
Earle, a pioneer oceanic explorer who has logged more than 6,000 hours underwater and has led more than 50 expeditions around the world, spoke of how technology in recent years has enabled us “to see the way the world was long before we arrived.” But these answers only beget more questions. Earle added, “The greatest era of exploration ever has really just begun. We’ve opened enough doors to realize how much more there is to discover.” With the aid of slides and short videos, Earle showcased for students marine jewels, like the Galapagos Islands, along with some of the greatest threats to marine life, including climate change. Watch a 90-second video of Dr. Earle talking about the “blue heart” of the planet at www.exeter.edu/bulletinextras.
“Let me start by saying I’m Pat Schroeder and I approve this message,” said this year’s Bragdon Fellow by way of introduction. Schroeder’s assembly talk, five days before Election Day, touched on her 24-year history as congresswoman for Colorado. She included anecdotes about being the second-youngest female congresswoman ever elected, one of only 14 women in the House of Representatives at the time she joined Congress in 1973, and a woman twice arrested for impersonating a congressman because of her gender. “I’ve always noticed that there are two kinds of people,” Schroeder said in closing, before attending several classes. The “wringers” see the world’s problems, wring their hands and say, “It’s terrible!” And the “rollers” roll up their sleeves and respond, “We have to do something about this!” “I would hope that all of you are going to be rollers,” Schroeder said to Exonians. “ There are a lot of challenges out there. But they’re phenomenally fun to do.…I can’t encourage you enough to get involved.” November 13: Dr. Sylvia Earle Oceanographer, undersea explorer
Called “Her Deepness” by The NewYorker, Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence, spent a full day on campus delivering the assembly talk, visiting biology classes, and giving an evening lecture to the PEA community and the public. Former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earle began the assembly with a clear message: “We have arrived on the planet, all of us, at maybe the most important time in history, because for the first time, we know things that our predecessors could not: Maybe most importantly of all that there are limits to what we can do to this little blue and white speck in the universe.”
December 4: Mark Ethridge ’67 and Curt Hahn ’67 Filmmakers of the motion picture Deadline
Former congresswoman of Colorado
Mark Ethridge and Curt Hahn, both class of ’67, shared with students how their collaboration on the film Deadline began with their PEA class reunion in 2007. In 2006, Ethridge had published a novel, Grievances, based on his experience covering an unsolved shooting in rural South Carolina. He gave a talk about the book during his 40th reunion, where Hahn approached him. “Curt told me, ‘That’s a great story. I have a movie company. I’d like to produce that,’ ” Ethridge said. Hahn, who had to withdraw from the Academy his senior year, told students, “Exeter is a much friendlier place now,” explaining that personal feelings were never discussed when he was a student. He said his immaturity and inability to cope with stress led to his expulsion for alcohol use. Hahn ultimately attended the California Institute of the Arts, where he launched his filmmaking career. “I wanted to make movies about personal emotions,” said Hahn. “We sometimes think about our minds so much that we forget how we really feel.” The two alums formed a partnership after their reunion to write the screenplay and secure funding for Deadline. Five years later, in 2012, Deadline enjoyed successful premieres in cities across the U.S. The classmates concluded their assembly with advice for students. “Find someone you care about [at Exeter] and ask them if they’re OK,” said Hahn. “Ask them, ‘How are you doing? How’s your spirit?’ Because it’s not just about the mind; it’s about your spirit, too.” “My No. 1 takeaway: attend your Exeter reunions,” said Ethridge. “Good things happen when you do.” WINTER 2013
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Faculty Wire PEA WELCOMES NEW L A M O N T G A L L E RY D I R E C TO R
Lauren O’Neal stands between (left) Woman of Cups, an oil painting by Associate Dean of Faculty Rosanna Salcedo and (right) Left Over Bag, fiber art by IT Support Services Administrator Donna Archambault.
PEA Faculty and Staff Share Their Art (Top) Science Instructor Kathleen Curwen, A Cure for the Blues, Stained Glass, 2012 (Bottom) Assistant to the Academy Librarian Tad Nishimura, Kumihimo, Jewelry– Beaded Cord, 2012 (Right) Summer School Program Coordinator Stacey Durand, Powerlines: Exeter to Newburyport, Acrylic, Collage and Graphite on Panel, 2012
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Lamont Gallery exhibit features 57 employee pieces In November, the Academy community, as well as the greater public, had an opportunity to discover the depth of creative talent on campus when PEA’s Lamont Gallery opened “Hidden Treasures 3: Works by Phillips Exeter Academy’s Faculty and Staff.” The exhibit, which ran through midDecember, featured a variety of artistic works from 57 Academy employees and explored diverse media including photography, painting, ceramics, drawing, quilting, flower arranging, collage, woodworking, costume design, architectural models, embroidery, sculpture, stained glass, digital and film works, and jewelry. Visit www.exeter. edu/bulletinextras to watch a video of three exhibit artists talking about their creative approach and to view a slideshow with more employee artwork.
auren O’Neal has been appointed the new director of the Lamont Gallery. She brings more than 15 years of artistic, academic, management and nonprofit experience to the position. She has served on the faculties of several Massachusetts schools, including the Boston University Graduate Arts Administration Program, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. As an instructor, O’Neal taught courses in arts management, fine and performing arts, and arts and the community. She designed and facilitated community art programs for youths, focusing on integrated museum collections, two- and three-dimensional media and multimedia techniques. As a seasoned curator and exhibited artist, O’Neal says she’s looking forward to facilitating stronger bonds between the PEA community, the local New Hampshire Seacoast region and the gallery. “For the [Lamont] Gallery, I am particularly interested in encouraging the PEA community to see the gallery as an aesthetic, social and civic space that can generate numerous opportunities for reflection and dialogue. . . . I would love to hear input from students, faculty and staff in terms of how the gallery can be integrated into the campus and region,” she says. O’Neal succeeds Karen Burgess Smith, who served as the gallery’s director since 2003.
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U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Visits Exeter
aunching with a reference to The Righteous Brothers and ending with a poem about emotional estrangement from her father, U.S. Poet Laureate and Poet Laureate of Mississippi Natasha Trethewey read with dramatic verve to an almost overflowing crowd in Exeter’s Assembly Hall. Born of a black mother and white father, the author immersed listeners in her poems—which largely focused on themes of race, identity and family— for more than an hour. English classes read works by Trethewey before her visit, including Domestic Work and Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The day after her public reading, Trethewey, Exeter’s first Lamont poet for 2012-13, met with the entire prep class in the Class of 1945 Library and joined a senior class taught by Woodbridge Odlin Professor and English Instructor Becky Moore P’03, P’05, P’08. “Trethewey talked to the students about a number of topics, from the inspiration of her latest collection Thrall to [answering] the students’ questions about living as a mixed-race person in the U.S.,” says Moore, whose class read Beyond Katrina. “Trethewey spoke to the students both as a scholar, about her literary choices and models, as well as a sister when she described her brother’s struggles to help his community rebuild in the wake of the hurricane’s devastation.” “The opportunity to speak with an author after reading and analyzing her work in class is a unique experience, and by interacting with her in person we were able to get even more out of the material,” says Haley Baker ’13. “I was struck by her poem ‘Flounder.’ The imagery of the fish flopping back and forth between black and white, being forced to choose a side when taken out of its natural environment, really paralleled the theme of struggling with a multicultural identity, which she explored in many of her poems.” Zachary Barnett ’13, a Louisiana native, enjoyed Trethewey’s visit to his English class. “It was interesting to hear other students’ similar stories about having two parents of different races and the rough times that they encountered in their early childhood,” he says. “I really enjoyed ‘Providence.’ She discusses the damage caused by hurricanes and how people are attached to their homes just as homes were once attached to their foundations before being destroyed.” Trethewey serves as Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing. This year, she was named as both the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate (2012–13) and the Poet Laureate of Mississippi (2012–16)—the first person to serve simultaneously in these posts. She is the author of four poetry collections, including Domestic Work (2000), winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet and Native Guard (2007), awarded a Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2007. In 2012, Trethewey released Beyond Katrina, a nonfiction piece on the meaning of Hurricane Katrina.
Author Natasha Trethewey speaks with senior English class students about her writing, particularly in relation to Hurricane Katrina.
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Weaving the World Together TA B L E TA L K W I T H E I M E R PAG E By Sarah Zobel
nglish Instructor Eimer Page was appointed director of
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grounds in a country where that distinction was highlighted daily. It also helped her grasp the importance of diversity. Further, she says she “came to realize that education and the chance to connect around a common interest are the keys to understanding.” And it was music that brought her to the United States in 2004, when her husband, John—whom she’d met when both were members of the Northern Ireland Symphony—was appointed assistant conductor for the Boston Philharmonic. Page, who was then teaching at The Portsmouth Grammar School in England, found Exeter on the recommendation of several professional mentors. She and John and their two sons, Oscair, 8, and Cormac, 3, currently live in Dunbar Hall, where she’s dorm head. Even as Hurricane Sandy was barreling toward the East Coast in October, Page was coordinating an acoustic music session to keep the 60 girls who live there occupied while they rode out the storm. Page returns with her family to Northern Ireland every summer, and she says that her childhood there definitely affected her perception of education. Though housing, sports and schools were segregated along religious and political lines, “real efforts were made in school to expose students to the other side and to help us understand the history of the issues,” she says, adding, “Education was emphasized as the key to breaking the deadlock.” Today, in her new role, Page is assessing where Exeter is currently reaching others outside the campus boundaries, and where there might be gaps. Happily, she hasn’t found many—indeed, Exeter’s influence extends around the globe, through four distinct program areas, or “strands.” The first, and perhaps most uniquely Exonian, is Harkness outreach, through which Exeter’s instructors share with public school teachers the Harkness approach, as well as specific aspects of the school’s curriculum. “We have very robust Harkness outreach programs that have been around for a long time,” says Page, adding that “so much at Exeter comes from the ground up—it comes from faculty devel-
Exeter’s global initiatives, a new position, as part of Principal Tom Hassan’s call for expanded global exploration by the entire Exeter community.Through that imperative, Hassan is seeking to further opportunities for students and faculty to engage with peers and enjoy experiences beyond the school campus—thereby facilitating knowledge sharing on an international scale. “Global initiatives afford our students and faculty the opportunity to learn, build connections and become engaged in a world that transcends national borders,” says Page. Such initiatives must be part of the backbone of what sustains Exeter as a school of excellence, she says, adding, “We want to give our students and faculty rich opportunities to infuse our curriculum with fresh perspectives and experiences.” Page, a native of Newr y, Northern Ireland, with a Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin and a onetime Fulbright Scholar at Harvard, stepped into the role of global initiatives director last August. She was already teaching English to preps and Visions of Paradise? Utopias and Dystopias in Literature to seniors, as well as overseeing the Exeter-Ballytobin/Callan Program, which enables qualified seniors to live and work in Ireland alongside people with special needs. Page says it was music, however, that first brought her to campus eight years ago, and music that has most fully shaped her life, from very early childhood on. To the outside world, Northern Ireland in the 1970s and ’80s might have seemed a difficult place to grow up, but in fact life wasn’t all about the Troubles. In those days, every 7-year-old child was given an ear test to assess his or her music skills. The more promising among them would then receive complimentary instruments (selected for them), lessons and membership in community orchestras. Page was offered a viola (“Perhaps because of my broad handspan?” she laughs). Taking part in youth ensembles gave Page the opportunity to travel, as well as to meet students from different religious back-
Advocating for the Incarcerated Q-and-A with Dr. Lannette Linthicum ’75 In October, the John Phillips Award was presented to Dr. Lannette Linthicum ’75, health services director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). During her 26 years with TDCJ, the country’s largest state correctional facility, Linthicum’s unit has become a national model for correctional medicine. She leads 4,000 medical and administrative personnel who facilitate complete health care services to 160,000 offenders in 112 Texas prisons. With more than 30 percent of inmates chronically ill, Linthicum routinely faces complex health care issues within a prison population she equates to “the size of a small city.” DAN COURTER
