He climbs, he shoots, he skis â&#x20AC;Ś
Life at Rolling Stone
A woman and the sea F A
B U L L E T I N Fall 2005 Volume 76 Number 1 Bulletin Staff Director of Development John E. Ormiston Editor Julie Reiff Alumni Notes Linda Beyus Design Good Design, LLC www.gooddesignusa.com Proofreader Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftBulletin@TaftSchool.org Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Summer–May 30 Fall–August 30 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1-860-945-7777 www.TaftAlumni.com The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855) is published quarterly, in February, May, August, and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 067952100, and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends of the school. All rights reserved.
This magazine is printed on recycled paper.
Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery chant prayers of blessing over the Mandala of Healing they created in the Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery during their visit in September. Peter Frew ’75
F E AT U R E S cover story: Alpine Nomad..................... 16 The mountains of the world have their hold on Colin Samuels ’85, who climbs, photographs, skis, and makes his home in the French Alps. By Linda Hedman Beyus
My Back Pages....................................... 22
Underneath his trendier-than-Clark-Kent disguise, Will Dana ’81—the new managing editor of Rolling Stone—is more magician than superhero. His first trick: restoring the magazine to its former glory. By Julie Reiff
Reeling Them In..................................... 26 Professional fly angler Diana Rudolph ’90 has caught some of the biggest fish around. By Julia Feldmeier ’99
D E PA R T M E N T S Letters.................................................... 2 Alumni Spotlight.................................... 3 Around the Pond.................................... 6 Around the Pond and Beyond............... 12 Endnote: Little Rock Five....................... 30 By Julie Reiff
on the cover Not the easiest way to find snow. Ski mountaineering photographer Colin Samuels ’85 has made a career doing what he loves. (See page 16.) Colin Samuels collection
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Big Easy to the Big Red By the start of October, three new students from Louisiana had begun to settle in to their new Taft routines. To accommodate the increased enrollment in an already full school, one of the common rooms in Vogelstein Dormitory was temporarily converted to a double. Responses to the headmaster’s letter* updating alumni and parents about the school’s outreach efforts were impressive. Some of them are shared, briefly, here. —Julie Reiff, editor
This is why I still love this place so much! —John Gagne ’80 I am happy to see the two-part response. First, try to help everyone, and, second, help “one of our own.” I would have been upset if Taft had only made space for another privateschool kid or two. I am not surprised that you and the school reacted as you did, just happy about it. —John Merrow ’59 Great idea! One of the reasons I am proud to be an alumnus of Taft. —Tim Carew ’65 Taft will be well represented in the relief effort: My three-year-old daughter just packed her Taft rhino T-shirt into one of the backpacks she and her brothers have assembled for displaced children with school supplies, small toys, and notes to kids. —Jessica Tausend Baccus ’83 What an appropriate and splendid commitment for the school to make. Certainly it is in the very best of the Taft tradition. —Steve Henkel ’53
Letters We welcome Letters to the Editor relating to the content of the magazine. Letters may be edited for length, clarity, and content, and are published at the editor’s discretion. Send correspondence to: Julie Reiff, editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 USA or to ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org
Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
It was heartening to read that the Taft community has once again proven its collective dedication to humanity, especially to those in times of need. Thanks for sharing the news and reminding me that, even in the midst of a hectic life, there is always a greater good to be served. —Debbie Zawadzki ’80 Bravo! At a time like this, the Taft motto is most important—not to be served but to serve. —Peter Buttenheim ’60 Compassion and empathy are treasures of the heart. These have immeasurable value as compared to treasures of the storehouse or the body. The most important accomplishment in life is to reach out to someone in need and make a real difference, turning poison into medicine. —Nicholas Bessmer ’77 Well done! I would have expected nothing less of you and the Taft community, but it is still good to know that you are all responding as one would have hoped. —Bridget Macaskill P’02,’05 I am touched by your e-mail as I have seldom been. Besides the simple eloquence of your expression, the superb values expressed in the activities of the entire school community are a terrific example of how both individuals and a community can ennoble and grace others. How wonderful to have a motto that means something and is actually lived…sed ut ministret. —Jonathan Dill ’63 Having seen and been involved with a very similar disaster in Haiti one year ago, I can appreciate the hope your letter offers. Taft’s caring response makes me proud to be an alumnus. —Bruce Johnson ’67 I am heartened by the school’s response to Katrina. Reminds me of its response to the Little Rock integration crisis in 1958, when Taft made a place for a “refugee” from Arkansas after term had already started [see page 56]. I have been profoundly grateful for the school’s willingness to reach out and connect in times of need and to remind all of us that we can each be part of the solution. —Jim Rule ’60
I’m sure others have pointed out a parallel situation in 1958 when Taft opened its doors to four or five students from Little Rock who were affected by the turmoil of the civil rights confrontations in that city. I believe that small band produced a starting linebacker for Yale and a candidate for U.S. Congress. In adversity there may be significant opportunity. —Henry Lanier ’61 It’s good to know that Taft has responded rapidly and generously to the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history. I would have expected no less. —Bob Murdock ’47 [Their] transition from the Big Easy to the Big Red is clearly being conducted with the same sense of community, compassion, and high expectations from all involved…. This is Taft at its finest, its motto in action. Horace would approve. —Ev Anderson ’64 *Didn’t receive the headmaster’s September e-mail? View the latest update online at http://www.taftschool.org/katrina/.
