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Mercersburg A magazine for Mercersburg Academy family and friends

V O L U M E 4 0 N O . 1 s umme r 2 0 1 3

120! Celebrating 120 years of Mercersburg Academy

120 Anniversary th

120 years of Mercersburg Academy A timeline of selected events

1893 Mercersburg Academy organized under Headmaster Dr. William Mann Irvine

Boarding students pay $200

1897 Last female students graduate until coeducation is reestablished in 1969

Name officially changes from Mercersburg College to Mercersburg Academy

1903 Groundbreaking for ’Eightyeight dormitory, attended by Woodrow Wilson 1904 Dorms get running water

Department heads get permission to marry

1899 Drama Club adopts the name “Stony Batter”

1906 Laucks Hall built ($27,000); Chapel site purchased

1900 Keil Hall dedicated (cost: $45,000)

Walter Drumheller (1897) is school’s first Olympic athlete; runs 800m in Paris

1901 First issue of The Mercersburg News and The Lit 1902 Mercersburg is nation’s fourth-largest boys’ boarding school

Electric lights replace kerosene lamps on campus

Robert Leavitt (1903) wins Mercersburg’s first Olympic gold (110m hurdles) in Athens

1910 First alumni reunion 1912 Nolde Gymnasium dedicated (cost: $140,000)

Ted Meredith (1912) wins two Olympic golds in Stockholm (800m run, 4x400m relay)

1913 E.H. Blashfield completes The Victor 1914 Two Native American students enroll at Mercersburg 1917 Mercersburg is nation’s third largest boys’ boarding school 1918 World War I service: 1,770 alumni, 55 deaths

Boarding students pay $650 a year

1919 Bathrooms installed on every campus dormitory floor 1920 Allen Woodring ’18 wins Olympic gold at Antwerp (200m dash) 1922 Traylor Hall completed (cost: $160,000)


1923 Alumni Council formed; Daniel Heefner appointed alumni secretary 1924 Harry Glancy ’24 wins Olympic gold in swimming (800m relay) in Paris

Chapel groundbreaking

Enrollment is 558


Chapel groundbreaking

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A timeline of selected events 1944 Dr. Edwards dies 1945 World War II ends; more than 2,900 alumni served, 95 killed 1947 Octet formed; first director is Henry Ready

“Blue Devils” chosen by students as favorite team nickname

1950 Irvine Hall dedicated; “Shacks” torn down 1952 Charles Moore ’47 wins Olympic gold in 400m hurdles in Helsinki

1928 Dr. Irvine

1932 Bill Carr ’29 wins two golds at Los Angeles Olympics (400m dash and 4x400m relay) 1934 Dr. Archibald Rutledge elected Poet Laureate of South Carolina 1936 Irving-Marshall debate cancelled for medical reasons

Irvine Memorial built

1937 Cresson Kearny ’33 is school’s seventh Rhodes Scholar

Mercersburg joins the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL)

Rich Saeger ’82 and Betsy Mitchell ’83 win swimming gold at Los Angeles Olympics

Mercersburg radio station WMER goes on the air

1959 Fountain removed from Mercersburg town square

Mark Talbott ’78 becomes No. 1-ranked hardball squash player

Masinter Outdoor Education Center dedicated

1987 Computer center opens in Ford Hall

Mightily Onward campaign officially completed; $125 million raised

Total ban on student smoking

1960 Tippetts Hall completed (cost: $380,000)

Irving-Marshall debate officially replaced by declamation contest

1961 Tippetts retires as headmaster; William C. Fowle appointed

Jimmy Curran, track coach since 1910, retires

Stony Batter tours England

1990 Endowment is $19.5 million 1992 Mercersburg named a “Blue Ribbon” school

Melvin Stewart ’88 swims to two gold medals at Barcelona Olympics

1962 Boone Hall completed

1993 Lenfest Hall dedicated

Basements on campus prepared as fallout shelters

1968 Dr. Tippetts dies

100th anniversary celebration

1994 Mercersburg joins the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference

Regents’ Field completed

2010 Nolde Gymnasium renovated


1972 Fowle resigns as headmaster; Walter H. Burgin Jr. ’53 appointed

1974 South Cottage becomes girls’ dorm

Jack McLaughlin’s Drug Store closes

Vietnam War toll: nine alumni killed

1975 Students begin working on school farm

2009 Rededication of PrentissZimmerman Quad Composer Philip Glass visits campus for two-day residency

Karl Reisner and Brent Gift join faculty

1973 Field hockey team begins 15-game unbeaten streak; doesn’t lose again until 1975

2008 50th and final bell added to Swoope Carillon

Coeducation resumes (12 girls attend as day students)

Hubert Humphrey speaks at Democratic Party dinner on campus

2007 Endowment first reaches $200 million

1971 Fowle Hall dedicated

2006 Burgin Center for the Arts opens; Itzhak Perlman and New York City Ballet dancers perform at opening gala

1996 Blizzard of ’96 hammers campus with 34 inches of snow

1970 Carol Eppinger ’70 is first female student to graduate in the 20th century

2005 Denise Dupré ’76 elected first female Board of Regents president

1995 School first issues email accounts

Largest graduating class ever (161 students)

The Black Stallion, written by Walter Farley ’35, is first published

2004 Boone Hall demolished


1986 Culbertson House opens

1988 Football team scores 16 points in final 26 seconds to shock Kiski

1969 Walkout leads to the end of required Chapel attendance

Jimmy Stewart ’28

1983 Tim Rockwell leads school exposition to Canadian Arctic

Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra play at Commencement Prom

1943 Carl Sandburg visits Mercersburg, “a place on which time has laid its hands”

Benicio Del Toro ’85 wins Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Traffic

2003 Class of ’38 Observatory and Smoyer Tennis Center open

1965 Ford Hall completed

Leon Febres Cordero ’49 elected president of Ecuador

1964 First African American students admitted

1941 Dr. Charles S. Tippetts (1912) appointed headmaster

2000 H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 announces $35 million gift to Mercersburg

1940 Edwards announces retirement as headmaster Jimmy Stewart ’28 wins Best Actor Oscar for The Philadelphia Story


1981 Charlie Bell ’71 completes 10,000-mile run around the U.S.

was a lovely spring evening on campus when I finished dinner at Ford Hall and headed for my car. As I was about to get in, I felt a presence behind me. I turned around and saw a man standing there in an old-fashioned dark suit, black tie, and white shirt with a starchy vertical collar. The conversation went something like this:

1998 Exchange program established with Gauss Gymnasium (Worms, Germany)

2002 William C. Fowle dies

1939 Life magazine runs article on Coach “King” John Miller

1980 Romeo’s Pizzeria opens


“Blue Storm” adopted as athletic mascot

1984 Endowment is $9 million

Korean War toll: seven alumni killed

1930 Edwin J. Myers ’25 is first alumnus to marry in Chapel

1979 Three Mile Island incident (90 miles northeast) puts Academy on alert as possible evacuation site

By Wallace Whitworth

1927 Old Main Hall fire

Dr. Boyd Edwards elected headmaster

1978 Harry Hughes ’44 and Dick Thornburgh ’50 elected governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively

An “Interview” with William Mann Irvine

1997 Burgin retires as headmaster; Douglas Hale appointed head of school

1926 Chapel completed (cost: $833,000); Anton Brees plays first carillon recital

Burton Richter ’48

1953 James Buchanan Cabin moved to campus

1957 Retirement of Jimmy Walker, who was hired in 1900

1928 Dr. Irvine suffers stroke while leading Step Songs; dies a week later

1976 Burton Richter ’48 wins Nobel Prize in physics



Boys’ swim team wins Easterns

Fowle Hall becomes girls’ dorm; Tippetts Hall houses boys again

2012 Softball team wins state championship

2013 Simon Student Center and 1893 House completed

Betsy Mitchell ’83

WW: My word! You’re William Mann Irvine. WMI: That is correct. WW: If you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing here… and why didn’t they give you some new clothes on the other side? WMI: Oh, I come back to campus from time to time. I wore this so you’d be sure to recognize me from my portrait. WW: Good idea. If you’d dressed in Ralph Lauren I might have mistaken you for a parent or some nut case claiming to be the founder of the school. WMI: Who’s Ralph Lauren? WW: N obody of importance. So you return to campus occasionally? WMI: Yes. I want to be sure the school stays on the straight and narrow. WW: You mean “hard work, fair play, clean life”? WMI: Well, yes, but deeper than that. The more Mercersburg changes, the more it should stay the same. WW: So, tell me—how does the place look to you? WMI: Pretty spiffy. Lots of new stuff, but plenty of familiar landmarks that let me know I’m in the right place. I like the way you keep tweaking. I can’t help but notice what you’ve done with the Quad and Irvine Memorial. Just beautiful! WW: Yes, the Irvine Memorial probably looks as good now as when it was new. The Chapel was rededicated in your honor, and that building over there is Irvine Hall. Perhaps we should just call this place the Irvine Academy of Mercersburg? WMI: Don’t be impertinent. WW: Sorry. I was just curious what it feels like to be reprimanded by the founding headmaster. Anything else on campus that you’re curious about? WMI: Well, before I floated over to see you, I was in Keil Hall. Those Tiffany windows are still so gorgeous. That was quite the coup for me to get those college presidents to pony up the money for them. But what’s all the junk in the old dining hall? WW: It’s serving as our makeshift student center. See that construction over there? We’re renovating and expanding the real student center, which opens this fall. Did you happen to make it to Nolde Gymnasium to see how we tweaked that?

WMI: Oh my! Yes, I did. So many great memories. That building was such a leap of faith when I envisioned it and built it. But I knew we had to have it. First, because our program was growing so, but also because I knew it would put Mercersburg way out in front. I love how you’ve kept the old architecture while expanding around it. WW: Well, more changes are planned for Nolde. We hope to have a new Olympic-size pool soon. And since we have 25 varsity sports programs, the only way to guarantee that all teams can practice regardless of the weather is to build a field house. But, like you said, to build both it and the pool is a leap of faith. WMI: Yes, it is. But take it from me and my experience with Nolde: build them both. You won’t regret it. They will be Mercersburg’s gain for years, just like Nolde was in my day. WW: I’ll be sure to pass that along. WMI: I do have one question for you. I notice that all the students keep poking at these little boxes. What are those? WW: Oh, those are iPads. They are a combination electronic blackboard, typewriter, radio, textbook, movie theatre, notebook, camera, and more. Some of our faculty have even written their own textbooks especially for the iPad. WMI: Goodness—what we could have done with those in my day! Listen, I don’t want to keep you. You’ve been very kind to fill me in. WW: My pleasure, Dr. Irvine. But since this may be the only time I ever get to talk to you, would do me the favor of summing up your observations about Mercersburg today as compared to the Mercersburg of your era? Are we keeping to the essence of your original vision? WMI: Well, in a way, I wish the campus looked just as it did when I was here, but I never ever thought the place should remain static. That would be anathema to progress. So when I walk the campus unnoticed or sit invisibly in the Chapel or that handsome Simon Theatre, I can see proof that all the planning for and responding to change over the years was not only wise, but absolutely vital. Was Mercersburg better back in my day? Perhaps in some ways. But overall, is Mercersburg better today than it was then? Without a doubt. Every generation loses something, gains something, and reinvents something. What’s most important is that the school’s trajectory not only remains in step with the times, but stays true to its character and original mission. And on those critical points, Mercersburg is unwavering. I can only look around and say to all of you today, “Mightily onward!”

120 Anniversary th

1976 Burton Richter ’48 wins Nobel Prize in physics

Burton Richter ’48

1978 Harry Hughes ’44 and Dick Thornburgh ’50 elected governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively 1979 Three Mile Island incident (90 miles northeast) puts Academy on alert as possible evacuation site 1980 Romeo’s Pizzeria opens

1997 Burgin retires as headmaster; Douglas Hale appointed head of school


1981 Charlie Bell ’71 completes 10,000-mile run around the U.S.

1998 Exchange program established with Gauss Gymnasium (Worms, Germany) 2000 H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 announces $35 million gift to Mercersburg

Benicio Del Toro ’85 wins Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Traffic

Mercersburg joins the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL)

1983 Tim Rockwell leads school exposition to Canadian Arctic

Mark Talbott ’78 becomes world’s No. 1-ranked hardball squash player

“Blue Storm” adopted as athletic mascot

1984 Endowment is $9 million

2002 William C. Fowle dies

Leon Febres Cordero ’49 elected president of Ecuador

Rich Saeger ’82 and Betsy Mitchell ’83 win swimming gold at Los Angeles Olympics

2003 Class of ’38 Observatory and Smoyer Tennis Center open 2004 Boone Hall demolished


1986 Culbertson House opens

Masinter Outdoor Education Center dedicated

1987 Computer center opens in Ford Hall

Mightily Onward campaign officially completed; $125 million raised

Total ban on student smoking

1988 Football team scores 16 points in final 26 seconds to shock Kiski

Stony Batter tours England

1990 Endowment is $19.5 million 1992 Mercersburg named a “Blue Ribbon” school

Melvin Stewart ’88 swims to two gold medals at Barcelona Olympics

1993 Lenfest Hall dedicated

100th anniversary celebration

2005 Denise Dupré ’76 elected first female Board of Regents president 2006 Burgin Center for the Arts opens; Itzhak Perlman and New York City Ballet dancers perform at opening gala 2007 Endowment first reaches $200 million 2008 50th and final bell added to Swoope Carillon

1994 Mercersburg joins the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference

2009 Rededication of PrentissZimmerman Quad

1995 School first issues email accounts

Regents’ Field completed

1996 Blizzard of ’96 hammers campus with 34 inches of snow

Composer Philip Glass visits campus for two-day residency

2010 Nolde Gymnasium renovated




Boys’ swim team wins Easterns

Fowle Hall becomes girls’ dorm; Tippetts Hall houses boys again

2012 Softball team wins state championship

2013 Simon Student Center and 1893 House completed

Betsy Mitchell ’83


NO. 1

s umme r 2 0 1 3

A magazine for Mercersburg Academy family and friends


Mercersburg at 120

Mercersburg Timeline

Experience 12 decades of Mercersburg Academy through this compilation of selected events and images. Inside front cover

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1,035 Words

A truly artistic setting for a formal, black-tie affair. Page 10

Celebrating 120: In Our Own Words

To commemorate the school’s 120th anniversary, alumni from down the long train of the ages talk about their individual Mercersburg experiences—with a nod to the past and a look to the future. Page 12

An “Interview” with William Mann Irvine How would our founding headmaster view his school today? Page 89

Photo credits: p. 2 Chris Crisman; p. 3 (group) Pete Gunkelman, (headshots) Stacey Talbot Grasa; p. 4 (headshots) Grasa, (lacrosse) Mark Schindler; p. 5 (Jackson) Grasa, (Lowe) NBC Sports Group, (group) Jillian Kesner; p. 6–9 (all photos) Bill Green; p. 12–13 (1893) Mercersburg Academy Archives, (2013) Kevin Gilbert; p. 15 (top) David Rolls; p. 17 courtesy Jasen Wright; p. 19 courtesy Deborah Simon; p. 20 Ryan Smith; p. 22 courtesy Jae Nam; p. 24 courtesy Walter Burgin; p. 29 Green; p. 31 Smith; p. 33 courtesy Mark Herring; p. 34 courtesy Nicholas Taubman; p. 36 Green; p. 37 Kesner; p. 39 (Coyne) Charles Wainwright; p. 40 Green; p. 42, 45 Smith; p. 46 Martha Stewart; p. 49 courtesy Magdalena Kala; p. 50 courtesy Dick Thornburgh; p. 52 Grasa; p. 55 Rolls; p. 56, 58, 61 Green; p. 62, 64 Smith; p. 67 (Hammond) Green; p. 68 (dance) Ryan Smith, (music) Kesner; p. 69 (Classical Scenes) Green, (all others) Kesner; p. 70 (music) Kesner; p. 71 Green; p. 72 (basketball) Green, (swimming) Caroline Yoo ’13; p. 73 (wrestling) Smith; p. 74–78 (all photos) Green. Cover illustration: Aldrich Design

From the Head of School Via Mercersburg Commencement Arts Athletics Reunion Weekend Class Notes Mercersburg magazine is published three times annually by the Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications. Mercersburg Academy 300 East Seminary Street Mercersburg, Pennsylvania 17236 Magazine correspondence: Class Notes correspondence: Alumni correspondence/ change of address: 800-588-2550

2 3 6 68 71 74 79 Read us online: Editor: Lee Owen Class Notes Editor: Tyler Miller Contributors: Bob Cullen ’58, Jillian Kesner, Zally Price, Wallace Whitworth Art Direction: Aldrich Design Head of School: Douglas Hale Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications: Wallace Whitworth Assistant Head for Enrollment: Tommy Adams Assistant Head for Advancement: Brian Hargrove

© Copyright 2013 Mercersburg Academy. All rights reserved. No content from this publication may be reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written consent of Mercersburg Academy. Mercersburg Academy abides by both the spirit and the letter of the law in all its employment and admission policies. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.

From the Head of School

A Vision of Greatness


reat schools require a vision of greatness not only from their leaders but also from every member of the community, a vision which includes the imaginative consideration of all the possibilities of life in that community, the ability to see things not only as they are, but also as they might become. From curriculum to athletics to arts to discipline to the very buildings themselves and the land on which those buildings stand, everything about a great school must have as its purpose a vision for the nourishment of the mind and body and soul of young people. Creating and sustaining such a vision require hard work, sacrifice, leadership, and commitment. He was only 28 in 1893. Princeton had bestowed on him a Ph.D. in 1891. The following year he went to Franklin & Marshall College to teach and coach, but that work wasn’t an ideal fit. One day the call came from Mercersburg to be headmaster. This call was the defining moment he had dreamed of, and William Mann Irvine seized it without ever looking back. In reality his defining moment was also ours—the birth of Mercersburg Academy as we know it today. Seizing that moment was comparatively easy as compared to playing the hand that was dealt him. As Irvine himself noted years later: I found an institution which was very much rundown. It was swamped with debt and the sheriff was almost ready to foreclose. There was in use one building and four acres of ground. Five or six other educators refused to become the Head Master at Mercersburg. My youth and enthusiasm persuaded me to accept the difficult job of building up the school. Where others saw little but a history of closures and limitations, Dr. Irvine dared, instead, to see bright horizons. While others were flummoxed by the situation of the present, Irvine was already focused on the possibilities of the future. Clearly in those early days he knew the odds. He once reminisced, “I now often wonder why people gave us their boys at that time. We had little to offer but promises; it was all on paper.” Fortunately for those students and their parents, a promise was a promise for Dr. Irvine; his resolve was, undoubtedly, steadfast and authentic. I also imagine that his first visit to the campus—in spite of its dilapidated state at the time—was

as much a defining moment for him as an aspiring, young educational leader as it has been for virtually every student and faculty member who has staked a claim here through the years. He looked around and somehow knew that this was where he belonged. His youthful inspiration gave way to a mature vision, and once he committed that vision to paper and started to work, the promise and prospects of this great school were as good as settled. One hundred twenty years later, that vision—our history—continues to unfold every day in the lives of our students. I see it in their faces as they move around this magnificent campus and prepare themselves for a world hugely different from that of Irvine’s era, availing themselves of all the requisite skills and technologies and approaches required for early 21st-century life rather than the late 19th century. Mercersburg students today continue to shape and define their character according to the motto Irvine established: hard work, fair play, clean life. For all that is new and patently modern on campus today, the Mercersburg character that Dr. Irvine strove to establish and sustain is completely alive and active and relevant. Schools like ours typically have significant celebrations marking their 125th year; no doubt, Mercersburg will celebrate thusly in five more years. But a school doesn’t turn 120 years old every day either. So on this occasion, I ask you to take a moment to reaffirm that you are Mercersburg’s, and Mercersburg is yours. Travel wherever you may in life and soak up as many life experiences as possible, but know that your feet will also always be planted here. The campus and the faces change, the curriculum and styles of teaching shift to address the times, but the core values remain deep and enduring. And the principal thing required of us in 2013 is to be responsible stewards to strengthen and sustain the wonderful vision born many years ago. Happy 120th birthday, Mercersburg.

Douglas Hale Head of School

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D at es to Rem em b er


Sep 23

Schaff Lecture: Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Sep 27–29

Family Weekend

Oct 10–12

Board of Regents Meetings

Oct 18–20

Alumni Weekend

Schedule subject to change; for a full and updated schedule of events, visit

A roundup of what’s news, what’s new, and what Mercersburg people are talking about.




World Class

Robotics students earn high marks on the international stage Eight Mercersburg robotics students added to the school’s successful recent history at the international RoboCup Junior competition during a nine-day trip in June and July. At the 2013 event in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the team of Jason Cui ’13, Philip Yang ’14, and Merrall Echezarreta ’14 took third place in the open league soccer SuperTeam competition, and the team of Anna Qin ’14, Andrew Hawkins ’13, Rahul Sharan ’13, Royce Jenoure ’13, and Logan Trask ’13 tied for seventh place in the physical search and rescue SuperTeam competition. “I am so proud of our students,” said Academic Dean and robotics teacher Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, who accompanied the students on the trip along with fellow faculty member Pete Gunkelman. “They had a great

work ethic and demonstrated diligence, creativity, collaboration, teamwork, grace under pressure, sportsmanship, and a can-do attitude the entire week. They really were a dream team.” Cui, Yang, and Echezarreta joined with students from Japan, Iran, Brazil, and Mexico to earn their third-place finish. Mercersburg’s goalie robot teamed with two offensive bots from Iran and Japan, and Echezarreta served as team captain by election of the group. (The team actually tied for second place, but lost a tiebreaker on goal differential.) It marks the second time in school history that a Mercersburg team has finished as high in international competition: the team of Darius Glover ’10 and Brandon Adams ’11 took third in the secondary-school soccer

SuperTeam competition at RoboCup Ju ni o r 2 0 1 0 i n Singapore. In the physical search and rescue competition, teams were required to come up with a solution code and a practical robot design within 24 hours after the challenge was revealed at the event. The five-person Mercersburg team was paired with a group from the host Netherlands. Groups of Mercersburg students have participated in RoboCup Junior’s international event five times since 2007. Previous events featuring Mercersburg students were held in Atlanta, Singapore, Istanbul, and Mexico City.


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Gunkelman to Lead MOE Pete Gunkelman, who has served as assistant director of Mercersburg Outdoor Education (MOE) since 2006, has been promoted to director of the organization and will hold the Masinter Chair for the Outdoor Education Director. In his new role, he succeeds Derry Mason, who accepted the position of dean of students at St. George’s School in Middletown, Rhode Island. A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Gunkelman graduated from the Gunkelman University of Richmond, where he met his wife, former Mercersburg faculty and staff member Leah Rockwell ’97. In his work with MOE, he has led outdoor trips from West Virginia to Peru; served as director of Inbound, the school’s new-student orientation program; helped organize the annual Senior Trip and leadership day for members of the 11th-grade class; and worked with student candidates for prefect and peer-group leader positions on campus. Gunkelman is also an adviser and dormitory faculty member in Fowle Hall. “In a world linked by screens and social apps, I feel it’s increasingly important to help students connect to the natural world and show them what the outdoors has to offer,” Gunkelman says. “I’m eager to teach them to recharge in white water while they recharge a device with white cables.” Longtime faculty member Sue Malone, who teaches science and has been part of outdoor-education efforts at Mercersburg for many years, will add the title of MOE’s assistant director to her responsibilities. Beginning this fall, Gunkelman (who majored in studio art with a concentration in 3D at Richmond) will help teach 3D Design, a SpringBoard course available to members of the senior class. He and fellow faculty member and mathematics teacher Amy Kelley will teach the interdisciplinary course, which might best be described as a synthesis of math and art.

Going Global Groups of Mercersburg students visited eight different countries on official school trips this summer. The students traveled to Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, and Peru, as well as to the Netherlands for RoboCup Junior International 2013 [page 3]. Pictured are members of Mercersburg’s boys’ lacrosse team in Frankfurt, Germany. For more, visit summer_trips.

College-Bound Athletes Twenty-seven members of the Class of 2013 will continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level. Members of the group will compete in eight different sports and for schools competing at the NCAA’s Division I, II, and III levels. Ayo Adjibaba • Hamilton, football Matt Alexis • Dickinson, football

Ana Marie Bistrow • U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, swimming Brittany Burg • U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School, track & field Sam Ciocco • Navy, swimming Grant Cohen • Kenyon, soccer

Jamie Cooper • Holy Cross, baseball

Sarah Firestone • Nebraska, track & field

Reggie Fiumano • Buffalo State, football

Colin Gibbons-Fly • George Washington, baseball Kelly Hamilton • Army, swimming

Matt Hirshman • Trinity [Conn.], football Michael Hutwelker • VMI, lacrosse

Catherine Levins • Rice, swimming Ben LoPrimo • Rhodes, football

Renee Lundgren • Claremont McKenna, swimming Bruno Marangoni • Penn State, soccer

Carson Owlett • Connecticut College, swimming Patrick Ryan • St. Mary’s [Md.], basketball Emily Sanders • NYU, swimming

Keane Sanders • Colgate, football C.J. Sarao • Navy, wrestling

Kevin Shivers • Babson, swimming Tiger Smith • Cornell, baseball

Ilkin Telli • Trinity [Conn.], swimming Lorenzo Vazquez • Eckerd, baseball Dre Wills • Vermont, basketball



’Burg’s Eye View

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campus notes

Alex Jackson ’15

placed second in the st ate finals of t h e 2 0 1 3 Po e t r y Out Loud: National Recitation Contest this spring at the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg. He Jackson advanced to the state event after winning a regional final in Gettysburg that included eight school champions from York, Adams, Franklin, and Fulton counties. Jackson, of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, participated in the contest for the first time this year, and worked with faculty members Matthew Caretti and Laurie Mufson to prepare. The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages highschool students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. More than 500,000 students nationwide participated this year.

Historian and author Andrew Bacevich delivered the Class of ’48 Lecture April 27 in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre. The talk was the final event in Mercersburg’s 2012–2013 Monday Evening

Lecture Series. Bacevich is a professor of international relations and history at Boston University; he previously taught at Johns Hopkins University and at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1969. Time magazine calls him “one of the most provocative—as in thought-provoking— national-security writers out there today.” Bacevich’s latest best seller is Washington Rules, a critique of the country’s militaryindustrial complex. The lecture is made possible through the generosity of an anonymous member of Mercersburg’s Class of 1948 and is intended to bring to the school’s community speakers of national renown in various academic areas.

Rebecca Lowe ’99, a

sportscaster who has worked for ESPN UK, Setanta Sports, and the BBC, has moved back to the United St ates to serve as studio host Lowe for NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League, which began in August. Lowe is anchoring the network’s coverage from NBC’s new International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Connecticut, and

Doing Business in Germany

is living stateside for the first time since attending Mercersburg as an EnglishSpeaking Union Scholar in 1999. After almost nine years on British television, Lowe essentially made her American television debut in 2011 when she anchored ESPN’s coverage of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, and served as a host for ESPN’s coverage of Euro 2012. She began co-hosting ESPN UK’s Premier League coverage in 2009.

In the most recent round of judging by the American Scholastic Press Association, the 2012 edition of Mercersburg’s KARUX yearbook earned a first-place award. It marks the third year in a row that the KARUX received an award from the organization in the under-500 students category. Sarah Allen ’12 and Nina McIntosh ’12 served as co-editors of the 2012 KARUX. Miranda Lang ’13 and Phoebe Moore ’13 edited the 2013 KARUX, which was released in May; Charlotte Rhoad ’14 and Delaney Taylor ’14 have been chosen as co-editors for the 2014 edition. Tom Thorne serves as the yearbook’s faculty adviser, and HBP of Hagerstown, Maryland, prints the yearbook. The company, which also prints Mercersburg magazine, is owned by Mercersburg alumnus John Snyder ’76.

In Our

Next Issue Look for full coverage of the opening of the highly anticipated Janice Huang ’13 and Maria Zlatkova ’14, this year’s recipients of the Earle H. Grover German Studies and Travel Award, visited the central German city of Weimar with faculty member Peter Kempe to conduct research and interviews for projects they presented to the school community in May. The program honors Grover, an emeritus faculty member who taught German and music at Mercersburg from 1952 to 1992, and was established through a gift from J. Laurence “Larry” Ransom ’65. Pictured (L–R): Ransom, Zlatkova, Kempe, Huang.

Simon Student Center.


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Mercersburg’s 120th Commencement May 25, 2013

Mac Williams ’13

Jason Cui ’13

Vivi Hyacinthe ’13

Class President

Nevin Orator

Class Orator

Class of 2013 Legacy Graduates 1. Ethan Vink, son of Robin Grove Vink ’73.

5. Woodli Krutek, daughter of Heidi Kaul Krutek ’78.

2. Emily Sanders, daughter of Nancy Corwin Sanders ’81.

6. Elizabeth Casparian, daughter of Carol Furnary Casparian ’79.

3. Zack Holzwarth, son of David Holzwarth ’78 and grandson of the

7. Chandler Steiger, daughter of Thomas B. Steiger Jr. ’66, granddaughter

late William Holzwarth ’44.

of the late Thomas B. Steiger ’35, and great-granddaughter of the late

4. Kelly Hamilton, great-granddaughter of the late John W. Stoner ’27

Seth G. Steiger (1904) and of Mercersburg’s third headmaster, the late

and great-great-granddaughter of the late John A. Stoner (1900).




Charles S. Tippetts (1912).