opment and interest, rather than being imposed top-down. The Harkness outreach follows that model. It’s teachers who’ve been interested in offering these opportunities for teachers around the world.” It starts in Exeter’s own backyard, in the Raymond and Newmarket, NH, schools— Raymond’s Iber Holmes Gove Middle School, proud recipient of two Harkness tables from PEA last year, was named the state’s 2011 “Middle School of Excellence”—and extends to teachers from around the country through the Exeter Humanities Institute, The Biology Institute at Exeter, the Rex A. McGuinn Conference on Shakespeare, The Exeter Astronomy Conference and more. Some 2,500 public school teachers alone have been trained in Exeter’s problemsolving math curriculum through the Exeter Mathematics Institute, which is brought to schools nationwide. The second strand is faculty professional development, which is often underwritten through support from alumni/ae donors. Faculty members have traveled in teams to Ireland, Japan and Korea, Morocco and Ghana, and China. In March, one group will spend spring break in Israel, while another will visit India (on the latter trip, PEA students chosen for previous exposure to India through coursework “are the experts, which is really exciting,” says Page). The groups are composed of 10 to 12 faculty members from a variety of disciplines; a local partner organizes a study tour that is broad enough to be relevant to all, looking at issues in education, as well as the country’s culture, history, politics and environment. In her third year on campus, Page led 18 English Department faculty members to Ireland. She says she might do it again, but she’d make it cocurricular, bringing science faculty, for instance, who would appreciate Trinity’s renowned Science Department. Traveling faculty members take the Harkness table with them—figuratively, anyway. Explains Page, they use the experiences they have during the day to “process and talk in the way that we do in the classrooms, to have conversations about what people experience, what they’re questioning, what they’re impressed by and what they’re taking away from this, and how their thinking is being stretched by being (continued on page 101) there.” The conver-
Q: What do you find most meaningful about the work you do? What are your biggest hurdles? A: The ability to impact people’s lives positively . . . the offenders and staff, that’s the best part. In health care, we talk about public safety, that the role of corrections is to provide public safety, to keep people incarcerated. But correctional medicine plays a big role in public safety as well, because we have very high-risk populations—they’ve been intravenous drug users; they haven’t had much preventive health care. If we can return a healthier person to his community, that would put his loved ones and others at less risk of contracting some of these communicable diseases. In that sense, what we do in corrections benefits the community at large. The hardest part is managing health care services while dealing with state-legislated budgetary cuts. During the last legislative session we had our budgets cut, about $75 million reduced from a $1 billion budget. Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of thus far in your position? A: The creation of the Office of Professional Standards’ Patient Liaison Program. It’s often referred to as the ombudsman program. It’s a service for external, third-party members, family, friends, prison advocates—anyone who has a complaint or inquiry can contact this staff to obtain information about an offender’s situation. Each inquiry is assigned to a staff member, who investigates and sends a response letter. Last quarter, we received close to 3,000 calls and letters. Some of the family members we talk to so much, we’re on a first-name basis. Q: What do you foresee for correctional health care? Watch a video A: It’s going to be extremely challenging going forward, of Dr. Linthicum because the main issue for us is the burden of disease, espediscussing her work: cially communicable diseases. [With] HIV and AIDS, for www.exeter.edu/ example, the costs for drug therapy alone . . . take up 47 perbulletinextras. cent of our pharmacy budget. Years ago, we did a study on incoming inmates: Thirty percent of our population was infected [with hepatitis C].That’s 50,000 inmates. The other major concern . . . is the graying of the prison population. Prisoners are getting older, and all of the issues associated with geriatrics and the elderly are the same issues in prisons. The state mental health system [also] limits the number of illnesses they treat, so if people don’t fall into certain categories they get left on the fringes . . . they end up in prison [by] committing crimes, so we are a de facto mental health system. Q: What led you to a career in medicine? Did you choose TDCJ or did it choose you? A:When I left Exeter, I thought I’d be a history teacher. I went to Smith [College], and I started taking biology courses, and I found that . . . it was something that clicked in me. I realized, ‘Well, you want to be a teacher and you have this interest in the biological sciences, [so] medicine is perfect for you because it combines the two.’ Originally, the state health commissioner just assigned us to TDCJ. But as time went on, yes, they definitely chose me.They did not want me to leave the state.
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Around the Table
Cross-Continent Poetry and Art Exchange P E A C L A S S E S C O L L A B O R AT E W I T H C H I N E S E S T U D E N T S V I A S K Y P E
ake two creative PEA classes—one filled with writers, the other visual artists. Add a Harkness-sized group of Chinese high schoolers interested in the English language and poetry. Mix well with two Exeter faculty members who recently traveled to China. Then log on to Skype. What do you get? A unique collaboration that challenges preconceptions, repositions what language means in a global context, and leads to breakthrough moments of discovery. During fall term students in English Instructor Erica Plouffe
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Evening,” an RDFZ student asked, “Do you think Robert Frost means death when he says ‘sleep,’ and possibly he has promises to a loved one before he dies?” Another wondered if the poem’s speaker was a woman estranged from a lover on the “darkest evening of the year.” Ben Veres ’13, who, along with his classmates, had thought the Frost poem was “about a simple journey,” found the questions eye-opening. “Our class was truly at a loss of words. It was asked as a question, but our silence proved it to be a great interpretation.” Suduiko concurs, “It totally challenged all of our preconceptions of the poem’s voice.” English Instructor Erica Plouffe Designed as an art and poetry exchange, as well as Lazure uses Skype to connect a forum for literary discussions, the collaboration Exeter students with high invited students to contribute original works inspired schoolers in China. by the poems. “The best part of the collaboration was that by using technology and my favorite artistic medium, I could connect with the RDFZ students despite our physical distance,” says Emma Herold ’13, who shared her digital-photo montage based on “Mulan, the Maiden Chief.” She adds, “We formed a creative cycle. Poetry created in China was translated into English and given to us digitally, then we worked here in America to translate English poetry into a visual representation, then technology helped us to show our ‘translations’ to the RDFZ students.” During the first Skype session, the RDFZ students asked Exonians for tips on writing poetry in English. Advice flowed freely. Although the Chinese students Lazure’s Advanced Writing and Art Instructor Carla Collins’ did not contribute original poems during the fall term, Lazure is Advanced Studio Art classes Skyped with students from a top hopeful that the spirit of the exchange can continue and they school in China,The High School Affiliated to Renmin Univer- will find their voices. “Finding your voice is the first step to namsity of China (RDFZ). In preparation for the sessions, which ing your world,” explains Lazure. “Naming your world is the were held in English, students read poems selected from the first step to knowing your world. And when you know your Western tradition—including works by Robert Frost, e.e. cum- world, you have an ability to change it for the better—to make it mings and William Wordsworth—and from the Eastern tradition: yours—and to bring your ideas to life. Anyone who’s tried to “A Fair Maiden,” “Mulan, the Maiden Chief,” “Very quietly I write a poem or create a work of art is on the path to making take my leave,” and poems by Li Bai and Du Fu. that knowing happen.” What does it mean to interpret an English poem for a nonThe Skype-facilitated art and poetry project was the latest native English speaker almost 7,000 miles away? “We were venture in Exeter’s exchange program with RDFZ. Started in pushed to develop a deeper understanding of the fundamental March 2008, the program has resulted in many cross-cultural choices made by the poet—word choice, structure and sounds,” enrichments including: RDFZ students attending Exeter’s Sumsays Aaron Suduiko ’13. mer School, PEA faculty traveling to Beijing to research Eastern Despite the late hour for the Beijing students—the 13-hour culture and teaching, and a theatrical collaboration around the difference placed the Skype sessions at 8 p.m. their time—their classic Chinese play, Thunderstorm, performed on Exeter’s Fisher curiosity and insights impressed their Harkness collaborators. Theater mainstage. While discussing Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy
Around the Table
Student for a Day DAMIAN STROHMEYER
Principal Hassan takes a different seat at the table One day in early October, Principal Tom Hassan left his office in Jeremiah Smith Hall, notepad and pen in hand, and walked over to Phillips Hall. Outside of English Instructor Ellen Wolff’s classroom, he met up with Darby Henry ’13, and together they entered the classroom. Hassan’s assignment? Spend the day with Henry, to experience, Hassan says, “one small slice of her life.” That slice included not only English class but also classes in religion and astronomy, as well as lunch and Grill time with Henry Henry and Hassan and her friends. Hassan’s estimation of the day? Invaluable. “Probably the biggest takeaway from my time shadowing Darby was the potent reminder of the powerful teaching and learning that takes place in our classroom, and just how hard the students and faculty at Exeter work to make that dynamic happen,” he says. “The amount of preparation on the part of instructors and students needed to make a successful Harkness class was evident in all of the classes I attended. That combined with the level of enthusiasm exhibited made for some very intense moments. At the end of the day I was energized by all I had experienced…and I was exhausted!”
Ancient Mystery Revealed V I S I T I N G S C H O L A R F RO M I R E L A N D D E C O D E S PA P Y R I
he Classical Languages Department recently welcomed Regius
Professor of Greek Brian McGing, Greek papyrologist and historian of the Hellenistic period at Trinity College Dublin, who gave a lunchtime seminar on the topic of ancient papyri.While on campus, he also helped shed light on a long-standing mystery. Exeter has two papyri in its classical collection that have quietly resided in an unobtrusive display case for many years. Papyrus, manufactured in Egypt from the plant of the same name, was the most common wr iting mater ial in the ancient Mediterranean world. Rolls of it were used for recording everything from private contracts to lyric poetry, and from administrative correspondence to the books of the Bible. Until now, it was not known what sort of text the Exeter papyri contained. Decoding a papyrus is difficult work under the best circumstances. In the case of the Exeter papyri, the challenge is particularly daunting because of the small size and fragmentary nature of the scraps, which were torn at random from larger papyri of unknown size. In addition, deciphering the writing itself is no small task, on account of rips and tears in the material and the fading of ink wrought by the ravages of time. But, as McGing
pointed out during his seminar, these painstaking efforts are always worthwhile because every scrap of writing tells us something about the ancient world and the lives of its inhabitants. After analyzing the larger of the two fragments with students in GRK111: Elementary Greek-Intensive, McGing was able to make a preliminary assessment. Written in Greek and dating probably to the first or second century, it was likely an administrative text dealing with the registration of individuals or property as part of an official census. After serving its original purpose, the papyrus was probably discarded and later reused—most likely as part of the wrapping of a mummified crocodile or cat, students were shocked to lear n. The papyrus then lay buried in the sands of Egypt until its discovery centuries later. The task of fully translating and interpreting both fragments is far from complete, but with the generous help of McGing’s ongoing guidance from Ireland, Exeter’s newest group of Greek scholars is eager to continue the work of decoding these cryptic messages from the past. —Matt Hartnett, instructor in classical languages
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Campus Life at a Glance Snapshots from fall term
(A) Wheelwright Hall girls celebrate Academy Life Day, and the dorm bonding the day encourages, by making music videos. (B) Wentworth Hall boys chose dodgeball as their team-based activity, and the last man standing receives a hero’s embrace. (C) Sean Beckett ’08,Yale senior and member of the university’s Teeth Poets, was on campus to perform slam poetry alongside current Exeter students. (D) Students cook foods native to their regions in Wetherell Dining Hall’s kitchen to serve during International Day. (E) About 850 family members attended Exeter’s Family Weekend in October to support their students and experience campus life firsthand. (F) Birding with Science Instructors Chris Matlack and Rich Aaronian was a popular class during the third annual, peer-taught “Saturday School Offerings” for PEA faculty and staff. (G) Camp Darfur, an interactive genocide awareness exhibit, was set up on the Academy Center’s quad for two days in October. (H) Students put thoughts and questions to paper to contribute to a makeshift Harkness table in the Academy Center’s Agora, created by the Pass It Forward Club. (I) The Exeteras, PEA’s allmale ensemble, sing in Phillips Church during a studentorganized concert in November to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
STEFAN KOHLI ’14
For videos and slideshows highlighting these events and more, go to www. exeter.edu/bulletinextras.
