p u b l i c at i o n o f g e o r g e s c h o o l , n e w t o w n , p e n n s y lva n i a
Inside december 2007
The gift from Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 is the largest single gift to an existing independent, secondary school in the U.S.
Successfully navigating change — an experience we all share.
New learning commons models the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
r e c o r d - b r eaki n g g i f t
pe r s pe ctive s
a n ew li b r ary take s s hape
Table of Contents
Vol. 79 | No. 03 | December 2007
PHOTOs: Thank You Barbara (Inside Front Cover) Sean Rigby ’08 and Michael Guth ’08 are two of hundreds of students who lined up to sign a thank-you banner for Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50. Bancroft Stairwell (Front Cover) Bancroft houses classes in English, foreign languages, and history and was constructed in 1928. The building is named for William Bancroft, a major benefactor of the school, whose goal was to teach young people that “our strength, our abilities, of everything with which we are endowed, we are stewards.” Cover Photos: Bruce Weller
01 features 01 Thank you, Barbara! George School Receives $128.5 Million Gift from Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 12 Tour Spreads News of Green Learning
05 perspectives Successfully Navigating Change 05 Letter from the Head of School 06 Alum Finds Opportunities in Change 08 Curriculum Review Brings Change 10 eQuiz Highlights
16 Campus news & notes 20 alumni tell us 44 In memoriam
Barbara dodd anderson ’50 said, “I want to help George School because it is a school without pretensions, where caring for and learning from each other are as important as academic success.”
Thank you, Barbara! George School Receives $128.5 Million Anderson Gift The extraordinary news spread through the campus at lightning speed. Longtime George School supporter Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 had donated $128.5 million to the school. Barbara’s recordbreaking gift is the largest single gift to an existing independent secondary school in the United States. An email announcing the gift was sent to students, parents, alumni and friends of George School on September 17, 2007, while faculty and staff were told in a meeting with Nancy Starmer, Head of School, Anne Storch ’67, Director of Development, and David Bruton ’53, clerk of the George School Committee, the school’s governing board. The next morning, a news helicopter circled campus and reporters and cameras flocked to the meetinghouse for the scheduled press conference. Students hung an impromptu “Thank You” banner across East Main building, facing Red Square.
“The gift stunned our community,” said Nancy at the press conference. “It just makes me very proud.” Emailed congratulations and thanks to Barbara poured into the school from around the world. The George School website traffic ballooned to 14,358 unique visits, an increase of almost 500 percent from the prior week. “It was overwhelming,” shared Anne Storch, about the moment when she first learned that the gift would exceed $100 million. “What do you say to somebody? How do you tell them how grateful you are?” Barbara gave the gift in honor of George School faculty and in memory of her father, the late David Dodd, an economics professor at Columbia University School of Business and a mentor to multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett.
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“I want to help George School because of the excellence of its faculty and because it is a school without pretensions, where caring for and learning from each other are as important as academic success,” said Barbara. The $128.5 million gift will be contributed in quarterly amounts, totaling $5 million per year for fifteen years, then $10.7 million per year for the final five years. The funds come from Berkshire Hathaway stock and diversified investments. “I couldn’t imagine a better way for someone to make a lasting difference than to invest in young people,” said Nancy. “Our students are our future. Watching them grow and learn each day in this extraordinary community gives me confidence that our future is in good hands.”
Financial Aid and Faculty/Staff Compensation In discussions between Barbara and the George School Committee before the announcement, it was agreed that, for the first two years, $2 million of the $5 million will go to the endowment for financial aid. An additional $2 million will go towards an endowed fund for faculty and staff compensation. From the remaining funds, $100,000 will be earmarked for the annual fund and the balance will support projects that reflect George School’s commitment to environmental sustainability across the campus. “Barbara’s gift will help us uphold our position of leadership in the area of student financial aid, and through it, our deep and long-standing commitment to socioeconomic diversity,” says Nancy.
“T his is an extraordinary day in the life of the school. This gift is security for the future. We can assure that this school, this faculty, and these students will be followed by generations to come by students who will enjoy it as much as we did.” “This is an extraordinary day in the life of the school,” David said at the press conference. “This gift is security for the future. We can assure that this school, this faculty, and these students will be followed for generations to come by students who will enjoy it as much as we did.” Several students, who are Anderson Scholars benefiting from another of Barbara’s charitable gifts to George School, attended the press conference and shared their thoughts with reporters. “This shows us that we need to do something for our school and our world,” said Yunjun Mao ’08, of Beijing, China, explaining that current students have learned a valuable lesson from Barbara. “Teachers are some of the most undervalued people in our society and it’s tragic,” said Zelda Blair ’08, from Harlem, New York. “I know our teachers feel intellectually appreciated but it’s nice to have them feel appreciated financially, too.” Chloe Collins ’09, from Mullica Hill, New Jersey said receiving an Anderson scholarship was critical to her ability to attend George School. She was surprised when she learned about the huge new gift. “I thought it was incredible,” Chloe said. “I knew it was a big deal, but I didn’t realize until they were talking that it was the biggest ever. It’s exciting.”
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George School currently supports 45 percent of its students with financial aid, one of the largest financial aid programs among independent schools in the United States. The average George School aid package is $22,373. Currently, this level of funding represents more than 22 percent of George School’s annual operating budget. Faculty and staff compensation is another major component of the school’s operating budget. “The funds also will help us maintain competitive compensation for our faculty and staff, allowing us to continue to attract and retain extraordinary teachers at a time when a number of experienced faculty members are reaching retirement age, both nationwide and at George School,” explains Nancy. This spring, the George School community will engage in an inclusive strategic planning process that will guide decisions about how to designate the funds in future years.