A Numbers Game The endnote essay in the summer issue (“Boy of Summer, Father of Fall”) brings to light a disturbing issue regarding college admissions. The myopic pursuit of admission to the “best” colleges (to wit, Ivy League) and the competition it fosters seems misguided and unhealthy. Regrettable are those businesses that promote and encourage such competition for a substantial fee and capitalize on the specious argument that Harvard equals success. And it is sad, indeed, that there are admissions personnel who revel in this résumé-building charade. Isn’t a more grounded approach to enriching one’s personal development—intellectually and spiritually, and thereby enriching others—the formula for success that should be nurtured? Isn’t that, after all, the essence of a Taft education? The college admission process is a competition, undeniably, and it should be pursued in earnest without the hubris of elitism. The numbers game will disqualify many good applicants to Harvard and the like, but other schools will benefit and so will we all. —Roy Schonbrun ’68
In Sheep’s Clothing I read in the summer issue that the faculty had picked Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf as a book the entire school would read over the summer and discuss this fall as you “revisit the key theme of our human relationship, interaction, and participation in the natural world.” Laudable as the goal is, this book was a surprising choice, and to my mind, a thoughtless one. I only hope that the discussion that occurs this fall can correct at least some problems with the book and salvage something of value from this exercise. I have written a half dozen scientific, legal, and ethical publications regarding wolves, whales, and other wildlife. I am currently a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Canid Specialist Group, a group of 100 scientists from around the world that monitors the conservation status and biological knowledge of all 37 species of canids—including wolves (www. canids.org). Also, I am a qualified fan of Farley Mowat’s. My problem with his nonautobiographical books is that they play extremely loose with the facts and the persons described. Mowat’s story, presented as alleged science, undercuts the credibility of real scientists—reinforcing the public misconception that researchers find only what they want to find and misleading people badly about the true nature of wolves and our environmental issues. What saddens me is that there are so many other, better books that the Taft community could, and should, have read. I recommend Barry Lopez’s Of Wolves and Men, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, or selected portions of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel or The Third Chimpanzee—all excellent books that are scientifically sound and sure to elicit the sought-after debate. The world is suffering a humancaused environmental catastrophe that is threatening most species, including humans. Taft needs to lead the effort toward scientific literacy, which is falling to frightening levels, and awareness of the environment. But Taft can only do so if it adheres to the highest standards of honesty and lets the scientific process inform us, rather than illegitimately presenting one’s own prejudices as “science,” no matter how agreeable those prejudices may seem. —Jim Scarff ’66
© Noah Greenberg/Vistalux
S P OT L I G H T
A Capital Game His career “is catching fire” and he’s “sizzling,” according to People magazine in its latest list of eligible bachelors; Winston Bao Lord ’86 is one of the “Guys on the Rise” in the June 27 issue. “I got flooded with random e-mails after that came out; my thirdgrade teacher and several ex-girlfriends even tracked me down,” Lord said.
“Some included photos of themselves.” As executive director of the Washington Baseball Club, he has been working for six years to bring a team to the nation’s capital. “Not only was Washington the largest market without a franchise, but it just makes sense that the national pastime needs to be in the nation’s capital.”
Lord had just started his own advertising business back in 1999 when D.C. Mayor Tony Williams announced his hopes of bringing a Major League Baseball franchise back to the city. “It was an unbelievably perfect opportunity,” said Lord, a native Washingtonian who is equally passionate about his hometown as he is about baseball. “This was a chance to do something for the city I love.” Hired as the executive director that year, he began working full-time for the group in 2002, when MLB made the decision to relocate the Expos out of Montreal because of declining ticket sales. The original group of six investors in Lord’s group has grown to 12 community and business leaders (including former Secretary of State Colin Powell) and has endorsements from the mayor as well as a number of key members on the Hill. Now that the team is already in D.C., all that remains is for the league to pick an ownership group from the eight who are competing. The process of acquiring the team has been “a lot like promoting a political candidate,” says Lord. The 29 MLB owners will make the decision, and three-quarters need to vote for you.” The league planned to make a decision by the end of September. Lord was optimistic. “We hope to lead the major league in community initiatives and partnerships, to use the team as a platform to help the city.” Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
The Cell Game: Sam Waksal’s Fast Money and False Promises—and the Fate of ImClone’s Cancer Drug Alex Prud’homme ’80 HarperBusiness, 2004
It began with a promising cancer drug— the brainchild of a gifted researcher— and grew into an insider trading scandal that ensnared one of America’s most successful women. The story of ImClone Systems and its “miracle” cancer drug, Erbitux, is the quintessential business saga of the late 1990s. At the center of it all stands Sam Waksal, a brilliant, mercurial, and desperate-to-be-liked entrepreneur, addicted to the trappings of wealth and fame. He promised that Erbitux would “change oncology,” and would soon make $1 billion a year. When the FDA withheld approval of Erbitux, he panicked and desperately tried to cash in his stock before the bad news hit Wall Street.
Waksal is now in jail, the first of the Enron-era white-collar criminals to be sentenced. Yet Erbitux remains promising, the leading example of a new way to fight cancer. Publishers Weekly called Prud’homme’s reporting “especially strong when he delves into the seemingly haphazard way in which ImClone distributed C225 for ‘compassionate use’ during the clinical testing period.” Booklist called The Cell Game “exemplarily written,” and U.S. News said, “Prud’homme weaves a chilling tale.” Alex Prud’homme is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Time, and People. He is currently working on a biography of Julia Child.
Middle Eastern Democracy 101 Dick Williams ’89 spent two weeks in Jordan and Egypt “at a fascinating time in the political evolution of both countries.” He was asked to participate in a bipartisan delegation of nine “young political leaders” to the Middle East through a program organized and partly funded by the American Council of Young Political Leaders and the U.S. State Department. On an invitation from the speaker, they attended the roll call vote in the People’s Assembly of Egypt in May 2005 when the Egyptian legislature voted to amend their constitution to allow for competitive (multicandidate) presidential elections. They also had meetings with the speaker as well as the leaders of several opposition parties “hearing about history as it was being made,” he adds. The historic Egyptian election took place in September, capturing the world’s attention for its implications for the rest of the region. Similarly, in Jordan, they met with the leaders of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament as well as the architects of the democratic reforms that they are undertaking currently. “The program is designed to introduce members of the Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
delegation to social and economic leaders in these countries,” Williams explains, “in order to understand better the role of politics in everyday life.” Williams would love to continue to raise the profile of the Middle East as he finds it to be a place that is “a living breathing contradiction—full of antiAmericanism because of their perception of our policies yet simultaneously evolving towards our governmental and economic models and, as we all know, obsessed with our pop culture! This is an area of the world that we will continue to misunderstand at our own peril.”
Williams also worked at campaign headquarters in Washington in 2003 and 2004 as a member of the finance team of Bush-Cheney ’04 and started a program aimed at the next generation (under 40) all over the country that raised more than $10 million beyond their target. “I had an unforgettable experience (in both a positive and a negative sense) in the eye of the hurricane!” . Dick Williams ’89, on a tour of the Middle East, at the lost city of Petra with one of the group’s Jordanian hosts, Samer Kawar, who runs the Jordanian Young Economists Society.
Up to the Mountain: Wade Hampton Frost, Pioneer Epidemiologist, 1880–1938 Thomas M. Daniel ’47 University of Rochester Press, 2004
No Alabaster Box Charles D. Bradley ’56 XLibris, 2005
Distressed Investment Banking: To the Abyss and Back Henry Owsley and Peter S. Kaufman ’71 Beard Books, 2005
The Pineapple: King of Fruits Fran Beauman ’95 Random House, 2005
Home with the Rangers
The Family Stone The All-American Football Foundation recognized Larry Stone at its 72nd Banquet of Champions in Boston in July. He received the President Gerald R. Ford All-American High School Coach Award. At the same event, they recognized
his daughter Kelly Stone ’77 for her work with the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Larry, who began his career at Taft in the fall of 1962, coached football, baseball, and served as Taft athletic director for more than 30 years, retiring in 1995.