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Around the Table
Exoniana D O YO U R E M E M B E R ? Exonians bundle up against winter chill before plowing through snow toward outdoor fun. The archival photos in this issue illustrate a few winter scenes on campus. Can you name the years when Exeter had an outdoor skating rink? Can you identify any classmates in the photos? When you were at Exeter and needed a study break, what were your favorite winter activities? Please share your memories and/or photographs with us. There will be two prizes awarded for answers to the contest. First prize will be for the first answer received. The rest of the answers will be placed into a drawing and one winner will be chosen at random. Email us at Exoniana@exeter.edu. Or send your responses to Exoniana, c/o The Exeter Bulletin, Phillips Exeter Academy, Communications Office, 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833-2460. Entries may be edited for length and clarity.
Answers to the last issue:
The correct formula of answers to our science lab project photos is: (A) fractional distillation; (B) photoelectric effect experiment; (C) Mr. Andrew Polychronis’ science class; and (D) a calorimetry experiment. And the Winner is: Trustee Wole Coaxum ’88 of Larchmont, NY,
who received an Exeter travel bag. “I think the person in picture D is Sonya Chen [Van Der Meer] from the class of 1988. Not sure of her experiment, but it looks like her. I hope that helps.” We received no other entries for this Exoniana, but it’s not too late. If you can ID any of the students in these lab photos, please write to us!
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Exonians in Review
A Different Coming-of-Age Story I N O N E P E R S O N , B Y J O H N I RV I N G ’ 6 1 A review by Mary Rindfleisch ’73
n One Person is John Irving’s 13th novel, joining
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ed to both males and females, and he intends to act on his feelings. Irving has never shied away from taking on controversial subjects, as he did with abortion in The Cider House Rules. He made waves as early as 1978 with his sympathetic portrayal of the transsexual Roberta in Garp. This time, sexuality and gender identity are front and center. As an “out” bisexual, Billy Dean encounters hostility not only from the straight world. He is also resented by gay men for his affairs with women and by transgenders for not giving up his maleness. His struggle throughout the novel is to live a life that is true to his own convictions and yet will be deemed “worthwhile” by others. Irving showcases a parade of characters whose variety of sexual and gender identities are increasingly defined by themselves, rather than by society. “In one person,” as the title suggests, can reside many different desires and needs, and who is to say which are more worthy? As the novel progresses, the focus broadens from Billy’s personal story to that of the entire generation of sexually “different” men and women who came of age in the late 1960s and ’70s. As society became, in some ways, more permissive and tolerant, it seemed that Mother Nature became less so, with the appearance by 1980 of the various syndromes that eventually came to be known as AIDS. It must be said that this book will not be a comfortable experience for all readers. The description and discussion of sex is frequent and frank, and the passages dealing with the ravages of AIDS on individual men and women are harrowing. At times it seems that every character has some kind of a sexual secret (some less secret than others). But the emphasis on sex is far from gratuitous. While pursuing physical lust in an astonishing number of variations, Billy and many of the other characters are seeking not just sex but love. They are looking for emotional connections in the midst of intolerance, indifference and, ultimately, the death that seemed so inevitable in the height of the AIDS epidemic. And, despite many missteps, they often do find it. Courage and compassion are found in unexpected places, and this is one of Irving’s main points. Con-
John Irving’s latest novel confronts gender constructs head-on.
a distinguished lineup of works that have won him both critical praise and popular acclaim (The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany). Followers of Irving’s earlier works will recognize many familiar elements and themes here—absent fathers, conflicted mothers, quirky characters defined by a striking physical or social characteristic, wrestling as both plot device and metaphor. Members of the PEA community will take particular notice of the New England prep school where much of the novel is set (as was also the case with Garp). While the fictional Favorite River Academy in the small town of First Sister, VT, is admittedly not a top-tier institution, many features of prep school life descr ibed here will be familiar to Exonians, from dorm butt rooms and a coatand-tie dress code to the wrestling room in the gym (one dorm at Favorite River is even called Bancroft). In One Person follows in many ways a fairly conventional coming-of-age format, with protagonist Billy Dean proceeding through the trials of adolescence, learning about his origins and making decisions about his future.There is discord among family members and within the sometimes claustrophobically close school community. Billy discovers early his love of reading and his gift for writing, which will dictate the course of his adult life. But from the outset, Billy is not the typical American boy. At age 13 he visits the local public library to seek out books about young people who have “dangerous” crushes on “the wrong people.” For Billy is “different”—he is attract-
Alumni/ae are urged to advise the Exonians in Review editor of their own publications, recordings, films, etc., in any field, and those of classmates. Whenever possible, authors and composers are encouraged to send one copy of their books and original copies of articles to Edouard Desrochers ’45, ’62 (Hon.), the editor of Exonians in Review, Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833. ALUMNI/AE
1967—William J. Murphy
and others. Patent Valuation: Improving Decision Making through Analysis. (Wiley, 2012) 1972—Eben Alexander III.
cer ned individuals nurse dying friends, lovers and even total strangers.Writers like the adult William “Billy” Dean change societal attitudes through their frank and unblinking creative work. Gay couples form lifelong partnerships that would be the envy of most of the straight couples in the book. Eventually, gender identity and preference begin to be framed as human rights protected by law and custom, leading to the previously unthinkable presence of a publically transsexual student at Favorite River Academy by the end of the book. Despite the novel’s sometimes grim and gritty feel, readers will find much humor and hope in these pages to reward them. Especially poignant (yet also very funny) is the portrayal of Billy’s cross-dressing lumberman grandfather, who enjoys great success on the stage of the First Sister Players community theater in all the great female roles, from Hedda Gabler to Miss Marple. And we should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives as loyal and supportive as Billy’s friend, Elaine. As always, John Irving has created vivid and memorable characters, limned with great acuity the dynamics of families, and challenged us to rethink our assumptions about ourselves and about the world around us. I urge readers to take a chance on this thought-provoking and absorbing story.
Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
1986—Shirley Jennifer Lim ’86. “ ‘Speaking Ger-
man Like Nobody’s Business’: Anna May Wong, Walter Benjamin, and the Possibilities of Asian American Cosmopolitanism.” IN the Journal of Transnational American Studies. (vol. 4, no. 1, 2012) 1987—Charles E. Ehrlich. “Tools of the Trade: Ensuring efficiency of enforcement through integrated information technology systems.” IN Efficiency of Enforcement Proceedings of Court Judgments and Acts of Other Official Authorities. (Kazan Federal University, 2011)
1950—Russell S. Reynolds Jr. and Carol E. Curtis.
Heads: Business Lessons from an Executive Search Pioneer. (McGraw-Hill, 2012) 1956—C. Reynolds Keller.
Quinter. (Quinter LLC, 2012) 1962—Edward de Sa Pereira [Alexander Campion,
1972—Merritt T. Cooke.
pseudonym]. Killer Critique: A Capucine Culinary Mystery. (Kensington, 2012)
Sustaining U.S.-China Cooperation in Clean Energy. (Wilson Center, 2012) 1976—Norb Vonnegut.
Mr. President: A Grove O’Rourke Thriller. (Amazon Digital Services, 2012)
—“The powers of European enforcement authorities to expedite execution of judgments” IN Improving National Safeguards for the Right to a Fair Trial in the Russian Federation. (The EU-Russia Cooperation Program “Execution and Efficiency of Justice in the Russian Federation,” 2011) 1997—James K. Rustad
Act. Adapt. Achieve: Find and Follow Your Path to Success. (CreateSpace, 2012) BRIEFLY NOTED 1946—David C. Purdy. 1962—Douglas Penick. Journey of the North Star. (Publerati, 2012) 1966—Gil Bettman and
Mark W. Travis, directors. Hollywood Film Directing:The Scene.The Actor.The Camera [DVD]. (Hollywood Film Directing, 2011)
“Some thoughts on breeding for hardiness in section Tsutsusi Azaleas.” IN The Azalean. (v. 34, no. 1, spring 2012) 1960—Mike Harrigan. “At
age 40, time for changes to Title IX.” IN Philadelphia Inquirer. (July 9, 2012)
and others. “Civil Commitment Among Patients With Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Practical, Conceptual, and Ethical Issues.” IN Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment. (v. 11, no. 3, September 2012) 1999—Ariel M. CohenGoldberg. “Phonological
competition within the word: Evidence from the phoneme similarity effect in spoken production.” IN Journal of Memory and Language. (v. 67, no. 1, July 2012)
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‘A Building Without a Counterpart’ Modernizing Phillips Hall with the Past in Mind
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By Karen Ingraham
itting at his Harkness table in Phillips Hall, English Department Chair Lundy Smith describes the building’s recent renovation in no small terms. “It’s spectacular. It’s gorgeous,” he says. “I like the fact that we kept the element of the old with incorporating the new, [all] without destroying the ethos in the fabric of the building. The modernization feels like it belongs here; it’s beautiful.” Modern Languages Department Chair and Raymond W. Ellis Instructor Richard Schieber P’16 agrees, adding, “If you walk around, it doesn’t need much explanation. We have the same feel as a traditional Exeter building. It looks like it’s old, but it looks ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHS BY WARREN PATTERSON UNLESS NOTED.
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(Above) A newly remodeled corner classroom in Phillips Hall. (Inset) Images of a corner classroom taken in 1932. Note the similarity of the light fixtures then and now. WINTER 2013
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(Above) The lobby was enhanced by traditional light fixtures as well as LED lighting and new paint. (Inset) Phillips Hall today.
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good in that sense—the Harkness tables, the blackboards, the entire character.” Beginning last winter, Smith, Schieber, instructors from both departments, and students endured—for a short time—ceilingless corridors and classrooms under demolition as contractors worked on the second phase of a two-year renovation of Phillips Hall, built 80 years ago as part of the Harkness plan. The project’s goal was a full renewal of the building, which had not undergone such a major renovation since opening in 1932. The plans included not only bringing everything up to code and improving accessibility but also incorporating a new heating-and-cooling system and installing audiovisual equipment in every classroom. Thirteen new Harkness tables were also custom-built to the 1930s specs (see story on page 24), nine tables were refinished, and 540 chairs were built to mirror those in the original classrooms. The aim was to get the building to a point where it could weather at least another 50 years of use while “preserving the historical integrity of the original design. Our goal was to provide an overhaul of the mechanical systems, add classroom spaces and address accessibility needs—all while maintaining the aesthetic quality that Phillips Hall had when it was first created for the Academy,” says Peter Reiss, the project manager for Architectural Resources Cambridge (ARC). The following pages demonstrate how slight the architectural seam is between modernity and tradition and highlight the design choices made to honor Principal
Lewis Perry’s description of Phillips Hall in the July 1932 Bulletin: “It is a building without a counterpart, as far as we know, in the schools of the world.”
“It is scarcely too much to say that Phillips Hall will be one of the most interesting school buildings in the country.” —Editor, The Exeter Bulletin, April 1932 To move the building back in time, at least aesthetically, lighting became a significant factor. Original lighting fixtures in the main lobby and the Elting Room were refurbished. Efforts were also made to replicate the look of surviving fixtures and of those visible in photographs from the 1930s. Anita Bailey, PEA’s senior facilities administrator, says, “When we looked at what had been done in previous modernizations, we had things such as fluorescent-strip fixtures that were the ceiling lights in all the classrooms. We were able to find some of the older light fixtures that were original to the building. …And [we] found a company that made something very close.”
The Big Room “On the first floor is what we call ‘The Big Room,’ which will be used for informal lectures, musical recitals, and the entertaining of visiting teams.This probably will become the social center of the school.” —Principal Perry ’18, ’20, ’46 (Hon.); P’32, The Exeter Bulletin, July 1932
(Above) The Elting Room is now accessible via a wheelchair lift. (Inset) The room in 1932 was dubbed PEA’s “social center.”
