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125 Y EAR S

MERCERSBURG ACADEMY: 125 YEARS Originally based on One Hundred Years of Life: Mercersburg 1893–1993 by David Emory ’72 Edited and written by Lee Owen Additional contributions by Douglas Smith, Megan Mallory, Logan Cort ’18, and Matt LoPresti ’18

Dedicated to the life, legacy, and impact of H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 (1930–2018)


Ancient History The Borough of Mercersburg (and Before) A Look at “Mercersburg Theology” The Irvine Era Not First in Flight, But Close

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER The Edwards Era The Tippetts Era Mercersburg at War The Fowle Era The Chapel Walkout The Burgin Era The Hale Era The Art of Performance and Discovery Going Hollywood: Mercersburg on Camera The Wide World of Mercersburg Sports The Greatest Olympic Tradition (We Think) The Irving and Marshall Societies A Culture of Growth and Support

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PART III: TODAY AND TOMORROW The Titus Era—and Beyond Mercersburgiana: A Glossary

50 54

APPENDIX: MERCERSBURG LISTS 1893–2018 Students/Alumni Faculty

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© Copyright 2018 Mercersburg Academy. All rights reserved. No content from this publication may be reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written consent of Mercersburg Academy. Mercersburg Academy abides by both the spirit and the letter of the law in all its employment and admission policies. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or national or ethnic origin.



n your hands, you hold 68 pages that attempt to capture some of the most iconic, important, and memorable moments in the 125-year history of Mercersburg Academy.

For practical reasons (including the fact that each year in Mercersburg history cannot—and should not—be accurately compressed into equal portions of exactly 0.544 pages apiece), we have endeavored to produce a publication that is reasonably comprehensive, but not exhaustive. And a 1,893-page publication would be rather challenging for your local postal carrier to deliver to your mailbox. Chances are if you’re reading this, you have somehow been impacted by the history of this great school. Maybe you went to Mercersburg. Maybe you know someone who attended Mercersburg, or someone who has taught, coached, or advised students at Mercersburg, or someone who has tended its picturesque campus, or someone who sent a child or grandchild or friend to Mercersburg. Maybe you one day will attend Mercersburg or, through your generosity, maybe you will make it possible for someone to receive a Mercersburg education. Maybe you simply enjoy reading about places that have produced Olympic champions, movie stars, heads of state (and heads of American states), decorated servicemen and women, iconic philanthropists, dreamers, and doers. Whatever the reason, we hope you’ll turn the page and join us in looking back at the first 125 years of a place that is responsible for countless full hearts and loud swelling cheers. Lee Owen Summer 2018 Mercersburg, Pennsylvania





n 1893, a young seminary graduate named William Mann Irvine took charge of a failing college. With energetic leadership, clear vision, and a firm hand, he transformed the college into a thriving preparatory school. One hundred twenty-five years later, here we stand—as strong as ever, with full hearts and loud swelling cheers.

Ancient History Before we look at the last 125 years, the earlier years deserve a (brief) account. Why was there a school here in the first place, and what sort of school was it? (And, for that matter, why and how did people come to settle in this frontier that became the borough of Mercersburg?) Mercersburg Academy owes its existence at Mercersburg, ironically, to institutional instability. The old campus itself was born of instability.

In 1825, the German Reformed Church established a seminary in Carlisle, but problems with finances and church and community support prompted the seminary to move, first to York and then to Mercersburg. Mercersburg was chosen because of its quiet location and because of the financial support offered by the community. Actually, it was just the seminary’s preparatory department—18 students and two professors—which moved from

Frederick A. Rauch

Philip Schaff

York to Mercersburg in the winter of 1835–1836. But the community welcomed the group with much fanfare and with donations of $10,000, including four acres of land east of town. The campus was born. When the seminary followed its preparatory division to Mercersburg in 1837, the preparatory division had already been re-chartered as Marshall College and had built Old Main Hall. North and South Cottages were added in 1838 and 1839 as professors’ houses. The community of Mercersburg in the 1830s was little more than a farming village of 1,200 people and a stop on the wagon route west. But soon the seminary put Mercersburg on the intellectual map. Professors Frederick A. Rauch, John W. Nevin, and Philip Schaff developed a doctrine that gained international recognition as “Mercersburg Theology.” This doctrine attempted to move the Reformed Church away from individualism and toward a more traditional, ecclesiastical, and ritualistic form of worship, in line with European practices of the time. Marshall College shared quarters with the seminary for 17 years, before it moved to Lancaster in 1853 and eventually became Franklin & continued on page 8

THE BOROUGH OF MERCERSBURG (AND BEFORE) In 1750, James Black built a mill on a patch of land that eventually became Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. The settlement was initially called Black’s Town, and served as a trading post for settlements farther west along the frontier. Nearby Fort Loudoun (for which the present-day town of Fort Loudon—spelled differently—is named) was officially established during the French and Indian War. As the war ended, the British government resumed the transport of goods (including gunpowder and rum) westward for trade with Native Americans. Having borne the brunt of various tribal raids (including the 1764 Enoch Brown massacre, where a teacher—Brown—and 10 children were scalped and murdered in their one-room schoolhouse near what is now Greencastle), the local settlers, led by James Smith, decided to take matters into their own hands. With their faces painted black and red (to disguise themselves as Native Americans), a group of Smith’s men first attacked a caravan of British soldiers in 1765 to prevent the supplies from reaching Native American hands. The Black Boys Rebellion marked some of the first skirmishes between colonists and the British military, several years before the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. Black’s Town was renamed Mercersburg in 1786 for General Hugh Mercer, who died at the Battle of Princeton during the Revolutionary War (and practiced medicine in what became Pennsylvania before serving with George Washington during the French and Indian War).

General Hugh Mercer

Future U.S. president James Buchanan, who is the only Pennsylvanian to be elected our nation’s chief executive, was born just outside continued on page 8



PART I: THE BEGINNING Marshall College. During the Civil War, classes were suspended and most students left Mercersburg; many fought in the war. Following the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, the seminary buildings (most notably South Cottage) served as a hospital for wounded Confederate prisoners. The seminary would follow Marshall College to Lancaster in 1871, but Mercersburg College remained, having evolved from a preparatory division organized by Marshall College in 1837. Initially, “the Preparatory Department of Marshall College” was housed in an old frame building near the town square. After an 1841 fire, the preparatory division moved to a campus south of downtown (on present-day Linden Avenue) to land owned by Marshall College. When Marshall College departed, the preparatory school changed its name, first to Marshall Academy and then Marshall Collegiate Institute. For several years, it shared its campus with the Franklin Female Institute (a girls’ school). In 1865, Professor Henry Harbaugh helped reorganize the school under a new charter as “Mercersburg College.” He said, “We have called this institution a college, seeing we know not into what it will grow.” Today, more than 150 years later, Mercersburg Academy continues to operate under the charter of “The Regents of Mercersburg College.” Mercersburg College finished its first year with about 100 students (one-third of whom were female). Nearly all students were from nearby communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The school offered three years of a preparatory curriculum and two years of college-level courses.



Mercersburg on his family’s property at Stony Batter in 1791. He grew up in town and delivered what is considered to be the first address of his presidential campaign from the balcony of the Mansion House Hotel on the town square. Owing in part to the town’s location just north of the Mason-Dixon Line, a community of freedmen grew along present-day Fayette Street. President James Buchanan Mercersburg housed a number of stops along the Underground Railroad. Reportedly, these “waystations” included the Mansion House, the Bethel African Episcopal Church, and a number of private homes. Mercersburg suffered a number of raids during the Civil War (including from Confederate general Jeb Stuart), though not nearly as much blood was shed in the town as in nearby places more famous for fighting (Gettysburg) or burning (Chambersburg). Old Main Hall and South Cottage on the campus of what became the Academy were among the buildings turned into makeshift hospitals for wounded Confederate prisoners. A number of local African-Americans served in the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the former of which was immortalized in the movie Glory. The population of present-day Mercersburg is just over 1,500. In many ways, the borough remains a literal crossroads, with two major interstate highways running through Franklin County, four international airports within a 100mile radius, and the confluence of Midwestern, Southern, and Northeastern cultures all contributing heavily to the fabric of the area.

In 1871, after the seminary left town, Mercersburg College acquired Old Main Hall and the campus around it. A slew of hard times followed. The school had no endowment, and its earnings failed to cover its expenses. The college fell deeper into debt during the depression of the 1870s; enrollment dwindled to just 26 students by 1879, when the college closed for two years before reopening


under the leadership of Dr. George Aughinbaugh in 1881. While Aughinbaugh was able to reduce the school’s debt, he resigned in 1893 under continued financial pressures. The school’s Board of Regents decided on a different model: a secondary school for boys. A recent graduate of the seminary in Lancaster was chosen to lead the way: Dr. William Mann Irvine.


The Irvine Era William Mann Irvine, the man who would save Mercersburg College by changing it, was born just weeks after the school


opened in 1865—and not far away, about 40 miles west, in the town of Bedford. He was the son of a merchant.

A LOOK AT “MERCERSBURG THEOLOGY” In the mid-1800s, a theological debate erupted in a battle for the direction of what was known as the German Reformed Church. A growing movement had gained strength and altered the direction of the Reformed Church in America. It was against this backdrop that Friedrich (Frederick) Augustus Rauch of Germany took over the fledgling Marshall College. Rauch had a short tenure—he passed away prematurely in 1841 after only six years in charge—but was successful in establishing the Mercersburg Theological Seminary, which had moved to Mercersburg from York (and before that, from Carlisle) and was one of the leading authorities on the German Reformed Church. John Williamson Nevin took over as president of Marshall College and taught religion and philosophy at the Seminary. He was soon joined by friend and colleague Philip Schaff, and the two men started a movement that became known as Mercersburg Theology. Mercersburg Theology was largely centered around an emphasis on the incarnation of Christ (God’s presence in the world expressed in a real, John Williamson Nevin human life) and not simply the Resurrection and Ascension. As the American frontier expanded and small, rural churches were springing up all over, with that transition came a theology that placed emphasis on one’s individual conversion experience of the resurrected Christ as the sole measure of salvation. As part of this process, proponents of Mercersburg Theology argued, the importance of the church and its sacraments—particularly the Eucharist—were being significantly de-emphasized. For the Mercersburg movement, experiencing the sacraments within the context of the worshipping community was as important as one’s individual faith/conversion experience. Mercersburg Theology had a long-range and lasting influence in the Reformed Church. Each year at Commencement, two members of Mercersburg Academy’s graduating class are chosen to deliver the Schaff and Nevin Orations.

Irvine’s hard work at Phillips Exeter Academy won him fourth place in his graduating class in 1884, and he went on to win academic distinction in Princeton University’s Class of 1888 and then at the Reformed William Mann Irvine Seminary in Lancaster. More remarkable than Irvine’s scholarship in those institutions, however, was the energy and leadership he showed in extracurricular activities. Already a football hero at Princeton, “Buck” Irvine reorganized, coached, and starred on the Franklin & Marshall College team in Lancaster, personally scoring three “goals” in one game against his old Princeton team. He also organized the glee club, founded the student newspaper, and led the drive to build a gymnasium. During summers, he wrote for the New York Tribune and worked for its Fresh Air Fund for disadvantaged children. In 1891, Princeton awarded Irvine a Ph.D. in political language, and in 1892, Franklin & Marshall hired him to give physical instruction at the new gymnasium and teach English, rhetoric, logic, and political economy in the classroom. A student later recalled Dr. Irvine’s forceful style: He taught political economy... as if his very soul depended on the outcome... He made us feel that it was a vital and practical study. Somehow his language and his attitude were different



PART I: THE BEGINNING from anything to which we had been accustomed. It was not undignified, but it was direct, penetrating, and compelling. At the end of the hour, he banged his fist on the desk, closed the book, and said, “Now, boys, go home and chew it up!” As early as 1890, Irvine told a friend that he was looking for a school that he could build up along his own ideas. In April 1893, Irvine accepted the invitation of the Board of Regents and came to Mercersburg as headmaster. He was 28 years of age. Irvine chose as a model Phillips Exeter Academy—in this rural Pennsylvania setting, he sought to recreate all that was good about his New Hampshire alma mater. First, though, he had to bring the school back to life. Three more teachers were hired to join him; two had graduated from Franklin & Marshall. The job of recruiting students essentially from scratch left Irvine too ill to participate in Mercersburg’s first opening exercises. The inaugural student body ultimately included 69 students, and a total faculty of six. About 20 of the students were local, and eight were girls—they would be the last female students to attend Mercersburg for seven decades. Even in that first year, Dr. Irvine wasted little time in stamping his character on the school and began to lay the foundation for many organizations which soon characterized and epitomized it, including what became Stony Batter Players and the Glee Club. Irvine’s foresight and drive powered Mercersburg through a dynamic expansion and building project which saw a dramatic


growth in enrollment—and faculty, and buildings, and the size of the campus. In Irvine’s first decade, the enrollment swelled to 327, making Mercersburg the fourth-largest boys’ boarding school in the country. There were now 21 faculty members and 63 acres of land (up from a mere four acres). By 1928, more than 500 students were enrolled, and 50 teachers were part of the faculty. Old Main Hall received a new wing in 1896 for a chapel and assembly hall, as well as classrooms,


a library, the literary societies, and some boarding students. Keil Hall took shape in 1900, with a kitchen and dining room on the ground floor and rooms above. ’Eighty-eight Dormitory and Laucks Hall opened in 1904 and 1906, respectively; yet the school still needed to house boys in a handful of small overflow dormitories in town. The infirmary was completed in 1905, and Nolde Gymnasium opened in 1912. Plans for the Chapel were delayed by World War I and the 1922 construction of Traylor Hall; the magnificent building (which remains arguably the focal point of campus to this day) finally opened in 1926. The Chapel was dedicated on Irvine’s 61st birthday: October 13, 1926. More than 60 different schools, colleges, and seminaries sent representatives, with the number of reported attendees exceeding 1,000. School treasurer John Milton Drumm described the aftermath: “Everyone was happy and we planned to rest for a few years, wipe out our accumulated debt, and have our tired headmaster take a well-earned rest before starting another building project.” Those plans went up in smoke and down in flames when Main Hall burned to the ground in the middle

1924, Chapel groundbreaking

PART I: THE BEGINNING of the night on January 9, 1927, not even three months following the Chapel’s dedication. School was closed and students went home for two weeks—not only because heat to the rest of the campus buildings was knocked out by the fire (since the heating line was in the Main Hall basement), but because Main also housed the entirety of the school’s recitation rooms. Out of necessity, temporary classroom buildings known as the “Shacks” were hastily constructed where Irvine Hall stands today, and the heat line was repaired. This all happened in a span of two weeks. “No job of construction ever moved faster at Mercersburg,” Drumm said. “Academy friends and patrons said it couldn’t be done, but it was accomplished. “The Main Hall fire was, next to Dr. Irvine’s death, the greatest tragedy in Mercersburg history. The building needed to be rebuilt at once. There was no argument to the contrary. The lesson from the fire convinced everyone that the new building should be of fire-proof construction, making the building more costly.” “New” Main Hall opened in January 1928, with the Main Hall Annex (which today is known as Swank Hall) following a couple months later. On June 5 of that year, the student body assembled at Main Hall for Step Songs. As the boys sang the Stephen Foster ballad “Old Black Joe,” Irvine collapsed from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was carried to his bed in North Cottage where he died six days later—June 11, 1928— on the campus that, in so many ways, is his legacy.