Former Ohio State University standout Ben Crabtree ’01 signed with the Texas Rangers, who drafted him in the 26th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft in June. “I’m really excited to be able to play the game that I love and actually have someone pay me to do it,” he said. “Signing a professional contract is something that I’ve wanted to do my whole life.” While in Ohio, Crabtree set the state’s all-time hits mark on the last day of the season. He led his team in nearly every offensive category, with 72 hits, 14 doubles, 10 home runs, and a .344 batting average. He’s currently playing for the Spokane Indians, the Rangers’ development team in the Northwest League. Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
ND T H E
U O R
Peter Frew ’75
To Russia with Love Perestroika, glasnost, and the end of the Cold War have been important news stories in History Department chair Jon Willson’s adulthood, so when he received the Davis Fellowship earlier this year, he knew right away he wanted to travel to Russia to see the transformation of that country from the communist Soviet Union to a capitalist, “sort of democratic” society, he says. Using plenty of frequent flier miles to bring his family along with him, Jon (with wife Sarah, daughter Cassie, and sons Sam and Luke) flew to Helsinki in August, “wanting to squeeze in as many cultural experiences as we could,” says Jon. Three days later they spent the better part of a day on the train to St. Petersburg, where Sarah’s sister Maud, who is married to a Russian, lives. “We wanted to travel without a group, so having them there really made that possible. Not too many people on tour groups have the chance to go to the local vegetable market, figure out how to get on the right bus, and eat borscht
Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
Davis Fellow Jon Willson ’82 and his wife Sarah Albee in Russia’s Red Square
at the homes of real Russian people.” They toured the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, and the Winter Palace, and spent a day at Maud’s dacha in the countryside. Sarah and Jon also flew to Moscow for a day without the kids, where they toured the Kremlin and Red Square. Hoping to offer a Russian history elective next year, Jon also managed to
interview a few septuagenarians about their fascinating, and often-harrowing memories of the Stalin era, with Maud acting as translator. “This was an amazing trip,” Jon adds. “To be able to see a culture from a native’s perspective—and to have the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts from those who lived through the eras that I teach—was a powerful experience.”
AROUND THE POND
Special Trips and Special Effects You’re in beautiful Glacier National Park when suddenly you see a young man fall from a precipice, crashing through the trees as he drops, only to wind up suspended from the branches over the raging river below. No, that never actually happened—at least not in real life—but hopefully it will look as if it had. If the eight students who traveled to Montana with acting and video teacher Rick Doyle over the summer and the students in his film editing class this year have anything to say about it, you’ll be biting your nails as you watch the scene unfold on the big screen in May. Beginning what Doyle calls the most intensive project he’s ever taken on, the group spent two weeks out west filming many of the scenes they will use in a yearlong venture. Students in his video class worked out the basic story line for the movie in the spring, which Doyle then flushed out as a screenplay. “We shot most of the live action in the mountains at Glacier, some as high up as 12,000 feet,” Doyle says. “There were bears and bald eagles; it was absolutely extraordinary.” Inner Circle—the project’s working title—is a fantasy movie along the lines of Lord of the Rings. Students dressed in medieval costumes and acted out sword fights with real metal swords. For the more dangerous or “fantastic” scenes, Doyle has planned over 100 special effects, which students will work on over the course of the year with professionallevel editing and 3-D modeling software (Maya, VUE, and Shake). They’ve built a 12-by-24-foot green screen in the Woodward Black Box Theater to film some of that action.
“With the new software, students can create whole backgrounds and even new kinds of animals that they can then animate and ride in the film. “What I always tell the kids is that story is the most important thing, but they can use these special effects to help carry the story,” says Doyle. “And they’ll need to learn to solve problems to make those special effects work.
McCloskey, Flora Nagy, Grace Scott, Marlena Slowik, and Emma Strubell. “It was such a wonderful trip,” says Marlena. “Some of my favorite moments were just sitting upstairs in our rented cabin and watching the reruns of the tape from that day.” For all of them, though, finally seeing the actors in their costumes, getting the light working, or hiking six hours up a mountain in the
Ben Grinberg ’07 surveys the Montana landscape in the film Inner Circle, which debuts in May.
It really is about problem solving.” This gives the kids something concrete to apply their newly acquired editing skills to, he explains, a real application of what they are learning. “When the movie plays on the big screen in May, it has to look absolutely photorealistic.” Students on the trip were senior Bill Lane, and upper mids Benjamin Grinberg, Sara Merrick-Albano, Neal
sweltering heat just to get a few quick minutes of travel scenes will be moments they say they’ll remember long after the movie airs. All the students who ventured out to Montana did make it safely back to Watertown at the end of the project. Perhaps the students who create the credits at the end should add the line: No students were harmed in the filming of this movie.
Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
AROUND THE POND
The Teen Brain
New York Times Medical Editor Barbara Strauch explains to the faculty the latest research on changes in the adolescent brain. Peter Frew ’75
“I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting.” —Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale
Barbara Strauch, the medical science and health editor for The New York Times, explained the latest research on the teenage brain to the faculty at their opening meeting in September. Her book The Primal Teen is a groundbreaking look at how new discoveries in neuroscience “may help us to understand our children.” She says that as the mother of two teenagers, she was “motivated to try to figure this out.” Scientists previously thought brain was set by age 13 and all that could be added was more content, more experiences, but through advances in magnetic resonance imaging, they are now able to see what’s happening in a living teenage brain, and the results, she says, have been amazing. “Starting around age 11 for girls and 12 for boys,” she explains, “there is a big jump in the growth of the gray matter of the brain, that outer layer that makes us much of what we are. Then, there’s a massive pruning and disposal of millions of brain branches, cutting away as much as 50 percent in some smaller regions.” The changes the brain goes through during adolescence are, experts now say, as dramatic and crucial as those that take place in the first two years of life.
