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Logo Change

Alumni Scholarship

School reviews possibilities for new logo.

Class of ’48 alumni scholarship awarded to young musician.


A Publication of George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania

Volume 71 •

Number 2 •

Winter 1999-2000

Bourns Thanks Others for Extraordinary Years By Carol J. Suplee


hen David Bourns first came to George School, more than a few people harbored misgivings about hiring this earnest liberal preoccupied with social justice and convinced that it was his obligation — and everyone else’s — to change the world. That preoccupation was conceived in the mind of the youth, who could fathom little connection between his comfortable Presbyterian church in Mansfield, Ohio, and the problems of the poor in that town. It was honed in the turbulent years of the Vietnam War and civil rights activism. It was deepened while working as an ecumenical intern among inner-city children at the Church of Our Saviour in Washington, DC. It was shared by his wife and partner Ruth, whom he met at Union Theological Seminary. It took root during his association with Quakers, whose values and faith he has taken as his own. It has come to full flower during these George School years. As David looks back on his 21 years as head of school, the dominant feeling in his heart is one of indebtedness. “I think I could have spent all day, every day, just thanking students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni for all they do to make the school work,” David said. He is especially grateful for his time with the students, whom he sees as “affable, respectful and idealistic.” They are absolutely wonderful young men and women. “When I walk to assembly or through the dining room, or to meeting for worship, I am always struck by how engaged and friendly these students are. I

“I think I could have spent all day, every day, just thanking students, teachers, staff, parents, and alumni for all they do to make the school work.”

(Turn to page 3 to read more)

The Crossing of Cultures By Ayeola G. Elias


hy would two New York City natives move to Japan, have a family and then send two of their children thousands of miles away to attend George School? Karen and William Anton—the parents of two George School students Lila ’01 and Mario ’00—wanted their children to have the opportunity “to explore their horizons,” Karen said. Mario and Lila were born in Japan. All their lives they spoke Japanese, had Japanese friends, went to Japanese schools and lived the Japanese culture. But Karen and William wanted them to experience the American culture firsthand, so they decided to send Lila and Mario to an American school. Together, they chose George School. “We want our children to be free to choose where they want to live when they grow up.␣ It was our choice to move to Japan,” Karen explained.␣ In 1974, after William was invited to study in

Japan, they traveled there overland through Europe and India.␣ They arrived in Japan in 1975 and have lived there ever since. Their exposure to Japanese and American culture have made their children bicultural; in addition, they are biracial. Their mother is an AfricanAmerican and their father is a Caucasian Jew. “There are benefits to living in a homogeneous society,” Karen said about Japan.␣ In Japan, the color of their children’s skin has very little bearing on how they are treated. Instead of being “forced into a box” and being labeled Black or White or biracial or Jewish, Japanese tend to call Lila and her brother “gaijin,” which is the Japanese word for “foreigner.”␣ Because of this very broad classification, she said, “They never think of themselves as a color.␣ They grew up with no awareness of race. They see themselves as much more than just a race.” In September, Karen, who is the director of the Intercultural Communication Center at Temple University Japan, gave an assembly presentation entitled “Crossing Cultures.” In the presentation, she showed slides of her family of six, their home in the mountains

Lila ’01 (left) and Mario ’00 now speak English, and their native language Japanese, with their father and mother Karen (pictured center). of Shizuoka, and different aspects of their adopted Japanese culture. She also talked about her several passions—such as art, writing and teaching—which in many ways embrace Japanese, American and a variety of other cultures throughout the world. Since Lila and Mario have attended George School, they have begun to understand the American culture even more.␣ With the help of some English as a Second Language courses and the

exposure to English every day, they have improved their English immensely. Now they speak to their parents in English as well as Japanese. The Antons’ experiences show that people can learn to appreciate, embrace, and even adopt cultures other than their own. Through the crossing of cultures, people become more understanding and appreciative of one another. ■

Robert Mills, A Physics Superstar By Ayeola G. Elias


hen Robert (Bob) Mills ’44 died on October 27, 1999, the world of science lost a genius. All his life, through his intense scientific research, through his experimentation and by way of his teaching, Bob brought physics closer to explaining the complex properties of matter. Still living in their home in Columbus, Ohio, is his wife of 51 years, Elise Ackley Mills. Bob is also survived by his brother William, a 1939 George School graduate. Sister Helen ’42, who died in 1997, also graduated from George School. After high school, Bob went on to receive a B.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University.