Record-Setting Gift Officials at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) said they did not know of any larger gifts to an existing independent secondary school in the United States. Barbara’s gift surpasses the previous record $100 million donated in 1993 by Walter Annenberg to his alma
Anne Storch and Nancy Starmer at the press
Michael Perez, Philadelphia Inquirer
conference announcing the Anderson gift. “I couldn’t imagine a better way for someone to make a lasting difference than to invest in young people,” said Nancy.
mater, the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey. “The Annenberg gift was unprecedented,” said NAIS spokesperson, Myra McGovern, to the Washington Post. “This is unbelievable.” Barbara has set another record as well. More and more, women control a growing share of the nation’s wealth and they are more independent when making key decisions about philanthropic gifts. When compared to the largest American charitable contributions of 2006, Barbara’s gift to George School places her among the top twelve of all gifts and second among single women, behind Mary Joan Palevsky whose $212.8 million estate was left to several organizations, principally to the California Community Foundation. Other women philanthropists, who are among the first wave earning fortunes in professions and businesses that have long been dominated by men, are also making a difference. Meg Whitman, president of eBay, for example, pledged $30 million to her alma mater, Princeton University. Oprah Winfrey gave $58.3 million to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation and Oprah’s Angel Network. While many of these early women leaders broke new ground after graduation from college in the 1960s and 1970s, today nearly half of the students in law and medical schools are female. What’s more, the number of privately held U.S. businesses owned by women has grown by 17 percent since 1997, nearly double the rate of growth for all
businesses, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. Marjorie Sims, Interim President of Washington Area Women’s Foundation, says, “We are seeing the impact of women’s giving on our communities, our country, our world. Women are a proven, powerful force for social change. From Washington, DC, to Seattle, Washington, the contributions of women actively engaged in philanthropy are having a dramatic impact on people’s lives and our communities. Women give collaboratively, strategically, and smartly. They give with their hearts, and their minds, and that makes their combined efforts so powerful. When it comes to giving, they are a force to be reckoned with.” “Clearly, Barbara has been a force for change at George School,” says Anne. She provided the leadership gift for the new library that will be named in honor of her granddaughter, Mollie Dodd Anderson. She established the David LeFevre Dodd Teaching Chair in honor of her father. She created the Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 Scholarship, which provides tuition aid to students who embody the principles of social involvement, respect for others, and a commitment to academic excellence. She also contributed generously to the renovations of Main building in 2003. Anne describes Barbara as smart, thoughtful, and humble. “It’s been a pleasure working with Barbara.”
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susan quinn Mark Wiley
(pictured top) After the Anderson Gift was announced, George School students came together in Red Square to celebrate and show their appreciation for Barbara’s extraordinary gift. (pictured left) Nancy Starmer, Pippa Porter Rex, and Scott Spence join students in celebration.
Once the word was out, congratulatory emails poured in from around the world. Here are just a few: This is an extraordinary vote of confidence in GS. —D. E. Wow! Fantastic. Hats off to Ms. Dodd Anderson! —D. P. ’77 Whenever I read of gifts like these I am called to think who in your current undergraduate class will be the next Ms. Dodd Anderson. As an educational institution you are uniquely placed to impact the development of lives and this gift is an example that George School takes this mission very seriously. —K. & J. B.
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This is astounding!! We all feel such a debt to GS and here she is creating endless possibilities for this wonderful school that has helped so many of us become what we are today. —B. D. K. ’58 Congratulations, that is just exceptional. How gracious and generous Barbara Dodd’s spirit must be. —N. F. ’72 A Mazel Tov to George School. It is a Happy New Year for George School. —K. B.
Congratulations on the bountiful gift. I can think of no other institution which I would trust more thoroughly than George School to use the gift wisely. —N. L. ’82 George School holds a special place in my life and I am so glad it is being honored with this donation. The humanistic aspect of the school’s impact is everlasting. Once again, reading this news gave me a sense of pride and unyielding respect for my teachers and George School. —A. S. ’74
Nancy Starmer, Head of School, and Rachel Koretsky ’10 review The Curious George, George School’s student newspaper.
Perspectives Edited by Juliana Rosati
Successfully Navigating Change This issue’s Perspectives section focuses on the theme of how to successfully navigate change. The idea grew out of our recognition that change is one of the few experiences that all human beings, wherever they live and from whatever background, have in common. In the book, Composing a Life, writer and anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson explores the topic of personal, professional, and societal changes. She suggests that people who are successful at navigating change welcome new opportunities but also stay true to a central set of values or beliefs. The George School faculty’s recent curriculum review process is a wonderful illustration of this concept, as you will see in my article on the following pages. In addition, our recent
incredible gift from Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 gives us another opportunity to launch a collective process of navigating change. We will do so this spring when we begin a strategic planning process that will help us to determine how Barbara’s gift will be used over the next twenty years. The writings in this issue’s Perspectives section reflect the qualities that enabled individuals to respond to change in ways that deepened their understanding of themselves and the world, stimulated growth, or empowered them to embrace something new. I hope you find the reflections as inspiring as I do.
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In 2007, Elliot Sainer ’64 was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer Services Category for the Greater Los Angeles region.
