Mercersburg Academy Magazine, Winter 2024

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Did You Know?

Lauren Jacobs is our first female athletics director. Find out what brought her to Mercersburg, what she loves about her job, and how she feels about our new eagle mascot, Thunder.

16 WINTER 2024 DEPARTMENTS 2 From the Head of School 3 Campus Life 20 A Mercersburg Moment 38 Alumni Life 46 Class Notes 68 Social Media 69 From the Archives
10 Making History Come Alive
6 Providing a Sense of Self


Volume 50, Issue 1

Editor: Lisa Tedrick Prejean

Contributors: David Bell P ’17, ’18, Debra Collins P ’14, Addie Heldman ’25, Kaiya Hoffman ’25, Emily Jiang ’24, Megan Mallory, Tyler Miller, Taeeon Moon ’25, Shanuka Navaratne ’25, Cody Parks, Zally Price, Sean Qin ’25, Devin Rotz ’25

Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications: Amy Marathe P ’26

Design and Cover Art: LQ Design

Head of School: Quentin McDowell P ’25, ’27

Mercersburg Academy magazine informs and connects our community, fosters belonging and pride, inspires engagement, and celebrates achievement. The magazine is published twice a year by the Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.

Magazine correspondence:

Class notes correspondence:

Alumni correspondence/change of address: 800-588-2550

Main school phone: 717-328-2151

Read us online:

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© Copyright 2024 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 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, religion, mental or physical disability, or any other status protected by applicable law in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, and loans, and its educational, athletic, and other programs.



22 Changemakers: The Women of Mercersburg

Since Mercersburg Academy opened its doors to women in 1969, our female students have left their marks on the campus, on each other, and on the world beyond Mercersburg’s sycamores. We are judges, doctors, artists, teachers, CEOs, and veterans, and the list goes on. We are changemakers, and our strength is amplified when we come together.

40 Class of ’32 Award Recipient

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“During my 17 years at Mercersburg, I have benefited from a long list of women who have been kind to offer me countless lessons, wise counsel, and positive influence.”

Admiration, Respect for the Women of Mercersburg, Past and Present

Imust admit that writing the opening letter for this edition of the Mercersburg Academy magazine proved to be harder than I anticipated. The headliner topics—honoring the impact of women and acknowledging the critical importance of mental health—are areas that mean a great deal to me. I initially worried my biggest challenge in writing this letter would be that I would write too much. Instead, I found myself struggling to adequately convey my thoughts in a way that captures my genuine sentiments.

My mother, an accomplished mental health practitioner and now retired graduate school professor, has been, and continues to be, a profound influence on my life. It is under her guidance that I came to recognize and understand the realities of mental health and the need to normalize emotions, vulnerability, and a willingness to ask for help. Growing up, she unapologetically created a space for herself in the mental health and educational fields through time, passion, diligence, and sheer determination—all while raising a family. I could write several pages on the immense impact she has had on my life as a person and a leader. I encourage you to read on page 6 the feature on mental health and what Mercersburg and our counselors are doing to support our students. As the head of school, I am grateful I have a direct line to my mother, who has dedicated her professional life to the mental health field and can counsel me through many of my ideas and solutions.

During my 17 years at Mercersburg, I have benefited from a long list of women who have been kind to offer me countless lessons, wise counsel, and positive influence. Our first female head of school, Katie Titus; our single greatest donor and past Board president, Deborah Simon ’74; our former associate head, Debbie Rutherford; and my first Board president as head of school, Stacie Rice Lissette ’85, have all shaped Mercersburg with their intelligence, strength, inspiration, and love for the school. Did you also know that seven of the 10 members of the school’s current executive team are women? The admiration and respect I have for the women of Mercersburg, past and present, is incredibly deep.

When I step back, I am confident in saying that we would not be the Mercersburg Academy we are today without all of the women I have named and the innumerable others I have not. Take a look at the timeline beginning on page 25 to view a long list of women who have shaped our school, starting in 1894 with Dr. William Mann Irvine’s wife, Camille, who, among many other things, helped develop the theatre program now known as Stony Batter Players, and ending in 2023, when Lauren Jacobs became our first female athletics director. You can read more about Jacobs on page 16.

I hope you find the stories contained in this issue to be inspiring reminders of the critical role the women of Mercersburg have played throughout our history and will continue to play in our future. Many of them faced the wild storm waves of years, and it is only right that we pause and appreciate the women of Mercersburg and those in our own lives who have done so much to build the world around us.




For five days in August, more than 40 faculty members heard from leading experts about using AI in the classroom, making learning stick, and designing world-class project-based learning.


We welcomed nine new faculty members in the fall.

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Since the beginning of spring 2023 vacation, 57 students have traveled as part of Mercersburg’s Global Initiatives program, with more than $150,000 used to help fund these student experiences. Destinations included Costa Rica, Italy, France, and the Bahamas.

In our partnership with the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica, $8,000 was donated from mathematics faculty member Jeff Cohen’s banana bread sales, and 12 refurbished MacBook computers were provided to the school.

Anticipation filled the air as new and returning students came to campus ready to start the school year. Student leaders returned first and were challenged with the theme, “Stand

Up. Speak Up. Leadership in Action.”

Their training sessions included diversity, equity, and inclusion; conflict resolution; boundaries; and mental/emotional health.

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Director of Library Services Alexandra Patterson, a member of the English faculty, received the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies.


With a focus on social justice, Just Mercy was the all-school read.

Faculty and Staff Awards Leadership Lab

Housekeeping Supervisor

Randy Campbell P ’24 received the Staff Excellence Award.

Language Department Head

Benjamin McNeil P ’25, ’26 received the Zern Excellence in Teaching Award.

Information Systems Administrator

Will Dupuis received the School Values Award.




More than 600 people attended events during Family and Alumni Weekend.



We welcomed 447 students from 28 states and 44 countries to campus for the start of the school year.

Classes started September 5, and ever since, campus has been alive with activity.


Some students fulfill more than one leadership role.

7 dormitory prefects

16 Peer Group Leaders

4 Mentor Leaders

10 Conduct Review Committee members

14 Student Council members

10 day student ambassadors

1 keynote speaker: Dr. Ted Fish

10 faculty facilitators


Faculty Challenge


Faculty were asked to write an impact statement reflecting on how they plan to make a difference in the lives they touch this year.



More than 150 visitors took campus tours, peeked into classrooms, and attended information sessions.

The National Merit Scholarship Program has recognized five Mercersburg Academy students for their performance on the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test: Selena Feng ’24 of Chambersburg, PA; Jonah Lee ’24 of Fountain Valley, CA; Dean Tae ’24

Harry Cameron ’26 of Carlisle, PA, received the John Culbertson (1924) Prize, which recognizes the exceptional promise and outstanding accomplishment of a student entering the 10th grade.


Our new mascot, Thunder, a mighty eagle, was revealed during a school meeting. We are still the Storm, but we also rise above it on eagle’s wings. Eagle T-shirts and stickers were given to students, faculty, and staff. Coming in 2024: Look for our new mascot at events! #GoStorm


Convocation kicked off the 131st academic year September 4, 2023, in the Irvine Memorial Chapel. Maria Kimsey, who retired as associate head of school for finance and operations at the end of September, was the featured speaker.


Students on the Civic Engagement Advisory Board traveled to Washington, D.C., for a retreat as part of their work with the school’s Civic Engagement Task Force. They were encouraged to consider the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States as a model for discussing citizenship more broadly.

Andrew Leibowitz ’24 of Whitehouse Station, NJ, received the Robert Michelet ’30 Prize, which recognizes distinguished scholarship, character, and school spirit during the previous 11th-grade year.

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of Seoul, South Korea; Alex Van Ess ’24 of Ashburn, VA; and Iseo Yun ’24 of Seoul, South Korea.

Providing a Sense of Self


Last fall as the deadline neared for students to make schedule changes, Mercersburg Dean of Academics Jennifer Miller Smith ’97, P ’23, ’24 noticed a trend. While most students were making legitimate requests, some wanted to take less demanding classes so they would feel better about their academic performance.

Ability was not a factor. The students are smart, capable, and have a world of resources at their fingertips.

The schedule requests had more to do with their comfort level when facing difficulty. A 99 percent in a regular college preparatory class would feel better than a 92 in an advanced class.

If the schedule change meant a higher grade, perhaps that would look better on a transcript. Maybe that would edge out the competition on a college application.

Hopefully that would reduce an overall feeling of anxiety and stress.

Our students are displaying attitudes in line with national trends. Recent surveys conducted by the Education Week Research Center found that the top five stressors for students are:

u Stress related to finishing schoolwork/ homework

u Grades/test results

u Concerns about their physical appearance

u Anxiety over societal issues/news

u Concerns about how others perceive them

Bethany Galey ’02, a licensed professional counselor, is a member of Mercersburg’s counseling department, which works to meet the individual needs of all students.

Teens need to view difficulty as potential for growth, and that is a challenge Mercersburg continues to accept, even as students navigate an increasingly complex world.

Nationally, several factors seem to be contributing to a reduced capacity to face adversity. Combine performance anxiety with social media’s comparison culture, add in the lack of social interaction during the pandemic, and it’s understandable how today’s teens could feel insecure.

As adolescents grapple with their sense of self, they might feel that they don’t measure up to others, and that can have an impact on mental health.

“There’s a rise in feelings of anxiety, and depression also, in teens compared to 20 years ago,” Smith said. “There’s a link in timing between growing up with social media and this growing anxiety and depression.

“The pressing issue is how do we acknowledge that this is likely impacting our students, help them learn how to use it effectively, and then also work through the mental struggles that may come along with it?”

Mercersburg has acknowledged the issue in several ways. A third mental health counselor was hired. A second learning services specialist was added.

Changes were made to the daily schedule in order to reduce student stress, and student survey responses seem to indicate that Mercersburg is making progress in this area. Now there are at most only four classes per day, allowing students to have a deeper resonance with material they are learning. Additionally, students have less transitions so they don’t have to switch gears as often, and their evenings can be spent on less preparation focused on fewer subjects (homework for three to four classes versus homework for five to six classes). The schedule change also allows for students to get more sleep by still having a set time for lights out in the dorms at night with the complement of a later start in the morning.

“We have students who are used to excelling at pretty much everything they do,”

said Amy Shaffer Post ’02, Mercersburg’s social emotional learning counselor. “When they start to hit challenges, it can be hard for them to recognize that challenge is growth. Instead, they can see a challenge as ‘I’m not being successful at this.’ Kids will come in and tell me that they have failed an exam, and in our conversation, I find out they got a B.”

She assures them that they did not fail.

“Their standard can be so high and the competition, especially around college admissions, is so steep right now that it can cause our kids a lot of stress,” Shaffer Post said. “That anxiety or the lack of performance that they feel can lead to difficulties, issues, and concerns. It can lead to just really struggling to feel good about themselves and to recognize their own strengths.”

Excessive time spent on social media can take away from many other healthy activities and can get in the way of developing and maintaining appropriate social relationships, which is important for the healthy development of kids and teens, according to Jennifer Sipes P ’22, a licensed clinical social worker, and Bethany Galey ’02, a licensed professional counselor, who are both part of Mercersburg’s counseling team.

“There’s overwhelming neuroscience evidence that children aren’t really ready for the terrifying ‘stage fright’ of always being in the public sphere because of their online identity,” said Associate Head of School Jennifer Craig. “This is a group of people who

are naturally and appropriately in the midst of developing answers to the ‘who am I and why am I the way I am?’”

Mercersburg invests in the mental health of students through providing counseling on campus, outside referrals for professional counseling, peer support groups, several affinity groups so students can connect over particular issues/identities, and speakers–from both within the community and from the outside. For example, Dr. Tracy DennisTiwary, anxiety researcher, entrepreneur, and author, gave the Ammerman Family Lecture at Mercersburg in October.

Students can schedule counseling appointments through a nurse at the Rutherford Health and Wellness Center. They can talk with their adviser or another trusted adult on campus who can submit a counseling referral. They can email a counselor directly. Or they can walk into the health center and ask to talk to a counselor.

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For Mental Health Awareness Month, the counseling staff sold “Mental Health Matters” T-shirts that faculty and staff members could purchase and wear to indicate that the adults at Mercersburg care and are available if students need someone to listen.


“We try to see students when they walk in,” Shaffer Post said. “Counselors can see a student in crisis after hours if needed because a counselor is on call around the clock. That doesn’t mean that they are in many, many times. It might just be one time they needed someone to talk with.”

As the demand for counseling services increases, the three licensed professional therapists on staff support students and don’t shy away from difficult conversations.

“We take any comment, no matter how haphazardly it may be stated, very seriously, especially if it’s related to thoughts of selfharm,” Shaffer Post said. “We also brought Youth Mental Health First Aid to campus this year.”

About 30 faculty and staff members are trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, a national certification on what to look for and how to support students. Campus nurses

and those who work in the dorms need to feel that they have the tools necessary to support students, and that they can differentiate between something they can handle as a supportive adult versus something that needs to be handled by someone more knowledgeable in this area, Shaffer Post said, noting that posters around campus include not only school counseling information but also have information on how to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Last year for Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the counseling staff promoted “Mental Health Matters.”

They sold “Mental Health Matters” T-shirts that faculty and staff members could purchase and wear “to indicate to our students that we do care, we want to know, and we’re here to talk about it,” Shaffer Post said.

The staff also sponsored a day at lunch when students could sign a pledge to say they were going to work against or work to stop the stigma around mental health.

They distributed green wristbands proclaiming, “Mental Health Awareness: No Stigma.”

“We’re not going to be a school that acts like it doesn’t exist,” Shaffer Post said. “Not that it needs to be in the forefront by any means, but even as we think about the principles behind meaning and mastery, one of the first ones that we address as a community is emotional safety in the classroom, and you can’t address emotional safety without addressing mental health.”

The counseling team piloted a mental health group for male-identifying students last year. The group was so successful that it is meeting monthly this year. It is designed for male students to connect with staff to discuss specific needs related to emotional wellness and mental health needs for men.

“When they start to hit challenges, it can be hard for them to recognize that challenge is growth.”
—Amy Shaffer Post ’02, social emotional learning counselor
Above: The counseling staff sponsored a day at lunch when students could sign a pledge to say they were going to work against or work to stop the stigma around mental health. Staff members distributed green wristbands proclaiming, “Mental Health Awareness: No Stigma.” Top right: Counselors Amy Shaffer Post ’02, Bethany Galey ’02, and Jennifer Sipes P ’22 make students’ mental health a priority at Mercersburg.

Another example of programming that fosters a community culture of belonging is familystyle meals. Students are not allowed to use their phones at lunch, and they sit with students, faculty, and staff who they get to know over the course of two to three weeks.

“While this is certainly a tradition here at Mercersburg, ‘breaking bread’ together is rooted in the values of everyone belonging, everyone being asked to learn from myriad perspectives, and everyone being open to new people in their lives,” Craig said. “Finding ways to develop a strong sense of interdependence amongst teenagers can often lead to better culture and better health.”

The school also is responding to students behind the scenes.

“One thing we’ve initiated this year is the community concern reporting form. Students who are struggling or are concerned about someone else’s struggle can fill it out, and the form remains private,” Craig said. “The protection afforded students who want to come forward about concerns for self or for one another is important, and we’re finding that students feel more comfortable initially stepping forward in an online forum. Eventually, they DO want to talk with someone, but they find this approach easier to start.”

The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General published a report in 2023 titled, “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” It got the attention of many school leaders and it’s something our own Board of Regents President Tom Hadzor ’72 wants to focus on during his tenure. In an interview last year, Hadzor said, “The state of mental health at Mercersburg is going to be something that I’d like the Board to look at during the course of the next year, and hopefully we can be helpful in some way as the school continues to invest in the mental health of our students.”

As students’ needs arise and culture changes, helping them develop meaningful relationships and understand the benefits of a connected community like Mercersburg Academy will be vitally important for them to become the adults they are meant to be.


Be mindful of your child’s mental health.

u Model healthy behavior.

u Watch for any major changes in behavior.

u Keep the lines of communication open to explore concerns.

u Understand the warning signs of possible concerns/struggles:

¢ Sudden loss of interest in things they were interested in or involved with before

¢ Major changes in sleeping or eating habits or regular routines

¢ Change in interactions with others–isolating themselves and spending all their time alone

¢ Loss of interest in relationships with friends and/or family

¢ Dramatic weight change

¢ Changes in academic habits that seem more intense than in the past

¢ Displaying running thoughts or worries

¢ Refusing to communicate

¢ Obsession with very specific goals

¢ Signs of drug or alcohol abuse

¢ Signs of self-injury

¢ Signs of suicidal thoughts

Seek professional help when an adolescent displays or shares mental health concerns. There are three professional mental health providers who are full-time employees at Mercersburg. They can directly assist students or provide advice and referrals.

– Suggestions from Jennifer Sipes P ’22, licensed clinical social worker, and Bethany Galey ’02, licensed professional counselor

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Mercersburg Partners with 18th-Century Farmstead to Transport Students Back in Time

In the summer of 2021, Emily Parsons P ’21, ’22, ’26 was seeking experiences for the students she would lead in her new role as Mercersburg’s director of Community Engagement. Opportunities were limited due to COVID-19 protocols that remained in place, so outdoor activities were being explored.

Parsons contacted Matthew Wedd at The Conococheague Institute to see if he might be interested in having students work on projects at the historic farmstead near the village of Welsh Run, less than 10 miles from the school.

Little did either of them know how one conversation would burgeon into a robust partnership that would benefit the Academy, the Institute, and the community at large.

Initially, the work included planting trees, painting historical structures, and restoring a 1760s pioneer cemetery, plus other outdoor preservation work.

“It was immediately beneficial, and I wanted to maintain that relationship,” said Wedd, the Institute’s executive director. “We fully signed up for future Community Engagement, which we have done every spring and fall since 2021.”

Parsons, a member of Mercersburg’s history faculty who holds the Marilyn and Robert M. Kurtz Jr. ’52 Chair for American Studies, also saw the value of the partnership and wondered if it could be expanded.

“The Conococheague Institute is an incredible local resource for education and creative collaboration,” she said.

During the winter of 2021-2022, Parsons reached out to Wedd about the Mercersburg Intensive, a program which allows students to study a single topic for an extended period of time.

What if students immersed themselves in 18th-century

“I saw this as a perfect opportunity. I’d wanted to implement this idea for years–a longer immersion program where students literally ‘live’ history, and the students from Mercersburg were the perfect fit.”
–Matthew Wedd


Matthew Wedd


Pennsylvania frontier life? What if they dressed, worked, ate, played, and spoke as if they had been transported back in time?

Would The Conococheague Institute be interested in partnering with Mercersburg Academy for a living history program?

“I saw this as a perfect opportunity,” Wedd said. “I’d wanted to implement this idea for years—a longer immersion program where students literally ‘live’ history, and the students from Mercersburg were the perfect fit.”

As Parsons and Wedd brainstormed possibilities, they realized that the extent of the program, which they eventually called “Full on Frontier: Can You Live 18th Century?,” would depend on support received.

“I worked with Emily, so that we could develop this program,” Wedd said. “We had an outline, and I’d seek a donor to fund it. If successful, we’d go ahead with the full program.”

Wedd reached out to Kurtz, who had established the chair in Mercersburg’s history department. Kurtz generously supported the project, enabling Wedd to purchase period clothing and interpretative materials. Following successful iterations of this program, Kurtz established an endowment to benefit early American life programs between Mercersburg Academy and The Conococheague Institute.