June 20, 1928 My dear Fellow Alumni— “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Our beloved Doctor Irvine joined that procession of immortal souls June eleventh. Surrounded by his devoted and faithful wife and his two lovely daughters he went peacefully to sleep in that southwest bedroom of North Cottage which overlooks the campus he consecrated by years of toil, the buildings he erected thereon almost single handed and on up the hill to the magnificent Chapel, which crowned his work. He had been taken slightly ill leaving the chapel after Vesper Services Sunday, June the third, but seemed quite normal Tuesday, participating in the exercises of the day. That evening at Step Songs just after calling through his megaphone to the boys to sing “Old Black Joe—I hear the angel voices calling,” he was suddenly stricken and had to be carried to North Cottage. When he regained full consciousness he was happy to know the boys were still singing. It was proven later that Doctor Irvine had had a very slight cerebral hemorrhage Sunday evening, a more extensive one occurred Tuesday at Step Songs and then a very profound one proved fatal the following Monday evening. I spent four days with him the week of his last illness and how thankful I now am that I returned to Mercersburg for a few hours visit the day before the fatal attack. He seemed so much better that day and was in the best of spirits. Every thought was of Mercersburg and his ambition for her future. For thirty-five years he had been dreaming, planning, building his School and in the shadow of the great summons he could not relax. The mental tension caused by years of the most intense application could not be relieved when the warning came of danger ahead. He rode into the face of the storm mind alert and tense, planning, planning, planning for the greater Mercersburg. In doing so he spent himself and made the supreme sacrifice smilingly and happily for “Old Mercersburg.” Following the Board of Regents meeting June fifth, Doctor Irvine met with the Alumni Council and talked most enthusiastically of ways and means for the Alumni Association to help the Academy. After a happy half hour with us he said he was going to North Cottage to rest. He did. It seemed predestined that attendance at our meeting was his last official act. It was as if he left with us the torch to carry on. He was delighted that the Council had voted unanimously to actively assist the Academy in collecting the money continued on page 12




continued from page 11

pledged by numerous Alumni to the building funds for the Chapel and New Main Hall. Fellow Alumni, we have leaned on Doctor Irvine and relied on him to place and keep Mercersburg in the lead of Secondary schools. Now we who have benefitted most by his years of exhaustive effort must bear the load the Lord in His wisdom has transferred to our shoulders. It will be light if each one senses the inspiration instilled in us through the years by our dear, incomparable Headmaster William Mann Irvine, one of God’s greatest Noblemen. He began a great work for young manhood. To us who have basked in the sunshine of his magnetic personality and who have walked hand in hand with him through the most impressionistic period of our lives feeling his strength, his power, his love, must now carry on for the School. Doctor Irvine’s work was built on solid rock; he laid the foundations upon which we must build an even greater Mercersburg. We will keep faith with him. Faithfully yours, Joel T. Boone Alumni President

Joel T. Boone (1909)



Calbraith Rodgers (1902)

NOT FIRST IN FLIGHT, BUT CLOSE While the notion of early aviation begins with the Wright Brothers achieving brief flickers of flight off the beaches of Kitty Hawk, N.C., our Mercersburg family, too, was a driving force in early aviation. And we’re not just talking military history, in which the school has a Medal of Honor recipient in Ralph Talbot (1916), or Wilbur White Jr. (1907), whose aerial exploits played like a movie. (Literally a movie; Gary Cooper portrayed “Cadet White” in the 1927 film Wings, which was the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.) We are talking about a record in aviation that intertwines with a surprising number of firsts in the field and groundbreaking achievement in flight.

It all started seven years after that first mechanically powered flight took place, encompassing 40 seconds of airtime for the Wright Brothers, when Calbraith “Cal” Rodgers (1902) arrived at the Wright Flying School in Dayton, Ohio. After just 90 minutes of lessons he passed the flight examination and became just the 49th licensed pilot in the world. One month later, Rodgers entered William Randolph Hearst’s competition that promised $40,000 to anyone who could fly across America in under 30 days. Piloting a Wright Brothers-built plane, Rodgers secured a sponsorship from the Vin Fiz grape-soda company. On September 17, 1911, he embarked on an epic journey across the nation. He plotted a route along railroad tracks, as he was to be accompanied by a train equipped with spare parts and a portable “hangar.” This proved to


be a wise strategy, because Rodgers crashed 16 times! (He made an additional 68 stops for a variety of other reasons.) When it was all said and done, Rodgers became the first man to fly across the continental United States, landing safely at Long Beach, Calif., in front of a throng of 50,000 people. While it took 49 days to complete his flight (meaning Hearst did not pay the reward for the contest), Calbraith Rodgers etched his name in aviation lore as the first person to fly across America. Following closely on Cal’s heels was David H. McCulloch (1910). His story was essentially lost to history for a reason: near misses rarely go down

B.F. Mahoney (1918), left, with Charles Lindbergh

in lore. McCulloch was a preeminent aviator during the early 20th century and the chief instructor at a flight school funded by businessman and philanthropist Rodman Wanamaker. The school eventually became the American Trans-Oceanic Company, whose goal was to cross the Atlantic Ocean. McCulloch was the test pilot for Curtis Flying Machines during the race to develop the first passenger aeroplane. From this experience, he was selected as a co-pilot on the Curtis Seaplane NC-3 flight across the Atlantic. The Navy lined ships about 50 miles apart to mark the route of the flight to Europe. About 300 miles off the coast of the Azores, the weather turned. Encountering heavy rain and wind, the plane veered off track and crashed some 200 miles from its target. The genius of the Curtis flying ship, however, was that its hull could be sailed if it crash-landed in water. For the next 53 hours, the crew negotiated treacherous weather and high seas before arriving at the Azores and came ashore alive. The ship was badly damaged and could not make the remainder of the trip to mainland Europe, but the NC-4, which was part of the same caravan, was successful—securing its spot in history as the first transatlantic flight. New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig created the Orteig Prize for the first person to fly across the Atlantic non-stop between New York and Paris. Charles Lindbergh was one of three competitors who rose to the challenge. Incidentally, the

Drawing by Jimmy Stewart ’28

Wanamaker-led American TransOceanic Company was the second group to make it across, narrowly missing out for a second time. The issue Lindbergh had was the financing and the building of his plane. In steps, Mercersburg alumnus B.F. Mahoney (1918), who had bought out Claude Ryan of the Ryan Airlines Corporation, was approached by Lindbergh to build his plane. It was a controversial choice of airplane builders for Lindbergh, and one can’t help but wonder if “Old Mercersburg” connections tipped the scales in Mahoney’s favor. From that point forward, Mahoney was a close associate of Lindbergh throughout the entirety of his historic flight. The plane he built, the Spirit of St. Louis, is arguably the most iconic plane in American history. It now hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum—alongside Cal Rodgers’ Vin Fiz. —Douglas Smith





The Edwards Era




hen Dr. Irvine died in 1928, he left an incredible gaping hole to fill. With vision, hard work, and sheer force of personality, he had built the school up around himself, and it clearly bore his signature. Fortunately, there was a good man available for the job: Dr. Boyd Edwards, who already knew the school well as a frequent and popular speaker in the Chapel. He also was a close friend of Dr. Irvine. Boyd Edwards was born in 1876 in Lisle, N.Y. He was educated at Phillips Andover Academy, Williams College, and Union Theological Seminary, and later received honorary degrees from Williams, the University of Pennsylvania, and Franklin & Marshall College.

Before coming to Mercersburg, Edwards served as pastor of Congregational churches in New York and New Jersey, and for the six years immediately preceding his arrival, he was headmaster of Mercersburg’s old rival, the Hill School. He first visited Mercersburg as a speaker in 1912, and was known for his direct style, commanding appearance, and resonant voice. As headmaster, the friendly and outgoing Edwards operated the school through committees and was generous and impulsive in his

Dr. Boyd Edwards

decisions. The discipline of students or faculty did not come naturally to him—when unavoidable, it was administered with a minimum of harshness. Students especially appreciated his personal interest in them and his regular attendance at their athletic contests. A student from the 1930s wrote of Edwards: He attended all the athletic contests and many practices regardless of climactic conditions. Rain or snow, he was always to be seen, leisurely smoking his pipe, in the stands. Last year, after our last and most important game, in which we played without substitution on a rainsoaked gridiron and won by the narrow margin of a safety, he came into the locker room, shook our hands, and patted us on the back. Soon he was caked with mud, but it daunted him not the least. To our team this commendation was all the reward to be desired. During the World Series every autumn, Edwards had a loudspeaker installed behind Main Hall, hooked to a radio. Chairs were set out for the entire school, and as the games progressed Edwards himself handed out bags of peanuts.

Two urgent problems greeted Edwards as he settled into the job of headmaster. The school was $450,000 in debt, thanks to the (planned) construction of the Chapel and (unplanned) building of New Main Hall. Equally if not more concerning was that enrollment dropped sharply at Mercersburg— and essentially everywhere else— during the Great Depression. Nevertheless, Edwards and school treasurer John Milton Drumm not only piloted the Academy through the Depression, but paid off all the debt within 10 years. They did this by cutting their own salaries and those of the faculty and staff; rather than lay off some of the kitchen and maintenance staff, Edwards economized by employing a rotating system; three weeks on, one week off. Selected faculty members crisscrossed the country during Easter and summer vacations to recruit students. And Mercersburg made it through. In his 13 years as headmaster, Edwards developed and refined the school that Dr. Irvine had left him. Many of the improvements were subtle, but they added up. Academic standards improved, and

the Academy joined a number of academic organizations, including the Cum Laude Society. College representatives made regular visits to campus for the first time. Music and athletics were established as official departments. The library lost in the Main Hall fire was gradually replaced, partly with books from Edwards’ own collection. New honor clubs and hobby clubs offered students activities in French, German, radio, photography, and other areas. A faculty retirement plan was started. And numerous small construction projects improved the campus in many ways. Every dormitory floor received shower facilities, and common rooms were created in each dorm. All dorms were modified for fire safety. A new X-ray room and oxygen tent were added to the infirmary. The gymnasium lobby became a trophy room. Thousands of trees were planted, new sidewalks were laid, and electric cables were buried—all to help the campus develop into one of the most beautiful settings anywhere. Edwards retired in 1941. He returned to speak at Mercersburg several times before he died in 1944 at age 68.




The Tippetts Era Mercersburg’s third headmaster, Dr. Charles S. Tippetts, was one of the school’s own—a graduate (and valedictorian of) the Class of 1912. As such, he knew the school better in some ways than either of his predecessors, for he had experienced the place as a member of its student body. Like his predecessors, Tippetts brought with him a distinguished academic record: valedictorian and Gold Cross winner at Mercersburg; decorated undergraduate and graduate student at Princeton University; 20 years as an economics professor at Princeton and several other universities; dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s business school; and author of several


books on economics. In person, Tippetts was friendly, informal, and even humble, and he set a new tone for the school. His office door was always open for students, faculty, and visitors, and his first concern was to put people at ease. (As a student, he had followed his older brother, William ’10, to Mercersburg, and several other members of his family—including grandson Tom Steiger Jr. ’66 and great-grandchildren Thomas Steiger III ’11 and Chandler Steiger ’13—would in turn follow him to the Academy.) Tippetts prided himself on knowing every new boy by his first name or nickname by the middle of the school year. For

16Tippetts M Ewith R C EDean R S B Roy URG A C AAndrew DEMY: 125 YEARS “Spike”

Dr. Charles S. Tippetts (1912)

years, he sent former students birthday cards. It was partly due to his personal touch that during his administration the alumni body became more closely knit than ever before. Just as Edwards had arrived at Mercersburg in time to wrestle

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER with the Depression, Tippetts was confronted by World War II. Enlistments and the draft left huge holes in the school’s faculty and staff, and the students themselves worried over whether to enlist before they could be drafted. Tippetts also had to navigate the school through the Korean War, which caused similar problems on a smaller scale. Since the 1927 Main Hall fire, most classes had been held by necessity in the “Shacks,” an inadequate (and far from beautiful) grouping of emergency classrooms hastily assembled after the fire for so-called “temporary” use. Thankfully, in 1950, the Shacks were replaced by a large brick building with 47 classrooms and science laboratories. It was named Irvine Hall. In a momentous three-year period between 1948 and 1950, the roll of graduates included a Nobel Prize recipient (Burton Richter ’48), a head of state (Ecuador’s León Febres Cordero ’49), three presidents of the school’s Board of Regents (Edgar Masinter ’48, H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49, and W. Carroll Coyne ’50), and a Pennsylvania governor and U.S. attorney general (Dick Thornburgh ’50). Fourteen recipients of Mercersburg’s Class of ’32 Distinguished Alumnus Award (the highest honor the school bestows; see list, page 63) came from these three classes. Landscaping activities continued to renew the beauty of the Mercersburg campus during the Tippetts era. Many of these projects, including the landscaping around the Chapel, were directed by his wife, Margaret. Maybe the most unique addition to the campus during these years was the James Buchanan Cabin, purchased

for $5,000 and moved near Nolde Gymnasium and Spider Field in 1953. (The cabin may or may not have been the actual structure in which the 1791 birth of the only Pennsylvanian to become president of the United States took place, but the cabin certainly came from his family’s property at Stony Batter northwest of town.) Tippetts—a professor of economics by trade—led the school through great success in the financial realm. Mercersburg raised more than $2 million during his administration (equivalent to $17 million today)—some of which was used to build a new dormitory in 1960 that bears his name, as well as the auditorium building of Boone Hall, which opened in 1962 and served the school for more than four decades before being razed to make room for the

Burgin Center for the Arts. Tippetts was a Mercersburg classmate of Edward E. Ford (1912), whose support of the school would make an incredible impact on the campus and its financial health for decades to come. Tippetts’ legacy at Mercersburg is more than bricks and mortar; ultimately, the feeling of the school was changed for the better during his era. “The headmaster and his colleagues in the administration and faculty became by policy available to student, parent, and teacher alike at almost any hour of the day or night for conference,” the Alumni Quarterly wrote in 1959. “Mercersburg became a friendlier place.” Tippetts took a sabbatical in 1960 and retired the next year. He died in 1968 at age 75.




“Life is a battle.” —William Mann Irvine, Commencement 1914

Mercersburg at War Dr. Irvine may have been speaking symbolically when he uttered these words to the Class of 1914, but less than three years later, many of those present were experiencing the conditions of war firsthand—and at least one member of the graduating class made the supreme sacrifice on the field of battle. Sadly, James G. Elder (1914)— who heard Irvine’s address in person—was nowhere near the only Mercersburg boy to die in the service of his country. A total of 166 alumni were killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. (The school’s records indicate that the most recent alumnus to be killed in action was Michael P. Rice ’64, who died in Vietnam in September 1972.) Fourteen alumni fought in the Spanish-American War in the 1890s, and others had taken up arms against Pancho Villa in the Southwest—but clearly, World War I affected the school and the nation in a much more immersive way. As early as 1915, Dr. Irvine was receiving letters from alumni who were fighting on the battlefields of


Europe. When the United States entered the war in 1917, large numbers of graduates (and undergraduates) enlisted—as did some of the faculty. Daniel Heefner, the school’s alumni secretary, later wrote that Irvine “felt that it was much easier to secure boys than it was to secure good teachers. A number of the Academy faculty had joined the colors and there was a great scrambling among the schools to get good teachers.” There was some limited opposition to the war on campus, according to the [Chambersburg] Public Opinion:


Several members of the Mercersburg Academy faculty are in bad with the administration there as a result of their peace and pro-German activities. As advocates of the doctrine of the Emergency Peace League these instructors had printed at a Chambersburg printer some pacifist literature, which they circulated just on the eve of President Wilson’s going before Congress to aid in the fight for

the maintenance of democracy and the overflow of autocracy. The actions of the pacifist instructors were not pleasing to Headmaster Irvine of the academy, who is a red-blooded, democratic American. There are stories afloat in Mercersburg that the professors have been asked to resign, but last night they were still on the job. The town of Mercersburg is all agog over the incident. By the end of hostilities, at least 1,770 Mercersburg alumni had served in the war effort. Joel T. Boone (1909)—who would later work as White House physician under Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt and is the most decorated medical officer in the history of the U.S. Navy—and Ralph Talbot ’16 received the Medal of Honor. Fiftysix Mercersburg boys died; their names are inscribed on a tablet displayed in the narthex of the Irvine Memorial Chapel alongside the names of those who later perished in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.