3 5









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PRIZES FOR DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE CLASS OF 2013 Cum Laude Society Jenny Acuff Sam Ciocco Jason Cui Chris Fritz Melody Gomez Chris Hackett Kelly Hamilton Janice Huang Katherine Jia Dui Lee Sangmin Lee Jerry Li Seth Noorbakhsh Stefany Pham Idil Sagdic Emily Sanders Jordi Shapiro Sneha Sharma Lola Tijani Logan Trask Cary Wang Clare Wilkinson Mac Williams Joyce Yeo Caroline Yoo Jelena Zhang George Zhu Oliver Zoeller

President’s Education Award for Educational Excellence

Excerpts from speeches by salutatorian Lola Tijani ’13 [page 36] and

valedictorian Seth Noorbakhsh ’13 [page 60] can be found later in this issue.

Jenny Acuff Alex Boyd Grant Cohen Jason Cui Melody Gomez Jeremy Greenberger Chris Hackett Kelly Hamilton Janice Huang Vivi Hyacinthe Katherine Jia Eon Kim Dui Lee Sangmin Lee Catherine Levins Jerry Li Renee Lundgren Sarah Milback Connor Mulloy Seth Noorbakhsh Chad Palmiotto Stefany Pham Idil Sagdic

continued on next page


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President’s Education Award for Educational Excellence (con’t) Emily Sanders Jordi Shapiro Rahul Sharan Sneha Sharma Madeline Shearer Kenzie Shoemaker Lola Tijani Logan Trask Spencer Trask Grace Tuscano Cary Wang Clare Wilkinson Mac Williams Joyce Yeo Caroline Yoo George Zhu

English The Harry F. Smith Prize Logan Trask

The William C. Heilman (1896) Prize Lola Tijani

The Pratt L. Tobey Prize Margaret Burnett

The Gordon M. Macartney Prize Jelena Zhang

The Dr. Julius Shamansky Prize Jennifer Nelson

The Poetry Prize Spencer Trask

Fine Arts The Head of School’s Purchase Prize Fatima Rezaei and Jelena Zhang

The Austin V. McClain ’26 Prize in Fine Arts Caroline Yoo

The Blue Review Art Award Aidan Wallace

The Excellence in Dance and Choreography Prize

Athletics/Outdoor Education

The Stony Batter Prize

The Darrell Ecker Award

The Technical Theatre Prize

The Irwin Cohen ’23 Scholar/Athlete Prize

History The AP Comparative Government Prize

The Frank Hoffmeier (1896) Scholar/ Athlete Prize

The AP European History Prize

The Persis F. Ross Award

Jennifer Nelson

Josh Osborn and Lauren Reilly Susannah Keane

Seth Noorbakhsh

Logan Trask

The Colonel Wills Prize

Jason Cui (first prize) Joyce Yeo (second prize)

Classical & Modern Languages The John H. Montgomery Prize in Advanced Level French Zan Mir

The Advanced Level Latin Prize Spencer Trask

The H. Eugene Davis Prize in Spanish Seth Noorbakhsh

Mathematics The Multivariable Calculus Prize Rahul Sharan

The Statistics Prize Eli Woodworth

Religion The Kennedy Bible Study Prize

Jeremy Greenberger and Spencer Trask

The William Paul Buchanan (1916) Prize Suzanne Holcomb (first prize) Emily Sanders (third prize)


The Digital Arts Award

The Wilmarth I. Jacobs AP Physics Prize

The Music Director’s Prize

The Rollin P. Gilbert AP Chemistry Prize

The Paul M. Suerken Prize

The William O. Allen AP Biology Prize

The Senior Instrumental Music Prize

The Brent Gift AP Environmental Science Prize

Jeremy Greenberger Kenzie Shoemaker Connor Weiss

Liz Casparian

The Dance Director’s Award

Sarah Milback and Kenzie Shoemaker

Seth Noorbakhsh Rahul Sharan

Melody Gomez

Chandler Steiger

The Leonard Plantz Award Ayo Adjibaba

Sarah Firestone Lola Tijani

Seth Noorbakhsh Clare Wilkinson

Special Awards U.S. Military Academy at West Point Certificate Ana Marie Bistrow Kelly Hamilton

U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis Certificate Brittany Burg Sam Ciocco Alex Kraus Mark Meloro Connor Mulloy Chad Palmiotto C.J. Sarao

The Community Service Award Chris Fritz

The Yale University Aurelian Prize Vivi Hyacinthe

The Francis Shunk Downs (1902) Prize Hanna Warfield

The William C. Fowle Award Miranda Lang

The Carol Amorocho ’81 Prize Ashley Frederick

The Daughters of American Revolution Good Citizen Award Ashley Frederick

The Mary Jane Berger Prize Chris Fritz

The Tim O. Rockwell Award Misa Ikenaga

The Head of School’s Prize Ashley Frederick

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Above from left: Board of Regents President/invited speaker David Frantz ’60 and Head of School Douglas Hale congratulate Ilkin Telli ’13 and Mary Gray Stolz ’13

JUST THE FACTS 138 graduates representing 20 states, the District of Columbia, and 22 nations Members of the class are matriculating at 97 different colleges and universities Most popular college choices: U.S. Naval Academy (six matriculations), Dickinson College (five), Bucknell University (four) Commencement speaker: David O. Frantz ’60, president of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents Baccalaureate speaker: Tom Thorne, Mercersburg faculty member since 1993



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M ercersb u r g ma g az i ne s u mmer 2 0 1 2

1,035 Words Prom at Mercersburg was held

inside the Burgin Center for the Arts on campus for the first time this spring. Attendees enjoyed dinner on the Burgin Center’s Stroh Porch before heading inside for the dance. Photo by Jillian Kesner.



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120 t h Anniversary

Celebrating 120: In Our Own Words It started with 40 students, four professors, four acres, and three buildings. And a dream. While there had been different versions of educational institutions operating on what is now the Mercersburg Academy campus since 1836, Dr. William Mann Irvine’s arrival in 1893 changed everything. He led Mercersburg—the school he built, the town, the idea—into a new era. Modeling his Academy’s curriculum after the finest American preparatory schools, Dr. Irvine both planted the seeds and cajoled them into growing strong enough to support what became a thriving educational enterprise—one that, six score years later, would be home to approximately 430 young men and women from all corners of the globe who are preparing for college and life beyond. On the following pages, you will find first-person interviews with just some of those to have made an impact while attending Mercersburg as students and after their graduations. They have served their country, built and presided over corporations, held positions at the highest levels of government, created and produced award-winning entertainment, won Olympic gold, and collectively imparted their wisdom to countless generations. Many have helped lead their alma mater as members of its Board of Regents or in a myriad of other forms. One even presided over this great institution—his institution, as yours—for a quarter of a century. Included among the group are two of the alumni body’s newest members: the valedictorian and salutatorian of Mercersburg’s 120th graduating class. Read on—with full hearts and loud swelling cheers.

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At right: Mercersburg Academy’s first all-school photograph in 1893 Below: The school of 2012–2013



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120 t h Anniversary

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 I only spent two years at Mercersburg, but it changed my life. Of all the educational experiences I had—Washington and Lee, Columbia Law School—Mercersburg did more than any other school in improving my life. Without Mercersburg, I wouldn’t have gone to college. Without college, I wouldn’t have gone to law school. And my career would have been entirely different. So I owe so much to the school for what it did to me for my life. My mother died when I was 13 and I became bitter and disoriented. I lived on a farm and was not a particularly good student. Because of this, my father decided to send me to a prep school and selected Mercersburg. It was a dramatic change for me. And while the school has certainly changed—it wasn’t coed when I was a student—so much of it is the same today as it was then. You learn to live in an environment where you have to learn. Even when I didn’t have much wealth, I think I gave every year to Mercersburg. I joined the Alumni Council and then was invited to serve on the Board of Regents. I was honored to become president of the Board in 1994. One of the first things I did as president was to create a committee structure, because if you have good committee chairs and good committee members, you can achieve so much more than if you bring everything before the entire Board. We were fortunate to have excellent committee chairs and got a lot accomplished. I can’t take any credit for this, except for having changed the structure so that we could be much more focused on and accomplish the things that needed to be done for the Academy. In today’s world, for the most part, young people don’t want to go to an all-boys or all-girls school. Obviously Mercersburg is much different as a coed school than it was when I was a student. But the quality of teaching and studying, learning, and conviviality with your fellow students is just as important today as it was then—as is the balance of academics and athletics and all the other attributes of Mercersburg. My greatest wish for the Mercersburg of the future is for the school to maintain its traditions. Mercersburg is not a New England prep school—it’s a lot like my friend and successor as Board president, Edgar Masinter ’48. Edgar came from a small town in West Virginia to Mercersburg; from there he went to Princeton and then Harvard Law School, and became managing partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, one of the top law firms in New York City. Mercersburg takes people like Edgar and turns them into very successful and important people. Simply put, I want the school to continue to be Mercersburg. Lenfest announcing his $35 million gift to Mercersburg in 2000 with (from left) Sen. Arlen Specter, Head of School Douglas Hale, and Sen. Rick Santorum

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Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest

About H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest A graduate of Washington and Lee University and Columbia Law School

“My greatest wish for the Mercersburg of the future is for the school to maintain its traditions.”

After serving in the U.S. Navy and practicing law at the New York firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, he joined Triangle Publications in 1965; he held positions of associate counsel and head of Triangle’s communications division and was editorial director and publisher of Seventeen magazine and president of Triangle’s cable-television subsidiaries Purchased two cable-television systems with a total of 7,600 subscribers to form Lenfest Communications in 1974; when the company was sold to Comcast in 2000, its cable systems had 1.2 million subscribers Served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1989 to 1998, and as its president from 1994 to 1998 Has served as chairman of the boards and councils of numerous other nonprofit organizations, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the American Revolution, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress; also serves as a trustee of Columbia and is a past trustee of Washington and Lee Has given more than $70 million to Mercersburg Lenfest Hall, which houses the Academy’s library, history department, and archives, is named in his honor



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120 t h Anniversary

Jasen Wright ’99 a place that was the complete opposite. Although my mom loved Mercersburg, she really didn’t want me to go away. I have three brothers, and all of us had the chance to go away to school but I was the only one that decided to do it. My first year was such an eye-opening experience. There were people from all over the world at Mercersburg. It was the first time I shared a room with someone other than my brothers. My roommate was Luke Swetland ’99; his brother, Eli ’94, had also gone to Mercersburg and they were a very nice family. I lived across the way from Benjamin Smith ’99, whose dad, Greg ’65, taught here and was on the Board of Regents and is still active at Mercersburg. Ben and Heath and I couldn’t be more different, but we really clicked and had great experiences there—and we’re great friends to this day. I found that there were so many things to learn, so many people to meet, and so many things to get into. I jumped in and became class president; I played football, basketball, and lacrosse; I was in the Jazz Band. I decided that if I was going to be here, this far away from home, I’d better make sure that it was worth it. And I was able to do that. So that first year changed my outlook on life, in terms of how I approach people and how I approach opportunities. I think that started for me at FEP, but really flourished at Mercersburg. Jimmy Curran arrives at It can be intimidating to come to a place as a Mercersburg as a track & 13- or 14-year-old kid where not everybody looks field coach, and stays for like you. And that’s one of the reasons I tried to get an almost unimaginable involved in as many things as I could. When you do 51 years. In that span, he that, you almost force people to embrace who you are. coaches 13 Olympians I remember thinking, “Am I going to run into any sort (including eight medalof racism or prejudice that I haven’t been exposed to ists, six of whom won gold). before?” There are unfortunate instances of ignorance Curran himself was spotin every town or environment. But I’ll tell you this— lighted in a 1930 Ripley’s in the four years I spent at Mercersburg, I made my Believe it or Not! feature very best friends there. after kicking a football 50 Mercersburg is a small community, and the faculty yards with his bare toes and is such an important part of the nourishment you get later played 290 holes of golf there. You have dorm parents, an adviser, a college in a 15-hour day on campus. counselor—there are always different people you can

I went to school six days a week in the two years right before I came to Mercersburg. I was involved in the Fieldston Enrichment Program (FEP), where talented but disadvantaged youth from New York City can take additional courses to supplement their regular public-school education. One of the requirements of the program was that you had to apply to private or parochial schools, in order to expose you to opportunities outside the New York public-school system. And when he was director of admission at Mercersburg, Chip Vink ’73 would come up to speak to us and do interviews for a couple days each year in the hope that one or two kids would want to come to Mercersburg. I really enjoyed my interview with him and became interested in Mercersburg, and my mom and I went down to visit. So that’s how I discovered this gorgeous place that is now so dear to me. And Chip’s son Heath ’99 became my best friend; I was in his wedding, he was in my wedding, and our kids were born a few months apart. I couldn’t wait to start at Mercersburg. I’m a gung-ho kind of person—I was born and raised in the Bronx—and I knew I was going to




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About Jasen Wright Graduated from Hamilton College, where he played football and lacrosse; as part of his undergraduate experience, worked and studied for a summer at Oxford University, where he served as a resident adviser for high-school students Serves as director of consumer products and brand licensing at Warner Music Group in New York City Before coming to Warner, spent six years with The Beanstalk Group (a global brand-licensing agency), starting as a licensing sales coordinator and advancing to director of global brand management until his departure; also worked in fundraising at Hamilton College and Columbia University Was president of his Mercersburg class for four years; also served as a dorm prefect in Keil Hall and was a three-sport athlete and two-year captain of the varsity football team

go to and who make sure you’re never feeling alone. I think it was Mr. Phil Post who always said to watch and listen, and that you have to try really hard to fail at Mercersburg. And he was so right. I remember Mr. Chris Corcoran ’82, who was my adviser for a couple of years and also my history teacher, telling us that whatever we learned at Mercersburg, we had to apply it to what we did outside the classroom. Mercersburg prepared us for the next steps in life. We weren’t just reading and writing papers for the hell of it, right? The goal for us was to do well outside of Mercersburg. So when we came to class, we had to be prepared to discuss and understand the application of what we were learning—not just the theory of it. Mr. Post and Mr. Vink were two more people that had such great influence on me. Another was Mr. Brent Gift; I took a couple

of his ecology classes and was a headwaiter with him when he was the assistant dean of students to Mr. Tim Rockwell. Mr. Gift has such passion for his students—he looked out for us and while he was our teacher and a mentor, he also made sure that we knew he was our friend. He made people feel so comfortable. We’d go over to his house all the time and he and his wife, Barb, would entertain us. If there’s a faculty member that truly embodies what Mercersburg offers to students, it’s Brent Gift. I told my mother before I left for Mercersburg that whatever I did there, I was going to make an impact. I ended up serving as president of my class for all four years, so I had the amazing pleasure of speaking at Commencement. But in my speech, I talked about how it really wasn’t about me making an impact, but about Mercersburg’s impact on me. I grew up there and had my

formative years there and it shaped me in a way that I don’t know any other place could have. It had this amazing impact in terms of shaping who I am and who I’m going to be for years to come. I look at my friends from Mercersburg— we all have taken different paths in our lives but ensured that we take the lessons of Mercersburg with us. What Mercersburg has done for us is to make sure we present ourselves well, that we communicate well, that we have a diverse cultural outlook on life, and have compassion and respect for others. Part of the reason, I think, that I’ve been able to succeed in life is that I can really speak with anyone about anything—politics, social justice, sports, marketing, advertising—and have an influential conversation. And I think Mercersburg opened that door for me.


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120 t h Anniversary

Deborah Simon ’74 What I remember most about my first visit to Mercersburg, when I was on campus as a prospective student before my 11th-grade year, was how nice the people were and how pretty the quad was. Don Hill gave me a tour, and we had a really nice time. It came down to two schools—my father asked me which one I wanted to choose, and I chose Mercersburg. While I was terribly homesick the first few weeks, I was very lucky in that I had a number of teachers who were concerned about me, including Mrs. Rosamund Bell, the dean of women. She checked in with me often to make sure I was OK. And I got involved in some activities. Eventually, once you get involved in the rhythm of the school, it becomes less and less difficult to be there. I fell in love with the school, with the teachers, and the atmosphere. When you’ve never been away from home, it can be difficult. You don’t have Mommy and Daddy around to clean up your messes for you. But it turned out to be a great first year and I couldn’t wait to come back in the fall. My first year, I had a terrible case of bronchitis, and I remember all the teachers that came to visit me in the Health Center. They took really good care of me. It was the next best thing to my mother’s chicken-noodle soup. Living at Mercersburg was a wonderful communal experience. There were ups and downs, but ultimately they were all good. I learned a lot from them. And it turned out to be a really wonderful

experience for me—one that has made me a different person, I think, than I would have been if I’d stayed in public school in Indianapolis. When you’re in a public school with 1,000 or 1,500 people, it can be hard to find your voice. I came to a place that had about 330 students, and teachers that were with us all the time. You have adult supervision, but you also have the chance to explore your talents, because you can get noticed. The work was hard; it was much more difficult to get away with not doing your homework. But I proved to myself I could be a good student and that I could do well there. So that opened up a lot of avenues. I was able to get A’s in English and in history, which are both passions of mine. And I was able to do Advanced Placement work the following year in history. It really opened up a new world and it defined my passions—what I like to do, what I like to be. Jay Quinn, who passed away last year, was just the most amazing person and a true friend. He was like a father to me. He taught and directed Stony Batter, which I spent a lot of time in. And he taught me how to drink black coffee. We used to sit before dinner in the afternoon, and he’d come in and have a cup of coffee. So a bunch of us students started joining him in having a cup of coffee. The coffee they had back then was putrid—but it was OK, because it was a very adult thing to do. We’d sit and converse and talk, and it was so nice to do that with an adult. I just loved the experiences I had in the theatre, whether it was

About Deborah Simon A graduate of the University of Southern California Chairs the board of directors for the Indianapolisbased Simon Youth Foundation, which provides opportunities and scholarships for at-risk youth and assists them in developing life skills and pursuing post-secondary education and career paths Former senior vice president of Simon Property Group, the largest real-estate company in the world Initially served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1992 to 1994; re-joined the Board in 2000 and became a vice president in January 2013; chairs the Board’s Advancement Committee

Serves on several additional philanthropic boards, including Planned Parenthood of Indiana, the Indianapolis Zoo, The Children’s Museum, the Indiana AIDS Fund, and the Arts Council of Indianapolis Became the first woman and the first graduate from the 1970s to give $1 million to Mercersburg—which came at the opening of the Burgin Center for the Arts Both the Burgin Center’s Simon Theatre and the brandnew Simon Student Center are named for her family; her gift for the student center is in memory of her parents, Melvin and Bess, and in honor of all parents that send their children to Mercersburg

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in The Glass Menagerie or as a declaimer. One year I was cast at the beginning of the year as the mother in Our Town. Being in productions as a member of a cast united me with groups of all ages, from all class years. Those friendships lasted through the whole year and were wonderful friendships. And it hit me, as I was playing the mother in Our Town, that there hadn’t been a whole lot of female boarding students before me, and in fact, there weren’t any just a couple of years before I came. Some of the other faculty members I really enjoyed working with were Tim Rockwell and Karl Reisner—who’s still there. He brought out a lot of my creative juices. And Paul Suerken, who has also passed, in music. I loved Paul Suerken. Those were just some of the people, along with Walter Burgin ’53, who were so instrumental in me loving the school. Walter Burgin initially asked me to join the Board of Regents. I served for a couple of years in the early 1990s, but it was difficult for me to get to meetings because I was really in the formative time of my career at that point. And then later, Doug Hale and [then director of external affairs] Mary Carrasco asked me to come back on the Board, and I was grateful for that. I love Mercersburg and I truly enjoy the involvement I have with the school, and I hope that I’m able to give back to the school as much as I receive from it. When I was a student, I would have loved to have the access to the arts that the students do now. We had the arts, but we didn’t have arts classes. The whole Burgin Center facility the students have today is so conducive to learning and creativity. The grounds are phenomenal. It’s an amazing transformation

for a place that has always been a dynamic school, and you look back and you sit in the Board meetings and see how far we’ve come—in financial aid and endowment, but also in terms of access to all these specialties like robotics. I would love to be a student in the school of today. It’s so exciting to me what the kids at Mercersburg have today. We’ve come a long way as a school, but we’ve never lost the sense that we’re truly a family. I remember last fall I was back for the Board meetings and I went to the school pep rally for the sports teams playing that weekend. How I wanted to be one of the students singing and cheering. That sense of community is still here, as


is the sense of working hard, playing hard, and having fun. I want the Mercersburg of the future to be state of the art for the students as far as access to financial aid, teacher endowments, and things of that nature. I want it to continue to be the best boarding school it can be without losing its ethos of community, integrity, and learning. I’m very fortunate to have gone to Mercersburg, and I think Mercersburg has evolved so wonderfully to fit the coming generations. We’re all very lucky to be a part of this school and its future. And I can’t wait for the next 10 years.


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120 t h Anniversary

Allen Zern ’61 When I think of the Mercersburg I attended the first things that come to mind are the Chapel as well as some of the faculty who were the giants of the school at the time— people like Bill Howard, Rick Schellenberger ’42, Ernie Staley, and Eric Harris. They were truly larger than life to me as a 14- or 15-year-old kid. I grew up in suburban Pittsburgh and had a friend who had gone off to a boarding school somewhere in western Pennsylvania. I remember talking with him and thinking that all the things he was doing there sounded interesting to me, especially compared with what was happening at our local high school. So I said to my parents that I might be interested in looking at boarding schools. They jumped on that pretty quickly; they had a friend who had gone to Mercersburg, so we drove down and looked at the campus and had an interview. I was admitted, and we never looked anywhere else. Life was simpler then. After I got settled in my dorm room on the day I arrived as a student, I remember wandering around the campus trying to figure out what was what. When I go back to Mercersburg now, it seems pretty intimate and small. But at the time, it seemed huge. Mercersburg really opened up a lot of things to me. Some were academic and some came simply from exposure to people from backgrounds very different from mine or to faculty who had a much broader view of the world than teachers I had encountered previously. I discovered that if I worked hard— which I tended to do, even in what was at first a new and moderately intimidating environment—that I could do reasonably well. And I found a lot of satisfaction in that. One of the things I learned at Mercersburg was how to study, which, frankly, I didn’t know how to do before. That served me extremely well in college. There were people who floundered during their first year in college, but I felt that I was ready for college when I got there. And it wasn’t because I had learned, for example, how to factor an equation or how to structure a sentence. I’d learned how to study, and that served me well across a range of courses.

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“Mercersburg was a fine school when I went there, but it’s a much better school now.” I think back to sitting at our assigned tables in the dining hall, which back then was in Keil Hall. You got to know—as you do today—a variety of people from a variety of classes. You’d have athletes, you’d have students, you might have a person or two who really didn’t want to be there; it was a mixed bag. And there were also the kind of people who were the role models on campus—who, just through their behavior or their character, stood out because of what they were doing for the school. It could have been through athletics or as editors of the newspaper or in student government. As a 10th grader, it was pretty awesome to see these people who weren’t much older than I was, and yet they were in positions of leadership and responsibility. It was inspiring. Mercersburg was a fine school when I went there, but it’s a much better school now. The campus is better. The faculty is better. And that’s not at all to take anything away from my era. To me, the true quality of a school is determined by its faculty. We had some great teachers, but to a person, today’s faculty is outstanding. The depth is much greater now than it was in my era. I think I may be more aware of the community aspect of Mercersburg as a member of the Board of Regents than I ever was as a student. There’s a value system in place that is imparted to the students, and the faculty and administration are all part of making that message strong, powerful, consistent, and enduring. The campus itself is obviously much

better—Laucks and ’Eighty-eight were on their last legs as dormitories when I was there, so having a range of newer buildings on campus in their place has been good. Today we have lots of modern dorm space, the Burgin Center for the Arts is fulfilling a wonderful role on the campus as a place where people gather and go through experiences together, and the new Simon Student Center is going to be a great social environment for the kids. The Nolde Gymnasium of today is far removed from the gym we used. Even Irvine Hall has been substantially revised, and the library in Lenfest Hall is way beyond what we had. While we have 430 students and about 100 faculty, Mercersburg is still a pretty small place where good leadership makes a huge difference. So I hope for continued good leadership in Mercersburg’s future. I think Doug Hale is doing a terrific job— in no small part because he has chosen people well to lead under him. But continuing strong leadership is what I hope this Board and future Boards make sure that Mercersburg has. If they do that, the rest will fall into place. Mercersburg is an outstanding school, and I hope it endures for a long, long time. It’s never been in better shape than it is right now. On the other hand, this is no time to be complacent. We should be proud of where Mercersburg is today, but we also should take advantage of its momentum and be prepared to work to make it even better in the future. It should be fun to watch.

About Allen Zern Graduated from Dartmouth College and the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth Joined Morgan Stanley & Company in 1966, when it had approximately 150 employees in a single New York office; when he retired in 1994 after having worked as a managing director, treasurer, and chief financial officer, the firm counted more than 9,000 individuals providing investment-banking capabilities worldwide Became a member of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents in 1995; has served as a vice president since 2002 and chaired the Investment Committee from 1995 to 2011 Served as co-chair of Mercersburg’s Mightily O nwa rd Ca m p a i g n N ew Yo r k Re g i o n Committee and on the steering committee of the Centennial Campaign for the region With his wife, Judith, established Mercersburg’s Zern Award for Teaching Excellence in Mathematics and the Sciences, which is awarded on an annual basis, and the Zern Fund for Achieving Excellence in Mathematics and the Sciences, which supports the teaching of those subjects in a variety of ways Younger brother, Mark ’67, is a fellow Mercersburg alumnus


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120 t h Anniversary

Jae Nam ’10 I grew up in Korea and had the choice between staying in high school there and coming to Mercersburg. There were people I knew in Korea who were familiar with Mercersburg, and I actually corresponded with a Korean student who was already attending Mercersburg who told me all about the school and how great its facilities were and what the environment there was like, so that helped me make up my mind to come. I have a lot of good memories from the very beginning of my time at Mercersburg; I arrived as a 10th-grade student. Even though I had heard good things before I arrived, I was immediately surprised by how nice and how friendly the students and teachers were. I have good

memories, especially, of being part of the cross country team, which was the first sport I participated in. It was my first time running cross country, and I made some of my best friends participating in cross country and track. I think back to going on long training runs miles away from campus with several of my teammates, and how important that became for me. I had never done anything like that before I got to Mercersburg, since I’m from a big city. It was the most amazing experience just running across the Pennsylvania countryside. And if I hadn’t gone to Mercersburg there’s no way I would have had an experience like that. I played clarinet in the band all three years, and

About Jae Nam A native of Seoul, Korea Salutatorian of the Mercersburg Class of 2010 At Mercersburg, served a prefect in Main Hall and as an officer for the senior class and for Student Council; was a member of the Cum Laude Society, president of the Math Club, and a member of the Band and Jazz Band; and earned varsity letters in cross country and track & field Majoring in computer science at Stanford University, where he is enrolled in a five-year program that allows him to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees at his graduation

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it was another activity that really helped me connect to other students and find a place where I felt comfortable. Mr. Richard Rotz, who was the band director, was the faculty member who made the strongest impression on me while I was there. I was really impressed by his enthusiasm for teaching and for music; when I would go to the Burgin Center in the evenings to practice, it seemed that I would always see Mr. Rotz there working on music. He was very supportive of us, especially when we went to competitions—he was always happy to see us do well. He cares so much about the students and about music. Mr. Matthew Kearney, my AP English teacher, also taught me a lot. He was a very approachable and helpful teacher, and I learned so much in his class. He was also my cross country coach—and I actually got to know him as a coach before I had him as a teacher, since I started with cross country right when I arrived. I would go see him often and ask for advice, and I was happy to finally have him in class my senior year. And it was then that I got to see what a great teacher he is and how knowledgeable he is about literature. Mercersburg helped me define myself in a lot of ways, because it offers so many activities for students. I defined myself as a student, as an athlete, and as a musician, and I was active in many different clubs as well—which gave me opportunities to define myself as a leader. I was a prefect in my dormitory, Main Hall, and I worked in Washington, D.C., as an intern for Scientists and Engineers for America. I’d say that my cross country teammate, Neb Osman ’10, was one of the people I


admired most at Mercersburg. I got to know him in both cross country and track, but also in my senior-year English class. He was a good leader and a really hard worker—and also very humble. He was a great influence. I’ve just completed my junior year at Stanford, and it’s going really well. I’m a computer science major and am in a fiveyear program where I’ll earn both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees when I finish the program. I plan to work in Silicon Valley, which is nearby, after I graduate. It will be a very exciting opportunity. I learned so much at Mercersburg in individual subjects like English, history, and economics. But the greater value of Mercersburg

Head coach “King” John Miller and his Mercersburg swimmers are featured in Life magazine. Miller produced several Olympians—a number that would have been higher had World War II not canceled the 1940 and 1944 Summer Olympics—and won a dozen Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships as a coach.

to me was more holistic—I really feel that I had a chance to develop there as a person. If I had stayed at home and gone to school, I don’t think I would have grown as much, because at Mercersburg you have to learn self-discipline. And Mercersburg allowed me to connect with teachers who are also coaches, and I truly felt comfortable talking to them, which was something I really appreciated. Mercersburg helped me develop a broader perspective about many things, and taught me how to think deeply and critically.