Alum Finds Opportunities in Change by Karen Doss Bowman At the heart of an entrepreneurial spirit is a willingness to embrace change. Staying alive in today’s competitive marketplace requires business leaders to be open to reinventing their companies, their products, and their methods. According to Elliot Sainer ’64, change is not something to be feared, but a positive force that allows people to create new opportunities in their personal and professional lives. “Nobody likes change, but the one constant in life is that there always is change,” says Elliot, who is the recently retired president and co-founder of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. “Rather than trying to fight it, look for the opportunities in change.” That’s exactly what Elliot has done throughout his distinguished career in the behavioral healthcare and education fields, which spans more than thirty years. Since earning an MBA in health care administration from The George Washington University, Washington DC, in 1971, Elliot has held numerous executive-level positions with health care organiza-
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tions, including Charter Medical Corporation, the nation’s largest behavioral health corporation. In 2007, he was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer Services Category for the Greater Los Angeles region. Aspen Education Group itself grew from Elliot’s ability to envision the opportunities that can become available through initiating change. While the company (originally named Aspen Youth Services) was officially established in 1998, the creation of its programs dates back to 1988, when Elliot became chief operating officer of College Health Enterprises (CHE), a regional health care company that owned and operated psychiatric hospitals and related behavioral health programs. Elliot observed that “there were not a lot of alternatives for troubled kids other than psychiatric hospitals”—those who had problems such as depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse problems. Their hospital stays averaged about a month in duration, Elliot recalls, but he believed that was too short a time to make positive changes in their lives. As a result, Elliot decided to expand CHE’s services to meet this need. During his first year with the company, he opened Mount Bachelor Academy in Bend, Oregon, a residential school for students with emotional needs. He followed that successful venture with a wilderness program in Utah and a special education day school in California. Changing CHE by expanding its services paid off— the new programs experienced phenomenal growth, and several others were added. In 1998, CHE “spun out” its Youth Services Division to Elliot and two private equity firms, forming the current company, which is headquartered in Cerritos, California.
Aspen, now a division of CRC Health Group, currently offers thirty-eight residential, outdoor, and weight loss programs in thirteen states and the United Kingdom. Since its founding, Elliot estimates the company has assisted more than 24,000 young people and their families. Aspen’s programs have been featured on major news and television shows, including CNN, NPR, NBC’s Today Show and Dateline, and Dr. Phil.
Recent years have also brought a transformation in the referral process due to the advent of the Internet, and Aspen has had to adapt to this change in order to remain competitive. When Elliot first began working in the behavioral healthcare industry, troubled children typically were referred to Aspen’s programs by professional referral sources, such as clinical psychologists or educational consultants. While many families still find their way to Aspen through
Aspen Education Group itself grew out of Elliot’s ability to envision the opportunities that can become available through initiating change. Navigating change requires a willingness to take risks, and Elliot recommends that entrepreneurs set up a board of advisors representing a variety of experiences to offer innovative perspectives. During the formation of Aspen in 1998, Elliot himself was challenged to embrace a change in his own business philosophy. At that time, he recalls, nearly one-half of the company’s revenues came from the public sector, such as school district subsidies or government contracts. To sustain greater profitability, several of his board members suggested that Aspen should focus strictly on private pay for its funding. This notion was completely foreign to Elliot, a former hospital executive whose experience told him that profitability relied on having multiple sources of revenue, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and health insurance programs. But he listened to their advice, and between 2002 and 2006, the company’s compounded annual growth rate was about 35 percent. In 2006, Aspen’s revenues exceeded $150 million. “I don’t think I would have changed the funding structure on my own,” Elliot says, “but having that push and having the expertise of people who’ve seen companies or programs in other types of industries really was a big value.” Over the past two decades, Elliot has seen dramatic changes in the behavioral health care industry, including a significant increase in competition. At the time that Elliot started the residential treatment programs for young people in the late 1980s, he notes that very few similar programs existed in the United States. He attributes the increase in competition to greater acceptance of such treatment programs—and acknowledgment of their effectiveness—by health care professionals and parents. “Some of the stigma of behavioral issues with kids has lessened significantly,” he says. “Parents are more willing to deal with these types of issues now than they were two decades ago.”
such sources—who are capable of effectively matching troubled children to the appropriate treatment program—a growing number of Internet-savvy parents are locating the company through its website and making direct contact on their own. Elliot estimates as many as a third of Aspen’s clients in 2006 found the company on the Internet, compared with about one percent five years ago. He expects that trend to continue. “I have learned from this that you need to adapt to the environment and have to be nimble in changing how you market your business, which in this case is helping struggling or underachieving young people and their families. Even though we know that having a professional working with and referring the child is often better, we have had to adapt to families who are doing their own research on the Internet.” With more parents doing their own Internet research for these types of services, Elliot says that Aspen has added an “internal call center,” staffed by trained professionals who can answer questions about the programs. In doing so, these professionals can help parents determine whether the treatment programs are a good fit for their children. Aspen also has embraced technology by expanding the online services it offers for clients. Its comprehensive website now provides online admission applications and access to online bank loans—a convenience that has made Aspen’s services more affordable to families from all income levels. Innovative use of the Internet also keeps worried parents feeling more connected to their children through secure online progress reports and frequently updated photos. “I think it’s easy to feel that if you’ve been successful, you’re always going to be successful. But it doesn’t work that way,” Elliot says. “With increased competition, we’ve had to modify programs or add new things. You’ve always got to be changing and evolving.”
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Nancy Starmer talks with students DonChristian Jones ’08, Tingting Yu ’10, Savannah Hollister ’09, and Yuan Chen (Rita) Lo ’10.