World War I

World War II made an even more significant impact on Mercersburg. Faculty members were drafted; some volunteered before they could be drafted. Headmaster Tippetts, an outspoken critic of the drafting of 18-year-olds, watched many of his students leave to join the war effort. In response to the wartime circumstances, Mercersburg introduced summer-session classes in 1943 to quicken students’ progress toward graduation. Students shared the campus with members of Marine, Army, and Navy air cadet groups who took ground courses at Mercersburg and flight training in nearby Hagerstown. There was room to house these cadets in ’Eighty-eight and Colonial Cottage, thanks to the drop in enrollment. A watchtower was installed atop ’Eighty-eight in March 1942, and it was manned 24 hours a day by citizens of the town, as well as faculty, faculty wives, and even some students. More than 2,900 alumni had served by the war’s end. (Admiral Boone was aboard the USS Missouri to witness the signing of the Japanese surrender in September 1945.) Eugene Fluckey ’30 received the Medal of Honor, and 95 alumni lost their lives.

John Linderman ’55

Eugene Fluckey ’30

Seven alumni died in the Korean War, and 10 perished in the Vietnam conflict. While there was student unrest on campus during Vietnam (as in many places across America), the draft no longer plucked teachers and students right out of the classroom, and the dining hall did not have to ration food. Alumni have served their countries in a number of conflicts since, with many continuing to serve with distinction today.

WWII, Admiral Boone (seated, right)




The Fowle Era A graduate of Williams College and Columbia University, William C. Fowle presided over some of the most important— and, it can be argued, the most courageous—years of Mercersburg Academy’s history. It was on his watch that Mercersburg first accepted AfricanAmerican students; coeducation was restored for the first time in the 20th century; required Chapel services ended (in no small part due to the Chapel walkout of 1969); and Boone Hall, Ford Hall, and Fowle Hall were built, in addition to needed renovations to Nolde Gymnasium and other athletic facilities, the Main Hall Annex (which became Swank Hall), and Keil Hall (where the Swank Library was established inside the venerable Edwards Room). The school’s endowment grew from $350,000 to more than $3 million. Fowle grew up in Chicago and, after completing his education, spent 22 years at Hotchkiss



School in Connecticut as a teacher, coach, admissions director, and assistant headmaster. He came to Mercersburg in 1961 to succeed Wilmarth I. Jacobs, who had served as acting headmaster for seven months following Tippetts’ retirement. With a large group of key faculty members retiring during his tenure—including but certainly not limited to Roy “Spike” Andrew, Dave Chapman, Jimmy Curran, Norris Grabill, Fido Kempton, and the aforementioned Jacobs—Fowle thought it paramount to increase Mercersburg’s attractiveness to potential employees. The school established a retirement annuity plan, built a number of faculty houses on campus, and purchased homes for other faculty in the Borough of Mercersburg. While Mercersburg has always been proud of its diverse student body—even in its earliest years under Dr. Irvine, the Academy attracted students from more


William C. Fowle

than 20 nations, and Charles McGilberry (1917) was the school’s first Native American graduate— for the first 75 years of its history as a college-preparatory school, its students were mostly white, male, and Protestant. In 1964, Mercersburg admitted two AfricanAmerican students for summer school and three students—Tom Fleming ’68, Tom Leslie ’66, and Conrad Vickers ’68—for the 1964–1965 academic year. Fowle often referred to the integration of the school as his proudest achievement as headmaster. “My personal feeling is that Dr. Irvine and his devoted wife, as well as many of the old timers, would be proud of Mercersburg for stepping into the vital needs of today in a social sense as well as an educational undertaking,” Fowle said. Fowle recalled a situation where one angry parent stormed into his office after discovering his son would be living with an AfricanAmerican roommate: “[The father was] barely able to contain himself. He said, ‘I don’t want to raise hell, I don’t want to make problems. I know what you’re doing and it’s alright, but I want you to know my

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER feelings.’ I got someone to bring his son to my office and it turned out that the boy had asked for this roommate. The mother and father didn’t know a thing about that. They just put their tails between their legs and went home.” During a required Chapel service on April 10, 1969, about half the student body walked out in protest of the fact that Saturday-morning Chapel attendance was required. The result of this student action was an end to required attendance at Chapel services. “The walkout made me realize how important the issue was to [the students], how serious they were… how hostile… how violent,” Fowle said in a 1988 piece in Mercersburg magazine. “I felt very bad [about it], but I realized [the requirement] was not doing what we said it was doing at all. It was just making students hostile and worse. They may never go to church again, I thought. I decided it was better not to have it than to have it doing harm. “We simply dropped compulsory Chapel. We ran services regularly, though they were not compulsory. The Board didn’t call me down too hard for that decision, though they did ask me a lot of questions; and some of the faculty didn’t agree with me, of course.” Given the turbulence of the times across the country, with Vietnam, generational unrest, an economic recession, civil rights issues, and changing demographics, boarding schools suffered. At Mercersburg, enrollment dropped by a third— from 517 students in 1969–1970 to just 346 in 1972–1973. “While the situation is critical, it is not fatal,” Fowle wrote to alumni in the early 1970s. “Mercersburg has come

THE CHAPEL WALKOUT On the morning of April 10, 1969, about half of the student body walked out of the morning Chapel service in protest of the fact that Saturday-morning Chapel attendance was required rather than optional. Headmaster Fowle had received word of a possible walkout, but rather than stop it, he wanted to see what would happen and what effect it might have if it were successful. Those who walked out went to Boone Hall, and the rest of the school then joined them for a vigorous session of debate. Ultimately, required Chapel ended at Mercersburg. The change was a painful one for some. Generations of alumni remembered finding inspiration in Chapel services. The school’s original founding was tied to the Reformed Church, and the campus had been the site of an important 19th-century movement in American Protestantism, Mercersburg Theology (page 9). And the physical Chapel building itself—the dream and creation of Dr. Irvine—was the crowning glory of the campus and an icon of the school. It could not be allowed to become merely ornamental. After all, Mercersburg College had been founded with the motto “Via Crucis, Via Lucis.” Compulsory worship, argued the protestors, was not worship at all. Instead of uniting everyone in common faith, the requirement was alienating some students. (From a practical standpoint, many students simply wished for one day off each week from required appointments, whatever they might be.) To Fowle’s credit, he listened to those who desired change. Two weeks later, during a Sunday sermon, he announced to a stunned student body that Chapel attendance—on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday—would be optional and not required for students. What did not end, thankfully, was the Chapel building’s role in the life of the school. Non-required ecumenical worship services continue on Sundays. Important school meetings and lectures featuring invited speakers are held in the Chapel several times a year, as are the enduring Christmas Candlelight Service each December and the bookends of the school’s academic calendar: Opening Convocation the day before the start of classes in September and Baccalaureate the evening prior to Commencement. On the morning of September 11, 2001, the school community assembled in the Chapel in a response to the horrifying attacks on America. “I was grateful at that time to have a place like the Chapel in which to gather and speak to the school,” then-Head of School Douglas Hale wrote later that year. “It seemed the very embodiment of sacredness and safety that our students and faculty needed on that day, regardless of our individual religious preferences.”



PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER through similar situations before and will again.” A fortunate result of the drop in enrollment manifested itself in the 1969 return of female students to Mercersburg for the first time since 1897. Twelve girls were admitted as day students, and that spring, Carol Eppinger Kyle ’70 became the first female student to graduate from the Academy in the 20th century. Female boarding students were admitted for the first time in 1971; students in the group lived in Tippetts Hall. “It is almost impossible to remember how tense we all were

in 1969, when the specter of what might happen when boys and girls got together haunted our sleep and preoccupied our waking thoughts,” emeritus faculty member Wirt Winebrenner ’54 wrote years later in an editorial for Mercersburg magazine. “There were slip-ups; it took a long time to eradicate the word ‘boys’ from the standard form of making announcements… At first, some alumni grumbled. But there were not the large defections which had marred similar transitions for several colleges and universities. And even some of those who grumbled loudest came, and looked, and

decided coeducation was after all a good thing—and sent their daughters. And their sons.” Apart from a racially and gender-diverse student body, several buildings that dot all corners of the campus, and a larger endowment, another of the things Fowle brought Mercersburg was the selection of Walter Burgin ’53 as his successor. After retiring in 1972, Fowle served as executive director of the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which of course has a longstanding affiliation with Mercersburg. Fowle died in 2002 at age 92 in Salisbury, Conn.

L-R: Tim Grumbacher ’57, Marilyn Larson, Nick Taubman ’53, Barbara and Walter Burgin ’53, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest ’49




The Burgin Era The connection between Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53 and Mercersburg Academy began even before Mercersburg’s fifth headmaster was born. Burgin’s father, also named Walter, was a doctor for a coal company in a mining town in western Pennsylvania. There was a hardware store in the next town over that supplied the company store, and as part of the arrangement, Dr. Burgin took care of the owner’s family, who he got to know well. One member of the family happened to be away at boarding school, in a small town in the south-central part of the state. Future Academy Award-winning actor James Maitland Stewart ’28 did pretty well for himself. So did the younger Walter Burgin, who graduated as valedictorian of his Mercersburg class and served two tours of duty on Mercersburg’s faculty—the first as a teacher of mathematics (and head of the math department) followed by eight years on the faculty of Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and the second when he came home to accept the position of headmaster in 1972 after the retirement of Bill Fowle. Burgin was originally selected to represent the alumni body on the search committee tasked with locating Fowle’s successor. But John “Jack” Detwiler ’29, who chaired the search committee and was a member of the Board of Regents, asked Burgin to remove himself from the committee and become a candidate for the position. Burgin agreed and then was selected to lead his alma mater, becoming the


second Mercersburg alumnus to do so (after Charles Tippetts, who was the headmaster when Burgin studied at the Academy). Both of Mercersburg’s alumni headmasters, Tippetts and Burgin, graduated as valedictorians. “At Mercersburg, I wasn’t really the head of one school for 25 years—I was the head of several schools, all in the same place,” Burgin recalled in a piece for Mercersburg magazine in 2013. “Compare the school from the early 1970s to the one in the mid-1990s, and they’re very different places in very different times.” The Vietnam War was ending. Coeducation had just returned to Mercersburg, and racial integration at the school was less than a decade old.

Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53

“It was no small enterprise becoming a headmaster in 1972,” wrote legendary longtime faculty member Jay Quinn, who in addition to his teaching duties served as alumni secretary, as editor of Mercersburg magazine, and finally as the school’s archivist. “Antiestablishment feelings and attitudes were rife. At schools like ours, enrollments were declining. Weak schools were passing off the scene,



PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER and stronger schools were confused at best and unable to prove their worth and validity at worst.” Into that breach stepped Walter Burgin, who returned to Mercersburg with his wife, Barbara, and their two daughters as Hurricane Agnes battered the region. The school’s endowment was a mere (by today’s standards) $3 million in 1972, but under Burgin’s leadership, by the time of the Academy’s 100th anniversary in 1993, it had grown to $34 million, allowing the school to increase financial aid to students by 517 percent over the same span. Among Burgin’s early priorities was a revamping of faculty responsibilities (and in some cases, the creation of new living spaces in dormitories for faculty with families), in order for all faculty to share more fully in the residential life of the school. Before 1972, a great number of married faculty members lived off campus and did not have dormitory duty on a regular basis—the latter of which would be unthinkable today. Burgin also worked to strengthen the ties of the alumni base with the school. In terms of school leadership, some of Mercersburg’s most loyal supporters and most tireless workers on behalf of school priorities joined the Board of Regents during Burgin’s tenure: the list includes future Board presidents Robert Claytor ’40, Nicholas Taubman ’53, H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49, Edgar Masinter ’48, William Zimmerman ’67, Denise Dupré ’76, David Frantz ’60, and Deborah Simon ’74, as well as Board luminaries Albert Bellas ’60, Allen Zern ’61, and John Prentiss ’65.



Jim Malone

Debbie Rutherford

David Grady

Sue Malone

Frank Rutherford ’70

Rick Hendrickson

Amy Mohr

Andy Schroer

Eric Hicks

Peter Kempe

Allison Stephens

Trini Hoffman

Tom Rahauser ’74

Tom Thorne

Dave Holzwarth ’78

Richard Rotz

Chip Vink ’73

By the close of Burgin’s tenure in 1997, every academic space on campus was either new or newly renovated. Essentially all the classes were held in the same building—Irvine Hall—but when Lenfest Hall came online in 1993 as the school’s library, an intentional decision was made to move the history department to that building. When Keil Hall’s kitchen wing was repurposed (and the library moved across the road to Lenfest), a building project created Rutledge Hall and a new home for the English department in its place. “We had classrooms around the campus, and everybody had to go to them almost every day,” Burgin wrote. “People were back outside and could enjoy the beauty of the place.” Mercersburg became an increasingly faculty-run school during Burgin’s tenure, not just in matters of supervision, but also in the areas of curriculum development, policy-making, and discipline. Some of the school’s most iconic faculty members started their professional tenures at


Mercersburg during the Burgin era. (See list above.) Barbara Burgin worked in Mercersburg’s admission office for 19 years, leaving her mark on the school not just in the students enrolled but also as an interior designer, landscaper, and of course as its key hostess. Less than a decade after the Burgins departed the campus, the Burgin Center for the Arts was erected in their honor. It is not a monument, but rather a living and evolving space where creativity and exploration take flight on a daily basis. Following in Bill Fowle’s footsteps, after Burgin’s 1997 retirement from Mercersburg, he chaired the board of directors of the E.E. Ford Foundation for several years, and continues to serve on the board today. A number of Burgin’s family members have attended Mercersburg, including his brother, Alex ’57, and daughter, Christine Burgin Wegman ’78, who is married to noted photographer William Wegman. (Wegman took the official campus portrait of the Burgins that hangs in Traylor Hall.)