“We can now lend our clothes to students from the

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Jamie Vulakh ’24

region—from the Tuscarora School District, GreencastleAntrim School District, and Mercersburg Academy—so students from all over are able to reap the rewards of that program’s success,” Wedd said.


Accolades have poured in for the program, which, with its colorful images of youth participating in living history, lends itself to promotion. Wedd was named Educator of the Year for the Cumberland Valley Business Alliance. The Institute received Tuscarora Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year award. Perhaps the most prestigious honor came when the program won a state-level Pennsylvania Museums award.

Students who participated noted the value of experiential learning, a key component of Mercersburg’s strategic design meaning and mastery mission.

“I learned so much about the 18th century through cooking, working, and having fun,” Jamie Vulakh ’24 wrote after the experience. “I made so many amazing memories on the frontier.”

An additional perk was realized in increased engagement with the site’s programs.

“After these images went out of 2021’s ‘Can You Live 18th Century?,’ we had new volunteers reach out to us,” Wedd said. “Showing a diverse and engaged youth enjoying living history inspires others to try it out.

“Not every student starts the journey at The Conococheague Institute through a love of history. Some may be interested

“I learned the inner cogs of a nonprofit organization.”
–Selena Feng ’24

in clothing, food, or culture. But everyone leaves with an appreciation for the early American experience.”

Devin Rotz ’25 said his and fellow students’ work was intertwined with the background of the site. While that time period of history is one that Rotz previously had explored on a limited basis, he was inspired by Wedd’s motivation and optimism.

“It was awesome to listen to him talk about his work and everything that he does, as leading a nonprofit is a job that really interests me,” Rotz said.

Mercersburg aims to build on areas of student interest in order to facilitate learning.

“Research tells us that students can only learn deeply when the experience means something to them,” said Associate Head of School for School Life Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, P ’18, ’20, ’22, ’23, who referenced the work of Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor at the University of Southern California and director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning, and Education.

“In fact, Dr. Immordino-Yang has gone so far as to say that it is neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about. The experiential

Nathalie Maurer ’23 Emily Parsons P ’21, ’22, ’26 Jonny Nussdorfer ’26

learning opportunities at The Conococheague Institute create the conditions for rich learning that engage students’ curiosity and propel them to make meaningful connections to history and the local community.”


The Conococheague Institute in southern Franklin County is a hands-on regional learning center headquartered within Rock Hill Farm. Established in the early 18th century, the 30-acre farmstead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes two historic house museums with outbuildings, a research library, two relocated historic log structures, walking trails with access to the pioneer cemetery, and several historic gardens. A 12-minute drive from the Academy, it is easily accessible from campus.

Nathalie Maurer ’23, who was an intern at the Institute during the summer of 2023, wrote in a post-internship reflection that she made connections and friendships during her time there.

“I was taught so many invaluable skills that I’ll use at college and beyond,” Nathalie Maurer said. “I’ve gained so much fondness for life on the frontier, and I have learned so many things.”

Selena Feng ’24 learned about uses of countless artifacts and about the daily life of settlers on the Appalachian frontier.

“I tried so many new things: I dressed historically; I learned how to weave tapes; I baked an apple pie historically; I learned how to shoot a longbow; I played Graces, Shut the Box, and Nine Men’s Morris; and I put out a (controlled) fire. I planted flowers, pulled weeds (morning glory, wild lettuce, etc.),” said Feng, who also was an Institute intern during the summer of 2023. “I learned the inner cogs of a nonprofit organization, from successes in visitor education, (to) customer service, and budget management. There is so much more that goes into running an organization, educational bookings, and weekly events than one may expect.”

The partnership between the Institute and the Academy has proven valuable in multiple ways, Julie Maurer said. “For our history students and our students who are wanting to be engaged in the community, that relationship has been a really powerful one. They’re learning about multiple areas when they’re there. Yes, there’s the history, but there’s also the preservation initiatives, the community education aspect, and learning how to run a nonprofit. Matthew provides our students with a great example of how to do all of that work well.”

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RSBURG ACADEMY SUMMERPROGR Adventure CHOOSE YOUR Adventure Camp Baseball Camp Basketball Camp Lacrosse Camp Robotics Camp Soccer Camp STEAM Camp Swim Clinics Theatre Camp Writing Camp 2024 COED | AGES 8-17

Fall Arts


1 Mercersburg’s Jazz Band performed during the Fall Pops Concert.

2 Members of the Chorale gather for a photo in the Hershey Chorale Room.

3 Cup and Bowl set by Jillian Remeikas ’27.

4 “Routine/Mirror Image 3,” self-portrait, digital manipulation, by Quin Caretti ’24.

5 Stony Batter, Mercersburg’s student theatre company, presented the play Clue: High School Edition

6 Elizabeth Orders ’25 was featured in “What Was I Made For?” during the 2023 Fall Dance Concert.

7 Self-portrait in pastel by Cocona Yamamoto ’25.

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“Growing up, the only thing I really knew was sports.”
–Lauren Jacobs, Director of Athletics

Mercersburg’s First Female Athletics Director Reflects on Her Role

What initially drew you to Mercersburg?

The job. I was completing an internship at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL (doing gameday operations in the athletic department), and luckily, Mercersburg reached out to me via LinkedIn about an assistant athletic director position. I am so glad I was introduced to this beautiful place eight years ago. It’s truly a gem!

How does it feel to be Mercersburg Academy’s first female athletics director?

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t even think about it that way. I had a ton of emotions, and still do, but very excited and very grateful are at the top of the list. Nervous, too! I am fortunate to be entrusted and empowered in this position and will do everything I can to represent Mercersburg Academy in the best possible way. Growing up, the only thing I really knew was sports. I was constantly surrounded by them, whether I was playing or watching. To be able to lead and service this department at such an incredible institution is very humbling.

What is your favorite part of the job and why?

Seeing our student-athletes develop over the course of a season, year, and career. It is fun to watch kids and teams excel, and see how far they’ve come at the end of each season. A huge credit goes to our coaches who see the value in our kids and push them to be the best they can be.

What is your favorite sport to coach and why? What is your favorite sport to play and why?

Oh, this is a tough one. If you had asked me in high school, I’d probably say hockey without question, as hockey always was my passion growing up, and it was the reason I pursued college athletics and ultimately

chose to attend Union College. However, being able to play both hockey and softball in college made me realize I loved both sports equally. As far as coaching, I’d almost have to say both again, but a nod goes to softball strictly because of the past and current teams I’ve had here at Mercersburg and my awesome assistant coach, James Jenkins P ’26, and Kelsey Steiner, prior to Jenkins.

Did you play any sports growing up?

I played field hockey, ice hockey, and softball, continuing ice hockey and softball in college. My career started as a ballet dancer, figure skater, and American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) soccer player, but clearly those sports didn’t last very long. I have two older brothers who I wanted to be like, and wanted nothing to do with the color pink or leotards. My dad also played hockey and was really involved in the hockey community, so my mother unfortunately lost the battle to have a ballerina pretty quickly!

What are your recommendations for students who might be interested in similar positions?

To follow your dreams! I knew that having a career in athletics was my goal. It took a little while for me to get there.

I was very close with Beth Tiffany, senior associate director of athletics at Union College, during my four years at Union. I loved how involved she was with both the women’s ice hockey and softball teams as an administrator, and I admired her for that. I essentially asked her how she ended up as an AD in the college ranks, and she explained her path. Essentially, I copied it! I went to graduate school and received my master’s in athletic administration. So, my recommendation is to make connections with people who can help you achieve your goals–relationships are the root of the best successes!

What are the priorities for Mercersburg’s athletics program in the next five years?

To make sure all our programs know they are valued and to continue to achieve excellence, on and off the field.

What would you like our alumni to know about the athletics program and any potential changes you would like to make?

One of the most important things for our alumni to know is that we are building on the foundation they formed. There is so much tradition between these walls, on our fields, and on our campus that it makes for a special job. One of the main goals is to educate and teach our student-athletes beyond Mercersburg through our athletic programs. My hope is that when our students graduate from Mercersburg, and when they reflect on their time in a Storm uniform, they have been impacted in a positive way by their teammates, coaches, or a community member.

What are your thoughts on our new eagle mascot, Thunder?

I can roll with Thunder. Part of me is still hoping Stormy the Squirrel is going to make an appearance, but I think I know the answer to that. Maybe in my next lifetime!

What is something about you or your new role that you would like to share with readers?

I love Mercersburg, and I love the people and students I get to work with every day. I have said this since I stepped onto campus. We are so lucky to be at a place that is resourceful in so many different ways.

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Fall Sports Season Marked by Team, Individual Championships

The fall sports season was highlighted by two individual championships and several strong team performances.

Argyle Downes ’24, in photo at right, became the first Storm golfer to win the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship by shooting an even par 72 to best a strong field at Radley Run Golf Club in West Chester, PA. As a team, the boys took third place.

Quinn Nelson ’24 won the Mid-Atlantic Prep League girls cross country championship at Peddie School, leading the Mercersburg team to a third-place finish. This is Nelson’s first year at Mercersburg. She was running her first race for the school after battling injuries throughout the fall. She earned first team all-MAPL honors as a result of the win, as did teammate Anne Sehon ’25, pictured at top left, who finished third in the race.

Winston Watkins ’25, second photo in third column, led the boys cross country team to a fifth-place finish in the PAISAA championship and fourth place at the MAPL championship, picking up second team all-state and first team all-MAPL honors along the way.

The varsity volleyball team, as well as both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams, had solid seasons and qualified for the PAISAA state tournament. Each team won its first-round playoff game at home before bowing out in the second round on the road.

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Step Songs, a beloved Family and Alumni Weekend tradition, held an extra-special surprise for the students as retired Director of Student Activities Trini Hoffman P ’00, ’06 returned to campus to lead the M-E-R-C-E-R-S-B-U-R-G locomotive cheer.


The women of mercersburg


Since Mercersburg Academy opened its doors to women in 1969, our female students have left their marks on the campus, on each other, and on the world beyond Mercersburg’s sycamores. We are judges, doctors, artists, teachers, CEOs, and veterans, and the list goes on. We are changemakers, and our strength is amplified when we come together. As we look toward April, we will celebrate and strengthen these connections at the school’s first symposium, Women in Focus, and we invite you to join us. In the meantime, we are pleased to shine the spotlight on 24 of our amazing alumnae. As you will read in the following pages, we are making an impact, building on 50+ years of sending strong women out into the world, and in many ways, we have only just begun.

Deborah Simon ’74, Denise Dupre ’76, Stacie Rice Lissette ’85, P ’14, ’14, ’17, ’23 Co-chairs, Women in Focus

DONNA FISHER ’72 Foster Unique Camaraderie

Donna Fisher ’72, a seasoned freelance photojournalist with more than four decades of experience, has crafted a legacy out of her passion. After graduating from Mercersburg, her journey unfolded into an illustrious career capturing the heartbeat of communities across the East Coast. Fisher’s photography, once a hobby, blossomed into a profound narrative, impacting society and earning her two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Retiring from news staff work in 2015 didn’t quell Fisher’s passion. She established an LLC and continues to weave visual tales, photographing for newspapers and engaging in corporate freelance work. Being behind the lens remains her joy, as she documents life in the Lehigh Valley region of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA, with a firm dedication.

Over the years, Fisher transitioned from manual to auto-focus lenses while she


Although Diane Wynter ’74 is enjoying a well-deserved retirement now, she remains an active trailblazer in every sense of the word. When she earned her diploma in the 1970s, she

honed her instinct to swiftly discern the accurate essence of a story. With a lifetime of expertise, her ability to read the room has sharpened, enriching her storytelling.

Reflecting on her journey, Fisher’s advice to her younger self is concise and explicit: Listen to what family and mentors are telling you; enjoy what you’re doing and be good at it, and you will be fine!

Fisher explains that meticulous planning and unwavering actions are her tactics to remedy adversity. Drawing inspiration from mentors at the Associated Press and The Washington Post, she also has sincere gratitude for her parents and teachers who encouraged her to constantly improve since she initially showed interest in becoming a photographer.

The bond among women in the news industry is close to Fisher’s heart. Working shoulder to shoulder with fellow women newsies, she has found that they offer mutual support both in the field and in the newsroom, fostering a unique camaraderie.

For Fisher, legacy lies in the impactful

was Mercersburg’s first Black female graduate. In the years since that milestone, Wynter earned her college degrees while working full time, and she became a Distinguished Toastmaster and a licensed Religious Science practitioner with the Center for Spiritual Living (CSL). “Toastmasters allowed me to find my voice, and being a member of CSL allowed me to change the course of my life through studying spiritual laws and prayer,” Wynter said.

Wynter stays active as a volunteer in her church community, supporting CSL and helping individuals with their personal requests for prayer. “I believe that being of service in our communities allows us to belong to a greater degree and truly feel a part of the whole,” Wynter said.

As she thinks about how women help each other, Wynter feels grateful for all of the women who made it possible for her to advance in every area of her life, starting with her mother. “My mom paved the way for me by being the presence of love in my life,” Wynter said. “She led a simple life and always demonstrated ‘love in action’ by being her beautiful, authentic self.”

imagery that helps to shape the well-being of her community. She aspires for her work to transcend, informing those unable to witness events firsthand with responsible and pleasing imagery. She wants to be remembered as the one who epitomized the proverb that “doing what you love for a living means never working a day in your life.”

“Practice ahead of time, and prepare all you can. Swallow hard, and go, do.”

Women also were instrumental in bringing Wynter back to Mercersburg after being away for 45 years. She specifically credits Tonya Rutherford ’90, who invited her to campus in 2019 to receive an award from the Black Student Union in celebration of the BSU’s 30th anniversary, and Jenn Flanagan Bradley ’99, who connected her with several opportunities at the Academy. Today, Wynter is an active member of the Alumni Council.

“It is so important to have internal peace in order to live your best life,” Wynter said. “I would like to think that the way in which I live my life is my legacy, and specifically, I want to be known for being the presence of love, like my mom. I also love Rev. Michael Beckwith’s term: my greater yet-to-be. It leaves my life open to continuing to unfold my legacy as I move forward.”

“Women are very powerful, and the feminine principle is so nurturing.”
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Receive Criticism? Learn From It

Judy Rakowsky ’76 had the opportunity in a three-decade journalism career to tell true stories on platforms with significant reach, including as a reporter and editor for The Boston Globe and as a correspondent for People magazine, working in the heyday of print journalism.

“Opening readers’ eyes to experiences of people whose lives differ greatly from their own, and telling important stories with devotion to facts and fairness in compelling ways has been a noble pursuit,”


A willingness to change and a commitment to stay active have been driving factors in the success of Deirdre Marshall ’79—both in her independent practice as a plastic surgeon and in her life as a mother of six.

said Rakowsky, who transitioned from daily journalism to crisis communications. “I realized that I had something to offer after years as a journalist watching folks make matters worse for themselves because they did not know how to react in the moment.”

Rakowsky was inspired by numerous editors as she grew to trust her own judgment.

“I had one editor from my internship at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, OH, who insisted on checking every fact three ways, and her advice always stayed with me.”

As part of a national professional networking group, Rakowsky leads a group of senior women advisers.

“We build camaraderie and commerce among these business leaders from a range of practice areas, bringing more women to important tables,” Rakowsky said. “Ample solid research shows that organizations are stronger with better policies, healthier operations, and growth when there is gender diversity in leadership.

“My focus is on building trusting relationships within this wide-ranging group

and making it fun. It’s a landscape that I did not grow up with, and I delight in the fact that successive generations of women have greater expectations and feel supported in pursuing leadership.”

Rakowsky has risen to management and teaching roles, focusing on the development of young colleagues, and also learning from them.

If she could provide advice to her younger self, she’d take more constructive lessons from criticism. She’d also recommend not allowing adversity to hinder progress, but to use it as motivation to move on.

Rakowsky wrote Jews in the Garden, a narrative nonfiction book emphasizing the importance of learning from history. It chronicles her quest with her cousin, a Holocaust survivor, to find a relative in Poland who disappeared after her family was massacred during the war.

“The biggest challenge for us all is to stay open and keep adapting to change.”

Working in the subspecialties of plastic and reconstructive surgery—adult, pediatric, cancer reconstruction, microsurgery, trauma, hand surgery, and cosmetic surgery—has never been boring, Marshall said. Initially, she did microsurgery, hand surgery, and pediatric surgery.

“After that, my focus changed to breast cancer reconstruction surgery and cosmetic surgery,” she said. “Now my focus is directed more toward elective aesthetic surgery.”

Reaching the position she holds in her field was hard, and it took a lot of support and inspiration from those around her.

“My parents inspired me. They always supported me, and they never complained,” she said, noting that her parents were her top supporters, along with her Stanford professors and advisers. “All of those people showed me that I was capable of doing anything I set my mind to, including being a woman in a highly male-dominated profession.”

Outside of her career, Marshall stays active physically and within her community. She completed an Ironman Florida

competition when she turned 50, as well as the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon three times.

Marshall brings a love of activity combined with a love for her career to her community. She is involved with breast cancer support groups and fundraising, and also in promoting cycling, especially for women.

Throughout her struggles and successes, her children have always been her focus. As a mother of six, she has definitely kept busy.

“In life, my focus evolved from changing diapers to putting my six children through college and graduate school,” she said. One child is even pursuing a career in the same industry. “I am waiting for my eldest daughter to join me in my plastic surgery practice so that I can retire!”

“Stay calm. Work hard. Ask for others’ advice and support. Remain self-confident. Sleep on matters before making important decisions.”


Create Your Vision, Then Execute It

Peg Hacskaylo ’85 has initiated and launched several programs and organizations providing services so survivors of domestic and sexual violence can have safe and stable housing.

“For me, the pinnacle of that work was when I created the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) in Washington, D.C., in 2006,” Hacskaylo said.

DASH set a national standard for providing safe housing for survivors and eventually established “safe housing” in the lexicon of practitioners, researchers, and stakeholders as the preferred term to describe housing that specifically focuses on the needs of survivors in its design and approach.

As the founder/CEO of Safe Neighbor, Hacskaylo is now working to develop a tech platform that optimizes the dissemination of financial assistance to victims by facilitating the tracking, distribution, and administration of funding to help victims quickly re-establish themselves in their communities.

Many survivors Hacskaylo has worked with have sought to start their own programs to help other survivors, offer their stories for the public to learn more, or otherwise change policies or laws so other women don’t have to experience what they went through.

“In the many years I have worked to help women survive violence, I have found that

women always seek to make the world a better place when they have the opportunity and capacity to do so,” Hacskaylo said. “Women have such inherent strength, wisdom, and compassion, and I believe they use those assets to improve and rebuild their lives, families, communities, and worlds when they can.”

Hacskaylo hopes her legacy will be one of creating new approaches that are creatively conceived, universally accessible, flexible in meeting needs, and enriching for everyone involved, from the individual survivors to the staff who serve them to the administrators, communities, and other stakeholders who govern, invest in, and oversee them.

From her father’s example, she learned how to create a vision and execute it, including how to gain support, partners, and resources for that vision. He taught her the value of education, integrity, discipline, and how to form family wherever and however you can.

Hacskaylo overcomes adversity through leaning on friends and family, seeking other help as needed, and giving herself grace and space when she needs time to heal.

“You matter. Every single person on the planet matters. Don’t ever doubt that what you do, what you think, and what you care about matters.”


Meet the women who have shaped our school.