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120 t h Anniversary

Walter and Barbara Burgin

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Walter Burgin ’53 How did I get to Mercersburg? It’s a fairly long story. I grew up in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, just across the river from Harrisburg. My dad was a small-town doctor there. When I was in the eighth grade, a friend of his who ran the local bank had a very bright son who’d graduated as valedictorian of his high-school class, gone off to Cornell, and then flunked out after a semester. My father knew that wasn’t what he wanted for me. I’m sure it was the boy, but he worried that it was the school. When my father was fresh out of medical school, he had gone to work as a doctor for a coal company in a mining town in western Pennsylvania. A hardware store in the neighboring town supplied the company store. Part of the arrangement between the company and the hardware store was that my father would take care of its owner and his family. He got to know them all, except for the son, who was away at boarding school—at Mercersburg. He ended up going to Princeton and had a pretty successful life. His name was Jimmy Stewart ’28. That’s how my father knew about Mercersburg, and one Saturday morning, we got in the car and started driving down the valley. When we got to campus, Wilmarth Jacobs interviewed me, and I was enrolled in the fall. It was not any conscious decision on my part, and it wasn’t choosing Mercersburg among options. It was simply my father in a mild panic about what might happen to his older son deciding to do something. When I began at Mercersburg, ninth graders all lived together in Laucks Hall and were referred to as “upper juniors.” At one time there had been an eighth grade—the “lower juniors.” I remember going home and telling people I was a junior, and they thought I had skipped two grades. The strong sense of community back then came in part from athletics in an all-boys’ school, with rivalries and going out to support the teams. You learned that very quickly as part of the culture. Step Songs, the rallies, being at football games—all those things were important. They were the source of some of the bonding, but most of it came from just living and eating together and moving around in a way that you really got to know everybody. Though I became a mathematics teacher, I didn’t take math my senior year at Mercersburg. That passion came later at Dartmouth. At Mercersburg, mathematics was just a course I took, but it was in a geometry class and in Keil Hall that I found the faculty member

who made the greatest difference in my life—Bill Howard. You really learned from him in the classroom because you understood. And we were real people for him. He was a marvelous human being who cared about you—even though he scared the hell out of you, really, and you lived in fear of him. I remember when he died, I went up to Massachusetts for the service, and they asked me to say something about him. People came up to me afterward and said they couldn’t believe that anybody was ever intimidated by this nice old man. But he was the dean, and he did what he needed to do as the dean. He also ran a dormitory. He taught a full load of mathematics classes. He was the registrar. He did college counseling singlehandedly. And he ran the dining hall. Years later, when he retired and I was headmaster, we kept replacing pieces of him. As a Mercersburg student, I swam for “King” John Miller, and though I was just a journeyman swimmer, when I ended up going to Dartmouth I swam for another Mercersburg graduate, Karl Michael ’25. I edited the Mercersburg News and worked with Bryan Barker, who was also a strong influence. And I became good friends with Joe Caldwell, an English teacher at Mercersburg who lived in New Hampshire when I was at Dartmouth. There were seven of us from Mercersburg at Dartmouth our freshman year, and three of us got in a car and drove down to have dinner with Joe and his wife one evening. During dinner, there was a knock at the door and Joe got up to answer it. He came back, opened his liquor cabinet, got out a glass, poured some scotch, and went back to the door. After he sat back down, we asked him what it was. He said, “My neighbor just needed a couple of fingers of scotch.” The neighbor was J.D. Salinger. The summer before I enrolled at Dartmouth, I received a letter from a man named John Kemeny, who was the incoming head of the mathematics department. He wrote that he had been looking over the records of the entering class and planned to teach a course in calculus and thought I would enjoy taking it and hoped I would. Remember that I hadn’t taken senior math at Mercersburg, and I never had trigonometry in my life until I taught it. But I thought, why not? For the next four years I just attached to John. He was only five or six years older than I was with a freshly minted Ph.D. from Princeton, where he had been Einstein’s last research assistant. He eventually became president of Dartmouth and later worked with


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Dick Thornburgh ’50 as chair of the Three Mile Island Commission. He was brilliant at whatever he did and had a mind you just don’t encounter very often. He was a marvelous teacher and a wonderful mentor. In the summers before and after my senior year in college, I worked at IBM in research and then went into the doctoral program at Princeton in mathematics. I began to understand at Princeton, in a small but brilliant group of other graduate students in mathematics and physics, that though I could learn almost anything in mathematics, I would never be the one to chart a new course. I had been back at Mercersburg for my five-year reunion early in my second year in graduate school. I talked with Dr. Charles Tippetts (1912), and somehow he must

120 t h Anniversary

have sensed the challenges I was facing. I don’t know how, because I still didn’t really understand them myself. But shortly before Christmas, I got a call from him telling me that Norris Grabill had fallen ill and wouldn’t be able to teach again. He wanted me to come back and teach the rest of that year. I was in the middle of graduate work. I had a National Science Foundation fellowship. We had a lease on an apartment. Barbara had a job. I said I couldn’t. But then he said, “I really need you,” and two weeks later, I was teaching at Mercersburg. That’s how I came to Mercersburg a second time, and again it wasn’t intentional, but again it was absolutely the right thing. I just loved the teaching and never looked back. I kept reading and doing things in

About Walter Burgin Valedictorian of Mercersburg’s Class of 1953; graduated from Dartmouth College and did graduate work at Princeton University and Harvard University Taught mathematics at Mercersburg from 1958 to 1964; was department chair from 1961 to 1964 before leaving for eight years to teach at Phillips Exeter Academy Appointed Mercersburg’s fifth headmaster in 1972; spent 25 years in the post before retiring in 1997 Serves as chairman of the board of directors for the E.E. Ford Foundation His wife, Barbara, has made countless contributions to the life of the school— most notably as an admission officer, interior designer, landscaper, and hostess;

the Burgin Center for the Arts, which opened in 2006, is named in honor of the couple Other Mercersburg alumni in the Burgin family include his daughter, Christine Burgin Wegman ’78; brother, Alex Burgin ’57; brother-in-law, Don Shuck ’48; and nephew, D.L. Shuck ’71

mathematics and developed a mathematics curriculum, but I was now a teacher, not a mathematician. I became department head too soon—essentially, by default. I was perfectly happy teaching at Mercersburg and really had no ambition to do anything other than be a good department head, but I did decide that there might be something about education that I should know. So I pursued a master’s degree at Harvard during the summers. In order to do it in two summers instead of three, they said I needed to convince someone to do a reading course with me. A man from Exeter named Jack Adkins taught the master of arts in teaching candidates in the summers, and maybe he could take me on. Jack was willing, and he and I worked together a couple of times a week that summer, and I managed to get accelerated. Jack was one of the authors of the textbooks we used at Mercersburg in algebra and geometry. Later that year I got a call from him saying he’d like me to come up to Exeter. I didn’t understand that it was to interview for a position. I thought he just wanted to show me the place—like a kid with a new toy. He was a wonderfully enthusiastic man, and he loved Exeter. But it turned out they did have an opening and that’s what I was there for. I realized pretty quickly that these were people from whom I could learn a lot. Rannie Lynch, who became my closest friend in the department at Exeter, had been there 25 years and was still a junior member. These were the people who had written all the textbooks we used. They’d all been there forever and they were master teachers. And so I went to Exeter and loved what I did there. I had been at Exeter seven years when I got a call from Mercersburg that Bill Fowle was going to step down. They wanted to know if I would represent the alumni body on the search committee. I thought that

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was great, because while the next head didn’t have to come from another boarding school, there certainly would be candidates from such schools, and most were in New England where I was. I had a kind of network because I was active in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and knew a fair number of people at other schools. I thought it would be a way for me to give back to Mercersburg. As we were finishing our first session, Jack Detwiler ’29, who chaired the search committee, looked at me and said, “Walter, I think we’d like you to step off the committee and become a candidate.” And I said, “Jack, you’re not going to hire me. I’ve got no administrative experience. If you just don’t want me here, that’s OK. You’ve had three hours of me and if that’s enough, I’ll understand.” But he said he was serious and wanted me to think about it. How do you say no? The others on the committee were Bill Howard as the faculty representative and Nick Coyne ’50, who was a student when I was a student, though he was three years ahead of me. I went back to Exeter and talked to the principal. I told him that this could happen. He was supportive, and I came back in 1972. At Mercersburg, I wasn’t really the head of one school for 25 years—I was the head of several schools, all in the same place. Compare the school from the early 1970s to the one in the mid-1990s and they’re very different places in very different times. When I became headmaster, the school had just become coeducational. That would have been one of the things I was most determined to change, but it had just happened, and so I didn’t have to do that. I just had to help the school do it well. One of my early priorities was to completely reconfigure the way in which faculty and students lived together in dormitories. I knew from personal experience how that


Burgin with Nobel Laureate Burton Richter ’48

could be, and I wanted Mercersburg to be more like what I had known living in the dormitory with my family at Exeter. I didn’t want to make it exactly like Exeter because they are very different schools, but I wanted us to have faculty families living in dormitories, because simply having families in the dormitory is greatly different. We weren’t going to be able to maintain an outstanding faculty of only single men and now women willing to live in one-room apartments. In some dormitories, the faculty even shared bathrooms with the students. It was something we as a school needed to do, but it couldn’t happen quickly, at least not completely. We made progress in small ways in a number of dormitories, but there were other priorities, and getting plans in place to do it in the largest dormitories was the last thing we accomplished 25 years later. The planning was done; the building had to follow after I was gone. Before then, we dealt with the academic spaces, and with the building of Lenfest Hall and the renovations in Keil Hall and Irvine Hall, every single space in which teaching went on was either new or newly renovated. This is such a beautiful campus, but before the academic building program we went to school just like you’d go to school in any big public high school—we came in the doors of Irvine Hall in the morning and went up and down stairs to classrooms. We came out for lunch and then went right back in. Irvine Hall was built deliberately to house all

the classes, because at the time classes were scattered about in some very substandard rooms. So the building of Irvine Hall originally was a big accomplishment. But over time, it became apparent that we should break that up. So when we built the library, we deliberately put the history department there. When we moved the library out of Keil Hall, we put classrooms and the English department there in Rutledge Hall. We had classrooms around the campus, and everybody had to go to them almost every day. People were back outside and could enjoy the beauty of the place. The best thing that I got from all my years at Mercersburg came when I was a student. I went to Pittsburgh on a weekend with my roommate, Fred Eichhorn ’53, and had a blind date—Barbara. I never let go. For the next four years, we continued to see one another as much as we could with her at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and me at Dartmouth in New Hampshire. I graduated on a Saturday, she graduated the following Friday, and we were married the next day. She was an integral partner in everything that I did when I was headmaster. She took a strong interest in the school grounds and the renovation and care of interior spaces across the campus. She also worked in the admission office, because we needed her there. She was always there to do what needed to be done. She still is. I can’t imagine my life without her.


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120 t h Anniversary

Stacie Rice Lissette ’85 About Stacie Lissette Graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the George Washington University School of Law Serves on the board of directors of her family business, Utz Quality Foods (which was founded by her grandparents, Bill and Salie Utz); her husband, Dylan, is the company’s chief operating officer After law school, clerked for a D.C. Superior Court judge and practiced regulatory law for a Washington-based trade association Initially served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1998 to 2007; re-joined the Board in 2009 and serves as chair of the Admission/College Counseling Committee A member of Mercersburg’s Alumni Council from 1995 to 1998 Three of her five children are attending Mercersburg: daughter Payton ’14 and sons Max ’14 and Alex ’17 The Lissette Game Room in the new Simon Student Ce nt e r i s n a m e d i n h e r family’s honor

Any time that I come to Mercersburg as a parent or Board member I feel like I am coming home. The campus is a place with such fond memories, and I feel so lucky that my children are able to have the experience here as I did. It is not easy to part with your child at age 14, but knowing what Mercersburg did for me as a student and seeing them thrive here makes it possible to let them go. The Jones sisters—Molly Jones Mancini ’79 and Beth Jones Sisca ’82— were close friends of mine growing up in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Their father [J. Richard Jones ’48] had gone to Mercersburg, and I was able to visit them when they were students here. It was my weekend visit with Beth when I was in eighth grade that solidified my decision to come to Mercersburg. One of the main reasons I wanted to come to school here was the desire to be challenged academically. When I became a student here I was thrilled to be in classes that were truly stimulating and challenging and to be with other students who loved learning. Of course, it was also exciting to be in a boarding environment and to live with your best friends. Mercersburg does such a great job of teaching students independence while still guiding and nurturing them. This school has only gotten better over time. Not only have the dorms and buildings improved but the offerings in and out of the classroom have improved and increased. One change that frequently strikes me now is the increase in school spirit. You see students in their “6th Man” T-shirts at basketball games, the bleachers were full when the girls’ soccer team played in the state tournament on campus last fall, and at so many of the sporting events you see a large turnout of students. The school spirit and support is evident in other areas— like the dance performances and plays as well. My daughter, Payton ’14, and her friends were planning a weekend home, but they wouldn’t leave campus until after the dance competition because they didn’t want to miss seeing their friends perform. If I could go back and be a student again I would re-take Karl Reisner’s AP American History class. Kids still talk about how great that class is. I had Jim Malone for math, and he made learning math fun. I loved Paul Suerken’s 10thgrade honors English class. That was the first class I truly remember sitting around a circle discussing books. We didn’t have Harkness tables then, but sitting in a circle and actually having a discussion instead of being lectured to was such an eye-opening experience. All of the teachers I remember lit a spark in us, and my children are having that same amazing experience now as well.

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(L-R) Payton Lissette ’14, Stacie Lissette ’85, Dylan Lissette, Max Lissette ’14

Another great thing I remember about my time at Mercersburg was being able to try something and be involved even if you weren’t the best at it. I was a benchwarmer for the field hockey team pretty much all four years. It was such a valuable experience to be a part of the team and even though I wasn’t a starter, I felt good about being part of it. I was a manager for the baseball team and remember the bus rides home and the excitement of winning games. It was great to be part of these experiences I might not have had somewhere else. You were accepted for who you were at Mercersburg and you were encouraged to reach beyond your comfort zone. The experiences outside the classroom really stick out in my mind. Memorable times in the dorm—doing Jane Fonda workout tapes with my friends in the common room and waiting for Romeo’s pizza deliveries after study hours—are just a few of the fun times I recall. The faculty members living in the dorms have always been a big part of the Mercersburg experience as well, and my son, Max ’14, frequently talks about his interaction with the faculty and their children in Tippetts. Even back in my time, we were defining ourselves. The school still encourages kids to push themselves. Just as when I was a student, teachers there now are saying to kids, “You can do this.” They encouraged us to take that advanced course or go on that break travel trip and that is still true now.

Another event that I will always remember is Wirt Winebrenner ’54 incorporating students’ names into his reading of The Night Before Christmas every year at the holiday dinner before winter break. I also loved the Christmas Candlelight Service. I was a head Chapel usher my senior year and was so moved by that service that I still attend every year. The fact that the chapel services were nondenominational but that it was a place on campus that gave you such a sense of peace was really perfect for me. Larry Jones was another faculty member who had a lot of influence on me, and it’s so nice to know that he is the school minister now as he was during my time. I’m so grateful to be able to serve on the Board and to stay connected to this place that’s so special to me—to see the changes that have happened and where the school is going and to be part of that work. And it’s great to be an ambassador for the school, which is another aspect of being on the Board that I love so much. I’m just really fortunate to be able to work with all of these brilliant people in support of something we believe in so strongly. At the heart of every decision we make we ask ourselves, “What is the best decision for the students and faculty and for the future of this great school?”


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120 t h Anniversary

Albert Bellas ’60 My twin brother, Michael ’60, and I came to Mercersburg in the fall of 1958. We were both very happy at our local high school in Steubenville, Ohio. But my father was a bit concerned because we rarely did any schoolwork or made time to do anything other than sports. As he was alarmed about the quality of our education, he decided we should find a good secondary school to attend. Our cousin, Theo Bellas, had married David Rosenberg ’52, who was an alumnus of Mercersburg. I first heard of the school through him. We visited the school for the first time the summer before we enrolled. We found it to have an attractive campus and a wonderful high-quality ambiance. My dominant first impression of the school was its diversity. I now was living alongside students not only from across the U.S. but also from various foreign countries. Attending Mercersburg gave me an awareness beyond the local environment that I had previously been a part of.

I was very lucky in that I was not homesick. I really enjoyed Mercersburg from my first day on campus. It also helped that I had my brother with me. Attending Mercersburg for me was simply a change of locations while still maintaining a close family bond. Mercersburg was very supportive of new entrants coming into the school. It also provided a very stimulating school environment. For the first time, I really wanted to take advantage of what was being taught. Having quality teachers helped make for a smooth transition, helped develop a real desire to learn and helped build the skills that would be necessary outside the educational venue. The two most important things that I carried from Mercersburg were first a good education and the knowledge that I could compete effectively in the larger world, and secondly, that I had a responsibility to seek out new challenges and push myself to do as much I could. Further, attending Mercersburg gave me the opportunity to attend some very good colleges and graduate schools. It also made me feel that I was part of a continuing tra-

About Albert Bellas Graduated from Yale University, the University of Chicago School of Law, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business Founding partner and managing director of The Solaris Group (a global wealth-strategy firm) and a member of the Brock Capital Group; formerly served as chairman and CEO of Neuberger Berman Trust Company, as a managing director and member of the Management Committee of OFFITBANK, as a senior executive vice president of Shearson Lehman Brothers and a member of the Board of Directors of Lehman Brothers, and as a vice president at Goldman Sachs & Co. Chairman emeritus of the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center, where his wife Kay (a former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet) is co-chair of the faculty Has also served on the boards of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, the Guild Hall of East Hampton, the St. Mary’s Foundation for Children, the Rockefeller University Committee on Trust and Estates, and the Yale School of Management Campaign Committee Joined Mercersburg’s Board of Regents in 1992, served as a vice president from 1999 to 2001, and has been chairman of the Board’s Finance & Audit Committee since 1994 Hosted Wall Street field trips for Mercersburg students

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dition of Mercersburg graduates going on to those schools. The friendships I made here have been important to me. David Frantz ’60, who I’ve served with on the Board of Regents for many years and is now president of the Board, and I were in the same class. It’s been over 50 years and we remain very close friends. I also have made close friends of my fellow Regents with whom we serve the school. I value the friendships that were built at Mercersburg, as well as the enjoyment I received from playing sports and being part of the school’s various societies and activities.

Those friendships extended to the faculty as well. I have fond memories of Richard Schellenberger ’42 in English and Steve Szekely, who taught Latin, as well as Bill “Soapy” Howard, who was the dean of students, and someone who was very supportive of my brother and me. He was a wonderful person to talk to and gave us great advice. And Fred Kuhn, who coached us in wrestling and in baseball, was wonderful and left an indelible mark. Mercersburg really worked for me. In retrospect, looking back over more than 50 years, the Mercersburg experience was trans-


formational. Mercersburg opened up new horizons that I would not have previously considered and offered new educational, career and personal areas of growth. In the evolving teen years, Mercersburg at a most opportune time in my life provided a positive influence that has carried over all my later years. It’s a privilege for me to serve on the Board of Regents and give back a bit to the school that has been so wonderful to me. It’s very gratifying to help Mercersburg help students. If I’m able, in my own way, to make Mercersburg a better place, I’m delighted. The students of today have a wonderful environment at Mercersburg. They have available to them excellent academics, a supportive and nurturing faculty, an extraordinary campus, and an emphasis on personal values and character development. The principles and values that they have been taught hopefully will be embedded into their lifestyle and in whatever endeavors they choose. If they pursue life with enthusiasm, hard work, and maintain the values they’ve been exposed to at Mercersburg, they will be model citizens and a validation of and tribute to Mercersburg. Going forward, I want to see Mercersburg recognized as a peer to the best New England boarding schools but with a unique MidAtlantic character and profile. Mercersburg is the best-kept secret in the boarding school world. But it won’t be a secret for much longer.


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120 t h Anniversary

Mark Herring ’09 When my brother—who is five years older than me—was team to stay in shape, and then he was my teacher for precalculus searching for a boarding school to go to, he looked at Mercersburg. and I had a blast in his class. I learned a lot from him; while he got We had an uncle, Parker Ward ’82, who had gone to Mercersburg, down to business and he took what he was doing seriously, he didn’t and then another uncle, Todd Wells ’82, who had married into the take himself too seriously, which I think is a really important thing. family who had also gone there. My brother ended up going to St. He could really entertain a class but also teach us well. I still talk to Mark’s School, near Boston, but when I was in the eighth grade I him every other week. There’s Mr. David Grady, who was a great mentor for me as my knew about Mercersburg. I saw how my brother had flourished at his school, and I didn’t winter track coach and later as my calculus teacher. He’s about the really want to stay in North Carolina for high school. Our family most patient person I’ve ever met. He always took the time to address happened to be on a trip to Washington, D.C., and my mom and everyone’s needs in the classroom and in track. He was willing to I made the hour-and-a-half trip to check out Mercersburg. It was a look at the bigger picture and see how we could get there, and I winter day—it was sleeting—and we got stuck behind a tractor on really admire his patience. There were so many other great teachers—and other students Route 16 coming into Mercersburg. But once we arrived, I talked with Mrs. Susan Simar and some of the people in the admission too—who were huge influences on me. They all had their strengths office, took a tour, and really liked it. I was initially set on going to and their own little pieces of advice, and it was really great growing the school where my brother went, but after visiting Mercersburg up with a bunch of different adults who had different styles of, for lack I felt like I could make my own path there and not have to live in of a better word, parenting. It made me more of a complete person. The faculty make Mercersburg an awesome place, but if I didn’t my brother’s shadow. My first year at Mercersburg, I was very shy. By the time I became grow to have really great friends or people that I had things in a senior I was kind of a class clown and more sociable, but I think people originally thought I was this very stoic kid Mercersburg that took athletics and academics very seriously. I really liked my teachers and my classmates and dorm life, but I was reserved. I wasn’t the big man on campus by any means, and I actually enjoyed A pair of motion pictures— that, because I just wanted to soak it in each of which become and get to know everyone first. But I defstaples of holiday-season initely felt that I could grow to be who viewing and feature I wanted to be at Mercersburg, and not Mercersburg alumni in have to try to be someone else. leading roles—are released. My advisers and my classmates all In 1946, Jimmy Stewart ’28 helped me—we’d all help each other. stars as George Bailey When you’re young and inexperienced in Frank Capra’s It’s a and just naïve, you’ve got a lot of growing Wonderful Life. A year later, up to do. And I think everyone is kind of John Payne ’32 graces the in the same boat there, so I think that big screen as Fred Gailey in sense of community is really what makes Miracle on 34th Street. Mercersburg what it is. I had great advisers—Mrs. Amy Hendrickson, Mr. Eric Fleming, Mr. Derry Mason. I became really great friends with Mr. Jeff Cohen when he started running with the winter track



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“…to be good people, to respect everyone, to think critically, and to help us grow into who we are.” About Mark Herring A four-year Mercersburg student; came to the Academy from Wilmington, North Carolina At Mercersburg, was a member of the Cum Laude Society; a dormitory prefect; a Marshall Society and Student Council officer; a member of the Conduct Review Committee; a varsity letterwinner in cross country, track & field, and wrestling; and a member of the Jazz Band Graduated from North Carolina State University in May 2013 with a degree in biology and Spanish; will attend East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine beginning this fall

common with, I would have had a drastically different experience. The friends I had pushed themselves, they were involved in really cool things, and were just interesting people overall. I really treasure that I was able to make such good friends—lifelong friends— at such an early age. In college, I was a double major. I was the editor of Technician, our daily student newspaper. I led trips of students abroad during spring breaks for service trips. And I don’t think I would ever have been able to do that if I didn’t go to Mercersburg and get the experience of being independent and living away from home at an early age. When I came to college, I hit the ground running.

A lot of boarding schools pride themselves on being traditional college prep institutes. I’ve met people who’ve gone to some other boarding schools who were pushed so much academically and only to get into really good colleges that they missed out on the rest of everything that was available to them. When I was at Mercersburg, although I was challenged and I know helping me and my classmates get into good colleges was the goal, I also think the school thought it was just as important to prepare us to be good people, to respect everyone, to think critically, and to help us grow into who we are. Mercersburg really feels like home to me. I know it’s cliché to say that, but since my parents got divorced in middle school, I’ve been moving around a lot. And Mercersburg really has been that constant sort of place for me. So that’s one reason why I think about home when I think about Mercersburg.


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120 t h Anniversary

Nicholas Taubman ’53 I was determined to get into a good university after Mercersburg, and I didn’t discover until some years later that for me, the most valuable years of education were the three years I spent at Mercersburg. Those years really got me set and helped me focus on what was important. I remember coming to Mercersburg at age 15, and it was the first time I had ever really left home. I was a little surprised at all the work, and it was difficult at first. Across the board, the faculty were demanding. There was no place to hide. I had come to Mercersburg in the 10th grade because I hadn’t been doing well in my previous school in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. My father was a colleague of Junius Fishburn, who was the publisher of the Roanoke Times and a member of Mercersburg’s Class of 1914. He suggested I look at Mercersburg. In order to do better in school, I needed to go to a place where I could focus. Life at Mercersburg back then was entirely different. It was all boys and you couldn’t really leave campus between vacations other than to go to the movie house downtown or to Jack McLaughlin’s Drug Store to get a soda. Basically, the regimen was that you were here, you stayed here, and you studied. If you wanted to have fun you’d go out on the athletic field. So it’s a different place today. And it’s modern—not just in the physical sense, but in its thinking. Some of my best memories are of the friendships I made there with students and several faculty members. I remember Roger Palmer, who taught English and drawing—his name is one a lot of people might not recall. I remember being influenced by Dr. [Charles] Tippetts (1912) and John Montgomery, who really taught me how to speak French. There was a terrific guy named Eric Harris, an Englishman who taught chemistry. He flew a Spitfire in World War II. As I approached the end of my time at Mercersburg, I remember saying to him that I was going to travel to Milan, Italy, with my parents. He replied, “I strafed that place one time.” I liked Mr. Harris for what he was: interesting and forthright. Those were great days—great things happened in some of those classes. I worked with Robert Black ’25 as editor of the KARUX, and on the News with Bryan Barker, who was also the floormaster in ’Eighty-eight.

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“It heightened my intellectual curiosity and laid a foundation for the rest of my life.” I particularly enjoyed going into the Chapel with Mr. George Hamer, who played the organ beautifully. And Mr. Barker would take the boys from ’Eighty-eight up to the Chapel spire on Saturday nights and play the carillon. I’ve loved the Navy Hymn ever since then. Later, I have good memories of coming back to Mercersburg as a member of the Board of Regents. And I’m proud that we were able to get the students back in the Chapel, after the kids had walked out in 1969 [and required Chapel attendance ended]. To me, the Chapel is the epitome of what this place is about, even though I’m not a Christian. It defines people and it defines character, and it teaches you the difference between right and wrong. That’s a hard choice to make sometimes, and I felt that it was critical that we get the students back in the Chapel. As headmaster, Walter Burgin ’53 was just great about it. He took all our ideas and made them work. I worked with Walter and Don Hill on the Centennial Campaign, and we raised a lot more money than we initially thought we could.

Before the campaign, no living alum had given a million dollars to the school—but we received a number of million-dollar gifts to the school during that time, and one of those was mine. Gerry Lenfest ’49 joined the Board just before I became president, and I remember that when I decided to leave the presidency after the campaign ended, Walter called Gerry to ask him to suggest some names of possible replacements. Gerry told him, “I’ll take the job.” This is a man who’s meant so much to Mercersburg who is so interested, so we must have been doing something right. My hope for the future is that Mercersburg continues to do for its graduates what it did for me. It heightened my intellectual curiosity and laid a foundation for the rest of my life. I’d advise the students of today to question everything, always network, and keep meeting other people who are in every kind of field imaginable—that’s what makes you into a well-rounded person.

About Nick Taubman A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and veteran of the U.S. Army Served as chairman and chief executive officer of Advance Auto Parts from 1969 to 2005; in that time, the company grew from 60 stores to 2,650 locations in 40 states and became the nation’s second-largest auto parts chain Appointed U.S. Ambassador to Romania by President George W. Bush in 2005 and served the post until 2008; upon his departure, was awarded the Star of Romania (that nation’s highest civilian honor) Has worked as president of Mozart Investments in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, since 2008

A member of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1984 to 1997; served as president of the Board from 1990 to 1994 Serves as chairman of the board of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington and as a managing director of The Metropolitan Opera in New York City; has also served as a trustee for the Virginia Historical Society, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Burrell Memorial Hospital, and Hollins University The Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke is named in honor of Taubman and his wife, Jenny


120 t h Anniversary

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Lola Tijani ’13 Excerpt from salutatory address Mercersburg’s 120th Commencement

Have you ever read a book and loved it because you identified with one of the characters? Have you ever lost interest in a book because you couldn’t relate to one of the characters? It is human nature to search for ourselves in other people, to discover how we relate to them, and to determine in what ways we are similar. When my mother told me her story, I naturally searched for similarities between us. This turned out to be harder than I thought. As the story spilled from her lips, I imagined my mother at 17 years of age, living and working with her older sister as a hairdresser in Eritrea, attending high school each day to find that yet another friend had been dragged from her home and killed by the newly formed Communist government, and returning home each night and sleeping with one eye open. While the phrase “When I go to college…” has been an integral part of my everyday language About Lola Tijani as a high-school senior, my mom at the same point in her life could Will attend Stanford University in the fall; was also accepted only say, “If I go to college.” at D a r tm o uth Co l l ege, D uke The only thing left to do was University, Harvard University, escape. Her sister paid $2,000 to Johns Hopkins University, the black-market operators who led University of Virginia, and Eritreans to the Sudanese border. Washington University in St. Louis “You know the situation is bad Salutatorian of Mercersburg’s when you have to escape into Class of 2013; was a member of Sudan,” she said, but it was her the Cum Laude Society and The only ticket to America. Fifteen; a varsity letterwinner in I suspect my college experience soccer, swimming, and track & field; a Writing Center Fellow; and will be much different than my a member of the Mercersburg News mother’s. Pure joy was waking up staff knowing she was in college, eating Her mother, Mehret Kidane, is ramen noodles for the most part, a registered nurse and works in but enjoying the luxury of a hot dog Mercersburg’s Health Center, and every once in a while. her brother, Timi Tijani ’14, will be She tells me that I am just like a senior at Mercersburg in the fall her—hard-working and disciplined. Lives in Greencastle, Pennsylvania I picture her waking up before the sun rose in Eritrea, waiting for its natural light so that she could

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A cabin purported to have been the boyhood home of James Buchanan, the only Pennsylvanian to be elected president of the United States, is moved to the Mercersburg campus. Buchanan was born in 1791 just northwest of Mercersburg on his family’s property, which was known as Stony Batter (a familiar name in Mercersburg parlance). The cabin had been moved to Chambersburg and was slated for demolition before the school bought the building and moved it to its current spot near Fowle Hall.

squeeze in extra hours of work while the rest of the village was sound asleep. As she continued to recount the progression of events and circumstances that led to who she is today, I began to identify with her story more and more. Although the doors to her past are closed to me, every now and then I picture the young girl who lived with her neighbor, her nine siblings dispersed throughout the village and taking the last names of their adoptive families after their father died and their mother became ill. I can sense the conflicting emotions she felt when she realized that the woman slowly dying in the house next to hers was her mother. She inherited her caretaking nature and strong work ethic from her mother. Here lies the connection between the cattle-raising grandmother I never met; my mother, whose humble beginnings greatly

contrast with my privileged upbringing; and me. I want to dedicate my high-school career to my parents and my fellow classmates. You have all encouraged me to take a large leap to the West Coast, and I am suspended by the promise, talent, and potential of those sitting behind me, and the exemplary lives of the parents sitting in front of me. Seniors, one chapter of our lives has closed, and as we review our stories through yearbook messages and memories, we remember to always delve deeper into the stories of the people we come across, reread, and read between the lines before we let the differences that stand between each one of us outweigh the universal qualities we all possess. Keep your mind open to everyone’s story, because, as human beings, we are all linked by a string of common values and convictions.