The Hale Era Douglas Hale was chosen to succeed Burgin as head of school in 1997. A congenial Tennessean, Hale was a college basketball standout in the 1970s at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and had risen through the ranks at Chattanooga’s Baylor School, spending more than two decades there as an English teacher, basketball coach, head of the lower school, assistant headmaster, and finally headmaster. “When we arrived [at Mercersburg], it was clear this place had a great foundation to work with,” Hale said in an interview with Mercersburg magazine just before his 2016 retirement. “There was a beautiful physical plant with fabulous buildings and a work ethic in its people that was remarkable.” Fresh off the successful Centennial Campaign which had celebrated the close of the Academy’s first 100 years under Burgin, the Hale era was notable for continued growth and significant increases in enrollment, endowment, size and varied background of the faculty, and more. In 1997– 1998, which was Hale’s first year, the school enrolled 390 students—a number that rose to a full 441 by the time of his retirement in 2016. By his final year at Mercersburg, the annual financial-aid budget had increased to $6.1 million; 50 percent of the student body was receiving financial aid; and the size of the faculty had increased from 64 to 106 (with 76 percent of the faculty holding at least one advanced degree). The school’s endowment


grew from $64 million in 1997 to $251 million in 2016. There were curricular changes and advances, with a broadening of the fine-arts department, Chinese and robotics added to the curriculum, and formal exchanges established with the Gauss Gymnasium in Germany (1998), Colegio Alemán de San Felipe in Chile (2006), the Nanjing Foreign Language School in China (2011), Collège-Lycée Saint Joseph in France (2013), and Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes in Spain (2016). Two capstone experiences were created for members of the senior class, MAPS (Mercersburg’s Advanced Program for Global Studies) and Springboard. The school’s global programs greatly expanded, giving students the opportunity to visit all corners of the globe with their classmates and

L–R: Gerry Lenfest, ’49, Hale, author Frederick Buechner

Douglas Hale

faculty chaperones (with some financial aid available). In the field (or perhaps more specifically, “on the fields”) of athletics, the Smoyer Tennis Center, Davenport Squash Center, and Regents’ Field (the school’s first artificial-turf surface) were built, and the Nolde Gymnasium complex received a total renovation. Mercersburg joined the Mid-Atlantic Prep League with five of its peer schools. And the Daring to Lead Campaign, which was completed under Hale’s leadership, funded the Hale Field House (which opened in 2017) and Lloyd Aquatic Center (which is scheduled to open in 2019). The Class of ’38 Observatory opened in 2003, and Mercersburg Outdoor Education (or MOE) was officially created in 2004 with the opening of the Masinter Outdoor Education Center in a fully retrofitted barn featuring a climbing wall, storage for gear, meeting and workout space, and more. All seven of the school’s dormitories were renovated early in Hale’s tenure, and in 2009 (owing to the increase in female enrollment), Fowle Hall and Tippetts Hall



PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER switched genders, with Fowle— the school’s largest dormitory— becoming a residence for girls and Tippetts welcoming boys. In 2011–2012, the school had more girls enrolled than boys for the first time in its history. The breathtaking, 65,000-square foot Burgin Center for the Arts opened its doors in 2006 on the site of Boone Hall, with three floors of performance, classroom, and studio space for

budding artists. Just outside, the Prentiss-Zimmerman Quadrangle was renovated in 2009, and Ford Hall received a major renovation in 2013 that included the creation of the Simon Student Center. Such transformational changes are not possible, of course, without the support of the school’s community. Under Hale, Mercersburg completed a pair of dramatically successful capital campaigns: the Mightily Onward Campaign in 2004

The Hales with Benicio Del Toro ’85 in 2006



that secured $125 million, followed by the Daring to Lead Campaign, which raised just over $300 million by the time of its 2016 conclusion. During his tenure, Mercersburg secured commitments totaling nearly $500 million—success enjoyed by few, if any, secondary schools during that same period. In 2000, Board of Regents President Emeritus H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 gave $35 million to Mercersburg; at the time, it was the largest such contribution in school history. And in 2013, Regent (and future Board President) Deborah Simon ’74 announced a $100 million gift to the school from her and her foundation inside the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre, which bears her family’s name. Given all the construction on campus, it seems fitting that Doug and Peggy Hale were the first residents of 1893 House, the new home completed in 2013 for Mercersburg’s head of school and located across McFarland Road from the previous head of school’s residence in North Cottage. “Doug has really moved us into the 21st century as a school,” said then-Board President David Frantz ’60 just before Hale’s retirement. “A lot of people look at this campus and talk about the structures. But the structures are driven by our program. Doug’s enduring legacy will be this great program and the students and faculty and staff we have here, and that financially we can support students and provide financial aid for those that need it. It’s an incredible step and that’s where his legacy will be.”


The Art of Performance and Discovery Two of the school’s first student organizations were the Glee Club and the “Academy Theatrical Club,” which premiered during Mercersburg Academy’s first year of 1893–1894. Like much of Mercersburg in those early days, the first forays into the arts on campus were a family affair: Dr. Irvine himself oversaw the Glee Club, and Mrs. Irvine founded the theatre club (which changed its name to the now-familiar moniker of “Stony Batter Players” in 1899, beating the turn of the century by a single year). It is well-established that Irvine was an ardent supporter of athletics and physical education, but it turns out he had quite an affinity for music and the arts as well. At Franklin & Marshall College, he was not only the “father of football,” but also the creator and organizer of that school’s Glee Club. He sang bass and played the mandolin. Irvine was in a vocal quartet as a student at Exeter and was part of Princeton’s Glee Club, and he published The

Mercersburg Academy Songbook in 1901. Mercersburg became known informally as “the singing school” during his administration. Irvine inaugurated the classic Academy tradition of Step Songs on the school’s first Commencement Weekend in 1894, when the student body gathered at Main Hall for singing and school cheers. Longtime faculty member Archibald Rutledge, who was South Carolina’s poet laureate and is the namesake of Rutledge Hall on campus, described Step Songs in a 1912 story in Mercersburg’s Alumni Quarterly: It is a remarkable and inspiring sight to see the entire school gathered on the steps of Main Hall… In the twilight glow, tier rises above tier, every boy in school being in sight; and with the green shadows of the evening trees over them, and with the great pillars of Old Main towering above them in the dusk, the scene and the singing are memorable. That

the sentiment for Step Songs is deeply impressed on the boys has been shown by the countless times that they have been mentioned by old boys as being among their most cherished recollections of Mercersburg.

The 1930 Stony Batter Players production of “Ile”

The Octet singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before an Atlanta Braves game




The curtain went up on the school’s first theatrical production, The Egyptian Mummy, in spring 1894 in the old Brubaker Opera House on North Main Street. Early plays had the benefit of including female students as actors, at least until 1897—though the next year, a production of Ingomar did feature Dr. Irvine’s sister and sister-in-law. Until the 1960s, most of the female roles were played by male students or faculty, in drag. This changed fully with the return of coeducation in 1969, but before then, director Jay Quinn also invited female students from James Buchanan High School to audition, since that school did not have a theatre program. Keil Hall’s dining room served as an early entertainment venue following its completion in 1900, and the space (long-since renamed the Edwards Room) re-emerged as the home of Stony Batter productions after Boone Hall was razed and before the Burgin Center for the Arts was completed in the


mid-2000s. Some performances took place outdoors or inside Nolde Gymnasium or the Annex, and still others in Traylor Hall, the outdoor Boys’ Garden, or the undercroft of the Chapel. The construction of the Chapel in 1926 gave the school so much more than a natural performance space, but voices and instruments have been lifted in song there ever since. The Swoope Carillon, a gift of Henry B. Swoope (1900) and his family, was among the first carillons built in Pennsylvania and today is one of just 163 traditional carillons in the entire United States. With its 50 bells, the carillon rings on a near-daily basis during the academic year, including as a prelude or postlude for school meetings or Sunday chapel services. “Whenever a Mercersburg boy hears a bell, he thinks of Mercersburg,” Headmaster Bill Fowle once said. The Irving and Marshall societies maintained their own musical organizations in the early days of


the Academy, and as time went on, those groups and the Glee Club welcomed a veritable lineup of additions, from the Blue and White Melodians (a jazz and dance band first formed in the 1920s) to the Assembly Band and Orchestra, the Chapel Choir, and eventually the popular a cappella groups called the Octet (for boys, previously using the names “Double Quartet,” “Triple Quartet,” and “Eight Sharps”) and Magalia (for girls, originally known as the “Women’s Ensemble”). The a cappella ensembles are joined on today’s musical roster by the Chorale, Concert Band, Jazz Band, String Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. Former Stony Batter adviser and English teacher Pratt Tobey is credited with infusing dance routines into productions, including in the 1936 centennial pageant celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the seminary in Mercersburg. Dance was officially made part of the curriculum in the

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER early 2000s with the appointment of the school’s first director of dance, Denise Dalton. Today, much of the lower level of the Burgin Center for the Arts bustles with two studios full of dancers (from beginners to experts), who study ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, and more. The Reeder Dance Studio (the larger of the two spaces) is identical in size to the Simon Theatre stage on the main level. For more than four decades, what is today the Burgin Center’s footprint was occupied by Boone Hall. Completed in 1962 and named for Vice Admiral and Medal of Honor recipient Joel T. Boone (1909), the building provided the school with a dedicated auditorium, as well as rehearsal space to be carved up among various

disciplines: some artistic and some not. During renovations to Irvine Hall in the early 1990s, the science department temporarily moved into the basement of Boone. Academic Dean Eric Hicks remembers his classes using the basement as classroom space to dissect pigs— which, safe to say, was not the type of performance the school originally envisioned for the building. Sue Wootton joined Quinn as a Stony Batter director in 1985, and started the popular (though now departed) Class One-Act Competition, where the members of each of the four classes chose and staged a one-act play for judges and their classmates in Boone Hall. And although theatrical productions had quite literally been on the bill since the Academy’s founding, the 1998

arrival of Laurie Mufson gave the school its first full-time director of theatre, allowing for the discipline’s official premiere as a part of the curriculum. One year prior, Douglas Hale had arrived as head of school, and as the Burgin administration had successfully renovated numerous academic spaces and began an initiative to modernize the dormitories, Hale (and those he joined on campus) knew that the arts spaces were due for an equivalent boost. “The arts were well subscribed to and they were taught well and they were done well,” Hale remembers, “but Mercersburg really didn’t have a facility that delivered the program in the same way that the chemistry department did or the

The Burgin Center for the Arts’ Memory Wall



PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER library did or the other spaces on campus did.” The result of all the dreaming, planning, fundraising, and construction is breathtaking. The Burgin Center is now in its second decade as a nerve center for the arts (and more), with two theatres, two recital halls, digital arts and music labs, two dance studios, four visual-arts studios, acting studios and a scene shop, practice rooms, and offices. “The building itself is a statement,” fine-arts department head Wells Gray said. “We wanted to bring the outside in and the inside out. It’s a huge pulse once you’re in here. When you come in the building, you know dance is going on, or you know the Chorale is singing, or you know the Band is playing. The outside is coming in. It’s not just a building sitting with walls.” A suggestion for one’s next visit to the Burgin Center: make sure to peruse the Memory Wall, which is located near the south glass wall of the building near the Simon Theatre. Visual arts faculty emeriti Kristy Higby and Mark Flowers constructed the multimedia piece for the Burgin Center’s 2006 opening. Included in what has been described as “a spectacular montage of the history and currency of the arts at the Academy” are souvenirs from Boone Hall itself, brass printing plates from old KARUX yearbooks, and laminated sections that open into miniature spiral-bound books containing the story of the arts as told in images and words. A sign hanging next to the piece offers a simple request: “Please touch, with care.”



GOING HOLLYWOOD: MERCERSBURG ON CAMERA For many decades, Mercersburg Academy alumni in the entertainment industry have sparkled in the Hollywood spotlight. From Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actors to writers, producers, and others, Mercersburg has left its imprint all over the history of cinema. Any such listing must include a review of a venerable pair of Academy Award-winning actors, Jimmy Stewart ’28 and Benicio Del Toro ’85. Despite the greatness of (and hardware amassed by) Stewart and Del Toro, the depth of talent throughout the generations of alumni is equally impressive. Whether in the Golden Age or the Modern Age of Hollywood, the Academy has had a surprising number of connections to the silver screen (and other types of screens). Stewart was, undisputedly, one of the titans of Hollywood. He worked with nearly every great director of his era (from Alfred Hitchcock to Frank Capra), and his wholesome style won over audiences and critics alike. He earned the Oscar for Best Actor in 1940 for his role in The Philadelphia Story. Coincidentally, Stewart played Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis about the funding and flight of the plane, which was built by Mercersburg alumnus B.F. Mahoney (1918).

Jimmy Stewart ’28

John Payne ’32 (left)

It was Stewart’s role in It’s a Wonderful Life, however, that made him an icon. The rival Christmas movie of that era was Miracle on 34th Street, whose leading man happened to be fellow Mercersburg alumnus John Payne ’32. With alumni starring in two of the most-loved holiday movies, one can argue that Mercersburg Academy holds the unofficial crown of “greatest Christmas movie school of all time.” As we travel farther back into the Golden Age, we get to our first


major actor, Sidney Blackmer (1912). His first screen appearance came in 1914; by the time he retired in 1971, he had amassed 177 movie and television credits on top of a Tony Award. Blackmer was famous for playing hardscrabble film noir villains and, oddly enough, Teddy Roosevelt (he portrayed the old Rough Rider in no fewer than seven different productions).

movies is Sean (Perelman) Kanan ’85. He is most famous for appearances on the daytime shows The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless, but also has 60 other credits to his name, including The Karate Kid Part III.

Michael Davies ’85 has served as executive producer or executive in charge of dozens of shows—including Tom Drake ’35 is forever the Emmy-winning known as the boy-nextWho Wants to Be a door from the smash hit Millionaire?—and created Dick Foran ’29 Meet Me in St. Louis, though and co-stars in the Men in that film marked just one of Blazers soccer television his 130 on-screen appearprogram and franchise. His ances. From a few years older brother, William earlier, Dick Foran ’29 Davies ’79, gained (“The Singing Cowboy”) success as screenwriter had 165 screen credits to with a number of credits his name. Foran acted in to his name, including Stony Batter Players proTwins (starring Arnold Sean (Perelman) Kanan ’85 ductions during his time Schwarzenegger and at Mercersburg, including Danny DeVito) and the a starring role in the 1928 Oscar-nominated How to show The Wolves. His coTrain Your Dragon. star in that production? Two more from the Jimmy Stewart. (That’s 1980s: Ben Mendelsohn some serious star power ’86, who has had a long for a high-school play.) and successful career with Mercersburg has a roles in the Netflix TV Michael Davies ’85 continued to be a major show Bloodline (for which player in Hollywood into the modhe won the 2016 Emmy for outstandern age. Robin (Grossman) Thomas ing lead actor in a drama series), Star ’67 has carved out a wide-ranging Wars: Rogue One, and Ready Player career playing both the small screen One. And of course, the aforemen(Murphy Brown, Party of Five, NCIS, tioned Benicio Del Toro, who won the Fuller House) and the big screen (The Oscar for best supporting actor in a Contender, Pacific Rim). Another actor drama in Traffic in 2001. Del Toro has finding success in both television and garnered critical acclaim in addition

Benicio Del Toro ’85

to roles in blockbusters like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the Avengers series, to say nothing of his memorable performances in The Usual Suspects, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and even in Heineken commercials. Speaking of name-brand spokespersons, Vanessa Branch ’90 lit up commercial breaks while promoting Orbit Gum in the 2000s and appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Branch, a former Miss Vermont, has had TV roles on Lost, Gilmore Girls, Star Trek: Voyager, and the Disney Channel series Sonny with a Chance. The roles keep coming for Mercersburg alumni—too many, unfortunately, to list here. It will be exciting to see what the generations down the road have in store for our viewing pleasure. —Douglas Smith



PA R T I I : C O M P L E T I N G O N E C E N T U R Y, B E G I N N I N G A N O T H E R



PA R T I I : C O M P L E T I N G O N E C E N T U R Y, B E G I N N I N G A N O T H E R




The Wide World of Mercersburg Sports Less than a decade after its founding as a college-prep school, Mercersburg Academy had already produced its first Olympian. Walter Drumheller of the Class of 1897 represented the United States (and Mercersburg) at the 1900 Summer Olympics, which were just the second Olympic Games of the modern era. The original Olympics, of course, were first held in ancient Greece, and while Mercersburg’s athletic tradition certainly doesn’t go that far back, athletics have been an integral part of the life, history, and health of the school since the beginning.