Legacy List Alumni and their children and grandchildren at Taft Great-Grandparents Henry Wick Chambers 1895*.............. Timothy R. Chambers ’07 Thomas W. Chrystie ’21*............................. Henry T. Wyman ’07 Roth F. Herrlinger ’22*............................. Daniel M. Hillman ’06 , Elizabeth L. Lanahan ’08, Scott H. Hillman ’09 Charles P. Luckey ’18*..............................Charlotte D. Luckey ’08 Samuel F. Pryor Jr. ’17*.................................Antonia R. Pryor ’07
Grandparents Eldredge L. Bermingham ’43*........Alexander N. Bermingham ’08 Edward Madden Bigler ’40*...........................Marika K. Bigler ’06 , Griffith B. Bigler ’08 Dexter Barnes Blake ’33*........................Charlotte G. Bromley ’08 G. Renfrew Brighton Jr. ’43................... Whitney Z. Brighton ’06 John B. S. Campbell ’34*....................... Susannah M. Walden ’06 Robert A. Campbell ’34*.......................Robert A. Campbell II ’07
Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
Much of this activity occurs in the prefrontal cortex—the section of the brain that “allows us to plan ahead, to resist impulses, to NOT do something totally insane. This is the rational area that helps us resist impulses, or at least count to ten first,” she said. As a result, teens are more likely to use a more emotional part of the brain and are less able to anticipate the consequences of their actions. There is also increased chemical activity going on in the brain at that age— dopamine, melatonin—explaining at least in part why teens love to sleep late or seek new thrills. We can help them understand what’s going on and sometimes make adjustments, she adds, whether it’s changing the length of a driver’s permit or letting them sleep later. The good news, she says, is that their ability to think abstractly is growing, as is their awareness of emotion in other people. “Their brains are open to new experiences. We have to nudge them, be their prefrontal cortex at times—not necessarily telling them what to do, but helping them realize the consequences. Given their newfound awareness of others, keeping them too sheltered at this age could mean a lost opportunity for developing in them a sense of altruism.”
Livingston Carroll ’37*........................ David J. Carroll-Kenny ’07 H. Wick Chambers Jr. ’27*.................. Timothy R. Chambers ’07 Ronald H. Chase ’54................................. Hillary N. Simpson ’06 Thomas L. Chrystie ’51................................ Henry T. Wyman ’07 Barnaby Conrad Sr. ’40.................................... Helen P. Gazin ’07 Roy E. Demmon ’45 Katharine L. Demmon ’09 , A. Bailey Fowlkes ’09 Arthur T. Garfunkel ’44*........................... Amy L. Brownstein ’09 John C. Geupel ’45*.......................................Noah D. Geupel ’08 Edward F. Herrlinger II ’46 Daniel M. Hillman ’06 , Elizabeth L. Lanahan ’08, Scott H. Hillman ’09 Herbert S. Ide ’21*............................................William A. Ide ’09 Lee Paul Klingenstein ’44...................................Lee S. Ziesing ’07 Charles A. Lamb ’42...............................Charles A. L. Bartlett ’08 George R. Lindemer ’42.....................................Eric L. Becker ’08 Charles P. Luckey Jr. ’43*.........................Charlotte D. Luckey ’08
AROUND THE POND
More than 70 teachers and leaders from Urban Education Exchange partner schools came to Watertown in August for their Summer Training Workshop. Steven Valenti
While We Were Away… Urban Education Exchange recently held its Summer Training Workshop at Taft for the second time. “The training marks a critical first step,” says Executive Director Nancy McDonnell Scharff, “in introducing teachers from our partner schools to the UEE program.” More than 70 attendees from their seven partner schools came to Watertown from August 10 to 12. UEE is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering a culture of academic excellence in urban elementary schools by providing teachers with a research-based curriculum, intensive teacher training, and detailed assessments. UEE provides the tools to ad-
dress the academic needs of an at-risk urban population. “We recognize that teachers are a critical component in ensuring students receive a quality education,” Scharff says. Founded in 1991 as the Friends of the Family Academy, a model public school in Harlem, UEE’s vision is to empower a growing network of schools with tools and best practices. “And the program is working!” says Scharff. “We have just received test scores from our two New York partner schools and are delighted with the results.” Among their New York City partner schools, 84 percent of fourth grade students are reading at or above grade level.
Condict Moore ’34.....Emily L. Moore ’07, Catherine R. Moore ’09 James I. Moore ’41*........................................Emily L. Moore ’07 , Catherine R. Moore ’09 Samuel F. Pryor III ’46..................................Antonia R. Pryor ’07 Walter C. Reisinger ’42*............................Abigail B. Reisinger ’08 Edward Van V. Sands ’14*.................................Diana P. Sands ’06 Spyros S. Skouras ’41 Spyros S. Skouras III ’06 , Sophia M. Skouras ’08 Harry W. Walker II ’40.............................. Holland E. Walker ’07 John S. Wold ’34....................................... Claire W. Longfield ’06
Parents Randolph G. Abood ’68...........................R. George Abood Jr. ’07 Eric D. Albert ’77......... Lindsay C. Albert ’06, Jamie E. Albert ’08 Jonathan D. Albert ’79.....................................Sarah B. Albert ’09 Robert C. Barber ’75..................................... Martha J. Barber ’08
All of the teachers from three partner schools—KIPP SHINE Prep (the first “Knowledge Is Power Program” elementary school), Waterside School (which targets low-income students in Stamford, Connecticut), and Girls Preparatory Academy (a charter school opening this fall on the Lower East Side)—attended the summer training sessions at Taft. Leaders and staff from four other partner schools and UEE board members came as well (including Drummond Bell ’63, who was instrumental in arranging the group’s use of the Taft campus). “This is a great partnership,” says Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, “and one we are thrilled to be part of.” “As usual TAFT was over the top,” says Scharff. “We could not have felt more welcomed and supported by everyone we met. Teachers and their families were very friendly. The food was excellent, and everyone was very comfortable in the surroundings. I cannot begin to tell you what a positive impact your wonderful school setting has on all of our teachers...and all of our prospective teachers and board members. EVERYONE was charged up!”