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120 t h Anniversary

W. Carroll “Nick” Coyne ’50 Family Tree Former Board of Regents President W. Carroll “Nick” Coyne is one of 24 members of his extended family to attend Mercersburg. In addition, his sister, Esther Flanagan, was named an honorary alumna of the school in 1984. George Manley (1913), stepfather Donald Manley ’27, cousin Thomas Manley ’35, cousin Jim Flanagan ’36, cousin Tom Flanagan ’38, brother-in-law Tom Flanagan ’68, nephew Tim Flanagan ’69, nephew Pete Flanagan ’70, nephew Bill Smith ’70, step-nephew Steve Flanagan ’74, nephew Bill Flanagan ’76, nephew Tracy Coyne Tenney ’77, daughter Dave Flanagan ’81, nephew Pat Flanagan ’84, nephew Jenn Flanagan Bradley ’99, great-niece Mike Flanagan ’01, great-nephew Matt Flanagan ’04, great-nephew Meagan Phipps ’05, step-granddaughter Bill Flanagan ’10, great-nephew Tom Flanagan ’10, great-nephew Pete Flanagan ’11, great-nephew Jack Flanagan ’14, great-nephew Fiona Flanagan ’17, great-niece

I came to Mercersburg for the first time in the fall of 1948. My stepfather, George Manley (1913), and two of his nephews, Jim Flanagan ’36 and Tom Flanagan ’38, had gone to Mercersburg. I was well aware of Mercersburg long before I got there, but the first time I actually saw the campus was when I came as a student. I was enjoying the school where I was before and so I was a bit reluctant to leave and come to Mercersburg, but once I saw the campus I was impressed. My first year there I lived on the bottom floor of ’Eighty-eight dormitory, which was called Subway City, before moving to Keil Hall in my senior year. I played basketball, baseball, and football, and went on to play both basketball and baseball at Syracuse. Academically, my mother and stepfather thought Mercersburg would be stronger than my previous school, and as it turned out, it was. When I got to college, I found that I’d already taken some of the courses at Mercersburg. So it really benefitted my education. I especially remember my English teacher Pratt Tobey and Leonard Plantz, who was my basketball coach. Herbert “Fido” Kempton was my football coach and Fred Kuhn was the baseball coach. We had some good teams. It was a little different than it is now—we had a few vets back after the war and we played the Navy plebes, the Princeton and Gettysburg and Dickinson freshmen, and Lawrenceville and Kiski. Bob Mathias, who had just won the decathlon in the Olympics, played for Kiski against us in football. And we beat them, 26–6—that’s one of the things I remember. A lot of good things happened to me while I was at Mercersburg. I was only 16 when I got there, and it really did help me as a student, as an athlete, and socially. I remember being in the Glee Club too—that was one of the ways you could go off campus to Penn Hall and Wilson College, which both were girls’ schools. But I enjoyed singing, and as it turns out, I already knew Hank Ready, who was the Glee Club director, because he was the music director at a summer camp where I went. I was fairly young at the time I was asked to be on the Alumni Council, and then they asked me to serve on the Board of Regents. It was during that time that the school became coeducational. It was quite a project, but it was one that worked out very well. Of course there were some people who didn’t agree with it and left and never came back; not many, but some. But for a variety of reasons—and because of the quality that female students brought to the school—it worked well for Mercersburg. I served as president of the Board for eight years and was on the Board for a total of 27 years. All five of our daughters went to prep school—including our daughter Tracy Coyne Tenney ’77, who went to Mercersburg and had a wonderful time there. So Mercersburg has been an integral part of my life.

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About Nick Coyne Holds undergraduate and J.D. degrees from Syracuse University Served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1965 to 1992; was president of the Board from 1974 to 1982 and later vice president from 1988 to 1990 Also served on the Alumni Council from 1962 to 1965 Retired managing partner of Hancock Estabrook, LLP, where he practiced laborrelations law As a Syracuse trustee, was part of the search committee that hired future Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim as Syracuse’s head men’s basketball coach




Has held leadership posts on numerous other nonprofit boards, including Le Moyne College, the United Way, InterFaith Works, and Syracuse Stage One of 24 members of his family to attend Mercersburg

President Jimmy Carter visits Mercersburg with his daughter, Amy, who attends tennis camp on campus. During the trip, the president and Mrs. Carter celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary at the Foot of the Mountain Restaurant.



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120 t h Anniversary

David Frantz ’60

Frantz speaking at Commencement 2013

My family moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, right before I enrolled at Mercersburg. My dad was about to take over as head of Penn Hall, a girls’ boarding school and junior college in Chambersburg. So we drove over to look at Mercersburg, which my father knew all about since he was in private secondary education; he was head of an international school, the Overseas School of Rome, and had taught at Franklin & Marshall Academy in Lancaster—which went defunct—early in his career. To me, Mercersburg looked like a college campus, or whatever I thought a college campus looked like at that age. But I remember driving onto what we now call the quad and just being stunned. I will never forget my floor in ’Eighty-eight, where I lived my first three years. It was a great dorm to live in. Aside from the Chapel, it was the most architecturally interesting building on campus. I had different roommates each year, and they were all guys I got along with really well. I was a pretty good tennis player, and we had really strong teams all four years. In my senior year, we had a guy named Tom Edlefsen ’61 who arrived, and he and I became very close friends. He was unbelievable. He was already a national junior hard-court champion when he got here, and could beat me 6–0, 6–0, every time we played. He’s still the greatest tennis player we’ve ever had here. I played basketball all four years as well, including two years on the varsity, though I was not nearly as good a basketball player. Leonard Plantz, who coached us and later became the athletic director, was one of the finest human beings I’ve ever encountered. As a coach, he was great at trying to bring out the talents of everyone. He’d had some great teams right before my era, but we were not very good. We had one or two really good players and the rest of us were pretty mediocre. But he was an inspirational person and a true gentleman. Toward the end of my Mercersburg career, I was appointed to the Senate, and I remember Leonard Plantz taking me aside and saying, “I’m so glad this has finally happened for you—because you deserve this.” What mattered most about it to me was not the act itself, but that he talked to me and told me he thought I was worthy of it. That was a great moment for me because it came from someone I so admired. Academically, Mercersburg was a great school in the subjects that were really well taught. You learned how to think and how to analyze and how to express yourself, both in writing and speaking, really well—and better than I was conscious of at the time. At the time, though, it was true both at Mercersburg and at a lot of other places that there was still too much that was rote memorization. But you get a group of us together that had Rick Schellenberger ’42 for English, and we can tell you story after story. I look back on my entire career—I’ve stayed in education all my life—and I would say he was one of the greatest teachers I ever had. When I had him, he was at the peak of his style, and it was a style that you probably couldn’t get away with these days. There was nothing nourishing about it. Everyone knew he was smart as hell. He tried to get you to think for yourself—and that’s what I loved about him. And you never wanted to disappoint him.

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About David Frantz Holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University (where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa), as well as a master’s from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Has served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents since 1987, and was elected its president in 2012; was a vice president of the organization from 1995 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2012 Former member of Mercersburg’s Alumni Council (1980 to 1987), including a term as president (1985 to 1987) Began teaching at Ohio State University in 1968; has served as assistant, associate, and professor of English there; spent nine years as secretary to Ohio State’s board of trustees Received Ohio State’s University-Wide Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in 1976 and its Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service in 1998; the institution awarded him an honorary degree in 2011 A noted expert on Renaissance paintings and literature; author of Festum Voluptatis: A Study of Renaissance Erotica Mercersburg’s Frantz Tennis Pavilion is named in his honor

I remember as a ninth grader getting a visit from some of the editors of the Mercersburg News and being asked if I was interested in writing for the paper. It was a big deal and a great thing for me. And my senior year, my roommate, Hank Winner ’60, who was a great golfer and a smart guy and a talented singer, encouraged me to audition for the choir. If you were in the choir you were also in the Glee Club, so that was a whole other group of friends. One of the great things about Mercersburg was that you got to do different things, and that gave you different groups of friends. Some people, of course, were in several different activities with you, but having those different groups was really, really important. But as much as I loved the Mercersburg that I attended, there’s no question in my mind that the school going coed has changed it for the better. I’ve gotten to see the transformation first by being on the Alumni Council and then through this incredible opportunity of serving on the Board of Regents. I’ve seen the nature of the residential experience change as the school has moved to being a residential institution where most of the teachers are married and have families, and we’re providing the right kind of living spaces for those people. I’ve seen changes like this at the university level, of course, and with what happens

when you have the right leader at the right time. Walter Burgin ’53 was such a great head of school for the times the school was going through, and more recently Doug Hale has been absolutely the right person for the times we’ve been through more recently. He has vision and drive but also this incredible touch. I think young people really respond to that, and it’s totally genuine and permeates the spirit of the school. What I never expected to happen by virtue of serving on the Board was to have so many of these people become among my very best friends. I’ve been really fortunate in my life to have had great friendships, both professional and personal. They’ve crossed both lines here and in the university and with my own students with whom I’ve stayed in touch over the years. We’ve got an incredible Board here. My last nine years at Ohio State, I was secretary of the board of trustees and it’s a very different kind of animal because all the people on the board were appointed by the governor. It’s a completely different world—very smart people, very dedicated to the institution, but nothing like the camaraderie that exists on the Mercersburg Board. When you feel you’re able to contribute to something as fabulous as Mercersburg, the word that comes to mind most is “admiration”—for Doug and for the faculty and

staff and all they do, because it’s a 24/7 job. I’m really aware of that, and I think it’s much harder now than back when my dad was running schools and back when I went to Mercersburg, because back then, people weren’t with their parents all the time. College admissions is tougher today. The demands on people and what students and parents expect are even greater. So I have such admiration for the people who make Mercersburg what it is. I think Mercersburg is such an extraordinary institution; it’s better in virtually every respect than when I was here—and I loved it when I was here, so that’s not a negative of what it was, but just a recognition that it’s better now. The fundamental, essential character of the school remains. In my day, we called it a “non-preppy prep school,” and I think there’s a lot to that. It’s about the egalitarian spirit that recognizes and honors achievement, but also has fundamental core values about human beings that are admirable and speak to what we would call the better angels of our nature. Mercersburg works really hard at that and does that very well. You don’t come out of Mercersburg feeling entitled, and I think some kids come out of prep schools feeling entitled. Mercersburg is not that way. And I think that’s such a telling characteristic.


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120 t h Anniversary

Betsy Mitchell ’83 I think of Mercersburg as the place where I learned to meet challenges, develop perseverance, and become independent. It’s a magical, beautiful place, and now I’m grateful to Mercersburg for everything it’s doing in the life of my stepdaughter, Clare Laughery ’15, who will start her third year at Mercersburg in the fall. The spring of my sophomore year in high school in Marietta, Ohio, we started to consider some alternatives for my remaining high-school years. My mother did some research, and one weekend after a swim meet in Morgantown, West Virginia, we drove over to see Mercersburg. I remember driving in the main gate from Route 16 past Bo Burbank’s farm house and the Chapel, and seeing the Quad and Tippetts Beach unfolding before me. Mercersburg was a good fit for me in both swimming and academics, and I don’t remember having any trouble with the transition to Mercersburg as a student. I really enjoyed the independence and being able to find my way on my own, but all the while knowing there were people around to help me if I needed it. The neat thing about Mercersburg is that it’s a safe, independent laboratory for kids to grow into who they are—it was then and it is now. I still vividly remember going to visit Irmgard Kleeman Diorio ’83 and Suzy Sullivan Ashley ’84

About Betsy Mitchell A three-time Olympic medalist in the pool; won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 400m medley relay team and a silver medal in the 100m backstroke at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and added a silver medal with the 400m medley relay team at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul Named American Female Swimmer of the Year in 1986, the same year she set a world record in the 200m backstroke that would stand for five years Entering her third year as director of athletics, recreation, and physical education at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech); previously served as director of athletics at Allegheny College, as head swimming and diving coach at Dartmouth College, as an instructor in sports management at Notre Dame College of Ohio, as director of athletics at the Laurel School (Shaker Heights, Ohio), and

as director of athletics at Thomas Worthington High School in Columbus, Ohio Graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and also holds a certificate of advanced study in education administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education A seven-time individual NCAA champion at Texas; led the Longhorns to three straight national titles from 1986 to 1988 Served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1993 to 2002 During the 1988–1989 academic year, worked as alumni secretary at Mercersburg and was the school’s head softball coach and an assistant swimming coach

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“…I am proud, because I see Mercersburg evolving and not staying static.” in South Cottage and listening to the Rolling Stones. I remember Laura Sawyer Pitman ’83 constantly reminding me it was time to go down to the pool for practice and being a positive influence on me and what I was supposed to be doing. I remember Mark Pyper ’83 and Brian Mitchell ’82 being great leaders for our student body. I also remember thinking I would never understand Shakespeare—it seemed like Greek or Martian to me—and being called out in a drawing class when I had no idea what I was doing. More seriously, I also made some bad choices and got in trouble for them, and my life would not be the same today had Mercersburg not given me a second chance. So I had to work off a lot of guard, and I remember picking weeds off the graduation platform as the end of my 11th-grade year approached, but I made it through. It was a formative experience in my life and in my career as an educator. I remember really enjoying school meetings; the kinds and types of programs that Mercersburg brought in were tremendously mind-expanding for a kid from a small, rural town in Appalachia. They showed me the world. And some of the most memorable moments for me, not surprisingly, were our swim meets against Peddie or at Easterns. Those events were tremendously exciting and purposeful. With the benefit of hindsight and an adult perspective, there’s no question that I began to define myself at Mercersburg. I think back to when Mr. Burgin would give us a free day, and we thought it was the greatest thing ever—a sudden, unexpected gift of being able to relax. And looking back, that completely lines up with a work-life balance

strategy of mine. When it just gets too much and I’m working my tail off, I remember that I’m not any good without balance—so I’ll go work out or take some time off. It’s OK to have fun. I always strive to be a compassionate educator. Nobody’s perfect; you make mistakes, and within reason, you move forward. My experience at Mercersburg and how I was handled there as an adolescent has made me, I hope, a gracious, well-rounded educator—in the same way that swimming made me tough as nails as a competitor. It’s been great to watch Clare’s progression with Mercersburg; she went to Adventure Camp there for six summers, and now she’s grown to the point where this is her school. I’m so proud of her for setting her jaw and conquering her own challenges and deciding this is where she wants to be. And I’m proud of my school for helping her do that. As I’ve been able to re-engage with Mercersburg in Board of Regents meetings as an emeriti member of the Board, I am proud, because I see Mercersburg evolving and not staying static. It has to keep moving forward, not just from a viability standpoint for itself as an institution, but most importantly for the education it gives to its students. Holding to and knowing what is important from a traditional, conservative, educational, and developmental place—those things over time that we know stimulate good growth in students while staying really relevant and cutting edge and innovative about the future—is critical. Mercersburg has really good balance in this regard, and knows what things from the past need to be held onto, what needs to be let go of, and what things to embrace from the future.





The governor’s mansions in the neighboring states of Maryland and Pennsylvania are home to Mercersburg alumni. Harry Hughes ’44 was elected the 57th governor of Maryland and Dick Thornburgh ’50 the 41st governor of Pennsylvania in November 1978; each served two terms and left office in 1987.




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120 t h Anniversary

Jamil Myrie ’93 From sixth through eighth grade, I was in the Fieldston Enrichment Program (FEP) at the Fieldston School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York. FEP is a fun and rigorous extra-curricular program that prepares academically motivated students in New York City public middle schools for matriculation at top-tier public high schools and independent day and boarding schools. I would take classes on Saturdays during the regular school year and then for six weeks during summer vacation to supplement my sub-par public-school education. After taking the SSAT, per my results, I was matched up with several New England boarding schools; Mercersburg was not on my list. But on interview day at FEP, I noticed a very nice, pleasant woman with a great smile. I said “Hello,” and asked her where she was from, and she said “Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.” We started talking about Mercersburg Academy and I said “I’d love to come and visit.” So, I did. Mercersburg ended up being the only school to which I applied. That woman was Barbara Burgin. I recall one of my first days on campus; it had to have been about 100 degrees and we had to take class pictures. I was a gangly kid wearing a gray wool sports jacket and a black turtleneck on this scorching, late-summer day. I guess you could say that I kind of stood out with my “off-season” but stylish outfit. I didn’t know anyone, and everything was all so new. As we stood there on the steps of Main Hall waiting for the photographer, and I looked around at my classmates, I couldn’t help but notice that I was the only black kid in our entire freshman class. But that was simply a minor observation, as this was the opportunity I had dreamt of for preceding years. It was “my shot” and my only intention was to take full advantage of it. Sometimes you have kids who arrive at Mercersburg and aren’t sure if they want to be there that first year. I was the exact opposite; I was excited and thrilled to be there. Looking back, I guess my positive attitude had a lot to do with feeling that I was in a safe enough place to become who I wanted to be, that I was in a community that genuinely cared for and embraced me and my family, and that I knew, with the right guidance, that my aspirations knew no bounds. Community is such an integral part of the Mercersburg education. My first year, the senior class (the Class of 1990) made a huge impression on me. You could see that, for the most part, they really cared about each other, that they grew up together, and that their bonds were solid. And I remember hoping that my class would develop something similar during our time there. But the real gem of the Mercersburg community is the relationships between the students and faculty. When I came for my first visit, everyone was

so friendly, welcoming, and supportive, which was completely different from what I was used to. Living in the Bronx, you didn’t say hello to people on the street, whether you knew them or not; you walked by with little to no acknowledgement. So to be part of such a warm, caring, and supportive community was a breath of fresh air and a tremendous “trust” and confidence builder. Fast forward to my senior year. I was class president and went to see Headmaster Walter Burgin ’53 in his office (unscheduled and unannounced) to pose the idea of having a “student-only” school meeting—which might have been the first of its kind. I thought such a forum was very necessary and would allow for open and honest discussion about our school spirit, especially seeing as we felt “our year” was being overshadowed by all the drama around Lenfest Hall. This resulted in the “Lenfest Shuffle”—once construction was completed, the entire school took a day off and moved the library books from the former library in Keil Hall to Lenfest… and it was so much fun! The experience was so much more inclusive of the student body, and my class really came away with more unity as seniors and leaders of the school. But my confidence to walk into Walter’s office to speak with him initially would not have been there were it not for the trust that I felt existed in our community. Our relationship really gave me further confidence in terms of having a voice of value—a voice that mattered on behalf of those who elected me. Seeing the trust and respect Walter gave me was priceless and valuable to the person I am today. I remember many special faculty relationships—my adviser Bryan Jones, my dorm dean Bill Bunnell ’58, Sherry Price, Jim Malone, Scotch Ndlovu, Wirt Winebrenner ’54, Stephen Wildfeuer, Joel Chace and family, and Sue Wootton, to name a few—who helped shape me at different stages while at Mercersburg. One of my most influential relationships was with Paul Suerken (a.k.a. “Suerk”). As not only my leader in Octet, but as a mentor and dear friend, he taught me a lot about life, people, and the innate power of words, song, and music, all together in harmony and dissonance. Suerk also taught me about taking risks and trusting in myself to take leaps of faith. “Life is too short. You’ve gotta have fun with it and in it,” he would say to me. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the college application process my senior fall, well, mostly because I hadn’t really thought about it or planned for it. I was doing it all by myself. I had decided on four schools I would apply to, but Harvard was not among them. Secretly, I didn’t believe I stood a chance. Even after a pep talk with Olympian swimmer Melvin Stewart ’88, I couldn’t get over this mental block I had put before myself. It was Suerk who ulti-

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mately, in his usual jovial and casual style, eased my self-doubt and said, “Jay, just go for the gusto… I mean really, what do you have to lose?” More recently, it’s been such a joy and an honor for me to serve on the Board of Regents—yet another key part of the Mercersburg community. My service has done nothing but strengthen my relationship with Mercersburg, if that’s even possible. This is such a caring and selfless group of alums and parents. The love for Mercersburg, its students, faculty, and staff is boundless, and that shows through the vivacity and the optimistic energy that the Board brings to every meeting. To be in a room with such great minds and people who do so many great things both outside and within the school is truly a blessing. As a humble, gangly kid from the Bronx, I couldn’t have dreamt up what an amazing journey this would be, and I am so excited for the many miles to go. I am committed to being a bridge between the magic that is a Mercersburg education and experience and less-fortunate kids who, like me, are working hard and praying for “their shot.”

About Jamil Myrie A graduate of Harvard University; has a younger brother, Tesfa ’94 , and sister, Makeda Myrie Akogbeto ’96, who also attended Mercersburg Serves as senior executive vice president of strategic planning and real estate development & facilities management at Aranon Corporation and For Eyes (privately owned national manufacturing, retail, and real-estate companies) Also a successful entrepreneur who co-founded MOJA Design, a New York-based international design, manufacturing, and distribution company; was the company’s president and director of global sales

Has served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents for 14 years; was first elected in 1999 as the inaugural holder of a seat established by the Board’s Nominating Committee specifically for young graduates As a Mercersburg student, was president of the senior class, captained the boys’ varsity basketball and tennis teams, won first place at Declamation for the Marshall Society, and received the Headmaster’s Prize and the Robert H. Michelet Prize



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120 t h Anniversary

Edgar Masinter ’48 I wa s bor n a n d rai s e d i n Huntington, West Virginia. When I was in the ninth grade, several of my friends were at Mercersburg or planning to go there. They had learned about the school from my father’s cousin, Howard Schoenbaum ’37. My parents and I didn’t know much about boarding schools or Mercersburg, but since I had friends who were at or about to go to Mercersburg, I asked my parents to let me go there too. I was enthusiastic about going to Mercersburg, but once I arrived my homesickness seemed like a terminal disease. The school was a very different place then—all boys, a strict dress code, little black beanies for the first-year students, limited off-campus privileges except for a visit to the in-town movie theater on Masinter (right) and his wife, Margery, with Head of School Douglas Saturday afternoon, a rural location and Hale at the opening of the Hale Studio Theatre lots of rules, regimentation and supervision. When the long Thanksgiving weekend break arrived, I had settled in and thought my homesickness issue was behind me. Unfortunately, right after that They made me more well-rounded, expanded my horizons and perbreak a flu epidemic occurred at the school, and all of the students spectives and gave me a chance to broaden my participation in the were sent home early for an extended Christmas holiday. When I school community. A varied and high-quality program of extracurricular activities returned in January, the winter days were short, dark and lonely, not good for someone who was susceptible to homesickness. I remember is vitally important to the comprehensive learning and community calling my parents on the pay phone in Keil Hall and complaining experiences institutions like Mercersburg offer their students. These about how awful I felt. Using a little reverse psychology, my father activities complement and enhance students’ academic experiences. They add to the challenges students face and teach the importance said, “If it’s really that bad, you can come home.” I thought about that offer and realized that a decision to leave of trying harder, stretching ability and being a team player. I was small when I got to Mercersburg in the 10th grade—4 feet meant giving up. I didn’t want to be a quitter. So I decided to tough it out and work my way through the situation. The days grew longer 10 inches tall and about 92 pounds. Fortunately, Mercersburg was an and warmer. I got involved in my studies, other activities and the life inclusive environment, including for sports. We had spider football and baseball as well as junior-varsity sports, all of which was ideal of the school. I became part of the place. I was growing up. It was a privilege to get a wonderful education at Mercersburg. for younger, smaller and less athletically gifted students like me who It was also wonderful to have outstanding people and opportuni- still wanted to be on a team. One sport that had a great impact on ties available on the non-academic side of the school. I was a good me was wrestling. Coach Fred Kuhn was a fine man who was kind student and benefitted a lot from the excellent teaching and new and encouraging. He found a way to involve students like me in the learning opportunities. Looking back now, I also realize how valu- wrestling program, and to this day I look back on that experience able my non-academic activities were to my personal development. as one that gave me a new interest, increased my confidence and

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strengthened my character. I have similar remembrances about participating in juniorvarsity track under legendary Coach Jimmy Curran’s tutelage. Years later it became apparent that the small steps taken with these two men were vastly more important than could have been contemplated at the time. In addition to academics and sports, working on the Mercersburg News was a terrific way to be involved in life on the Mercersburg campus. It provided the training and discipline required to assemble a newspaper and the satisfaction of seeing it distributed and read. Later in life, this early newspaper experience influenced how I approached my professional career and my appreciation of the importance of good writing, clarity in communicating and getting a job done thoroughly and well when there were challenging time constraints. As Mercersburg students we had a very interactive relationship with the faculty. Outst anding personalities like Dave Chapman, Harry Smith, Preston Judd, Bob Black ’25 and many others lived with us, ate with us, taught us, supervised our extracurricular activities and were actively involved in our every day lives. They stimulated me intellectually and encouraged me to work hard, do well and fulfill my potential. I went to Princeton University after graduating from Mercersburg and then the Harvard Law School. Following two years of service in the United States Army, I went to work as a lawyer with a large law firm in New York City, where I had a satisfying 38-year career, one that I reflect on with pride and a sense of accomplishment. None of this would have happened if I had not gone to Mercersburg. Since graduating I have always supported the school financially. Mercersburg’s significant role in my life is obvious, and I felt obligated to help it. In 1994, Walter Burgin ’53, who was then head of school, and Albert Bellas ’60, a member of the Board of Regents,

came to see me. In that meeting they asked me to consider joining the Board of Regents. After considerable thought, I accepted their invitation. That turned out to be one of the most gratifying decisions in my life. It enabled me to “give back” to Mercersburg, to establish working and personal relationships of trust, admiration and friendship with my fellow Regents, to get to know closely and support the administration and faculty of the school and to contribute directly and indirectly to the preservation of the Mercersburg culture while at the same time participate in strengthening and improving the school. When I served on the Board, eventually becoming its president after succeeding my friend Gerry Lenfest ’49, one of our main priorities was to ensure that Mercersburg is a nationally and internationally recognized school and is among the finest boarding pre-


paratory schools in the country. However, we did not want to compromise Mercersburg’s unique identity. We wanted to preserve the special Mercersburg approach and culture while energetically investing thought, time and treasure to assure that Mercersburg was contemporary and forward thinking in its endeavors and that its quality across the board was at the highest level. To that end we focused on increasing the attractiveness of the school to a broader and more selective student population nationally and internationally with a view to admitting students who would be better because of coming to Mercersburg and at the same time who would make Mercersburg a better place because they were there. The goal was to have a talented and diverse student body that as a whole and individually could distinguish itself year in and year out. The results

About Edgar Masinter Graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Law School; U.S. Army veteran Recipient of the Class of 1948’s Senior Medal and the Class of ’32 Plaque Joined the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 1957; became a partner in 1966; headed the firm’s corporate and banking departments and chaired its management committee; retired in 1995 After retiring, became an investment-banking partner of The Bridgeford Group and then The Beacon Group (with which Bridgeford merged), and subsequently was a managing director of J.P. Morgan Securities after it acquired Beacon Served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1994 to 2001; was vice president from 1996 to 1998 and president from 1998 to 2001 Served as a trustee of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming; a vice president and director of the Grand Street Settlement in New York City; a member of the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution; and a commissioner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Benefactor with his wife Margery of the Mercersburg Outdoor Education program and the Hale Studio Theatre


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of this effort have been remarkably good. A talented and diverse student body needs to have an equally talented and diverse faculty that can teach traditional subjects in fresh ways and new subjects with the same skill that has always been associated with the Mercersburg faculty. Moreover, they had to be able to adapt to the constancy and pace of change resulting from the use of technology in education. While we recognized that a static program was unacceptable, the velocity with which change has occurred and is occurring is something that we never anticipated in the mid-1990s. Nevertheless, Mercersburg’s leadership and faculty have been up to this task and all the adjustments that it continually requires. Good results require time, planning, commitment, resources and exceptional leadership. Mercersburg has been blessed in this regard. Nonetheless, as current goals are being reached, new goals have to be set. It’s all about excellence. This is inherently a dynamic and moving target, one that requires redefinition and new efforts and initiatives as circumstances change. What Mercersburg has done and is doing is a great story. One of the most important parts of that story is that the school has stayed true to its history and traditions. It has maintained its excellence. It has protected and sustained its culture. It has preserved its egalitarian approach, its humanity, its community and its sense of what it is. It has never been tempted to be something else or be like some other place. To use an old cliché, it is comfortable in its own skin. That is a source of immense strength. My hope for Mercersburg in the future is that the school continues to select its leadership well, particularly the head of school, the faculty and the members of the Board. If the school does that successfully, it will be able to perpetuate the momentum it has in attracting great students and superb faculty and obtaining the financial resources that are essential to providing first-rate support for their activities. This will ensure that Mercersburg continues to be the very special place it is.

