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Vol. 80

No. 01

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 april 2008




Scientific Discovery: Students and alumni consider complex ethical questions that can arise from scientific advancements.

An auction find inspires an alumna’s trip back in time and helps George School’s archives find a new home.

Join hundreds of alumni from around the world as we celebrate Alumni Weekend, May 9, 10, and 11, 2008.

pe r s pe ctive s

fi n d i n g tr eas u r e s

alu m n i we e ke n d


Head of School Nancy Starmer is a graduate of The College of Wooster and Boston University Graduate School of Education.


Table of Contents

bruce weller

Vol. 80 | No. 01 | April 2008


Edited by Juliana Rosati

Scientific Discovery


Intermediate Algebra (Inside Front Cover) Gregory Cohen and Anthony Campusano, part of Steven Fletcher’s Intermediate Algebra class, work together graphing linear equations and solving quadratic equations. Scientific Discovery in IB Biology (Front Cover) Rebecca Schmidtberger practices her micropipette skills in preparation for an IB Biology lab exploring gel electrophesis and the characteristics of different DNA strands. Cover Photos: Bruce Weller

01 perspectives

12 features

20 Campus news & notes

Scientific Discovery 12 Finding Treasures 02 Science, Science Fiction, and Chutzpah 04 Alumnus Studies Links Between Biodiversity and Societies 06 IB Biology Class Collaborates and Reflects 08 Student’s Alternative Energy Research Gains Recognition 10 eQuiz Highlights

14 Alumni Weekend 16 Alumni Award Recipient: Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 18 Alumni Award Recipient: David Bruton ’53 19 Alumni Award Recipient: John Hoffman ’73

24 alumni tell us 44 In memoriam

This issue’s Perspectives topic comes at a particularly appropriate time. This past fall, we celebrated the news that Mario Capecchi ’56 had been named one of three joint recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Now, this spring, George School senior Kenny Kao has been named one of forty finalists nationwide in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search, often called the “junior Nobel Prize.” American physicist Joseph Henry (1797– 1878) once said, “The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them.” Through our science curriculum at George School—which includes both International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement offerings—we are engaged in the work of preparing young minds to receive scientific discoveries. As a Quaker school, we are also preparing our students to engage thoughtfully with the complex ethical questions that can arise from scientific advances. I recently discussed this with David Bruton ’53, clerk of the George School

Committee, the school’s governing board. David noted, “Obvious examples are the ethical questions raised by mapping the human genome or the public policy questions posed by the impact of the human footprint on the environment.” I was struck by David’s observation that there is a “congruence between Quaker habits of learning and the increasingly collaborative nature of modern scientific endeavor. More and more, science is practiced in cross-disciplinary ways, with the benefit of skilled listening to different perspectives well understood.” Contemplation, collaboration, self-discipline, perseverance, vision, and a passion for problem-solving are all qualities we hope to instill in our students at George School. In this Perspectives section, I think you will see that these qualities have played important roles in the scientific endeavors of alumni, faculty, and students.

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april 2008


tim kelly, university of utah

Nobel prize winner. As one of the world’s very early molecular biologists when the field emerged in the late 1950s, Mario Capecchi ’56 was part of a creative and collaborative group of scientists who were driven to make bold discoveries.

word processor that contains an enormous text, covering thousands of volumes that each are about a thousand pages long. The text, he explains, is in a foreign language, but the reader realizes that it has letters—four letters to be exact (instead of twentysix letters, as in our alphabet). “You know that the order of those letters must constitute the text, but you have no idea what these thousands upon thousands of letters are saying,” he says. “That’s the starting point.”

Medicine. It was at Utah that Mario began his work on gene targeting, a project that lasted about ten years from conception to realization. With more than 5,000 human diseases attributed to single-gene mutations—such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, cystic fibrosis, and arthritis—gene targeting has revolutionized biomedical research. An investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Mario also is interested in using gene targeting to gain a better

“The most exciting experience in science is at that very moment when all of a sudden you recognize something that hasn’t been seen before, or thought about before,” Mario says. Perspectives

Science, Science Fiction, and Chutzpah by Karen Doss Bowman Mario Capecchi ’56 always has an eye toward the next steps in research. “As a scientist, you’re always thinking about the future and projecting your thoughts close to the boundary separating science from science fiction,” says Mario. “The technology changes, the kind of questions you’re asking change, what you’re thinking about changes, and so on.” A joint recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for pioneering discoveries that led to the development of a technology known as gene targeting in mice, Mario has now received more than forty of science’s most prestigious honors and awards, including being elected to the National Academy of Sciences and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Nevertheless, Mario doesn’t spend much time reflecting on the recognition he has received. “The most exciting experience in science is at that very moment when all of a sudden you recognize something that hasn’t been seen before, or thought about before,” he says.

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A scientist’s vision for a potentially groundbreaking discovery isn’t always met with enthusiasm. When Mario began his research on gene targeting in the late 1970s, many in the scientific community considered his work too radical—if not impossible. In 1980, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) turned down his proposal seeking funding for the project. But Mario believed in his research and had a vision of the positive contributions it could make to the world. He persisted, and four years after the initial rejection, Mario received a grant to support that work from the NIH. More than twenty years later, the powerful gene targeting technology he developed from that project is being applied to virtually all areas of biomedicine, from basic research, to the development of treatment for diseases. “I think some of it is chutzpah,” Mario replies when asked why he continued the research, even when facing skepticism. “You have to have some confidence that you can do it. It’s a huge gamble.” As one of the world’s very early molecular biologists when the field emerged in the late 1950s, Mario was part of a creative and collaborative group of scientists who were driven to make bold discoveries. “We considered ourselves Young Turks,” says Mario. “We had a lot of bravado and, in a sense, naivete. But it was also extremely exhilarating to see all of a sudden that we could approach extremely complicated biological problems that people had no inkling of how to approach, but we could reduce them into workable units and start to study them.” To help the non-scientist understand gene targeting technology, Mario suggests visualizing a

Mario and his colleagues developed the ability to change any piece of the text—a single letter, 10 letters, or 1,000 letters, even 100,000 letters—and then determine the effects of those changes in the formation or operation of living mice. “We could change the text into anything we want, and then we ask, ‘What are the consequences of changing that text?’” he says. “It allows us to decipher the meaning of the text. From the effects, we can infer the function of the particular genes that we modified on the formation or behavior of the mouse.” The gene targeting technique that emerged from his research, along with that of fellow Nobel Prize awardees Sir Martin Evans and Oliver Smithies, enables scientists to produce mutations (alterations) in almost any desired gene of the mouse genome. Mario notes, “Whatever we learn from the mouse is directly applicable to humans because in terms of gene content the mouse is 99.9 percent the same as humans.” With the ability to create “knockout” mice—as mice with loss of gene function are called—scientists can study the roles these individual genes play in diseases and use them to test potential therapies. After graduating from George School in 1956, Mario went to Antioch College, where he earned a degree in physics and chemistry in 1961. He received his PhD in biophysics in 1967 from Harvard University, where his adviser was Dr. James Watson, the codiscoverer of DNA’s structure. From 1967 to 1969, he was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard, and, in 1969, joined the faculty at the Harvard School of Medicine. In 1973, Mario moved across the country to join the biology faculty at the University of Utah, where he currently holds several faculty titles, including Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology at the university’s School of