John W. Biedermann ’77........................... Max P. Biedermann ’08 Paul G. Bigler II ’74........Marika K. Bigler ’06, Griffith B. Bigler ’08 Arthur F. Blake ’67.................................Charlotte G. Bromley ’08 Richard W. Blossom ’66..................................Carissa Blossom ’08 Martha Stine Boyd ’73..................................... Emily C. Boyd ’07 Henry G. Brauer ’74 Mary O. Brauer ’08 , Benjamin H. Brauer ’09 Shawn D. Brazo ’82......................................Zachary A. Brazo ’09 Renfrew M. Brighton ’74....................... Whitney Z. Brighton ’06 John S. Brittain Jr. ’77..................................John S. Brittain V ’06 Matthew Bronfman ’77.................................Eli M. Bronfman ’07 Lawrence F. Brownstein ’74....................... Amy L. Brownstein ’09 Gordon S. Calder Jr. ’65..............................William C. Calder ’07 Robert C. Campbell ’76........................Robert A. Campbell II ’07 Wick R. Chambers ’66......................... Timothy R. Chambers ’07 Charles J. Demmon ’79........................ Katharine L. Demmon ’09 c c c
Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
AROUND THE POND
Peter Frew ’75
Admissions by the Numbers Director of Admissions Ferdie Wandelt ’66 and his team of admissions officers received 4,780 inquiries last year and reviewed more than 1,400 applications for 192 places among this year’s student body. Here’s how the numbers break down: c 460 boarders and 105 day students c 292 boys and 273 girls c 103 lower middlers, evenly divided
New Faces on the Faculty
Front from left, Jason BreMiller, English; John Magee, English; Kaitlin Harvie, English fellow; Andrew Svensk ’94, mathematics; second row, Gil Thornfeldt, business manager; Lydia Finley, science fellow; EnyiAbal Koene, French fellow; Robertson Follansbee, science; third row, Molly MacLean, French; Cheryl Setchell, history fellow; Seiko Michaels, Japanese; and Kristen Fairey, history.
between boys and girls, chosen from a pool of 730 candidates c Together, they represent 34 states and 19 countries. Students of color make up 24 percent of the student body, with 139—the largest number ever. c Tuition, room, and board for the 2005–06 school year rose by 6 percent to $35,000, with a 10 percent increase in the amount of financial aid awarded—a record $4.7 million. Fudan Scholars
Senior Lexi Comstock meets new students Lily Shen ’07 and Julia Qin ’07 while on a summer visit to China. Lily and Julia, who arrived in September, are the school’s first students from Fudan University in Shanghai.
c c c Nancy Demmon ’81.................................... A. Bailey Fowlkes ’09
Joseph O. Dillard ’84................................ Monisha R. Dillard ’08 , Joseph O. Dillard Jr. ’09 K. Gregg Douglas ’79....................................Colin T. Douglas ’09 Paul M. Ehrlich ’62..................................Benjamin A. Ehrlich ’06 J. Keith Fell ’72.................................................J. Keith Fell Jr. ’08 Jeffrey Foote ’73..................................................Julie E. Foote ’09 Alexis D. Gahagan ’74............................. William D. Gahagan ’06 Michael D. Gambone ’78*........................... Kyle S. Gambone ’06 Carl M. Geupel ’68........................................Noah D. Geupel ’08 David W. Griffin ’74.........................................Julia B. Griffin ’08 Gordon P. Guthrie Jr. ’62............................. Joseph S. Guthrie ’07 Laura Weyher Hall ’78...................................Caroline C. Hall ’06 Elizabeth Christie Hibbs ’78........................William C. Hibbs ’08 Katharine Herrlinger Hillman ’76............. Daniel M. Hillman ’06 , Scott H. Hillman ’09
10 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
“Enrollments at day schools have increased steadily over the past three years,” says Wandelt, “while enrollment at boarding schools has decreased. So why has our applicant pool remained constant? Because Taft enjoys a reputation as a school that stands for academic excellence, first-rate college placement, and is nationally known for the care it brings to raising other people’s children.”
Nancy Goldsborough Hurt ’79............................. Cai S. Hurt ’08 , Nicolas A. Hurt ’09 Douglas G. Johnson ’66.................................Peter B. Johnson ’08 Laura Gieg Kell ’73............................................Arthur L. Kell ’08 H. Craig Kinney ’68...................................... Jane I. E. Kinney ’06 Andrew J. Klemmer ’75.............................Austin G. Klemmer ’07 Daniel K. F. Lam ’75..................................Adrienne P. Y. Lam ’07 Susan Condie Lamb ’77..........................Charles A. L. Bartlett ’08 Leslie Herrlinger Lanahan ’73.................Elizabeth L. Lanahan ’08 Brian C. Lincoln ’74................................Lysandra D. Lincoln ’07 Todd W. Luckey ’75.................................Charlotte D. Luckey ’08 Ann Magnin ’76................................................ Elena C. Stein ’09 Lisa Reid Mayer ’75........................................Drew W. Mayer ’08 Sharon G. McLaughlin ’73..................... Laura R. McLaughlin ’06 James I. Moore Jr. ’74......................................Emily L. Moore ’07 , Catherine R. Moore ’09
AROUND THE POND
The Mark Potter Gallery Schedule 2005–2006 September 19–23 The Sacred Arts Tour from the Drepung Gomang Monastic University September 30 to October 31 Jon Guiffre Pleasant Distractions November 3 to December 9 Mauricio Handler Photographer January 6 to February 2 Taft Student Work Opening reception Friday, January 6
February 17 to March 10 Juried High School Art Competition Opening reception Friday, February 17 March 31 to April 14 Taft Student Work April 21 to May 26 Paintings by Michael Chelminski ’56 Recent Work Opening reception Friday, April 21 June through August 2006 Taft Student Work
Free Roaming Horse: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, by Jon Guiffre m “My work in photography and painting has never been about sending a message to the viewer,” explains photographer Jon Guiffre, who is also director of publicity and sports information at Taft. “For me it has always been about looking at something beautiful for the sole purpose of enjoying that photograph or painting.”