Curriculum Review Brings Change by Nancy Starmer For school leaders, managing, encouraging, and facilitating change are among the most challenging aspects of their work. While many schools make decisions by majority rule, Friends institutions make decisions by consensus, or more accurately (in the words of author Michael Sheeran) by a process of “communal discernment.” 1 When I first accepted the job as head of George School, I had little experience with Quaker decision making, and I looked forward to observing and engaging in the process at an institution that has practiced it for over a century. At that time, a colleague familiar with Quaker education asked if I had any idea what I was getting myself into. “Decisions will take years to make,” he claimed, “and nothing will ever change.” On the contrary, my experience at George School—most notably during our recent, five-year curriculum review—has taught me that consensus decision making can not only proceed efficiently, but can also allow a group to evaluate and embrace change in a way that is truly inspiring.
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As a result of our curriculum review, the George School faculty approved changes that included (among other things) a new core curriculum, a new set of graduation requirements, significant additions to our International Baccalaureate offerings, the introduction of Mandarin Chinese and a half dozen other new courses, and even changes to the daily schedule, all by consensus. Anyone who has spent any time in schools knows that agreement on changes such as these is not easy to achieve. Often equally legitimate, opposing points of view must be reconciled. The school schedule is a case in point. For science and art teachers and coaches, longer blocks of time make good pedagogical sense, while for math and language teachers, especially at beginning levels, shorter, more frequent class meetings better facilitate learning. While a number of factors contributed to the George School faculty’s ability to resolve issues such as this, I am quite certain that their understanding of the nature and obligations of communal decision making was key.
Consensus decision making involves a challenging combination of individual empowerment and collective responsibility. While individuals have a tremendous amount of power in this decision making process, they know that if they do stand in the way of a decision, their opposition will have credibility only if they have listened openly and carefully to the perspectives of their colleagues, especially those perspectives that are most different from their own, and only if, after listening closely, they believe that the decision is wrong with a capital W, by which I mean for reasons that are greater than themselves.
was greater than his own experience or perspective: in this instance, an understanding of how important the faculty’s investment and engagement in the process of teaching and learning are to the success of the school’s curriculum. This larger understanding helped this individual put his own opinions and concerns into perspective and opened him—and his colleagues—to change. At the end of George School’s examination of the curriculum, there were still members of the faculty who were skeptical that we’d made the right decisions, but I think it’s safe to say that all felt that they’d had
Larger understandings helped this individual to put his own opinions and concerns into perspective and opened him—and his colleagues—to change. Likewise, members who believe that a particular change is right have an obligation to seek a truth that is greater than themselves. A decision can’t just be correct because it would be good for a particular teacher or department—it should be correct in a larger sense. Faculty members at George School enter a decision-making process knowing that their obligation is to listen carefully for that “higher truth” in themselves and in what their colleagues are saying. I recall quite well a faculty meeting when a highly respected and long-tenured member of the faculty, someone who helped to create the structure that the committee was proposing to change, spoke early in the meeting about what he feared we’d be giving up if we went ahead with the recommendation. As the meeting progressed, many others spoke and a sense of the meeting was definitely building toward the change, when someone hesitated and asked why we had to decide right now, why we couldn’t wait a bit longer. At that point, the wellrespected faculty member who had expressed reservations about the change said “you all know how I feel about this change. I’ve shared my perspective with you, but in my twenty-five-plus years on the George School faculty, I have to say that I’ve rarely heard this group more excited or animated about an issue related to teaching and learning. This kind of investment and excitement are much more important than my concerns. I think we should approve the proposal.” This example illustrates what to me makes Friends decision making so powerful. In it, you can hear that the teacher was being led by a truth that
an opportunity to contribute, and every single member left the room committed to doing their part to support the changes. It is clear to me that the Quaker decision making process at George School would not work as well as it does without the constant and disciplined attention our faculty gives to the spiritual nature of the enterprise. Faculty meetings (as do all meetings at George School) begin with silent worship, which the clerk of the faculty often precedes with a reading that reminds the group of some important principle of Quaker decision making. In this way, our teachers cultivate a thoughtful, respectful tone that strengthens not only their meetings, but also their endeavors in the classroom, where I’m proud to say that our students are also learning to listen to their classmates’ various perspectives with thoughtfulness and respect. Sheeran, Michael, “A Tradition in Common” in St. Joseph’s Magazine, St. Joseph’s College, March, 1987, pp. 27-30. 1
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eQuiz Highlights The August/September eQuiz asked alumni about the ways in which they had successfully navigated changes in their careers, personal lives, culture, or environment. Some of their comments are highlighted here. Thank you to the 80 alumni who participated.
1947 | A n d r e w J. L i n c o l n Twice, I sold information technology companies that I founded to larger companies. What I learned in each case is that it is difficult to go from being the boss to reporting to someone else. My advice in such a situation is that it is best to stay with the acquiring company as a consultant for only a limited period and then get out.
1956 | C a ro ly n C. B u c k m a n H e n n i g e As we age we experience loss: a spouse dies, the children move out. We also experience gain: the opportunity to try a new career, a new approach to an old situation. We learn acceptance, but we also learn joy and appreciation. We learn patience and, hopefully, to love where we are in life. We can expand our horizons to include a better understanding of what we took for granted.
1957 | J o s e p h W. J o h n s o n In the retail hardware business in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a huge trend away from clerkservice to self-service. It became imperative to display merchandise more aggressively with lots of information at the point of sale so that the customer could make an intelligent buying decision. At the same time, we had well-trained salespersons to complete the sale. Around the same time period, it was recognized that the female was becoming a major factor in hardware retail sales. This entailed upgrading store facilities to be clean and neat and providing well-trained, clean-cut male and female sales personnel. The application of data processing in the 1970s required a complete changeover in the way we did our business. By automating our accounting and sales procedures and utilizing the information, we were able to grow our business in a very competitive market. I did not have control over these changes but I was able to capitalize on them to develop my
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hardware business into one of the most successful hardware stores in the country. The best advice that I can give is to understand your customer’s needs and exceed their expectations.