understanding of how the brain develops and functions. Doing so could have significant implications for treating mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disease, he says. While genetic engineering technology has the potential for positive contributions, there are also ethical issues to consider. Mario’s philosophy is that “information itself is never evil. You can make good uses of information; you can make bad uses of information,” he says. “In the absence of information, however, we are very limited in our choices.” Mario is currently opposed to any gene therapy in human beings that would have consequences beyond the individual. “We have neither the wisdom nor the foresight to contemplate such experiments,” he says. For that reason, he’s opposed to germline gene therapy, which involves making alterations to sperm and eggs. “Such modifications would affect the offspring,” Mario says. In somatic gene therapy, on the other hand, changes are made to cells in any body tissues except for sperm and eggs. Mario says that he could be a proponent of such changes “if done appropriately.” He explains, “Such changes which would affect the individual but not the offspring would be more equivalent to present medical practices.” Characteristically keeping an eye on the future, Mario elaborates, “As our knowledge base changes, the kind of medicine that will be done also changes. It would be very unwise through medical intervention to affect future generations of people irreversibly, as would happen through germline gene therapy, because in addition to being of questionable value using current technologies, in the future there would inevitably be developed much better and simpler solutions.”

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april 2008


Jason Sircely ’96—pictured

Mbola Millennium Village outside of

here in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda—is a candidate for a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at Columbia University.


Alumnus Studies Links Between Biodiversity and Societies by Kim Fernandez and Juliana Rosati

munities in sub-Saharan Africa achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, with a target completion date of 2015. The What happens when the number of species in an goals are defined as follows: eradicate extreme hunecosystem decreases? What if all of the organisms ger and poverty; achieve universal primary eduthat fulfill a particular function disappear? What roles do human societies play in causing such losses cation; promote gender equality and empower of biodiversity, and how are human societies in turn women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other affected by these changes? Through research in diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, Jason Sircely ’96 is develop a global partnership for development. trying to help answer questions like these. An interdisciplinary approach characterizes “Our current understanding of the linkages between ecosystems and society is inadequate,” says The Earth Institute, whose mission is to “mobilize the sciences, education, and public policy to Jason, a candidate for a PhD in ecology and evoachieve a sustainable earth.” Through their particulutionary biology at Columbia University. He conlar research project in eastern Africa, Jason and his tinues, “The ecosystems of our planet are facing rapid and unprecedented changes. Dramatic human colleagues at The Earth Institute are trying to discover ways to improve agricultural production and alteration of ecological processes—carbon dioxide emissions and climate change, for example—is tak- eliminate hunger, while avoiding environmental ing place alongside deforestation and other land use degradation and biodiversity loss. “There’s a sense that human well-being is tied changes.” Coordinated by The Earth Institute at Colum- not only to our own economic systems and our own decisions, but also to the environmental and civic bia University, Jason’s research is a part of the Milconstraints that shape our economic and social lennium Villages project, which seeks to help com-

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Tabora in western Tanzania.

systems,” says Jason. In the villages he is studying, Jason explains, a significant environmental constraint is low soil fertility, which leads to low agricultural production and, in turn, to limited food supplies, imposing an undeniable burden on human well-being. He says, “Insufficient food supplies have other social consequences—especially low school attendance and low economic productivity due to malnutrition—that prevent people from advancing out of extreme poverty.”

residents, and inevitably has a form of power that must be understood and harnessed productively,” Jason points out. “Poorer residents, women, and minority groups are often more vulnerable to crises such as droughts, and are less likely to benefit from any sort of intervention or project, so they must be explicitly considered and engaged in planning and implementation.” Seeking the knowledge and advice of residents, Jason believes, is an important part of conduct-

“O ur current understanding of the linkages between ecosystems and society is inadequate,” says Jason. The goal of Jason’s research is to help the villages to combine organic agricultural strategies with modern agricultural technologies in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable. Fallowing is the basis of organic agriculture. This technique enriches the soil by allowing native plant species to grow, preserving biodiversity in the process. While modern technologies such as fertilizers and hybrid seeds will also be necessary to enhance agricultural production, they are expensive. “The hope is that the farmers will achieve a sustainable ‘green revolution’ that will encourage economic development,” Jason says. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of their work, problems such as low soil fertility are only one piece of the puzzle that Jason and the other scientists are attempting to solve. “Conducting research in conjunction with large, collaborative interventions that affect people’s daily lives brings a unique set of challenges for scientists. Every development, aid, or conservation project in a developing country has important effects on local

ing effective research under these circumstances. Devising well thought-out projects in the first place, he notes, is another. “Our efforts must provide useful information for the ongoing interventions without compromising our contributions to advancing fundamental scientific knowledge in our disciplines,” Jason says. “What this means practically is choosing research questions carefully, and designing studies that provide information with a variety of uses.” In addition to sharpening his keen interest in biology through science courses taught by Mark Wiley and Pacho Gutierrez, Jason credits George School with strengthening the kinds of critical thinking skills that are essential to his research. “George School teaches you to look at critical issues and identify the underlying factors that are driving the world,” he says.

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bruce weller

ib biology George School science teacher Polly Lodge currently teaches chemistry and IB biology and serves as interim head of the Science Department.


IB Biolon Class Collaborates and Reflects by Juliana Rosati

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phants, lions, and other species. “I set up a photo identification system for the elephants,” says Polly. “We did waterhole monitoring, radiotelemetry, and human-wildlife conflict prevention.” It takes enthusiasm and commitment to spend several months in another part of the world conducting hands-on research to enrich one’s expertise. It appears that Polly’s enthusiasm is infectious. Johanna says she expected IB biology “to be really difficult and a lot of work.” What she didn’t expect was the fun that she and her classmates would have along the way. “We laugh a lot in class,” Johanna says, noting that Polly sometimes uses props to inject humor into her lectures. For instance, a toy sword and spray bottles allowed her to memorably act out the chain of events involved in the human body’s immune system. In addition, Johanna has fond memories of a trip that the class took to the New Jersey shore to study aquatic life. She remembers that she and her classmates spent the trip “asking tons of questions.” Johanna says, “We were so immersed in it. Everyone was genuinely excited.” Polly’s IB biology students have also noted her commitment to her work. Zach Martinez ’09 says, “One of her greatest strengths, besides her passion for biology, is her ability to teach to all different types of learners.” Geena Ianni ’09 agrees, “She’s always willing to attempt to explain a concept to you in a different way. How she teaches is just as important to her as what she teaches. She’s also incredibly passionate about what she does.”