Eight “lady students” enrolled in Mercersburg (alongside 61 male students); however, their presence didn’t last long. The Academy became an all-boys school after the last of the female students graduated in 1897.


Camille Hart Irvine, the wife of founding headmaster William Mann Irvine, was instrumental in starting the theatre program, then called the Academy Theatrical Club and later Stony Batter Players.


Anna Fallon (1897) was hired to rebuild the library after the Main Hall fire of 1927. She served 39 years.


First Lady Grace Coolidge P (1924, 1925), who laid the cornerstone for the Irvine Memorial Chapel in 1924, was appointed the first female Board of Regents member.


Aimee Kulp was hired as a librarian assistant and was promoted in 1966 to librarian. She served 40 years.


Rosamund Harris P ’57 was hired as director of the reading program.


The first nurses were Kathryn Zimmerman, Charlotte Steinmetz, Catherine Long, Gladys Averill, and Mrs. C. Edward Lynn. Lois Keller also began her 40-year career as the medical secretary in 1959.


Edith Fry Lowans P ’69 was hired to be the school matron, a role defined as making sure the domestic side of school life ran smoothly.

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Give Up? No, Restart

Collaboration is key for painter and educator Hannah B. Barrett ’84, executive director of Bard MFA in New York.

“Both my current role as executive director and my volunteer work as a director at an artist-run gallery are community oriented,” said Barrett. “These are ways for me to promote and advocate for a more diverse group of artists and artwork than the commercial art market and limited cultural resources support.”

For years, Barrett was an adjunct art professor and often wondered if it would lead anywhere.

“I also had to restart my painting career several times due to moves, gallery closures, and job changes,” Barrett said, noting that the ups and downs and the reinvention are part of the process, not reasons to give up.

Barrett’s four steps to overcome adversity include:

u Strategize.

u Ask for help.

u Chip away at the problem.

u Find a way to laugh in the process.

Barrett paints directly from imagination, having started out using collage as a way to picture things that were invisible. When in the right frame of mind, Barrett views this as work and play.

“As a painter, I hope to encourage artists to tap into the transformative power of the imagination,” Barrett said. “As someone on a gender spectrum, I’ve embodied a type of androgyny in my artwork and in daily life. In my current role as an arts administrator, I hope to be able to make graduate study in the

arts more financially accessible.”

Barrett is inspired by artists such as Carrie Moyer, Sheila Pepe, Katherine Bradford, Brenda Goodman, and Laurel Sparks, Barrett’s partner of 24 years.

“My family has always been supportive of me artistically. In fact, my mother drove me all over Berks County (PA) for art lessons as a child. I also attended Wellesley College where for four years, I was surrounded by very smart and ambitious young women. My sister, Anne Barrett ’86, and I both attended Mercersburg and Wellesley, and as a professional architect/designer, Anne faces many of the same biases and challenges.”

“In the arts, there is still a significant gender gap when it comes to the market and visibility, and women are constantly trying to improve this.”

Challenges = Opportunities for Growth

Julie Curtis ’89, founder and CEO of Connected Alliances LLC, embodies the essence of perseverance and purpose. Her decade-old venture began with an audacious vision: merging military and industrial efforts to tackle intricate challenges swiftly.

Her focus has been on creating opportunities for greater fuel efficiency in developing new aircraft, modernizing Air Force education and training by providing more access to digital content from multiple industry sources, and solving weapon systems supply chain issues.

“Business success for me is measured by our ability to bring people together to do meaningful work they are passionate about while delivering a positive impact on our community,” Curtis said.

Her journey exemplifies the transformative power of women supporting women. Grateful for the support she received from a fellow female CEO during her venture’s infancy, she now aspires to extend mentorship and aid

to female entrepreneurs as they launch their businesses.

Adversity, Curtis believes, is life’s classroom. She approaches challenges as opportunities for growth, shifting perspectives to glean invaluable lessons for the future. Her inspiration is a mosaic of influential figures— parents, grandmother, sister, and greatuncle—each instilling vital values that now form the bedrock of her company’s culture.

Actively engaged with various community organizations, Curtis endeavors to understand and uplift communities, leveraging her expertise for a greater purpose. Curtis aspires to establish a nonprofit, extending her company’s knowledge to remedy educational, environmental, and domestic abuse challenges. To do this, she aims to implement technologytransfer capabilities from the Department of Defense within these communities.

Ultimately, Curtis aims to leave a dual legacy: professionally, as a catalyst for societal change, fostering opportunities and solutions, and personally, inspiring others to have the courage to follow their passion and to embody gentleness and kindness.

Reflecting on her past, she advises others to heed their innate inclinations,

acknowledging the extracurricular activities, early jobs, and interests they gravitated to naturally in high school and college. She traces her entrepreneurial spirit back to her formative years at Mercersburg.

“I was a bit older when I connected the dots back to Mercersburg and the roles I had. Had I known to pay more attention and apply them, I may not have waited so long to launch my business.”

Do What You Love

A life of poise and purpose has paved the way for Amy Sheridan Fazackerley ’89, founder and CEO of Lay-n-Go, an easy organizational solution for life, play, and travel.

“Change is inevitable. How do I handle adversity? I don’t worry about making the meal perfect. I simply buy the pasta and turn on the stove,” said Fazackerley. “Grit, grace, and gratitude have all served me well. I wake up every morning not knowing what obstacles or opportunities the day will hold.”

As a business founder, she has learned how to bring poise and purpose to other women looking to do the same. She has been doing a lot of mentoring within the female business community.

“I have focused on creating opportunities for women that support their lives, advance their personal career goals, and offer them the balance they need for both work and home,” Fazackerley said. “I have also been actively involved in many women’s business groups over the past several years.”

Through founding her company, she has been able to accomplish major feats in the business world.

“My greatest accomplishments in my work life are six U.S. patents, making the Inc 5000 list in 2022, and landing on the shelves of Target, Costco, and Sephora,” Fazackerley said.

Outside of her dedication to her business and passion for women in business, she is a devoted mother of three boys: “My greatest accomplishments in my personal life are my three amazing sons.”

Her commitment has been noticeable throughout her career as a CEO, her commitment to community, and her desire to help women succeed.

“Life is short, so do what you love, and the money will follow,” Fazackerley said. “Don’t be afraid to take those shots, find and keep a balance, be kind, and spend as much quality time with your family and friends as humanly possible!”

“Women strive to create a supportive work environment for one another. They love to lift each other, and their superpower is being able to help connect those around them.”


The Board of Regents voted to admit to the Academy the daughters of faculty members as well as other female day students.


The first 12 girls (all day students) were enrolled, and Lynda Hitzrot Chandler was the dean of girls and worked in the developmental reading program.


Carol Eppinger Kyle ’70 became Mercersburg’s first female graduate since 1897.


The first female full-time teaching faculty members were appointed: Judith Burch, English faculty (developmental reading); Gloria Eiseman, science faculty (physics); and Elizabeth Lincoln, science faculty (chemistry) and squash and tennis coach.


Headmaster William Fowle announced to the student body that Mercersburg would accept female boarders the following year.


Iola Hughes Hoffman, who attended the Academy in 1893, returned on October 16, 1971, for Alumni Day.


Jennifer Highley Eardley ’73, Peggy Northrup ’72, and Peggy Jarvis Ferrin ’71 became the first female reporters on The Mercersburg News staff.


Schelley Hollyday ’72 (Marshall) and Priscilla Bechter Kneisley ’72 (Irving) became the school’s first female declaimers. Priscilla was named the first female Declamation winner.


Moira Paddock ’74 was named the first female to be editor-in-chief of The Mercersburg News

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TONYA RUTHERFORD ’90 Create Safe Spaces

Tonya Rutherford ’90—attorney, leadership coach, and entrepreneur—aims to create safe spaces for people to authentically be themselves. To that end, she is the founding president of both the Black Student Union (created in 1989) and the Black Alumni Association (conceived of in 2019) at Mercersburg Academy. She is also a threetime member of the Mercersburg Alumni Council.

“My work over the last 34 years at Mercersburg has been to create safe spaces for, and to recognize and amplify the voices of, current and former Black students,” Rutherford said. She sees this as a significant part of her legacy.

AMY MCGOVERN ’92 Be Stubborn, Keep Your Focus

Amy McGovern ’92 believes her greatest professional accomplishment is helping to start the field of artificial intelligence for weather and climate applications. McGovern, professor in the School of Meteorology and School of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma and director of the National Science Foundation AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate, and Coastal Oceanography, has always had a love for and interest in artificial intelligence.

“Even at Mercersburg, I wanted to be involved in computers and artificial intelligence,” McGovern said. “I just didn’t really know how to do that as a student. I thought it involved making smarter games because that was my experience in interacting with AI in the ’90s. I have always wanted to help make the world a better place, and working on AI for weather and climate helps combine those interests.”

Seeing women ahead of her who achieved their goals helped her realize

As she considers how her focus has changed or evolved over the years, she feels she is no longer hyperfocused on the future. “After losing loved ones, I realized that the future is now, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed,” Rutherford said. “Now I live in the present and strive to make the most of every day and every experience. As an example, when I was at Mercersburg, I barely noticed the change in seasons because I was so focused on planning for my future. Now during my walks, I stop to notice the leaves falling, to smell the scent of a lavender plant, and to admire the beauty of the clouds. I actually get lost in the moment of ‘now.’”

Her relationship with adversity has also changed. “I used to dwell on and hold on to losses instead of grieving them and letting them go,” Rutherford said. “Now I focus on the good that comes from the challenges. First, I acknowledge my authentic, raw feelings about the situation.” Those feelings give her direction and guidance to move potential and possibilities. Her mom has a Ph.D. and has been an inspiration.

McGovern depends on the love and support of her family to help her overcome adversity, and she says becoming a mom helped her focus on how her generation can help the next.

“I have been involved in helping improve representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and medical careers. For example, I have helped to organize large-scale events that help young women see the wide range of careers they can choose in STEM. I have also coached robotics teams and worked with young Scouts.”

Her work with the Boy Scouts of America started when her son was young. Both her husband and son are now Eagle Scouts. McGovern is also active in her church, and she runs dog agility competitively and has participated in national championships.

To her younger self, she would say, “Keep being stubborn and focusing on what you want to do, even if the rest of the world tries to tell you that it is impossible

forward. “Second, I intentionally draw on prior experiences when I successfully went through something similar as a reminder that I am equipped to conquer what is before me. Finally, my ancestors and my support circle help remind me that trouble doesn’t last always, and I got this!”

Rutherford’s support circle includes the relationships she has with other Black women—an incredible source of strength in her life: “From my mother, grandmother, and aunts to girlfriends I’ve known for 30 years—the support we extend one another is a powerful form of healing, and I can’t imagine life without them.”

“Live boldly! Take up space so the world can have the joy of experiencing the authentic ‘you.’ Be the person you are on vacation.”

or will not work. Keep doing the thing you know you can and want to do, and you will succeed.”

“We can really help to lift each other up and show what is possible in a cooperative world!”

NANCY ABUDU ’92 Plant Seeds of Confidence

Dr. Paul Abudu wanted his daughter to have options, so he enrolled her in Mercersburg Academy. “He could not afford to send me there, but he worked hard to make up his portion of the tuition, and he always reminded me that I already possessed things that were priceless—intelligence, aspirations, and his love,” said Nancy Abudu ’92. Following her high school graduation, she went to Columbia University and then to Tulane Law School. Today, she is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

“This lifetime appointment means that I can play a significant role in the interpretation and application of legal principles that directly impact the lives of so many people,” Abudu said.

Over the last several years, her focus has been on raising her kids, making sure they have the resources necessary to be successful once they are living independently. With one now in college and another in high school, Abudu imagines that her focus “will transition to being even more engaged in my community and taking advantage of the amazing network that Mercersburg and my other alma maters have to offer.”

Abudu is active in her local and state bar associations in Georgia, focusing on mentoring young people interested in legal careers, and she supports college and law students around the country. She also participates in Mercersburg’s Black Alumni Association.

“I try my best to plant the seeds of confidence coupled with hard work in the young women I meet and to make sure that whatever doors I might crack open are even wider for future generations. My hope is that there will be no more ‘first woman to…’ in my lifetime.”

Abudu recognizes the trailblazers who came before her, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “While she and I might not have shared the same judicial philosophy on all issues (I argued and lost a case before her), there is no debate that she paved the way for me and so many women on the bench,” Abudu said. “I hope that even if people do not always agree with my legal opinions or views, they will respect that I engaged in this work with humility and a true love for the law; that although our legal system is far from perfect, I was part of a group that never gave up on our legal system’s promise of equal justice under the law for all.”

“You make better decisions when you have options, and sometimes you must create options for yourself.”


The girls field hockey team, under the coaching of Carol Anderson, posted an undefeated record of seven victories.


Christine Fry Tarbox ’74 became the first female head of Stuac (Student Activities Committee) and Blue Key.


Diane Wynter ’74 became the school’s first Black female graduate.


Peggy Jarvis Ferrin ’72 was the first female graduate to return to Mercersburg as a faculty member (French).


Jackie Powell was hired as the first female assistant head of school.


Laura Jones Waterland ’77 was named the school’s first female valedictorian.


Dr. Elizabeth George was the first female doctor to serve the health center. She worked with her husband, Dr. Robert George.


Mary Curtis Blair ’86 was the first female to play soccer all four years on the boys JV and varsity squads as there was not a girls soccer team. She was the starting goalkeeper on the varsity team for her final two seasons.


Judith Mann, former columnist for The Washington Post, was the first female Commencement speaker.


Betsy Mitchell ’83, P ’15 became the first female recipient of the Class of ’32 Distinguished Alumni Award (the school’s highest honor).

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KAREN PAK OPPENHEIMER ’93 Lead with Empathy

Karen Pak Oppenheimer ’93 works in global health and climate and sustainable development as a strategy and operations adviser and most recently co-founded the Oppenheimer Project. When asked what her greatest accomplishments are in work, home,

or play, she said, “That I managed to do all three and kept some semblance of balance!”

Pak Oppenheimer is proud to do work that she feels makes an impact. “In my global health community, I serve on a few boards that focus on giving girls and women choices in lowincome countries, in family planning, and in health care and education,” she said. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she assisted with safely reopening the Mercersburg Academy campus.

“I think I have gone from being very career-oriented to more life experiencesoriented. I’ve taken time off to travel, spend time with family, volunteer my time as a board member for organizations I believe in, and said ‘yes’ to different opportunities that didn’t necessarily follow the career path.”

In terms of travel on the home front, Pak Oppenheimer is pleased that she was able to take her children out for a year of “world schooling,” and coincidentally, she wrapped this up before the pandemic made it more difficult to travel.

MISSY RYAN ’93 Focus on What Makes You Feel Fulfilled

Missy Ryan ’93 aims to provide a global voice for those who don’t otherwise have one.

As a journalist for The Washington Post, Ryan has witnessed and chronicled significant world events in the United States and overseas. She worked for Reuters prior to working for the Post, was based in Iraq from 2008-2010, and has reported from Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

“For many years, I focused to a large extent on events in the broader Middle East/ Central Asia as I covered America’s counterinsurgent campaigns in those regions,” said Ryan, who since 2022 has focused on writing about the Ukraine-Russia conflict and security events in Europe.

She has been inspired by trailblazing female journalists, including Christiane Amanpour, Andrea Mitchell, and Barbara Starr, who focused on foreign policy and national security.

To overcome adversity, Ryan usually asks for help from trusted friends or family and

Pak Oppenheimer finds inspiration from “many women in my family, especially my mother who provided a great role model as a working mom. I was also fortunate to have worked with a few great women early in my career, and women I met through my travels, who showed me how to lead with empathy.”

Mindset is key to success, and for Pak Oppenheimer, that means “acknowledging all the emotions and staying positive. I am also a problem-solver by nature and am of the mindset that all problems can be solved with some patience and a healthy dose of optimism.”

“Figuring out what you want to do with your life is a continuous process. There are no bad decisions as you learn and grow from every job, every relationship, and every experience.”

tackles a big problem or project a small bite at a time.

As she advances in her career, she is open to engaging with aspiring or early-career journalists when they approach her for advice.

“People were so generous with me when I was starting out,” Ryan said. “And when women help younger women coming up in the same field, it provides a model of how women who are established can help lift up the next generation and help them navigate challenges.”

Ryan’s greatest personal satisfaction has been raising her daughter and being involved in the activities at her daughter’s school, which provides opportunities to learn more about their community and participate in local events.

If she could have a conversation with her younger self, Ryan would suggest that she should believe in herself and her abilities, and shake off any doubts: “Focus on what makes you feel fulfilled.”

“When women help women, it has far-reaching impacts, because it shows how we can be allies rather than competitors.”


Growing up, Reema Datta ’94 recalls her grandparents demonstrating that people can cultivate a strong, stable, resilient, wise, and compassionate mind no matter their life circumstances. She witnessed her family create meaningful and joyful lives while overcoming adversity.

Today, Datta is a yoga and wellness entrepreneur residing in Taos, NM. Yoga is the bedrock of her family and, after 9/11, she was inspired to dedicate her life to the study, practice, and teaching of yoga.

Most mainstream yoga methods originated from men (Iyengar, Ashtanga, Isha), and while Datta views them as brilliant, she recognizes that they don’t address issues women face, such as monthly cycles, pregnancy, postpartum care, changing hormones, and menopause.

Datta hopes to add a woman’s voice to yoga and offer a holistic experience of the practice, including teachings on how to cultivate a lasting peace of mind. She sees the

potential for women’s perspectives in yoga to be powerful and healing.

Datta’s focus has become offering yoga practices for emotional well-being. She offers 200- and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training Programs. She received a grant to teach yoga in her daughter’s school to children in grades kindergarten through eighth, and she teaches tween and teen yoga classes near her home.

She feels that during a time when rates of mental health issues are soaring across all demographics, most alarmingly among youth, it is important to provide tools to calm the mind and emotions.

Datta uses yoga to face and overcome difficult emotions, such as anxiety, shame, anger, and sorrow. She wrote a book that includes a series of yoga practices to help those struggling with such emotions, which in the Sanskrit language are called kleshas: “mind poisons” or “destructive emotions,” as they have the potential to damage physical health. The book will be published and released in the fall of 2024.

“When women help women, magic unfolds.”


O’Kassa Kamin-A-Kalaw was the first Black female faculty member (science) hired, followed by Sherry Price Hamilton in 1989 (badminton, basketball, and aerobics).


Deborah Ross ’75 was the first female alum to join the Board of Regents.


Tonya Rutherford ’90 re-established the African-American Student Union (AASU).


Marilyn Larson P ’97, ’01, ’06 became the first female academic dean, serving until 2001.


Susan Rahauser P ’05, ’07, ’12 was officially appointed director of counseling, a position she would hold for 30 years. (As assistant heads of school, both Jackie Powell and Debbie Rutherford previously managed the counseling program.)


Rita Barone P ’03 became the school’s first female health center director.


Nancy Horton Heefner retired, following a 25year career at Mercersburg during which she served as head of the art department (19881992) and was appointed the Robert R. Black Instructor. Her career began at Mercersburg in 1969 as a part-time ceramics teacher.


Doris Reeder, known as the “voice of Mercersburg” (switchboard operator), retired after 46 years.


Debbie Rutherford P ’03, ’06, ’06 was appointed Mercersburg’s first associate head of school after having served Mercersburg for 20 years as a teaching faculty member and assistant head of school.