Dr. William Mann Irvine was known as “the father of football at Franklin & Marshall College,” having played there and at his undergraduate alma mater of Princeton, and was committed to the ideal of the scholar-athlete as a model for his new school. “[Irvine] was a strong man and he felt that education was intended to develop strong men,” H.M.J. Klein wrote in 1936’s A Century of Education at Mercersburg. “He believed that the severe discipline of the athletic field would help to bring the result of what the school was meant to represent in


its motto: ‘Hard Work, Fair Play, Clean Life.’” Irvine’s reputation as a coach, athlete, and aficionado of football was such that he once was pulled out of the stands at an Army-Navy game in Philadelphia to serve as a substitute official after one of the on-field officials fell ill. He was the first president of the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Football Association. Irvine was also fond of reciting that within the first 10 years of Mercersburg Academy’s creation, the school was already fielding three football teams (of 60 boys total), with 40 track athletes, 25 basketball


players, and the rest enrolled in calisthenics or military drill. Nolde Gymnasium, constructed in 1912, was actually the school’s third iteration of a gymnasium— though it was far superior to the first two such facilities on campus: a converted barn used for athletic pursuits and then the Samuel Thomas Athletic Cage of 1899. Nolde was the athletic program’s first true headquarters, featuring rooms for boxing, wrestling, and fencing, a running track, and a trophy room, as well as (certainly not insignificantly) the first swimming pool on campus. In the early days, fellow institutions (and present-day rivals) like Kiski and Lawrenceville were regular foes. Jim Thorpe, considered one of the greatest athletes to ever stroll onto an athletic field, played baseball against Mercersburg for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1908. But in scanning a schedule for any Mercersburg team from the era, one is just as likely to find contests against college teams like Princeton, Franklin & Marshall, Penn, or Dickinson (including “scrub,” freshman, junior varsity, or even varsity squads) as against other prep schools or high schools.

THE GREATEST OLYMPIC TRADITION (WE THINK) Mercersburg athletes have made a total of 54 appearances in the Olympic Games—a remarkable feat, given that the school’s largest enrollment in a single year was the 558 students enrolled in 1924 (and that a full school today is approximately 440 students). We believe that the 44 different individuals from Mercersburg who have appeared in the Olympics is the largest number of unique Olympians produced by any American secondary school. Walter Drumheller (1897) was the school’s first Olympian, running the 400- and 800-meter races at the 1900 Summer Games in Paris. He was not, however, the first person with Mercersburg connections to compete. Four years earlier, at the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Thomas Burke won the first 100-meter dash (and the 400-meter dash) of the Games’ modern era. He may have beaten all his competitors in the 100 meters because he used the now-standard crouch starting position—a technique Burke brought with him to Mercersburg when he came to coach the track & field team in 1906. That was the same year that Bob Leavitt (1903) became the Academy’s first Olympic medalist by winning gold in the 110m hurdles. 1906 was also the Mercersburg graduation year of William Robbins, who participated in a controversial 400m race two years later at the 1908 Games in London won by British runner Wyndham Halswelle. And while Mercersburg missed a potential medal from Robbins, it would eventually earn many more thanks in no small part to Halswelle’s coach, Jimmy Curran, who presided over Mercersburg’s track program for 51 years (from 1910 to 1961).

Curran Olympians continued on page 36

It is hard to overstate Curran’s influence on the history of Mercersburg track. Curran’s teams produced 12 Olympians, including gold medalists Ted Meredith (1912, two continued on page 37




In 1922, the New York Evening Mail spotlighted the growth and success of Mercersburg’s athletic program. “The prep schools of the country are doing a big work in the advancement of athletics in the United States,” the newspaper wrote. “There is one in particular… Dr. ‘Buck’ Irvine’s school at Mercersburg. There are about 500 boys in the school, every one of whom is required in some form to go out for athletics, and as many different branches of athletics as he is physically fitted for… The effect of such a policy is more clearly seen in a prep school than in a college, as the boys, especially those who have never had any athletic training, develop more rapidly.” Under the legendary Jimmy Curran, who arrived at Mercersburg in 1910, the school’s track & field team was nothing short of a dynasty. Curran, a native of Scotland who was known to sport the patriotic attire of his homeland (kilt often included), aggressively built his teams by mining top talent from the student community—those with track experience, as well as many without. From its first Penn Relays title in 1897 to Curran’s retirement in 1961, the school won 40 Championship of America plaques


at the famed Philadelphia event. At one time, Mercersburg athletes held every world interscholastic record in the sport, from the 100-meter dash to the two-mile run. In addition to the elite athletic guidance he gave his athletes, Curran was also a quite a character. He once played 290 holes of golf on campus in a single day, and earned fame in Ripley’s Believe It or Not by kicking a football 50 yards with his bare toes. What Curran was to Mercersburg’s track & field oval, “King” John Miller cast a similar figure over the school’s elite swim program. Miller’s Mercersburg swimmers held eight of the 10 interscholastic swimming records when LIFE magazine devoted a four-page spread in 1939 to his squads and his unorthodox training methods. During World War II, Miller swapped out “King” for “Lieutenant” while serving as chief swimming instructor for the U.S. Navy Pre-Flight School. (Before enrolling in the wartime program, 40 percent of cadets did not know how to swim at all.) While Mercersburg’s Olympic tradition is well known, alumni have also made their mark on collegiate and professional fields of


PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER play—and some well-known pros have found their way to campus too. Henry “Doc” Gessler (1900) was Mercersburg’s first professional athlete after joining baseball’s Detroit Tigers in 1903. He played for five major-league teams and was the first person to hit a home run in a Boston Red Sox uniform. Joe Birmingham (1904) played nine seasons in the outfield for the Cleveland Naps of the American League. He took over as the Naps’ manager in 1912, thus becoming the first manager of the Cleveland Indians when the team changed its nickname in 1915. At the same time, Greencastle native Charles Bernard “King” Lear (1910) was plying his trade in the National League for the Cincinnati Reds; Lear was one of the first pitchers to rely strongly on the knuckleball. Irving “Bump” Hadley ’24 struck out 26 batters in a single game for Mercersburg his senior year, and pitched for six different major-league teams (winning three World Series titles with the New York Yankees). When the Boston Red Sox began broadcasting games on television in 1948, Hadley was a commentator for the TV crew (he was sports director for Boston’s WBZ-TV at the time). Bob Ufer ’39 played football and excelled as one of Curran’s runners, teaming with Austin Kellam ’40, Paxson Gifford ’39, and Jack Watt ’39 to set a world interscholastic record in the 440-yard relay. Ufer ended up at the University of Michigan, where he broke the 440-yard dash individual world record and ultimately spent 36 years as the radio play-by-play broadcaster for Michigan football. continued on page 38


golds), Allen Woodring (1918), Bill “Wee Willie” Carr ’29 (two golds), and Charles Moore ’47 (who won a gold and a silver). Others who didn’t win gold medals were still bonafide stars, like George “Buck” Hester ’22, Charles “Crip” Moore ’22 (father of the aforementioned gold medalist), and Barney Berlinger ’27. Yet Curran was not the only legendary coach on campus at the time. “King” John Miller started at Mercersburg more than a decade after Curran as the swimming coach for the Blue and White. He Bill Carr ’29 had a similarly strong run of Olympians on his team in his 29-year career at Mercersburg (from 1924 to 1953); his star-studded cast included Harry Glancy ’24, John Macionis ’34, and Alan Ford ’42. Glancy won gold in the 4x200m relay with teammate Johnny Weissmuller, who later garnered popularity on the silver screen as Tarzan; their team shattered the existing world record by 11 seconds. It was in Miller’s time at Mercersburg that he revolutionized the system of “dryland” training that is now practiced universally in the world of competitive swimming. The 22 most recent Mercersburg athletes to appear in the Olympics have all been swimmers, but along with track & field, alumni have also competed in Olympic events in sailing, gymnastics, wrestling, and the former Olympic sport of tug of war. They have represented 15 different nations; in addition to the United States, Mercersburg athletes have competed under the flags of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Croatia, Grenada, Guatemala, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sweden, and Thailand. Olympic gold-medal swimmers Rich Saeger ’82, Betsy Mitchell ’83 (who won a gold and a silver), and Melvin Stewart ’88 (two golds, one bronze) all trained at Mercersburg under head coach John Trembley, whose successor, Pete Williams, himself qualified for the U.S. Olympic swim team in 1968. Williams coached 10 different Olympians during his time at Mercersburg. Through our research as part of Mercersburg’s Parallel Histories Springboard course, we believe that the totals of nine different Olympic gold medalists and 44 unique Olympians are both unmatched by any other American high school.

Betsy Mitchell ’83

Melvin Stewart ’88

—Logan Cort ’18



PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER Connie Mack—who is still the winningest manager in the history of baseball—brought his Philadelphia Athletics through Mercersburg in 1946 on the way back from spring training in Florida to face off against the Mercersburg nine in an exhibition contest. The teams switched pitchers for the game (an A’s pitcher took the mound for Mercersburg against the major-league hitters, while a Mercersburg hurler faced the high-schoolers on behalf of the A’s), but the A’s still emerged victorious. In 1958, four members of the Pittsburgh Pirates came to Mercersburg to greet students and take part in an exhibition basketball contest—yes, basketball. One of the visiting Pirates was Dick Groat, who (in addition to being an eight-time

All-Star and a future National League MVP) was a basketball All-American at Duke University. Led by Bill Vose ’58 and Bob Brown ’58, the Blue and White defeated the Pirates, 81–67, despite Groat’s 39 points. (Joe L. Brown ’37 was general manager of the Pirates, who would win two World Series titles during his tenure.) Female students returned to Mercersburg in 1969 for the first time since 1897, which had an impact on a formerly all-male school in many ways. Though the total number of students available for boys’ teams declined as the population of girls increased, the changes created new programs and new avenues for success. Carol Anderson was hired as Mercersburg first’s female sport coach in 1972; her 1973 and 1974 field hockey teams went

Vincent Rey ’06



undefeated. The following summer, the team went on a tour of England to play eight “friendly” matches against British squads. Before Mercersburg fielded a girls’ soccer team, Mary Curtis ’86 was the starting goalkeeper for the (boys’) varsity soccer squad in 1984 and 1985. The Mercersburg girls won their first Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championship in 1987, building off a strong tradition of more than a dozen Easterns titles captured by the boys’ program. Since 2000, Mercersburg girls’ teams have earned Pennsylvania Independent Schools state championships in the sports of cross country, outdoor track & field, softball, and basketball. Some other notable athletes attaining success in the professional

Mark Talbott ’78

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER ranks (both men and women) include tennis star Tom Edlefsen ’61, who was ranked in the top 10 and played in the French Open, Wimbledon, and the Davis Cup; Mark Talbott ’78, who was the world’s top-ranked hardball squash player for 11 years, won a national title as head coach at Yale, and today is the head coach of the men’s and women’s teams at Stanford; and Holly Vaughn ’80, who played golf on the LPGA Tour, coached in the collegiate ranks, and played in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2018. Basketball star Kareem Wright ’99 even suited up for the Harlem Kareem Wright ’99 Globetrotters. And then there’s the tandem of Mercersburg football and wrestling teammates Josh Edgin ’06 and Vincent Rey ’06, who helped the Blue Storm win the Mid-Atlantic Prep League gridiron championship in 2005 and then reached the highest professional levels of baseball and football, respectively. As this book goes to press, Rey is in his ninth season as a linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals, while Edgin has six years of pitching experience with the New York Mets and now pitches in the Washington Nationals’ organization. Intricately involved on the business and media fields of sports are Dick Cass ’64, president of the Baltimore Ravens; Jim Irsay ’78, owner of the Indianapolis Colts; Rebecca Lowe ’99, a sportscaster for NBC; and Dean Taylor ’69, who was general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers and

an executive with the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, and Cincinnati Reds. Mercersburg Outdoor Education (better known as MOE) began in 2004, building on three decades of its predecessor, the TREK outdoor-skills program. MOE is headquartered in the Masinter Outdoor Education Center, a barn that was originally part of the school farm and was completely retrofitted to serve as an outdoor headquarters through the generosity of Board of Regents President Emeritus Edgar Masinter ’48 and his wife, Margery. The latest Mercersburg athletic dynasty can be found on the baseball diamond, where the Storm has (as of 2018) won or shared each of the past eight MAPL league titles. The streak began in 2011 under legendary coach Karl Reisner with a team led by future MLB draftee (and current Baltimore Orioles farmhand) Christian Binford ’11, and the most recent crown came in 2018 after an undefeated league season starring another major-league draft

pick, Jayvien Sandridge ’18. Like Binford, Sandridge is pitching in the Orioles’ minor-league system. In 1996, Mercersburg’s athletic teams officially became known as the “Blue Storm.” Legend has it that the previous nickname, “Blue Devils,” was coined in the 1940s by an enterprising Mercersburg NEWS reporter (but was never officially adopted). At the recommendation of a student and faculty committee, the “Storm” began. The change also eliminated any confusion in local sports-page headlines between teams representing Mercersburg and nearby Greencastle-Antrim High School (which continues to call its teams the “Blue Devils”). On average, between 20 and 25 percent of the students in Mercersburg’s senior class each year go on to play a varsity sport at the college level. In 2018, 33 student-athletes announced college commitments—which was exactly 25 percent of the 132-member graduating class.




The Irving and Marshall Societies: Two Sides, One Enduring Tradition Picture a visitor to campus on an afternoon in late February, who happens to arrive at Mercersburg with no knowledge of the school or its history. This guest would find a gymnasium, pool, field house, or wing of the student center filled with young people adorned in red and white or navy and gold, screaming at the tops of their lungs in support of their similarly attired fellow students. One might be forgiven if he or she mistakenly deduces that this place is called “Irving” or “Marshall,” and that the opponent


is the host team’s fiercest rival. Depending on the day, the competitions might be in athletic pursuits like swimming and diving, volleyball, or basketball; table games like chess, poker, or foosball; or, in eras past, activities as disparate as debate or wrestling (with male and female divisions). Were this visitor to arrive on a Thursday evening, he or she could unwittingly stumble into a packed theatre filled with students in semiformal attire, cheering on 10 of their colleagues as they deliver prepared monologues. Some of the loudest cheers to be


found anywhere in the life of this place—which, by the way, is known neither as “Irving” or “Marshall”— would immerse the visitor in a cauldron of spirit. Welcome, friend, to IrvingMarshall Week at Mercersburg Academy. Every student who attends Mercersburg becomes part of either the Washington Irving Literary Society or the John Marshall Literary Society. For life. There are no trades, no switches, and no freeagent contracts or negotiations. Relatives of Mercersburg alumni


who enroll today are eligible to join the society where their parent or older sibling or uncle or aunt holds membership. (And in rare cases, students with legacy connections to both groups—say, the child of two Mercersburg alumni who were in different societies—have their pick. But otherwise, the choice is made for you, out of view and by Irving and Marshall officers, without the sorting hat of Harry Potter fame.) The societies are decades older than the Academy itself, with its predecessors having started in the 1830s when Marshall College was still in York (prior to its move to Mercersburg). Those societies were known as the Diagnothian and Goethean Societies. As Marshall College departed to join Franklin College at Lancaster in 1853, the societies went with them, but in November 1865, the men of Mercersburg College met in Diagnothian Hall to found “The Mercersburg Society of Mercersburg College.” The society adopted its current moniker in honor of prolific American author Washington Irving in March 1866, and the rival Marshall Society broke away to form less than a year later,

choosing former U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall as its namesake. When Mercersburg Academy was founded as a preparatory school in 1893, Dr. Irvine revived and strengthened the societies. The first debate took place on Washington’s Birthday in 1894. While later events would adopt a team format, the first few renditions of the “Annual Prize Debate” featured one representative from each society. The inaugural event was won by Irving’s Howard Yocum, who that spring became the valedictorian of the Academy’s first graduating class. Every year, as winter’s chill and frost whistled outside, the mid-winter contest between the societies ignited a roaring fire of spirit, fun, frivolity, and serious competition. The individual debate became a team contest and added a number of athletic competitions. (In 1936, only the athletic events took place, with the debate and a dance featuring invited guests from various girls’ schools cancelled due to a combination of inclement weather and a case of scarlet fever.) The debate format was changed in 1960 to the current Declamation contest, with five speakers from each society delivering prepared

monologues. Three judges rate the speakers, and (after a nerve-wracking deliberation period) the results are announced at an all-school dance. Points are awarded for victory in competitions all week long, with the lion’s share of points (currently 700 points) at stake during Declamation. Both societies have put together impressive winning streaks over the long history of the competition. The record of six straight wins is held by Irving from 1911 to 1916, with Marshall sweeping four straight years on four different occasions (the last from 2007 to 2010). “If there were a single event that is unique to Mercersburg, it is Irving-Marshall Week,” Mercersburg NEWS reporter Josh Bowling ’08 wrote before the 2008 renewal. “The excitement and sportsmanship provide a welcome end to the [winter academic] term, leaving everyone feeling good—if not for having won, then at the chance to show them who’s boss the next year. And, most amazingly of all, after the contest everything resumes, same as before. The campus splits for one week and reunites without any conflict.”