“In that lecture, I’m consciously trying to show students that often in science you’re not working in isolation,” Polly says. Polly has firsthand experience conducting research as part of a team, and thinking about the connections between science and society. During the 2005-06 academic year, she took a sabbatical to study wildlife in Namibia and Kenya. In Namibia, she conducted research through the Earthwatch Institute, an international nonprofit organization that gives volunteers the opportunity to join research teams that are working on projects related to environmental sustainability. “In Namibia I studied behavior, population movements, dung analysis, and food sources of desert-dwelling elephants,” says Polly. In Kenya, she studied wildlife conservation—observing ele-

bruce weller

“When information is shared within the scientific community, there’s a synergy that takes place,” says George School science teacher Polly Lodge. Thanks to a synergy between Polly’s teaching style and the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program, students in her IB biology class have a number of opportunities to understand the impact of scientific endeavors both within and beyond the field of science. George School is one of two U.S. boarding schools that offer the IB diploma program, an intensive preuniversity curriculum that leads to a series of rigorous exams. IB classes at George School—and at the 1,653 other schools worldwide that offer the diploma program—follow a curriculum developed by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. IB biology covers themes such as evo-

lution, universality versus diversity, system equilibrium, and structure and function. Students are required to learn the material in detail and at a fast pace, completing forty hours of laboratory experiments and documenting their work in laboratory books that the IBO will evaluate. “They’re very specific about what they want me to teach,” Polly says of the IBO. However, she notes, “It’s up to the individual teachers to decide how.” When the class studies molecular biology, Polly takes the opportunity to review the key scientific discoveries that led up to James Watson and Francis Crick’s 1953 discovery of DNA’s structure. “In that lecture, I’m consciously trying to show students that often in science you’re not working in isolation,” Polly says. “Clearly, in determining the structure of DNA, Watson and Crick needed to use the work of other scientists.” Johanna Schneider ’08, a student in the class, says, “I found it interesting because I always thought that scientists, like inventors, would try to keep their experiments and findings to themselves in order to keep the fame and recognition for themselves.” Johanna continues, “In reality they share it with each other in order to further human knowledge of the world.” The IB biology curriculum echoes Polly’s interest in teaching the importance of collaboration in science. A major project in the curriculum calls for students to work in teams, with members of the school’s other IB science classes, to create and conduct an experiment. Each team chooses a question, devises an experiment to answer it, and then conducts the experiment and collects

the resulting data. According to Polly, this exercise helps students to gain insight into what professional scientists do. “Most scientists work on a team,” says Polly. With the inclusion of topics such as gene therapy, in vitro fertilization, genetically modified organisms, and the social implications of AIDS, the IB biology curriculum can prompt students to ask questions about the ways that scientific discoveries affect people’s lives. “The IB biology curriculum specifically states places where the IBO wants students to think about ethical issues,” Polly says. She points out that this aspect of the curriculum is in synch with George School’s mission. “It’s part of Quaker education to get students to think about ethical issues,” Polly says. She notes, “I don’t think it’s my right or position to say what is right or wrong.” To enhance the opportunities for ethical discussions in her class, Polly has chosen to assign readings beyond the textbook. Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone—an account of a 1989 Ebola outbreak in a Washington DC laboratory—raises questions about when it is appropriate to inform the public of a health threat, and under what circumstances one should take a risk to protect others. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan asks what methods should be used to produce food, given the potential risks of pesticides, herbicides, and genetic modifications. Polly explains, “Students are given the opportunity to think about not just the ‘how’ of the science, but also, ‘What are the questions that society has to wrestle with?’”

Polly Lodge demonstrates the proper way to expel a fluid sample from a micropipette, a tool used throughout scientific studies.

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bruce weller

Kenny Kao ’08 of Taipei, Taiwan, has been named one of forty finalists nationwide in the 67th Annual Intel Science Talent Search, known as the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science competition.


Student’s Alternative Enern Research Gains National Recognition by Juliana Rosati When Kenny Kao ’08 reached the end of his seven weeks in Stony Brook University’s prestigious Simons Summer Research Fellowship Program in 2007, he knew that his work wasn’t done. He could tell that he had completed about 90 percent of the work that was necessary to solve the problem he had set out to solve—finding a way to increase the power output of PEM fuel cells, an emerging alternative energy source considered to have great potential for use in the automobiles, robots, and space missions of the future. For Kenny, 90 percent wasn’t good enough. He needed to find out what the final 10 percent would be. “The current problem is that these types of fuel cells have a low power output relative to the cost,” Kenny explains. “It is ten to twenty times

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more costly than if you were to generate energy from natural gas. Basically, my job was to improve the efficiency.” George School teacher Chris Odom, who currently instructs Kenny in AP Physics as well as Computer Programming and Robotics, notes, “You just can’t teach motivation, and Kenny’s got it in spades.” That motivation paid off. Kenny arranged to stay at Stony Brook for an extra week, and when the new school year began at George School, he continued to make trips back to the university to finish his project, which he conducted under the supervision of materials science and engineering professor Miriam Rafailovich, PhD. The results of Kenny’s work suggest a way in which the PEM fuel cells’ power output can be increased by over 500 percent, and this has earned him major national attention. Kenny has been named one of forty finalists nationwide in the 67th Annual Intel Science Talent Search, known as the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science competition. It is sometimes referred to as a “junior Nobel Prize.” The contest’s 1,602 entrants represented 504 high schools in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. “Kenny is well deserving of this honor,” says Chris. “He is tenacious. That’s the best way to describe him. He is relentless in a very positive way.” PEM fuel cells use hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity. Each cell is similar to a battery, with an anode at one end and a cathode at the other. In between is the “polymer electrolyte” or “proton exchange” membrane—the source of the initials “PEM.” When he started his work at Stony

PEM fuel cell Kenny Kao shows a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell, an emerging alternative energy source. Kenny found a way to increase the power output of the cells.

Brook, Kenny did not know of any experiments that focused on the membranes of PEM fuel cells, and he decided that his project would do just that. PEM fuel cells are an attractive alternative energy source because they generate electricity without pollution. At the anode, the hydrogen atoms split into protons and electrons. The protons pass through the membrane, while the electrons move along an external circuit, generating electricity. When the hydrogen protons and electrons reach the cathode, they combine with oxygen, forming water. In order to improve the efficiency of this process, Kenny deposited nanoparticles on the fuel cell membrane, taking advantage of the universitygrade laboratory equipment at Stony Brook to do so. He then studied the effect that the microscopic, synthetic particles had on the voltage and current of the electricity produced by the fuel cells. On the basis of his findings, he created a model that shows the conditions under which a PEM fuel cell will generate energy at optimal power output.

humanity.” He has also submitted his work as a patent application. Given Kenny’s achievements, it’s surprising to learn that he remembers the first few weeks of his project as discouraging. “It was basically a failure,” he says. About halfway through the program at Stony Brook, however, he had a breakthrough. The results of his experiments improved and, he says, “I realized it was actually pretty fun.” During the week that he stayed beyond the program’s end, he was able to build on the work he had done so far to reach a new level in his research. “The extra week was more important than all seven weeks of the program,” he observes. Kenny, who plans to study engineering and business in college, says that when he first set out to spend his summer doing scientific research, his goal was to get a hands-on preview of universitylevel engineering work. Now, he is essentially the sole expert in a particular area of knowledge about PEM fuel cells. “I had never dreamed of doing something like that,” Kenny says.

The results of Kenny’s work suggest a way in which the PEM fuel cells’ power output can be increased by over 500 percent. “We are extremely proud of Kenny,” states Head of School Nancy Starmer. “Given George School’s commitment to environmental sustainability, I think it is particularly exciting that Kenny has received this national recognition for research concerning an alternative energy source.” In addition to success in the Intel Science Talent Search, Kenny’s work made him a winner of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2008 THINK competition, which celebrates high school students’ efforts to create “technology for

Chris remarks, “It’s very relevant research, easily reproduced, easy to explain. Kenny’s results are just as clear as they could possibly be. It’s exactly what you hope your students will be able to do someday, and he did it at the age of eighteen. It’s not often that this happens.”