1969 | R ac h e l A. C a r e y Starting a new Friends Meeting. When things seem the bleakest, often that is where the great work of Spirit is taking place.
1970 | H o l ly A. P h e l p s I have taken on responsibility for my mother, moving from child to parent in a sense. A lot of my friends are coping with care of elderly parents, so we talk, share strategies and coping mechanisms, and offer each other support. I am learning greater patience (or trying to). I learned to shed unneeded material possessions—librarians call it “deaccessioning”—when I moved my mother out of her house to a room in assisted living. What really needs to be kept? What can find a useful life elsewhere? I have started applying that lesson to my own household.
1973 | B ru c e N ayow i t h I worked for an HMO which tried to incorporate a Total Quality Improvement culture through groups and education. The positives were a culture of learning that developed within a subgroup of us and some excellent training. I learned what a highperforming group can do when given authority and the right members. When I was made chair of the group, we turned around a $4 million deficit for the region into a positive in less than 18 months. The commitment to quality comes in several stages, and our company was only committed to the first level, limiting its capacity to grow. It eventually was acquired by another company.
1976 | S a r a h V. C h ac e I have learned that the greater my investment in those practices that transcend change, such as yoga, meditation, and journaling, the greater the return on investment when the earthquake-like changes occur. The stability I have fostered through these practices holds me during times of unexpected and/or deeply significant changes.
1982 | M e ag a n V. A l b u ry
1993 | B r a d d A. F o r s t e i n
I have learned that there are times when change is absolutely marvelous! It often allows you to trade a procedure or piece of equipment that no longer works efficiently for one that works the way you need it to. I have also learned that some changes are stressful because of unexpected glitches that can and do arise during the change process. I taught myself to expect times when I would feel stress due to time constraints or miscommunications. This made it easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to work more efficiently instead of buying into the stress. Knowing that I could expect hurdles along the way allowed me to control my own responses to someone else’s frustration and to get the job done. What also helped on those days when I did feel undue frustration about a process was that I had a trusted peer at work who I could talk to and get some clearer perspective. The biggest lesson about change is that it WILL happen. The two questions you have to ask yourself are “Will I let it happen to me?” or “Will I allow myself to find a way to move forward within the change process?” The latter always led to success.
My life dramatically changed the day my two-yearold son was diagnosed with developmental delays. This turned my world upside down! My wife and I had to reprioritize our life in order to provide our son the best chance for a ‘normal’ future. In turn, this has taught us to appreciate and cherish even the smallest accomplishments our son makes and has strengthened our family bond.
1982 | M e g P e a s e -F y e Having children and learning along with them is the epitome of managing change. I think the keys are to know what your expectations are and know those that can be flexible (bedtimes) and those that cannot (behavior).
1989 | R o b S ta f f o r d I allowed my weight to get up to 225 pounds and although I was doing well, I wasn’t living up to my potential. The biggest change I FINALLY learned is that the harder (and smarter) you work early on, the more time you have to enjoy the fruits later. My weight is down to 193 (goal is 185) and my diet is much healthier. I work harder (and smarter) than ever before and constantly ask myself why I didn’t do this sooner. Personal change and growth should be an ongoing process. Serious, focused personal growth. Find an area and attack it!
1996 | W h i t n e y T r e v e lya n L o u c h h e i m The juvenile justice system has been undergoing major changes throughout the country for the past decade. In Washington DC, these changes are just beginning to take shape for the better. As other state models have demonstrated, children respond to positive reinforcement, encouragement, support, structure, and love. This flies in the face of the old punitive and correctional systems, and the battleground between these two approaches remains fierce. I began working in DC’s juvenile justice system just at the time that a new administration took over, forging the path for a positive youth development model. Because of this timing and my unwavering adherence to positive youth development, I and my organization have had the opportunity to effect certain changes in the system. A particularly helpful strategy is to remember that everyone has good motives deep down, even if they aren’t immediately apparent. The principles of positive youth development also hold true for positive adult development. The best way to effect change is to bring each person with you along the way.
Responses might have been edited due to space limitations and Georgian style guidelines.
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Tour Spreads News of Green Learning Commons by Juliana Rosati
The campaign to bring a new, green learning commons and library to George School achieved a rousing sense of shared enthusiasm this past fall among alumni, parents, and friends during the Green Six-City Tour. With stops in Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, the tour kicked off just two days after the media learned that Barbara Dodd Anderson â€™50 had given $128.5 million to the school.
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NEW LEARNING COMMONS Perspective from the south On the long south-facing axis of the building, the second floor houses four classrooms and a faculty office. A green roof over the central library space minimizes storm water runoff, provides greater insulation than a traditional roofing surface, and lasts almost three times longer than an ordinary roof.