Jeffrey Paley ’56................................................ Austin T. Paley ’09 Kenneth A. Pettis ’74..................................... Kendra B. Pettis ’06 Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75....................... Thomas F. Piacenza ’06 Samuel F. Pryor IV ’73..................................Antonia R. Pryor ’07 Langdon C. Quin III ’66.................................. Adrian F. Quin ’08 Ronald B. Reisinger ’60.............................Abigail B. Reisinger ’08 Edward Van V. Sands ’65...................................Diana P. Sands ’06 Carl H. Sangree ’75....................................William A. Sangree ’08 Kenneth A. Saverin ’72.................................Hilary C. Saverin ’06 Roy A. Schonbrun ’68....................... Stephanie D. Schonbrun ’07 Spyros S. Skouras Jr. ’72.......................... Spyros S. Skouras III ’06 , Sophia M. Skouras ’08 Michael S. Stein ’73.......................................... Elena C. Stein ’09 Taylor J. Strubell ’63.................................... Emma T. Strubell ’07 Tom R. Strumolo ’70.............................. Andrew C. Strumolo ’06 , Harriet E. Strumolo ’07
Paul A. Sylvester ’74.................................. Bridget K. Sylvester ’08 Bridget Taylor ’77............. Reed E. Coston ’06, Elias P. Coston ’08 Samuel W. M. Thayer ’72......................... Katharine T. Thayer ’07 Nikko Peterson Thompson ’83.............. Olabisi O. Thompson ’09 C. Dean Tseretopoulos ’72................Denisia K. Tseretopoulos ’07 Amy E. Upjohn ’79.......................................Elizabeth K. Brey ’08 George D. Utley III ’74................................ Hannah D. Utley ’07 Elizabeth Brown Van Sant ’75....................Elinore F. Van Sant ’07 , Mary Jennings Van Sant ’09 Sally Childs Walsh ’75......................................Mary C. Walsh ’06 Christopher C. Wardell ’69................... Clayton C.H. Wardell ’06 Brooks Hendrie Widdoes ’73.................Margaret H. Widdoes ’08 W. Dewees Yeager III ’75........................... Benjamin B. Yeager ’07 Joanne Klingenstein Ziesing ’78.........................Lee S. Ziesing ’07 Michael D. Zucker ’77............................ Benjamin H. Zucker ’09 *Deceased
Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
ND T H
This year, three separate funds were available to help students find meaningful summer experiences: Meg Page Fellowships, Kilbourne Arts Fellowships, and Robert K. Poole Fellowships. As you will see, students put their resources and talents to good use.
Caring about Healthcare When Eliza Jackson ’06 and Christine Anderson ’06 applied for the newly created Meg Page Fellowship, they were intrigued by the idea of helping at an AIDS clinic in Albany. “But we quickly realized that would be impractical,” Eliza says. Instead, Eliza’s father helped the girls work out a program with the Jimmy Fund, an outpatient facility for children at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where the Jacksons already had an apartment. Eliza and Christine spent two weeks playing with and reading to young cancer patients, and they also arranged to go on rounds with a staff psychologist to gain some insight into the field—an interest that came out of the adolescent psychology course both girls took last year. “I thought working in a cancer center would freak me out,” says Eliza, who would like to major in psychology in 12 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
college, “with little kids hooked up to tubes and everything. I worried it would be really depressing. It wasn’t, though. I wound up really loving it. The kids were just amazing, and people were so upbeat. I left really wanting to help kids in ways I never expected. It was intense,” she adds, “but I’m really glad I did it.” “It was definitely an experience,” says Christine. “I had a cousin who died of cancer, so it was really hard,
but after a day or so it was incredible. We made a difference in children’s lives just by telling them that the pictures they drew were really good and making them smile. It was amazing. I wouldn’t change a minute of it.” The Meg Page Fellowship was created to honor Meg Page ’74, who died last year from cancer. Tyler Perry ’07, who also received a Page grant, is in China on the School Year Abroad program. Page Fellowships offer financial support to help students underwrite the expenses of a summer project, internship, or course of study devoted, ultimately, to the provision of better healthcare. Fellowships may be used to help students pursue interests in public health, family planning, medical research, mental health, as well as non-western practices of health and healing.
AROUND THE POND
Time for the Arts Whether it was a course in drawing and painting at Parsons School of Design for four weeks or a trip to New Mexico to study photography at the Santa Fe Workshops, ten students took advantage of the summer vacation to immerse themselves in the arts. Other students studied creative writing at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference held at the University of the South in Tennessee, and yet another took courses in graphic design, painting, drawing, and art history at Rhode Island School of Design. “I think the experience really pushed my abilities to a higher level,” says Lindsay Albert.
Besides producing a large quantity of artwork, Helen Gazin says she was also able to “taste the art school experience. It really helped me in my decisions about college.” The Kilbourne Summer Enrichment Fund, established by John Kilbourne ’58 in memory of his parents, provides students with opportunities to participate in enriching programs in the arts. Recipients in 2005 were seniors Lindsay Albert, Chrissy Anderson, Helena Smith, Michael Davis, and Claire Longfield, and uppermids Teddy Dwyer, Helen Gazin, Kacey Klonsky, Sara Partridge, and Jacqueline Staub.
b Untitled, by Claire Longfield ’06, xerox transfer, lexan, and charcoal on paper, 32” x 40”
A World of New Perspectives Robert K. Poole Fellowships were created in 1988 in memory of Bob Poole ’50, who devoted his life to conservation and education. The fellowships help students underwrite the cost of a summer program that might open eyes, broaden perspectives, and expose individuals to new ideas and experiences in the hope that all members of the community will be the ultimate beneficiaries. SuYeone Jeon ’06, who returned home to Korea for the summer, chose to work in a nursing home in Eumsung, ChoongChungBookDo. “Every weekend, my mother and I went down to this village and helped in buildings where the elderly lived,” she says. “Most of them had Alzheimer’s, and many were paralyzed. It hurt me that most of these people were thrown away by their children at a train station or in front of the village. One woman always saved her snacks to give to her daughter who, she said, ‘will visit sometime soon,’ but no one ever came. Although it was very difficult work, I learned a lot from this trip and will never forget all the
moments I had with these patients.” Other fellows this year’s were seniors Emily Andrysick, Spencer Barton, Derek Chan, Sarah Ewing, Brendan Gangl, David Greco, Caroline Hall, Justin
Hsieh, Jason Kim, Arielle Palladino, Will Rickards, Sarah Schoonmaker, Hillary Simpson, Skye Taylor, Elizabeth Walle, and Mary Walsh, and upper mids Clare Maltman and Martha Pascoe.
Derek Chan ’06 describing life and academic experiences at Taft as an assistant language teacher at Matsuyama, Japan. When not teaching, he learned about Japanese history and Japanese classical literature with his students. ccc
AROUND THE POND
Skye Taylor and Caroline Hall performed the traditional Meke dance in front of the entire village of Nasivikoso in the Fiji Islands, where they lived with individual families. While there, they did various community service acts such as building concrete pathways and teaching English to children in the local schools. Sarah Ewing spent five weeks in Ghana, including a two-week community service project in which she taught and helped build an extension onto a school, a two-week homestay, and then four days traveling around the country. Sick with malaria and dysentery for the first half of the trip, she had “the worst case of homesickness, but soon began falling in love with the country,” she says. “I know I will go back there as soon as I can.” David Greco embarked on a two-week trip to Guatemala to volunteer in the excavation of a Mayan site never previously dug. “I was literally knee deep in the fertile soil surrounding the coffee village of Chocola,” he says, “sifting for 2,000-year-old pottery shards and figurines, or searching for the fourth corner of an ancient structure once a Mayan temple.”