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eQuiz Highlights

Alumni Profile S a r a h D o h l e ’01

The December eQuiz asked alumni to describe the role of scientific discovery in their lives. Some of the responses are highlighted here. Thank you to the 160 alumni who participated.

Reflecting on Scientific Research 1946 | C a r lo s L u r i a Most areas of scientific research and discovery fascinate me. To name but three: (1) stem cell research—because of its potential for eliminating genetic diseases and replacing injured or defective organs; (2) cognitive functions research—not only because dementia will affect a growing number of people as our population ages, but also because our ability to collect data is vastly outstripping our ability to analyze and apply their meaning; (3) alternative energy research—for obvious reasons.

1962 | D av i d C. L e v i n For the past thirty-three years I have been in academic medicine at the University of Oklahoma in the Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Section. . . . Early in my career I was involved in NIHand VA-sponsored trials on treating patients with emphysema. More recently I have participated in a number of pharmaceutical company Phase II and III trials of a wide variety of bronchodilators. . . . Any time one is involved in human clinical trials, one must seriously evaluate the risk/benefit ratio to the patient. In addition, the frequent necessity to include a placebo arm in any therapy trial must be explained in detail to any volunteers for such studies. [There should be] even more diligent followup of all trial subjects who may (or may not) be on active therapy.

1972 | S u s a n G u h l B row n e The new analytical technologies for investigating rock and mineral characteristics, combined with the new technologies for resources development, empower not only the U.S., but also other nations to provide world solutions to problems that once were not feasible. . . . Based upon my involvement in hands-on environmental science at George School, I pursued a major in geology with an emphasis on geomorphology. I then earned my master’s in water resources and hydrogeology,

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with my research focus on drinking water quality in groundwater supplies. I continued my career in hydrogeology over the next twenty years, and now work as a geologist for the Alaska Geologic Materials Center.

W hat was your most interesting class at GS and why?

1973 | L i n da S. B lu m I have a paper in [the] Journal of Palliative Medicine about the economics of our palliative care program. I am involved with a project to explore the benefit of early palliative care interventions for patients in the emergency room at my hospital. . . . The issues involve distributive justice—how should limited resources be allocated justly for people with advanced illness.

1975 | M a rg a r e t T h o m a s R e d m o n

in large part at George School— a strong work ethic, problem solving ability, interpersonal skills, intellectual curiosity and desire to do something productive with my life. George School was a great place because there was so much opportunity for learning outside of the classroom as well as within.

W hat are you doing now? I’m a molecular biologist at Agrivida in Medford MA, a start up company developing technology for transgenic plants optimized for cellulosic ethanol production, which can be used as an alternative fuel. Most of the work I do involves DNA manipulation and protein synthesis.

Describe a lesson you learned at GS, and how it was valuable at college.

Gosh, I had so many really interesting classes at GS. A lot of it had to do with having teachers who were interested in what they were teaching. And having teachers who really emphasized how to find the answer to a question and not just what the answer was. This is a very valuable lesson. Paul Machemer in my freshman math class would always give us the opportunity to figure out the problems before showing us how to do them, which was terribly frustrating and difficult, but far more valuable in the long run. Tom English in his U.S. history class would always ask, “Why then? ” referring to what else was going on in the world to create a change at that point in time. I also particularly

Recent research that monkeys can do mental addition and make and use tools suggests that we are extremely arrogant to assume that we are the only “sentient” species on this planet. As a Quaker, I feel that we need to be respectful of all life on earth, and that we need to extend our thinking about how other species may participate in the stewardship of the earth. I am excited by the possibilities as we learn more about other species.

Memories of Science at George School

2001 | A l l i s o n S. B e to f

1972 | D av i d T. T a na ka

I am in my third year of the Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University. This is a combined MD and PhD program funded by the National Institutes of Health. I once sat in a conference and the speaker asked the attendees to raise our hands if we knew anyone whose life was changed by cancer. A sea of hands were raised, and not one person sat with both hands in their lap. This moment will stick with me for the rest of my life. Cancer is a pervasive disease that changes lives. I also believe that it’s a manageable disease. What motivates me is that some day I hope to sit in a similar conference—while I expect that many lives will still have been changed by cancer, I hope that I will be able to look around and see one person who sits quietly, hands folded neatly in his or her lap, grateful for the years of research that protected that family from this disease.

My exposure to the sciences at George School taught me that what was initially unknown was not unknowable; that the hard work associated with discovery can lead to new insights into one’s world and more important, into oneself. Without the knowledge gained in the sciences that I obtained at George School, I would never have had the tools needed to become a doctor; but without the teachers and friends I met at George School, I would never have had the experiences needed to help me with my quest to become a healer.

The skills which have really benefited me are those which I developed in my life before college and

1977 | R o b R a n d e l m a n Going to a very competitive science college I was well prepared—a fine testament to the quality of teaching overall. It was the combination of science and math at GS that made the difference. Taking Sam Smith’s calculus class plus physics at the same time made “sense.” I would say, however, it was the labs that I enjoyed the most—especially Ken’s chem

remember Ed Youtz’s emphasis on learning the logic behind physics and Rob Orr’s biology class.

W hat is your favorite GS memory? Lots of great memories. I can’t pick just one. It changes depending on my mood and level of nostalgia. Particularly memorable was streaking down a frozen South Lawn and the challenge of trying to run back up on the ice. I really enjoyed my time in West Main, both as a sophomore and as a prefect.

W hat do you do in your free time for fun and relaxation? When I’m not working on developing a more economical alternative fuel source, I enjoy hiking, camping, rooftop barbequing and performing with the Boston League of Women Wrestlers.

W hat are you reading now? Just finished Skeletons on the Zahara, and loved it. I am struggling through Ghost Plane and the Fundamentals of Biochemistry, second edition.

and Dusty’s bio lab (though slogging through the pond with Mac McNaught catching fish by hand is something I’ll never forget). Funny thing is that Ken gave me a five-year letter when I graduated. I opened it five years later and it said “You’ll probably be a chemical engineer” and even though engineering wasn’t offered in my college—I ended up being a chemical engineer through grad school. It’s amazing when a teacher knows you that well. I’ve always been indebted to him for showing me the practical side of chemistry (and the house of toast stories—you can be funny and a scientist).

1994 | H e at h e r L. B a r n e s [I currently work in the field of] assisted reproductive technology. . . . I enjoyed my whole year of AP biochemistry with Rob Orr. The fetal pig dissection was fascinating for me and the “origin of life” research project/paper was very interesting AND very challenging. Responses might be edited due to space limitations and Georgian style guidelines.