120 t h Anniversary

Magdalena Kala ’09 I always dreamed of going to college in the United States, but when I discovered the option of boarding school in America, it sounded like an even better idea. I had a friend in Poland who received a scholarship to a boarding school in the UK, and her opportunity to explore that country inspired me to begin my own efforts. In my research, I discovered that many American boarding schools offer different summer programs, which seemed like an interesting gateway to experience the U.S. It was May 2005, only about a month before many of these programs started. Naïvely, I sent emails to about 200 different programs, asking for free admission. While an overwhelming majority of them ignored me, not all of them did, and I ended up going to Hotchkiss that summer for a program in environmental science. I fell in love with that school and hoped to attend it the following year. But with all the exams and applications and recommendation letters required, I thought I might as well look for similar schools to apply to as well. I was looking for all the opportunities I didn’t have in Poland—opportunities that would help me grow and lead me to my dream university. I made a list in Microsoft Excel of all the features I sought in a school, visited different school websites to find statistics and figures, and came up with about 30 possibilities. When I narrowed down the list to schools that offered financial aid for international students, five schools remained, and Mercersburg was one of the five. Christopher Tompkins, Mercersburg’s director of admission at the time, came to Krakow and interviewed me there. From that moment, I knew I wanted to come to Mercersburg. My first visit to campus was for an ESL [English as a Second Language] camp in 2006, the summer before I enrolled. I’m embarrassed to admit now that I didn’t realize Mercersburg was not in New England until I arrived on campus. I promise my knowledge of U.S. geography is much better now. Mercersburg was a transition for me in many ways. The structure and the requirements and rules—lights-out times, mealtimes—were an adjustment. My parents always taught me that my education was my own responsibility, so I always had a lot of freedom in how I approached it—and here I was, alone, in a place with such specific structure and expectations of how you go about your business. I had come from the Polish system, which was very much a post-Soviet educational system with a lot of memorization. Students take about 14 different classes at a time, and each class would meet only once or twice a week. It was a lot of different subjects and a lot of memorizing facts. So I was very glad to have fewer classes at Mercersburg and to attend those classes almost every day. The emphasis that Mercersburg placed on analysis and critical thinking, instead of just reading and memorization, was one of my favorite aspects of my new academic experience. I greatly benefitted from the personal interactions I had with faculty members. Even though I have to confess that I didn’t always love the dining-hall experience with its familystyle meals, over time I came to see how important that was. Every school meeting, every Community Gathering, and every conversation you have with a person at Mercersburg becomes a part of your cumulative Mercersburg experience. It influenced me then and continues to influence me today. It’s hard to narrow down the list of faculty members who influenced me along the way,

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but Chris Tompkins became a great mentor for me. He helped me a lot at the beginning in terms of adjusting to the new environment, and later in fully taking advantage of what Mercersburg has to offer. Throughout my time at Mercersburg I always felt a certain responsibility not to disappoint him, both because he was such a good mentor and because he was the person to whom I owed the opportunity to attend the school. It certainly pushed me to make the most of my time at Mercersburg. When I was applying to colleges, I become a bit obsessed with the process. Frank Betkowski in the college-counseling office was incredibly helpful in guiding me through it. I still feel bad about haggling him almost every day as a senior with questions but in the end it not only got me into colleges, but also equipped me with knowledge to help other Polish students do the same. I now work as a volunteer college counselor for various organizations: United World Colleges Poland (a nonprofit that sends top Polish students to IB and A-level programs all over the world), the Harvard Club of Poland (an alumni club that has a very large mentorship program for students in my home country) and The Kings Foundation (a nonprofit that helps Polish students navigate the

college process). Sometimes high-school students also email me outside of these organizations because they heard from some friends about my work; strangely I’ve developed a certain brand in the field in Poland. It’s been wonderful to be able to give back in this small but very important way. And two of the Polish kids I worked with this year received offers from their dream schools, one to Yale and another to MIT, so helping these students attain their goals is a very rewarding experience as well. Dr. Julia Stojak Maurer ’90 and Dr. Gene Sancho were two other very important people for me. Dr. Sancho was a great person to talk to in so many ways, and Dr. Maurer’s robotics course was by far the most challenging class I took at Mercersburg. It was my first experience in failing at something academically, but she pushed me to try different approaches and to try over and over when things were not working. This resourcefulness and persistence proved to be extremely important when I came to Harvard. I tried out for quite a few teams at Mercersburg before I found a home in squash, and it’s the only sport that I really still play. The summer after I graduated from Mercersburg, when I was back in Poland, I went to play in a squash tournament in


Warsaw just for fun—and I placed second and earned a wildcard to the Polish national tournament. It’s definitely an experience I would not have had if I hadn’t come to Mercersburg. The advice that I give to incoming students at Harvard is the same that I’d share with students at Mercersburg: don’t be afraid to take risks. I wish I’d taken more risks myself, both at Mercersburg and at Harvard. People are naturally risk-averse and overestimate how bad failure would be. Sometimes trying new things doesn’t work out, but it’s hard to know what your interests are if you don’t experience things out of your comfort zone, whether it’s a different class or a different activity. As I look at Mercersburg today, I’m happy with the innovation I see and hope that Mercersburg will continue down that path. I’m impressed with the different things that teachers like Dr. Maurer and Ms. Emily Howley are doing with technology and iPad use as part of the curriculum. Mercersburg has never fit the mold of a completely “traditional” boarding school that is set in its ways or afraid to try new things, and that’s something that has been enjoyable and impactful for me. It’s important that Mercersburg continues to be innovative.

About Magdalena Kala A native of Przystajn, Poland; graduated from Harvard University with honors in May 2013 with a degree in economics Works as a Boston-based analyst in Bain Capital’s private-equity practice Valedictorian of her Mercersburg class; was also a National AP Scholar, a member of the Cum Laude Society and The Fifteen, a prefect in Swank Hall, president of Mercersburg Model UN, an editor for the Mercersburg News, and a varsity letterwinner in squash and cross country At Harvard, served as treasurer of the Harvard International Relations Council and as a business executive of The Harvard Crimson newspaper, and was involved in the Harvard Club of Poland Held internships and other positions during summers in New York City, Warsaw, and Shanghai


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120 t h Anniversary

Dick Thornburgh ’50 I don’t think there’s a boarding-school campus in the United States that can hold a candle to Mercersburg’s with its sweep of lawns and its magnificent architecture. From the late 1940s when I attended “the ’Burg,” I can remember particularly the beautiful Chapel, which sits on a hill and dominates the scene. What a handsome setting for an educational undertaking. Every time I heard the carillon, either in chapel during the week or during our Sunday services, it sent a chill up my spine. To have the beauty of the site underscored by magnificent music was touching indeed. My older brother, Charlie Thornburgh ’38, graduated from Mercersburg, and I was first on campus for his commencement ceremonies. It was somewhat of a foregone conclusion that I would end up there as well when my parents decided that I needed a higher quality of secondary education than I was getting in our local Pittsburgh-area public schools. I lived first in Laucks Hall, under the watchful eye of Fred Kuhn, where I was quickly introduced into all the rites of American boarding schools. I felt at home almost instantly because I was surrounded by good friends and quality teachers. I didn’t apply myself as I should have but that was true, I suspect, of many of my contemporaries as well. In our senior-year edition of the KARUX there was a list of those who were voted most likely to succeed or were distinguished in various other categories. I qualified in only one respect—being voted the “wittiest” member of the class. That actually meant that I was an expert in wisecracking and mouthing off, and as a result I spent a lot of time with Roy “Spike” Andrew, who was the dean and chief disciplinarian at the time. And I walked a lot of guard. The faculty member who had the most influence on me intellectually was Pratt Tobey, my English teacher. Leonard Plantz was my modern history teacher and the basketball coach, a truly extraordinary person. I remember that Blair LeRoy ’50—my classmate and friend at Mercersburg and later my roommate at Yale—and I visited with him on campus just before he died, a great treat. As I went through Mercersburg and then college, I really didn’t have

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About Dick Thornburgh

“The school motto— hard work, fair play, clean life—provided a useful guideline for life in general…” a consistent career direction in mind. I was sports editor of the Mercersburg News, and enjoyed it so much that I initially wanted to be a sportswriter. But I studied engineering at Yale before finally settling on law and government. I attended Mercersburg before Brown v. Board of Education, so the school was all-white and all-male, and we were all diminished by the absence of the diversity which exists on campus today. But Mercersburg nurtured in me an ability to get along with people of different backgrounds, and helped me fashion a path toward understanding the worth of all God’s people. The school motto—hard work, fair play, clean life—provided a useful guideline for life in general, whatever one’s calling might be. A hope of mine for Mercersburg’s future is that it will continue to be a conveyor of traditional values. Many of them are under siege today, and institutions such as Mercersburg and individuals such as its students and faculty have a responsibility to convey to the next generation the values that we’ve accumulated and refined over the years in our nation. I’m not a prophet of doom and gloom; I don’t think that America is on its way downward. But it was once said that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” And that’s what is called for from all our educational institutions today, Mercersburg included.



Graduated from Yale University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Served as governor of Pennsylvania from 1979 to 1987, during which time he balanced state budgets for eight consecutive years, reduced both personal and business tax rates, cut the state’s record-high indebtedness, and left a surplus of $350 million Appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, a post he continued to hold under President George H. W. Bush until 1991; in that position, he played a leading role in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Held positions in the U.S. Department of Justice under five U.S. presidents Served as under-secretary-general of the United Nations in 1992–1993 Works as Washington-based counsel to the international law firm K&L Gates; served as the examiner in the WorldCom bankruptcy proceedings; as an investigator into the CBS News allegations of improprieties by President George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard that led to the resignation of anchor Dan Rather; and as author of a critique questioning the accuracy of the Freeh Report regarding former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno Married to his wife, Ginny, for 50 years; they have four sons, six grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters A recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Lawyer magazine, the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Legion, and the Pennsylvania Society’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement Has served as a trustee for the University of Pittsburgh, the Urban Institute, the Gettysburg Foundation, and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and served on a number of corporate boards Received honorary degrees from 32 colleges and universities

Snapshot A group of eight Mercersburg students, faculty, and alumni complete an expedition to the Canadian Arctic. The group is led by then Dean of Students Tim Rockwell and also includes faculty members Brent Gift, Dan Kunkle, and Frank Rutherford ’70, as well as Jeff Dailey ’83, Kurt Nielsen ’84, Shawn Rockwell Hardy ’80, and Robin Sarner ’84.



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120 t h Anniversary

Ryan Ma ’11 My earliest memory of Mercersburg didn’t actually take place on campus; it came before I had ever visited the campus. I had an interview in Hong Kong with Mr. Christopher Tompkins, who was then the head of admission at Mercersburg and had come to interview several prospective students. I remember him telling me that I could find all the things I was looking for in a school— whether academic or extracurricular—at Mercersburg. And he turned out to be right. I did visit the campus in late February 2008, before I ended up enrolling that fall. It was a cool and rainy day, but even in the rain, you could tell that the Burgin Center for the Arts was gorgeous. We were there in the late afternoon; it was just starting to get dark and you could see the Burgin Center in the light. And of all the things I saw, I think that’s what made the biggest impression on me. I’d never dreamed of being able to use an arts center like that. My first year at Mercersburg was overwhelming, but in a good way. I jumped out of my comfort zone. I did theatre my first term, and it was a great experience. I was on stage and backstage, and even though I had done theatre before, at Mercersburg it was a whole new experience. And then in the winter, I was on the diving team. That’s something that I never thought about doing before I got to Mercersburg; I never even knew it was an option as a sport.

I just remember everything going by so quickly, and I think I changed a lot in that first year. I guess what I wanted was a bigger stage, a bigger set, and more people. And you know what? That’s everything that Mercersburg gave me, and more—beyond what I imagined it ever would. I grew close very early to Ms. Laurie Mufson, the director of Stony Batter. Even though she never directed any of the plays I was in until my senior year, we spent a lot of time together because I was involved in Stony Batter and she also lived in Fowle Hall, where I lived. She gave me a lot of help and support and helped me navigate the transition from living in Hong Kong to being an international student in a completely different culture. And probably my most memorable endeavor at Mercersburg was “Boone/Burgin,” a documentary I produced on Boone Hall (Mercersburg’s previous arts building) and the Burgin Center that started in a digital video class with Ms. Kristy Higby. She was always there for me, whether it was keeping an eye out for me—literally— as she watched my video over and over and helped me with editing choices, or pointing me to all the right people for research, or coming in late to sign me into the Burgin Center so I could work on it. The whole project was really a defining moment for me, because it helped me develop my interest in digital media and turned into an anchor

About Ryan Ma A native of Hong Kong; spent three years at Mercersburg Majoring in interactive media and graphic design at Northeastern University Working at LevelUp, a Boston-based startup company backed by Google As a student at Mercersburg, was inducted into the school’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society; served as a dormitory prefect in Keil Hall; was a member of Stony Batter Players, the diving team, and the Irving Society; worked on the staff of the Blue Review and the KARUX; and served as a Burgin Center proctor

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point for the career that I’m building today in college. I’m in the co-op program at Northeastern University, so my curriculum is spread across five years and includes two semesters working as a full-time employee in my field of study. Last semester I started working at LevelUp, a mobile-payment company in Boston. It’s an 80-person operation. The job I have there was never listed as an option for a co-op; most students find their positions through the university’s system, which lists the many different positions the school has collected for the students. I wanted to try to find something on my own. I found this company and saw they had an opening for a designer. Knowing that they had hired co-ops for their sales positions before, I reached out to them and showed them my portfolio, which showcased a lot of work that I did at Mercersburg. They called me back, I went for an interview the next day, and on my way home I got an offer from them for a full-time co-op position. A lot of that, honestly, was luck, because I made the right connections and found the right people. Nonetheless, Mercersburg enabled me to reach out and connect to people, and I will always be thankful for this valuable lesson. I came to Mercersburg not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I considered theatre—which I loved, but learned that it was my interest, not necessarily something I wanted to build a career around. I considered becoming a visual artist. And then I ran into digital media and did some film production and then ended up working on the Blue Review literary magazine and doing digital design for printed publications and the web. Really, it was a process of defining myself over and over again, and I think that’s how we get the best out of ourselves. You don’t reach your full potential until you try out different things and different opportunities. I was invited to attend the Board of Regents meetings in Philadelphia in early 2012, and I was blown away by all the work that goes on there. When you’re a student you don’t see all the planning and all the work that goes on behind the curtain—all the work that members of the Board and the faculty do for the students. Later I went to a conference for some of Mercersburg’s Young Leaders and had the same reaction when I learned about the new capstone projects for Mercersburg students and how the school is embracing technology in the classroom.




At the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, swimmer Melvin Stewart ’88 wins two gold medals (in the 200m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay) and adds a bronze medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay. It brings the total number of Olympic medals won by Mercersburg alumni to 20. The school’s alumni have made 54 Olympic appearances for 14 different nations—most recently when Abed Kaaki ’04 swam for Lebanon at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.



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120 t h Anniversary

John Prentiss ’65 Medary A. Prentiss was a member of the Class of 1914 and the first of four generations of his family to make the trek to Mercersburg. He was also my grandfather. Long before I had any sense of the school, his voice showered my young ears with full concerts of songs that would later collectively become known to me as “Step Songs.” My first memories of these songs involve Grandfather, a farm truck, a dusty dirt road, and the backwoods of Maine. Each melody was followed by a wondrous tale of a prank or adventure he had masterminded from his dorm room in Laucks Hall. His songs and his stories set the foundation for my desire to attend. I was not a great student at the time, but I was always up for a great adventure. So, at the age of 15, and just minutes after my mother finished sewing the last of nametags into my underwear, I was off to see what the word “Academy” was all about and what sort of adventure it could become for me. I spent the 14 years and 11 months before nametags were necessary in a town of fewer than 200 people. One where we were told to go out and play in the morning and not expected to return until dinnertime. One where friends were developed around an adventure du jour—not around age, gender, nor social class. One where I had not yet developed a wide perspective of “self” or “place.” Enter Mercersburg. As I climbed the steps of Tippetts Hall with a bit of trepidation in my vertical gait, my mother departed with tears in her eyes. My fear was not invalid, as the level of academics was brutal and my study habits were not yet up to speed. Turns out neither were my original thoughts, thus making the task of compiling three pages of them on a weekly English essay daunting to say the least. However, with more effort than the previously mentioned tractor was capable of generating, persistent guidance, and a sprinkling of humiliation, I not only survived, but thrived in Tippetts Hall and beyond. I previously had no exposure to organized sports, so the playing fields were yet another classroom where I felt behind the curve. The fact that my body had not yet experienced the

full effects of the oncoming testosterone surge only stacked the odds further away from me. Fortunately, my athleticism and hormones eventually caught up, and in conjunction with supreme coaching, I enjoyed the opportunity to participate, and eventually excel, in football, wrestling, and track. Wrestling became my favorite sport not very long after I realized that Coach Fred Kuhn—“Kunnie”—only yelled at you if he saw a glimmer of hope in your ability. Fortunately for me, and my confidence, he yelled at me. A lot. There was no hiding behind the word “team” in Kunnie’s sweaty wrestling room. You either performed or ate a big bowl of agony of defeat. I’m still not sure if he had a validated reasoned formula underpinning his methods, but the overall experience remains one of the most positive in my life. While I was putting in my push-ups in the classroom and on the field, I was simultaneously developing a master’s degree in the art of pranks and it turns out this didn’t require much effort at all. There never seemed to be a shortage of tutelage in this arena either. The name of this game was to “one up” your competition and consequences and accountability only mattered if one was caught. Years later we would realize this mentality wasn’t actually completely true, nor necessarily our fault. It seems our underdeveloped pre-frontal cortexes were to blame. I doubt this knowledge and any degree of insight would have altered the process—a process best exemplified in what would go down in history as “Penny Sunday.” I was a Chapel usher and the weekly collection of the offering was a rigidly orchestrated sight to behold. What better arena to introduce a masterful prank? I cannot take the credit, as I was not the originator, but I most certainly enthusiastically partook in the event that was always the most anticipated annual Chapel affair. All year long, fellow students would hoard pennies, storing them in socks and used Band-Aid boxes just for this occasion. The unspoken yet well-known goal of this prank was to fill the collection plates with enough weight such that when the six were stacked together and taken to the altar as an offering, the legs of the bearer would buckle, ceremoniously releasing a

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About John Prentiss Completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University before earning a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Colorado State’s School of Veterinary Medicine Opened a small animal practice in the Boston area; in 1978, purchased Bulger Animal Hospital and established what today is the InTown Veterinary Group network of hospitals, which includes facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire Elected to Mercersburg’s Board of Regents in 1990; serves as chair of the Buildings & Grounds Committee and was also a Major Gifts Committee co-chairman for the school’s Mightily Onward campaign Along with fellow Regent Bill Zimmerman ’67, funded restoration of the school’s PrentissZimmerman Quadrangle in 2009; his gift was in honor of his wife, Carol, and mother, Jeanne Palmer Prentiss Serves as a member of the E.E. Ford Foundation’s board of directors, a group chaired by former Mercersburg headmaster Walter Burgin ’53 Part of four generations of his family to attend Mercersburg; along with his grandfather, other alumni family members include his father (the late George ’39), uncle (Medary ’43), son (Ames ’89), and daughter (Kimball ’92)

deluge of pennies down the stone aisle. In my three-year stint we never succeeded in crumbling the bearer to his knees, but our cumulative laughter and pleasure with the mere thought certainly brought us to our own. “Troughing” was another group prank that fostered collaboration, hand-eye coordination, and a great sense of accomplished pride. A “new boy” was selected as the lucky recipient of a wet lap—and with this selection, the game was on. The entire cohort at the table—minus the unknowing recipient— folded up the overhanging edges of the stiffly starched tablecloth, carefully negotiating at least three 90-degree corners and effectively forming a watertight trough. Next came the question: water or milk? And lastly, the attention of the (un)lucky participant was momentarily diverted as the trough was filled with an inevitable tsunami of liquid. The main difficulty in the task was to ensure that the centripetal forces kept the liquid moving around the table into the fourth—and unfolded— corner and into the lap of the chosen one. One spastic move and the joke was (quite

literally) on you. Needless to say, this was attempted only on nights when faculty attendance at the evening meal was dismal. Once again, nearly 50 years later, Mercersburg has welcomed me for my second stint at the Academy, this time as a Regent. Mercersburg is no longer exactly the place that I remember from the 1960s. Time does indeed change all, or at least a lot, and Mercersburg has certainly changed quite a bit over the years. Our mission, and our great hope as Regents, is to thoughtfully breed change that allows Mercersburg to continue to meet, and exceed, the needs and expectations of our students and their parents. Our goal has been to institute change that would hurdle Mercersburg from a good school to a great institution, all the while maintaining its uniquely special sense of place. To complete this mission, we were armed with new leadership, a bold and aggressive strategic plan, and an insurgence of capable friends and alumni to help orchestrate and execute our charge. Today, when I look across campus and chronicle the changes in my mind, I see

a school that is now coed. I see married faculty with young children enlivening the campus landscape. I see experiential learning around a Harkness table replacing unidirectional lecturing. I see “textbooks” now written by Mercersburg teachers on iPads. I see new buildings and renovations of old ones to house and foster all of these changes. Mostly, however, I see the very same looks of self-realized potential on the faces of the students and pride among the faculty, even if their collective composition has changed. I hear the same hums of community and silent pauses of possibility, even if in programs or buildings or on landscapes that are new and different. I meet with students and I can practically taste their own developing senses of self and place. Above all, I am quietly amazed and enormously grateful that the spirit of this special place has remained intact and that part of this spirit is annually captured and voiced in the Step Songs—the very same ones that Grandfather continued to sing until the last time we parted.


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120 t h Anniversary

Denise Dupré ’76 I didn’t know much about boarding schools when I started looking for a school that would challenge me more than my local public-school system. Mercersburg was the only name I knew, and the initial connection I had was through a family friend. I wrote for an application myself, filled it out, and then had to convince my parents that it was what I wanted to do. So they drove me to campus for my interview; I met with Frank Bell in the admissions office, and then I went home and waited patiently for the only school I had applied to attend. Fortunately, I was admitted. I was in the first class of ninth-grade boarding girls; there were four of us at the start. In its transition to coeducation, Mercersburg accepted some female students as 10th, 11th, and 12th graders, so there were female students that graduated before we did, but we were the first class that had been there for four years. There were about 45 girls in the entire school, as compared to almost 300 boys. What that meant is that all the female students

Dupré and her husband, Mark Nunnelly

had to truly dive in. Essentially, nearly everybody had to play every sport. We had no bench. What it forged was a tremendously energized, team-oriented, can-do sort of pioneer spirit, if you will, that launched the ship. I remember playing a team sport for the first time, even though I didn’t know what a field-hockey stick looked like, let alone the rules of the game. In retrospect, we probably took for granted at the time that we were part of a living-learning community. It’s something you experience as a student but probably don’t evaluate—you don’t really think about the notion that faculty members are sharing meals with you, and that your coaches are your teachers, and that the very fabric of the curriculum is integrated into your life. I think the small town of Mercersburg—the rural nature of the place—built additional community. There weren’t the distractions of a city nearby. You lived and learned and worked and did everything right there, and obviously it was a seven-day program, not a five-day program. So for me it meant that for extended periods of time, I was home only for vacations. It’s almost unfair to single out just one faculty member as having made a lasting impression on me, so I want to particularly mention my ninthgrade teachers. Among them were Paul Suerken, who is no longer with us, but was a gifted English teacher and energizing in the classroom. There was Karl Reisner, who of course is still teaching at Mercersburg and was a bridge to my second experience at Mercersburg as a Board member, because I got to know him as a colleague and from a very different lens. The same is true of Gene Sancho, my ninthgrade Spanish teacher who later became the academic dean, and—like Karl—was a gifted teacher and incredibly invested in his students. To think that I could come back as a Board member, many years later, and have friendships with the very people who had such a profound impact on me as a student was a pretty special thing. It also speaks to the quality of the community that so many people have given their entire careers to this one place. Mercersburg gave me the courage of my convictions and a foundation to reach higher than I ever would have dreamed. By nature, the teenage

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years are full of evolution and path seeking, and Mercersburg got me going on the right path. I was elected president of my class in ninth grade, which came as a complete surprise to me because I didn’t know that anyone really knew who I was. And the joy of that, and being part of school government in different ways, led to me becoming president of the student council my senior year. That was a pretty fun managerial experience. So much of what I would say about my time on the Board of Regents at Mercersburg is that it was a team effort. It was not about superstars or publicity. It was about doing the right thing by the school and keeping our values in the right place. As we unfolded this mission, so many good things happened, and not only in the physical plant, where dorms, faculty housing, and classroom buildings were renovated and sports facilities and the arts center were built. All of that evolution was underpinned by a genuine desire to make sure that we really thought about affordability—so that it didn’t become an elitist place. It’s an elite school, but not elitist. Something else that I felt was really terrific about the Board is that nearly everyone on it was either an alumnus or alumna of the school or the parent of a student. We really shared the same core values, and that led to rich discussions where you could be really frank and where people left their egos at the door so that, ultimately, decisions all made themselves. We could have strong and vigorous debate and then land in a place that we felt really good about. Mercersburg really invested in its faculty, it invested in financial aid to make sure that the brightest and the best students could go, paid attention to its endowment, and paid attention to balancing the annual budget.

You’ve got to keep the school financially strong, because then you can weather storms if you come to them. I think that everyone on the Board was very thoughtful about the financial health of the school. It was easy for us to stay invigorated for a long period of time, and like any good team, this particular Board was tremendously smart about applying people’s skillsets to the work at hand. The assemblage of skills and talents we had was one of those winning combinations. Some of that may be luck or serendipity—and you’d like to think that a shared Mercersburg education might have been part of the secret sauce—but mostly, the collective shared energy kept us moving forward. There’s always more work to be done, and quite honestly, I loved the people I worked with. I think the Mercersburg of today has an enormous head start in terms of the breadth and depth of students that it serves. Its ability to continue to provide opportunities to all is really important. The school needs to continue to reflect lots of different viewpoints, lots of different socioeconomic circumstances, lots of different nationalities, and lots of different places. That mixing together is what prepares kids for the next step—and really, for their careers and for interacting with the world. This is a place that changes lives in a profound way. And that happens one student at a time, so the momentum of that collection of changed lives puts Mercersburg on the map in a way that perhaps isn’t recognized today as much as I’d love to see it recognized. My wish for Mercersburg is that it gets the rich credit that it deserves. But not too much. Humililty matters.

About Denise Dupré A graduate of Dartmouth College and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration Author of the industry textbook Hospitality World!; has taught at Cornell University, Harvard University, and Boston University, where she helped develop BU’s School of Hospitality Administration and served as its dean Chief executive officer of Dupré Ltd.; has extensive experience in the hospitality field, including roles in marketing, consulting, and operations for both public and private companies Joined Mercersburg’s Board of Regents in 1995; served as a vice president from 2002 to 2005 and president from 2005 to 2012 The first of four sisters (Laura Dupré ’77, J a n e e n D u p ré ’ 8 0, H e i d i D u p ré Hannah  ’81) to attend Mercersburg; also has three nieces, a nephew, and two cousins who are fellow alumni Also serves on the board of trustees for Dartmouth College, the Noble and Greenough School, The Fessenden School, and on the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors She and her husband, Mark Nunnelly, have supported numerous nonprofit organizations with a focus on education, including City Year, Jumpstart, Teach for America, and the KIPP Schools



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120 t h Anniversary

William Zimmerman ’67

Zimmerman speaking at the 2009 dedication of the Prentiss-Zimmerman Quadrangle

I grew up on the same street with 14 of my cousins in Mt. Wolf, Pennsylvania, in York County. I was one of the older kids in the group, and a number of us began to look at private schools. From there I ended up at Mercersburg, a place that became my alma mater and the alma mater of my daughter, Jesse ’96, and where I served on and chaired the Board of Regents. I think about my initial reactions to being at Mercersburg—of homesickness and of living in the basement of a dormitory that is no longer there, old ’Eightyeight. Not all my immediate experiences were good. But then I also remember some faculty members who were particularly kind to me, including Earle Grover, Rosamund Bell, Joe Adams, and David Tyson. Even the headmaster, Bill Fowle, was pleasant and welcoming. So eventually, the homesickness went away and Mercersburg really became an important place to me. We had about 550 boys in the school—no girls, of course—and the faculty was dominated by single, white men who lived in the dormitories with us. There were some faculty families, but it was rare. So in that regard, it was dramatically different from what the school is now from a residential standpoint, and I think the school of today is far superior. Imagine all the dining-hall tables that are in Ford Hall today, and imagine squeezing enough tables for 100 more people into the Edwards Room in Keil Hall. We were pretty packed in there. The old gymnasium, where I played basketball in what today is the fitness center, was a bizarre place. There was a track up above it and you couldn’t take shots from certain parts of the floor because you’d throw the ball up and it would hit the track. And the old swimming pool, which was in the area underneath the basketball court, was even more of a dungeon. It was below grade and there were no windows. But some great teams came out of there. The people you met and got to know at Mercersburg were much more important than and overwhelmed any flaws in the way the school, or boarding schools in general back then, were operated. It became pretty apparent that friendships were going to be what got you through. I’m still close friends with a fellow named Tony Trenga ’67, who was the president of our class and has gone on to become a federal judge. He has one of the most extraordinary legal minds in the country and is also, in my opinion, one of the finest and kindest people I’ve ever known. Jim Dresher ’67 and Greg Moller ’67 both turned out to be pretty exceptional businesspeople. Jim is still involved in the building and creation of a group of hotels in the Baltimore area. Jim and Greg, coincidentally, both graduated from Rutgers University, got into the McDonald’s business back in the early 1970s, and did extraordinarily well. When they saw each other at reunions, they used to joke that if one of them ever started to have chest pains, he should immediately call the other guy because they had so many similarities in their lives. Unfortunately, Greg died in the 1980s. He was an incredible guy.