A Culture of Growth and Support Step onto the campus at Mercersburg, and it becomes clear pretty quickly that the place didn’t construct itself and develop into the beautiful and broad-ranging school that it is by accident. It took faith, foresight, some good fortune—and unwavering support. From the beginning of Mercersburg Academy, the vision of founding headmaster Dr. William Mann Irvine has shaped the campus and the school. Though multiple institutions preceded the Academy before its 1893 founding as a college-preparatory institution, Irvine’s stamp and focus drove Mercersburg to aim high, dream big, grow at a steady and appropriate pace, and always be there for its students, employees, and community. Irvine recalled his first days and the obstacles the school—and he, as its new leader—had no choice but to successfully navigate: I found an institution which was very much run down. It was swamped with debt and the sheriff was almost ready to foreclose. There was in use one building and four acres of ground. The situation seemed hopeless. Five or six other educators refused to become the Head Master at Mercersburg. My youth and enthusiasm persuaded me to accept the difficult job of building up the school. I now often wonder why people gave us their boys at that time.



We had little to offer but promises; it was all on paper. During Mercersburg Academy’s early years, religious services were held in a large room on the third floor of Old Main Hall. But Irvine envisioned something better: a freestanding, magnificent Chapel where the religious atmosphere was not compromised by association with recitations, contests, and class meetings. In 1901, when a large number of alumni came back for Commencement Week, it was suggested that a Chapel Fund be created, and that $10,000 might be sufficient. But Irvine protested: “While the Academy is greatly in need of a new Chapel, $10,000 will not, by any means, carry out the ideas which Mrs. Irvine and I are entertaining.” He insisted that at least $100,000 would be required, because “to carry the right kind of inspiration a school Chapel must be not only adequate but also beautiful.” Academy Field Secretary Rev. William J. Muir traveled an estimated 130,000 miles to solicit funds for the Chapel’s construction from the school’s alumni. The celebrated architect Ralph Adams Cram came on board to design the building, a stone edifice in the Gothic style modeled after a church in Nutley, England. The spire would be a slender version of Saint Mary’s Church in Oxford. In 1923, the Board of Regents presented the Irvines with a trip to Europe in recognition of their 30 years of service to the school.

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER Unsurprisingly, Dr. Irvine spent much of the trip “at work,” investigating the construction of stainedglass windows, bells, altars, pulpits, organs, and other church furnishings. When they returned, the Irvines brought with them information from more than 100 churches and cathedrals. Irvine fretted over every detail as the Chapel work progressed. In letters that took on more urgent tones as completion approached, he bombarded the architect with revisions, suggestions, and second thoughts. He even had members of the community test out models of pews he ordered to assure their comfort. He often attributed the fussiness and micromanagement to Mrs. Irvine, and to be sure, she was deeply involved in the planning. But the burden of the project, ultimately, was his, and he threw himself into the work as if his entire life’s worth would be measured by the quality of the building. The Chapel was dedicated October 13, 1926—Dr. Irvine’s 61st birthday. A number of distinguished guests were in attendance, including Mercersburg parent Grace Coolidge (wife of Vice-President Calvin Coolidge), the headmasters of a number of preparatory schools, and representatives of many Eastern colleges and universities. Rose petals were dropped onto the Chapel from an airplane overhead. In his address, Irvine described the inspiration that he envisioned future generations would derive from the new Chapel:

and other hymns yet unwritten and be inspired toward a noble manhood.

newspaper just two years before he died serving his country in France.

As Irvine stood in the pulpit that day, he had a clear view of a number of the Chapel’s immaculate stained-glass windows. One is particularly notable in this context: a smaller window in the east transept dedicated to the memory of Medal of Honor recipient Ralph Talbot (1916), who died in World War I. The window, Saint Michael Slaying the Dragon, was given by members of the Mercersburg NEWS in his memory; Talbot had been an editor of the

Decades before Irvine and Mercersburg built the Chapel, though, even more urgent needs presented themselves. Ample dormitories were required to house the students. And for two such buildings—Keil Hall and the Princeton Class of 1888 Dormitory (known simply as ’Eighty-eight or “beloved ’Eighty-eight”)— Irvine leaned heavily on former classmates and other friends to provide the necessary capital.

’Eighty-eight Dormitory

Naturally enough, we think of the future; for this is a prophetic day… Within these walls many thousands of boys, yet unborn, gathered from the ends of the earth, will sing our hymns



PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER ’Eighty-eight, as the name implies, was funded directly through the generosity of those classmates. While some of the details have been lost to history, one can safely assume members of the Class of ’88 had faith in their friend “Buck” Irvine and wanted this new school—his school, in his home state—to get off the ground. The formal dining room inside of Keil Hall (a space later named after Irvine’s successor, Boyd Edwards) includes 36 Tiffany stained-glass windows representing American colleges and universities, paid for by friends and alumni of those schools. On pilasters carved into the wood inside the room are the shields of 16 leading European universities. Like ’Eighty-eight, these carved arms were funded for by Princeton graduates, but this group represented the university’s graduating classes of 1875 through 1896. (They included Richard McGrann, a member of Mercersburg Academy’s

Edward E. Ford (1912)


first graduating class in 1894 who went on to attend Princeton.) Edward E. Ford (1912) was a fellow Princeton man. His father, A. Ward Ford, was a co-founder of International Time Recording Company, which is one of the companies that merged to form International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in 1914. The younger Ford (who was known as “Tink”) went on to Princeton with his Mercersburg classmate, future Headmaster Charles Tippetts (1912), and later became a division vice president for IBM, as well as a member of its board of directors. He also served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents. Another of Ford’s close friends at Mercersburg was Medary Prentiss (1914). Years later, their grandsons (John Prentiss ’65 and E. Ford Menard ’65) would graduate from Mercersburg in the same class. The Edward E. Ford Foundation was established in 1957 with the goal of supporting independent secondary-school education. Two years later, a $350,000 gift from Ford funded the construction of what became Tippetts Hall on Mercersburg’s campus; gifts from the foundation and the Ford family also helped erect Fowle Hall, Ford Hall, and five faculty homes; established generous endowment funds; and inspired and challenged others to support Mercersburg. (In 2015, the Menard family funded the construction of eight additional faculty townhomes on campus.) The Ford Foundation remains a staunch supporter of independent-school education and of Mercersburg. Former Headmasters William Fowle and Walter Burgin both chaired the Foundation’s


board after their respective retirements from the school, with Burgin continuing to serve on the Ford Foundation board today.

Harold FitzGerald “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 came to Mercersburg in 1947 as an 11th-grade student. “Of all the educational experiences I had— Washington and Lee, Columbia Law School—Mercersburg did more than any other school in improving my life,” Lenfest said in an interview for Mercersburg’s 120th anniversary. After graduating from Mercersburg, Washington and Lee, and Columbia, serving in the U.S. Navy, and practicing law at the New York firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, he joined Triangle Publications, eventually holding positions as head of the company’s communications division and as editorial director and publisher of Seventeen magazine. In 1974, Lenfest bought two cable-television systems with just over 7,000 total subscribers to form Lenfest Communications. When the company was sold to Comcast in 2000 (for $7.2 billion), its cable systems had 1.3 million subscribers. That same year, Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite, gave $35 million to Mercersburg, by far the largest gift the school had received to that point (and the second-largest gift to an independent school at the time). It was the lead gift in the Academy’s Mightily Onward Campaign, which secured $125 million for Mercersburg. The Lenfests gave more than $1 billion to Mercersburg, Washington and Lee, Columbia, and Wilson College (Marguerite Lenfest’s alma mater, in nearby

PART II: COMPLETING ONE CENTURY, BEGINNING ANOTHER “People don’t come to Mercersburg because their name is Rockefeller,” Gerry Lenfest said in 2000. “They generally come from humble or middle-income families, and the school gives them a center and a foundation to go out into the world successfully.” When asked what the Lenfests would like students in the year 2100 to know about them, Gerry Lenfest replied, “I don’t think that’s important. What’s important is that future generations play their part in continuing the Mercersburg experience.”

Gerry Lenfest ’49

Chambersburg, Pa.), as well as countless nonprofit and civic organizations, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the American Revolution, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress. The Lenfest Foundation College Preparatory Boarding School Program provided scholarships for students from four Pennsylvania counties (including Franklin) to study and board at Mercersburg or one of three other boarding schools. Gerry Lenfest served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1989 to 1998, and was its president from 1994 to 1998. (He passed away in August 2018 at age 88.) Two specific buildings on campus largely supported by the Lenfests—the Burgin Center for the Arts and Lenfest Hall—underscore their dedication to ensuring that Mercersburg students, faculty, and staff benefit from the very best facilities.

Deborah Simon ’74, like so many Mercersburg alumni and supporters, has certainly taken Lenfest’s words to heart. Simon was the first alumna (as well as the first Mercersburg graduate from the 1970s) to give $1 million to the school, which came at the opening of the Burgin Center for the Arts in 2006. In 2013, Simon and the Deborah Joy Simon Foundation donated $100 million to Mercersburg. It was the second-largest gift ever made to an independent school and the largest in Mercersburg history, and served as the lead gift in the school’s $300 million Daring to Lead Campaign. Simon was a member of one of the school’s first boarding classes of female students when she arrived in 1972. “Mercersburg saved my life,” she said in a 2017 interview with Mercersburg magazine. “It really did. It gave me a purpose. It gave me the education I needed, and it became a love in my heart that has not gone away.” After initially joining the Academy’s Board of Regents in 1992, Simon has served on nearly

every Board committee. She became vice president of the Board in 2013, and succeeded David Frantz ’60 as its president in 2017. (She is the second female Board president, following in the footsteps of Denise Dupré ’76, who served in the role from 2005 to 2012.) Simon chairs the Indianapolisbased Simon Youth Foundation, which provides opportunities and scholarships for at-risk youth and assists them in developing life skills and pursuing postsecondary education and career paths. She is a former senior vice president of Simon Property Group, the largest real-estate company in the world. Both the Burgin Center’s Simon Theatre and the Simon Student Center in Ford Hall are named for her family; her gift for the student center was made in memory of her parents, Melvin and Bess, and in honor of all parents who send their children to Mercersburg.

Deborah Simon ’74



PA R T I I : C O M P L E T I N G O N E C E N T U R Y, B E G I N N I N G A N O T H E R



PA R T I I : C O M P L E T I N G O N E C E N T U R Y, B E G I N N I N G A N O T H E R






The Titus Era— and Beyond



or the first time in nearly two decades, Mercersburg Academy welcomed a new head of school when Katherine M. “Katie” Titus succeeded Douglas Hale in summer 2016. Titus is just Mercersburg’s seventh different head of school in 125 years, and the first female to hold the position. “As the head of school here, I am fortunate to be in this position of immense responsibility, in a good way,” Titus says. “It is an incredible privilege to be part of this community, and I am certainly honored to have this opportunity. Someday, I want people to be able to look back and say that my time here was meaningful in a positive way for the school—knowing that in the end, my time here is the time of all of us who are here.” Titus came to Mercersburg after 11 years at St. George’s School in Middletown, R.I., where she held a number of leadership roles. At the time of her Mercersburg

appointment, she was associate head for school life at St. George’s, and had served as dean of students, assistant head for student life, and as a member of the mathematics faculty. Titus has also worked as the director of college counseling and as a math teacher, adviser, and coach at Pingree School in South Hamilton, Mass. A native of Fair Haven, Vt., Titus earned a bachelor of arts in mathematics with a minor in secondary education from Middlebury College, where she was a standout on the women’s basketball team, scoring more than 1,000 points in her four-year career and serving

Katherine M. Titus

as a two-year team captain. She received a master’s in educational leadership from Columbia University. Titus’ husband, Stuart, is Mercersburg’s senior associate director of college counseling. The Tituses have two daughters, Natalie ’20 and Samantha. When she arrived at Mercersburg, Titus set a pair of initial objectives she wanted first to focus on as the new head: to get to know the Mercersburg community (the campus and its students, faculty, and staff; the school’s alumni and parent body; and the surrounding borough of Mercersburg of which the school is a part), and to begin work with the school community on the process of strategic design that leads into Mercersburg’s next strategic plan. Titus spent much of her first year—in addition to teaching a section of precalculus—meeting and shadowing members of the campus community, younger and older, in an effort to learn more about the spirit of the place and the people that call it home. And following nearly two years of research, interviews, analysis, and refinement, Mercersburg will unveil the results of its strategic-design process in 2018–2019. Where will Mercersburg go under Titus’ guidance? How will the school continue to develop over its next 25, 50, or 100 years? These are weighty questions, to be sure, but Mercersburg approaches the future from a position of incredible strength and tradition, and with the passion to lead and innovate in the field of education. Following are excerpts from a wide-ranging conversation with Titus about the Mercersburg of today and tomorrow.

Q: From your experiences so far as Mercersburg’s head of school, are there particular moments that stand out to you as memorable or enduring? I think of the moment that I walked into my first meeting with the head of school’s search committee. The ease with which that conversation happened and witnessing the connection all the committee members had in that environment, and the way in which they made me feel so at ease in what should be a pretty stressful situation, said a lot to me about the community. I immediately saw the absence of arrogance from the moment that I began the process. And that was only reinforced on the day I was introduced to the community here. When you have such a long-serving, beloved head of school like Doug Hale, it might be easy for people in a community to be sort of standoffish with a new person. I’ve never felt that for an instant. The community has been open and welcoming and ready for me. It just speaks volumes about the culture of this place. The first Step Songs will always have a warm place in my heart, and I also wound up having a nice bond with the Class of 2017, which was my very first senior class. They had to live in the transition period between heads of school, and I think they modeled for the other students how to do

that appropriately; how to push back, but also how to be open to other ideas and perspectives. This is definitely a place that is rooted in a really good, rich tradition, but is also open to the ideas of change, as long as that change makes sense.

Q: What is it like to be around the

kinds of young people that we at Mercersburg are lucky enough to work with?