In addition to new paint, refinished floors and refurbished lights, the Academy installed 174 new armchairs, made by a Massachusetts-based company, in the Elting Room. More important, however, was the addition of a wheelchair lift. WINTER 2013
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Building Facts • Built on the site of the school’s old central heating plant; the adjacent quad is where the old running track used to be. • Opened in 1932 with 41 classrooms, it now has 44. ARC
(Above) One of three new classrooms on the fifth floor. (Inset) That same floor during renovation. Twelve feet of the original ceiling now contains ductwork, piping and wiring.
• Phase I construction, which occurred during summer 2011, included construction of two new fourth-floor dormers; replacement of the slate roofs and windows; reconstruction of the Elting Room patio; partial fourth floor and full fifth floor interior demolition; and construction of an elevator pit and electrical room. • Phase II construction, in the spring and summer of 2012, consisted of a complete replacement of the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, lighting and telecommunication systems; building-code upgrades, including installation of an elevator and a new fire-alarm system; new terrazzo flooring on second through fifth floors, in corridors and bathrooms; construction of three classrooms on the fifth floor and rebuilding of fourth-floor spaces; and classroom technology upgrades, including permanent audiovisual equipment in every room and wireless connectivity. • It is the first building on campus to be heated and cooled by the geothermal well system built under the Academy Building lawn last summer. • During the 2012 construction, more than 160 workers were on-site in a single day. Daily averages were 140 to 145 workers during the daytime and 80 to 90 at night. • 174 new armchairs for the Elting Room, built by Eustis Chair Co. in Ashburnham, MA, from U.S.-grown hardwood trees.Twenty-eight of the old reclining chairs from that room were distributed to dorm common rooms.
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The Conference Rooms
“We looked at a lot of different ways to provide accessibility to the Elting Room,” says James Meinecke, a project architect for ARC. “We had several different versions of wheelchair lifts that we were going to use, [but we] ran into problems with existing millwork.We moved steps forward to extend the landing, [then it was] a surgical process of cutting things out and building around the wheelchair lift.”
“Nor would it be easy to exaggerate the advantages of our new conference rooms—the students and teacher sitting around a table—the comfort, convenience, ease of teaching, naturalness of discussion, and eagerness to participate.To borrow a phrase from Chemistry, the new setting is a sort of catalytic agent, producing changes in another agent by real contact.” —Editor, The Exeter Bulletin, March 1933 “There is a real intimacy with these classrooms,” Smith says. “It’s not this sterile multipurpose classroom, it’s emblematic of the person teaching in the room. It helps break the ice and makes it feel like a home, makes it feel comfortable.” To preserve the learning atmosphere within each room, ARC was presented with the design challenge of hiding “miles and miles of piping, ductwork and wiring,” Meinecke says. “It was, ‘How do you feed all the ductwork, etc., but stay out of the classrooms?’ And, if you have to cut a hole in the wall, make sure it’s replicated or put back exactly. It was a truly massive undertaking,” he adds, likening the project to a surgery. “We replaced all the organs in the system.” To accommodate the installation of an elevator in Phillips Hall, two classrooms were reduced to one. With the building’s classrooms already at maximum capacity and some instructors even sharing space, the decision was made to renovate the Debate Room on the fifth floor, creating three new classrooms. “In light of our needs, we didn’t have enough classroom space; that was the bottom line,” Smith says. “A missed space, but worth it in terms of what we got in exchange.” Dormers were also added onto the fourth floor, and the old Model Railroad Club’s room on that floor, no longer used, was repurposed as well.
(Above) A new classroom on the fourth floor, in what was the Model Railroad Club’s room. (Inset) Construction of the new dormer and eaves on that floor.
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What’s New Is Old Again Crafting the next generation of Harkness tables and chairs By Karen Ingraham
hen Douglas P. Dimes was learning the craft of reproduction fur-
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niture-making from his father, Douglas R. Dimes, he learned an important lesson about change, about how it’s not always needed. The younger Dimes had been creating a replica of a Queen Anne chair, a style of furniture popular in early to mid-18th-century America. He believed the sturdiness of the new piece could be improved over the original if he increased the width of the chair’s crest from three-quarters of an inch to seven-eighths. His father was quick to point out that the original chair was 240 years old. It had lasted long enough, proven its craftsmanship. No change was warranted; no change was made. At 80 years old, the original Harkness tables in Phillips Hall have had their design tested and proven as the underpinning of Harkness teaching and learning. So when it came time to renovate Phillips Hall and retire or refinish those tables—with surfaces that had been loved, perhaps, a little too hard by students over the years—the Academy partnered with the younger Dimes. Now a master craftsman of museum-quality, early American reproduction furniture and the owner and president of his father’s business, D.R. Dimes & Co. Ltd., Dimes has brought his artisanal understanding of older furniture to the creation of Exeter’s next generation of Harkness tables. “Genius” is a term unlikely to be lightly used by Dimes, an energetic and candid man whose love of history and passion for his craft charges every conversation. But he applies that term to the original hand-drawn design of a Harkness table, penciled by Corning Benton ’16 (Hon.); P’51, the Academy’s treasurer from 1922-51 and also a skilled woodworker. Benton’s specs dictated “pregnant oval” tables be 6 feet, 11 inches wide by 11 feet long, largely to fit through classroom doorways that measured 7 feet high. Benton also designed the 12 slides nested within each table that provide appropriate autonomy for students when needed. To ensure that the tables his Northwood, NH-based company built would be faithful to the first design, Dimes says he and his crew painstakingly measured and documented some of the original tables. Having built reproduction furniture for nearly every early American museum—including Colonial Williamsburg and the Smithsonian—Dimes’ company, a combination of a small-job shop and a factory where furniture is bench-made, was uniquely suited to the project. “It’s interesting to note,” he says, “even all the original tables from the 1930s have very subtle differences in manufacturing because they were made by hand.” After drafting engineered drawings with CAD software, Dimes built a prototype in March 2012 and presented it to PEA’s Facilities Management Department. “The only real material difference,” he says, “is that the rim on the outside is not as tall in order to conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Otherwise, it is materially the same as any Harkness table that was originally made.” That spring, the Academy commissioned Dimes to make 13 single-piece tables, like the originals; three two-piece tables (single-piece tables could not be easily moved into the three new classrooms built on the fifth floor of Phillips Hall); and one 18-foot, three-piece table for the Modern Languages Department room. Nine tables from the English Department were also tagged for refinishing, and an order was placed for 540 chairs, modeled on the originals, to be equally distributed to 36 Phillips Hall classrooms. PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHERYL SENTER UNLESS NOTED.
Before fulfillment of that order began in earnest, Dimes sat in on a Harkness class. He wanted to see a table in use, to better understand the relationship between it and its users. His initial reaction was surprise. When he was introduced to Jack Herney’s history class, the students applauded. “They were so excited that I was going to build a new table,” he says.The Harkness conversation about the U.S. Constitution that ensued was, according to Dimes, no less enlightening. “The Harkness table is the geography…it’s how we look at each other, how the students interact,” he says, later adding: “The table is a symbol of everything that goes on [at the Academy.] It gets protected like a revered ancestor, and to be making that symbol is pretty significant.” The significance is not merely philosophical. Before production began last
June, there were practical obstacles to overcome, mainly the table dimensions and weight. “We never had anything of this size,” Dimes says. “We had 4-foot-wide doorways to go into our finish rooms.We had to put two 4-foot doors [in].We had to rip a hole in the side of a building to move these things around.We had to move equipment around to have pathways. We made carts to be at waist height so the guys could move them….Everything had to be oversized and custom-built.” Weight added to the challenge. Each tabletop, constructed separately from its base, weighs 550 pounds. The original tables were made of either cherry or a mahogany-and-walnut combination. Dimes chose to work with cherry because the hardwood is grown in New England—important to both Dimes and PEA in terms of sustainability and the use of locally sourced materials. Each top is then built in layers—similar to how plywood is constructed—because boards of solid wood would not be stable enough to support a table’s length and width. “In order to manufacture [the tables],” Dimes says, “they have to be turned over a minimum of 10 times during the process.We have to flip the table completely upside down….It takes at least four men, four rugged men.” Those men, like many of Dimes’ 23 employees, have been with the company upward of 30 years. Dimes, who was born in Exeter and grew up in nearby Epping, began by sweeping floors in his father’s shop and thinks of many of the craftsmen as family. Yet, he expects, as his father did, a work ethic not unlike what drives so many Exonians. “You have to really want to do what we want to do,” he says. “It’s not just a job.You have to love it, or you’re not going to survive here.We’re very proud of all the pieces.” That pride gave way, briefly, to horror last summer when Dimes’ workers saw the nine original tables that needed refinishing. The myriad wads of gum on the undersides were minor offenses compared to what the wood bore. “There was plenty of personal expression on them,” Dimes says delicately. “We didn’t take it all out, but we took most of it out.We wanted to make sure that we didn’t sand [the tables] down too much, so they can actually be refinished one more time. I think they’ll last 125 years.” Dimes doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on those future first nicks and gouges that will land on the new Harkness tables, completed and installed last August and currently pristine with their glasslike surfaces. The finishes were “pre-distressed” to better absorb a ding or scratch, but the reward, for Dimes, is that ultimately the tables are being used. “The people who invest in our tables and chairs, basically their whole lives revolve around [them],” Dimes says. “Who knows who is going to be sitting at our tables and what they’re learning? Who knows what they will go on to do?” It is perhaps fitting that a Harkness table first conceived of to spur academic conversation and debate engenders such questions in the master craftsman who now holds the blueprints.
Douglas Dimes of D.R. Dimes & Co.
Six alumnae entrepreneurs share their startup stories By Craig Morgan ’84
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iriam Block ’77 became a pioneer the day she enrolled at Exeter in 1973. The Academy had begun accepting girls only three years earlier so Block estimates her classmates were still about 90 percent boys. “The teachers were not used to girls yet, so I came into a very male-oriented environment,” Block says. “That very much shaped how I think and operate today. “The thing Exeter does is that you come out feeling like there’s not a lot you can’t figure out or start or initiate. I carry that around with me, perhaps to a fault, where I think that even though I’ve never done something before, I can just hop right in.”
daries Four decades after Block and others broke the Academy’s gender barrier, scores of Exeter alumnae, buoyed by that same belief, are the driving forces behind entrepreneurial ventures as diverse as the imagination permits. Whether it’s Jessica Winzelberg’s decision to leave a career in investment banking to handcraft fine jewelry in San Francisco; Alexandra Wilkis Wilson’s
choice of fashion over finance; Carrie Norton’s nomadic life as a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur; or Nicola Horlick’s Midas touch with myriad investments, the six women profiled here share a passion for creativity, a desire for autonomy and a hope for human impact that fuels their everyday enterprise. “I think it’s in your blood,” says Kristin Groos Richmond ’93, the co-founder of Revolution Foods.
Gilt Groupe cofounder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson ’95 (right) with cofounder Alexis Maybank.
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“I loved Wall Street, but it was not what I was passionate about.”
“I love the entrepreneurial space. It’s the space where I feel at home.”