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april 2008


Finding Treasures

3. opposite page: Part of the GS panoramic photo from 1936-1937 that inspired Judith Sutton’s treasure hunt through the archives.

other finds from the archives:

all photos judith sutton

by susan quinn

Judith Sutton ’64 noticed a framed panoramic photo at a Brown Bros. auction a few years ago. Her curiosity piqued, she looked closer and discovered it was a panoramic photograph of George School students and faculty from the 1936-37 school year. “The serendipity was amazing,” enthuses Judith. “I found my mother’s oldest friend, Liz Hill Brady ’37, right in the middle, grinning in her sweater set and scarf. Searching for my mother, Ellen Pearson Sutton ’38, I spied my uncle, Don Sutton ’39, son of Stan Sutton, coach, who with my father Stan Jr. ’36, (not in the picture) had grown up on campus. There was Rinky McCurdy Sutton ’40 who married Don, and there, tiny and uncharacteristically somber, was my mom. They called her Peanuts.” Judith had to have the picture even though it was wrinkled, badly framed, and water stained in one corner. She bid longer than she expected and paid over fifty dollars plus tax and commission for the privilege of taking it home with her. “It wasn’t just that it was a photo of my mother,” Judith explains. “The George School staff in the front row was a history of my own school years:

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Steve Fletcher ’28, my principal through all eight years of the newly formed Newtown Friends School, and his wife Wanda, who taught third grade. Jack Talbot, father of my lifelong friend Bill, a darling young Miss Dedinski, who tutored me in French at George School, Mr. Walton, whose face I’d known all my life from the Newtown Meeting facing bench, ‘Mr. Dick’ McFeely, my George School headmaster, and my grandfather, handsome as ever.” Her mother was no longer living, so Judith shared the photograph with Liz who was overwhelmed with happy George School memories. Liz made a list of all the people in the photograph whose names she remembered and shared a scan of the photo with her friends. Judith’s experience with this one discarded George School photograph was about to change her life. Her find led her back to George School to look through the school’s collection of all-school panoramic photographs in the archives. “I believe there is an image of the face of every single person who attended George School in the last one hundred thirteen years,” marvels Judith. “Imagine what could happen if we made them all safe and accessible. The archive could be full of such stories, if only people could easily find them.” Judith discovered that the archives at George School were stored in a basement room of the meetinghouse. Her concern about their accessibility, shared with members of the George School community, prompted the formation of an archive committee and a commitment to house the George School archives in the new Mollie Dodd Anderson library. “An archive is a cross between a library and a museum, and should be treated with the same respect,” explains Judith. “It is a collection of artifacts of all kinds, often irreplaceable and fragile, which tell the story of a particular institution. George School prides itself on its rich history. It should be a priority to make our archives safe and available to the public so that the George School story they document will be available into the future.”

1. Photo album documenting construction of Orton. 2. Treasures from John M. George’s trunk. 3. Silver trophies and other athletic awards. 4. Hand-made scrapbooks and calendars created by George School students. 5. Photo album showing kitchen staff and the old gym, now Marshall Center.





“Plans now are in place to update the archives both physically and systemically,” shares Linda Heinemann, George School library director. “We are working on a mission statement for the archives, so George School knows what it is preserving, collecting, and acquiring, and on developing policies for conservation, preservation, maintenance, staffing, lending, copying, and emergency situations. A clean, properly ventilated, easily accessible space for the archives is an integral part of our plans for our new library.” The vision is simple. The George School archives will be a contributing part of the school as a whole. They will have a prominent place in the new library, in a clean well-ordered room with glass doors that invite interest and curiosity. There will be enough space to house the archives and the entire photography collection, now safely stored in another building, Judith hopes that each student will be introduced to the archives and their contents. Encourages Judith, “I look forward to the day when we have a detailed, computerized catalog of the George School collections, so the contents can be known, and conveniently used by everyone.”

Help Save Our Past This month we have launched a campaign to raise $250,000 to name the new archives in the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library for Kingdon Swayne ’37 in honor of his long and careful oversight of the collections. He has sorted, organized, and described most of the items in both the photography storage room and the archives, and safely boxed, and filed great numbers of them. Charlie Waugh ’36, a lifelong friend of Kingdon’s, has jump-started our fund-raising campaign with a matching gift pledge of $50,000, so we need to raise $200,000 from friends to meet the terms of the gift and the naming requirements for the archives.

Please help us meet this challenge. Gifts can be made online at:, or by contacting Director of Development Anne Culp Storch ’67 at 215.579.6569 or

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Highlights on Saturday, May 10 include the following master classes and discussions: •L  ibraries Never Looked Like This Before: Meet Library Director Linda Heinemann and learn about the new and innovative services that a top-notch school library can provide to student researchers. • An Old Green Building Story: Follow the fascinating pictorial history of how the 1812 Central Philadelphia Meetinghouse was moved to the George School campus as told by long-time George School architect Charles Hough ’44.

The Class of 1958 graduation photo is one of the class photos that line the hallways of the George School Meetinghouse and Main.

Alumni Weekend May 9, 10, and 11, 2008 Catch up with old friends, share fond memories, and see what’s new at George School. George School welcomes the entire Cougar alumni community to celebrate. This is a particularly special year for the Class of 1958, celebrating their fiftieth reunion, and the Class of 1983, celebrating their twenty-fifth reunion. If your Class year ended in an eight or a three and you are celebrating a fiveyear milestone, your classmates have plans in place for a fun reunion weekend for you. If you are unaware of the plans for your class, please contact us. Whether you are coming by yourself or with friends and family please let us know so that our

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faculty, student volunteers, and reunion team are ready to show you a great time. You can register online at Just click on the green Alumni Weekend box on the lower right corner of the screen. A full schedule also is available online. Starting with Flashback Friday—an opportunity to attend classes just like you were once again a George School student—you will enjoy the opportunity to participate in a variety of events, concluding with Sunday’s meeting for worship.

• Strategic Planning Listening Group: Attend a listening group session in which a facilitator will seek your input on key issues facing George School as we develop the school’s strategic plan. • From Vision to Reality: Learn what John Hoffman ’73 discovered about the nuts and bolts of creating a successful not-for-profit organization to serve a societal need like The Albert G. Oliver Program. •G  eorge School Website Preview: Take an early look at the new George School website, scheduled to be launched this summer as the result of a comprehensive redesign project involving alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff. Saturday’s activities include an alumni and faculty breakfast reception, alumni games, children’s activities, an all-student art show, all alumni gathering, and reunion photos. At noon, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new learning commons and Mollie Dodd Anderson Library will occur. All in all, it’s not only a weekend to reconnect with George School but a day to renew old friendships and undoubtedly forge new ones.

For more information contact Debbie Chong at 215.579.6564 or by email at advancement@ Don’t forget to visit our website at for complete details and online registration.

2008 Alumni Awards On Saturday morning, the 2008 Alumni Award recipients are honored for their outstanding accomplishments and service in their professional, personal, or civic life. Their achievements inspire other George School students and alumni and bring honor to our school. This year’s award recipients are:

Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 Barbara has long played a significant role in supporting the faculty and students of George School She established a teaching chair in honor of her father, David Dodd, a distinguished graduate school professor. She created a scholarship that provides tuition aid to sixteen students every year. The new green library will be named in honor of her granddaughter, Mollie Dodd Anderson. And her recent gift of $128.5 million brought international attention to George School.

David Bruton ’53 David has been a member of the school’s governing board since 1998, serving as Clerk since 2001. From 1960 until 2007, he practiced law with the Philadelphia-based firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath, where he served as a managing partner and as chairman of the litigation department. His litigation practice included appearances before the United States Supreme Court, federal courts of appeal and trial courts, and the Pennsylvania state courts.

John Hoffman ’73 John was founder and president of The Albert G. Oliver program, an education not-for-profit in New York City which places intellectually gifted African American and Latin American students from lower income families into selective boarding and day schools. Since 1983, eighty-four Oliver students have been placed at George School. John currently is the director of high school placement at De La Salle Academy, an independent middle school in Manhattan, for academically talented, low-income students.