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There’s Ivan Sag ’67, who is a longtime professor at Stanford University and probably one of the top two or three linguists in the United States. I remember being in a couple of language classes with Ivan and trying to sit behind him so that I wouldn’t get called on. He was an extraordinary student and a great musician as well. Bill Jewett ’65 was not in my class, but he’s really one of the greatest Mercersburg students of all time. I think he had a photographic memory; he maintained a 100 average, lettered in three sports, was president of the student body, went on to Harvard, and became a doctor. Sadly, he developed a brain tumor and died at age 26. I always wonder what kind of difference Bill Jewett would have made in the world. He had the rare gift of being brilliant, and he also had the gift of being able to befriend people. He really took the time to talk to guys who were in the ninth or 10th grade, and was also one of the kindest people I ever met. The final person I want to mention is Tom Fleming ’68, who passed away in 2011. Tom was one of Mercersburg’s first African

American students. He had a joyful personality and was a great baseball, basketball, and football player. He was a funny and bright guy who went on to Syracuse and taught in the New Haven school system for many years. When I think of Mercersburg, I often think back to what Tom had to go through at that time—but I think he helped pave the way for Mercersburg to become the diverse place that it is today. I joined the Board at Mercersburg about the same time that my daughter came there as a student. I remember the first time Jesse made reference to a trip back to Mercersburg as “going home,” we were a little hurt at first that she thought of Mercersburg as much of her home as our home in Mt. Wolf. But I thought it was a good transition for her, and the group of people I served with on the Board felt it was important for us to try to create a school that would be as much a home for the students as it was a school. We have had an extraordinary group on the Board, and the leadership of people like Nick Taubman ’53, Gerry Lenfest ’49, Edgar Masinter ’48, Denise Dupré ’76, and David

About Bill Zimmerman A graduate of Denison University; did graduate work at the University of Tennessee and the University of Maine Part of the sixth generation of his family to direct The Wolf Organization, a building materials company which has operated in the Mid-Atlantic and New England since the 1840s; it is the corporate parent of WOLF, the largest distributor of kitchen and bath cabinetry in the U.S. Served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1993 to 2005 and as its president from 2001 to 2005 Other board memberships have included the York Foundation, the Fifth Maine Museum, the Peaks Island Fund, and Strand-Capital Performing Arts Center Along with fellow Regent John Prentiss ’65, funded restoration of the Prentiss-Zimmerman Quadrangle at Mercersburg in 2009; his gift was in honor of his wife, Patty, and his parents, Kathryn Wolf Zimmerman and John D. Zimmerman Other members of his family to attend Mercersburg include his daughter, Jesse ’96; sister, Jane ZimmermanRuffin ’75; cousins, Greg Umlauf ’69 and Andy Wolf ’69; and step-grandson, Alex Stoner ’15


Frantz ’60 has been among the most important in the development of what I call the “new” Mercersburg. We really wanted to focus on campus life and what that meant. We wanted to make major changes in terms of facilities and dormitory residences for both students and faculty, and how we could make those better. On a smaller level, it wasn’t that long ago that there were only one or two laundry facilities that students could use on campus—and we decided that there were a lot of things like that which could be changed relatively simply and would make a big difference. I used to joke that the kids in my class had tears in their eyes when they graduated—but they were tears of joy in terms of being finished and being able to leave. Today, a lot of the kids who graduate shed tears of joy, but also of sadness in having to leave the place. I think that largely—not everyone, obviously, but for the most part—this generation of students has a much warmer and loving feeling toward the school than we did. My classes came to respect Mercersburg and what it has done for us years after we left. But we probably weren’t anxious to stay any longer than we had to, and that’s what we were trying to change. We want this to be a school that people love while they’re here and then love the memory of it as well. The cost of private education today, both at the secondary and college levels, constitutes a bubble of sorts that has been created—and the cost has gotten so high that we may be facing a possible crash. With that said, I think Mercersburg has positioned itself pretty well to weather that kind of catastrophe by building and developing a very strong endowment. While that bodes well for the future of the school, we have a long way to go with the development of the endowment and are not finished by any means. One of the things that has to be a focus is need-blind scholarship aid to balance out this huge rise in the cost of education. We have to figure out how to make Mercersburg accessible to everybody, so that anyone can go there and we never have to be in a position to turn someone away because of ability to pay.


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120 t h Anniversary

Seth Noorbakhsh ’13 Excerpt from valedictory address Mercersburg’s 120th Commencement


I would be lying if I said that getting to this point was all butterflies and rainbows. Whether it has been homesickness, difficult coursework, or missing people that have been sent home or left our class for one reason or another, we have all experienced rough times here. But I think I speak for all of us when I say that this place has changed us for the better. We have been given every opportunity to succeed—from the soccer pitch to the classroom, and from the baseball diamond to the nooks and crannies of the Burgin Center, we have worked hard to become the people that we are today and to be standing on this platform. We have met friends from all over



H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49 announces a $35 million gift to Mercersburg, the largest gift in the school’s history and one of the largest ever to a secondary school. Lenfest served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1989 to 1998 and as its president from 1994 to 1998. Pictured (L-R): Head of School Douglas Hale, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, and then Board of Regents President Edgar Masinter ’48.

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the world, some of which have even traveled thousands of miles to share this moment with us today. Most of us have grown up at Mercersburg, and we are who we are in large part because of this school and the relationships we have formed here. For that, we should be grateful. Many of us have found ourselves here, and, at the risk of sounding like some sort of coached propaganda-boy for Mercersburg, many of us have even “defined” ourselves here. We have taken up new sports, enrolled in classes of subjects that were brand-new to us, and attended events outside our general realm of interests. In his novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky writes, “I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in some Third World country or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have.” It all comes back to honesty. As members of this graduating class, we have what we have and we are what we are. We are now graduates of one of the top academic boarding schools in the nation—the recipients of a world-class education both inside and outside of the classroom. We are poets and scholars, musicians and dancers, and athletes and computer whizzes. We have the opportunity to do great things, but success is an achievement— not the inalienable right of the prep-school graduate. In the next few years, our lives will be filled with both challenges and triumphs, both struggles and failures. It is those of us that know when to get our hands dirty, when to take a step backwards and analyze our lives with sincerity, and who are not afraid to break a nail in the face of adversity, who will ultimately be successful. It is those of us that accept who and what we are, and remain loyal to our personal morals and to the people that we love, who will ultimately be happy.

About Seth Noorbakhsh Will attend Yale University in the fall; was also accepted at Brown University, Dartmouth College, Rice University, the University of Virginia, and the College of William & Mary Valedictorian of Mercersburg’s Class of 2013; was a member of the Cum Laude Society and The Fifteen; served as editor-in-chief of the Mercersburg News, as captain of the golf team, and as a prefect in Keil Hall; and was a semifinalist in the 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Lives in Vienna, West Virginia

To read the full text of Noorbakhsh’s address at Commencement—including My Yugen Truth, a poem by Ritika Malkani ’13 that inspired the speech, scan this QR code with your mobile device or visit



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120 t h Anniversary

Michael Davies ’85 I have often said threE things about my six months at Mercersburg. One is that it was like living in a John Hughes movie with more diversity. Two, back then my English accent was so strong no one could understand a word I said. And three, in just six months, I learned more, grew more, and experienced more than I had in seven years at my previous, all-boys, secondary school in South London. Coming from my school in London, where in the early eighties, the wrong look, the wrong scarf, the wrong shoes on the wrong side of the corridor could cost you a casual beating from the school’s resident gang of skinheads/mods/soul boys/rockers/punks/teachers, what I found so remarkable about Mercersburg, and why I really thrived there, was that it was just so unbelievably friendly. I don’t remember seeing a single fight. I witnessed no bullying. I don’t even remember much drama. It was just a bunch of young people, all in the same beautiful place, who were friendly to each other, close to their teachers, and where everyone seemed to respect everyone else. I think Karl Reisner was one of the best teachers I ever had. I think he would admit that for his time, he was an unconventional teacher, but he brought a level of passion and storytelling to the teaching of American history which I hadn’t really felt from any teacher I’d ever had before. And it was very much a preview for me of what I was to experience when I went up to university at Edinburgh, where I had professors who were similarly absorbed in their fields and able to communicate that passion to their students. I’d speak equally of Mr. Wirt Winebrenner ’54, who was my English teacher. In my first class, I looked at the Norton Anthology with disdain—the terrible paper, the stories, poems, plays I’d read a hundred times at school in England. But reading Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare with him was a little bit like reading it for the first time. It was a celebration and an appreciation for the English language which I hadn’t really witnessed before. In England, I suppose we all took our language for granted. Not in Pennsylvania. And then I was opened up to the history of art—which I later studied at university, but which I studied for the first time at Mercersburg. We took weekend trips to the National Gallery of Art in Washington that just opened my eyes. The first time I saw that Alexander Calder mobile was probably the first time that I really saw modern art in my life and I was blown away by it. I remember standing in the gallery there and just watching it slowly go around for what seemed like hours. Mercersburg opened my mind to so many things, but at the same time it was surreal—a little bit like being in a movie. I remember that

watching a high-school basketball game felt so intrinsically American for me. It was almost like being an alien on another planet—particularly in hindsight, because our point guard was [future Academy Award winner] Benicio Del Toro ’85. And wrestling matches and swim meets and baseball games and simply ordering pizza from Romeo’s and having it delivered and watching Saturday Night Live. Wow. America. One of the great highlights for me was declaiming for Irving; it was the first time Irving had won in four years. I found, with the help of our faculty adviser, Paul Suerken, a Tom Stoppard play that we adapted (or as Mr. Winebrenner would have it, “violated”) into a monologue. An indelible memory is of Benicio standing up and cheering me as I finished my performance, having no idea that he would go on to be such a great actor. And then Irving won and I won the first-place individual trophy. I remember being lifted aloft at the dance afterwards, and it was another John Hughes movie moment. After I graduated, I didn’t come back to Mercersburg for about a dozen years. But like so many people of my generation and previous generations and those that graduated after me, what really brought me back was [former assistant head for external affairs] Don Hill. He asked me to speak at a career day in 1997. By then I was working at ABC running late night and alternative series and specials. I got to stand in old Boone Hall, the site of my great Declamation performance, and I spoke about my career path and

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how Mercersburg prepared me. And it must have been quite striking and quite emotional for me—because as I drove away from campus I resolved to stay involved with Mercersburg for the rest of my life. My brother, William ’79, was similarly influenced by his time at Mercersburg as an English-Speaking Union student, and he moved to America and became a movie writer. I realized that I probably wouldn’t have been at Mercersburg had my brother not gone there, and I wouldn’t be in America had he not chosen to do that, and most of what has happened to me wouldn’t have happened. Years later, when I was on the Board of Regents, the school began to use the slogan, “Define yourself. Here.” to appeal to prospective students. And I am living proof of that phrase—I defined myself at Mercersburg. I’d never really done much drama before I got there, so Declamation was totally new for me. I’d never really thought of myself as creative before I went to Mercersburg. I was good at languages and at math, but at Mercersburg, it was a completely different experience. In England, I’d been really good at tennis; I was one of the best tennis players in my county—a county being the sort of equivalent of a state. At Mercersburg, I was the third-best tennis player in my grade. There was diversity there. I’d been to a school with 800 mostly white boys and a few Pakistanis and Indians. At Mercersburg, my two best friends were African American. Within my dorm there were Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, and kids from really all over the world who became my friends. It was the first time I’d lived in a diverse environment, around women, around boys and some girls who probably knew—and probably most everyone knew—were gay, and I had friends from very, very different backgrounds: rural, inner city, the South, California, a place named Texas. I know that’s been a massive influence. It turned out to be a preview, really, of what the rest of my life would be like, but a complete departure from where I’d been before.

But I remember looking out into that crowd on the day I came back to speak, and seeing myself in a lot of the students there— students who could achieve anything by defining themselves. And in that crowd of students, bizarrely, was a young lady named Colleen Corcoran Yates ’99, who ended up coming to work for me at my company in New York, Embassy Row, and doing very, very well there. I was even asked back again to speak at Commencement in 1999. That day is a movie scene in every way. And then I joined the Board and I served two separate terms, which was some of the most rewarding work that I’ve ever done— partly because I believe so strongly in the specialness, the uniqueness, the so-hardto-put-into-words-ness of Mercersburg Academy. And it’s such a special place in every single way and has been so special in my life and in my family’s life; my daughter, Brea ’10, was at the school for three and a half years. Between us, we’re a four-year


senior. My younger daughters, ages 7 and 8, visit the website and watch the admissions videos all the time. If they go, I know my 2-year-old son will follow. Mercersburg has managed to become a more progressive and competitive educational institution without losing any of the things that have made it so special and so laid back, and frankly, so friendly. It has world-class facilities, a world-class program and faculty, and increasingly, a student body who in range and background and talent and diversity would match any student body in the world. But it still has all the magical, warm qualities of a small Pennsylvania school in a beautiful setting close enough, and just far away enough, from everywhere. That is a hard balance to achieve. And I just hope that it continues to find that balance. That’s my hope for Mercersburg—to find and achieve that balance. And to make every kid feel like they’re starring in a movie that will help define the rest of their life.

About Michael Davies A native of London, he attended Mercersburg and graduated as an English-Speaking Union scholar; later graduated from the University of Edinburgh President and CEO of Embassy Row Productions, which he founded and sold to Sony Pictures Television; the company develops original programming and adapts international formats for television, online, and mobile distribution in the U.S. and around the world Winner of three Emmys—two as executive producer of the U.S. version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and a third as executive producer of the multiple Academy Awardshortlisted documentary The Tillman Story Served as executive producer or executive in charge of countless other shows and series, including Bill Nye The Science Guy, Whose Line is it Anyway?, The Academy Awards, The Glee Project, Watch What Happens Live, Talking Dead, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld Before founding Embassy Row, was executive vice president for alternative series, late night, and specials at ABC Entertainment; worked as senior vice president for development at Buena Vista Productions; and created the production company Diplomatic Served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1998 to 2001 and again from 2007 to 2011 One of three members of his family to attend Mercersburg (along with brother William ’79, a Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include Twins and Flushed Away, and daughter Brea ’10)


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Ann Quinn ’84 Growing up at Mercersburg, the campus and its buildings were our big backyard. So I’ve always felt a part of the school from a very, very early age. I remember learning to ride a two-wheel bike and coming down the big hill by Ford Hall and hitting a wet slate patio in front of Ford and wrecking. We climbed the magnolia trees and played in the gym for countless hours. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel completely at home at Mercersburg. And it’s amazing to me that with all the changes in the physical layout of the school, I still feel that way. I never had a class in Lenfest Hall, and the Burgin Center of the Arts wasn’t part of my experience, since neither building had been built when I was a student. But I still connect physically with the place just like I did when I was growing up and was a student there. Even though I was so comfortable at Mercersburg, the transition to being a student there was somewhat difficult. I knew many of the 10th, 11th, and 12th graders and all of the faculty, but I only knew a handful of people in my class: Dean Hill ’84 and Laura Tyson Ransom ’84, who were faculty kids, and Christian Rubeck ’84 and Jeff Reese ’84, who I knew from town. So I had this really weird sensation of the place being very familiar and also very foreign. I played field hockey, which helped me start to make my own way—though in some ways, it was too bad I made the varsity team as a ninth grader, since I was the only ninth grader on the team that included many of the girls that my sister, Judi ’80, had played with. I guess I struggled for the first few weeks to establish a balance between being a “faculty brat” and trying to strike out on my own. But I eventually got there; by Thanksgiving, I had really found my place.

120 t h Anniversary

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“The mix and diversity of students that Mercersburg has is such a huge asset.” The sense of community was very strong, and it gave me opportunities to get involved in things I was interested in and to have the support of my teachers and friends. I was very athletic, so I played lots of sports at Mercersburg, but I also was the head Chapel usher and head of Blue Key, and I did TREK. Jim Malone and I were canoeing partners, which was a great experience. I was in a Stony Batter play once and then decided that it wasn’t for me. But to be able to try that, in a good community that was going to support those diverse and growing choices and experiences, was really important. And it gave me a lot of courage as I went on to college. Academically, Mercersburg was very rigorous. We were taught the things that we needed to learn and were challenged in ways that were really important. I had so many great teachers; I specifically would mention Wirt Winebrenner ’54, who I had for ninthgrade English and then again for AP English my senior year, and Rick Needham, who I had for AP chemistry and organic chemistry and then for an independent-study course in gas chromatography. While I wouldn’t say it sparked a love of science in me, I was really interested in the work, because he was a fantastic teacher. He also coached me in basketball. I explored a whole side of things I never would have done without his encouragement.

I have this incredible community of friends. One of my friends from Mercersburg, who I hadn’t seen in probably 25 years, called after my dad died. And we talked for an hour about everything. The friendships we developed at Mercersburg made at such a formative age have endured and continued. Serving on the Alumni Council has been a fantastic experience because it’s really given me a new lens to look at this school as a living, breathing institution. It’s really been a great opportunity to see how vibrant the school community is, and to see how Mercersburg has held on to the things that make it so special and so unique— and how it has also, fearlessly, made a lot of very substantial changes which have resulted in a stronger, better, and more attractive school. The student body, the facilities, the approach to learning, and the importance placed on residential life today are such strengths. Looking to the future, I think keeping a Mercersburg education affordable and attainable for as many kids as possible is so important. The mix and diversity of students that Mercersburg has is such a huge asset; I don’t see that at a lot of other boarding schools or private day schools. Being able to continue to offer admission and financial aid to qualified students is crucial.

About Ann Quinn Earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Loyola College of Maryland (now Loyola University Maryland) Founder and principal of Quinn Strategy Group, a Baltimore-based consulting firm specializing in strategic planning and business development Previously worked as vice president at SC&H Capital, an accounting and consulting firm; as director of Chessiecap, an investment bank for middle-market technology companies in the Mid-Atlantic region; and as managing director for the State of Maryland Venture Fund Has served on Mercersburg’s Alumni Council since 2008; was the organization’s president from 2011 to May 2013 One of four children of faculty emeritus John L. “Jay” Quinn (who passed away in 2012) to graduate from Mercersburg; older siblings are Ruth Quinn ’79, Judi Quinn Sullivan ’80, and John Quinn ’81


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120 t h Anniversary

Gabriel Hammond ’97 About Gabriel Hammond Graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in international relations and with honors in economics Immediately out of college, joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. in its equity research division, where he covered energy Master Limited Partnerships (MLPS) in the Energy & Power group Founder and CEO of SteelPath Fund Advisors, which he sold to Oppenheimer Funds, where he is now a senior vice president and portfolio manager; founder of Alerian, a financial indexing company with $15 billion of publicly traded assets tracking its indices In 2008, made a $1 million gift to Mercersburg (the largest by a graduate under 30 years of age) to establish the Arce Scholars Program, which provides full tuition to an incoming boarding student with exceptional academic promise and total financial need; the program is named in memory of his mother, Dr. Elda Y. Arce J o i n e d M e rc e r s b u rg ’s Board of Regents in 2010; is the youngest person to be inducted into the school’s McDowell Society (which recognizes donors who have given at least $1 million to Mercersburg)

My first experience at Mercersburg was the swim camp I attended there for a couple of summers before I became a student. I was a competitive swimmer on a year-round club team, and I got to experience the campus and the environment and stay in the dorms. Then I decided to enroll at Mercersburg before my 11th-grade year of high school. My parents had always been committed to education and ensuring that my brother and I had the best opportunities available to us. Between Mercersburg’s swimming and its academics, it was really a great choice. At the time, I was a little reluctant to leave behind my friends and teammates at home in Potomac, Maryland. But I had a wonderful experience at Mercersburg and am very grateful to my parents for supporting me through that. I had a pretty simple transition to Mercersburg; even though I wasn’t very far from home, I was too busy with swimming and with new friends to think about even going home before Thanksgiving. You don’t really have a perspective on it when you’re a student, because you’re so immersed in your activities and your friends, but when you’re there you’re part of all these different spheres of life and different groups of people that interact in different ways. So there are several communities that you belong to when you’re there, as well as the overall community of Mercersburg. Along with swimming, the other sport that I had played all my life was soccer. When I got to Mercersburg, because of the strength of the swimming program, it made sense to go full tilt into swimming as soon as I got there. I had a wonderful experience swimming for Pete Williams and I ended up swimming in college at Johns Hopkins, but I wish I would have played soccer at Mercersburg as well. I really enjoyed taking AP physics with David Holzwarth ’78, who’s still there on the faculty today and was my favorite teacher. There was a tremendous amount of practical application in his class, and he was so enthusiastic about the subject matter and teaching it to us. I was lucky to have two great roommates, Kurt Muhler ’96 and Kamul Masud ’97, in my two years at Mercersburg. Kurt was a 19-year-old postgraduate student, and I was a 16-year-old 11th grader. It was such a terrific experience to have someone to look up to; he was someone who was quite different than I was in many ways. Kamul is a great example of that, too; I’ve never met anyone else quite like him in terms of his openness to meeting and interacting with different types of people. Kamul swam in the Olympics for Pakistan and Kurt became an officer in the Navy and the captain of a Navy SEAL team. The Arce Scholars Program is, without question, the most incredible thing that I’ve ever had the good fortune to be part of in my life. It’s been the most

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Hammond with current student Withney Barthelemy ’16

fun I’ve had and the most gratifying, most awesome, most humbling experience. The students are such an incredible group; they are talented, kind, and precocious. It’s really amazing to be able to share Mercersburg with them and to watch them enjoy these experiences. I can’t overstate how incredible it is to be part of it. When you’re a student, you can have this very myopic view of the universe where you view your teachers as these creatures that disappear at 4 p.m. and come back the next day. Boarding school helps disabuse you of that notion, because you live with some of your teachers and realize that they have lives and problems and all kinds of things, just like you. And it’s interesting because until you’re on the Board of the school, there’s a very similar analogy in terms of how you view the operation of an educational institution. You can think of a school as an automatically self-sustaining thing. But when you get under the hood and realize what’s going on and what types of decisions need to be made, you realize the importance of the charge you’ve been given. Frankly, it’s an awesome position to be in—to have the influence and the ability to help make Mercersburg the best school possible. I really enjoy it. Most people spend a lot of time taking the steps to make themselves look excellent as opposed to taking the steps to actually be excellent. You take the courses and choose your activities because they help you get into a certain college, and then you get to college and you choose a certain major because it’s supposed to get you a


certain job, never mind whether that major will actually make you better at that job—it’s just what everybody else who takes a job doing “X” does. People are more concerned with what their resume is supposed to look like rather than getting the experiences that will actually make them excellent at what they want to do. At some point, you have to think to yourself, “What is it that I enjoy doing? What is it that will make me better at what I do? Am I taking the path that I want to take and that is going to make me the best that I can be, and—most importantly— is it something that I actually care about? Or am I taking steps because they’re what I think I’m supposed to be doing or what I think is expected of me?” That’s what I would say to the Mercersburg students of today. And my greatest hope for the future is that Mercersburg can truly be a need-blind institution.




The Burgin Center for the Arts, a 65,500square foot masterpiece of a building, opens and immediately becomes one of the focal points on campus. An opening gala features renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman and two principal dancers of the New York City Ballet.


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D ates to Re me mb e r

Sep 27–29 Stony Batter Players: The Caucasian Chalk Circle Nov 9

Fall Dance Concert

Nov 16

Fall Pops Concert

Nov 17

Student Music Recital

Schedule subject to change; for a full and updated schedule of events, visit

Dance director: Denise Dalton

Rachael Ditzler ’15 in “Nada Brahma,” a Daltonchoreographed piece inspired by the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam

Madison Nordyke ’14 (on trapeze) and Rebecca Glass ’15 in the aerial piece “Metamorphosis”

Vocal Music directors: Richard Rotz, Jim Brinson Magalia


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Stony Batter Players directors: Laurie Mufson, Matt Maurer, Steve Crick

above: The cast of this year’s Senior Production, The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza right: AnnaBeth Thomas

’15 and Maria Zlatkova ’14 in Classical Scenes




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Concert Band

Instrumental Music directors: Richard Rotz, Jack Hawbaker, Michael Cameron Jazz Band

String Ensemble

Visual Art faculty: Mark Flowers, Wells Gray, Kristy Higby

Jin Lee ’13, ceramics (featured, along with work by Otto Bunjapamai ’13 and Emma Clarke ’14, at the National K12 Ceramic Exhibit in Houston this spring)

Grace Caroline Wiener ’14, painting

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Athletics D ates to Re me mb e r

Oct 5

Independent-Parochial School League Golf Championship at Beaver Creek CC, Hagerstown, Maryland

Nov 9–16

Pennsylvania Independent Schools State Soccer Championship

Oct 18–20 Alumni Weekend (most varsity sports vs. Blair) Nov 3

Mid-Atlantic Prep League Cross Country Championship at Hightstown, New Jersey

Schedule subject to change; for a full and updated schedule of events, visit

Winter 2013 Varsity Athletics Roundup Boys’ Basketball

Captains: Patrick Ryan ’13, Dre Wills ’13 Boys’ Basketball Award (most outstanding player): Wills Coaches’ Award (most improved player): Royce Jenoure ’13 John Prevost ’54 Basketball Award: Will Walter ’14 Head coach: Tim Crouch (1st season) Record: 8–13 (1–4 MAPL) Highlights: The Blue Storm defeated St. Maria Goretti in the Independent-Parochial School League championship game to win its first league title since it captured the 2000 Mid-Atlantic Conference championship… the team swept Hill, downing the Rams in both the regular season and the MAPL tournament… Wills, an All-MAPL and an All-IPSL selection, averaged 24.7 points per game and broke the 30-point barrier in five different contests; he will play at Vermont next year… Ryan, who was a [Chambersburg] Public Opinion firstteam All-Area selection, will play at St. Mary’s College of Maryland… Mike Collins ’14 was an honorable-mention All-Area choice… Trustin Riley ’14 earned Academic All-MAPL honors.

Girls’ Basketball

Captains: Sarah Firestone ’13, Melody Gomez ’13, Hanna Warfield ’13 Girls’ Basketball Award (most outstanding player): Teal Tasker ’15 Coaches’ Award (most improved player): Gomez Head coach: Katie LaRue (2nd season) Record: 16–8 (1–4 MAPL) Highlights: The team posted its best overall record since 1986, and opened the season with a record nine straight wins… the Storm won a state tournament game for the first time in five years when it beat York Country Day in the PAISAA first round… another highlight was the program’s first win over Peddie—and its second, a victory over the Falcons in the MAPL tournament… Gomez was named All-MAPL, Academic All-MAPL, and AllIPSL; she and Warfield earned varsity letters all

four years… Tasker led the team with 11.5 points per game; Gomez was tops in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and steals (2.9 spg) and shot a team-high 45 percent from the field.


Diving Award (most outstanding diver): Patrick Birck ’15 Coaches’ Award (most improved diver): Christina Hyrkas ’13

Head coach: Jennifer Miller Smith ’97 (5th season) Highlights: Hyrkas, who competed all four years for Mercersburg as a swimmer or a diver, placed 16th in the girls’ one-meter event at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships; teammates Jordan Shihadeh ’14 (22nd), Bridget Filipe ’14 (27th), and Katie Henderson ’14 (32nd) also competed… Henderson was second in the three-meter novice event and Shihadeh took second in the one-


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meter intermediate event at the Blue Dolphin Invitational in New Jersey… Birck finished 17th in the boys’ one-meter competition at Easterns, and was fourth in the three-meter intermediate competition at the Blue Dolphin Invitational.

Boys’ Squash

Captains: Otto Bunjapamai ’13, Mac Williams ’13, Eli Woodworth ’13 Thomas Flanagan ’38 Boys’ Squash Award (most outstanding player): Bunjapamai Coaches’ Award (most improved player): Williams Head coach: Chip Vink ’73 (13th season) Record: 13–6 Highlights: The team defeated the Navy JV squad for the first time in several years… Bunjapamai was the team’s No. 1 player and finished with a 12–10 individual record; Williams (playing at No. 3) had the top individual mark (18–4); other top individual records belonged to Max Weinik ’15 (16–6, No. 2), Eli Woodworth ’13 (15–5, No. 4), Albert Lam ’14 (16–6, No. 5), and Jeremy Greenberger ’13 (13–8, No. 7)… the Storm defeated Hill twice headto-head and finished third at the Mid-Atlantic Prep League Tournament… Woodworth was a fouryear varsity letterwinner and also an Academic All-MAPL selection.

Girls’ Squash

Captain: Caroline Metz ’13 Thomas Flanagan ’38 Girls’ Squash Award (most outstanding player): Natalie Burkardt ’14 Coaches’ Award (most improved player): Woodli Krutek ’13 Head coach: Wells Gray (10th season) Record: 8–11 Highlights: The Blue Storm placed third at the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Squash Tournament, battling back from a first-round loss to Episcopal to defeat Madeira and St. Anne’s-Belfield… the team finished fourth at the Mid-Atlantic Prep League Tournament, though Krutek and Celine HyltonDei ’15 both won their consolation brackets… at the season-opening Tom Flanagan Tournament, a final-round win over Hill gave Mercersburg a third-place finish… a blizzard wiped out the 2013 U.S. Squash National High School Team Championships in Connecticut… Rachel Rosa ’14 earned Academic All-MAPL honors… five of the team’s top seven players will return for the 2013– 2014 season.