Productivity with Passion Groos Richmond was in a very different space after graduating from Boston College with a B.S. in finance and accounting. She accepted a position with Citigroup, was trained in the global analyst program and was one of three analysts who became the first women ever to join Citi’s High Yield/Leveraged Finance Group. The lessons learned there became invaluable tools in her knowledge bag, but there was something fundamental that was missing. “I loved Wall Street but it was not what I was passionate about,” Groos Richmond says. “Long-term, I knew I wanted to work in education and I wanted to spend some time abroad.” After four years in corporate finance, Groos Richmond moved to Nairobi to co-found the Kenya Community Centre for Learning, one of the first special education schools in East Africa. She led fundraising, development, operations, and finance and also taught physical education, geography and life skills. “A lot of the work I had done at Exeter was through ESSO (the school’s student-led community service organization),” she says. “It helped reinforce my belief that every child should have a strong and solid education. It’s the No. 1 way to set yourself up for the future.” While in Kenya, a simple observation drove Groos Richmond down her current path—an observation that was reinforced when 28
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she left Kenya to serve as a vice president at RISE (Resources for Indispensable Schools and Educators), a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting and retaining quality teachers in public schools. Too often, she noticed children’s energy levels and attention spans waning over the course of a school day because they simply hadn’t eaten a healthy meal, enough of a meal or any meal at all. “I came home with this entrepreneurial seed in my mind,” she says. “If children could come to school well nourished and have access to good nutrition at school, that could be a tremendous lever for success by giving them the ability to focus and then excel. I had a pretty good instinct it was not being done well, and yet, it was so commonsensical that it needed to be done.” From the day Groos Richmond enrolled in business school at the University of California at Berkeley, she set a goal of writing a business plan. As fate would have it, she met her current business partner, Kirsten Saenz Tobey, a former Andover teacher, and they cofounded Revolution Foods in 2005. Seven years later, the company serves 200,000 healthy, fresh meals daily to 800 schools across 25 cities. Eighty percent of the students qualify for free- or reduced-lunch programs that target what Groos Richmond calls the most underserved communities in our nation. The next goal is to expand the company to offer a line of “healthy, delicious, affordable family meals” at retail.This idea has been driven by parents at Revolution Foods schools requesting the ability to take home school meals for dinner. “I still have so much I want to accomplish,” says Groos Richmond, who has two boys, Watts, 6, and Caleb, 3. “As a
—Kristin Groos Richmond ’93
Groos Richmond (left) and co-founder Kirsten Saenz Tobey.
working mom, of course it’s challenging to build a company and be a mom at the same time but I love what I do and I am at peace with that decision. I have enough autonomy over my schedule to be present when I need to be and my family loves and supports Rev Foods. “If you’re going to be working hard, it’s such a blessing to have that balance.” Balance was the reasonable expectation that quickly drove Winzelberg ’03 and Wilkis Wilson ’95 from the financial world. “I always loved math and the idea of finance and business so I went to work for Lehman Brothers right out of college,” says Winzelberg, who took a job in Palo Alto, CA, because she figured the West Coast would be a little more “laid-back” than the East Coast. “I quickly realized it wasn’t something that resonated with me any longer. The work ethic, the moral integrity of my colleagues and the way everyone was doing business caused me to do a lot of soul-searching.” So did the late nights. “Most of my epiphanies came at 1:30 in the morning when I was still in the office, finishing something really trivial,” she explains. “As an example, I decided one night that we had to have a dog, so now we “My handprint is my have a 4-year-old dog. But in the entire company and it bigger picture, I kept asking myself, ‘Why am I doing this? This isn’t it’s very small and many won’t will always be that way.” see“Maybe who I am.’ ” it, but when I see my customers’ faces —Jessica Winzelberg ’03 Winzelberg had dabbled in after they’ve discovered something that jewelry making for most of her makes their lives brighter, it’s very fulfilling. life. When she was 9, she learned Maybe it’s a selfish need to make something that if you remove all the bristles of a toothbrush then put the of my own, but it’s really important and it gets lost for a lot of brush in hot water, it becomes so malleable that you can bend it people—to start with absolutely nothing and go to something around your wrist and make a bracelet. tangible that I literally made with my own hands is a unique “My mom came home one day and there were no tooth- feeling.” brushes left in the house,” she says, laughing. “I have no idea where I got the idea, but I have always loved the creative process. The Perils of Proprietorship “I realized, if I’m going to be working 120 hours a week, I’m Pursuing a passion is essential to entrepreneurial success, Wilkis going to do something for myself instead of doing things I did- Wilson says. But there are practical steps and pitfalls most entrepreneurs face along the way. n’t have a connection with.” “There is a little bit of naïveté when you first set out on one So she left Lehman in the fall of 2008, started Jessica Winzelberg Jewelry “from nothing” and slowly learned every aspect of the busi- of these ventures,” she explains. “That might actually be a good ness, from goldsmithing to soldering to supply chains and finance. thing because if one knew all of the true challenges that lie She has a total of five stores in the Bay Area, greater Los Ange- ahead, more people would choose not to pursue a startup.” In November 2007, Wilkis Wilson colaunched Gilt Groupe, les and Houston, and a bright and roomy studio where she works alone with the strains of Cat Power, classical music or reggae considered the nation’s first and largest luxury lifestyle flash sale site for fashion, goods and services. “when I want to pretend I’m on the beach.” “We wanted to take the concept of the New York sample sale Her work, according to her website, is defined by her unusual combinations where large rough cabochon stones are mixed and bring it online in an exciting format to members across the with petite, brilliant-faceted colored gemstones and blended country,” says Wilkis Wilson, who coauthored the book By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop with Winzelberg’s trademark pattern motif metalsmithing. “My handprint is my entire company and it will always be with Gilt’s co-founder Alexis Maybank. Wilkis Wilson adds, “Most people don’t have access to these that way,” she says. “The reason I do this is the ability to create something lasting, and it’s not just in the context of a single piece sales because they are by invitation only, so we wanted to re-create that feeling of exclusivity.” of jewelry, but in bringing beauty to the world. WINTER 2013
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She and Maybank succeeded. But the company grew at such a remarkable rate that, at first, Gilt couldn’t keep up with the demand. “We had these really amazing brands and it was an absolute coup to get them to partner with us,” Wilkis Wilson says. “On the flip side, our customers were already complaining that our inventory was running out.” Ultimately, those were minor setbacks during Gilt’s meteoric rise. Four years after the company was founded in 2007, Gilt’s estimated value was $1 billion. It helped that Wilkis Wilson and Maybank were able to leverage a relationship with designer Zac Posen to convince other designers to join. It helped that they were immensely successful at raising capital. But their timing was also right. In 2007, the TV show “Project Runway” had been exposing mainstream audi“I am convinced that as ences to high-fashion persona civilization, we have to alities and runway looks, while luxury brands were creredesign our industrial ating “capsule” collections and capitalist systems...” with the goal of making luxury more accessible to everyday —Carrie Norton ’87 women and men. Gilt caught that wave. Ever since,Wilkis Wilson has been intent on sharing her experience. “The reason that we wrote our book was to encourage and inspire entrepreneurship, especially among women,” she says. LLP in the U.K., Horlick has been a leading fund manager in “From our perspective, we were trying to do something that was London for more than 28 years. But she endured personal disruptive. We were trying to change customer behavior as well tragedy when the eldest of her six children, Georgina, died of as industry behavior. That, in itself, is a challenge. But we hoped leukemia 14 years ago at the age of 12. She was also stung by the that in sharing our story honestly we could help encourage oth- loss of 9.5 percent of the asset value of a vehicle that was comaners and help increase the chances of success for other startups.” aged by Bramdean to Wall Street fraudster Bernie Madoff in late There are, of course, the well-chronicled challenges of raising 2008. It was the other manager who made the investment, but capital and assembling the correct team and partners, but some- her reputation was temporarily damaged by several inaccurate times, the pitfalls of entrepreneurship are more personal and and sensationalized portrayals of the situation in the British press. more public. “My life has certainly been a bit rocky but I’ve learned perseNicola Horlick ’79 was a whiz kid from Balliol, Oxford, when she verance,” she says. “In the end, if you know you’re right, you joined merchant bank S.G.Warburg & Co. By age 32, she was man- move on.” aging director of a struggling part of Morgan Grenfell & Co., and The Payoff took its assets under management from £4 billion to £22 billion. As the founder and CEO of Bramdean Asset Management Horlick has a taste for the next venture, and her interests have grown more varied as her successes have snowballed. She is the founder and CEO of Derby Street Films; she recently colaunched Rockpool Investments LLP, where she serves as chairman; and earlier this year, she opened a new restaurant and private mem“I like building things bers’ club in the Barnes enclave of southwest London, which she that are going to named Georgina’s, after her late endure. Money is not daughter. Business startups are a serial pasthe motivator at all.” sion for Horlick and she readily —Nicola Horlick ’79 admits that financial gain is a necessary and obvious goal with every undertaking, but there is something more that motivates her. “I like building things that are going to endure. Money is not the motivator at all,” she says. “It is about leaving a legacy, but it’s also about employing people and giving them good career opportunities.”
Like Horlick, Carrie Norton’s goals are grand in scale. Put simply, she wants to change the world through sustainable business education. “I am convinced that as a civilization, we have to redesign our industrial and capitalist systems to serve us rather than undermine us,” she says. “There is a formal definition of sustainable business that considers its impact on society and the environment. When you think about the way most businesses operate today, there are a lot of externalities that should be better accounted for beyond the standard bottom line.” Norton’s career in sustainable business and entrepreneurship includes forays into children’s health care, food systems and renewable energy. In March 2011, she founded Green Business BASE CAMP, a global entrepreneurial education company that provides immersive workshops and training to budding entrepreneurs and “If you feel like you’ve corporate intrapreneurs who got a dream and you are addressing sustainability challenges. want to go forth with “The next big milestones it, then do it.” for us as a company in 2013 will be taking in outside capital —Miriam Block ’77 to build out our eLearning platform and go global with our services, and finding great talent to complement our team,” Norton ’87 says. Both tasks are simultaneously daunting and exhilarating for her.Yet she presses on because the stakes and the potential payoffs and Block accepted a buyout in July. Now Block is in what she (financial and otherwise) are so important to her. calls her “reinvention phase,” with several ideas percolating, “We are at a critical juncture in the global business commu- some in more advanced stages of production than others, includnity,” Norton says. “We have enough information now to create ing a goat milk caramel sauce. transformation inside organizations and enough demand from “I am trying to bring it to market but I’m also trying to figthe marketplace to bring these ideas into practice. ure out how to balance my immediate need for money with the “Our hope is to help build sustainability into the DNA of desire to start yet another company,” she says. “Everything is takthese populations so that it isn’t an afterthought; it is core to their ing longer now because I don’t have as much capital to risk as I business model, their operations, and their products and services. did with the creamery. I’m also trying to examine different modWe also are equipping them with tools and knowledge that will els of small food production in hopes of creating a company that lead to higher rates of success for the overall population of entre- is more sustainable with a little less work.” preneurial thinkers focused on these issues.We need as many sucBlock doesn’t view these as obstacles. Quite the contrary. cess stories as possible on this front.” They are mere moves in one of her favorite games. With third-party software development and web design “It’s fun and life should be fun,” she says. “I love starting projamong her many ventures, Miriam Block knows the hurdles and ects and exploring something new because it’s very liberating. complexities that trip up entrepreneurs all too well. But her most “I think, sometimes, people get too caught up in the mechanrecent ventures reflect a return to the simplicity and beauty of ics of it all. If you feel like you’ve got a dream and you want to go the creative process. forth with it, then do it. It doesn’t have to be this overwhelming Following a divorce, Block finally gave in to a lifelong desire. feeling that ‘This is how I have to make my life!’ Sometimes it’s In 2008, she co-founded Bohemian Creamery, an artisanal just, ‘Wow, this would be a really great thing to try.’ creamery in Northern California featuring handcrafted cow, goat “But you have to take a leap of faith.You have to see beyond and sheep milk cheeses. day-to-day obstacles. Maybe I acquired it along the way at Exeter “The first time I stuck my finger into the curd was one of or maybe it’s just who I am. I don’t know the answer, but it’s those ‘Aha’ moments,” Block says, laughing. “Our first small what allows me to do these crazy things and I can’t imagine it batch of cheese was very popular and we were able to get it dis- any other way.” tributed to white-tablecloth restaurants, like The French Laundry and Chez Panisse. From that point, we developed nine cheeses Craig Morgan ’84 is a freelance writer who serves as a columnist for while I was there and it was a wonderful experience.” Like many before, it didn’t last. Philosophical differences over msn.foxsports.com and foxsportsarizona.com, an editor for cbssports.com, a conthe direction of the company led to a break in her partnership tributing writer to various magazines and a marketing writer for select clients. WINTER 2013
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Game Strategy Gets High-Tech P E A AT H L E T I C T E A M S A D O P T N E W F I L M A N A LY S I S T E C H N I Q U E S By Mike Catano
of professional and college athletics knows that film analysis is widely used by coaches to sharpen their teams’ performances. It’s no different at Exeter, and now some PEA coaches have begun to rely on the latest technology to further maximize their use of film. This past fall, the Physical Education Department adopted Hudl, a film management system in wide use by a variety of sports teams at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. Exeter’s volleyball and football teams are the first two groups to begin using Hudl extensively. For the football coaching staff, the switch is the latest upgrade in technology that spans Super 8 mm, 16 mm, full-size cassettes, minicassettes, and DVDs. “We’ve always used film,” says Exeter’s Head Football Coach Bill Glennon P’00, P’02, P’05. “It’s been a great teaching tool for years. The advent of the VCR tapes made it easy to load a film, move back and forth through the game and break down plays more quickly for the kids. But it was still painstakingly slow to make a season or individual athlete highlight film.” That’s now changed dramatically. After filming and uploading a game to Hudl servers, coaches and players can view film over the Internet on their own schedules. A football game’s film might also be broken down into a discrete series of 124 plays that could total a 32
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ven the casual observer
very manageable 24 minutes of action. “We use [Hudl] to illustrate how to avoid mistakes, where to align, where to go,” Glennon says. “In the case of opponents, we can say this is where you lined up here, telestrate it, move the arrow over the film and say this is where you should be lined up against this formation. We’re just scratching the surface so far.” The advantages of using such software also extend to college recruitment. PEA coaches typically provide, or assist, their athletes with all-important individual highlight films to distribute to prospective colleges and universities. Hudl streamlines the process by offering a user interface that is intuitive enough so that players can build their own highlight films and review the finished pieces with their coaches. “It saves them and us a lot of meeting time and gives the players more freedom to assemble what’s important to them,” Glennon says. The New England Preparatory School Athletic Council’s football league has also adopted Hudl, and competing teams have agreed to post videos by 11 a.m. on Sundays during football season. Teams can then watch and scout their upcoming opponent’s recent game film. (Top) Video analysis in Hudl. Volleyball Coach Bruce Shang (Bottom)Volleyball Coach has experienced benefits similar to Bruce Shang reviews a game those Glennon outlines. “It also with the varsity team. allows our coaches to make a scouting report when we play a team a second time,” he says. “We use a team film session so that we know the opponent’s hitting tendencies, recognize formations that we can exploit, and identify players we need to stop or attack.” Shang finds other uses for the program too: “It’s allowed us to get game film that night to parents all over the world who are eager to see their kids play.” He also likes to make a season highlight video for the end-of-the-year team dinner. “That same highlight reel will also be shared [with] prospective student athletes to spark interest in coming to Exeter, and so they know the level of play expected to make varsity,” he says.