The youth of today are using their minds in a different way and at a faster pace than we ever did as kids. There’s really no such thing as “growing up in a small town” anymore, because we’re exposed to the broader world through the lens of technology all the time. Our kids come at questions differently. They’re confident in pushing back and asking good questions and expecting answers and logic. They are inspiring, and it’s so exciting to ask how we can evolve our curriculum and our experience to continue to meet the kids where they are and with what they need. Sometimes, I feel that traditional curriculum can actually hold students back. Through our senior capstone experiences, Springboard and MAPS, we get to see that when kids are given the time to explore something in depth that is a passion of theirs, they’re able to accomplish some pretty amazing things. continued on page 52




Q: When you envision the future of Mercersburg Academy, and of the future of education in this country, what do you hope to see? I think it will be an interesting combination of “back to the future” and bold steps ahead. There are elements of education that have existed over time that we’ve lost sight of that are really important. There was a time when play in education was deliberate. Unfortunately, we’ve moved away from that. I do believe we’re going to see a shift back toward a recognition of that independent time where they’re not ascribed to something and they have to figure things out on their own—on the “playground,” so to speak. I’m hopeful that will be an element of the past that we’ll figure out how to bring back. Going forward, it’s going to be about breaking down the silos of academic departments, especially at the secondary-school level. It’s about really challenging kids to find that synthesis of their skillsets they’re learning in those areas. Certainly when I was a kid, everything was about content acquisition: memorize these facts about history and regurgitate them on the test or write this essay that demonstrates your knowledge of what happened during the Civil War. Today, it’s not about that: it’s really about understanding the complexity of history and how that should inform how we view today and how we think about the future. That’s much higher-level thinking that


we’re asking our kids to do—and they’re ready to do it and they want to do it.

Q: You’ve been clear when describing Mercersburg’s strategicdesign process that it’s an ongoing initiative—not something that we focus on for a short time and then move away from. Can you explain the intentionality of the term “strategic design,” as compared with “strategic planning”? The strategic-design process is meant to be flexible and nimble. A strategic design can live over five to seven years, whereas a plan will be almost annual. We want to identify what we can do this year to take steps forward toward strategic choices. If you construct all the action steps for a 10-year plan, five years in, you may realize half of those are obsolete and that we’re not going to do those anymore. So the design sets the direction and makes it clear what we’re going to prioritize, but also allows for the plan to grow and evolve based on the needs of the school.

Q: With the cost of education

continuing to rise in the marketplace, why is it so important that Mercersburg continue to declare— and show—its commitment to access and affordability? Our dedication comes from the egalitarian nature and long tradition of our school. I get to spend so many hours talking with alumni who say that Mercersburg changed the


course of their life. In many of those cases, you’re talking about alums who did not come from traditional affluence or longstanding boarding-school families. If that’s who we’ve always been, how are we going to make sure we can continue to do that as broadly as possible? Having a community that is representative of the world our kids will live in is important, and continuing to create access for our middle-class families will help us accomplish that.

Q: What do you hope Mercersburg

is celebrating at its 150th, 175th, or 200th anniversary?

I hope we’re celebrating that our values have continued to endure—that what makes the Mercersburg magic is still in existence, even though my guess is that the program may look dramatically different in some ways. In 50 or 75 years, we may have three campuses across the globe. We may have a working farm that provides our own food. We may be off the grid. We may have a need-blind admission policy. The most important thing is that the strength of our community endures. Someone asked me recently what I think is our biggest strength; it’s the way in which people just love this place. There’s just something that captures you and makes you really proud of being part of it. I hope those values and spirit are still in place— and if they are, whatever we’re doing is going to be great.





Mercersburgiana: A Glossary A partial/abridged/non-exhaustive list of selected Mercersburg-specific terms, sayings, and abbreviations Back campus (first usage unknown): campus location that—depending on context—can refer to open or secluded areas to the east of the rest of campus, or specifically to Fowle and Tippetts halls. See front campus. Barn, The (2000s–present): the

Masinter Outdoor Education Center, headquarters of Mercersburg Outdoor Education (MOE).


Blue coat (1960s–present): a student officially given the responsibility of clearing plates and glasses from the table at family-style meals, as well as assisting the white coat with miscellaneous table housekeeping duties. Formerly assigned to working boys (scholarship students) until the mid1960s. Actual jacket not required, except for most Monday-night meals. See white coat.


Bumped (1960s–present): when one’s seat at a meal in the dining hall is not available—either because the table is not set for attendance reasons, or because the table is full. Regardless, the bumpee must find another seat. ’Burg, The (first usage unknown): “Mercersburg Academy” or “the borough of Mercersburg,” shortened for casual use.


Century Club (1950s–present): membership in this unofficial organization is limited to students who have received 100 hours of guard. See guard. (And don’t join.) Declamation (1960s–present): the climactic event of Irving-Marshall Week in late February/early March, where five representatives of the Irving and Marshall societies deliver prepared monologues in front of the entire school and distinguished judges. (Replaced the formerly held Irving-Marshall Debate.) Dormed in (1960s–present): a

disciplinary response for a boarding student following (usually multiple/ repeated) violations of dormitory rules. Known at home as “being grounded.”

Fac brat (1960s–present): child of

a faculty member; not surprisingly, many fac brats go on to enroll at the Academy.

Field Day (1890s–1970s): the

autumn day when “new boys” were finally relieved of their requirement to wear black socks and ties; veteran students would rip or cut them off and burn them in a large pile.

Fifth floor Main (1890–1980s): top floor of Main Hall, which eventually became unoccupied—first due to declining enrollment in the 1970s and second because of accessibility limitations. Rumored to be haunted (a claim disputed by some amateur campus paranormal experts); nevertheless, a frequent location for “haunted house” attractions around Halloween. “[Food] up” (1930s–1960s): an invitation/command to pass a platter of food to the requestor during a family-style meal. (Example: “Bread up.”)

Front campus (first usage unknown):

chiefly refers to the dormitories nearest the Quad—Main, Swank, South, and Keil—and academic buildings. See back campus.

“Go [name of organization]!”

(2010s): common closing of a dining hall lunch announcement made by students, celebrating the subject of said announcement (an adaptation of the school cheer “Go Storm!”). Examples: “Go Latin!” “Go Writing Center!” “Go Book Club!”

Four on the floor (1970s–present):

instruction given to evening dormitory visitors (and their hosts) referring to the required location for feet when visiting a host’s room.

Free day/Head’s Holiday

(1960s–present): a rare surprise day off from classes announced by the head of school. Sometimes (but not always) due to a massive winter weather event; uncommon, but appreciated.




Guard (1890s–present): Disciplinary

summons requiring violator to wake up early on a weekend to walk in an oval with fellow violators, under watchful eye of a faculty member (often the Dean). May also be served in part by attending weekend study hall or assisting with other campus tasks as directed by the Dean of Student Life. Today’s guard path is actually the Curran Track. As former Dean of Students Tim Rockwell famously described it, “mindless punishment for mindless acts.”

“I-R-I-R-V-I-R-V-I-N-G! IRVING!” (clap clap) “IRVING!” (clap clap): Official cheer of the

Washington Irving Literary Society.


Jack’s (1920s–1970s): Jack

McLaughlin’s Drug Store, a common hangout for students on the town square; part lunch counter, part soda fountain, part pharmacy and general merchandise establishment. The store’s namesake was a member of the Class of 1924.

Junior (1890s–present): A member of the ninth-grade class; what the rest of the academic world (at least in the United States) calls a “freshman.”

LoFo (2000s–2010s): Studentcreated shorthand for the original student center on the lower level of Ford Hall (“Lower Ford”). Usage has dissipated somewhat since the 2013 renovations that created the Simon Student Center in the same space. (During the renovations, the Edwards


Room of Keil Hall served as the temporary student center and post office; in student parlance, it became known as “EdRo.”)

Lower middler (1890s–present):

A member of the 10th-grade class; what the rest of the academic world calls a “sophomore.”

“M-A-M-A-R-S-H-ADOUBLE-L! MARSHALL!” (clap clap) “MARSHALL!” (clap clap):

Official cheer of the John Marshall Literary Society.

Middle of Everywhere, The

(2000s–present): a comparative description of Mercersburg’s location vis-à-vis other points of interest. (90 miles from Washington, Baltimore, and three international airports; four hours from New York City, etc.)


Mugwumps (1960s–present): four

student volunteers who assist with clearing the trays brought to the kitchen after a family-style meal. Mugwumps are allowed to dress casually for most semiformal meals (another perk of service is access to an extra serving of dessert).

Painting the Numbers

(1970s–present): a tradition where members of the senior class plaster a stretch of pavement with blue and white paint, with the ultimate goal of imprinting their class year there. (Paint often “accidentally” ends up on Mercersburg apparel worn by the students, creating treasured souvenirs for all in attendance.)

Penny Sunday (1950s–1960s):

a premeditated act of fiscal generosity for (at least partially) nefarious reasons. Students hoarded their pennies and brought them all to a Chapel service to toss in the offering plate all at once, with the goal of toppling the student Chapel usher who carried the plate. (Following one such instance, Bill Fowle threatened to “take away [the students’] privilege to give to the Chapel.”)

Pretzel pie (1980s–present):

The most traditional of dining-hall desserts, composed of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, pretzel crumbles, and sprinkles in a pretzel crust. Leftovers are rare.

Romeo’s (1980s–present): pizza

and sandwich shop a stone’s throw from campus; popular with four decades (and counting) of students. Yes, it was actually founded by a man named “Romeo”—Romeo Lio, a native of the Italian region of

Upper middler (1890s–present):

Calabria. Owned and operated today by the husband-and-wife team of Harry McCullough ’91 and Lori Jo Ruohomaki McCullough ’91. (We suggest the cheesesteaks, the pizza, or the zeppolis.)

A member of the 11th-grade class; what the rest of the academic world calls a “junior.” (Not to be confused with junior, which at Mercersburg is a member of the ninth-grade class.)

Spider Field (1910s–present): the

White coat (1960s–present):

grassy expanse to the north of Ford Hall which houses the softball field; the surrounding area is a popular venue for Frisbee, pickup soccer, lounging, and hammock-related activities. Dr. Irvine once considered flooding the field to create a pond. Originally named after Mercersburg’s youngest students (who were often known as “spiders” due to their slight and gangly physical appearance), since athletic events for the youngsters took place there.

student who brings the food from the kitchen to the table during family-style meals and assists with meal cleanup alongside the blue coat. Formerly assigned to working boys (scholarship students) until the mid-1960s. See blue coat.

Ten (1920s–1960s): the restroom/

lavatory on a dormitory floor. At one time, most if not all such facilities had doors with the number “10” (perhaps beginning in Laucks Hall, with former residents continuing to use the term after moving to different dorms). A common question for the faculty member on duty was “Sir, may I go to the Ten?”

Tippetts Beach (1970s–present):

similar to Spider Field, a grassy expanse just south of Tippetts Hall which hosts a variety of spontaneous leisure activities in nice weather. Prime spot for sunbathing, which is discouraged on front campus.

Townie (1920s–present): a resident of the borough of Mercersburg (can apply to Academy students from the immediate surrounding area, or local residents of any age).

With full hearts and loud swelling cheers (1900s–present):

The final line of the Alma Mater, which is joyfully shouted (not sung) in unison by the student body. Former faculty members Thomas Crichton (lyrics) and Henry Ready (music) wrote the piece.







VALEDICTORIANS 1894 Howard Yocum


1895 Charles Kremer

1922 William Shaffer

1896 Charles Christman

1923 Karl Hinke

1897 Howard Omwake

1924 Harrison Lerch

1898 Edwin Mulock

1925 Lorman Trueblood

1899 William Wiest

1926 Wilbur LeGore

1900 Max Eastman

1927 Carroll McCulloh

1901 John Spangler

1928 Edmund Lucas

1902 Daniel Schnebly

1929 Joseph Cunningham

1903 Ralph Haley

1930 Franklin Baumer

1904 Donald Willard


1905 Frederick Ankeney

1932 Richard Williams

1906 Daniel Smith

1933 Shirley Hulse

1907 Douglas Orbison

1934 Charles Elting

1908 John Reiley

1935 John DeBruycker

1909 Proctor Knott

1936 John Brueckely

1910 Francis McCook

1937 Basil Crapster


George Moritz

1938 William Hense


Charles Tippetts

1939 Richard Klopp


Vimont Welch

1940 Charles Dithrich


Junius Fishburn



John Whaley

1942 Robert Howe


James Landis

1943 Frank Hagerty

1967 Jonathan Cooper


Charles Stroh

1968 Douglas Miller


Kenneth Zabriske

1944 Bard Thompson Edward “Tim” Peters

1969 James Snyder


Philip Allen

1945 Hale Andrews John Colston James Maxwell Jr.

1970 David Moore

1920 Albert Trepel

Edward D’Arms

John Schaner

David Lockhart

1946 Richard Smith Jonathan Woods 1947 Walter Braham 1948 Barry Bryan 1949 Theodore Distler 1950 Brainerd Stranahan 1951

James Smith

1952 George Reed 1953 Walter Burgin 1954 Peter Evans

Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh ’50

1955 George Lewis 1956 Gerald McCulloh 1957 Michael Reynolds 1958 John Lawrence 1959 Richard Shindle 1960 William Cass 1961

Lee Bowie

1962 C. Oakley Mertz 1963 John Harris 1964 James Talerico 1965 Gary Wormser 1966 Christopher Lorentz


Paul Spears

Faculty emeritus Karl Reisner as James Buchanan

1972 James Porterfield

1984 Ralph France

1996 Jessica Lawrence

2008 Remy Wheat

1973 David Peace

1985 Theodore “Chipper” Lichtenstein

1997 Jennifer Miller Smith

2009 Magdalena Kala

1986 Barbara Allen

1998 Elizabeth Hills

2010 Chen “Mary” Chen

1999 Zachary Shaffer


2000 Trevor Yates

2012 Kexin “Cathy” Wang

2001 Molly Malone

2013 Seth Noorbakhsh

2002 Katie Heimer

2014 Jiajie “Tommy” Zhou

2003 Alison Reingold

2015 Alex Jackson

2004 Katrina Honigs

2016 Kai “Lucas” Lu

2005 Maher Milly

2017 Maddie Rogers Manjing “Mia” Wang

1974 Stephen Miller 1975 David Killius 1976 David McQueeney 1977 Laura Jones Waterland

1987 Christopher McLane 1988 Ridzwan Othman

1978 Mary Wentworth Blackburn

1989 Elizabeth Marshall Dranow

1979 Deirdre Marshall


1980 Jennifer Lepley Mullins

1992 Charles Koontz


1993 Plamen Mitrikov

Johanna Schlegel

1990 Emran Sheikh Tara Brendle Owens

1982 Richard Winning

1994 Joseph Jamal

1983 Gene Christner

1995 Kiersten Heim Slaght

2006 Skye Comstra

Anson Guo

2007 Yea Eun Kwak

2018 Xiang “Victor” Li


1953 John Ross

1977 Bruce Leighty

1998 Amy Jones Satrom

1930 Robert Michelet

1954 Yorke Peeler

1978 Nancy Lawrence Hill

1999 Molly Messick


1955 Tony Distler

1979 Anne Winebrenner Knuth

2000 Andrew Miller

1932 Arthur Loeb

1956 Edgar “Ted” Bates

1980 Jim Liddy

1933 Robert Brown

1957 Lance Lewis/John Vesey


2001 Molly Malone Emory Mort

1934 Tabb Hostetter

1958 Michael Rhode

1982 Jessica Boyatt

1935 Richard White Sr.

1959 Richard “Dick” Shindle

1983 Steve Bannerot

1936 Martin Myers

1960 William Cass

1984 Scott Kemp

1937 Philip Jefferson


1985 Eric Dandridge

1938 George Lyon Jr.

1962 William McKee

1986 Matt Simar

1939 Witcher McCullough Jr.

1963 Stephen Armstrong

1987 Rob Porcarelli

1940 Robert Welshans

1964 Richard “Dick” Cass

1988 Suzy Wang Elhady


1965 William Jewett

1989 Rusty Brady

1942 Frank Egloff

1966 Eric Peterson

1990 Tonya Rutherford

1943 Lawrence Schultz

1967 Christopher Kenah


1944 William Orme

1968 Richard Sollenberger

1992 Pia Catton

2012 John San Filippo

1945 James Maxwell Jr.

1969 Sam Johnston 1970 Rick Witmer

1993 Danielle Dahlstrom Jamil Myrie

2013 Ashley Frederick

1946 Tom McLellan Jr.

2014 Jiajie “Tommy” Zhou

1947 John Browning


1994 Katie Lasky

2015 Alex Jackson

1948 Barry Bryan

1972 Tom Lansdale

1995 Sarah Burbank Brenes

2016 Fernando Cervera

1949 John Wallace

1973 Jim Resh

2017 Ryan Geitner

1950 Richard Soars

1974 Tom Rahauser


1975 Debbie Ross Cipriano

1996 David Frame Jesse Zimmerman Anderson

Newton Padgitt

Charles Schaff

Samuel Trump

1952 Bruce Evans

William Harper

Andy Nelson

1976 Denise Dupré

Doug Burbank

Russ Spinney

2002 Tyler Jones 2003 Alison Reingold 2004 Todd Small 2005 Carl Gray 2006 Rahde Franke 2007 Ryan Colby 2008 James Finucane 2009 Jack Oliphant 2010 Lorraine Simonis 2011