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favorite things Aside from

village studio of photography

the work of E.B. White, overall Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 enjoys reading books about travel, art, history, design, architecture, furniture, and antiques.

Barbara Dodd Anderson’s Favorite Books 1. One Man’s Meat by E.B. White Originally published in 1942, this collection of personal essays depicts life at E.B. White’s farm in North Brooklin, Maine—where Barbara and her father, David Dodd, later visited the writer. Drawn from pieces that first appeared in the New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine, the book exemplifies E.B. White’s observant, succinct prose.

2. W  illiam Morris by Himself: Designs and Writings edited by Gillian Naylor Nineteenth-century English designer, poet, and social reformer William Morris advocated the ideals of simplicity and traditional craftsmanship in design. This book presents images of his distinctive wallpapers, fabrics, and other creations, along with excerpts of his writings.

Alumni Award Recipient: Barbara Dodd Anderson

Barbara Dodd Anderson’s Personal Library

3. B ernard Maybeck: Visionary Architect by Sally Byrne Woodbridge and Richard Barnes

tecture, as well as his contributions in the areas of design and engineering.

4. Suffolk Houses: A Study of Domestic Architecture by Eric Sandon This volume describes the history and evolution of timber-framed houses constructed in the rural county of Suffolk, England, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

5. Traditional Japanese Furniture: A Definitive Guide by Kazuko Koizumi Through the groundbreaking research of leading scholar Kazuko Koizumi, this book provides a comprehensive history of over eighty distinct types of Japanese furniture, examining their craftsmanship and aesthetic development in the context of Japanese culture.

Influential California architect Bernard Maybeck devised redwood and shingle houses in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as prominent buildings such as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Berkeley (1910), and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco (1915). This biography details his archi-

by Juliana Rosati When Barbara Dodd Anderson ’50 gave a $5 million named gift for George School’s planned new library in the fall of 2006—a year before her gift of $128.5 million to the school made headlines—she chose to name the facility in honor of her granddaughter, Mollie, an avid reader. The campaign for the Mollie Dodd Anderson Library and adjoining learning commons continues, with a plan for a groundbreaking on Alumni Day. It seems fitting to ask what is on the shelves of the existing, personal Anderson libraries. In other words, what do Barbara and her granddaughter like to read?

ness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English” through The Elements of Style, his revision of a grammar and usage handbook written by his late Cornell University professor William Strunk Jr. Barbara cites his essay collection One Man’s Meat— which gives a portrait of daily life at the writer’s farm in North Brooklin, Maine—as a favorite book. Thanks to E.B. White’s friendship with her father, renowned economist David Dodd, Barbara knows both the author and the setting firsthand. “E.B. White and my father were very good friends,” Barbara says. She recalls that the two met

“E .B. White and my father were very good friends,” Barbara says. “I must tell you I do love E.B. White,” says Barbara. Known as one of the greatest essayists of the twentieth century, E.B. (Elwyn Brooks) White developed his concise, elegant writing style as an early staff member of the New Yorker. For decades, college students have learned his philosophy of “clear-

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while vacationing in Florida one January. “My father knew somebody who had a house on the bayou, and he would go over there to fish,” she remembers. One day, David Dodd introduced himself to a man who was fishing on the bench next to his. The man replied, “I’m Andy White,”

using—in place of “Elwyn Brooks”—the nickname he had acquired at Cornell University. “They’d both been raised as farm boys,” says Barbara. “They just hit it off.” When David Dodd was in his nineties, Barbara and her late husband, John, traveled with him to the farm in North Brooklin to visit her father’s good friend, and Barbara saw up close the place that had inspired E.B. White to pen not only One Man’s Meat, but also the classic children’s novel Charlotte’s Web. “He was so generous and so nice,” she says of the author. “It was very interesting to talk to somebody who has a mind like that. He was a wonderful writer and he was a wonderful man.” Aside from her love of E.B. White, overall Barbara’s personal book collection illustrates her keen interest in travel, art, history, design, architecture, furniture, and antiques. “I have quite a good library on those topics,” she says. She particularly enjoys reading about places she visited with her husband or her parents. One source of inspiration is a three-month period of her childhood in which she traveled to England, Switzerland, and Austria

with her mother and father. “My mother had been ill, and it was kind of nice to take her there,” says Barbara. As for Mollie, Barbara describes her as a “cerebral” and “very advanced” reader. Now in the sixth grade, Barbara’s granddaughter is able to read at a tenth-grade level, and is fond of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Mollie also owns an autographed set of E.B. White’s books—a gift from her grandmother. “She has a wonderful vocabulary,” Barbara says proudly. “She’s read almost everything in the school library.” That seems an apt accomplishment for the namesake of George School’s future library.

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Alumni Award Recipient: David Bruton

Alumni Award Recipient: John Hoffman

A Decade of Commitment and Caring

Reaching Higher to Reach Kids

Nearly sixty years after coming to George School as a student, David Bruton ’53 can still be seen walking its tree-sheltered paths several times a week. Today, David is clerk of the George School Committee (GSC), the school’s governing board. He is one of the school’s caretakers, using the experience that grew from seeds planted more than a half century ago to help guide the school through an exciting time. He brings to the task both considerable energy and a considered approach, always with an eye to ensuring the long-term health and vibrancy of the school. In addition to being a George School alumnus, David is the father of a graduate (Kathryn ’84), but he readily admits that he wasn’t very involved with the school until former head David Bourns invited him to join the GSC a decade ago. In the years since he was a George School student, David graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and embarked on a legal career at the Philadelphia-based firm Drinker Biddle & Reath. He was at the firm his entire career (now officially retired, he works in arbitration) and served as managing partner and chairman of the litigation department. Several cases he was involved in went to the Supreme Court, and he presented the oral argument in one that concerned the separation of church and state in education. For many people, that would be the highlight of a legal career. In looking back, David speaks most glowingly of the freedoms he enjoyed: to take part in a broad range of cases, from corporate to education to civil rights issues; to learn new things from each case, and finding continuing intellectual challenge. He credits George School with helping in key ways. “One of the things my George School education did was to give me a sense of confidence and a desire to be independent and to think for myself,” David says. Since good writing is sometimes even more important to a litigator than persuasive speech, David feels “really blessed that my George School education helped me understand the glimmerings of what good writing is about.” With a lifelong commitment to education and opportunity, David has had many secondary and

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postsecondary schools as clients and has served on the boards of both another school and a Philadelphia area social service agency for children. Bringing his skills and passion to the GSC was a natural. David is enthusiastic about the “wonderful, vibrant way in which the school has operated” and about this “thrilling time to be involved.” He identifies four major initiatives that the GSC has had a hand in that he believes will not only ensure the long-term stability of George School, but also provide it with opportunities for continued change. These are the nearly completed curriculum review process, led by Head of School Nancy Starmer, undertaken by the school as a whole and the faculty in particular; the school’s commitment to leadership in environmental sustainability; the building of the new green learning commons and library; and the long-range planning for Barbara Dodd Anderson’s transformative gift. As in his career, David is involved in a broad range of activities at George School. As Nancy Starmer describes, “He’s been very supportive of the faculty, supportive of faculty housing and compensation, and supportive of the library. I’d be hard pressed to find an area where he hasn’t been involved and committed.” David Bruton has brought to the GSC and to the school a mixture of energy and deep thinking, what Assistant Clerk Joe Evans appreciates as his “wise, thoughtful, and deliberate approach and his vision for George School.” A vision, Joe points out, that is born of love.