George School

At the young age of 27, after receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia University and as a post-doctorate at Brookhaven Laboratories, Bob coauthored one of the most influential and landmark scientific articles of the century, as cited by The New York Times. The article explained the Yang-Mills theory as developed by Bob and Chen Ning Yang. Yang, who later went on to earn a Nobel Prize for his continued research, was a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, but was working temporarily at Brookhaven Laboraties where they worked together and shared an office. The Yang-Mills theory, which explained the connection between electrically charged particles, has been the

basis for scientists’ understanding of the interaction between subatomic particles. Bob later went on to teach physics at Ohio State University. In 1980, Yang and Mills received the prestigious Rumford Premium from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for their development of the Yang-Mills theory. William Saam, a dear friend of Bob’s for over 30 years, and the chairman of the Ohio State University physics department remembers Bob with great fondness. “Bob was a superstar; he was a wonderful, cultured, civilized, and delightful man. He was passionate about science.” ■

After retiring from teaching in 1994, Bob Mills ’44 was awarded the honorary professor emeritus title recognizing his extensive contributions to the field of physics.

Volume 71



Number 2

Winter 1999-2000

End of Bourns Era (David Bourns, continued from page 1) can’t imagine a place where it would be more rewarding to work with students,” he said, adding, “These are not the alienated, isolated and self-centered kids we often read about in newspapers and magazines.” He finds the most profound satisfaction in “being included in people’s lives when they are finding ways to overcome some obstacle. We have a sense of victory when we achieve some new level of freedom, breaking through some wall, or seeing things in a new way.” In the loss of their son and brother Andrew eight years ago, the Bourns family understood what being part of the George School community means in the most intimate terms. David said he learned a great deal about what is meaningful and helpful through people’s quick and personal expressions—the visits, the phone calls, the letters, the food. “Ruth, Courtney, Lesley and I were lifted up by the people who took time to stand with us, to share their personal stories,” David said. “This is one of the most important things the George School family has given us.” Two years ago, student Carter Waghorne’s sudden death and the deep and powerful response of the community, were among the most painful and moving events of David’s time at George School . . . full of pain, yet full of meaning. “Our meetings for worship over those months were vital and powerful,” David said. “I think we were able to join together to share our deepest convictions and feelings around our loss, around our own lives, even around celebration.” David’s legacy is visible at every hand—in campus improvements, in the strength of the endowment, in service learning, in academics, in the increased diversity among the students and staff, and in the stronger sense of community. Perhaps less well known is that David enjoys life’s simple pleasures. He likes to cook. He loves ice boating, sailing, and building things, working with his hands. Above all, David savors time with his family. Nothing complicated, just long

Football Record Set

This past fall, the varsity football team had the most wins in George School history. Out of eight games, George School won seven. As reported in The Curious George, “After a 0-8 season two years ago, this is a major improvement and accomplishment for the team.” Varsity coach and English teacher John

David and Ruth are especially grateful for the education their children received at George School. (Left: Courtney, Andrew, David, Ruth and Lesley)

Number 2

school paper as saying that the players “did a wonderful job and once they figured out what to do, they were unstoppable; it was a beauti-

breakfasts, easy conversation, Thanksgiving dinner and family celebrations. Whatever the occasion or however infrequent, the Bourns’ time together energizes their spirits and draws them closer as the years pass. Still, in the midst of joy, there’s always the sad sense that a fifth person should be there. “Andrew’s godmother, Elizabeth O’Connor, said after Andrew died that, forevermore, the mention of the name Andrew Bourns would bring both joy and sadness, never one without the other,” David said. “And she was right.” Ruth continues to enjoy teaching at Newtown Friends School. Courtney is living in Providence, RI, working in the area of mediation, non-violence training, and arbitration; and Lesley is in Brooklyn, NY, working with MADRA, an organization working to support women’s groups in third world countries. David says that he and Ruth are especially grateful to George School for the education their three children received here. They have emerged with a keen enthusiasm for life and a desire to make the world a better place. As for David’s future, he’s thinking about how one might develop a structure or program in which poor and middle-income

children might study and work together. He is also interested in mental health, and other opportunities among non-profit organizations involved in social justice issues. “The only reason I am leaving,” he said, “is to continue to learn. I think I need a new context, a new playing field.” “During David’s first faculty meeting, David said, ‘Let us sit down and discuss and reason together,’” Kingdon Swayne, the school’s archivist remembered. “David helped to create strong feeling, on the part of community members, that they were welcome and appreciated participants in the decision making process.” Judy Bartella, George School ceramic teacher since 1967 said, “One of the things that I think David has brought to George School is a strong sense of community, a sense of all the members belonging to one another and having responsibility for one another.” ■

“The only reason I am leaving,” he said, “is to continue to learn.”