WINTER 2024 31


For more than two decades, Angie PomellaGarnsey ’97 provided compassionate law enforcement services as a Delaware State Police trooper.

“Police work is challenging—it always has been and always will be,” Pomella-Garnsey said. “Even so, I always took pride in my interactions with the public.”

Pomella-Garnsey transitioned to a contract position with the All Clear Foundation, providing mental health, wellness, and resiliency training and resources to first responders.

An accomplished swimmer—she once swam across the Chesapeake Bay—Pomella-Garnsey


Spread the Load, Recognize Others

Robyn Gdula Lalime ’98 has learned that finishing a task is more fulfilling when she becomes actively engaged in the work.

“As a young professional, my focus was solely on the final product: test results, completed analysis, or a completed report,” said Lalime, a military operations analyst. “I have since learned to focus more on the process and the people that help and support me along the way.”

Lalime has been inspired by the endurance of ultrarunners, including faculty emeritus Sue Malone P ’01, ’03.

“I remember listening in awe as Malone recounted her first 50-mile race during a community gathering,” Lalime said. “That was the first time I had ever considered the possibility of discipline and focus actually propelling us past what we thought were our mental and physical limits. Her talk helped me realize that many of our greatest challenges are as much a fight against our

said the sport has played a key role in her life. Swimming brought her to Mercersburg, where she made lifelong friends and set records, and then she continued swimming as a student athlete at Arizona State University. Having now been a coach for many years, she recently qualified for the U.S. Masters Nationals.

From her experience as a student athlete and a law enforcement professional, she advises others to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

“Learn the skills to navigate situations and understand the value of connections and building relationships,” Pomella-Garnsey said. “Asking for help and identifying people in your life who make you the best version of yourself is how you grow.”

Pomella-Garnsey feels strongly about the importance of giving back and helps her daughters run the Buckets of Love Foundation, which the girls co-founded in 2018 when they were 11 and 6. They have filled more than 10,800 buckets containing age-appropriate items for children who are receiving medical care. psyche as against our competitors.”

When asked about her greatest work achievement, Lalime proudly noted that one of her briefings made it to the desk of the president of the United States.

At home, her greatest accomplishment has been forming a strong team with her husband as they raise three children.

Her desire for change has prompted her to become active in her community.

“Many community improvement initiatives just need somebody to take the first step,” Lalime said. “I recognize that I am not always the best person for a job, and that I may not be around to see the final product, but I know I can at least break the ice!”

If she had an opportunity to speak to her younger self, she would offer this advice:

u Exude kindness. It’s not always easy, but it changes lives.

u There is always a lesson to be learned. Find it.

u Don’t suppress your femininity to excel in a male-dominated career. Many times our differences end up being our most important assets!

As president of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement, Pomella-Garnsey spoke at the organization’s September 11 conference last year. Earlier in the week, her 12-year-old daughter had shared a quote: “The comeback is always stronger than the setback.”

Pomella-Garnsey used the quote in her opening remarks. “This quote applies to everything: the tragic events of 9/11, the journey of women in law enforcement, and the highs and lows of our personal lives. Maybe it was the quote, or my vulnerability, but for the first time in my life, I received a standing ovation. Whether it is my daughters or my colleagues, I am committed to pouring into others. And, at a time when I needed it most, the encouragement and support was returned to me.”

“Learn how to forgive and know that some things are worth fighting for and some are not.”
“Spreading the load reduces stress, allows everybody to contribute, and results in a stronger final product in the end.”


Listen to Different Perspectives

Amy Clippinger ’99 faces adversity with patience and persistence as she revolutionizes chemical testing, relying on modern nonanimal tests that protect human health and the environment as she directs the PETA Science Consortium International e.V.

Clippinger leads a team of 25 passionate and innovative scientists who are making significant contributions in non-animal approaches to toxicology testing.

In the past 12 years since the consortium was established, her team has built a reputation as a powerhouse of scientists whose expertise is widely sought by industry experts and regulatory agencies.

Since she joined the consortium, Clippinger’s focus has changed from being an individual contributor to supporting others and providing strategic guidance on how to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their work. She says she tries to “invest as much time as possible developing early-career scientists—and I’m inspired by their passion for doing better science that creates a safer world for all.”

She suggests overcoming adversity with patience and persistence. She has learned to stay focused on her ultimate goal and not take things personally.

“Resistance to change is natural,” Clippinger said. “My job involves convincing people to shift long-established ways of doing things. I listen to different perspectives and offer creative solutions. That can take a long time, but it works in bringing about change.”

She offers this advice to her younger self:

u Think for yourself and make your own decisions.

u Know it is also OK to change your mind.

u Surround yourself with smart and kind people who challenge you to be your best.

Whether she is enjoying a beach vacation or doing a puzzle at home, Clippinger also makes family time a priority. She loves spending time with her partner, Dominic, and her daughter, Kayla.

She would like to leave a legacy of having made the world a better place for humans and animals, and hopes she inspires others to do the same.

“My dad taught me to do my best no matter how big or small the task, and my mom taught me to speak up, even–and especially–when you’re afraid. By their daily example, they remind me to work hard and practice gratitude.”


Denise Dupré ’76 was appointed Mercersburg’s first female Board of Regents president.


Maria Kimsey was hired as the school’s first female chief financial officer, holding the position for 18 years.


Mary Carrasco was appointed Mercersburg’s first female assistant head of school for external affairs.


Deborah Simon ’74 announced that she and her foundation would make a $100 million gift to Mercersburg as a commitment to the Daring to Lead campaign; it is one of the largest gifts in independent school history.


Katherine Titus P ’20, ’23 was appointed Mercersburg’s first female head of school.


Anna Crouch was appointed Mercersburg’s first female director of admission.


Jo Wrzesinsky P ’26 was appointed Mercersburg’s first female dean of students.


Lauren Jacobs was appointed Mercersburg’s first female athletics director.


Longest tenured female faculty member: Debbie Rutherford P ’03, ’06, ’06, 41 years, 9 months


Longest tenured female staff member: Shirley Zeger (executive assistant), 47 years, 10 months

While we have made every effort to verify the content on this timeline, we recognize that the school’s history is extensive, and we apologize for any error or omission.

WINTER 2024 33


Let Adversity Inspire You

NBC Sports television anchor Rebecca Lowe ’99 started her career when few females were in sports broadcasting.

“Thank goodness they were brave enough to break into an entirely male industry in the 1990s so that when I entered the fray in 2002, there was at least a precedent of a female face talking about soccer on TV,” said Lowe, who began her career as a production assistant at TalkSPORT Radio in London. She has worked for the BBC, Setanta Sports, and ESPN’s UK sports channel.

NANCY DIGBY FRANKE ’02 Encourage Others to Stay Curious

Nancy Digby Franke ’02 believes that a meandering path forward is interesting and will lead to where you should be.

“In college, I didn’t know what social work was, though I was circling the profession for a long time,” Franke said. “I was a religion major and philosophy minor, then took five years before returning to school for my master’s in social work. In between, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. I thought I might want to live and work in Latin America long term, but graduate school cemented my interest in working alongside people entangled in criminal legal systems.”

Her dissertation was a national study of people who were given life or long prison sentences as children, ages 12-17, and then released. It is a mixed-methods study focusing on the role of relationships on well-being.

“Most of my work has been with and about people who are or were previously incarcerated,” Franke said. “Once I learned about mass incarceration’s innumerable injustices, I couldn’t imagine doing something

In 2013, NBC Sports hired Lowe to serve as the lead studio host for its coverage of the Premier League in the United States. The same year, Sports Illustrated named her Newcomer of the Year.

If she could provide advice to her younger self, she would share that there will be downward career turns and people who don’t believe in you, but keep going, maintain your faith, and you can get where you want to go. She has found that the best way to deal with adversity is to let it be inspiring.

“I am very driven to achieve, reach my potential, and always do my best, but I think becoming a mom has definitely altered the way I see my life,” Lowe said. “I make more career sacrifices now so that I can be as present as possible for my son.”

Lowe is involved at her son’s school and soccer club, and with Street Soccer USA, a charity in Sacramento that helps young people find their path by using soccer to stay focused. else. For those of us who have avoided contact with these systems, we often only have privilege—rather than pristine behavior—to thank.”

She’s inspired by people who were called “incorrigible” as children, sent to prison for life, and somehow maintained hope throughout decades of incarceration, making sustainable change both inside and outside of prison walls.

Franke’s mother, who became a CPA after more than a decade of work as an ICU nurse, is also an inspiration, proving that it’s never too late to change your mind.

An assistant professor in the department of social work at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Franke would like to be remembered for doing her part in the fight to

She wants to be remembered as someone who worked hard, had respect for all the people she worked with, never let her standards slip, and inspired girls to do whatever it is they want to do.

“There are still not enough jobs for women; there is still not the equality we need,” Lowe said. “It’s hard for women to support each other because they are always in competition with each other. If we can continue to produce brilliant female sports broadcasters who do things the right way, then we will eventually get to a place where more women can support each other, more women can raise each other up, rather than worry about them as competition.”

“Women helping women is crucial to achieving equality.”

end mass incarceration, and for encouraging those around her to stay curious.

“I see this in the classroom every day, where social work students work to be comfortable being uncomfortable, challenge their own biases, and question how power builds and maintains inequity.”

“I am quite lucky to work in a field that is predominantly women who want to support others and fight systemic injustices, creating communities where vulnerability and openness are considered strengths.”


Help Others Feel Confident, Valued

In 2010, Gabrielle Joffie Richards ’03 earned a master’s degree in fashion design, setting the foundation for a career in beauty and fashion aimed at positively impacting women’s lives. “My crowning achievement has been leading confidence-boosting brands at Trafilea, empowering over nine million women through our body confidence initiative. I am honored to also serve as a guest host on QVC on behalf of Shapermint Essentials,” Richards said.

As a licensed body confidence coach, Richards actively contributes to her community by offering advice and guidance, helping women embrace their self-worth. She said her motivation is rooted in fostering a world where every woman feels confident and valued.

“My aspiration is to be remembered as a disruptor in media and advertising,


Within the elementary school where Bailey Blake Weibley ’11 works, everyone reads, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud. In order to fill someone’s bucket, you have to show love and say or do something kind to make someone feel special. This approach highlights the way Weibley lives her life and the women she chooses to surround her—bucket fillers, not bucket dippers.

Weibley is a special education teacher, working in the borough of Mercersburg. She graduated from Wilson College in 2022, earning a master’s of education in special education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“My focus has always been helping students learn to the best of their abilities,” Weibley said. “If a student isn’t learning the way you teach, then you need to change the way you teach; don’t focus on changing the way the student learns. As educators, it is

championing body confidence and acceptance as the norm,” Richards said. “I aim to overturn the stark reality that over 85 percent of women in America struggle with body confidence, and to help instill a new era of self-acceptance.”

Richards feels that navigating adversity involves understanding the challenge and approaching it with positivity and openness.

“I’ve cultivated daily rituals, like listening to positive meditation frequencies and indulging in self-care, backed by a supportive network of mentors, to maintain balance and resilience,” she said.

Her own network has helped her achieve her current success, and she credits entrepreneur Ericka Dotson, co-founder of Indique Hair, with paving a way for her: “Her guidance in risk-taking, patience, and making one’s mark in the industry, along with her groundbreaking work in beauty, marketing, and advertising, has been profoundly inspirational.”

Richards believes that through women supporting each other, she has witnessed the

birth of thriving businesses, the formation of robust communities, and significant societal changes—a testament to the power of female solidarity.

“Stay true to your path, embrace bold risks, and always believe in the light ahead. Your uniqueness is your greatest asset—never dim it.”

important to be flexible and have an open mind to new technologies and teaching practices.”

Weibley’s approach has paid off. In May 2022, she was awarded the Exemplary Educator Award by the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network Autism Initiative. “People often ask me, ‘Why? Why special education? Why autism?’ I choose to be an educator to model unconditional love and acceptance for all,” Weibley said.

Weibley and her dog, Knox, were recently approved as a certified therapy dog and autism companion dog team for Tuscarora School District.

“As a certified therapy dog team, Knox and I can go to schools, nursing homes, hospitals, etc., to bring joy, love, and a sense of calmness to people,” Weibley said. “I plan to bring Knox to school to teach my students various daily living and social skills, as well as teaching my students how to be responsible for someone else.”

In her personal life, she is proud of her family. She met her husband, Coleman Weibley, Mercersburg’s associate dean of students, while working for Mercersburg

Summer Programs. They married in the Irvine Memorial Chapel in October 2018 and have two children, Parker (4), and Quincy (2), and are expecting a third child in 2024. “It has been such a blessing growing a family in a community like Mercersburg,” Weibley said.

“Take chances, try new things, and open your eyes and heart to all experiences that come your way.”
WINTER 2024 35


April 5 to 7

in Philadelphia

Join us in Philadelphia for Women in Focus: Unlocking Opportunities Together, a first-ever symposium for our community of Mercersburg women. We will celebrate the doers, the dreamers, the changemakers, and the worldshakers Friday, April 5, through Sunday, April 7, 2024. Women in Focus will provide an inclusive and energetic environment for attendees to make strong, diverse connections while gaining tools for personal and professional success. For information, go to women-in-focus


Without the intention of doing so, Grace Caroline Wiener ’14 turned something she created for her own amusement into a major trend both on and off social media.

Her customized L.L. Bean tote bags with cheeky sayings led to coverage in publications such as The New York Times, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar, and gave her the opportunity to design collections with several brands, including a holiday line with L.L. Bean that sold out immediately.

“The most rewarding part of running @IronicBoatAndTote is hearing how much joy it brings,” Wiener said. “While there are plenty of things I want to accomplish in my career, I think that is what I want to be remembered for—making people smile.”

Wiener is social media manager at AIR MAIL Weekly, co-founder of Perry Jones Media, and a tastemaker—a person who influences what becomes fashionable.

“People will laugh at what you are doing and think it is cringe—until it becomes cool,” Wiener said. “When I started posting on TikTok in 2021 and created @IronicBoatAndTote in 2022, several people I considered friends were outwardly negative and made fun of me behind my back. It was hard not to listen to them, but

I knew what I was doing was fun for me and brought joy to others. Once I started to find success, they came back to congratulate me on what I had built.”

Wiener’s focus within social media has expanded into brand marketing, influencer marketing, and brand creative, with her taking a holistic strategy approach to brands through her agency, Perry Jones Media.

“I fell into doing social media professionally by happenstance,” Wiener said. “I saw there was a growing need for social media managers, and I knew it was something I understood and enjoyed doing.”

She said her entire career has been an outcome of women helping women.

“I have created connections with incredible women in the workforce, especially in fashion and media in New York, who are excited to help me advance in my career,” Wiener said. “I have found this is the case for most of my friends as well. It is very inspiring and has encouraged me to help others, especially women younger than me, in their careers as much as possible.”

“Pursue what you love, and listen to those who really matter to you during your comeup.”



Spending 18 months in Uruguay enveloped in the culture and immersed in the Spanish language proved to be a pivotal time for Sarah Lyman ’16

“It was a humbling and difficult experience, but I see aspects of my life every day where that time helped me,” Lyman said. “As a second-grade teacher in a Title 1 school, I speak Spanish every day to connect with my students and their parents.”

Lyman overcomes adversity by turning outward and helping those around her.

“This helps me become more grateful for all that I have instead of thinking about what I do not have,” she said.

Lyman was drawn to Uruguay for missionary work, an experience that led her to become more service-oriented. She is now teaching at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA, coaches high school


As a student in 2014, Samantha Goldman ’17 was the first female athlete to score points in a varsity football game at Mercersburg Academy. Today, she is a business analyst for Tepper Sports & Entertainment, where she supports two professional teams—the

basketball, and remains involved in her church by coordinating activities for women in the congregation.

“My belief in having charity toward others and serving others is one of the reasons I choose to be a part of this community and do my part to help it continue to grow,” Lyman said. “The relationships you create with those around you are the things that matter most.”

Lyman views her parents, Amy and Michael Lyman, as mentors and said they continue to have an impact on her. Her father is a professor of social work and gerontology at Shippensburg University. Her mother is the head volleyball coach at Mercersburg.

“My parents instilled in me the importance of receiving an education, but it was not until I saw those without the privilege of receiving an education that my perspective changed,” Lyman said. “Before attending university, my focus was not on education and learning. Now, my focus is more on helping others receive a good

education and continuing to acquire more knowledge myself.”

Lyman said she experienced women supporting women in her college education, as most of her professors were educated, successful women who were passionate and driven to help other women learn how to best teach the next generation.

“As a university student and now professional educator, I recognize the privilege I have had to experience an exceptional high school and university education. I also recognize how important it is to be a lifelong learner.”

Carolina Panthers (NFL) and Charlotte Football Club (MLS)—and an entertainment venue in Bank of America Stadium.

“I always approach adversity as a problem to be solved,” said Goldman. “I break down the challenges into manageable tasks, adapt to new circumstances, and strategically work toward solutions. Additionally, in times of adversity, I place great emphasis on seeking support from family, friends, and mentors.”

Some of those mentors she remembers most fondly include the Conklin family at Mercersburg. Mike and Cally Conklin supported her as dorm parents, and Mike Conklin, who is now director of college counseling, served as her college counselor and encouraged her to apply to the University of Miami. “His guidance was instrumental in shaping my educational journey, and I credit him for directing me toward an institution that has been pivotal in my career,” Goldman said.

Goldman also recognizes the importance of women helping women. In February 2020, while a student at the University of Miami and working for the university’s football program, Goldman was selected by the NFL’s Sam Rapoport as one of 40 women to participate in

the NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum. “Sam created this event as a bridge for women to engage with NFL coaches and executives, providing a pathway for women like me to enter the industry,” Goldman said.

Goldman hopes to provide that same support to others, and she offers these three pieces of advice:

u Network. Network. Network.

u Never stop learning. (She credits Mercersburg for instilling this trait in her.)

u Don’t shy away from taking risks and embracing change.

As Goldman continues in her career, she aspires to be a leader who actively works to break down barriers, champion equality, and empower individuals from all backgrounds to thrive and achieve success: “My goal is to inspire others to fearlessly pursue their dreams—be it in their careers, personal lives, or creative endeavors.”

“Have the courage to take the leap and explore something new.”
WINTER 2024 37


Mercersburg alumni, students reflect on 50 years of

Blue Review

During Family and Alumni Weekend, Mercersburg celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Blue Review, the school’s literary arts publication. Alumni, advisers, and students who have worked or are working on the publication connected and shared their reflections.

“Creative writing talent that was not commonly evident during daily English class work seemed to come unlocked in submissions for the Blue Review. That suggested to me that the written word, a baseline in humanities education, remains alive and kicking (despite discouraging trends). In semi-retirement, I have carried that forth as an instructor of senior citizens in the Johns Hopkins-administered Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.”

– Jim Applebaum, former Blue Review adviser

“Working with student writers who are hungry to compose their own literary works and eager to critique, refine, and support the work of their peers is a true gift.”

–Kacie England, adviser

“The experience helped me to value and voice my own opinions with kindness and gratitude, and to value perspectives that are different.”
– Emily Joyner ’99

“I love the process of ordering and copyediting pages, as well as debates over themes. In college, I’m the assistant editor of a very similar publication. I’m planning on studying English and eventually library science.”

– Mel Cort ’23

“My writing for the Blue Review and Mercersburg News garnered me to twice win the Dr. Julius Shamansky Prize, which was a real honor. It also laid the foundation for a 30-year career in journalism, a profession I love. I moved on to a new chapter in the fall of 2022 but remain a writer and communicator.”