Boys’ Swimming

Captains: Ian Kecskes ’13, Kevin Shivers ’13 Harry Glancy ’24 Award (most outstanding swimmer): Sam Ciocco ’13 Tom Wolfe ’85 Award (most improved swimmer): Carson Owlett ’13 Head coach: Pete Williams (25th season) Easterns/MAPL finish: 12th/3rd Highlights: Ciocco finished in the top six in two

events at Easterns—the 500 freestyle (3rd) and 200 free (6th)—and was also part of the 200 free relay that placed 6th (with Owlett, Shivers, and Pearce Bloom ’14)… Shivers, who was a fouryear letterwinner, was the MAPL champion in the 100 butterfly and part of two relays that finished second at the MAPL meet (200 free with Ciocco, Owlett, and Bloom, and 400 free with Ciocco, Owlett, and Jani Ertl ’13)… Ciocco (Navy), Owlett (Connecticut College), and Shivers (Babson) will all swim at the college level next year… Ciocco and Jordan Allen ’15 earned Academic All-MAPL honors.

Girls’ Swimming

Captains: Kelly Hamilton ’13, Catherine Levins ’13 Neidhoefer Swimming Award (most outstanding swimmer): Hamilton John Preston ’47 Award (most improved swimmer): Alex Royal-Eatmon ’14 Finlay Vanderveer ’29 Award (greatest influence): Levins Thomas Hartz ’72 Award (perseverance): Ana Marie Bistrow ’13 Head coach: Pete Williams (25th season) Easterns/MAPL finish: 5th/2nd Highlights: The team placed in the top five at Easterns for the fifth-consecutive year, behind only Germantown Academy, Episcopal Academy, Peddie, and Andover… the 200 medley relay team of Royal-Eatmon, Levins, Hamilton, and Bistrow led the way with a third-place effort at Easterns; other top-six Easterns finishers included Bistrow

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(500 free, 6th), Royal-Eatmon (100 backstroke, 6th), and the 400 free relay team (Bistrow/Mara Selznick ’16/Ilkin Telli ’13/Becca Selznick ’15, 6th)… Levins broke a 22-year-old school record in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.33, previously held by Cristin Grant ’90); she was also the MAPL champion in that event… Hamilton (50 free) and Bistrow (200 free and 500 free) also placed second in their respective events at the MAPL Championships… Kara Alvarez ’13 was a four-year letterwinner… Levins and Renee Lundgren ’13 were both Academic All-MAPL selections… Bistrow (Army Prep), Hamilton (Army), Levins (Rice), Lundgren (Claremont McKenna), Telli (Trinity [Conn.]), and Emily Sanders ’13 (NYU) all graduated from this year’s team.

Boys’ Indoor Track & Field

Boys’ Indoor Track & Field Award (most outstanding athlete): Austin Hess ’13 Coaches’ Award (most improved athlete): Henry Asher ’15 Head coach: David Grady (9th season) MAPL finish: 5th Highlights: Hess placed second in the pole vault (10’6”) at the Mid-Atlantic Prep League Championships, where both Timi Tijani ’14 (long jump, 18’6”) and Keane Sanders ’13 (shot put, 42’0.5”) placed fourth in their respective events there… school records were set by Christian Moorman ’14 in the 500m (1:18.65) and Jan Smilek ’16 in the 1000m (2:59.02)… efforts by

Sanders (shot put, 44’7”) and Raj Singh ’15 (55m hurdles, 10.47) rank second on the school’s alltime indoor list… Hess won the pole vault at the Woodward Relays… Chris Hackett ’13 and Nathan Marincic ’15 were Academic All-MAPL selections… Smilek earned a varsity letter as a ninth-grader.

Girls’ Indoor Track & Field

Girls’ Indoor Track & Field Award (most outstanding athlete): Brittany Burg ’13 Coaches’ Award (most improved athlete): Sophia Garibaldi ’15 Head coach: David Grady (9th season) MAPL finish: 3rd Highlights: Burg was the Mid-Atlantic Prep League champion in the 200m and 400m, and finished second in the 55m dash and third in the 55m hurdles at the same meet… she finishes her Mercersburg career with four indoor school records, including the 500m (1:24.18), in which she lowered her own school mark at the Private & Independent School Invitational at Georgetown Prep… Lola Tijani ’13 set a school record in the triple jump (31’11”) at the MAPL Championships, good for second place; at the same meet, Alexandra Treml ’16 and Anna Steckler ’16 placed fourth and sixth in the pole vault, respectively… Burg will attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School next year on her way to Annapolis… Emma Cranston ’13 was a four-year letterwinner… Tijani and Meg Peterson ’14 were Academic All-MAPL selections,


while Steckler and Treml earned varsity letters as ninth graders.


Captains: Sonic Cho ’13, Mark Meloro ’13, Jordan Pilosof ’13, C.J. Sarao ’13 Fred Kuhn Award (most outstanding wrestler): Sarao Coaches’ Award (most improved wrestler): Brian Nelson ’16 Ronald D. Tebben Endowed Coaches’ Leadership Award: Meloro Head coach: Nate Jacklin ’96 (5th season) IPSL finish: champion Highlights: The Blue Storm defeated Hill for the fifth-consecutive year, which is Mercersburg’s longest win streak in the history of the rivalry (which dates back to the 1930s)… the team had four National Prep qualifiers—Sarao (138 pounds), Meloro (170), Ayo Adjibaba ’13 (195), and Josh Abele ’15 (220); Adjibaba became the second firstyear Mercersburg wrestler in as many years to win a match at National Preps… Sarao and Meloro each earned third-place finishes at the PAISAA state tournament; Adjibaba, Abele, Nelson, Pilosof, and Josh Setliff ’15 also finished in the top eight in the state in their weight classes… the team claimed nine individual titles en route to the IndependentParochial School League crown; Adjibaba, Meloro, Pilosof, and Sarao were All-IPSL… Sarao will wrestle at Navy next year… Setliff and Jordi Shapiro ’13 earned Academic All-MAPL honors.

Reunion Weekend

To see a photo gallery and video recap of Reunion Weekend, visit reunionweekend.

June 6–9, 2013

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After Mercersburg, Tom graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, where he majored in finance. He served in the Navy as a submariner during World War II, worked for Delaware Trust Bank, opened his own collection agency, and ultimately retired from a career with Sears and Roebuck. Tom is well known at Mercersburg as the school’s first two-time Lehigh Interscholastic Tournament wrestling champion. He was a member of the powerful teams produced by Coach Fred Kuhn in the 1930s and 1940s, and he captained the squad that won the first of four consecutive Lehigh Tournament titles. Many people know Tom as the leader of Step Songs during Alumni Weekend. He has served as a class agent and a reunion volunteer and has been an active participant in events. Tom is a member of the Marshall & Irving Alliance, and he is a Torchbearer who made his first gift to the school in 1950.

grants have generated a great deal of excitement and energy among the faculty. Pierce serves Mercersburg as an event and reunion volunteer and as a member of the Board of Regents, where he serves on the Academic Policy and Investment committees, as well as the Committee on Regents. Pierce has also been instrumental in helping found a young alumni leadership initiative in which potential future leaders for Mercersburg are identified from the school’s youngest alumni. He helped host two events for these Young Leaders and communicates with them regularly to keep them up to date on the exciting things happening at Mercersburg. Pierce is a Torchbearer and a member of the William Mann Irvine Society. He and his wife, Nina, have a daughter, Stella, and live in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Pierce Lord ’98

Mark graduated from Trinity College and holds the distinction of having been the top-ranked professional hardball squash player from 1983 to 1995. During that time, Mark was World Professional Squash Association Player of the Year eight times, and was an Olympic Athlete of the Year on three occasions. Mark was one of 15 inaugural inductees in the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 World Squash Awards. He captained the first USA team to compete in the Pan Am Games, earned the Sharif Khan Award for Sportsmanship, and won the USSRA President’s Cup. In 1991, Mark founded the Talbott Squash Academy, which operates out of Stanford University and Newport, Rhode Island. He served as coach of the women’s squash team at Yale University from 1998 to 2004, winning a national championship in his final season. Today, he is director of squash at Stanford University and runs Xtreme Squash, a nonprofit urban education/squash program. Mark, who was a volunteer fundraiser for the school during the Mightily Onward campaign, lives with his wife, Michelle, in Palo Alto, California. They have a daughter, Maya, and a son, Nick.

Pierce earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Colgate University. He is a product developer in Bloomberg LP’s evaluated pricing service. Previously, he was owner of Lord Capital Management, an investment advisory business. Pierce also worked in the portfolio management group at Drake Management and as a market analyst for UBS Warburg. Pierce, a world traveler, has always felt that his travel experiences made him a well-rounded person, and he realized that if more faculty members could visit other countries, it would strengthen the broad worldview they share with students. Beginning in 2008, he made several generous gifts to fund travel opportunities for selected faculty members each summer. Upon completion of travel, faculty share their experiences with the school community. Pierce’s mother, Stephanie Lord, has stepped forward to support the grants; thus far, the Lords have made it possible for 19 faculty members to visit France, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, China, Brazil, Colombia, and other awe-inspiring destinations. All interested faculty members are invited to apply for the grants, and winners are selected through a lottery. The travel


Pierce Lord ’98 (right) with Alumni Council President Dean Hosgood ’98


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CLASS OF ’32 AWARD Andrew Bisset ’63

Drew is a loyal donor to the Annual Fund and remains in close contact with a group of classmates who gather annually for minireunions. His brothers, Douglas ’65 and Paul ’69, and his late father, Andrew ’37, are Mercersburg alums. Drew lives in Stamford, Connecticut, with Nancy, his wife of 45 years; they are the parents of Katherine, Wendy, and Andrew.

Drew graduated from Lafayette College and finished one year of law school at the University of Connecticut, and then with the pending crisis in Vietnam looming, enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In 1969, he completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, considered the most arduous military training in the world. He graduated from Navy Officer Candidate School in 1970 and was com- Barrett Burns ’63 missioned an ensign in the Navy by his grandfather, Vice Admiral After graduating from Washington & Jefferson College. Barrett Andrew G. Bisset. joined Citibank, where he worked for more than a decade and Drew served on active duty during the Vietnam crisis with SEAL began his career in finance. He later served as senior vice president Team One and Underwater Demolition Team 21. In 1973, he tran- and chief operating officer of Bank One’s auto finance division, as sitioned to the SEAL Reserve Forces, and went on to command two executive vice president of global risk management and chairman Naval Special Warfare group detachments as well as Navy Reserve of the Credit Policy Committee at Ford Motor Credit Company, SEAL Team Two. He ultimately served as reserve commodore of and as executive vice president at U.S. Trust, where he headed the Naval Reserve Naval Special Warfare Command, the senior SEAL National Private Banking Group and was a member of U.S. Trust’s Reserve position at that time. Executive Committee and the senior management team of parent Seeing a need for pre-training and mentoring for interested SEAL company Charles Schwab. candidates, he established the SEAL Recruiting District Assistance Barrett joined VantageScore Solutions LLC in 2006 as presiCouncil in 1994. His commission was extended for five years in dent and chief executive officer. VantageScore is an indepen2000 so he could continue the dently managed joint venture of highly successful mentoring the three national credit reportprogram, which was eventually ing agencies and the company adopted by the Navy Recruiting behind the VantageScore conCommand nationwide. sumer credit scoring model, Drew retired in 2005 as a which has quickly established captain with 37 years of comitself as a compelling alternative bined active and reserve expein the marketplace. rience. At his retirement Barrett has served on c e r e m o n y, h e r e c ei v e d a the Federal Reserve Board’s Meritorious Service Medal from Consumer Advisory Council. Rear Admiral Joseph Maguire (L–R): Andrew Bisset ’63, Head of School Douglas Hale, Barrett Burns ’63 He is a member of the Corporate on behalf of President George W. Bush; the citation read “for Board of Governors for the National Association of Hispanic Real establishing the most successful mentoring program in the history Estate Professionals, serves on the Asian Real Estate Association of of Naval Special Warfare.” Through the years, his candidates have America’s National Advisory Council and the National Community completed SEAL training with a 70 percent success rate, compared Reinvestment Coalition’s Mortgage Finance Collaborative Council, with the normal rate of 25 percent. and is a director of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation In addition to his regular service, Drew volunteered and served and the United Way of Greenwich. as military liaison to the Mayor of New York’s Office of Emergency He has authored numerous opinion articles, has testified before Management at Ground Zero during 9/11, and worked as a contrac- the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit tor in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, establishing the well- in the U.S. House of Representatives, provides thought leadership known Iraqi Media Network to counter propaganda. on issues regarding consumer credit and risk, and is often quoted The recipient of two Presidential Meritorious Service Medals, in consumer and industry publications. Drew has also been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Barrett has served Mercersburg loyally as a William Mann Irvine four gold stars, two Navy Achievement Medals, and two Meritorious Society volunteer, as chair of the Class of 1963 50th Reunion Unit Commendations. He has served as a board member of the Navy Committee, and as a member of the Board of Regents. He and SEAL Warrior Fund and as vice president of the Navy League’s his wife, Patricia, live in Greenwich, Connecticut, where they are Western Connecticut Council, and continues to serve as chairman active in community and philanthropic efforts. Barrett and Patricia of the SEAL RDAC mentoring program. have a son, Parker, and Barrett has a daughter, Sara.

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reunion Class Photos

Loyalty Club

Class of 1963

Front row (L–R): John Linderman ’55, Jim McClelland ’55. Row 2: Tom Heefner ’57, Dale Williams ’54, Chuck Hatch ’54, Ralph Feldman ’51.

Class of 1968

Front row (L–R): Charlie Ballou, Richard Loebl, Jim Campbell, David Millstein, Bob Bigham, Charlie Coates. Row 2: Dennis Vierling, Paul Sommerville, Chip Evans, Drew Bisset, Jack Miller Jr., Bill Girvin. Row 3: Barrett Burns, Lee Haase, Jim Kettering, Ed Kugler, David Molyneaux, Jeff Gorsuch. Row 4: Frank Shipper, Chet Schultz, Terry Wotherspoon, Gene Homicki, Jim Dickson.

Class of 1973 Front row (L–R): Tom Pottle, Jennifer Highley Eardley, David Peace, Jim Resh, Joe Lee. Row 2: Jeff Gingrich, Chip Vink, John Jones, Ken Payne, Bruce Thompson. Row 3: Jeff Breit, John Lake, Donald Lee.

Front row (L–R): Forry Eisenhart, Eric Klieber, Andrew Ammerman. Row 2: Michael Gery, Joe Jamison, Tucker Shields, Rich Helzel.

Class of 1978 Chuck Rogers, Mark Hammond, Dave Holzwarth.

Class of 1988 Front row (L–R): Melanie Angerman-Macartney, Susan Donahoe Thompson, Susie Lyles-Reed, Sara Plantz Brennen, Sarah Chisdes Fisher, Natalie Kostelni McGrory, Steve Cohn. Row 2: Khalid Jiha, Chris Kelaher, Tim Hoover, Heather Gibson, Jim Poirot, Andrew Hall, Anthony Beecher. Row 3: Stewart Stringer, Todd Hershey, Steve Pessagno, Bill Su, Eric Reed, Andrew Saulnier.

reunion Class Photos

Class of 1993 Front row (L–R): Todd Spitzer, Heather Koontz, Jackie Crane Peacock, Rob Pitts, Ashley Bastholm Piraino, Ben Martin, Neil Riser. Row 2: Peter Reinhardt, Alyson McKee Humphreys, Sarah Smith, Shirley Dopson, Bryce Poirot. Row 3: Joe Martin, Pete Genrich, Paul Royer, Eve Shpak, Bobby Malone, Danielle Dahlstrom, Sasha Emral Shaool Nourafchan, Jamil Myrie.

Class of 1998 Front row (L–R): Jim Kaurudar, Leslie Magraw, Amy Jones Satrom, Beth Pniewski Bell, Elizabeth Curry Watkins, Miles Kiger, Kira Robles. Row 2: Anna Wright, Pierce Lord, Bradley Codrea, Kyle Logan, Dean Hosgood.

Class of 2003 Front row (L–R): Jennifer Hendrickson, Chimi Culler, Meredith Baker, Audrey Kim Ngeow, Rachna Shah, Neha Sukerkar. Row 2: Shelby Keefer, Lauren Coates, Caroline Kurz, Mark Ryscavage, Katie Fox, Andrea Gunadi, Eve Cahill. Row 3: Charles Cutshall, Victoria Leontieva Blackburn, James Blackburn IV, Jillian Edwards, Claire Van Ness, Vanessa Youngs, Mary Beth Whyel Jordan, Amisha Gadani. Row 4: Matthew Rutherford, Robert Rice, Joe Ambrose III, Kolb Ettenger, Scott Lindquist, Sam Miller, Morgan Higby-Flowers, Nate Fochtman.

Class of 2008 Front row (L–R): Emily Weiss, Mary Lancaster, Gussie Reilly, Laura Diller, Emily Brundage, Liz Rohrbach, Liza Rockwell, Honor Zimmerman. Row 2: Eleanor Carroll-Smith, Diane Schrom, Lauren Dobish, Rachel Greenberg, Michelle Karbach, Taylor Hoffman, Liz Klinger, Laura Willwerth, Luke Griffin, Andrew Reichardt. Row 3: Kelsie Bittle, Barbara Wilson, Molly Sabol, Seth Fries, Phillip Hook, Logan Craig, Sanford Edwards, Ben Axelrod, Vee Wongsirikul. Row 4: Trenton Woodham, Robert Nagel, David Strider, Joshua Rosenblat, Justin Corey, Jeff Chung, Steve Kim, Patrick Holmes.

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Class Notes Submit class notes via email to or by contacting your class agent. Submissions may appear online or in print. Mercersburg reserves the right to edit submissions for space or content, and is not responsible for more than reasonable editing or fact-checking. When submitting a photo, please provide the highestquality version possible; some images captured by cell phones or other cameras may not be suitable for print. Class notes are also available online at www.mercersburg. edu/classnotes.


John Walker says that he still displays his trophy from his days as an Irving debater.


John Straubel is directing a conflictresolution nonprofit called Both Sides Now Inc. and is also playing tennis on the side.


Harry McAlpine reports that classmate Leyton Phraner is still giving voice lessons at age 83.

’48 Francis Laimbeer is a retired math

teacher and is tutoring at home and enjoying his six grandchildren.


G. William Ward retired from Ward Trucking Corporation after 62 years in December 2012.


Tim Grumbacher’s wife, Nancy, passed away March 14, 2013. Bob Walton writes, “I wish to share my joy and appreciation to Mercersburg, once again, for employing my grandson, Duncan, son of Leigh Walton Wood ’82, as a Summer Programs counselor.” Duncan attends Grinnell College and is a graduate of Peddie School, where his parents have been employed for nearly 20 years.


Ross Dicker says that the graduation of his youngest son from college in 2012 hasn’t allowed him to retire. “I expect to keep practicing law for another year and assist a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins in raising funds for research into the cause and cure of a type of encephalitis that recently put me in the hospital for two months,” Ross says. “I’m out now and am recovering due to the fine medical care I received at Hopkins.”


Chip Evans was featured in a recent issue of the Harvard Business School’s Alumni Bulletin. He and his wife, Opal, are owners of an art gallery in Woodstock, Vermont, and he produces about 40 of his own paintings each year, including many landscapes.

Lucy Northrop Corwin ’80, Douglas Corwin ’79, Emily Sanders ’13, Nancy Corwin Sanders ’81, and Susan Corwin Moreau ’85 at Mercersburg’s Commencement 2013.

Frank Shipper, chair of Salisbury University’s Management and Marketing Department, received the Kevin E. Ruble Fellowship from Rutgers University. The fellowship, presented by Rutgers’ School of Management and Labor Relations, includes a $15,000 award. Frank plans to use the prize to research and write a new book on employee ownership in business, tentatively titled Shared Entrepreneurship: A Path to Engaged Employee Ownership.


E. Ford Menard’s father, Lyman, died January 19, 2013.


In May, Tom Motheral competed at the U.S. Masters Swimming Spring National Championship in Indianapolis, representing the Sarasota (Florida) Sharks YMCA team. Tom placed third in the 50 and 100 butterfly for the 65–69 age group and competed in several other events. “Bill Ford ’68 visited with me during the competition, and we chatted with Kim Lloyd ’90 at the meet,” shares Tom.

Fred Engh ’54 has been named the sports representative for the Merck Consumer Care Active Family Project. The celebrity spokesperson for the project is Elisabeth Hasselbeck (pictured with Fred), former co-host of the ABC daytime television show The View. The initiative focuses on helping American families form an active lifestyle.

Tom Motheral ’67 (right) with Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak at a U.S. Masters Swimming event in Indianapolis.


William Garofalo’s wife, Judith, passed away March 8, 2013. She was also the sister-in-law of James Garofalo ’72 and the aunt of Ariel Garofalo ’12.


Daniel Dougherty is opening a restaurant, the Crescent Grill, in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City,

Leigh Walton Wood ’82, Paige Walton Diskin ’86, Shelley Beck ’72, and Bob Walton ’57 pose for a Thanksgiving photo at Bob’s sister’s home in Far Hills, New Jersey.

Bill Wisotzkey ’73 and John Calderwood ’73 at Lake Sunapee Country Club in New Hampshire for the Class of 1973 New England Chapter’s 40th reunion in May.


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Mercersburg Memories By Bob Cullen ’58

One night, I got a good shot of dental pain as I was heading for bed on the third floor of South Cottage. I roomed in 29 with Charlie Lindenberg ’58—in the corner room next to floormaster Ed Chatfield. The next day I visited the local dentist on the square, who was still using a foot-driven drill rig. He diagnosed an impending abscess, noted my Baltimore origins, and prescribed a trip home.

Classmates Paul Romness ’84 and Marion Sullivan ’84 at the Democratic Governors Association Spring Policy Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Cullen in 1958

With the appointment coordinated in Baltimore and the date set, I asked Wendell Kury ’58 if he’d like a weekend along. He did, and so on a Friday afternoon we ended up in Mr. [John] Montgomery’s staid black Buick heading for the Greyhound in Hagerstown. Milburn Hollengreen ’58 was a third passenger. “Where to, Holly?” we asked. “Boring” he replied. “I have to get my plane and just rack up some hours.” Imagine five intense minutes of sotto voce back and forth, and hand signals and winks ending with, “Mr. Montgomery, we’re going to stop at the airport with Holly to see his plane and then get a cab to the bus station.” Airborne a half hour later, we approached South Mountain at 85 knots. Captain Hollengreen’s flight plan had been accepted, fuel was sufficient, and off we flew. Excelsior! As the front-seat passenger, I asked Holly what the ratcheted stalk was sticking out of the dashboard. “It’s the throttle,” he said as he spun it off its stop and it slipped to idle. Our 85-knot climb was suddenly a roll toward the ground. My vision clouded and was immediately filled with dancing, floating white blurs everywhere. Barf buckets! Our semi-weightlessness had levitated the containers and lids throughout the plane. After having his fun, we settled down, crossed the mountain, and approached Baltimore. Holly calculated he was running late and asked Wendell and me to step out carefully as he landed—and said, “Oh, watch the tail coming up, as I don’t really want to stop.” We jumped clear amid a storm of prop wash and arrived at Baltimore’s Harbor Field. The dentist went well, we visited some museums, and Saturday night we had some notable coming-of-age fun in Baltimore–two really cool guys in a 1950 Dodge sedan. Mom drove us back Sunday. After graduation, I didn’t keep up with Holly and read in this publication of his death in an auto accident in Florida years ago. At our 45th reunion, Bill Erb ’58 put me in touch with Wendell. He missed our 50th, but visited me in Baltimore the next year, 2009. We visited school, stayed at the Mercersburg Inn, toured campus, and as two working boys took particular interest in food service and kitchen issues. He was having some health problems and several years ago my Christmas card was returned noting his death. Bob Cullen lives in Timonium, Maryland.

New York, with his brother, Shaun. Dan says the restaurant will serve American cuisine and will feature a bar, lounge, and art gallery in addition to the dining room.


John Hollinshead says, “Had my annual visit with Gary Neft in Santa Barbara. He is the head coach for the Pitt women’s lacrosse team. They play each year in a tournament hosted at UCSB. It’s great to watch ‘Nefty’ getting animated and walking the sidelines.”


Laura Sawyer Pitman has been elected to the Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame. Laura has been the assistant swim coach at the Baylor School since 2005. Ted Smith is a senior vice president for investments at UBS Financial Services in Baltimore and was recently recognized as one of the “Top 400 Financial Advisors” in the United States by the Financial Times.


Marion Sullivan was chosen as an Army War College National Security Seminar Fellow. She also reconnected with classmate Paul Romness at a conference of the Democratic Governors Association outside Washington, D.C.


Tim O’Brien was head coach for the U.S. team at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Honolulu, as well as the head coach for the National Select Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Nitro Swimming, his club team in Austin, Texas, has more than 1,400 swimmers and is a USA Swimming Gold Medal Club. Tim regularly keeps in touch with Russell Weaver, who works

Monica Morrow ’98 with her husband, Wes, and their children, Sarah Elizabeth, Emma Grace, and Dylan.

and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and swims in masters events.


John D. Wilson, Regent Emeritus and father of Sara Wilson O’Shea, died March 2, 2013. Dina Zimmerman relocated to Shanghai, China, for a work assignment earlier this year. “I’m excited to be starting a new chapter,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to the adventure. Would love to hear from any alumni in the region.”


James Finlay photographed Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Geographical Society’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first summiting of Mount Everest. Family members of the original Everest team from 1953 were in attendance.


Paul Moody successfully presented and defended his dissertation, “A Hazard-Based Risk Analysis Approach to Understanding Climate Change Impacts to Water Resource Systems: Application to the Upper Great Lakes.” Paul graduated from the University of

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Marriages 1.

1. Michelle Glah ’00 and Ryan McCleary on their wedding day, January 15, 2012. 2. The wedding of Maureen Smeltz ’01 and Christopher Ryals ’01, January 12, 2013, in Cape Coral, Florida. (L–R) Windsor Standish Naething, Rick Naething ’01, Maureen and Christopher, and Susan McDowell (Maureen’s grandmother and wife of the late John McDowell ’56). 3. Anne Reeder ’00 and Douglas Bertram on their wedding day, July 28, 2012, in the Boys’ Garden on the Mercersburg campus. 4. Jonathan Trichter ’89 married Joey Bartolomeo March 2, 2013. 5. Kirsten Dryfoos ’87 married Rick Butler April 27, 2013, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.



6. Cassie Hubbard ’99 and Will Richard Hill II on their wedding day, March 31, 2012, in Garrison Forest, Maryland. 7. Ben Landon ’99 and Julia Norris (center) on their wedding day, March 12, 2011. Among those pictured are Tim Hitchens ’99 (far right) and Emily Landon Gravitt ’97 (third from right).

Jamie Hughes ’01 and Lindsey Streeter, January 9, 2010.






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Nominees for Election to the Board of Regents Under the bylaws of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents, two alumni may be elected annually by the alumni-at-large to a three-year term on the Board of Regents. The Board recommends for election as alumni representatives Amy Jones Satrom ’98 and Jorge Vargas ’84. This ballot is hereby circulated to all Mercersburg alumni to encourage their full participation in the election process.

Amy Jones Satrom ’98 Seattle, Washington

Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in oceanography from the United States Naval Academy, where she served as brigade commander. Amy attended Cambridge University in England as a Gates Scholar and received a master’s degree in environmental engineering and sustainable development. Upon her return to the United States, she served as a naval lieutenant in the nuclear surface warfare program and as a consultant and facilities manager for UBS and Raytheon. She is currently northwest regional safety manager for Amazon, overseeing three fulfillment centers. Amy, her husband Timothy, and their infant daughter live in Seattle, Washington.

Jorge Vargas ’84 Weston, Florida

Jorge received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the University of California. He is chief financial officer of Enforce Global LLC, an enterprise application software solutions and services company in Norcross, Georgia. Jorge moved to Enforce from American Express, where he spent nine years, most recently as director of finance and lead financial officer for their Global Network Services, Latin America & Caribbean region. Jorge, his wife Wendy, and their two children live in Weston, Florida.

Ballot for Election of Alumni Representatives to the Board of Regents Amy Jones Satrom ’98

Jorge Vargas ’84

________________________________________________________________________ (write-in) Name: ___________________________________________________ Class Year: ______________ MAIL TO: Brian Hargrove Secretary to the Board of Regents Mercersburg Academy 300 East Seminary Street Mercersburg, PA 17236

FAX TO: 717-328-6211 EMAIL:

Romone Penny ’03 presents President Barack Obama with a basketball jersey from American University, Romone’s alma mater.

Massachusetts at Amherst with a Ph.D. in civil engineering in May 2013 and is moving to West Point, New York, where he will teach in the department of civil and mechanical engineering at the U.S. Military Academy.


Tristan Bechet and his wife, Michelle, welcomed a son, Cassian Cameron, January 21, 2013. Cassian joins 5-yearold sister Rio. The family lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. Tristan composes music for large companies for videos, documentaries,

and advertising, and Michelle is a fashion stylist. Susannah McNear Barnes is enjoying riding her horses as much as possible and still running a bit too. “I did my first triathlon this past fall,” she says. “Still happily married after 14 years.” Ralph W. Spinney, father of former faculty member Russell Spinney and Michelle Spinney Rosypal ’92, passed away March 5, 2013.


Stirling Elmendorf lives in Osaka, Japan, where he operates a commercial photography firm with his wife, Kumiko. He specializes in architecture but still takes on a variety of commissioned art projects.


Rich Pastorius rejoined the Army in September 2011 as a member of the Colorado Army National Guard. He graduated 13M multiple-launch rocket-system (HIMARS) training at Fort Bragg in March 2013.