Volume 71

Gleeson ’65 was quoted in the

Editor’s Note: On Saturday, May 13, 2000, at 10 a.m., the school is sponsoring a public program to honor David Bourns. Watch for an invitation or contact Alumni Director Raven Goldener for details about this Alumni Weekend event at 215-5796567 or

Winter 1999-2000

ful thing.” To top off the team’s success and recognition, Coach John is co-recipient of the Football Coach of the Year award given by the Bucks County Courier Times.

Alumna Close-up Filled with love and compassion for those in need, Sally Snipes ’70 sews handmade dolls for young victims of war. Last February 1999, with health kits and clothing sent by the American Friends Service Committee, Sally shipped her first bundle of 17 handmade dolls to Albanian children in Kosovo. In The Martha’s Vineyard Times, Sally was quoted as saying, “The world doesn’t need more people making money. What will change the world are more people having hearts brimming with love. Making dolls helps me have a brimming heart.”

George School



Tree of Life Logo Treated to a New Look

Mind the Light Seal Lives On

By Odie LeFever


n eighteen-month survey in 1998-1999 showed a surprising willingness on the part of alumni and students to entertain the idea of a logo change. The survey mechanism was a 24page, pocket-sized booklet that featured seven different logo choices and explained the rationale for each design. Respondents were asked to select their favorite and return the postcard to George School. Eighteen percent of alumni and seventeen percent of current students responded to the survey. Early classes

The recent logo survey showed a continuing fondness for the Mind the Light seal particularly among the earlier classes. The lanternimbued design first surfaced on a George School informational catalog in 1933. Art teacher Edna Speaker created it for Ides, a student publication, in 1909. After 1933, it was featured on either the cover or the title page of the catalog through 1971. George School historian Kingdon W. Swayne ’37 believes the seal was swept out of the limelight by the arrival of the new sensibility of the sixties. That sensibility discarded the traditional Quaker symbolism of the Mind the Light message and replaced it with a more ecumenical Tree of Life logo.

generally preferred the Mind the Light seal. Classes from 1960 to 1979 seemed to prefer the current logo which was introduced in the late 70s. The classes of 1980 to 1999 had no clear favorite; they liked almost all of them. Given the implicit approval by respondents to implement a new logo, the Marketing Committee hired Rutka Weadock Design to refine the selections to three designs. The committee narrowed the selection to two new designs, which are illustrated here. A decision will be made by the George School Committee in March or April 2000.

Design B

Design A



The original torch-bearing version illuminates the diploma even today.

The plainer, more recent version of the seal is still used today on a variety of media including mugs, athletic schedules and clothing.

You may send your comments on these logo sketches to the Marketing Committee at Box 4231, Newtown, PA 18940-0905 or e-mail,

Color Controversy By Nicole Blum ’02 From The Curious George, May 1999

The athletic department proposed that we change our school colors for our centennial in 1993, but had no luck with it then. Now they are trying to change them for the year 2000. Buff and brown colors aren’t normally seen everywhere. When questioned about the school colors, Girls’ Athletic Director Nancy Bernardini stated, “They are difficult to buy and since we have limited selections in uniform styles we often have to get them custom made.” Replacing lost uniforms can be very expensive. Buff and brown were chosen for the original school colors possibly because

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they were looking for simple colors and brown is a Quaker color. “Westtown wore brown and white, so George School, being younger, chose buff (an off-white) and brown,” said long-time soccer coach Paul Machemer ’65. Because of manufacturing limitations, some teams have resorted to buying uniforms and outer clothing in colors other than buff and brown. For instance, the field teams wear a variety of colors: brown and buff, black and gold, plaid and white, blue and green, and yellow and white. When deciding on colors to recommend to the George School Committee for approval, Nancy and Boys’ Athletic Director David Satterthwaite ’65 avoided colors that other Friends League schools have. Blue, which was the most popular color choice among George

School coaches, wasn’t chosen partly because it is the color of three other Friends League schools. Red was also a thought, but many of the New Jersey teams have red and white, or black. Finally the idea of forest green came about. Alumni faculty member Paul Machamer said, “As a coach, I am quite pleased to have the doors opened to the full range of uniforms.” Paul isn’t disappointed by the fact that they could change the school colors, but he would have chosen an aggressive color like red. “I look forward to the change as ordering will be easier and less expensive. Also teams will look more together with school colors,” said Nancy.

ered the recommendation to change the school colors. In June, they officially approved the selection of forest green and white as the new colors. David Satterthwaite said that the whole process of replacing uniforms will take three to four years to complete. In fall 1999, the girls’ varsity hockey, varsity cross county, varsity soccer, and tennis teams and the boys’ varsity soccer and cross country teams got new uniforms. Nancy Bernardini said that kids are happy about playing in the new colors. This departure from brown may be a trend since, unbeknownst to us at the time, Lehigh University recently changed their colors from brown and white to green and white. Will Westtown be far behind? ■