Kostelni McGrory ’88

“Blue Review allows me to be present in a space where collaboration thrives. It amazes me how much creativity exists in the span of weekly hourlong meetings. I love the stories and immense interconnectedness we have created, and it truly translates into the book.”


“The rush to get everything finalized and prepared to go to the printer was memorable. We were so analog and didn’t have any of the creative digital tools that the students have access to now. It was much more of a production to fix mistakes and get the layout completed.”

– Geraldine Gardner ’96, P ’27

“When I see the newer iterations of it, I’m stunned by how beautiful they are and how fantastic the production quality is because ours was very primitive, and that’s being generous, but I guess we got it off the ground. That would be our legacy.”

– Steve Flanagan ’74

“My favorite memory from Blue Review is probably pairing day. The frantic and final culmination of a year’s work comes together in one long day. I had a blast working with fellow staff and faculty advisers putting together the book each year. Getting to be one of the editors has made me far better equipped for college in terms of leadership and creative collaboration.”

– Nathan Austin ’23

“I really appreciate how the Blue Review meetings continue to teach me how different every person’s perspective is, as well as how to approach a conversation between varying— sometimes opposing—views.”

Former and current members of the Blue Review gathered for an anniversary lunch reception during Family and Alumni Weekend. Present for the photo were, from left: Bob Hollis ’24, Anne Sehon ’25, Jamie Vulakh ’24, Andrew Leibowitz ’24, Nathan Austin ’23, former adviser Jim Applebaum, Emily Joyner ’99, adviser Kacie England, Steve Flanagan ’74, and adviser Kristen Pixler.

Members of the 1974 Blue Review staff and their adviser were featured in this 1974 Karux photo.

WINTER 2024 39

J oseph Hub er ’ 64

Continuum of Learning Leads to Career in Finance for Class of ’32 Award Recipient

Mercersburg Academy Regent Emeritus

Joseph Huber ’64 has been chosen to receive the school’s highest honor, the Class of ’32 Distinguished Alumni Award. This prestigious recognition is presented annually to members of the alumni body who have most distinguished themselves through character, service, and achievement. Other award recipients have included Jimmy Stewart ’28, Gerry Lenfest ’49, Dick Thornburgh ’50, Walter Burgin ’53, John Jones III ’73, Deborah Simon ’74, and Huber’s classmates Dick Cass ’64 and Steve Guttman ’64.

“My experience at Mercersburg has been a continuum of lifelong learning,” Huber said. “Starting with the instruction and support to excel in mathematics and science, I developed a strong sense of self-confidence and preparedness that elevated the trajectory of my life to a totally different plane. Fifteen years after graduation, Board of Regents Chair Carl Erdman ’33 invited me to join the Board, prefaced by a directive I have adopted as a lifelong standard: ‘Serving on the Board is a commitment, not a convenience.’”

Huber has distinguished himself through his career in finance, as well as service to Mercersburg Academy and other organizations. In 2019, he received Mercersburg’s Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Service, which recognizes alumni who have made outstanding contributions toward Mercersburg’s mission and

continued excellence at the school, as reflected in its faculty, student body, facilities, and financial strength.

Huber has spent his entire 54year career in financial services. In 1970, he started his career with White, Weld & Co. in Philadelphia. A few years later, he was an adviser to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 1978, he joined The First Boston Corporation, where he was named managing director in 1982. Over the years, he managed First Boston’s offices in Philadelphia and Chicago, as well as its asset management business and multibillion-dollar retirement and employee investment plans. He now serves as a senior adviser to UBS.

Huber is a former governor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and a former board


member of several Vanguard companies. He serves as vice chairman of the Lenfest Foundation and the Lenfest Scholars Foundation, both of which were created by Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest ’49. The Lenfest Scholars Foundation has provided hundreds of college scholarships to rural Pennsylvania students. Huber also serves on the boards of Upgrade Inc. (a San Francisco-based financial technology company), Foster Holdings, Indian River Land Trust, and the New York Yacht Club Foundation. He holds emeritus board positions at Mercersburg and the Independence Seaport Museum.

“I am pleased to present Joe with the Class of ’32 Award,” Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25, ’27 said. “Joe’s professional achievements, character, and service make us proud. His service to the school and dedication to a myriad of noble causes has set an example within our community, advanced Mercersburg’s mission, and brought us great honor. We are proud to call him an alum.”

Huber has a long history of service to Mercersburg. He was a member of the Board of Regents (1979-1985 and 1999-2009) and is a current special member appointee to the Investment Committee. He was chair of his 50th reunion committee (2013-2014) and has served as a Daring to Lead campaign host committee member (2014), an Annual Fund volunteer, and a class agent. He remains active in alumni affairs.

Huber also has 56 consecutive years of leadership giving to the school. He and his wife, Louise, established the Joseph F. Huber ’64 Department Chair of Mathematics to support teaching excellence at Mercersburg. The chair is currently held by Mathematics Department Head Amy Kelley.

The chair honors former faculty members Herbert “Fido” Kempton, Stephen Chandler, and Walter Burgin ’53, who inspired Huber’s interest and excellence in mathematics. His generosity to Mercersburg continues as a

member of the William Mann Irvine Society, the Via Lucis Society, and the McDowell Society.

As a student at Mercersburg, Huber was a chapel usher, basketball manager, and member of the Orientation Committee, Blue Key, Engineering Club, Chess Club, Electronics Club, Projection Crew, and Karux

He currently enjoys racquet sports, fitness, golf, and sailing, for which he has won several national championships.

Huber graduated from Lafayette College with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with honors and earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Hubers have two children, Margot and Stephen, and six grandchildren. The couple splits their time between Vero Beach, FL, and Bryn Mawr, PA.

Huber and the Alumni Council Award recipients will be honored during Reunion Weekend, June 7-9, 2024.

WINTER 2024 41
Maximize your 401(k) and IRA Fund 529 plans for K-12 ($10,000 annual limit) and college expenses Consider a Roth 401(k) and IRA, including a “backdoor” Roth 401(k) or IRA Use donor-advised funds for charitable giving Pay attention to investment fees Top5Huber’s Financial/Investment Advice Tips

Exploring Ecosystems Takes Reynolds Into Alaska’s Depths

While taking classes toward an animal sciences degree at Cornell University, Madi McConnell Reynolds ’07 discovered that her dream of becoming a veterinarian might branch into the wild.

She was learning about domestic animals but also enjoyed courses on wildlife, fisheries, management, and natural resources. These interests led her to become a research diver for the state of Alaska.

“I still graduated with my degree in animal sciences, but then I went to work for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,” Reynolds said. “They needed a field crew in the Arctic, and I really wanted to work in Alaska. They told me that if I did a season in subarctic Canada the following year, they would send me to Alaska.”

After graduating from Cornell, Reynolds spent five years conducting ecological research for private nonprofits throughout the Western Hemisphere from Arctic Alaska and Canada to Antarctica.

In 2016, she began a teaching and research assistantship with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), partnering with Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve to conduct research in predator-prey dynamics, tracking populations in Alaska’s Brooks Range.

After earning a master’s degree from UAF, Reynolds moved to her husband’s hometown of Ketchikan, AK, where she combined her passion for ecological research with her lifelong love of water.

As a research diver for the state of Alaska, she traveled the length of Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago, conducting underwater research on commercially valuable species.

Whether working in marine, wildlife, or aquatic sciences, her motivation is the same.

Diving Gear Savvy: Wet suit or Dry suit?

“I pretty much only ever dive in a dry suit. A wet suit holds water in to keep you insulated with water. A dry suit holds air to keep you insulated with air. It’s like wearing a giant sleeping bag. Sometimes I put foot warmers inside of my dry suit to keep my feet warm, too. The hardest thing to keep warm is definitely hands. There are dry gloves, but it’s really hard to do our work wearing dry gloves, especially because we have to handle things like urchins, and it’s really easy to pop holes in dry gloves. Then you can get leakage into your whole suit and ruin your day. How we get around that is to wear dive mitts. They separate your thumb and pointer finger, and then they keep the other three fingers together. People get pretty creative out there when they’re cold.”


“What I love the most is getting to spend a lot of time outside and exploring cool ecosystems,” Reynolds said. “Every day that you have to do field work, it can bring new challenges, but you’re also going to learn a lot of new things every day, in every different ecosystem.

“When you immerse yourself in one of these marine ecosystems, you start to think that science fiction isn’t even creative enough to come up with some of these things that actually exist.”

The presence of potentially dangerous situations is part of both the allure and the difficulty of working in extreme environments.

“Every field site has its challenges, from polar bears and brown bears visiting camp, to shifting sea ice and wild storms in the polar regions, or navigating underwater currents with zero visibility.” Reynolds said. “The most constant danger is, of course, cold.”

Water temperatures range from the 30s to the high 50s Fahrenheit, with dives typically going down 40 to 80 feet. Safety is a constant discussion, as complacency and a false sense of security could be the biggest threat.

“In these situations, it is hard to find more passionate and motivated coworkers,” Reynolds said. “We truly work as a team, knowing we depend on each other, not just to get the job done, but to stay safe. The relationships you build when you rely on each other this heavily often makes coworkers feel more like family.”


Reynolds recently relocated with her family, returning to her roots in western Pennsylvania, where she works as an environmental scientist for an engineering firm. She was happy to be near her family as she and her husband welcomed a son born in December.

Reynolds said the adaptability she learned from being away from home and becoming independent at age 14 was foundational for her career. She is forever grateful for the mentorship she received from Mercersburg coaches and teachers.

“I loved coach Betsy (Cunningham P ’22, ’24). I ran for her in cross country and track for four years, and was coached by

Pete Williams (P ’92, ’95) in the pool for four years,” Reynolds said.

She remembers learning about hawk banding in class with Jim Malone P ’01, ’03.

“Once I got to Alaska, I ended up running some banding stations,” Reynolds said. “I did my master’s on birds of prey. My first exposure to anything like that was Mr. Malone’s hawk banding class, and I loved it.”

Malone still introduces students to hawk banding, although the activity is not part of an academic course.

“It has been a really long time since I’ve gotten back to campus,” Reynolds said. “Now that I’m back in Pennsylvania, and once things settle down after all the craziness of the new baby, I hope I can get back out there.”

Background: Madi McConnell Reynolds ’07 examines marine life colonizing a sunken vessel near Juneau, AK. Foreground: Reynolds holds Marshall, a lynx she live-trapped and tracked near Wiseman, AK. His name commemorates ecologist Bob Marshall, and notes the timing of his capture–the first day of IrvingMarshall Week.

meets opportunity at Mercersburg Academy. Your Annual Fund gift empowers our students to dream big, achieve greatness, and have a lasting impact on the world. Make your gift today! Opening Doors TO A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES





Jason Wilford ’01 left Maryland’s Eastern Shore in hopes of finding a purpose, which he initially thought was a career in advertising, but he soon realized that his future was much closer to home.

His journey is a testament to the unpredictability of life’s path. From a seasoned career in advertising to owning an oyster company, his story stands as an inspiring example of how the discovery of a true passion can be found where least expected. In a candid interview, Wilford recounted his remarkable transition into the world of oyster farming, painting a vivid picture of his life alongside his business partner and wife, Kristi DeMartino Wilford ’03.

“Oysters were never a part of our plan. The oysters found us,” Wilford explained as he cradled his baby daughter, Robin.

Wilford’s venture into oyster farming began as a desperate escape from a job that left

him unsatisfied. He found himself in a career that failed to resonate with him. However, a pivotal day spent with a friend who works in waterways protection and restoration as a Choptank Riverkeeper proved to be an important turning point. During their time on the river, his friend casually introduced the idea of oyster farming as an alternative path. Little did Wilford know that this chance remark would set the stage for an epiphany.

“We were eating lunch on his boat. I was complaining about my job, and he mentioned it sort of in passing, and I filed the idea away,” Wilford said. “This was September 2016. Over the next few weeks and into the winter, I found myself running into people connected to oysters, or who were passionate about them.

“The epiphany came one day in January 2017. A snowstorm had come through Easton, MD, and nobody could go anywhere. I was snowed in, looking outside at the snow, and

Top photo: Jason Wilford ’01 and Kristi DeMartino Wilford ’03 work together in their business, Pirates Cove Oyster Co., on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Bottom photo: An oyster is carefully shucked to be served on the half shell.

sat down in my living room with a fire going, spending the day researching oyster lease applications, and it just took off from there.”

Up to this point, Wilford’s professional trajectory had been anything but linear. He had previously worked in professional sports and spent several years in Minor League Baseball. He later returned to his home in Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore, where he grappled with the challenge of finding his true calling in an area with limited career opportunities. Even though he had no formal background in biology or aquaculture, Wilford’s curiosity grew.

He decided to embark on an oyster farming journey. He then reached out to his Mercersburg friend, DeMartino, to see if she might be interested in working in the field. They boldly embraced this unconventional career path and founded Pirates Cove Oyster Co. Oyster farming resonated deeply with their shared love of water and boats, propelling them to dive headfirst into the venture. The two eventually fell in love and married shortly thereafter.

The process of oyster farming unveiled a world that was both delicate and complex. The Wilfords started by acquiring tiny oyster seeds, measuring a mere two millimeters, from a hatchery. These seeds arrived in bags, and were meticulously transferred into floating cages. The couple monitored the growth of these seeds, sorting them by size to optimize their development and nutrient intake.

Oyster farming, like any agricultural endeavor, presented a range of challenges,


including diseases, shifting weather patterns, and fluctuating markets. However, the Wilfords were proactive in adapting to these hurdles. Kristi Wilford is a biologist, so she had an understanding of these processes.

“The outbreak of diseases like Vibrio and the specter of global warming have been substantial concerns,” she acknowledged. Yet they skillfully harnessed these challenges into creating a business that championed sustainability.

For the Wilfords, oyster farming became a family affair, with their young daughter becoming an integral part of their journey. Balancing the roles of parents and entrepreneurs was no easy feat in light of the unwavering dedication needed to succeed in this challenging industry. However, Robin’s presence served as a poignant reminder of the paramount importance of preserving the environment and bequeathing a legacy rooted in a love for the great outdoors.

When contemplating the sustainability of their business, Wilford emphasized their readiness to face the uncertainties that the future might hold. They remain committed

to flexibility and open to adaptation as the industry evolves. Their ultimate goal isn’t to transform into a massive oyster corporation; instead, it is to cultivate a sustainable lifestyle and business, which will enable them to continue doing what they love. Oyster farming is a challenging industry, but it is clear that the whole family has embraced these trials with open hearts. In this captivating story, they serve as a reminder that, at times, life’s most fulfilling paths are the unexpected ones.

Shanuka Navaratne ’25 of Frederick, MD, is a mosaic ambassador for Mercersburg’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He leads the South Asian Student Association and is a member of the food committee, The Mercersburg News, Model United Nations, Quinn Ferguson Honors Seminar, and Debate Club. Navaratne, who plans to study humanitarian law in college, said: “Interviewing Mr. Wilford was an inspiring experience that allowed me to conclude that Mercersburg is a beginning to life’s unforeseeable journey.”

Below: Pirates Cove Oyster Co. team members and friends pause for a photo after the Sunfest 2021 festival in Ocean City, MD. From left, Jack Malinowksi, Jason Wilford ’01, Kristi Wilford ’03, Aaron Wall, and Jeff Gombos.

Jason and Kristi Wilford with their daughter, Robin.

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⊲ Anmargaret Warner ’10 and Miller Robinson were married September 24, 2022, in Charleston, SC, where they now live. Mercersburg alumni in attendance included Ann Shabb Warner ’76, mother of the bride; Blackburn Warner ’11, groomsman; Robert Shabb ’09; Laura Graham ’09; Cameron Reilly ’10; Jen Leahey Romey ’10; and William Gilbert

Hillary Smith ’08 married Aaron Fienberg on November 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. They live in Irvine, CA.

⊲ Erica Koch ’04 and Stef Walker ’05 were married September 15, 2023, in Chicago. Stef shares that they met about 20 years ago during Stony Batter preseason and were best friends during their time at Mercersburg. They became engaged in the Boys’ Garden, sharing that moment where it all began. A few Mercersburg friends and family attended their wedding: Mo Golden ’05, Elizabeth Wilber Matthews ’05, and Kenny Walker ’04. Erica realized she was the only Marshall Society member surrounded by Irving folks. Stef said it was one of the silliest moments of the night.

⊲ Tom McCahill ’99 married Trisha Ashford October 14, 2023, at Three Arch Bay in Laguna Beach, CA. Mercersburg alumni in attendance included, from left: Heidi Anderes Hollier ’01, Sarah McCahill ’89, Maureen McCahill Weintraub ’03, Trisha, Tom, Patrick Koch ’99, Dave Holzwarth ’78, Jake Koodrich ’99, Sylvia Saracino Koodrich ’99, and David McCahill ’96. ’13.
⊲ Granville Smith ’69 married Juliana Kareus April 30, 2023. In attendance were Scott Bingham ’69 and Russell Moore ’69. Also in attendance was Granville’s son Andre ’05, who served as one of the groomsmen. Granville and Juliana reside in Scottsdale, AZ. ⊲ Cara Leepson ’05 married Chase Alford June 3, 2023, in Middleburg, VA. Mercersburg was well represented. From left: Taylor Newby ’05, Natalie Blackburn ’05, Kyle Taylor ’05, Cara, Chase, Mackenzie Gwynne ’05, Carl Gray ’05, and Whitney Pezza Bagherzadeh ’05. ⊲ Mackenzie Brink ’14 married Ryan Hickey May 6, 2023, at Mercersburg Academy’s Irvine Memorial Chapel. Pictured, from left, are Sydney Godbey ’14, Delaney Taylor ’14, Zoe Alpert ’14, Natalie Burkardt ’14, Mackenzie, Renee Brink P ’11, ’14, John Brink ’69, P ’11, ’14, Harrison Brink ’11, Karen Brockway P ’11, Michael Brockway P ’11, Ben Mellott ’09, Brenda Mellott P ’09, Kelly Mellott, and Herman Mellott ’72, P ’09.
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⊲ Harper Tice ’16 married Spencer Gillard at Mercersburg Academy’s Irvine Memorial Chapel, June 17, 2023. Several Mercersburg students, alumni, and faculty attended the wedding. From left: Sarah Howley ’26, Kari Anderson ’16, Elisa Gan ’16, Hanlin Yu ’16, Harper, Brian Nelson ’16, faculty member Emily Parsons P ’21, ’22, ’26, Evan Howley ’22, and Jay Howley ’21.


Chuck Roberts ’07 and Tyler Badgley welcomed their first son, Griffin Stephen Badgley Roberts, September 15, 2023.

Jennifer Leahey Romey ’10 and her husband, Patrick, welcomed a daughter, Reese Kathleen Romey, June 24, 2023.

Rachel Smooke ’05 and her husband, Jeff Soo, welcomed their first baby, a boy, Charlie Lyon Soo, June 12, 2023. Rachel and her family live in Denver, CO.

Anna Frances Von Lunen was born July 21, 2023, to Carolyn and Matt Von Lunen ’07. She is welcomed by her big sister, Ruth, and grandparents Jana and Mark Von Lunen ’74.

Hillary Smith ’08 and Aaron Fienberg welcomed a daughter, Callisto Juliet, December 20, 2022. They live in Irvine, CA.