Elizabeth Hills graduated from Lincoln Memorial University and the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in May and began her residency at the University of Wyoming Family Medicine Residency Program at Casper in July. Monica Morrow lives in Delaware with her husband, Wes, and children, Dylan (age 10), Sarah Elizabeth (age 4), and Emma Grace (age 2). A licensed


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1. To Ben Landon ’99 and his wife, Julia: twin daughters, Nathalie Marilyn and Layla James, March 11, 2013. 2. Declan James, son of Jamie Hughes ’01 and his wife, Lindsey, born February 11, 2013. 3. Caitlyn Clare, daughter of Bob Snyder ’97 and his wife, Michele, born March 14, 2013. 4. Wyatt Marlin, son of Lindsey Coates Brown ’99 and her husband, Alex, born October 12, 2012. 5. To Michelle Glah ’00 and her husband, Ryan McCleary: a son, Henry, October 21, 2012. 6. Olivia Grace, daughter of Heather Dunmire Vineis ’01 and her husband, Frank, born March 4, 2013.

To Tristan Bechet ’91 and his wife, Michelle: a son, Cassian Cameron, January 21, 2013. To Alyson Marano Ward ’93 and her husband, Joseph: a son, John William, May 17, 2013. To Matthew Palmer ’96 and his wife, Cynde: twin daughters, Hazel and Amilia, August 5, 2012. To Cassie Hubbard Hill ’99 and her husband, Will: a daughter, Isabel Gelston Fraser Hill, May 3, 2013.

7. Reece Prentiss Downes, son of Kimball Prentiss ’92 and Gerald Downes, born March 16, 2013.

professional counselor of mental health, Monica is a clinical services coordinator for child mental health for the state of Delaware. She also teaches part time in the undergraduate psychology department at Wilmington University and volunteers as an ambassador for the National Health Service Corps.


Cassie Hubbard married Will Richard Hill II March 31, 2012, in Garrison Forest, Maryland. Lauren Molen Adams was a bridesmaid. Cassie is an individual and group counselor and Will is a high-school English teacher and musician. The couple lives in Baltimore and welcomed a baby girl, Isabel Gelston Fraser Hill, May 3, 2013.

Eddie Kang caught up with faculty members Mark Flowers and Kristy Higby at his art exhibition in New York City in April. Eddie also recently had an exhibit at Hong Kong Basel. Ben Landon married Julia Norris March 12, 2011, in Steamboat, Colorado. Timothy Hitchens was a groomsman and Emily Landon Gravitt ’97 was a bridesmaid. After multiple crosscountry travels and stints in Atlanta, Williamsburg, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, Ben and Julia have settled at 9,100 feet in Frisco, Colorado. In Mercersburg no-nonsense fashion, they welcomed twin girls, Nathalie Marilyn and Layla James, on March 11, 2013. Ben continues to call Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, a second home and looks forward to introducing his girls to Mercersburg. He works for Vail Resorts and

is heavily involved in expanding local farming. His dogs, Garcia Von Pup and Alexander the Grape, accompany him on hikes.


Heather Dunmire Vineis and her husband, Frank, welcomed a daughter, Olivia Grace, March 4, 2013. Olivia is the granddaughter of Regent Emeritus Phil Dunmire ’64 and his wife, Linda. Andrea Sancho accepted the position of associate attorney general in the consumer protection and antitrust division of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. She began working there in May. Andrea previously served as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court of South Carolina.

Maureen Smeltz married Christopher Ryals January 12, 2013, in Cape Coral, Florida. The couple planned a move to Colorado this summer.


Romone Penny hosted his fourth 3-on-3 basketball tournament in March at Georgetown Day School. The tournament benefitted Capital Partners for Education, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and educational scholarships to motivated lowincome high-school students.


Risa Fujita attended the Cannes Film Festival in France in May, where two films she produced, TIRAMISU and The Disposables, were screened at the festival’s Short Film Corner.


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Kristina Trudeau graduated from Wake Forest University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and completed her master’s degree in forensic psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.


Anjali Patel ’06 received a master’s in public health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Attending the commencement ceremony were (L–R) Pamela Aquino ’06 and her niece, Emme Munoz; Crystal Lora ’06; and Anjali.


Crystal Lora is completing her third year of veterinary medicine at Tufts University. She’s looking forward to next year’s white-coat ceremony for veterinary students. Justin Mellott has joined the Londonbased start-up doing social media work, blogger recruiting, and app/web design. The company is hoping to launch on all continents, so Justin will be traveling to help make that happen.

John Marshall ’08 (second from left), his brother, David ’11 (second from right), and their parents, Linda and Kerry, on John’s graduation day from Virginia Tech in May; he received a degree in engineering.


Jess Dopkant completed her cancer radiation treatments in March and is recovering nicely at home. She’s determined to finally finish her last year at Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in information technology this fall. Emily Joseph is living and working in Seattle, Washington, and graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting, sculpture, and printmaking.

The Alumni Council invites you to come home to Mercersburg for

Alumni Weekend October 18-20, 2013

Ethan Strickler earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies from the University of Richmond, where he was a technician in a geographic information systems lab and conducted independent research in Oregon that he presented at the Association of American Geographers’ annual meeting. Ethan worked on an organic farm in Virginia after graduating and is now working for fellow Mercersburg alum Cameron Pedersen ’92, owner of Bending Bridge Farm in Mercersburg. Ethan works a market every Saturday in Rockville, Maryland, and helps Bending Bridge grow organic produce for its more than 200 communitysupported agriculture members. Beatrice vom Berg is pursuing a law degree at the University of Münster.


Whitney Clark graduated from Virginia Tech in May and most likely plans to head to the Berkeley/San Francisco area. She won an award in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association/Dominion Collegiate Undergraduate Writing

• • • • •

Contest. “I’ve been keeping my eye on sustainability, environmental, and wildlife/animal conservation jobs and would love some Mercersburg connections!” says Whitney. Arcadia Hartung received a bachelor of fine arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University with a focus on printmaking and installation art. She has moved to Brooklyn, where she is helping teach classes at Pratt Institute and hopes to open her own print shop. After two years at Washington College, Tad Holzapfel transferred to Virginia Military Institute. There he serves as a junior analyst in the energy sector for the cadet investment group, a team of students that invests a portion of the Alumni Association’s endowment. Tad is interning with Lifetime Benefits in Gaithersburg, Maryland, this summer and will graduate with a dual major in economics and business in December 2013. Rebecca McClain, a chemistry major at Wellesley College, received a Fulbright grant to spend a semester studying in Germany in a research laboratory. Derek Osei-Bonsu graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a political science major and philosophy minor. Derek has enrolled in the New York University School of Law for the fall and spent part of the

Step Songs and bonfire Big Tent BBQ Athletic contests vs. Blair Octet reunion and concert Tours of the new Simon Student Center

Visit for details.

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summer back on campus working for Mercersburg Summer Programs’ Adventure Camp. Danny Quinn graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May and is training as a Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician.

the Puerto Rico Olympic Training Center. Brookke was awarded the Breakout Student of the Year award in her major for 2013, which follows her Freshman of the Year award in 2011. She plans to apply to graduate school, pursue a master’s degree in athletic training, and become a certified athletic trainer.

John Richey graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May and is training in Pensacola to become a Navy pilot.

’11 Christian Binford, who pitches for the


Brookke Mahaffey is entering her senior year as an athletic training major at Waynesburg University. While on a mission trip in Puerto Rico in December 2012, she met Javier Culson (the bronze medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 Summer Olympics) and spent time with doctors at Albergue Olímpico,

Lexington Legends (a Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals), was named to the Southern Division squad for the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Christian threw a scoreless inning in the game, and as of early July had a 5–3 record with a 2.08 earnedrun average and 79 strikeouts compared to just 17 walks.

’12 David Bowes interned for U.S. Senator

Kearney, will be published in the Fall 2013 issue of Tule Review, which is produced by the Sacramento Poetry Center.

Evan Moats and Julius Everke ’13 spent their Easter holiday in Italy. Evan studied this past year as an English-Speaking Union scholar at Queen’s College Taunton in Somerset, England, and will attend the College of Wooster this fall. Julius was looking forward to visiting friends from Mercersburg in the U.S. this summer; he also stays in touch regularly with classmates Seth Noorbakhsh ’13 and Mac Williams ’13.

Joel Chace has published a full-length collection of visual poetry titled Kansoz.

Christopher Coons of Delaware this summer in Washington, D.C.


Former faculty

Steve Slovenski and his brother, Dave, appeared on the NBC television show America’s Got Talent in June as “The Flying Slovenski Brothers.” The Slovenskis rode unicycles as they performed jousting and lasso tricks and attempted to pole vault (sadly, they did not advance to the next round). Steve teaches mathematics and coaches track & field at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut.

The Anecdote of the Citizen, a poem by Associate Academic Dean Matthew

Obituaries ’32

Charles H. Bast, May 20, 2013. (Irving, soccer) Homer graduated from the University of Virginia and was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War. He served in the Pacific theater and was commanding officer of LST-677 in the invasion of Okinawa. He was involved in organizing the first naval reserve unit in Roanoke, Virginia, and spent 34 years at Roanoke College as a history professor, registrar, associate dean, director of admissions, director of summer school, and track and cross country coach. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane Lightner Bast, and a grandson. Survivors include a brother (Robert ’41), two sons, two grandsons, a nephew, and several nieces.


Robert E. Johnson, March 11, 2013. (Marshall, baseball, swimming) Bob was a Navy veteran of World War II who graduated from Ohio State University and Southern Connecticut State University. He was a competitive swimmer (he was a member of a nationalchampion 200 free relay team at Mercersburg) and amassed 70 years as a swim teacher, coach, water-safety instructor, and safety official. Bob was vice president of the former Bellmore-Johnson Tool Company. He was also a swim coach and physical education teacher for more than 20 years at Yale University. Survivors include his wife, E. Virginia Vickrey Johnson, two sons, two daughters, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a brother, Howard ’38.



William F. Childs III, April 23, 2013. (Irving, Gun Club) Bill graduated from Johns Hopkins University and joined the Glenn L. Martin Co. He later was a cement salesman and an inspector for a Martin assembly plant where Navy patrol bombers were built. During World War II, he was a member of the Drivers Corps of Baltimore County Civilian Defense. He also worked for Harry T. Campbell Sons Corporation and managed the Campbell Marriottsville quarry. After retirement, he worked as a consultant for Genstar Stone Products Corporation and the Redland Corporation. He was also a lobbyist in the Maryland General Assembly. His wife, Dorothy, preceded him in death; survivors include two sons and two granddaughters.


Russell O. Blaisdell, November 3, 2012. (Main, Marshall, swimming, Chemistry Club) Russ attended Cornell University and served in the Navy during World War II, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross after service in the Pacific theater. After the war, he flew more than 5.7 million miles as a pilot for Pan American Airways and North Central Airlines (later known as Republic Airlines and then Northwest Airlines). He and his wife, Barbara, lived in Naples, Florida. Howard T. Robinson Jr., February 22, 2013. (Irving, soccer, Chemistry Club) Howard was in the Army Medical Administrative Reserve during World War II and served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He received bachelor’s and medical degrees from Johns Hopkins University and trained in pediatrics at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins. Following 22 years in pediatrics, he practiced radiation oncology at Yale-New Haven Hospital and New Britain General Hospital. After retiring, he worked locum tenens at facilities around


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the country. Survivors include his wife, June McNutt Robinson; two sons (including Tom ’75) and three daughters; and eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Company. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lou Weiland Braznell, and a daughter. Survivors include two daughters, a son, and two grandchildren.

Charles M. Waugh, December 13, 2012. (Marshall, News, Les Copains, Stamp Club) Chuck graduated from Princeton University and served in the Navy during World War II. He worked for the DuPont Company for 42 years. He was preceded in death by a sister, his first wife, Louise, and a son. Survivors include his wife, Anne, and a niece and stepson.

Richard A. Hoober, February 7, 2013. (Main, Irving, choir, Glee Club, Gun Club, Marshal of the Field, Stony Batter, soccer, track, Camera Club) Dick served in the Army Air Corps and attended Brown University. He served as vice president of J.M. Hoober Inc. and vice president of Lancaster Livestock Exchange. In addition to his wife, Velma “Van” Nolt Hoober, survivors include a son, Thomas ’62; two daughters, including Amy Hoober Ahrensdorf ’75; five grandchildren; and two nephews, Bill ’58 and John III ’62. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Abram ’31 and John Jr. ’35.


Edmund J. Bennett, March 10, 2013. (Irving, Glee Club, Camera Club) Edmund received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s in public administration from American University, where he also pursued a Ph.D. in political science. He attended the University of Maryland School of Architecture for urban planning and architectural history and was a member of the Air Force. Edmund was the developer, through Edmund J. Bennett Associates, of several communities in Montgomery County, Maryland. In addition to his wife, Diane, he is survived by three sons and a daughter; two stepsons and a stepdaughter; 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; and a sister. Charles E. Boyer, July 29, 2012. (Keil, Marshall, band, Chemistry Club, choir, Glee Club, track, wrestling) Charlie served in the Army during World War II. He graduated from Lehigh University and worked for Western Electric/Lucent for 34 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Josephine, and two brothers (including Warren ’37). Survivors include three sons, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Donald P. Munding, June 6, 2012. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall, swimming, Les Copains, Lit board, Chemistry Club, Class Day Committee) Don attended Yale University on a diving scholarship and served in the Air Force during World War II. He later worked as an insurance adjuster, private investigator, juvenile probation monitor, deputy sheriff, and security enforcement officer for a casino in Arizona. Don was preceded in death by his wife, Helen. Survivors include two grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. B. Sheldon Sprague, July 20, 2011. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall debater, The Fifteen, Radio Club, track, cross country) Sheldon received a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, a master’s from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, and an honorary doctorate from Lowell Technological Institute. He worked for the Celanese Corporation for nearly 40 years and headed the company’s research facility for part of that time. After the original Apollo spacecraft burned on the launch pad, Sheldon helped develop fire-resistant fibers for future manned space flights. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Kaplan Sprague, as well as a son, a daughter, and a grandson.


Charles W. Braznell, December 28, 2012. (South Cottage, Irving, Camera Club, Les Copains, Chapel usher, football, swimming, track, Gun Club, Memorial Committee) Charlie served as a first lieutenant in the Army during World War II and earned a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan. After college, he worked briefly in the citrusmanufacturing industry for Orlando American Machinery before joining Bradford Builders, after which he founded Wesley Construction

Hubert M. Hoover, April 2, 2013. (South Cottage, Marshall, Radio Club, Gun Club, track, cross country) Hubert served in the Pacific theater during World War II, earning a Bronze Star, and later served in the Korean War. He completed his degree at Yale University and worked as an electrical engineer, including time with Sanders Associates and Earthworks. He was preceded in death by his wife, Donna Mae Bolt Hoover, and a brother. Survivors include two daughters (including Jane Hoover Davenport ’80), a son, and six grandchildren. Charles H. Irvin, March 10, 2013. (Irving, football) After serving in the Army Air Force during World War II, “Chub” spent his working years at Citizens National Bank in numerous capacities, retiring as CEO in 1985. Survivors include his wife, Helen Yohe Irvin; a daughter, a son, and two stepsons; six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; and a brother (Ed ’45) and three sisters. Robert L. Oyler, March 24, 2013. (Laucks, Irving debater, Marshal of the Field) Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University and later received an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He served in the Air Force and worked for General Electric for 37 years. Survivors include his wife, Sara, as well as a son and a daughter, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.


Alexander D. Beattie, March 3, 2013. (Keil, Marshall, Gun Club, Les Copains, Radio Club) Alex attended Lehigh University but left to enlist in the Navy during World War II. As a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Alex flew 40 combat missions in an F4U Corsair with Marine Air Group 14, providing ground support in the Pacific during World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with a Gold Star and also received an Air Medal with eight Gold Stars. Following the war, he was a quality-control inspector for the U.S. Air Force at the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation in Hagerstown, Maryland. In the early 1960s he began building houses in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; later, with his business partner, C. Jay Overcash ’39, he began the development of Coldbrook Meadows. He is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Adair Wilson Beattie; three children, including Alex Beattie Jr. ’62; eight grandchildren, including Timothy Peterson ’97, Emily Peterson Karottki ’97, Steve Toddes Jr. ’01, and Mattie Toddes ’05; and five great-grandchildren.

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James H. Linn Jr., March 3, 2013. Jim served with the Third Army under General George Patton in the 567th AAA Division. After his discharge, he graduated from the University of Maryland and married Maryjane Edwards. He worked for GMAC, managed the Miller Brothers plant, and served as sales manager for Ahtes Hanna McLaughlin Real Estate and Cooper-Stewart, retiring in 2007. In addition to his wife of 64 years, survivors include two daughters, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

’44 Benjamin Bashinski Jr., August 6, 2012. (Main Annex, Irving debater, Radio Club, News board, KARUX board, entertainment usher, El Circulo Español, tennis, soccer) Ben was a hospital corpsman in the Navy during World War II before graduating from Tulane University, where he earned both bachelor’s and medical degrees. He completed an internship and residency in urology at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, after which he entered private practice in Macon, Georgia. Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Sheila Carmel Bashinski, as well as three sons, four grandchildren, and a sister.


Lewis P. Scott III, May 16, 2013. (South Cottage, Marshall, El Circulo Español, Senate, football, track, Chapel usher, Stony Batter) Lew, the son of the late Lewis Pennington Scott Jr. (1912), joined the U.S. Merchant Marine after graduation and helped ferry critically needed supplies to post-World War II Eastern Europe aboard a Liberty ship. He attended Brown University and Jefferson Medical College and served as an officer in the Naval Medical Corps from his days at Jefferson until his departure from the service with the rank of commander. He joined the staff of Children’s Hospital as a pediatric cardiologist, and was later named chairman of its cardiology department. He served as the hospital’s senior vice president for academic affairs, a member of its board of directors, and as an attending physician in cardiology until his retirement in 1992. Survivors include his wife, Ethel “Dutch” Jeffries Scott; three sons and a daughter; 14 grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren; a sister; and a cousin, Gifford Scott ’48.


Robert E. Cavanaugh, January 26, 2013. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall, Rauchrunde, KARUX board, Camera Club, Football Band, Concert Band, basketball, soccer) Bob graduated from the University of Notre Dame and was president of R&M Sales, retiring from Ford Motor Company’s Steel Division in 2007. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, and brother, Dick ’43. Survivors include a son, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Joseph W. Strode Jr., April 8, 2013. (South Cottage, Marshall, choir, Glee Club, Radio Club, basketball, tennis, entertainment usher) Joe graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and was a thirdgeneration partner in Strode’s Sausage & Scrapple, a business his grandfather started in 1876. The family had the distinction of operating one of the original booths in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. He had a long history of community service, serving on West Chester’s borough council for eight years, including two as president. He carried the Olympic torch through

West Chester on the road to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. In 1987, the Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester presented him with its Outstanding Citizen of the Year award. Joe was a member and president of the West Chester Lions Club, and also volunteered at Chester County Hospital and Meals on Wheels. He and his wife of 60 years, Betty, were honored with the meritorious award from the West Chester Senior Center. In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, a daughter, and nine grandchildren.


Jack A. Brown, April 4, 2013. (Main, Marshall, KARUX board, Cum Laude, El Circulo Español, Chemistry Club, Chess Club, Gun Club, Projection Crew, soccer, wrestling, baseball) Jack graduated from Pennsylvania State University, where he was head football manager. He served in the Army before returning to Penn State and working on his master’s while teaching. He worked for Centre County Canning and Hanover Foods, where he was appointed treasurer and CFO. He retired from Hanover Foods in 1997 as vice president of finance and treasurer. Survivors include his wife, Esther Ann, and several children and grandchildren. Robert G. Tallman, January 31, 2013. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall, Gun Club) The son of the late former Pennsylvania state senator O. Jacob Tallman ’20, Bob graduated from Miami University and the University of Virginia Law School. A veteran of the Korean War, he served three years in the Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps in Japan. Bob began practicing law in 1957 with Butz, Hudders, Tallman and Rupp, and formed Tallman, Hudders & Sorrentino in 1989, retiring in 2012. Survivors include his wife, Barbara; two sons, a daughter, a stepson, and a stepdaughter; and six grandchildren and five step-grandchildren.


Wendell W. Hoone, March 30, 2013. (Keil, Irving, track, Marshal of the Field) Wendell graduated from Syracuse University, where he set records in the pole vault, high hurdles, and high jump. He served as an Army Ranger and later became a partner in King and King Architects, working on several prominent buildings in central New York and around the country. Among his professional highlights was serving as project architect for an I.M. Pei-designed building at his collegiate alma mater. In the early 1980s, he moved to Florida, where he worked at Bitterli and Associates Architects in St. Petersburg. Along with his wife, Gayle, he ran several recovery homes through Life Ministries in New Port Richey. In addition to his wife, survivors include four children, four grandchildren, a stepchild, and a step-grandchild.


Thomas J. Alexander, March 3, 2013. (South Cottage, Irving, wrestling) Jay served in the Army and attended the University of Michigan and Duke University to prepare for a lifelong career as an assessor and appraiser for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Alice Fisher Alexander. Charles W. Bowser Jr., May 6, 2013. (Keil, Irving, Christian Service Group, Stony Batter, Varsity Club, football, track) Charlie graduated from Allegheny College and retired from Braeburn



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Steel. He lived in Bonita Springs, Florida. Survivors include his wife, Joanne McCaul Bowser, as well as a daughter, two sons, and six grandchildren. Lewis C. Johnson, May 8, 2013. (South Cottage, Irving, football, baseball) Lewis attended Bob Jones Bible College, Muhlenberg College, and Duke University. He served in the Army and spent 29 years as a sales manager for Sears & Roebuck. Survivors include his wife, Lois Herrold Johnson, as well as a daughter, four grandchildren, and a sister.


Edward Etzweiler, January 28, 2013. (Main, Marshall, Gun Club, football) Ed served in the Army during the Korean War and graduated from the Eckels School of Mortuary Science. He retired from Cor-Box in York, Pennsylvania, and was preceded in death by his wife, Sherlyn, and a son. Survivors include a daughter and a son, four granddaughters, a great-granddaughter, and a sister.


Reginald A. Neuwien Jr., August 20, 2011. (Irving, football, track) “Skip” was an Army aviator and a Vietnam veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel. He worked for McDonnell Douglas and Honeywell in research and development. Survivors include his wife, Susan Wilson Neuwien, three daughters and a son, and nine grandchildren.


Carl A. Weiss, August 6, 2011. (South Cottage, Marshall, Christian Service Group, Chapel usher, Electronics Club, Laticlavii, wrestling, Chess Club) Carl graduated from Union College and worked in management for Aramark, Ogden Corporation, and Fedcap Building Services. He lived in Garden City, New York. Survivors include his wife, Margaret “Peggy” O’Rourke Weiss; three brothers, including Charles ’65; and three nephews.


Joel R. Myers, March 6, 2013. (Main, Irving, Jurisprudence Society, Stamp Club, Electronics Club, Varsity Club, football) Joel attended Temple University and graduated from Keystone College, Wilkes University, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He worked as a manager and underwriter for The Hartford, served as vice president of the BerkshireHathaway Insurance Company, was president of Zurich Insurance Company, and owned Joel R. Myers Insurance Consultants. He was preceded in death by a son, a sister, and an infant brother. Survivors include his wife, Gail Liebman Myers, two sons, three grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.


Arthur W. Courtney III, January 28, 2013. (Irving) Art studied geology at Franklin & Marshall College and earned an MBA from the University of Iowa. He worked for the Anaconda Mining Corporation, taught at Prairie Middle School, and served as director of research at the International Royalty Corporation. Survivors include two sisters and a daughter.


Robert T. Crothers, May 15, 2013. (Irving declaimer, Spanish Club, Stony Batter, News, KARUX, football, track) Robert graduated from Washington & Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He served in the Army and was a partner in the firm of Peacock, Keller, Yohe, Day, Ecker & Crothers for 23 years. He was president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Solicitors Association and president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. Robert was involved in several noteworthy cases, including Cowden v. Moon Area School District, and he served as amicus curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Richard Thornburgh [’50] et al. v. ACOG et al. Survivors include his wife, Donna, one daughter, two sons, three grandchildren, and two siblings.


William B. Endres, February 19, 2013. (Blue Key, Class Council, Chapel usher, Camera Club, soccer, baseball) Bill graduated from Wittenberg College and Carnegie Mellon University. He taught English and was department chair at Shady Side Academy before moving to Baltimore in 1985 to become head of the upper school and later headmaster at Boys’ Latin School of Maryland. Bill lived in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.


Eric W. Schlueter, April 2, 2013. (football) Eric was a software architect, entrepreneur, and business owner who worked for many companies throughout northeast Ohio. Survivors include his wife, Patty; a son and daughter; two brothers (including Sam ’79) and a sister; and his parents.

Former faculty/staff/friends Byran E. “Buck” Bennett, school driver, father of faculty member John David Bennett, father-in-law of former staff member Denise Bennett, and grandfather of Cameron Rogers ’12, April 28, 2013. William A. Cubit, father of faculty member Mark Cubit, father-inlaw of former faculty member Sandie Cubit, and grandfather of Colin ’06, Kelsie ’08, Kearsten ’10, and Kendra ’13, June 6, 2013. Albrecht Saalfield, English teacher and football/wrestling coach (1961–1964), September 16, 2011. Louise W. Smith, secretary in Mercersburg’s Dean of Students’ Office (1968–1993) and grandmother of Christopher Myers ’92, April 23, 2013. John D. Wilson, Regent Emeritus and father of Sara Wilson O’Shea ’86, March 2, 2013. He served on Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1986 to 1989 and was president of Washington and Lee University from 1983 to 1995.

An “Interview” with William Mann Irvine By Wallace Whitworth


was a lovely spring evening on campus when I finished dinner at Ford Hall and headed for my car. As I was about to get in, I felt a presence behind me. I turned around and saw a man standing there in an old-fashioned dark suit, black tie, and white shirt with a starchy vertical collar. The conversation went something like this: WW: My word! You’re William Mann Irvine. WMI: That is correct. WW: If you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing here… and why didn’t they give you some new clothes on the other side? WMI: Oh, I come back to campus from time to time. I wore this so you’d be sure to recognize me from my portrait. WW: Good idea. If you’d dressed in Ralph Lauren I might have mistaken you for a parent or some nut case claiming to be the founder of the school. WMI: Who’s Ralph Lauren? WW: N obody of importance. So you return to campus occasionally? WMI: Yes. I want to be sure the school stays on the straight and narrow. WW: You mean “hard work, fair play, clean life”? WMI: Well, yes, but deeper than that. The more Mercersburg changes, the more it should stay the same. WW: So, tell me—how does the place look to you? WMI: Pretty spiffy. Lots of new stuff, but plenty of familiar landmarks that let me know I’m in the right place. I like the way you keep tweaking. I can’t help but notice what you’ve done with the Quad and Irvine Memorial. Just beautiful! WW: Yes, the Irvine Memorial probably looks as good now as when it was new. The Chapel was rededicated in your honor, and that building over there is Irvine Hall. Perhaps we should just call this place the Irvine Academy of Mercersburg? WMI: Don’t be impertinent. WW: Sorry. I was just curious what it feels like to be reprimanded by the founding headmaster. Anything else on campus that you’re curious about? WMI: Well, before I floated over to see you, I was in Keil Hall. Those Tiffany windows are still so gorgeous. That was quite the coup for me to get those college presidents to pony up the money for them. But what’s all the junk in the old dining hall? WW: It’s serving as our makeshift student center. See that construction over there? We’re renovating and expanding the real student center, which opens this fall. Did you happen to make it to Nolde Gymnasium to see how we tweaked that?

WMI: Oh my! Yes, I did. So many great memories. That building was such a leap of faith when I envisioned it and built it. But I knew we had to have it. First, because our program was growing so, but also because I knew it would put Mercersburg way out in front. I love how you’ve kept the old architecture while expanding around it. WW: Well, more changes are planned for Nolde. We hope to have a new Olympic-size pool soon. And since we have 25 varsity sports programs, the only way to guarantee that all teams can practice regardless of the weather is to build a field house. But, like you said, to build both it and the pool is a leap of faith. WMI: Yes, it is. But take it from me and my experience with Nolde: build them both. You won’t regret it. They will be Mercersburg’s gain for years, just like Nolde was in my day. WW: I’ll be sure to pass that along. WMI: I do have one question for you. I notice that all the students keep poking at these little boxes. What are those? WW: Oh, those are iPads. They are a combination electronic blackboard, typewriter, radio, textbook, movie theatre, notebook, camera, and more. Some of our faculty have even written their own textbooks especially for the iPad. WMI: Goodness—what we could have done with those in my day! Listen, I don’t want to keep you. You’ve been very kind to fill me in. WW: My pleasure, Dr. Irvine. But since this may be the only time I ever get to talk to you, would do me the favor of summing up your observations about Mercersburg today as compared to the Mercersburg of your era? Are we keeping to the essence of your original vision? WMI: Well, in a way, I wish the campus looked just as it did when I was here, but I never ever thought the place should remain static. That would be anathema to progress. So when I walk the campus unnoticed or sit invisibly in the Chapel or that handsome Simon Theatre, I can see proof that all the planning for and responding to change over the years was not only wise, but absolutely vital. Was Mercersburg better back in my day? Perhaps in some ways. But overall, is Mercersburg better today than it was then? Without a doubt. Every generation loses something, gains something, and reinvents something. What’s most important is that the school’s trajectory not only remains in step with the times, but stays true to its character and original mission. And on those critical points, Mercersburg is unwavering. I can only look around and say to all of you today, “Mightily onward!”

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