andy popkin

by Andrea Lehman

by Andrea Lehman Giving back to your alma mater can involve opening many things – your heart, your checkbook. In the case of John Hoffman ’73, it also involves opening doors. Within seven years of graduating from George School, John began what was to become his life’s work: identifying high-achieving, low-income students from New York City and matching them to and preparing them for academically challenging independent schools, including the one he attended and which made a big difference in his life. It began slowly and serendipitously, when John, in his mid-twenties and on the fast-track at Pepsi-Cola, met with then Head of School David Bourns and Director of Admission Barry Koppock about how to use unspent financial aid funds to increase student diversity. In concert with people he knew in the New York City recreation department, John was able to identify several strong candidates who enrolled at George School. For a couple of years, John continued to recruit students through the recreation department, but he realized that to find the most academically qualified students, he would have to go directly through schools. Dr. Albert Oliver, the second-in-command in the New York City school system, supported John’s efforts from the beginning. With Oliver’s help, John was able to identify more students than George School could take, so he established rela-

tionships with other independent schools interested in bringing bright students of color to their campuses. When Dr. Oliver was tragically killed in an auto accident, John felt led to quit his lucrative corporate job at Pepsi-Cola and start a not-for-profit organization dedicated to giving deserving students the opportunities that schools like George School could provide. In 1983, John did just that, founding the Albert G. Oliver Program. The program identifies high-achieving African-American and Latin-American seventh-graders in New York City and provides them with the information and preparation necessary to enroll and be successful at top independent schools. The idea of students coming back and providing service to their community has been an integral part of the program since its inception. After ten years, John began to feel that “the schools themselves had to get better. They needed more faculty of color.” So in 1994, John founded the Independent Teaching Project, a teacher placement program for minority teachers. He missed working with kids, however, and in 1998 John became director of high school placement at De La Salle Academy, an independent middle school in Manhattan for intellectually talented, low-income kids. During his twenty years with the Oliver Program and De La Salle Academy, John estimates he helped send more than one thousand students to independent schools. To date, the Oliver Program has sent eighty-four Oliver Scholars to George School and another twenty-one students have come from De La Salle. According to John, George School “raised in me the consciousness of the importance of helping others, minding the Light, doing God’s work, and doing work that has real intrinsic value. I personally think that the essence of work and life is making a difference.” If making a difference is the yardstick, then John certainly measures up. One former Oliver Scholar, Yasmine AbdulMani ’96 shares, “John was concerned about our future and what direction we were going with our mind and our soul.” Now the New York Metro program coordinator at A Better Chance (an organization that, like The Oliver Program, recruits, refers, and advocates for bright students of color to attend independent schools), Yasmine views John as her mentor and supporter since she was thirteen. “Many people expect certain things of you coming from a boarding school. John just expected the best of us. He saw this potential in us and challenged us to meet it and would not accept anything less.”

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campus news & notes

Campus News & Notes by Juliana Rosati

Two New Buildings on Campus

ESL Assembly Faculty members

Susan Quinn

Susan Wilf, Anitra Lahiri, and Rachel Fumia pose with English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

Susan Quinn

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Students who helped organize Martin Luther King Day events include (first row, left to right) Geetika Gupta, Krystena Anderson, Levi Roy, Chidera Anyanwu and (standing left to right) Nelson Green, Johanna Schneider, Tsi’Ann Mander, Josh Carrion, Lamarr Milton, and SooMi Chung.

ESL Assembly At an assembly on December 14, 2007, students in George School’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program gave performances to share elements of their cultures with the community, drawing enthusiastic cheers from the audience. A group of Korean students danced to a popular song from Korea; Vietnamese students gave solo performances of popular songs from their country; Chinese students performed on a traditional Chinese harp; a group of Chinese students presented a humorous skit about “kung fu” table tennis; and a Japanese student performed a fan dance. George School has one hundred students of foreign nationality or Americans living abroad, from twenty-seven countries.

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Susan Quinn

Efforts by George School faculty and students have provided regular support to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) during the current school year. TASK serves meals to the hungry in Trenton, New Jersey, and provides adult education and various other services to help its patrons achieve selfsufficiency. George School English teacher Michelle Peñaloza has done weekly service work at TASK as a recipient of a 2007-2008 grant from the school’s Andrew Bourns Social Justice Endowment, established by David and Ruth Bourns in memory of their son Andrew ’87. Inspired by a suggestion from Michelle, George School’s Student Council orga-

GS Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

TASK Students leading the collection of hats, scarves, and gloves for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen include Chidera Anyanwu, HsuehErh Yang, Mark Gerelus, Capri Bronaugh-LaRocca, Matt Shipon, and Levi Roy, with faculty member Linda Heinemann.

George School held its nineteenth annual all-day commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 21, 2008. The day began in Walton Center Auditorium with the off-Broadway play Platanos and Collard Greens. A romantic comedy that addresses stereotypes, prejudices, and myths that exist between African-Americans and Latinos, the production has been performed at over seventyfive colleges and universities across the country. Following the play, various workshop sessions on campus encouraged participants to discuss and reflect in a variety of ways on Dr. King’s message of multiculturalism, diversity, and peace. The workshops were led by professors and graduate students from Temple University, members of the Islamic Society of Central Jersey, George School students who attended the National Association of Independent Schools’ annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and various George School student organizations. The day’s events concluded with an all-school meeting for worship in the afternoon. In addition, a group of students and faculty participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Philadelphia.

stephanie mcbride

George School Supports Soup Kitchen

nized a winter clothing drive on campus in December and January, led by Student Council President Mark Gerelus ’09. Approximately twenty-five large bags of donations resulted. Mark says, “It was great to see that our community could work together as a whole to help those less fortunate.” Michelle says of George School, “It’s a pretty amazing thing to live and work in a community of people so willing to help others.” Michelle first learned about TASK from George School Religion Department Head Chip Poston, who served at the facility as a previous Bourns grant recipient. In previous years, Chip also established a tradition of taking a group of George School students to serve at TASK once a month during the school year. During his sabbatical in the second term of this school year, math teacher Valerie Folk and English teacher Ralph Lelii have continued the tradition.

For the first time since the mid-1970s—when town houses were built on the south end of campus— new housing units are being constructed. This time, the units are being built to provide greater faculty presence at the center of campus. The two new twin homes are sited between Brown House and the football field and were envisioned in the 2002 Campus Master Plan. They will be completed by the end of March. Three of these new, energy-efficient residences have three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. An additional unit is wheelchair accessible with four bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. Dean of Faculty Scott Spence said, “Housing of this quality plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top-notch faculty families and enables them to live in a neighborhood where housing costs far surpass a teacher’s ability to afford them.” Head of School Nancy Starmer explained, “With plans to renovate Tate House beginning this summer, and the displacement of the three faculty families currently living in this 1756 dwelling, these units are coming on line just in time to fill a need.” She continued, “We’re grateful to all of the graduates and friends who contributed funds to this project, to George School Committee member Mike Kosoff ’56 for his leadership of the planning committee, and to the members of our physical plant staff for helping to make this project a reality.”

faculty housing New brick faculty housing will provide a greater faculty presence at the center of campus and will play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining top-notch faculty.