Katie Keller White ’04 and her husband, Travis, welcomed a son, Brooks David White, August 21, 2023. Katie hopes to bring Brooks for a stroll around campus soon.

Abby Ryland Mercer ’12 and her husband, Alex, welcomed a baby girl, Elizabeth (Elsie) Irene, August 9, 2023.

Jessica Keeseman-Bowman ’10 and James Bowman welcomed their first child, Lucius David Bowman, May 8, 2023.

Becca Galey ’09, Jesse Russell, and big brother Jude welcomed Rory Winter West Russell, August 11, 2023, in Minneapolis, MN.

Alicia Krawczak Wendlandt ’05 and her husband, Justin, welcomed a daughter, Carina Jo Wendlandt, October 9, 2023. Carina is held by her older sister, Lucienna.


Submission Deadline forthenextissueis April 10,2024

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J. Frank Schwartz notes that it has been 80 years since his high school graduation: “I’m in great health. I exercise every day and play bridge every day.”

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Jay “Mike” Hamlin attended Mercersburg Academy during World War II. He spoke fondly of former faculty member Leonard Plantz, who had an impact on his quality of education and life. Mike lives in Florida.

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Richard Price returned home after attending Duke University to operate his dairy farm in Phoenix, MD. He became involved in many organizations–roles which included Sparks State Bank board of directors chair; Southern States Cooperative Inc. past board chair; Baltimore County Farm Bureau past president; and owner-operator of Stockton Farm (grain and livestock), among others, and was the founder of Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation in 1987. “I give much credit for my success in life to my education experience at Mercersburg. I am happily married to my wife, Mickey.”

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After practicing dentistry for 57 years, John Wilhelm retired due to the pandemic. He has had two spinal cord issues but otherwise is fine and is with his wife, Ann.

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Gordon Carroll says he is “still kicking at 88” but doubts if he will be able to make the 2024 reunion.

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Submit class notes via email to or online at classnotes. The submission deadline for the next issue is Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Submission does not guarantee publication.

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Herbert Jacobson shares: “In July 1976, my wife and I attended a performance at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., of The Oldest Living Graduate, with Fred Gwynne (of ‘The Munsters’ and ‘Car 54, Where Are You?’ fame) as the protagonist. It was a profoundly depressing show with a gloomy outlook that made an indelible impression. I never forgot Gwynne’s line, ‘I don’t want to be the oldest living anything!’ Yet, 48 years later, I find the opportunity of re-creating the protagonist role, albeit on the stage of the theater of reality, and with the possibility of a different outcome, appeals to me. So, with the hope of meeting with other graduates of my era and comparing our lives’ trials, tribulations, failures, and achievements, I intend to don my sanguinity cloak and attend my 70th reunion. Go Blue!”

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Mercersburg reserves the right to edit submissions for space or content, and is not responsible for more than reasonable editing or fact-checking.

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Selected submissions could appear on the school’s social media channels as well, unless otherwise indicated by the person submitting the information.

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When submitting a photo, please provide the highest-quality version possible, and include the names of all persons pictured and their Mercersburg class years. Due to size and quality considerations, some images might not be suitable for print.

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Mercersburg alumni captured a photo while celebrating the 99th birthday of Maury Strauss P ’78 in Roanoke, VA. From left: Nick Taubman ’53, Marc Strauss ’78, P ’12, Max Strauss ’12, and Sam Strauss ’15.

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James Powers ’64 caught up with friend and classmate Dick Abrams ’64 in Demarest, NJ. Dick had recently returned a letter James wrote to him while he studied dentistry at Temple Dental School more than 50 years ago. In the letter, James told Dick that he thought he had found the woman he wanted to marry (and subsequently did). “You can imagine what a treat for my wife and I to receive a letter from so long ago,” James said. “This is typical of the kindness and thoughtfulness Dick has shown me and many classmates. We both hope to return next summer for our 60th reunion.”

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Bill Tutt relates: “After 65 years, I’ve decided to finally give back to Mercersburg and agreed to be the chair of our 65th reunion committee. Looking forward to seeing everyone in June! If you read this, come back, or I’ll get upset.”

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Chuck Tanner and the Pittsburgh Pirates, written by Dale Perelman, was published by The History Press. Tanner was a Major League Baseball outfielder who hit a home run on the first pitch of his first at bat, only the seventh player to do so. He won a Manager of the Year Award with the Chicago White Sox and led the Pirates to a 1979 World Series title. This is Dale’s 10th book.

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John Fletcher shares: “Joan and I have moved to Ajijic, Mexico, a beautiful community on Lake Chapala.”


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Bill Girvin greets all his 1963 classmates. He is doing well but says he is beginning to fade just the slightest and very gradually. Still, in the (Western Piedmont) Lincoln County Senior Games of North Carolina, he won a number of medals, including those for writing, woodworking, and track & field events. He attributes his success there to an almost total lack of competition, brought on, he believes, by the area’s fondness for cake icings, fried chicken,

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and other assailants of the human body. A lifelong condition of skinniness and good parental genes has helped as well.

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Louis Bertrand ’61 is the mayor of Hiram, OH. When a traveling Vietnam War memorial came to his town, Louis shared in a dedication the names of Mercersburg alumni who died during the war. Included in his dedication were John Colestock ’61, Guy Creep Jr. ’59, Richard Glidden ’55, Wilmer Grubb ’51, George Chamberlin ’38, Michael Rice ’64, John White III ’60, Daniel Brittain ’60, and Howard Carpenter ’62.

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The Baltimore Sun honored Richard “Dick” Cass in its 2023 Business and Civic Hall of Fame. Dick has served as president of the Baltimore Ravens for 18 years. During his tenure, the team donated $2 million to refurbish two high school athletic fields, created a host of college scholarships, outfitted dozens of sports teams, funded after-school programs, and spruced up city playgrounds.

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Edward Sehon says that “as the ’Burg’s longest married couple,” he and Margaret Staley Sehon ’66 plan to return for the 60th reunion.


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After watching the presentation by Charlie Bell ’71 on the Mercersburg website, Bill Kemper had an idea. He decided to reach out to Charlie for a possible presentation for the Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Corvallis, OR. Charlie agreed to present on November 30 in a hybrid Zoom class. Since retiring early from Hewlett Packard, Bill has been actively volunteering in ALL for more than 15 years. The winter term presentations are listed on the ALL website with membership open to the public.

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Darlene Rose, wife of Allan Rose, died July 5, 2023.

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50 MERCERSBURG ACADEMY MAGAZINE ’59 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 25 25 20 15 80 75 30 10 15 20 3 35 40 45 5 55 60 65
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David Scoblionko ’66 and Bill Zimmerman ’67 enjoyed dinner together at their summer places on Peaks Island, ME. They are next-door neighbors on the island.



an award-

in November 2022 after shooting numerous sports, features, and news photos for Colorado Community Media since 2016. “It was a second career, following 35-plus years in television, which gave me a good excuse to upgrade camera gear,” he said. “I realized, however, that I had been part of the media in various capacities since 1976, and it was time.” Stefan will still shoot selected assignments, which often involve his two grandchildren, Mika and Dominic Medina, in nearby Longmont, CO.

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Brodsky ’70 of Thornton, CO, retired as winning newspaper photographer In July, Paul Dickman ’71, became the president of the World Council on Isotopes (WCI), an international nongovernmental organization with a focus on research, production, and the use of medical and industrial isotopes that are an essential part of modern society. Paul received the WCI presidency flag from outgoing President Jong Kim of Korea. Ed Russell ’67, P ’98 was on his way home to North Carolina from Canada and, along the way, got together to tell Mercersburg stories with some former classmates. From left: Allan Rose ’67, P ’10, Corky Gilmore ’67, Hud Connery ’68, and Ed. Louis Prevost ’67 celebrated his 75th birthday with his 16th annual New York City Five Boro Bike Tour: 40 miles with 31,000 riders. He remains active managing The Radnor Hotel and The Wayne Hotel on the Main Line. He and his wife, Susan, celebrated their 50th anniversary and are enjoying their eight grandchildren, with ages ranging from 3 to 17.

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Granville Smith and Andy Wolf, co-chairs of the Class of 1969 reunion committee, along with 21 committee members, are planning the agenda for the 55th reunion. Granville shares: “It was great reuniting with our classmates at our 50th reunion, and we hope all of you will return for our 55th. It was exciting seeing and hearing about all the changes at Mercersburg, and we were treated to musical performances by some of our talented classmates. We also look forward to seeing those who didn’t attend the last reunion. We hope you can make this one. We promise another fun-filled weekend for our 55th. Come join us!”

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Lance Grove retired in 2016 after a 40-year career in health care. This has provided him with time to pursue numerous other passions, including historical and family genealogy research. He has been active in local historical organizations, International Lions Clubs, International Toastmasters, and Penn State’s Osher Lifelong Learning. He and his wife, Bonnie, have enjoyed regional traveling as well. He’s looking forward to the Class of 1974’s 50th reunion in June.

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Kevin Miller shares that it’s hard to believe 50 years have flown by. He hopes to see many classmates during Reunion Weekend in June. He retired in December 2018 from the U.S. Department of the Interior but went back to work as a FEMA technical adviser as part of the Natural and Cultural Resources Recovery Support Function cadre, helping Florida communities recover more resiliently from Hurricane Ian.

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Moira Paddock says that life is good in Maine. “We built a home on the coast, installed geothermal for heating and cooling, and have a solar array to produce the energy needed. Never thought I would need AC on the coast, but we use it! No more fuel oil is a great thing. We raise

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James Snyder became director of New York’s Jewish Museum, one of the largest museums dedicated to Jewish culture worldwide.

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pigs, turkeys, and goats on our saltwater farm. I retired in 2022 but still volunteer for our small town. Retirement is great. I do not know how I worked and did all the things I do now. We are grandparents, and this new chapter in our life is wonderful!”

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Richard Patronik shares that his son, Grant, recently got married.

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Linda Perry, wife of Jason Perry, died February 24, 2023.


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Mark Eckert recently retired as a cybersecurity analyst from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.


Kevin Smith retired from AT&T after 22 years and is loving retirement. His wife, Karen, died in 2019. He relocated from California to Washington state in 2019.


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Raymond Kiess retired as the senior climate scientist for the U.S. Air Force’s climate unit in June 2022 following 37 years of active duty and civilian service.

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52 MERCERSBURG ACADEMY MAGAZINE ’69 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 25 20 30 15 20 45 50 55 60 65
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Freelance photojournalist Donna Fisher ’72 of Whitehall, PA, won second place in Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) 2023 Keystone Media Awards, News Event Photo, Division III–Multi-day Publications, for this photo taken in the wake of an April 2022 fatal house fire in Hellertown, PA. Donna was on assignment for Two Mercersburg couples, from left, Janie Prichard ’73, Ron Prichard ’73, D.J. Hill ’86, and Sabrina Derrickson Hill ’86, met for dinner in State College, PA, where Janie and Ron live, as Sabrina and D.J. visited their daughter, Linley ’23, who is in her first year at Penn State University. Rich Patronik ’74 attended an art show and reception for former art faculty member Mark Flowers at Pink Dog Creative Gallery in Asheville, NC.

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After retiring in 2021 from the U.S. Department of State, Patrick Williams III accepted a position as a part-time employee within the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau as a management officer. In the summer of 2023, he served in the U.S. Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon.

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Lacy Rice and Carol Furnary Casparian are looking forward to seeing classmates at the 45th reunion in June. Join them for the class dinner, class photo, guest speakers, and reminiscing. They’ve heard from Molly Hall, Brent Copenhaver, Bill Allen, John Kline, Doug Corwin, Gretchen Decker Jones, Ruth Quinn, Garrit Wamelink, and Daryl Workman Keeler, who are planning to attend.

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Christine Watson accepted a role in digital security at Cigna and obtained GIAC Security Leadership Certification (GSLC). She bought a house on Pawtuckaway Lake in Nottingham, NH, and got engaged. She invites classmates who are in the area to stop by for a boat ride.

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Former longtime Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania Bud Shuster, father of Deborah Shuster King ’81 and Virginia Shuster Dixon ’84, died April 19, 2023.


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Fred Gachet, father of Louise Gachet and Catherine Gachet ’85, died March 28, 2023.

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Christian Rubeck is living in Pawtuxet Village, RI, and invites classmates to reach out for a sail or a visit.

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Ashley Himes Kranich was the featured speaker at the Fulton County Medical Center (FCMC) Diamond Jubilee. The event, presented by Grane Hospice Care and hosted by the FCMC Foundation, paid tribute to the FCMC Auxiliary and its 75th anniversary.

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Julie Sommer was named executive director of The Drake Group and The Drake Group Education Fund. Sommer, a practicing attorney in Seattle, WA, is a recognized expert on Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy. The Drake Group works to educate Congress and higher education decision-makers about critical issues in intercollegiate athletics.


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Susan Stoner Leithauser recently completed a master’s of philanthropic studies degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Susan continues to enjoy her role with Denison University as a development officer focused on family philanthropy.

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In January 2023, Pablo Coballasi was recognized by the Global M&A Network at the Metropolitan Club in New York City as one of the top 50 private equity dealmakers in the Americas and also received the Mexican private equity deal of the year on behalf of his firm, PC Capital.

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Faculty emeritus Tom Rahauser ’74 and Jenn Flanagan Bradley ’99 caught up in the fall and look forward to spending more time together in June at their 50th and 25th reunions, respectively. Author Anne Raugh Keene ’83 was a featured speaker during the World War II Weekend at the Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, PA. She spoke on the topic of her book, The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win WWII Barbara and Bruce Schneider ’75, left, visited Rick Jenkinson ’75 and his wife, Vickie, on Heron Island in Maine, where Rick has a vacation cottage. The Schneiders live in Round Pond, ME.


In December 2022, Winter Street Studios in Houston, the building in which Betsy Evans ’86 has a studio, was firebombed, leaving the building heavily damaged. Nine months later, her studio was up and running again, so she can continue to create works in clay, printmaking, and woodworking.

During a Eurorail trip to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Lichtenstein, Janelle Denny Cwik ’91 rented a Volkswagen Tiguan and drove from the Swiss

the advice of classmate Jeremy Cross ’91, she took the Chamonix Cable Car from France high atop


Blanc–into Courmayeur, Italy. In 2024, she plans to travel to the Mediterranean, Aruba, and France. Janelle keeps Faculty Emeritus Ron and Susan Simar P ’86, ’90, ’91 abreast of her adventures and loves to see them when she travels to Mercersburg.

Geoff Moorhead ’90 visited classmate Marcelo Tenza ’90 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. From left are Marcelo and his wife, Mabela Martin Garcia; Geoff, his daughter, Sara Moorhead, and his wife, Cristina Almansa; and friend Montse Rodriguez. Alps to the French Alps. At Europe’s peak–Mont Peggy Raley Ward ’85 shared that at a concert in Washington, D.C., she ran into Emma Claire Geitner ’17 and Addie Geitner ’21. Lydia Santiago ’89 and Tonya Rutherford ’90 met up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in October.

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Benjamin van der Wel ’83, who swam at Mercersburg and Southern Methodist University, didn’t set foot in a pool again for more than 32 years. In 2018, he got back in the water with U.S. Masters Swimming and says he is “having a blast!” At the recent USMS National Spring Championships in Irvine, CA, he received two national champion titles and won two golds, a silver, and two bronze.

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Chris Jones shares that he is “looking forward to seeing the Class of ’94 back for our 30th reunion June 7-9, 2024. It was great to catch up with so many people during our 25th, so let’s do it again–another class dinner, photo, and lots more fun.”

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David Doyle ’84 shares: “We had a real treat when Tom Gallucio ’84 (pictured) came to visit us just after Christmas in 2022 to workshop his oneman play based on Thomas Jefferson’s December 1806 speech to Congress concerning the growing tensions between the U.S., France, and Spain on the Western frontier. My daughter, Katie ’21, and son, Christopher ’17, helped with the setup, but other than that, it was all Tom. The piece was historically insightful while never losing Tom’s gift to amuse. Tom has since been traveling the country and has continued working on the play.”

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James Barnes was promoted to chief technology officer for Primerica. Jennifer Lee Barnes, wife of James and sister-in-law of John Barnes ’91, died September 5, 2023.

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Ambika Behal lives deep in the jungle of Singapore, where she is raising a fund focused on climate and agricultural sustainability within the Southeast Asian context.

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Eddie Brown lives in North Potomac, MD, with his partner, Claudia, and three children, EJ, 8, Bella, 4, and Zara, 2. He continues to practice dentistry in the DMV area with a specialization in prosthodontics. Eddie recently opened his third office location in Bowie, MD. One of his important endeavors is a recent partnership with the D.C. community and government leaders to provide free dental services to the homeless.

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Aaron Chiu lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys connecting with Mercersburg classmates in the D.C. area and looks forward to getting together with more classmates at Reunion Weekend in June.

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Andrew Danziger and his wife, Melissa, are busy with daughter Evelyn, 5, and son, Maddox, 19 months. Andrew marked 18 years at Merck and Co., where he enjoys the challenge of pharmaceutical science and hopes to continue in the field. He’s excited to be working on a collaborative team that’s identified a novel treatment for malarial infections. This new therapeutic could be lifesaving for the half a million people who suffer from this devastating disease every year. He’s also looking forward to the 25th reunion and hopes to see his classmates there.

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Savina Rendina Cupps hopes her classmates are enjoying their 40s. She has been planning trips, taking her students and her own teens on international excursions. They’ve traveled to Italy and Greece, and are traveling to France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Ireland, Australia, and Costa Rica. She shares, “If anyone has teens, we’d love to have them join us on a future voyage—and parents are welcome, too!”

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Tim Hitchens, his wife, Anna, and their 2-yearold son, Vireak, moved from Philadelphia to Hawaii in 2017. It didn’t take long for Anna to find meaningful work in the realm of food access and equity, while Tim and Vireak spent the first year exploring Oahu and working on a small farm in Waianae. Tim eventually returned to social work as the education and training program manager for Ho’ola Na Pua, providing statewide education and training to prevent and respond to child sex trafficking. In January 2022, he took a position with the state’s Department of Human Services as the assistant administrator for the social services division, which houses Child Welfare and Adult Protective Services.

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In May 2022, shortly before his passing on July 3, 2022, Trevor Budny ’99 was legally adopted by Jef and Carol Corson. As a result, he became a brother to Flynn Corson ’99 and Mary Catherine Wilkerson ’00. Trevor is pictured here on his wedding day, when he married Laura Dewey Budny. From left are Flynn, Jasen Wright ’99, and Trevor.

While attending a conference outside of Washington, D.C., in October 2022, Tim Hitchens ’99, right, and classmate Andy Choi ’99 were able to reconnect over a cup of coffee. Tim has enjoyed staying connected with classmates and professors via social media and text messages.

Rache Brand ’99 notes that the “twists and turns of life always surprise me. Twenty-five years out and Mercersburg is still ever present in my life.” Rache and Lane deCordova ’12 connected at the “I am Kenough” party at the Dojo Mojo Casa House at 55M in August. Patrick Koch ’99 reports that there were no first-day-of-school jitters this year for his family. They are trying to keep up with three kids in sunny Pittsburgh and enjoying (almost) every minute of it. “From lacrosse to volleyball to baseball to cross country to alpine racing, we forget what it means to be bored. Looking forward to 1999’s 25-year reunion in June!” Mercersburg classmates Eric “Tuffy” Kass ’99 and Matt Kranchick ’99 were both at the Waste Expo in New Orleans. Jenn Barr Weiss ’99 and Ambika Behal ’99 connected in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jenn has been living there for nearly three years, and Ambika was in town for work.