“It was clear that the news of Barbara’s gift had energized alumni far and wide,” says Head of School Nancy Starmer. “In the fall of 2006, Barbara gave a lead gift of $5 million for the library. When Barbara made her stunning gift to the school this past September, she expressed a desire to have the funds directed to areas other than the new building. It is our challenge and responsibility to honor Barbara’s generosity by stepping up to the plate and finishing the project that she felt led to support a year ago.” At the Green Six-City Tour events, attendees saw the exciting new architectural plans for the academic facility. The product of an intensive planning process that took place this past spring, the new plans encompass, within one building, the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library (to be named after Barbara’s granddaughter), five classrooms, and a learning center. The design, construction, and operation are intended to earn gold-level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the national standard for environmentally friendly buildings. The decision to construct a green friendly building represents a critical part of George School’s effort towards sustainability. According to National Electrical Manufacturers Association, buildings consume over half the energy used in the United States. Nancy states, “As an outgrowth of our commitment to Friends testimonies, George School has always been concerned with environmental stewardship. Now we are pursuing an ambitious new goal in this area—that of moving towards a position of leadership in environmental sustainability. As we align our practices with this ideal in all areas of school life, the plans for our new learning commons and library serve as a
powerful illustration of the environmentally responsible future we envision.” Of the Six-City Tour events, Director of Development Anne Storch ’67 reports, “It was wonderful to share our vision for this facility and to see firsthand what a strong sense of school spirit our alumni, parents, and friends have experienced during George School’s time in the limelight this fall. When we showed the architectural plans, attendees at the events were excited to learn about the ways in which green buildings save energy and water, produce fewer carbon emissions, cause less waste, and create healthier environments for the communities they serve. They also were happy to hear that our new design provides space for three times the number of users that are accommodated by our current facility, McFeely Library.” The plans for the $12.8 million learning commons and library feature flexible space for cooperative group work and faculty-student interaction, individual quiet study space, and an expanded print collection, as well as greater access to technology and to George School’s historical archives, which will be housed within the facility. “I believe that the students, who find themselves fortunate enough to live at George School with the new library, might actually find themselves living in the new library,” says Zach Martinez ’09. “The building will overlook what I know is one of the most beautiful portions of our campus. Who would ever choose to study in their dorms?” The architectural design is an innovative combination of three structures. Two reflect the shape and materials of the adjacent historic George School Meetinghouse. The third is a glass box, with window walls and a large, dome skylight that will significantly reduce the need for artificial lighting during daytime hours. The south-facing axis of the building houses classrooms and a faculty office on the second floor. The building will include several educational components that faculty can easily incorporate into lessons about environmental sustainability. “Architecture and natural landscape are playing new roles today as tools for teaching students about important issues such as climate change and energy use,” says Nancy. The heating and cooling of the building will be supplied by a geothermal system and gauges throughout the facility will reveal to students and faculty the amount of electricity and water being used at any given moment. The central library area will be covered with a green, vegetative roof that
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first floor 01. Terrace / 02. Reading Room / 03. Information Center / 04. Conference Room / 05. Entry / 06. Art Gallery / 07. Commons Room / 08. Stairs / 09. Restrooms / 10. Kitchen / 11. Librarian’s Office / 12. Work Room / 13. Special Collections / 14. Group Study Rooms / 15. Archives / 16. Receiving /
03 06 16
01. Circulating Collection / 02. Learning Specialist’s Office / 03. Learning Center / 04. Library Staff Office / 05. Classrooms / 06. Faculty Office / 07. Stairs / 08. Restrooms / 09. IB Director’s Office /
03 04 01
will minimize storm water runoff and provide greater insulation than a traditional roofing surface. Gutters will direct storm water not used on the vegetative roof to rain gardens to maximize the return of storm water to the soil. Library Director Linda Heinemann explains, “We plan to show how the building is operating in real time. You will see how much water it’s processing, how much oxygen it’s creating, how much water is in the storm-water-capture cistern, how much energy is used for heating and lighting—everything.” Polly Lodge, interim head of the Science Department, adds, “Using the facility itself as a teaching tool is a significant benefit. The possibilities are endless. Students will gain awareness of
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green elements such as storm water harvesting, natural lighting, energy conservation, and recycling. With these elements incorporated into the building, students will experience these benefits firsthand every day.” Generous gifts from alumni, parents, and friends will enable the school to build the learning commons and library envisioned and ensure the highest standard of education for succeeding generations of George School scholars. Nancy states, “The learning commons and library will symbolize George School’s commitments to academic excellence and stewardship of the environment. Most importantly, this visionary new facility will be an immeasurable gift to the students in whom we are all entrusting our future.”
Library Named Gift Opportunities $1,000,000–$5,000,000 Naming of Library Naming of First Floor Naming of Second Floor Librarian Endowment Fund – Director of Library Library Endowment Fund (3 Librarians) Conference Room Learning Center Sustainable Building Design Elements Technology Acquisition
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$500,000–$999,999 Quiet Reading and Study Area Reading Room Design and Development Phase Circulating Collection Areas Commons Room Library Building Landscaping Library Terrace
$100,000–$499,999 Library Doors Reference Collection Art Gallery Archives Student Workstations (16) Library Director Office Reading Room Furniture Classrooms (5) Desktop Computers (44) Fireplaces (2) Green Vegetative Roof Group Study Rooms (4) Inventory and Security Systems Library Staff Office and Work Room (first floor)
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$2,500–$99,999 Terrace Furniture Commons Furniture Faculty Offices (2) Information Center Laptop Lending Program Library Service Desk Named Book Collection Funds Quaker Collection Area Library Staff Office Reference Search Area Refreshment Center Special George School Author’s Collection Area Outdoor Benches Computers Study Carrels (80)
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Library Director Linda Heinemann notes that in order to earn gold-level LEED certification, the building will have to meet a particularly high standard for indoor air quality. “We want to create the optimum environment for learning, one that ensures students can concentrate,” says Linda. “The library’s indoor air quality will meet a high standard because of the building’s use of low-toxic paint, glues, and caulking.” One of the key green components of the building design is the vegetative roof over the central library area. Besides the obvious aesthetic and psychological advantages, green roofs commonly offer ecological and economic benefits including the recovery of green space, improved storm water management, water and air purification, and a reduction in energy consumption.