On Their Own
While not funded by one of the school’s three summer enrichment funds, other students found plenty of opportunities for excitement over the vacation as well. c Simone Foxman ‘07 and her family spent two weeks in Israel to explore their Jewish heritage and visit a number of ancient and modern sites. Simone says she enjoyed seeing the last remnants of the Second Temple, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque that now adorn Mount Moriah. She also took pleasure in riding camels in the West Bank (“I was rather enamored with the four-legged beast,” she says, “and its child”) and investigating the abandoned trenches Israelis and Jordanians inhabited while fighting in the Golan Heights. While in Israel, the family took an opportunity to meet relatives in Tel Aviv, one of whom helped Israel evacuate the Gaza Strip in August.
Emily Andrysick’s five-week trip to Greece included a ten-day community service project at the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, another project in a much smaller village during their homestay, a tour of the country’s sites, and a final climb up Mount Olympus—mythical home of the gods. “The eight-hour trek up Greece’s tallest mountain was unlike anything I’ve ever even attempted to do before,” she says.
Jason Kim traveled to the Galápagos Islands on a three-week program with Lifeworks. “Since we were working with the national park, we had some privileges that average tourists don’t have,” he says, “like touching the giant tortoises.” The group also worked to remove invasive plants and planted native ones; worked at local schools, painting, playing with children; and learned about the islands—while working on their tans on the beach.
Hillary Simpson spent eight days in Costa Rica living at a sea turtle conservatory in Punta Judas. Working with the Coast Guard, she cleared brush to expand the hatchery, constructed baskets to place on relocated turtle nests, and went on “turtle patrol.” Her most memorable experience was rescuing eggs from a nest as the mother was laying them. “It was such a surreal experience to have a living, breathing sea turtle right in front of me,” she says. “She laid about 115 eggs, and I placed each of them in a plastic bag to be transported to the hatchery. I left feeling informed and now carry a sense of accomplishment that I was able to make a difference.”
. Max Biedermann (at right) worked as a governor’s page in North Carolina. “It was very rewarding and provided a great insight into how the state government works,” he says. His main responsibility was delivering mail for the secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, but he also got the chance to work side by side with real detectives one day, working in the department of Alcohol Enforcement. He also got to meet the state’s attorney general.
m Andrew Kazakoff (at left) went to Israel to play squash in the World Maccabiah Games. “Our team received gold in the team competition for junior squash,” he says. The opening ceremonies were held at Ramat Gan Stadium. “The best part,” he adds, “was having the chance to interact with so many different Jewish people from all around the world.”
16 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
The mountains of the world have their hold on Colin Samuels ’85, who climbs, photographs, skis, and makes his home in the French Alps. By Linda Hedman Beyus
Not everyone who travels to the Alps to ski, stays there for 15 years as Colin Samuels has, in the shadow of the grand La Meije. Nor does everyone who skis drag heavy gear up on their back, dangling off a precipice with climbing rope attached, to find a hidden couloir to ski and shoot. He says it was serendipity that landed him in Les Terrasses, a mountainside village in the French Alps near Grenoble, now his home base. After breaking his leg at Telluride while working as a ski photographer in 1989, Samuels saved his workman’s comp money and felt the pull of new mountains to ski and shoot. Alone, he headed for Chamonix, a skiers’ mecca, to discover the next level of skiing—unrestricted and more challenging than the smaller U.S. peaks—and to get off piste (off the groomed slope). After a year in Chamonix, Colin discovered m Colin Samuels ’85 in the alpenglow, standing on the summit of La Meije. Colin Samuels collection b Colin Samuels ’85 makes his home in the small French village Les Terrasses. The view from his bedroom window is of the 13,140-foot mountain La Meije. Colin Samuels
the La Grave ski area, with its formidable 13,140-foot mountain called La Meije, and he hasn’t left yet. It was love—of a mountain—at first sight.
Work that isn’t work
As a mountain and outdoor photographer specializing in skiing and mountaineering, Samuels takes on assignments for U.S. and European magazines and does independent photo shoots. He’s photographed for clients such as Patagonia, Black Diamond, Rossignol, and Skiing and SKI magazines. Colin chooses his own subject matter, he says, with 90 percent of his images shot on film, rather than in digital format. “Work has never been work,” he claims. “Even when I don’t sleep for two or three days, it’s okay—it’s a passion.” What Samuels likes best about being a freelance photographer is the freedom and being responsible for his own success or failure—the same way one climbs a summit or skis a glacial runout. The creativity of making photographs is satisfying, he says; “It’s value that goes beyond monetary; people appreciate them.” Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
b A first descent on La Meije by Samuels in summer 2003. Colin Samuels collection
c With a vertical drop of 7,054 feet, La Grave isn’t known for its blue or green trails. Colin Samuels
Samuels’ freelance career in France took off slowly but surely. He knew he had taken plenty of ski photos that were magazine-caliber and could find a niche continuing to shoot. The timing was also perfect—he broke into European ski publications during “the golden era” when snowboarding really took off, another sport he enjoys. “Hanging out with friends who were into alpinism,” Samuels says he went along to take photos in the high mountains of France, which lured him into climbing. Traveling around the world now, on photo shoots or treks, Samuels says there’s no difference between trips for work or for pleasure—a balance not many of us have and something many might envy.
Letting a mountain take hold Samuels’ powerful photos include those of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the Sahara, Peru, and the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. Continuing his color18 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
streaked style of athletes in motion, he hopes to shoot the 2006 Torino Olympics this winter and the IX Paralympic Games. His travel photos include color images of wind-sculpted desert sand with deep shadows, a Buddhist monk in prayer silhouetted in a temple doorway, and a lone fisherman casting a hand net at sunset. They have a grand perspective—the figures of people are small, conveying the intense drama and essence, often of snow-covered, high mountains. “The mountains are majestic,” Samuels’ haiku-like way of getting across that they are much more than landscape for him. Clearly spiritual in the way he speaks of these spectacular places, Samuels says in the intro to his SKI magazine photo essay, “Like the true love affair that it is, my attraction to La Meije grows all the time. When I put my camera down, reverse our roles and let her take hold of me, the more I learn and the closer we become.” Mountains are far more than geology or sport for Samuels—there’s a seductive animism in his awe.