Five-Game Winning Streak in E/A Football Matchup Plus big wins for water polo and boys cross-country
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (2)
In a stunning varsity football game on November 10, Exeter
rebounded from a score of 7-9 in Andover’s favor during the third quarter to a resounding final of 35-9.The win pushed Exeter’s annual winning streak to five games over Andover in what is America’s longest-standing football rivalry between two high schools. The game, played at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, this year, included outstanding plays from Jonathan DiBiaso ’13, who quarterbacked the majority of the game, and running back Andreas Robinson ’13, who once again excelled with 189 yards of rushing.
(Top) Game over! (Left) Principal Tom Hassan greets Andover Head of School John Palfrey ’90 at halftime.
Senior Co-Captain Wesley Abram said, “This is the ultimate game of the season. Literally thousands of people watch, whether online or in the stands. Alums congregate all over the country to reunite and watch this game. This win is not the icing on the cake—it is the cake. We have all been hungry for the championship ring since the first day of preseason.” Watch video from a crowd cam, or This is only the second time in its view the football history that Exeter football has won game online at five games in a row against Andover; www.exeter.edu/ the other time took place en route to a bulletinextras. six-game win streak from 1913–18. The boys water polo team scored its own impressive win that day, capturing the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council’s championship bowl at the Interschols playoffs. Exeter was the No. 1 seed and relied on its tough defense during the tournament as the boys held Brunswick to two goals in their first game. In the championship game against Choate Rosemary Hall, they won in convincing fashion, 11-4. Boys cross-country traveled to Loomis Chaffee in Connecticut on Exeter/Andover day for its Interschols competition.As the dominating team from the fall season, PEA lived up to expectations and won the championship race, with Kieran Scannell ’13 placing first.
Virtual Coaching PEA’s YouTube Videos Help Athletes Train By Mike Catano Last spring, Andrea Sweet, PEA Interscholastic Athletics’ strength and conditioning coach, was planning her annual summer strength program for team athletes who work out offcampus. In the past, the athletes would email her their questions about particular exercises in the program, but this time she had a new approach in mind. “I wanted the athletes to be able to look at the workout before going to the gym,” Sweet explains. “Or they might already be at the gym and it would be easier if they had the exercises in their hands. If they forgot exactly how to do a lunge or a pushup with rotation, I wanted to provide it right there for them.” The solution was a series of YouTube videos created by Sweet that illustrate her program and provide students who have mobile devices with immediate access to a particular exercise. Sweet filmed the clips over several weeks during the spring. “I picked out the common exercises that I had for all the teams,” she says. “For example, I knew everyone was going to do a squat or dumbbell bench, so I did all those exercises first. And then I filmed team-specific exercises, say for football or water polo, [which include] Olympic lifting.” Sweet demonstrated the exercises in the clips, so she relied on students for help. “It was great working with the kids who filmed me in the weight room [by] using an iPad,” she says. “Of course, the students knew how to do everything better than I did. Abbie Young ’12, who graduated last year and is a rower at Yale now, showed me how to set up the YouTube channel. I have dorm duty in Kirtland House where Abbie lived. We sat there all night and uploaded everything. It was awesome!” Sweet has received a lot of positive feedback from coaches who have told her the videos made it easier for students to do their summer workout programs. She has also found the clips useful as a resource for other stuCheck out dents, as well as faculty and staff members, Coach Sweet’s who seek her help in developing personal YouTube channel: conditioning programs. Sweet gets them www.youtube.com/ started in person and then points them to PEAStrength. YouTube, but she emphasizes that the clips are meant as a supplement for people who have learned the proper techniques for lifting—not a replacement for such training. Sweet plans to add more clips this winter. “I mainly have strength and lifting exercises online now,” she says. “I want to add exercises for speed and agility, dynamic warm-ups, more core exercises, flexibility and injury prevention.” With no shortage of ideas, now Sweet is also considering adding a voice-over track to talk athletes through an exercise.
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C DAMIAN STROHMEYER
D E 34
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(A) Boys Cross-Country Record: 5-0 1st place at Interschols; New England Champions
Head Coach: Nick Unger ’90 Assistant Coaches: Bill Jordan, Brandon Newbould Captains: Austin Crouse ’13, Connor Mulligan ’13, Kieran Scannell ’13 MVP: Kieran Scannell (B) Girls Cross-Country Record: 2-3
Head Coach: A.J. Cosgrove Assistant Coaches: John Hutchins, Mike Wilson Captains: Harry Choee ’13, Matthew Ryan ’13, Nicholas Weigel ’13 MVP: Harry Choee (F) Girls Soccer Record: 9-7-2
Head Coach: Gwyn Coogan ’83 Assistant Coach: Dale Braile Captains: Christina Collis ’13, Sarah Van Cleave ’13 MVP: Elsa Chinburg ’15
Head Coach: Hilary Coder Assistant Coach: Bill Dennehy Captains: Lauren Boulger ’13, Darby Henry ’13, Carlin Zia ’13 MVPs: Danielle Sim ’14, Carlin Zia
(C) Field Hockey Record: 9-5-3
(G) Volleyball Record: 7-11
Head Coach: Kristie Baldwin Assistant Coaches: Christine Robinson, Keslie Tomlinson Captains: Katrina Morris ’13, Hannah Wellington ’14, Gabriella Wozniak ’13 MVP: Gabriella Wozniak
Head Coach: Bruce Shang Assistant Coaches: Joanna Ro, Scott Saltman Captains: Paula Gaither ’13, Erin NaPier ’13 MVP: Erin NaPier
(D) Football Record: 8-1 2nd place at NEPSAC Jack Etter Bowl
(E) Boys Soccer Record: 16-3-2 Qualified for NEPSAC finals
Head Coach: Bill Glennon Assistant Coaches:Ted Davis, Dick Eustis ’57, Dave Hudson, Matt Miller Captains:Wesley Abram ’13, Hunter Carey ’13, Devon Carrillo ’13, Andreas Robinson ’13 MVPs: Devon Carrillo, Andreas Robinson
(H) Water Polo Record: 14-5 1st place at Interschols; New England Champions
Head Coach: Don Mills Assistant Coach: Andrew McTammany ’04 Captains: Maximilian Drach ’13, Yonghwan Moon ’13, Kurt Pianka ’13 MVP: Maximilian Drach
H PHOTOS BY MIKE CATANO UNLESS NOTED
The Exeter Bulletin
T H O M A S J. R E C K F O R D ’ 6 0
Eyes on the World
hen Thomas J. Reckford ’60 quit Harvard Business School in 1964, the world opened up to him. Anticipating being drafted, Reckford volunteered with Army Intelligence and was given his preferred assignment in Orléans, France. Almost 50 years later, Reckford still studies foreign countries. “My whole professional life has been involved with international affairs in one way or another,” he says. It shows. Reckford can offer encyclopedia-like details about countries with the ease of someone describing his hometown. From France, Reckford went to Frankfurt, Germany, and watched Soviets spying on the U.S. military. When Reckford visited a CIA base to borrow a camera, he was offered a job, which he took in 1968. “I had fallen in love with the world of intelligence and wanted to join the first team,” Reckford explains. He spent six years with the CIA and learned a career-defining skill. Reckford, the youngest person ever to work in the CIA’s Office of National Estimates (ONE), wrote National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs): studies that combined information from open sources, like The Economist, with that of intelligence experts, including those from the CIA, the Department of Defense and the Department of State. “[NIEs] are the pinnacle of analytical products in the intelligence community.They go to the president and his national security adviser,” Reckford explains. He started as a specialist on France but later wrote on Europe, Africa and Latin America. In 1973, Reckford says, “ONE, which I loved, was abolished by the Nixon White House, largely because of very negative assessments on the war in Vietnam. I was so angry the office had been expunged that I quit the agency.” He spent two years with the presidential/congressional Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy, running its investigation on the intelligence community. Reckford then joined Eaton Corp., a Fortune 500 company, as an international political analyst before teaching political risk analysis at Georgetown University and establishing a consulting firm, which, Reckford says with a laugh, he “modestly called Reckford International.” In 1986, the think tank Center for Strategic & International Studies hired Reckford to write political risk analyses, mostly on East and Southeast Asia. In 1987, he and Ronald D. Palmer, then U.S. ambassador to Mauritius, co-authored the book Building ASEAN: 20 Years of Southeast Asian Cooperation (Praeger). Reckford is currently vice chairman of the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C., “a membership organization for people who care passionately about international affairs.” It offers monthly programs with speakers who include Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and James R. Clapper Jr., director of National Intelligence. The nonprofit also teaches international affairs to high school teachers and sends inner-city kids overseas. Reckford notes, “For someone who got his start in the intelligence world, where not many people could see the studies I wrote, it’s nice to be involved in something that’s completely open.” Reckford is also president of the Malaysia-America Society, which promotes understanding between the United States and Malaysia. “I think of myself in semiretirement,” claims Reckford, perhaps unclear as to what “retirement” means. When not working with these organizations, Reckford finds time for squash, tennis, duplicate bridge, golf and a theater group he founded that performs staged readings in living rooms. Residents of D.C., Reckford and his wife, Jane, “have in common a deep love for travel,” he says. “We have been married 31 years.Virtually every year, we have gone to Europe, but I’ve also taken her on business trips elsewhere in the world: China, Indonesia, Malaysia,Thailand, Philippines, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Morocco.” Reckford has visited about 100 countries, but, he concludes, “There’s a certain irony in being focused on international affairs. There is a lot of the United States I’ve never seen.” The Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and Charleston, S.C., remain on his bucket list. Maybe when Reckford actually retires, he and Jane can travel to those places. —Taline Manassian ’92
The Exeter Bulletin
RO B I N K E L S O N ’ 7 7
For the Greener Good
obin (Kelley) Kelson ’77 started down the fruitful path many Exeter alumni/ae have traversed postgraduation: She headed to a prestigious university (in her case,Yale), ready to immerse herself in academia. As life would have it, the unexpected occurred a year into college. Kelson got wind of a job opportunity at an organic farm near Santa Rosa, CA, and a gut instinct nudged her west. She left Yale after her freshman year to tend to the bounty—including 150 varieties of fruit and an assortment of rare and heirloom beans and grains—produced on the 1.5-acre Pippindale Farm garden. “The only thing we bought was cooking oil and coffee beans,” says Kelson, originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. “There’s a lot of empowerment in that feeling of being independent and self-reliant.That was a big piece for me at the time, as well as discovering the relationship you develop when you are participating in the natural rhythms of the earth.” Since her farm days, Kelson has spent a good portion of her life understanding this relationship while pursuing unique careers catered to her diverse interests. She’s now vice president of corporate development for Algae AquaCulture Technology, Inc. (AACT), a Montana-based producer of “Green Power Houses,” as Kelson calls them. The concept is earth-friendly and ingenious: a 5,000-square-foot structure somewhat similar in scope to a greenhouse uses sunlight and algae to transform waste gas emissions (carbon dioxide, for example) and waste woody biomass into four forms of fuel and organic soil amendment. The facility produces no waste, reclaims up to 600 gallons of water during the conversion process and provides a half acre for growing an array of crops year-round. The process also naturally loads the soil with vitamins and nutrients, hence enriching the quality of the food it produces. “Fundamentally, what we’ve done is create an ecosystem under one roof,” says Kelson. “The reason these powerhouses are so viable is that they work at the community level. That’s an essential component to managing our energy needs and climate-change issues going forward.We’re not separate from everything else on this planet.That’s not only true for the health of the planet, but also for our own personal health.” Word of these powerhouses is spreading globally; Kelson’s company, which has a pilot site at a lumberyard in Columbia Falls, MT, has heard from potential buyers in Hawaii, Utah, Ghana, Brazil and First Nation communities in Canada. Kelson assists the company in a wide range of business matters, including intellectual property, permitting and certification processes, a task she honed from 1989–95 while practicing patent law for a Boston-based venture capital law firm and specializing in biotechnology startup companies. The position seemed ideal, given Kelson’s biology and chemistry degrees from the University of Oregon and her master’s degree in protein biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Yet, Kelson’s undying curiosity about the relationship between humans and their planet, particularly the relationships among soil health, food nutrition, and the human immune system—topics she studied in her spare time—eventually prompted a departure from law so she could further her knowledge on this issue. This ability to inquire was at the core of Kelson’s Exeter experience. “Exeter encourages curiosity and exploration, to consider that anything is possible,” she says. “Exeter also helped me recognize I was important as a person; I could do anything, and I could make a difference.” Kelson says AACT has given her the opportunity to utilize the various skills she’s acquired since her days at Exeter. She’s now quick to offer advice to naysayers questioning the importance of a well-rounded education: “When I was at Exeter, I remember saying to my chemistry professor, Ms. [Mary E.] Plumb, that I was never going to use chemistry. I ended up getting a chemistry degree. Never say never!” —Fred Durso Jr.