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$ 5,000 $ 2,500 $ 2,500
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NEW LEARNING COMMONS Perspective from the north The design for the new learning commons and library is a remarkably attractive combination of three structures. Two of the structures reflect the materials and shape of the adjacent historic George School Meetinghouse. The third structure is a glass box with window walls and a large skylight that significantly diminish the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours.
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Campus News & Notes by Juliana Rosati Mario Capecchi ’56 is a distinguished
Tim Kelly, University of Utah
professor of human genetics and biology at the University of Utah and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Mario Capecchi ’56 Receives 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Mario Capecchi ’56, Martin Evans, and Oliver Smithies for their discoveries of “principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.” Their groundbreaking work led to the development of “knockout” or transgenic mice, whose genetic codes have been altered either to turn on or off certain specific genes that mice and humans share. These mice have become critical to medical research, helping scientists understand the purpose of the genes and their role in disease and identify potential new options for medical treatments and drugs. Mario and Oliver independently discovered how “homologous recombination” could be used to manipulate genes. Homologous recombination is a process of physically rearranging DNA strands so that they exchange material between the strands. Homologous recombination does occur naturally but it is often used in molecular biology research to genetically alter organisms for study.1
1. Hansson, Göran. “Gene Modification in Mice.” Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute. Available from nobelprize.org; accessed October 8, 2007. 2. Capecchi, Mario. “Altering the genome by homologous recombination.” Science. June 16, 1989, pages 1288-92.
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“Every cell holds two copies of the DNA,” Capecchi explained in a 2001 Georgian article when he was named a George School Alumni Award recipient. “For example, if the father’s copy is messed up, we can figure out which is the good copy, make a purified fragment, and reintroduce that into the cell. The two pieces line up and recombine in normal sequence.” To extend their research, Mario and Oliver needed to use a specific cell that could introduce genetic material into a mouse. Both turned to Martin, who had been working with embryonic stem cells and had demonstrated success in transferring genetically modified cells and creating mice that carried new genetic material. Mario’s first report of homologous recombination in embryonic cells used to create gene-target mice was published in 1989.2 Today, gene targeting is a pervasive technology and highly versatile. Gene mutations can be introduced in specific cells or organs or activated at specific times. “I recall only excellent teachers at George School,” Mario said at the time of his Alumni Award. “They were superb, caring, challenging and enthusiastic.” He also noted that he especially appreciated the peace of Quaker meeting. He and his wife, Laurie Fraser, sent their daughter, Misha, to George School, where she graduated in 2002. Editor’s Note: Mario is the second George School alumnus to receive a Nobel prize. The first was Kenneth Wilson ’52, who received the 1982 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his theory for critical phenomena in connection with phase transitions.”
campus news & notes
Gillette’s Castle. The cast of Postmortem
traveled to East Haddam, Connecticut to visit the castle built by William Gillette, an American actor and playwright famed for his portrayals of Sherlock Holmes.
Drama Students Perform Mystery/Thriller George School’s Theater Performance class performed Postmortem—a mystery/thriller by acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig—on Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3, 2007, in Walton Center Auditorium. Although the plot of the play is fictional, the main character and the setting are not. The protagonist, William Gillette (1853–1937), was an American actor and playwright famed for his onstage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, and Postmortem is set in his Connecticut home—a medieval castle that the actor designed himself. In the play, which takes place in 1922, an offstage murder mystery develops when William and the cast of his most recent Sherlock Holmes production spend a weekend in his castle. In preparation for the George School production, drama teacher and director Maureen West, production designer Scott Hoskins, and acting coach David Abers took the cast on a trip to William’s castle in East Haddam, Connecticut. Victor Luong ’08, who plays the role of William, says that visiting the elaborate estate—which includes secret passage ways and a small railroad—gave him new insight
into the actor’s personality. “He designed the whole castle himself,” Victor says. “He has more ego and confidence than I had thought.” In the course of the play, William—whom Victor describes as logical, emotionally restrained, playful, and solitary— takes on the role of a detective in his real life when he suspects that someone in the castle is trying to murder him. Lilias Brinton ’08 says that the trip to the castle helped her to prepare for her role as well. “It helps you to imagine that you’re actually there when you’re onstage,” she comments. Lilias plays May, a member of the Sherlock Holmes cast who has her own reasons for trying to solve the mystery. “She’s kind of sneaky,” Lilias says. “She asks a lot of questions.” Caroline Marris ’08, who portrays Louise, a medium who leads a séance arranged by William, describes the play as “incredibly funny” and observes that her fellow cast members’ roles differed in many ways from their offstage personalities. “Each character brings out a really different part of everyone’s personality,” she says. As with all mainstage productions at George School, costumes were by Liz Lukac, and sets were designed by Scott Hoskins and built by his Stagecraft classes.
Workshops Encourage Girls to Pursue Science and Technology In an effort to increase the enrollment of female students in George School’s Computer Programming and Robotics classes, science teachers Chris Odom and Nancy Lemmo offered a series of evening workshops this fall on the topic of women and technology. Chris explains, “Five years ago, we taught a desktop programming course to eight students; only one was female. This year, we are teaching robotics to thirty students; only one is female. While our rise in overall enrollment is not mimicked nationally, our lack of female enrollment is. Attracting and retaining female students in computer programming classes is at a crisis level
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december 2007 bruce weller
National Merit commended students left to right: Arun Blatchley, Dan Veri, Malcolm Culleton, Samuel Kim, Marie Doyon, Vir Patel, and Parker Baum
nationwide.” Approximately fifteen girls attended the evening workshops. During the sessions, Chris and Nancy taught some of the skills covered in Computer Programming and Robotics—a class in which students use math, science, and technology to build and program autonomous robots— and led a brainstorming session about the ways in which girls could be encouraged to pursue the study of science and technology. The George School Parents Association provided funding for some of the equipment used in the workshops.