Andrew Miller ’00, a 23-year volunteer with Boy Scouts of America, was awarded the Silver Buffalo Award, which dates to 1926 and has fewer than 1,000 recipients. Among the most notable Silver Buffalo recipients are Neil Armstrong, Calvin Coolidge, and Jimmy Stewart ’28.

During his time at Mercersburg, Miller was a Fowle Hall prefect, a three-year Irving Declaimer, editor-inchief of The Mercersburg News, and a member of Band, Chorale, and Stony Batter.

Miller’s Scouting journey started when he was in second grade.

“My parents and the parents of several of my classmates started a Cub Scout pack at my elementary school,” Miller said. “My dad served as the Cubmaster, and Mom was a Den Leader. I enjoyed the activities and camping, so it became my favorite after-school activity.”

Because the first year of Scouting can be the most formative year for Scouts, Miller believes in making that year the best it can be. Wanting to give back as much as he can, Miller developed a syllabus for first-year campers.

“The first-year camper program helps Scouts with their ‘early rank’ requirements–basic outdoor skills: knots, map, and compass; first aid; and campsite layout.”

Before Miller’s syllabus, there was no guarantee that first-year campers would receive a good education and experience at camp.

“Each camp was left to its own devices on how to develop and implement a program for them,” Miller said. “I spent two years leading a first-year camper program at a Scout camp in Georgia. I developed a philosophy on what these programs should be and wrote a syllabus that could be implemented by any other Scout camp.”

Without a training course, camp directors and camp volunteers didn’t have the resources to teach Miller’s syllabus effectively. So, Miller developed a training program as well.

“For the next 12 years, starting in 2005, I developed and led training programs for first-year camp directors, delivered at our national camping schools,” Miller said. “We placed a real emphasis on the importance of the program and how to create a fun environment for these Scouts. I am proud of the resources we developed and the attention we drew to this important program and, more critically, the Scouts it served.

“Initially, I stayed involved because it was fun and I learned a lot,” Miller said. “Now, 23 years after graduating from Mercersburg, I stay involved because I believe in the importance of our mission. We prepare young people for

life, teaching them to make ethical and moral choices by instilling in them the values of the Scout oath and law. In doing so, we build self-confident, resilient citizens who have the skills to build a successful career–project management, team leadership, and empathy!”

Miller said Boy Scouts brought him and his family closer together.

“My dad (Doug Miller ’68), brother (Sam Miller ’03), and I went on a 10-day backpacking trip at the Philmont Scout Ranch in northeast New Mexico. It’s a beautiful place. It was spending that time with them, without distractions of the wider world, that makes it such a great memory.”

Although Miller has received numerous other Scout awards, such as the Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver, and Eagle Scout, he said the Silver Buffalo is the most highly regarded, and the award means a lot to him and his family.

“It’s an incredible honor. I’m happy to know that I’ve been able to benefit the lives of young people across our organization,” Miller said, noting, “I am the youngest volunteer to receive the award, so I hope it serves as an inspiration to volunteers my age and younger, showing that there is an opportunity for all who care about our movement and our nation’s young people–no matter what age.”

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Meredith Glah Coors ’95, P ’25, ’27, shares: “Emily Polito ’96 and I recently attended a fundraiser together in Dallas, TX, for Camp Sweeney, a camp for children with Type 1 diabetes. My husband, Peter, and I chaired the event. It was fun to see Emily after 28 years and meet her husband, Ryan Davies.

For 16 years, Brad Romano ’94 has worked for AvalonBay Communities in multiple cities. Following seven years leading New York City operations, he moved his family back to Southern California, where he now leads property operations for AvalonBay in Orange County, San Diego, Colorado, and Texas. Brad, his wife, Lindsey, and their identical twin boys, Ethan and Chase, are all happy to be back in Southern California.

Dr. Andrew Choi ’99 continues in his ninth year as cardiologist and associate professor at George Washington University, where he serves the Washington, D.C., region as a clinician, in addition to heart imaging and complex cholesterol program lead. He and his wife, Jean, and three daughters live in Arlington, VA. He looks forward to the 25th reunion. As a leader of the American College of Cardiology in Virginia, Andrew joined the leadership of the British Cardiovascular Society as part of its centennial anniversary in Manchester, United Kingdom. He collaborated with societal leaders and spoke on generational change amid the post-pandemic medical workforce crisis. He stopped in London to take this Mercersburg photo in front of Big Ben.

Aaron DeLashmutt ’94 is a pilot for Southwest Airlines, based in Phoenix. He is looking forward to moving back to the East Coast in time for his 30th reunion and hopes to see everyone there. Andrew Johnson ’99 lives in Gettysburg, PA, with his wife, Leslie Magraw ’98. The couple recently purchased and renovated The Union Hotel, one of the last remaining historic hotels in the heart of downtown Gettysburg. The ground floor of the hotel also features Sign of the Buck, a restaurant with a New American menu inspired by French cuisine. Mercersburg alumni have stopped by, and Andrew and Leslie are excited to see additional alumni for a long weekend or a meal. Pictured: Andrew and Leslie share a moment with staff members of their restaurant.
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Ingrid Herr-Paul Ashley ’99 lives in Chambersburg, PA, and works for Franklin County. She and her husband, Tim, have been married for 21 years and have two children, HP, a senior, and Aidan, a sophomore, who are both in NJROTC at Chambersburg Area Senior High School. The family has a tuxedo cat named Socks and a bichon dog named Buddy. Both pets can be followed on Instagram. Pictured are HP and Aidan Ashley. Patrick Koch ’99 and Tom McCahill ’99 played a round of golf in California before Tom’s wedding weekend. Several members of the Class of ’99 met for coffee in Annandale, VA, in September 2023. From left: Jenn Barr Weiss, Aaron Chiu, Julie Kaufman Nussdorfer, and Andy Choi. Adrian Fang ’99 is living in Chambersburg, PA, with his wife, Melissa, and two daughters, Kaitlyn and Hanna. Adrian works in technology as a software entrepreneur who recently sold his e-commerce company and is preparing to launch his new startup, VenderUp. He is excited to celebrate his upcoming 25th reunion. Eileen Sheffler Prugh ’92 picked up her boys from Mercersburg soccer camp and then joined some old and new friends at the home of Laura Linderman Barker ’91. From left: Laura, Jack Pollinger ’26, Eileen, and Alex Pollinger ’89. Ian Baines ’93 states that travels have taken him far away from Mercersburg. He hopes to stay connected with the people and energy of the school, which provided a foundation of character and a goal-driven lifestyle. After earning a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s degree in secondary education, he taught and was dean of students in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. He then earned an education administrative license. He continues to look for new horizons of opportunity and growth that include his 11-year-old son and wife of 12 years. This family photo was taken March 2023 in Deschutes National Forest, in Bend, OR.


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Eric Kass is married, has two children, and lives in Baltimore, MD. He is president of Broadview Waste Solutions Inc. and manages a wide range of complex environmental issues.

Rebecca Lowe is living in El Dorado Hills, CA, but working on the East Coast with NBC Sports. Her son is 7 and loves soccer. She says she loves reading the alumni magazine for updates on everyone.

Patricia Rennert moved to the city of Potsdam, Germany, with her family. She has been enjoying the many lakes and parks, as well as the buzz of nearby Berlin. Two years ago she was appointed vice president of business project management for the next automotive software stack for Audi and Porsche, right at the heart of the transformation of the automotive industry.

Lars Teigelack splits his time between Münster and Berlin now, where he works at the German Department of the Treasury and tries to create a new federal anti-money laundering police force.

Heath Vink lives in Towson, MD, with his wife, Leslie, and three children, Hudson, 12, Hadley, 10, and Holden, 8. He recently took on a new role as regional director at Nutanix, a cloud software provider.

Bruce Walter Wahl, father of Catherine Wahl, died October 9, 2023.

Jennifer Barr Weiss relates that her family spent an exciting three years living in Jakarta, Indonesia, and traveling through Southeast Asia. They are excited to be back in Virginia now.

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Stephanie Harris attended medical school in Philly from 2009-2013, completed internal medicine residency in 2016, and is a boardcertified internal medicine physician. She lives in Hershey, PA, with her husband, Robert Yurick, and their children. She is excited for the 20-year reunion.

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Tamara Filipovic and her spouse, Brenan Hornseth, launched a bicycle cooperative in Seward, AK, over the summer. The goal of the Big Beach Bicycle Cooperative is to support human-powered transportation in the Seward area by providing bike maintenance workshops, organizing community events, advocating for better infrastructure, and putting used and reclaimed bicycles back into the community at affordable prices. ’09

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Annie Birney is living outside of Philadelphia but enjoys working remotely as a product marketer for a leading software company. Her job provides the opportunity to travel all over the world, so she hopes to meet up with other Mercersburg alumni in Philly, Europe, or beyond. She can’t wait to return to campus in June for Reunion Weekend to visit with classmates and other alumni.

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Romone Penny was recently featured in The Blackprint, an American University online and print publication that works to “raise minority issues and amplify marginalized voices.” A former basketball player, he founded Pursuit Sports Group, which focuses on financial education and planning for athletes. Romone is also acting and writing.

Anika Kempe lives in Charlottesville, VA, with her husband, Patt, and dog, Nala. She is in her second year at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where she is president of the Graduate Women in Business organization. She will graduate with an MBA in May 2024. Her husband opened Common Wealth Crush Co., a winery incubator and tasting room in Waynesboro, VA.

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Lucia Rowe lives in Denver, CO, with her husband, Bobby Wenner. She is a licensed clinical social worker and employed as a therapist for a school-based clinic in Denver. Her husband is a lawyer working with financial technology companies.

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Ben Barrows is living in Arlington, VA, and is looking forward to seeing everyone on campus at the 10th reunion in June.

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James Riford is serving as a captain in the U.S. Army. He is stationed at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, where he works as a medevac pilot and platoon leader. He credits Mercersburg Academy with setting him up for success not only in his career, but for the rest of his life.

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Wills Boggess is finishing up at Virginia Tech and is hoping to make it back to Reunion Weekend in June.

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Ben Hedstrom graduated from Georgetown University and is living in New York City, where he is working as an analyst for Acsel Health.

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Jenna Richards writes that she is looking forward to seeing everyone on campus at their first official reunion in June.


In June, Laurie Mufson, faculty emeritus and former director of the arts, produced the 26th annual play festival of the Washington Women in Theatre, held at American University’s Katzen Center for the Arts. Faculty emeritus Jim Applebaum led the 25th fall term session of the Essays Discussion group for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

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Anne Reeder Bertram ’00, who teaches somatics in Wilson College’s master of fine arts program, helped bring Katie Vickers ’06 in as a guest artist to discuss her artistic process and work. Alec Harris ’00 and Will Hamilton ’00 were able to connect recently in Washington, D.C. It was the first time they had seen each other since 2010. Jasen Wright ’99, foreground, lives in New Milford, NJ, with his wife, Mia, and two sons, Brayden, 11, and Kellen, 9. Jasen works in New York City in the brand licensing and franchise management field for WildBrain. He and Lauren Molen Adams ’99, fifth from left, planned an outing with their families, taking in a New York Yankees game. Daniel Mazo, Rebecca Feng, Anabelle Oldham, Jesse Zhang, Ryan Gu, and Jack Kothari of the Class of 2020 got together in New York City. Class of ’20 Mercersburg alums who attend the University of Pennsylvania include, from left, Jack Kothari, Aba Sankah, and new Alumni Council member Jesse Zhang. Daniel Mazo ’20, Tess Browne ’20, and friends catch up at Stoner’s Mansion House in Mercersburg with owner Julie Stoner. Shelby Hoffman ’06, right, and Dr. Mackenzie Gwynne ’05, left, joined Rachel Smooke ’05, center, to celebrate Rachel and Jeff Soo’s first baby, a boy. Rachel’s family is living in Denver, CO. See her baby’s photo on page 48. Mackenzie and her husband, Neil Tuten, are living in Charleston, SC, with their son, Hank Tuten. Jac Ullman ’02 and Bill Schindler ’02 celebrated Jac assuming command of the USS Cowpens in San Diego, CA. Natalie Blackburn ’05 moved from Carrboro, NC, to Lisbon, Portugal, this summer with her husband and two children. She would love to connect with Mercersburg folks who are in the city or who want to visit.

In Memoriam

c ’36

George Hargrave Crowell, October 16, 2022. George graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in chemical engineering. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. George was employed with Kimberly-Clark for more than 30 years until his retirement. Survivors include his wife, Karen; one daughter, three grandchildren, a great-grandson, and two stepchildren.

c ’39

Peter Edwards Jr., June 13, 2023. Pete graduated from Colgate University in 1942 and served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II, logging 49 combat missions over Europe. After his military service, Pete worked at Brookside Lumber Company, his family’s business. Prior to his retirement in 2020, he served as president and chairman of the board of Brookside. He founded Brookside Sales in 1957, when he purchased a Wynn Oil Distributorship, and later he became a distributor for BG Products. Survivors include his wife, Adeline; four children, 14 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and three stepchildren.

Murray Oldman, January 14, 2023. He was preceded in death by a brother, Oliver Oldman ’38. Survivors include his wife, Doris, and son, Marshall.

c ’41

Frederick Evans Wiley Jr., September 18, 2016. Fred graduated from Chester High School and attended Lehigh University. Through the ROTC, Fred entered the military, where he served in Berlin, Germany, during World War II. Fred operated his father’s trucking company, Wiley’s Express Inc., for 50 years. Survivors include his wife, Barbara Christy Wiley; three children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

William Manley Wyckoff, November 29, 2022. A graduate of West Virginia University, Bill served with the

Reconnaissance Troop of the 83rd Infantry Division during World War II and took part in the Allied Invasion of Europe. He was wounded in Germany and received the Purple Heart and other citations for his service. After the war, he worked for Allegheny Power until retirement. Survivors include his son, three grandchildren, and two greatgrandchildren.

c ’42

Harold Ellsworth Bushman, December 27, 2017. Hal graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He was part of the Army Corp of Engineers and worked for many years at Fort Ritchey, MD, followed by several years as a private consultant. Survivors include a daughter, two grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

John Gibson, April 28, 2018. John served in World War II in North Africa and Italy with the 760th Tank Battalion, U.S. 5th Army. After the war, John earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Westminster College, and in 1949, he began a 42-year career in surety bonding and construction insurance in Pittsburgh. Survivors include his wife, Shirley; four children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Arthur William Gittins, May 8, 2019. Survivors include his wife, Becky; four children, 11 grandchildren, and five greatgrandchildren.

c ’45

Oliver Mann, November 1, 2019.

c ’46

Henry Diener Sr., December 13, 2021. Henry graduated from West Reading High School in 1947 and Kutztown Teacher’s College in 1957. Henry served in the U.S. Air Force and was a teacher, serving for 24 years on the Wyomissing (PA) Borough Council and for six years on

the Wyomissing School Board. Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; three children, six grandchildren, and seven greatgrandchildren.

Howard Leeland Gaines, April 17, 2023. While at Mercersburg, Howard led the school’s dance orchestra, The Blue and White Melodians. Howard graduated in 1950 from Randolph-Macon College, where he was a member of the Honor Council. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 as a troop information and education specialist. After his service, Howard joined his father at Gaines Hardware in Alexandria, VA, and served as president of The Alexandria Rotary Club and The Hardware Association of the Virginias. He was a founding director of The Bank of Alexandria. Survivors include his wife, Edith; two children, and two grandchildren.

Richard Hoffman, July 17, 2023. Richard served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After working for the CIA, he taught at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, VA, and served as headmaster of Old Trail School in Akron, OH, and business manager at The Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ. Survivors include his wife, Wendy; three children, and three grandchildren.

c ’47

Waldo Latshaw Johnson, May 2, 2023. Waldo was a graduate of Princeton University and served in the U.S. Army for two years in Germany, where he used his German language skills to do intelligence work. Survivors include his wife, Lena; three children, five grandchildren, and five greatgrandchildren.

c ’48

William Edward Gladstone, October 3, 2015. Bill was a graduate of Washington and Lee University and Yale Law School. He served as a juvenile court judge from 1972 until his retirement in 1993 and was the


Judge Andrew Wilkinson ’89

Andrew Wilkinson ’89 passed away October 19, 2023.

Born March 12, 1971, in Agana, Guam, Wilkinson was the son of the late Jay Wilkinson ’59 and grandson of the late Carl Fisher (1927). He spent his early years overseas in Guam, Thailand, and Puerto Rico before coming to Mercersburg Academy.

While at the Academy, Wilkinson played soccer all four years, serving as captain his senior year. He was a four-year member of the squash and baseball teams, and he served as president of his Class Council during 10th grade and vice president during 11th grade. Wilkinson was a member of the Concert Band, Pep Band, Honor Committee, and Investment Club. He also served as a Boone Hall usher, library proctor, Blue Key, Prefect, and Irving Society officer.

founding judge both for the Guardian Ad Litem program and the CHARLEE program for sexually and physically abused girls. He was a partner in the law firm of August, Nimkoff, and Gladstone in Miami; a board member of The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; and spent a year in Washington with U.S. Sen. Bob Graham as special adviser on children’s issues. The Children’s Courthouse in Miami is named for him and Judge Seymour Gelber. Survivors include his wife, Marilynn; three sons, and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his cousin, Ira Kronenberg ’55.

Leslie Eaton Goldsborough Jr., April 26, 2023. Les attended night school at John Hopkins University and Loyola College. In 1950, he joined his family’s insurance business, assuming its leadership in 1974. Les served as a U.S. Marine during the Korean War. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; three children, seven grandchildren, and one greatgranddaughter.

James Land Jr., April 4, 2023. James graduated from Lehigh University in 1952 and served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force before joining the First Boston Corporation in 1956, leaving in 1976 to start his own consulting practice. He later

Following graduation, Wilkinson attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, graduating in 1994, and went on to Emory University School of Law, graduating in 1997. He became a Law Clerk in Washington County, MD, before going on to serve as a partner at Barton, Williams, & Wilkinson in 2012 and ultimately opening his own firm, Wilkinson Law, in 2017. He was awarded a judgeship in 2019 and sworn in as associate judge at the Circuit Court for Washington County, 4th Judicial Circuit of Maryland, in 2020.

Wilkinson spent much of his time giving back to his Hagerstown, MD, community, coaching sports for his children and serving on community organizations, including as a past member of the board of directors for the Hagerstown YMCA and Food Resources Inc.

served as a director on the boards of Johns Manville, Raytheon Company, Marathon Oil, Kaiser Industries, and Northwest Airlines. He served on the boards of New Eyes for the Needy and the Stifel Paralysis Association. He also served on the Lehigh University Finance Committee. Survivors include his son and granddaughter.

Donald Mingle, April 28, 2023. Donald graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. After graduation, he became manager, then succeeded his father as owner of the Roaring Spring (PA) Department Store, now Roaring Spring True Value Hardware. Survivors include his wife, Alma; three sons, two stepchildren, nine grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

c ’49

Eugene Alexandré, July 3, 2022. Gene was a manager and claims adjuster for Commercial Union Insurance Company with 38 years of service. Survivors include three daughters, six grandchildren, and 11 greatgrandchildren.

Richard Baker, January 6, 2022.