Editor’s Note: At the May 1999 meeting, the George School Committee consid-

Volume 71



Number 2

Winter 1999-2000

New Scholarship Alumni Scholarship Keeps Tradition Alive By Patrick Sweeney


hen Daisy Allen ’02 came with her mother and grandmother to the celebration of George School’s 100th anniversary in 1993, her eyes lit up. She said to her mother, “I’d like to come here some day.” Her mother replied, “Well, we’ll see.” Thanks in part to an alumni scholarship established by the Class of ’48 in their 50th reunion year, Daisy is unexpectedly carrying on a family tradition. She is the first alumni child to benefit from this new scholarship. What particularly appeals to Daisy about George School is that students are trying to do something meaningful. “There is more of a connection here to what’s going on in the outside world,” she said. Daisy, a first year sophomore from New City, NY, was active in New York Yearly Meeting as a youth counselor. After coming to George School, Daisy worked with children at a homeless shelter through Amnesty International and visited with Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun and prison reform advocate, whose experiences were recreated in the 1995 film Dead Man Walk-

ing. “It was the first time I ever spoke with such an influential person, someone who has influenced the Pope. She’s an incredible role model,” Daisy said. “At George School, I can be myself, not trying to fit into some mold, which is what I had to do at my old school. It’s a very exciting environment . . . with a diverse population of students. I immediately became friends with people from Trenton, Arizona, Norway, and all around the world.” Daisy recently presented a piano recital, a Bach prelude, after studying with Betty Winn, the same teacher her mother, Alice Hieatt Allen ’68, had when she was a George School student over 30 years ago. Daisy also took field hockey—her mother’s high school sport—which she never tried before. “It’s funny the way these traditions take hold,” Daisy said. “We feel very fortunate,” Alice said. “Daisy is carrying on a tradition that we didn’t quite expect.” Alice recalls her time at George School as “very positive. I had great teachers and enjoyed getting involved in the social aspects of the school,” she reflected.

Daisy’s grandmother, Louise Zimmerman Forscher ’40, is the person who started the three-generation tradition. “We didn’t have the nice music and drama building [Walton Center]. We just had the assembly room in Main. We would go there for assembly in the morning and sing songs and listen to Mr. Walton read selections aloud,” she recalled. “Life was simpler, less complicated. Of course back then, George School was much more provincial. The school was not as diverse as it is now.” Louise added that she became a Quaker when she was 30. “I felt that if I

Russ Weimar ’48, math teacher from 1956-1992, befriended Bob during their years of coaching wrestling and working on the school’s summer camp staff together. “He was superb,” Russ said. “[Summer camp children] just followed him around like a pied piper. He was a big, lovable guy who kids just adored.”

Math teacher and coach since 1969, Paul Machemer ’65, remembers Bob as his teacher and then later his colleague. “For many, he was a favorite teacher, upbeat and fun to be with,” said Paul. “Bob Waters preferred filling a supportive role, introducing freshmen to Global History and helping older students understand the mysteries of American history. As a colleague, I admired his close relationships with a broad crosssection of the student body. He had a gruff way of communicating to every individual that he or she was important, a valued friend. He was an effective teacher and a fine coach,” Paul said. Sandy Bristol ’77 remembers his former teacher and adviser with great fondness. “I thought he was an excellent teacher, and a fair and wonderful

Daisy (far left) along with Daisy’s grandmother (inset), Louise Zimmerman Forscher ’40, and her mother (right), Alice Hieatt Allen ’68, pictured here from their George School yearbooks.

Remembering Bob Waters By Ayeola G. Elias


n October 13, 1999, former George School history teacher Robert (Bob) Waters died at the age of 78. From 1963-1989, Bob taught history at George School; he also coached football, baseball and wrestling. George School was more than a place of work for Bob—for thirty years it was his home. It was where he and his wife Mary Jean raised their two sons, Rob ’88 and Tom ’89, and shared their home as a resource for the students. Friends remember Bob for his jolly character, his constant smile and his ability to empower his students. Volume 71

Number 2

Winter 1999-2000

would join anything, it would be Quakers. And I guess that’s what started this whole ball rolling.” She added, “I’m just very grateful that Daisy is able to carry out what has become a family tradition.” ■ Note: This year 36% of George School students receive some form of financial aid. Various scholarships are available which recognize a student’s academic achievement, financial need, alumni connection, or Quaker affiliation. For more information, please contact the Admission Office at 215579-6547 or

human being,” Sandy said. “He had a heart of gold. He was always encouraging and he was always there when the chips were down. If I had to write his obituary,” Sandy explained, “I would say that he was a great man, in much the same way as the men who fought on the beaches of Normandy. But his greatness came for when you needed a friend— when I needed a friend, he was there for me. That’s the way that I think of him— he was a hero at that level.” ■ A memorial service is planned for Bob Waters on May 13, 2000, at 5 p.m. in the George School Meeting House.