ing seniors were named Commended Students: Kenza Abtouche, Parker Baum, Zelda Blair, Arun Blatchley, Clayton Carson, Malcolm Culleton, Emily Dayton, Marie Doyon, Michael Guth, Samuel Kim, Vir Patel, Christine Pontecorvo, Sean Rigby, Wilson Sui, and Dan Vari. As a semifinalist, Diana is among approximately 16,000 high school seniors who will have the opportunity to proceed in the competition for about 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards that will be given this spring. The Commended Students scored in the top five percent of the more than 1.4 million students who entered the 2008 competition by taking the 2006 PSAT/NMSQT.
Assembly Promotes Interreligious Dialogue
Chris Odom explains robotics code and subprograms to members of the Women and Technology workshop including, Myra Jacobs ’11, Alexa Giegerich, and Kenza Abtouche ’08.
National Merit Scholarship Program Honors GS Students This fall, sixteen seniors were honored in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program, based on their performance on the 2006 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Diana Goodman ’08 was named a Semifinalist in the competition, and the follow-
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Chip Poston, head of the George School Religion Department, introduced this assembly, in which several students and a faculty member spoke about their personal religious beliefs on September 28, 2007. Chip said that he hoped the assembly would encourage everyone in the school community to feel comfortable speaking about their own faith and stated that it is important to share our deepest truths with each other because we often learn the most from those whose experiences are different from our own. Members of the George School student organizations Havurah (a Jewish culture group), LOGOS (a Christian interest group), and Young Friends (a Quaker support group) spoke, along with math teacher Dorothy Lopez, who shared her perspective as a Muslim. “I thought it was very well-received,” says Olivia Henry ’09, one of the speakers from Young Friends. “To show the school that we as a group contain many different perspectives was a good experience for everyone.”
campus news & notes arun blatchley ’08
Former Child Soldier Speaks at Assembly
Science Classes Install Sustainable Garden This fall, science teachers Nancy Lemmo and Mark Wiley, students in their classes, and Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Vince Campellone and his crew installed the first half of a rain garden on campus outside Retford. Devised by George School’s Arboretum Committee with the help of a landscape architecture firm, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the project is part of the school’s campus sustainability initiatives. Composed of native plants and loose, absorbent
George School students, faculty, and staff plant a rain garden outside Retford.
soil, rain gardens capture stormwater from roofs and driveways and allow it to release slowly into the ground, where it is taken up by the plant roots and released back into the atmosphere. This process reduces stormwater runoff, helping to protect lakes and streams from the flooding, erosion, and pollution. After conducting tests to gauge the soil’s absorbency and ensure that it contained the proper nutrients, Nancy’s IB Environmental Systems and Chemistry in the Community classes and Mark’s Environmental Science: Sustainable Systems class worked with Vince and his crew to plant the first half of the garden. The project will be completed in the spring. bruce weller
At an assembly on September 21, 2007, twentyone-year-old Salifu Kamara described his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone’s civil war and stated that he has decided to devote his life to peace and love. Salifu was born in Sierra Leone and forced to join the army of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) at the age of nine. He has spoken to a conference at the United Nations and is seeking asylum in the United States. At the assembly, he summarized Sierra Leone’s history and explained how the struggle for control of the country’s diamond resources led to the civil war—a conflict in which approximately 50,000 people were killed between 1991 and 2001. During the war, Salifu was captured, taken into the army, and trained to use an AK-47. His captors gave him and the other children drugs to desensitize them. Eventually Salifu made the courageous decision to leave the army, and he managed to escape alive. The violence of the war claimed many of his family members, and he is now believed to be the only survivor of his immediate family. Salifu completed high school in Sierra Leone and at the age of eighteen created an organization called Global Defense for Disabled Children and Youths. He stated that he is grateful to God for his survival, and that he has resolved to use his experience to transform violence into peace, to support the rights of children in Sierra Leone, and to work against child hunger in his native country. During the question-and-answer period, an audience member commented that Salifu does not seem angry about the atrocities he has experienced. Salifu explained that he accepts his experiences as a testimony that must be shared in order to promote love, sharing, and compassion. Salifu concluded the assembly by singing two songs in his native language. He received a standing ovation.
George School athletes score headlines in Girls’ Field Hockey, Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Tennis, and Football.
Fall Athletes Succeed The George School athletes pictured above earned favorable attention in the Bucks County Courier Times for their contributions to the fall athletics season. From left to right: Savannah Hollister ’09, Damali Francis ’08, Thea Mann ’08, Lisa Bernardini ’08, Sara Manetta ’10, Justin Cancelliere ’09, Sam Min ’08, Judy Park ’08, Dave Foppert ’09, and Leigh Raphael ’08.
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Printed on recycled paper with environmentally friendly ink. © 2007 George School Georgian design by Rutka Weadock Design
PHOTOs: Sustainability (Back Cover) World Watch says that Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags each year. TERRA, the George School chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition, began a sustainable consumption project to collect canvas George School bags and urges students, faculty, and staff to borrow them for shopping expeditions. Ceramics Studio (Inside Back Cover) Pottery smocks hang in Retford’s ceramics studio waiting for the next group of George School students who develop skills in centering clay, throwing on the potters wheel, trimming, and glazing. Other skills introduced are building with slabs or coils, pinching clay pots, creating small-scale sculpture, making clay stamps, and decorating with brushes and glaze pens.
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