Danny Roza

2018 Ellie Gregg

1997 Carla Lopez




1983 Arctic Expedition



1894 Irving

1926 Marshall

1958 Irving

1990 Marshall

1895 Irving

1927 Irving

1959 Irving


1896 Irving

1928 Marshall

1960 Marshall

1992 Irving

1897 Irving

1929 Irving


1993 Irving

1898 Irving

1930 Marshall

1962 Irving

1994 Marshall

1899 Marshall


1963 Marshall

1995 Marshall

1900 Marshall

1932 Irving

1964 Irving

1996 Marshall

1901 Marshall

1933 Marshall

1965 Irving

1997 Marshall

1902 Marshall

1934 Marshall

1966 Irving

1998 Irving

1903 Irving

1935 Marshall

1967 Irving

1999 Irving

1904 Irving

1936 none (canceled)

1968 Irving

2000 Marshall

1905 Irving

1937 Irving

1969 Marshall

2001 Irving

1906 Irving

1938 Irving

1970 Marshall

2002 Irving

1907 Marshall

1939 Marshall


2003 Irving

1908 Marshall

1940 Irving

1972 Irving

2004 Marshall

1909 Irving


1973 Marshall

2005 Irving

1910 Marshall

1942 Irving

1974 Irving

2006 Irving



1943 Marshall

1975 Irving

2007 Marshall



1944 Irving

1976 Irving

2008 Marshall



1945 Marshall

1977 Marshall

2009 Marshall



1946 Irving

1978 Marshall

2010 Marshall



1947 Irving

1979 Marshall




1948 Marshall

1980 Marshall

2012 Marshall



1949 Marshall


2013 Marshall



1950 Irving

1982 Marshall

2014 Marshall




1983 Marshall

2015 Irving









1920 Irving

1952 Marshall

1984 Marshall

2016 Marshall



1953 Irving

1985 Irving

2017 Marshall

1922 Marshall

1954 Irving

1986 Irving

2018 Marshall

1923 Irving

1955 Marshall

1987 Irving

1924 Marshall

1956 Irving

1988 Irving

1925 Irving

1957 Irving

1989 Irving



Eric Rahauser ’05

Jenn Brallier ’09

Melody Gomez ’13

David Illingworth ’82

Beth Wilber Matthews ’05

Kate Vary ’10

Hanna Warfield ’13

Sarah Burbank Brenes ’95

Lee Banta ’06

Mackenzie Riford ’11

Meghan Peterson ’14

Amanda Reisner ’97

Josh Edgin ’06

Paige Summers Andersen ’11

Maddie Nelson ’15

Lauren Bolte ’99

Shelby Hoffman ’06

Abby Colby ’12

Teal Tasker ’15

Katie Keller White ’04

Madi McConnell ’07

Kiersten Sydnor ’12

Ryan Geitner ’17

Matt Englehart ’05

Laura Diller ’08

Taku Yamane ’12

Xavier Dreux ’18

Melissa McCartney ’05

Lauren Dobish ’08

Emma Cranston ’13

Lauren Jones ’18

Nicholas Taubman ’53, 1990–1994

William Zimmerman ’67, 2001–2005

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49, 1994–1998

Denise Dupré ’76, 2005–2012

Edgar Masinter ’48, 1998–2001

Deborah Simon ’74, 2017–current

BOARD OF REGENTS PRESIDENTS William Deatrick, 1893–1895

Austin McClain ’26, 1964–1971

Rush Gillan, 1895–1927

John Detwiler ’29, 1971–1974

James Barnes, 1927–1934

W. Carroll Coyne ’50, 1974–1982

Earl Douglas (1909), 1934–1960

Carl Erdman ’33, 1982–1988

Joel Boone (1909), 1960–1964

Robert Claytor ’40, 1988–1990

David Frantz ’60, 2012–2017

CLASS OF ’32 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD 1932 George L. Omwake (1895) 1933 Joel T. Boone (1909) 1934 Junius P. Fishburn (1914) 1935 Howard R. Omwake (1897) 1936 James M. Landis (1916) 1937 Paul H. Musser (1912) 1938 Simon Sipple (1896) 1939 Earl L. Douglass (1909) 1940 Max Eastman (1900) 1941

Charles S. Tippetts (1912)

1942 W. Heber Dithrich (1906) 1943 Robert F. Rich (1902) Keller E. Rockey (1905) 1944 George R. Hanks (1911) 1945 James M. Stewart ’28

1957 Francis R. Lowell (1910) Karl L. Rankin (1916) 1958 Robert C. Tyson ’23 George L. Haller ’24 1959 Charles A. Jones (1905) 1960 Donald L. Helfferich (1917) 1961

Milton W. King (1908)

1962 John R. Everett ’38 1963 Richard S. Pieters ’26 1964 Frank P. Weaver (1922) 1965 George F. Bond ’33

1989 Walter L. Farley ’35 1990 Burton Richter ’48 1991

Thomas W. Langfitt ’45

1994 Barry R. Bryan ’48 John B. Lowry ’48 Edgar M. Masinter ’48 Charles J. Queenan Jr. ’48

1969 William H. Chartener ’42

1973 Philip H. Schaff Jr. ’38

1949 Alexander Stewart (1914)

1974 John G. Detwiler ’29

1950 Abram P. Steckel (1895)

1975 Justin L.W. Dart ’25


1976 Herman T. Schneebeli ’26

1956 William N. Keith (1900) Ralph B. Hindman (1911)

1988 John A. McQuiggan ’52

1968 Eugene B. Fluckey ’30

1948 George M. Kirk (1909)

1955 B. Franklin Royer (1895)

1987 Thomas G. Pownall ’40

1993 All Mercersburg Alumni

1972 William S. Rahauser (1922)

1954 Frank D. Buser (1894)

1986 León Febres Cordero ’49

1967 John L. Coolidge ’24

1947 Brooks Emeny (1920)

1953 Henry B. Swoope Jr. ’23

1985 Robert B. Claytor ’40

1992 Richard L. “Dick” Thornburgh ’50

1970 Thomas W. Wilson Jr. ’31

1952 William B. Rodgers (1922)

1984 Betsy Mitchell ’83 Richard E. Saeger ’82

1966 Austin V. McClain ’26

1946 John H. Brown Jr. (1910) John C. Meyer ’37

Pedro A. del Valle (1910) C. Edward Murray Jr. (1910)

1983 H. William Close ’38


Adolph W. Schmidt (1922)

1977 Hobart D. Lewis ’29 1978 James M. Tunnell Jr. ’28 1979 William H. Harris ’44 1980 John V. Prevost ’29 1981

Allen H. Seed Jr. (1921)

1982 James A. Cobey ’30

1995 Ansley J. Coale ’35 1996 William A. Buchheit ’51 1997 Walter O. Lowrie ’42 1998 Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53 1999 Stanley E. Fulton ’49 Alan D. Kennedy ’49 H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 Samuel D. McGredy ’49 2000 W. Carroll Coyne ’50 Alexander W. Spears III ’50

2003 Nicholas F. Taubman ’53 Fred L. Morefield ’53 Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53 2004 Harold L. Brake ’54 Kenneth Carmel ’54 2005 Frederick C. Mish ’55 2006 James C. Morgan ’56 2007 M. Thomas Grumbacher ’57 2008 John K. Lawrence ’58 Alan J. Wein ’58 2009 Lewis M. Helm ’49 2010 Albert C. Bellas ’60 Theodore V. Boyd ’60 David O. Frantz ’60 Henry H. Spire ’60 2011

Allen W. Zern ’61

2012 Bruce M. Eckert ’62 2013 Andrew E. Bisset ’63 Barrett Burns ’63 2014 Richard W. Cass ’64 2015 John K. Prentiss ’65 2016 James C. Pfautz ’48 2017 William B. Zimmerman ’67 2018 Andrew R. Ammerman ’68

2001 William H. Clutz ’51 2002 Charles H. Moore Jr. ’47




MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS Joel T. Boone (1909) Ralph Talbot (1916)

Douglas Hale (center) with Margery and Edgar Masinter ’48

Eugene B. Fluckey ’30

RHODES SCHOLARS Robert Cunningham (1921) Edward D’Arms (1921) Laurence Scott ’24 Dudley Harley ’27 James Tunnell ’28 Robert Michelet ’30 Cresson Kearny ’33

Itzhak Perlman performing at the Burgin Center for the Arts’ opening gala




OLYMPIC ATHLETES Walter Drumheller (1897): 1900, USA, track & field Thomas Moffitt (1901): 1908, USA, track & field Bob Leavitt (1903): 1906, USA, track & field (gold) William Robbins (1906): 1908, USA, track & field Lee Talbott (1907): 1908, USA, track & field/wrestling/tug of war Robert Foster (1909): 1908, USA, swimming Ted Meredith (1912): 1912/1920, USA, track & field (gold x2) Harry Goelitz (1914): 1920, USA, track & field Allen Woodring (1918): 1920, USA, track & field (gold) Marvin Rick (1920): 1924, USA, track & field George Hester (1922): 1924, Canada, track & field Charles “Crip” Moore (1922): 1924, USA, track & field Bill Cox ’24: 1924, USA, track & field (bronze) Harry Glancy ’24: 1924/1928, USA, swimming (gold) Barney Berlinger ’27: 1928, USA, track & field Bill Carr ’29: 1932, USA, track & field (gold x2) Basil Francis ’31: 1932, USA, swimming John Macionis ’34: 1936, USA, swimming (silver) Alan Ford ’42: 1948, USA, swimming (silver) Jeff Kirk ’42: 1948, USA, track & field Robert Sohl ’45: 1948, USA, swimming (bronze) Richard Cleveland ’48: 1952, USA, swimming Charles Moore Jr. ’47: 1952, USA, track & field (gold, silver) Jean Cronstedt ’50: 1960, Sweden, gymnastics Lee Yoder ’50: 1952, USA, track & field Radames Torruella ’58: 1968, Puerto Rico, sailing Rolando Cruz ’60: 1956/1960/1964, Puerto Rico, track & field Celestino “Tito” Perez ’65: 1964, Puerto Rico, swimming Frank Richardson ’80: 1976, Nicaragua, swimming Rich Saeger ’82: 1984, USA, swimming (gold) Betsy Mitchell ’83: 1984/1988, USA, swimming (gold, silver x2) Christine Jacob ’85: 1984, Philippines, swimming Roberto Granados ’86: 1984, Guatemala, swimming Melvin Stewart ’88: 1988/1992, USA, swimming (gold x2, bronze) Leo Najera ’89: 1992, Philippines, swimming Tim Eneas ’91: 1992, Bahamas, swimming Geri Mewett ’92: 1992, Bermuda, swimming Raymond Papa ’94: 1992/1996, Philippines, swimming Kamul Masud ’97: 1996/2000, Pakistan, swimming Marilyn Chua ’98: 2000, Malaysia, swimming Tinka Dancevic ’98: 1996/2000, Croatia, swimming Oat Sethsothorn ’00: 2000, Thailand, swimming Jon Steele ’03: 2000/2004, Grenada, swimming Abed Kaaki ’04: 2004, Lebanon, swimming

Lee Talbott (1907)






Earle Grover, 1981–1992

Denise Dalton, 2017–present

Nancy Horton Heefner, 1992–1994 Brent Gift, 1994–2014 Eric Hicks, 2014–present

WALTER H. BURGIN JR. ’53 CHAIR IN MATHEMATICS David Tyson, 1997–1998 Neil Carstensen, 1998–2004 Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, 2004–present

DAVID F. CHAPMAN CHAIR Bouldin Burbank, 1974–1996 James Smith, 1996–2001 Tom Thorne, 2001–present


MARY KEELER LAWRENCE DISTINGUISHED TEACHING CHAIR Suzanne Wootton, 2000–2007 Chip Vink ’73, 2007–2014 Peter Kempe, 2014–present



Emily Parsons, 2015–present

David Tyson, 1994–1997


James Malone, 1997–present

Derry Mason, 2004–2013 Pete Gunkelman, 2013–present

Board of Regents President Emerita Denise Dupré ’76 and her husband, Mark Nunnelly




Walter Burgin ’53 and Nobel Laureate Burton Richter ’48

Alexandra Patterson, 2017–present

PALMER CHAIR FOR THE FINE ARTS Laurie Mufson, 2008–present

JOSEPH AND HELEN REGENSTEIN FOUNDATION CHAIR IN BRITISH LITERATURE Wirt Winebrenner ’54, 1977–1996 Philip Post, 1996–2005 Matthew Kearney, 2005–2014 Chip Vink ’73, 2014–present

FLORENCE AND JOHN H. RUMBAUGH (1907) CHAIR (SINCE 1996) James Malone, 1996–1997 Eugenio Sancho, 1997–2011 Allison Stephens, 2011–present

ARCHIBALD H. RUTLEDGE CHAIR Leonard Plantz, 1974–1984 Ernest Staley, 1984–1985 Robert Rankin, 1985–1992 Karl Reisner, 1992–2001 Frank Rutherford ’70, 2001–present



Brent Gift


Paul Galey


Mark Flowers/Kristy Higby


James Brinson


Joel Chace


Susan Rahauser


Suzanne Wootton


Lawrence Jones


Frank Rutherford ’70

2008–2009 Matthew Caretti


Susan Malone


James Applebaum


Dave Holzwarth ’78


Trini Hoffman


Ray Larson


Emily Parsons


Julia Stojak Maurer ’90


David Bell


Mike Sweeney


Denise Dalton


Jason Bershatsky


Hope San Filippo


Beth Pethel


Matt Maurer


Jeff Cohen


Will Whitmore

2008–2009 Heather Prescott


Katherine Dyson


John Burnette


Jennifer Miller Smith ’97


Peter Kempe


Phil Kantaros


Amy Kelley


Nikki Walker


Renee Hicks


Marcus Jaiclin


David Bell



Profile for Mercersburg Academy

Mercersburg Academy: 125 Years  

Mercersburg Academy celebrated its 125th anniversary as a preparatory school in 2018. To commemorate this milestone, the school produced a m...

Mercersburg Academy: 125 Years  

Mercersburg Academy celebrated its 125th anniversary as a preparatory school in 2018. To commemorate this milestone, the school produced a m...