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NOTE: Pages removed from this document to protect the privacy of GS alumni. Alumni may login to the alumni community at to view the full version of this issue.

Campus Update Volunteers and Donors Help Boost Annual Fund By Cathy S. Kress


hat do Charlie Waugh ’36, a few dozen George School students, a popular horror movie and gallons of ice cream have in common? They’re all key ingredients in this year’s campaign for the Annual Fund, according to Stephen M. Pitts, George School’s Annual Fund director. This year’s goal is $825,000, a sum made more attainable thanks to the Waugh Challenge. In a generous repeat of a challenge he made several years ago, Charlie Waugh ’36 has offered to match dollar for dollar any new or increased alumni gift to the Annual Fund, up to $100,000. Supporters of George School proved they were up to the challenge the first time around, and according to Steve, it looks like they’ll meet that challenge again. “We’re doing very, very well,” Steve said, when asked about this year’s effort. As the winter Georgian was going to press, George School had received commitments for $506,877 of the overall goal. So, where do the students and the horror movie fit in? Well, Steve needs a large crew of volunteers to telephone alumni during the Annual Fund campaign, which runs from

August 1, 1999 to July 31, 2000. Last year, Steve asked a small group of students to help with the phonathons, traditionally handled by adult volunteers. The students worked so well that Steve decided to enlist more of their help this year. That’s where “The GS Phonathon Project” comes in. Written by Steve and filmed by student George Gross ’01, the volunteer recruitment video spoofs the popular film Blair Witch Project, complete with murky scenes and jerky handheld camera work. Students saw the video during an assembly in October, and after seeing the film, 37 signed up to help, Steve said. Over four nights, the students made 1,850 calls, raising $73,000 in pledges, a commendable accomplishment. But, what about that ice cream? Oh yes, as a reward for their hard work, the volunteers got a Phonathon Project T-shirt, a George School pen and “all the ice cream they wanted at the end of each evening,” Steve explained. The students also could take satisfaction in knowing they helped support what Steve calls “the unsung hero of fund-raising at George School.” Thousands of donations—large and small—make the Annual Fund the asset that it is. From $755,141 in 1998 to

$803,000 in 1999, the fund continues to grow and pay for such things as teacher salaries, scholarships, workcamps, team uniforms, assembly speakers and other important costs. So, you might ask, why do so many students, alumni and George School friends support the Annual Fund? Charlie, the man behind the Waugh Challenge, believes that it’s important to support George School because it is giving students a first-rate and unique education. “I particularly like what David Bourns has been doing to make the school what it is today,” Charlie said. He explained that his gift “is a tribute to the school and to David’s leadership.”

“When I was there, (close to seven decades ago) I’d guess that all the student body lived a maximum of 100 miles from George School, they were all white, and mostly Quaker,” Waugh remembered. The current, diverse demographics of the school “greatly broadens students’ viewpoint and understanding about how others live and what they are like. In the broader sense, [George School’s diversity] helps us to understand that we’re all human beings; and it helps us to all get along,” Charlie said. An important lesson of life that students learn at George School. ■

Phonathon callers include: (Front row, L-R) Jay Henriques, Jess Gluck, Angie Salinas-Witkosky, Kate Wand, Nancy Giagnacova, Janine Brooks, Sara Ryan, Jessica Collins, Leticia Carter, Erin Fleming, Kate Sweeney, Alex Slemrod, Mai Duess, Laurel Cook, Sarah Schiff, Trevor Hufnagel.



Advancement Office George School Box 4000 Newtown, PA 18940-0962

Volume 71 • Number 2 • Winter 1999-2000

IN THIS ISSUE Crossing Cultures ......... 2 A Physics Superstar ....... 2 Logo’s New Look .......... 4 Alumni Scholarship ...... 5

Ayeola G. Elias, Editor E-mail: 215.579.6568

Bob Waters ................... 5 Class Notes ................... 6 In Memoriam ............. 15

G e o rE g e SP cRhI oN oT El D •O N GReEoCrYgCi La En D

Volume 71



Number 2

Winter 1999-2000

Georgian, Winter 1999-2000  

The Georgian is the official publication of George School.

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