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campus news & notes

George School’s Community Chorus and Orchestra presented an opera-themed concert on February 17, 2008, in the George School Meetinghouse. Selections included “Habanera” from Carmen by Georges Bizet, “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide by Leonard Bernstein, the overture to The Barber of Seville by Gioacchino Rossini, and “Bacchanale” from Samson and Delilah by Charles Camille Saint-Saëns.

Georgian Design Supports Sustainability

Susan Quinn

Investment Club Hosts Guest Speaker

Investment Club members include: (first row, left to right) Kevin Hang, Luis Menezes Cabral, Michael Guth, (last row) Vir Patel, Eric Katz

The George School Investment Club (GSI) hosted a guest speaker—financial planner Jeff Sprowles of Jeff Sprowles and Associates, LLC—on Monday, December 17, 2007. Michael Guth ’08, president of GSI, said, “Jeff Sprowles educated us about how he became a financial planner and what it would

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Girls basketball team members (left) include Lisa Bernardini, Chidera Anyanwu, Coach Richard Polgar, Andrea Lipson, Coach Aaron Good, Joelle Sanphy, and Britt Russell.

Boys Basketball teammates (below) huddle around Head Coach Sean Casey. Seated from the left: Malik Garner, Kyle Scott, Emmanuel Tapia, and Justin Cancelliere. Standing from left: Coach John Stevens, Arie Manders, Tom Wayda, Logan Davis, Alex Reese and Jas Chojnowski.

Attend Strategic Planning Listening Groups George School has embarked upon a comprehensive process of developing a strategic plan for the school. “It promises to be an exciting process,” says George School Committee Clerk David Bruton ’53. “We are confident that the strategic planning process will strengthen the bonds of our shared commitment to George School. We invite the active participation of all members of the larger school community in this effort.” On March 1, 2008, the George School Committee used its midyear retreat to conduct the first of a series of listening groups to foster conversation about strategic goals and priorities for the school. Similar listening group sessions will follow throughout the spring for all constituencies of the George School community, including faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and friends. We hope that alumni will be able to attend listening groups scheduled during Alumni Weekend, on Saturday, May 10, 2008, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. facilitated by George School Committee members. Parents are invited to a listening group session scheduled on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. in the Admission Lobby of Main, immediately following the Parents Association meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. If you are unable to attend a listening group, we urge you to take part in an electronic survey that will be installed online following the listening group sessions. Visit the alumni website ( or the parent page of the George School website (http://www. to find links to the survey.

Basketball Highlights The girls varsity basketball team won the firstplace trophy at the ANC Jamboree on December 8, 2007. At the event—an annual one-day basketball tournament at The Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania—the George School team competed against teams from five schools.

Shortly afterwards, team co-captains Lisa Bernardini ’08 and Chidera Anyanwu ’08 presented the first-place trophy to Head of School Nancy Starmer at an all-school assembly. Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Richard Polgar said, “It was an excellent day for the girls. Every player contributed in a meaningful way to the tournament victory. Last year, we took second place in the same tournament, so our goal this year was to win it all, which we proudly did. The girls represented GS in fine fashion.” The boys varsity basketball team scored an exciting overtime victory with no time remaining against Friends’ Central School on January 19, 2008. Kyle Scott ’09 hit the winning shot. Emmanuel Tapia ’08 led the Cougars with fifteen points, and Tom Wayda ’09 contributed thirteen points and ten rebounds. The atmosphere at the game was energetic, with extra enthusiasm provided by George School’s Cougar Crazies—a group of students who appear at athletic events sporting forest green shirts and green-and-white face paint to promote positive energy among George School’s fans. “I was particularly impressed by the Cougar Crazies, who kept it loud and positive even when the team fell behind by ten points or so in the second half,” said mathematics teacher and boys soccer coach Paul Machemer ’65, who attended the event. “The game was an example of high school basketball at its best,” said Boys Athletic Director Sean Casey, head coach of the boys’ varsity basketball team. Assistant Coach John Stevens ’02 said, “It was the most exciting game that I have been a part of in years.”

Glenn Curry

The December 2007 issue of the Georgian debuted a new design created by George School’s awardwinning partner, Tony Rutka, of Rutka Weadock Design. As part of the school’s sustainability efforts, the new, lightweight cover and interior paper contain 30 percent recycled post-industrial fiber. In addition, the interior paper carries the Forest Stewardship Council’s “Mixed Sources” label, and biogas energy is used in the manufacturing process. The cover paper is Green Seal certified, and its manufacturing process uses 100 percent wind-generated electricity.

take for a high school student to pursue such a career. He also told us about his personal investing philosophies and the rationale behind them. It was a great experience for those who came.” GSI is a student organization that educates its members about finance through discussions, readings, guest lectures by investment professionals, and participation in a stock market game.

Glenn Curry

Community Chorus and Orchestra Concert

GS Student Named Distinguished Scholar George School senior Diana Goodman of Princeton, New Jersey, has been named an Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar for the 2008-09 collegiate academic year. Over 21,000 high-achieving New Jersey students were considered for this honor, which was given to approximately 5,000 students on the basis of their outstanding academic records and standardized test scores. The Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar program is a merit scholarship program administered by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, an independent agency of the State of New Jersey.

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stay connected



1. Fill out the form at: 2. Or send it by email to: 3. Or mail to: Georgian, PO Box 4438, Newtown PA 18940-0908

For contact information for alumni: 1. Visit the online community at: http: // 2. Or contact the Advancement Office: • By phone at 215.579.6564 • By email at • By mail at PO Box 4438, Newtown PA, 18940-0908

UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION 1. Fill out the form at: 2. Or modify your profile in the online community 3. Or contact the Advancement Office: • By phone at 215.579.6564 • By email at • By mail at PO Box 4438, Newtown PA, 18940-0908

VISIT THE ONLINE COMMUNITY See class homepages, update personal profiles, contact friends, check the event calendar, see photos, and more:



PHOTOs: Shop George School Online (Back Cover) Celebrating the opening of our new online bookstore are students Chenab Navalkha, Lamarr Milton, Elle Bassett-Cann, Kayla Robinson, Andrea Riley, and Emily Berenstain. Shop online now at Alumni Weekend (Inside Back Cover) Graduation photos line our meetinghouse wall waiting for alumni to return to celebrate their George School friends and memories May 9, 10, and 11, 2008.

Ap r i l 0 8 | Vol. 80 | no. 01

GEORGIAN EDITOR Susan Quinn 215.579.6567

GEORGIAN STAFF Peggy Berger Odie LeFever Kim Colando ’83

Holly Raudonis

Debbie Chong

Juliana Rosati

David Satterthwaite ’65

Parents of alumni: If this magazine is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please email us at with his or her new address.

Printed using soy-based ink on recycled paper with 30% post-consumer waste, manufactured using Bio Gas and wind-generated electricity. © 2008 George School Georgian design by Rutka Weadock Design

Advancement Office George School PO Box 4438 Newtown, PA 18940-0908


Georgian, April 2008  

The Georgian is the official publication of George School.

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