The Exeter Bulletin
S A R A H M I L KOV I C H ’ 9 6
Head in the Stars
ASA’s Curiosity rover, which touched down on Mars last August, spends its days wandering the Martian landscape, scooping up rocks, analyzing them and sending its findings back to Earth (and despairing about being left on Mars for eternity, if you believe the popular Twitter feed @SarcasticRover). And it does all that with a little help from its friend, Sarah Milkovich ’96. Milkovich is a science operations systems engineer working out of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, which means she is the go-between for the scientists and the engineers. She helps the scientists as they decide what experiments Curiosity will perform and works with the engineers who generate the commands that make those experiments happen. “I’m one of the ones running around behind the scenes to plan the process,” she explains. “I help decide things like, ‘This is where the scientists want to scoop up some dirt and put it into the analysis instruments. How do the engineers turn that request into a set of commands?’ ” Milkovich’s job is part politics and part science.This means that her Ph.D. in planetary geology comes in handy on a day-to-day basis. “You have to know enough of the science and be able to talk to scientists and understand their priorities and concerns, and then translate those to the engineers,” she explains. Politics was especially prevalent in her previous work as an operations team member for Cassini, the NASA spacecraft orbiting Saturn. She had to make decisions about which experiments would take priority, how much time each experiment would run and whether a particular experiment was even feasible. “When is it appropriate to get the engineers to stretch just a little bit further?” she says. “When do you go back to the scientists and say, ‘No, you can’t do that’? You have to know when to push on whom.” While being the intermediary has its challenges, Milkovich wouldn’t have it any other way. “I like being at that intersection between science and engineering,” she says. “It’s where the action is. It’s really great to be part of the group that gets to tell a robot millions of miles away what to do.The part of the job I really love is working with the scientists to get their data. I relate to them; I come from their world. Every bit of data is very important to someone on the team.” Though she spends her day working on interplanetary projects, Milkovich says sometimes she does get bogged down in the earthy details. “Sometimes you have to stand back and realize: We’re arguing over this thing, but it’s really awesome because we’re taking pictures of Mars.” So she makes an effort to give talks about her work at local schools. “It’s a reminder of how awesome it is that I get to do this,” she says. One school she’s speaking at is a bit of a hike for her, though: Milkovich is giving an assembly at Exeter in February. “That will be exciting,” she anticipates, noting that in addition to talking about the rover, she plans on discussing careers in engineering and science, particularly for women. “When I was trying to decide what I would do with my own career, it helped to see women doing these jobs,” she says.” Milkovich was a two-year Exonian, and today she credits the school with giving her the confidence to aim for the stars. “The first two years I was in high school, I was one of the quiet, shy nerds in the back of class,” she says, laughing. “The Harkness philosophy pushed me to speak up, and defending my ideas made me realize that I had ideas that were worth defending. I think Caltech would have been much harder if I hadn’t had that internal sense of, ‘I can do this.’ ” —Susannah Clark ’84
The Exeter Bulletin
Table Talk with Eimer Page (continued from page 11) sations continue when they’re back on campus, where other faculty members are invited to join in. The third global initiative is student curricular learning: those programs that contribute to students’ diplomas and involve off-campus study. Exonians have spent terms in the Bahamas, China, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Russia and Vietnam. New programs this year are in Rome, Italy, and Cuenca, Ecuador, and Page will seek faculty approval for a program in Ghana next year. It would be based at SOS–Hermann Gmeiner International College, where 20 percent of students are refugees and orphans, and, says Page, would provide “huge opportunities for [Exeter] students to participate in meaningful community service, which is woven into the fabric of their school week.” The final strand is student experiential learning, which doesn’t count toward academic requirements but can be fine-tuned to meet an individual’s interests. Students have undertaken internships with the Academy of American Poets, at the Conservation Law Foundation, at The Paris Review, and with designer Nicole Miller. As of this academic year, they also have the option to take part in Exeter Explorations, Thanksgiving break excursions that allow them close-up views of Silicon Valley startups and New York City-based nonprofits, as well as participation in the National Outdoor Leadership School in Arizona. Some students have also participated in the Punahou School’s Student Global Leadership Institute in Hawaii, while others have gone on Exeter Social Service Organization non sibi trips that allowed them to teach English in rural China, work at an inclusive arts festival in Ireland, help with medical issues in a Lakota community in South Dakota, and study the impact of tourism on the environment in Costa Rica. “I try to keep at the heart of what we’re doing the idea that any off-campus trips are combining our founding document’s goals of developing knowledge and goodness,” Page says. “I want to be sure that what we do works with our own emphasis on the Harkness method of discussionbased learning and on student ownership of the experience, and also that we’re developing students’ capacity for connec-
tion, empathy and goodness. Then I think we’re going to be on the right track.” In the long run, Page’s goal is for the entire Exeter community to have a clear understanding of the programs and their purposes. Other than not having a program in place yet in the Arabic-speaking world— something that’s next on Page’s agenda—the lack of awareness may be the biggest weakness toward continuing to nurture and grow Exeter’s global outreach. Page says she regularly speaks to parents and alumni/ae and notes that they’re often surprised to learn just how expansive the school’s reach is. “I told the Trustees that there are other schools that are doing a lot like this,” says Page, ever the musician, “and they’re very capable of playing their own trumpets. But we have an entire orchestra playing here and we don’t make much of it!”