Thomas Confer, August 2, 2022. Thomas and his family were direct descendants of Pennsylvania Dutch pioneer Conrad Weiser. He was a graduate of Hamburg High School and later attended Mercersburg Academy until being called to military duty, serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Thomas was the co-owner and operator of Rau Brothers’ Appliances for many years. Survivors include his companion, Shirley M. Wilhelm.

Robert Eastman Jr., March 9, 2022. Robert served in the military during the Korean War.

Charles Huey, July 11, 2020.

c ’50

Robert Clark Reed, October 30, 2021. Bob was a graduate of Dickinson College and served in the U.S. Army. He attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1963. Robert was elected in 1974 as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, serving as a judge for the next 37 years, including 18 years as president judge. Survivors include three children and seven grandchildren.

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Survivors include his wife, Stephanie; daughter, Caroline Wilkinson ’23; son, Grant Wilkinson ’26; and a brother, John Wilkinson ’85, and his wife.


Lee Yoder, May 17, 2023. Lee attended The University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University, and received a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. Representing the University of Arkansas in 1952, he placed second in the Olympic tryouts in Los Angeles. He set a national intercollegiate record of 51.3 in the 400-meter hurdles, which earned him a place on the U.S. Olympic team. Lee had a teaching career in the Philadelphia area. Survivors include three daughters and four grandchildren.

c ’51

William Underwood III, October 30, 2017. After high school, Bill volunteered for service in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in the Korean War. He attended North Carolina State University, finishing with multiple degrees. Survivors include his wife, Peggy, and one daughter.

David Weinberg, September 14, 2023. David attended Washington and Lee University and earned a law degree from the University of Maryland. He joined his father’s law practice, establishing the law firm of Weinberg & Weinberg in Frederick, MD. Along with his law practice, David had many varied business endeavors and was involved in the thoroughbred breeding and racing business. Survivors include a son and a daughter, Shelley Weinberg ’76; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

c ’52

Richard Baker Clutz, October 15, 2022. Dick graduated from Princeton University in 1956 and from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1960. He served as a surgeon for the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1964. Dick was the brother of the late Christopher Clutz ’54. Survivors include his wife, Robin; three children, and six grandchildren.

John Kusik, July 31, 2023. John graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, and ran a manufacturing business and published medical journals, including Clinical Pediatrics He also started two successful radio shows

and was a writer and editor. Survivors include his wife, Carole; two children, one stepdaughter, eight grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Benicio Sánchez-Rivera, July 10, 2023. One of several members of a family related to Mercersburg Academy since 1913, Benny always maintained a close relationship with the Academy, promoting Mercersburg’s curriculum not only as a superb education, but also as a way of life. He was an emeritus member of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents. He became Puerto Rico’s youngest federal prosecutor before entering private practice as an attorney. He was predeceased by his father, Benicio Sanchez (1917); his cousin, Felipe Sanchez ’54; his nephew, Federico Felices ’72; and his uncle, Fructuoso Sanchez (1917). Survivors include his wife, María Luisa; two sons, including Carlos Sanchez La Costa ’82; a daughter; three grandchildren; cousin David Sanchez ’85, nephews Juan Bernal-Sanchez ’66, Manuel Freiria ’73, Rafael Gavilanes ’79, and Benicio Del Toro ’85; and a greatnephew, Steven Sanchez ’27

John King Wright, August 19, 2023. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956, King enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as an ensign from 1956 to 1958. King worked for Morgan Stanley and Shearson Loeb Rhodes, ultimately retiring from Lehman Brothers in 2002. Survivors include two children, two stepchildren, and nine grandchildren.

c ’53

Lewis Martin Biegelsen, February 11, 2023. Lew graduated from the University of Denver in 1956, served two years in the Army Reserves, and had a long career in home construction. He was predeceased by his brother, Joseph Biegelsen ’49. Survivors include four children, seven grandchildren, and his nephew, David Biegelsen ’70

Jaime Delgadillo, August 19, 2023. Jaime was a graduate of Gettysburg College and was a member of the U.S. Air Force.

He worked for IBM and Lockheed Martin. Survivors include his wife, Gloria; two sons, and six grandchildren.

c ’54

Charles Ellsworth Klinedinst, July 6, 2020.

Ted Petterson, November 8, 2022. Ted served as minister in the Sorrento Maine Summer Chapel for 40 years. Survivors include two daughters.

c ’55

Jerome Andrew, May 18, 2023. Jerome played basketball and was president of his class for two years at the Academy, then majored in civil engineering at the University of New Hampshire. His professional career was spent with consulting engineering firms in Honolulu; Boston; Portsmouth and Manchester, NH; and North Springfield, VT. He was also an owner and partner of a small survey firm in New Hampshire. Survivors include his wife, Penny; two daughters, two grandsons, and one great-grandson.

Hugh Granville Colston, July 3, 2023. After studying at Catawba College, Hugh worked for Capital Airlines, and for many years at his family’s business, Beitzel & Company. Survivors include his wife, Pat; five children, nine grandchildren, and five greatgrandchildren.

Elmer Gruver Jr., April 27, 2023. Elmer was a 1959 graduate of Dickinson College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He worked as an insurance agent for Prudential Insurance Company. He also owned and operated the West Creek Conifer Farm in Newburg, PA. Elmer served on the school board of the Shippensburg Area School District from 1973 until 1986 and received a Life Underwriter Charter in 1970 from the College of Life Underwriters, Bryn Mawr. Survivors include a son and a daughter, Heather Gruver ’87; and two grandchildren.


c ’56

Thomas Hunter, May 3, 2023. Tom studied chemical engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he was a champion wrestler and an award-winning Cornell 150’s football player. Tom earned an MBA from the University of Delaware and had a long career with Dupont. He had a second career as a financial adviser. Survivors include four children and 13 grandchildren.

Frank Keefe, May 4, 2023. After Mercersburg, Frank swam for Villanova University, graduating in 1960. He was a swimming coach, ultimately coaching Yale University’s men’s and women’s teams for more than 30 years—leading the Yale men’s team from 1978-2010 and the women’s team from 1980-2010. He won six Ivy League titles (one men’s, five women’s). The league women’s team champion is annually presented the Frank Keefe Trophy in his honor. Before Yale, Frank coached in the Philadelphia area at Monsignor Bonner, St. Joseph’s Prep, and Suburban Swim Club. Among his pupils were Olympic gold medalist Carl Robie (at Bonner) and silver medalist Tim McKee (at Suburban). While at Yale, Frank was on staff for Team USA at three Olympics, two Pan American Games, and the 1978 World Championships. He was instrumental in helping USA Swimming emerge in the late 1970s from the Amateur Athletic Union. Frank is in the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Villanova Hall of Fame, and the Pennsylvania Aquatics Hall of Fame. Survivors include four children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Ronald Smith, September 22, 2023. Ron earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Lafayette College in 1961. He started his career with Potomac Edison Company in Cumberland, MD, and served in the U.S. Army for two years. He served as division engineer for Potomac Edison in Hagerstown, MD, and division engineer for West Penn Power Company in Waynesboro, PA. He retired from Allegheny Power

Company in 2000. Survivors include his wife, Barbara; a son, two grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Robert Steiner, May 16, 2023. Bob graduated from Colgate University in 1960 and Temple University Dental School in 1964, and served with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He practiced dentistry in Waynesboro, PA, for more than 30 years and was later an adjunct professor at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD, where he taught dental radiology. Survivors include his wife, Donna, and one daughter.

c ’58

Howard King, November 23, 2015.

c ’59

Charles Wayland Hughes, October 10, 2021. Chuck excelled in swimming, golfing, and basketball. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for two years before enlisting in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, where he became an aviation electronic technician. Afterward, he worked for Sears in Chicago as a buyer for several departments, and he set up and oversaw portions of the Sears Financial Planning Center. After retirement, he started a vending machine business in Haines City, FL. Survivors include his wife, Donna; two children; five grandchildren; and his brother, Robert Hughes ’59

Joseph Mihm Jr., March 28, 2022. Joe was a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in hotel and business management. Survivors include a son and three grandchildren.

Richard Shindle, March 29, 2023. Richard “Doc” Shindle attended Princeton University and earned a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Survivors include four sons.

c ’60

Charles Minter, July 28, 2023. After graduating from Central Catholic High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Charlie attended Mercersburg Academy for a year of postgraduate studies before enrolling at Florida State University. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Charlie began his career in finance at Merrill Lynch in Miami and, in 1970, moved to its institutional sales division in New York City. While there, he earned an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business. He founded Comstock Partners Inc. in 1986. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; four children, and six grandchildren.

John Nuernberger, September 13, 2023. John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964 and had a 30-year career as a submariner in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard five different submarines. In 1980, he was given command of the USS Henry Clay. He retired from the Navy in 1994 and began a second career in the civilian nuclear power industry, working for Commonwealth Edison in the Chicago area. Survivors include his wife, Sue; three children, Elizabeth Nuernberger Myers ’84, Emily Nuernberger Flaherty ’87, and Douglas Nuernberger ’88; eight grandchildren, including Sean Flaherty ’26; and a brother, Jerry Nuernberger ’66

Lee Peterson, January 30, 2023. Lee worked for DuPont for 38 years. Survivors include his wife, Patricia; two children, four grandchildren, and two greatgranddaughters.

Charles Rice III, September 25, 2019. Charles was an attorney and judge for many years.

c ’63

Andrew Gwynn Bowie Jr., May 1, 2023. Gwynn was a 1968 graduate of the University of Maryland, attended George Washington University, and was a 1972 graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, where he was a member of the Maryland Law Review. He served in the Vietnam War with the 2290th U.S. Army

WINTER 2024 65


Hospital Reserves. Gwynn’s legal career included serving as assistant attorney general for the state of Maryland; attorney for the Maryland Aviation Administration at Baltimore-Washington International Airport during its original construction; partner at Smith, Somerville, and Case; and shareholder at Wharton, Levin, et al., where his practice was devoted to the defense of physicians and healthcare providers. Survivors include his wife, Sheila.

Alan Clay, January 14, 2023. Alan served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

c ’64

Bruce Lawson, May 31, 2023. Bruce graduated from State University of New York at Oswego in 1970 and later served in the Army National Guard. Bruce was a teacher for nearly 20 years, teaching in Ravena, NY; Concord, NH; and Faith Academy in the Philippines. After teaching, he was self-employed for several years as a contractor. Survivors include his wife, Cynthia; two children, and six grandchildren.

William Norcross, December 7, 2022.

c ’66

Jacquard Welsh Guenon, July 20, 2023. Jacquard earned a bachelor’s degree at Allegheny College and a master’s degree from Michigan State University. Jacquard held various positions in computer technology departments for different companies and served as director/CEO for the computer center at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and later as chief technology officer and vice president at Wired. Survivors include two daughters.

c ’67

Tom Motheral, May 26, 2023. Tom earned a degree in communications from Ohio University and enjoyed a successful career in sales, working at such places as Mine Safety Appliances and Premium Environmental Services. He was passionate about outdoor activities, Pittsburgh sports, and his deep

Christian faith. As a U.S. Masters swimmer, he ranked in the top 10 for butterfly swimmers in his age group. Swimming was a passion Tom held since his time at the Academy, and Mercersburg certainly left an indelible mark on him. As a student, he was part of Stony Batter Players, served as a dorm prefect, was part of the Marshall Society, was into weightlifting, played football and, of course, swam. As classmate Beau Vinton ’67 said, Tom was “the glue that held the class together.” He knew everyone in the class, kept in touch, and encouraged everyone to donate to Mercersburg and attend the class reunions. Tom also started a scholarship fund on behalf of his father, George B. Motheral II ’36. At Tom’s funeral, he had blue and white flowers to honor Mercersburg and requested that tributes be made to the Academy. In addition to his father, Tom was preceded in death by his uncles, William Porter ’31, and Philander Knox Motheral Jr. ‘39; and a cousin, William Porter III ’64. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Joan Soroka; two sons; and three grandchildren.

c ’69

Steven Warhurst, July 4, 2020. Steve was a graduate of Bloomsburg University where he earned a degree in construction. He then started Steven J. Warhurst Construction and later was employed by Atlantic Carbon Group Inc. Survivors include his wife, Lynne; one daughter, one grandson, three stepchildren, and five stepgrandchildren.

c ’70

James Duggan, January 11, 2023. Jim was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and OB/GYN residency program at Magee Hospital. Survivors include his wife, Mary; four children, and three grandchildren.

Lynda Hitzrot Chandler

Former Staff

Lynda Hitzrot Chandler, dean of girls and developmental reading teacher at Mercersburg Academy from July 1, 1969, to June 30, 1970, passed away August 8, 2023, at the age of 90. Chandler counseled the first female students at the Academy.

Chandler grew up on the Mercersburg campus, where her father, Dr. Lewis Hitzrot, served as the school physician. The Hitzrot House is named for the family. Chandler is also a benefactor of the Dorothea and Lewis Hitzrot Scholarship Fund.

At the time her family was at Mercersburg, the school was an all-male institution, so Chandler attended nearby George School, where she was an outstanding athlete and student. Following graduation, she matriculated to Goucher College in Baltimore, MD.

During college, Chandler had a chance meeting with a young Navy man, Stephen Chandler, and after a yearlong courtship, the two were married in the Irvine Memorial Chapel at Mercersburg in November 1954. After initially living in Chicago, IL, the family moved to Mercersburg, when Chandler’s husband took a teaching position at the Academy. The family relocated to Maine in 1970 when her husband was named assistant headmaster of Gould Academy.

Chandler is survived by her husband of 69 years, their three sons, five grandsons, and one great-grandson. In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by a brother, James Hitzrot ’46


Elizabeth ‘Jackie’ Powell Faculty Emerita

Faculty Emerita Elizabeth “Jackie” Powell passed away September 2, 2023. She was 95. Dedicated to educational excellence, Powell worked in schools as a teacher and administrator. She was employed at Mercersburg Academy from July 1, 1972, to June 30, 1991.

Teaching history was her first academic focus. She was a scholar of the U.S. Constitution, and she enjoyed working with young people, saying they kept her sense for the Constitution “fresh and always open to interpretation.”

When Mercersburg became coed in 1970, Powell’s leadership helped the Academy combine its academic excellence with equitable and caring foundations through the development of a counseling program. She retired from the school in the position of assistant head of school.

“Jackie Powell was a kind, devoted, whipsmart, fun, and loyal colleague and friend,” said retired Associate Head of School and Faculty Emerita Debbie Rutherford P ’03, ’06, ’06. “She was a pioneer at Mercersburg as one of very few women on the faculty in the ’70s. Jackie always put students first and spent countless hours working with students individually on learning skills and listening to them when they needed an ear for whatever reason.”

Rutherford noted that Powell laid the foundation for Mercersburg’s advising, counseling, faculty training, and learning services programs, which underpin the school’s dynamic residential systems.

Previous to Mercersburg, Powell was a faculty member at the Ethel Walker School and the Northfield School for Girls. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1949 and earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Powell also led a full and vibrant life outside of work. She enjoyed traveling abroad, time spent each summer by the beach in Maine, and holiday visits with her family in Massachusetts and Ohio. She brought a love of music to her daily life and took advantage of the many musical offerings of her adopted city of Pittsburgh. She especially loved performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the River City Brass band. She also was active in golf, tennis, political causes, and her church communities.

c ’73

James Winning, September 18, 2011.

c ’75

Jane Gregson, February 2023. While at Mercersburg, Jane portrayed Emily in Stony Batter’s production of Our Town, and Laura in The Glass Menagerie. She was an Irving declaimer and returned to Mercersburg in 1976 to direct Man in the Moon Marigold. Jane earned a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and worked in product development for the May Department Store and in landscape design in Florida.

Jane succeeded her mother as president of Summerland Realty in Costa Rica. Survivors include her parents.

Carl Henning Pearson ll, April 19, 2023. Carl was a graduate of the University of Richmond and Officers Candidate School in Newport, RI, and was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy, serving until 1989 when he was discharged as a lieutenant. He earned a master’s degree from Southeastern University in Washington, D.C., and worked in the field of technology for 32 years. Survivors include his wife, Corinna MorrisonLow; two sons, a granddaughter, and a sister, Ann Pearson Gould ’77

c ’78

Jane Steele Valdivia, November 9, 2021. Survivors include two children and one grandchild.

c ’13

Parousia Elyon, April 12, 2023. In addition to Mercersburg, Parousia studied at the American Boy Choir and Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, and graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy before attending Berklee College of Music. In 2004, he was invited to England by Sir Goodchild as a soloist in Pie Jesu. Survivors include his parents.

c Former Faculty/ Staff/Friends

Franklin Nichols, April 18, 2023. Franklin retired from Mercersburg Academy in 2008 with 15 years of service. He is survived by his wife, Linda; four children, 10 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Bill Roland, July 10, 2023. Bill worked as a cook at Mercersburg Academy for 47 years, from 1951-1998. Survivors include his nephew, Academy grounds technician Jeff Zeis; his great-niece, Academy operational services technician Amanda Zeis; his greatnephew, Academy operational services technician John Zeis; and his niece-in-law, former Academy staff member Sharyn Zeis. He was preceded in death by his brother-inlaw George Zeis, former Academy kitchen employee.

Alan Bell Scarritt, July 1, 2023. A former Mercersburg faculty member, Alan was an illustrious visual artist in New York. His work is found in museums and private collections.

c Correction

Jamie Saucer Holland ’81 was misidentified in her brother’s obituary in our Summer 2023 issue. Mercersburg Academy magazine regrets the error, which has been corrected in our online version.

WINTER 2024 67




Christmas Candlelight Services were spectacular.

#BoardingSchool #Mburg #MburgCelebrates #Christmas




Be sure to check out these Mercersburg Instagram accounts!



@MburgEngage @MburgGreenTeam

@MburgGlobal @MburgSummer @LenfestLibrary


#BoardingSchool #Mburg #Campus #Study


Three titans of Mercersburg education, faculty emeriti Tom Thorne, Kristy Higby, and Mark Flowers, gathered in Asheville, NC. Casper ter Kuile was the featured speaker at the Schaff Lecture on Ethics and Morals. Shanuka ’25 shared his favorite study spots on campus. Through dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts, students at Mercersburg Academy unlock creativity and self-expression. Mercersburg alumni and classmates got together for the art exhibit of Joseph Yonke ’19 in New York City. From left are Jin Won Ahn ’18, Aaron Zheng ’19, Sebastian Brazhnikov ’19, Josh Woodman, Joseph, JJ Chou ’19, and Gnim Bazim ’17.

Edwards Room Fireplace Mantel

Created by Pennsylvania Sculptor in 1900

Have you noticed the intricate wood carving on the Edwards Room fireplace mantel in Keil Hall? The piece has a stately and rich background. Joseph Huston, the architect of the Edwards Room interior, asked American sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder to create a boar-hunting scene for the mantel.

Calder, who was born in Philadelphia, made a mold cast for the scene, which was carved from one piece of wood by John Maene, said School Archivist Doug Smith P ’23, ’24.

Huston, who also designed the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, loved the scene so much he had one created for

the fireplace in his home, Oaks Cloister, an extravagant mansion on the Main Line of Philadelphia.

“The Boar Hunt,” an overmantel frieze, was created in 1900, and still can be seen in Keil Hall.

“It’s a magnificent work to have in plain sight in the Edwards Room,” Smith said.

4 MERCERSBURG ACADEMY MAGAZINE 100 Academy Drive Mercersburg, Pennsylvania 17236-1524 Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Suburban, MD Permit #4889 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED TO MERCERSBURG Come home JUNE 7-9, 2024

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