Trustee Roundup (continued from page 5) the past two summers in completely refurbishing this signature building.The Trustees also recognized and applauded the enormous amount of work and coordination needed to complete such an extensive project on a very tight schedule. The remainder of Thursday afternoon included a discussion of other buildings and grounds projects. Trustees were advised of the plans for the full renovation of the Lamont Health and Wellness Center, which will begin this spring and is slated for completion at the end of summer 2013. More specific details about this project will be available in the coming months. In addition, the group heard more about planning for new performing arts facilities, which include three areas: a new theater, a new dance studio, and an expansion of practice and concert space for our musicians. The Trustees fully support the importance of our growing and thriving arts program while recognizing that construction of new facilities will involve significant financial resources acquired through fundraising. The Trustees ended a long and productive day over dinner with faculty involved in Harkness outreach through our various programs. They were energized to learn about the great variety of offerings and the connections the Academy is making with schools and teachers throughout this country and the world. On Friday they heard from Director of Summer School Ethan
Shapiro and Hassan about preliminary conversations PEA has had with a new urban school eager to adopt Harkness pedagogy, and they will learn more in the coming months as discussions proceed. Also on Thursday night, some trustees joined Hassan for dinner with this year’s John Phillips Award recipient, Dr. Lannette Linthicum ’75, who spoke the next morning at assembly with every trustee in attendance. As is tradition, several trustees met with Student Council leaders over breakfast Friday morning. They were glad to hear that the students are enjoying their experience here and are so devoted to the leadership work of the council. Later that morning, Chief Financial Officer Chris Wejchert reviewed the budget with the Trustees. The Trustees earmarked a small positive variance in the operating budget to put into quasiendowment and used at a later date to support building projects now in the planning stages. Hassan and Dean of Faculty Ron Kim also talked about the progress made in controlled hiring. By way of background, in the wake of the financial market collapse, the Academy instituted the practice of controlled hiring. As part of this process when there is a staff or faculty opening, the Academy evaluates whether the position should continue and if so at what level. PEA has met the budget reduction target set three years ago and recognizes that controlled hiring has served the school well. This practice will, therefore, continue, with the expansion of the target set for the level of faculty hires. The rest of Friday included a discussion led by Kim and Exeter’s Director of Global Initiatives Eimer Page on the topics of diversity and outreach. The Trustees were very pleased to learn about the Academy’s focus on diversity both in the opening faculty workshop and through the recently released diversity and equity report findings. They look forward to hearing more as the internal community discusses the report and decides on the next steps to support our diversity and equity efforts. They also applauded the various off-campus outreach offerings for both students and faculty and continue their interest in seeing these experiences inform our coursework and our mutual engagement. Overall, the Trustees appreciated the warm welcome they received from staff, faculty and students and look forward to their next visit to campus in January. WINTER 2013
The Exeter Bulletin
Alan H.Vrooman ’50, ’52 (Hon.) WO O D B R I D G E O D L I N P RO F E S S O R A N D C H A I R O F T H E D E PA RT M E N T O F E N G L I S H , E M E R I T U S ( 1 9 1 3 – 2 0 1 2 ) “Be economical in using words. . . . Long-windedness tires the reader and causes him to lose interest.”—from Good Writing: An Informal Manual of Style by Alan H.Vrooman
The Exeter Bulletin
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s we begin writing this Memorial Minute, we are mindful of what Alan himself would say to us: Be brief, keep it precise and simple. And so shall we try, but it is impossible to be brief when reviewing a life so long, so full of accomplishment and so well documented in Alan’s own precise prose, the life of a man who was not only an honored English teacher but a visionary educator as well. It is more wistful than whimsical to recognize how fitting it would be if Alan could write his own Minute. But his death on April 21, 2012 stilled his writing hand; the last of the first generation of Harkness teachers was no longer with us. Alan Haswell Vrooman was bor n almost a century ago, on June 2, 1913. He grew up in Patchogue, NY, where he attended the public schools into his teenage years. He then matriculated at Mercersburg Academy, from which he graduated in 1930. He went on to Princeton to receive, in 1934, a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, followed in 1940 by a Ph.D., with an emphasis on 18th-century prose and a dissertation on the work of Laurence Sterne. In the meantime Alan had, in 1937, become a member of Phillips Exeter Academy’s English Department, where he taught for the next 41 years, excepting a hiatus of five years while he served in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander. At Exeter, Alan performed, conscientiously, his responsibilities in the three classrooms of boarding school life: residential, athletic and academic. He began his dormitory career in Peabody, moved to Webster and then to Soule, where he remained for 13 years, serving as dorm head for the final seven. In the fall of 1969, he and his wife, Lois, moved into their own house on Folsom Street, where they lived until Lois’ death in 1994. All the while, Alan was becoming a coaching legend in the world of high school lacrosse. Although a newcomer to the game, in his freshman year at Princeton he had won the position of starting close defenseman. In his senior year, his team had gone undefeated with a tie against Navy. Once at Exeter he became assistant coach to Bob Kesler ’47 (Hon.); P’58, P’60, P’67. When Kesler stepped down, Alan took over as head coach and recorded in the next nine years an amazing record of 77-9-3, his teams going undefeated in three of those years. But such was his love of the game that even after he stepped down as head coach in 1961, he continued
coaching at the club level for five more years, committed to developing young players who would strengthen the varsity. Alan was a demanding English teacher, always prepared, always comprehensive, always ready to praise a student for work well done or fault a student for careless or insipid work. His physical and mental stature were so imposing that he intimidated some students, awed others, inspired still others. But he knew them well, protecting and encouraging the timid or tentative, stimulating the confident, challenging the intellectually arrogant. He sought in particular to make sure that his students’ understanding of literature was not constrained by stale ideas or rote formulae, wanting to free them from what one of Alan’s colleagues once referred to as “the dreary pursuit of ‘deep, hidden meaning.’ ” To that end he was not above expressing an occasional literary irreverence, as when he called poems “contraptions,” a description that surely challenged any of his students’ preconceptions. In 1966 Alan’s academic profile grew even larger with the publication of Good Writing: An Informal Manual of Style. Alert to what one would now call “writing across the curriculum,” he saw his book as serving schoolwide. And characteristically he knew just what he wanted: “The student needs something for handy reference. . . . [The manual] should not discourage the student by its ponderousness or complexity; it should invite frequent use, not a single thumbing through.” Over subsequent years it informed many students, and some faculty members, as they sought to avoid a dangling participle here or construct a periodic sentence there. The book was, as Alan had promised, “detailed without being finicky.” As chair of the English Department, Alan defended both his discipline and his colleagues with a conservative’s zeal.Writing to Assistant Principal Kesler, he declared that the “primary needs of the English Department were met by books, writing materials, and the teacher’s ability to stimulate student activity with same.” Each teacher should have his own classroom, he insisted, and no more than 50 students. Later, when he realized that class size was creeping over the average of 13, Alan reared his leonine head and wrote a manifesto to the administration decrying this turn of events, declaring it unreasonable and educationally unsound for student and teacher alike. Before he sent the letter, he read it to the English Department; never an easy audience, this body on that occasion produced prolonged applause. Alan was, at that moment, a hero to his troops. In April of 1967 Alan published an article in the Bulletin entitled “Educational Research at Exeter,” in which he wrote the
following: “The educational process is like an iceberg in that only about a tenth of it shows above the surface in the form of academic achievement (grades, diplomas, college admission). To improve education, educators need to know much more of the submerged nine-tenths.” He went on to highlight various areas of Exeter’s educational program that wanted greater understanding, asking many questions that resonate still, among them: What makes some students successful and others unsuccessful, and what is the proper definition of success? What is the effect of academic overload and of pressures regarding college admissions? What are the qualities that make for student leadership? What is the relationship of leisure time and unorganized activity to student growth and development? In a word, Alan looked to the future with the eye of a visionary. “I am not a gadget man,” he wrote to Kesler, “but we cannot ignore technology entirely.We should have one experimental English classroom equipped with all the latest stuff that may prove useful.” In that same letter he urged the addition to the faculty of a “learning specialist”; the introduction to the curriculum of ceramics and modern dance; the expansion of off-campus learning opportunities; and the founding of an Office of Research and Curriculum Development. Also, in his position as chair of the English Department, he welcomed into its curriculum a new course, Dramatics 28. “I . . . find it highly ironic,” he wrote, “that I, the most undramatic fellow in the world, have become [this course’s] proponent—indeed, its defender.” But defend it he did and, with that key support, drama came into the curriculum of the school. In the meantime Alan submitted to the faculty “An Early Diploma Plan,” a significant proposal that would make it possible for qualified students to graduate in the middle of their senior year. The plan meant that yearlong courses, the standard for decades, would be replaced by semester-long courses. Surely as important for Alan, it meant that the English Department would give up the requirement that a student take English for his entire senior year. Alan wanted graduates of PEA to have a chance to experience the world in different ways before going on to college, to generate in them a sense of purpose and a personal commitment to matters outside the usual curriculum. “The zeal with which youngsters would face the world,” he wrote, “educators subvert by piling on academic work and increasing the level of abstraction.Teachers encourage the questioning attitude but allow little time for working out the practical answers, for applying what has been learned to the major problems of existence.” The faculty was persuaded, and for some years Phillips Exeter graduated a significant number of students in January as well as in June. Logistical problems doomed the enterprise, but the Academy’s academic calendar was permanently changed, and its outlook as well. A related enterprise was a new course, Romanticism and Rationalism, which Alan and six colleagues from different departments taught to 26 students in the second semester of 1969–70. The course was designed to “enable students to relate their learning in the different disciplines experienced at Exeter.” It was Exeter’s first Senior Studies course, and it was clearly ambitious. Alan himself recognized that it was probably too ambitious; his report, written in the summer of 1970, outlines in great detail the failures as well as the successes of the course. But the latter were such that Alan concluded, “We recommend the continuation of interdisciplinary courses.” Characteristically, he remained
optimistic regarding the potential of something new. Predictably, Alan was not always easy. He knew his own mind, and he did not want for confidence. For example, speaking in a pre-school meeting in which the teachers of senior English were to compare notes on their plans for the semester, Alan laid out a beautifully intricate syllabus, explaining it in detail, and with apparent relish. Once finished, he looked over the group, paused, and said: “Who’s next?” The silence was thunderous. However, while not outwardly a warm man, Alan was capable of great kindness. A colleague remembers engaging with Alan in a lengthy and heated argument, only to be comforted when Alan, ever respectful of those who believed in themselves, ended the conversation by saying: “You know, I really like you.” To the end of his life, Alan retained both his confidence and his cleverness. From a lunch for emeriti/ae faculty members, a recently retired member of the English Department remembers the following scene: “As we entered the Tingleys’ big main living room, there was Alan, ensconced in the grand wing chair facing the door, glass of wine in one hand and plate of food in the other, and as we approached him to pay court, he looked up, feigned consternation, and said: ‘Don’t tell me you children have retired already!’ ” That was the Alan who wrote to Principal Steve Kurtz ’44, ’46, ’78, ’87 (Hon.); P’77 that Exeter should not “sit back on its 190-year-old derriere” but should “seriously [question] the basic structure of our curriculum, which, like Topsy, ‘jes growed.’ ” A grateful former student revealed the influence of such phrasings, known as Vroomanisms, when, in making a gift to the Alan H.Vrooman Scholarship Fund, said, “. . . no one has left a pattern on top of my butter pat that’s quite as obvious as Alan’s.” After his retirement in 1978, Alan devoted most of his time to the homely tasks of chopping wood at his beloved cottage in New Harbor, ME, hunting with his colleague and dear friend Bill Bates, reading, and spending time with his second wife, Tim ’50, ’52 (Hon.). It says something of the man that at age 92, he was still filling the woodshed with wood chopped by his own sturdy hand. At the same time he was filling, with his meticulous hand, budgetary ledgers of his quotidian life. “Alan wrote everything down,” Tim says, “even what he had paid for a haircut. And he also knew just where everything was . . . each of his many books, drafts of his writing, plans for trips, just everything.” At one point in their travels together, she took a photo of Alan standing before a boat named Don’t Give up the Ship. “That was his motto,” she says. Sadly, that attitude brought Alan to endure an excruciatingly slow physical decline in the last stage of his life. Finally, mercifully, his personal vessel sank, but he died the author of countless influential reports and position papers, the Woodbridge Odlin Professor and chair of the Department of English, emeritus, and an honorary member of the classes of 1950 and 1952; indeed a grand educator who for the middle third of the 20th century, was a driving force in the evolution of the school he so loved. This Memorial Minute was written by Eric Bergofsky ’79 (Hon.); P’98, P’02; Donald Cole ’49, ’51 (Hon.); P’70, P’72, P’75, P’77; Peter Greer ’58; ’71, ’81, ’83, ’97, ’00 (Hon.); P’81, P’83, P’94; Charles Terry III ’28 (Hon.); P’80, P’81; and David Weber ’71, ’74 (Hon.); P’92, and was presented at faculty meeting on September 10, 2012. WINTER 2013
The Exeter Bulletin
Finis Origine Pendet
Musings in Nature P O E T RY B Y T WO L A M O N T YO U N G E R P O E T S Editor’s Note:The following poems were written by two of the four students honored last year with the Lamont Younger Poets Prize. The award is bestowed annually on student poets in their prep or lower year and was established to honor the late Emeritus Instructor of English Rex McGuinn
and his commitment to encouraging and helping young poets with their craft. McGuinn offered much of that guidance and inspiration from his classroom in Phillips Hall, a building now renewed and equipped to continue as the creative nexus for student poets and writers alike.
Bella By Sarah Chisholm ’14
The Exeter Bulletin
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FRED CARLSON (2)
There’s something ethereal in the way she moves fawn-like through our garden. Her feet step lightly, carefully threading their way between clumps of over-zealous dandelions and haughty Queen Anne’s lace. She croons her lullaby full of made up words and whispers and quiet voices that nobody understands. Her fingers brush the flowers as she passes Storm and they dance behind her, By Grace Yin ’15 the poppies tossing their orange heads to her song. She hums to the cat that sleeps under the rose bush and he listens because something happens when she looks at him. Through the shroud of mist, He lets her pull him into her lap and as she rocks him he feels I see a sea of grey, the green of her eyes on his black fur. And I wondered whether He feels it more than the sharp green moss that tickles his paws and I should put my day makes him sneeze. He feels it like sunlight on a murky pond sifting quietly down through Away for another time, the blanket of But I quickly let it pass duckweed, glancing off dark fish that flit between the shadows. For I had things to do, He feels it like the silk that clings to his whiskers when he walks through a spider’s web. But the lofty sea rolled in, So he lies there, feeling her green slip down to his skin, tingling its way Drenching the trees, through his muscles and into his bones, so deep that it starts a rumble in Swelling the pond, his chest. Flooding the earth, He purrs, his white lashes drifting together over alligator eyes Pulling me into the tide slipping shut and all she can see when she looks into his face are two lazy Of its will slits of gold. She mumbles to him, her sounds painting the garden. She tells him Without a chance to think about the pale yellow butterfly that sits on a lilac branch and shows off its About where I wings. Truly She thinks it is vain, and she tells the cat this, because he is wise and Wanted to go. knows something about humility. She wants to know why he won’t chase the squirrels that scold her when Once the sea calmed down, she walks under the walnut tree. I walked back home— Water soaking into my shoes, She asks if he is too old or too tired or maybe too fat And into the damp air but he doesn’t answer. I breathe. He sits there, feeling, and listens.