Taking it to a higher level
Raised in New York City, Samuels grew up skiing the Northeast (upstate New York and Vermont) and out west. His penchant for photography started early and took hold. At Taft, he did an independent studies project in photography with faculty member Courtney Carroll, using a medium-sized format (2 1/4 in. negatives) in black and white. He learned oneon-one and happily notes that Carroll was an easygoing teacher. Samuels even had a small exhibition at Taft, images of architecture and people on campus. Taft prepared him to be independent and, he emphasizes, “pushed you to a higher level,” something he has apparently never stopped doing in his skiing, photography, and life. “My education at Taft prepared me more than my Ivy-League university for the rest of my life.” He studied French for all four of his Taft years (including one year of AP), which was tough,
he says, but superior to his French studies at UPenn, where he minored in French literature. “Taft gave me the freedom to be athletic on a daily basis,” he affirms. Growing up in NYC, it wasn’t so easy to do outdoor sports every day. At Taft he could play basketball, tennis, soccer, and just be outside. After Taft, he wanted to immerse himself in skiing, again “taking it to a higher level,” and went to Telluride and landed a ski photography job: his launching pad for a career and for France.
Why La Grave?
“It was perfect,” he says. “Huge mountains.” And he made a lot of friends. What he likes most about living in the small mountain village of Les Terrasses, surrounded by incredibly steep cliffs, he muses, is, “You have to make your own way. The weather is wild; people get depressed because the mountains make it dark. I’ve never been Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
bored one second while living here—it feels like home.” And he wants a simple life style. The locals are of all ages and include sheep farmers, extreme skiers, and yearround mountain guides. “A passionate group of people,” Samuels says. With skis or snowboards on his feet about 150 days per year, he also enjoys climbing, running, and other outdoor sports. The La Grave ski area he loves is no average ski resort. The online magazine First Tracks!! decribes it as “the most extreme lift-served terrain…and an unlimited scope to do whatever the hell you want to without anybody to tell you otherwise...whether it kills you or not.” With a vertical drop of 7,054 ft., it’s not a blue or green trail. Samuels likes skiing in challenging terrain, doing alpine climbing, and solo climbs and descents anywhere in the world, not just in his beloved Alps. Recent trip destinations this past year include Norway for randonnée skiing (alpine ski touring) 20 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
above the Arctic Circle in May, skiing and climbing in the San Juan and Grand Teton mountains in July, and an August ski-mountaineering trip to Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego mountains—not your average fare. He likes the responsibility for self and freedom that his genre of work and skiing requires. “The life I’ve chosen has its built-in risks, but I’m not choosing it because it is risky.”
Ascents and descents
The biggest challenges for Samuels have not been the steep slopes of mountains around the world—it was “sharing his love and falling in love,” with his Norwegian fiancée Siri Hofseth, a world-class skier and ex-policewoman from Oslo. Colin met Siri in 1999, when she moved to La Grave to live. They shared a love for the mountains, and she was often a model in his photo shoots. “My whole life had led up to meet-
b Traveling around the world on photo shoots (to places like Cambodia’s Angkor Wat), Samuels says there’s no difference between trips for work or for pleasure. Colin Samuels/Getty Images
c Samuels practices a form of mountaineering called ski-alpinism—climbing, often solo, and decending with skiis or snowboard. His work often combines the technical aspects of getting there with the creative aspects of photography. Colin Samuels collection
To see more photos by Colin Samuels, visit the Getty Images website: http://creative.gettyimages.com.
ing her,” he calmly shares, “and she was a soul mate.” In May 2002, Siri died in a skiing accident in Norway. Rebuilding his life after her death was not easy. “It’s important that her death doesn’t overshadow her life,” Colin reflects. “Despite Siri’s death, I still find joy and meaning in my daily life, even if the grief remains profound. I love it here in the mountains and intend to continue living life to the fullest.”
“I’ve never been risk averse,” Samuels points out—an understatement when taking in the setting of his photos; to get to the steeps, alpine climbing is the only route. Those of us who view his photos and digest the reality of his (literally) on-the-edge life, are simultaneously awed by the beauty of the extreme landscape and vicariously thrilled by the adven-
ture and risk involved. We don’t have to climb that knifeedged peak; we can let someone like Samuels go for it, while we admire his passion and ability to get there and share the experience visually. In fact, he distills each mountain’s or sand dune’s energy, its force, for the viewer, empowering its specific exquisiteness. In a deeply philosophical way, yet with a light touch, Samuels talks intently about his life and high-altitude adventures without bragging. He seems, in fact, humble and wise with a softened attitude—perhaps rare in the world of adventurers. It’s clear that the mountains of the world, where he lives, works, and plays, have woven their spell and enveloped him in their majesty. After all, his beloved La Meije is nicknamed “The Queen.” Linda Hedman Beyus is alumni notes editor for this magazine. She writes and skis, but not in couloirs. Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
My k c a B s e g Pa diern e r t s i h th Underneak-Kent disguise, than-Clar ’81—the new Will Dana editor of managingone —is more Rolling St than superhero. magician ick: restoring His first trzine to its the maga ory. iff former gl By Julie Re
My Back Pag e
he photo editor’s office at Rolling Stone looks out over 51st Street through floor-to-ceiling glass. It’s not a huge room, but seven editors file comfortably into it—although there aren’t enough chairs. Two editors lean against the solid wall that’s shared with the neighboring office and a third stands near the doorway. Will Dana ’81, the newly promoted managing editor, grabs a seat by the glass wall that separates the office from the cubicles beyond. He’s wearing khakis and a flowered shirt and puts his loafer-clad feet on the edge of Jodi Peckman’s desk. She sits behind it holding a box of tissues, apologizing that she has a cold. The group brainstorms cover ideas for an upcoming issue featuring the rock band White Stripes. Dana suggests dressing the duo in NASCAR jumpsuits in front of a burning car wreck; they know that publisher Jann Wenner will want what they call a “concept cover.” Excited about his idea, Dana pulls his feet off the desk and leans forward as he describes the scene he pictures in his mind. The other editors nod their heads and discuss his idea for a minute until someone suggests a carnival theme. Nah, I think Annie Leibowitz has done that already, one says, and someone else grabs a photography book off the shelf behind Peckman to see if he can find it. They’re brother and sister, right? another editor asks. And isn’t he into Orson Welles? Maybe we can do something with that?
The magazine is such a collaboration, Dana says later. He loves the teamwork, working with other editors, writers, and art directors. “My role is to create an atmosphere in which people can do their best work, to give them the support and confidence to do work that will meet our standards. I like people who are ambitious, talented, and a little weird; I want them to know that if their creative impulses lead them away from the conventional approach, that we’ll follow them there.” The group throws out other ideas—dressing the musicians up in one costume or another almost as if they were a couple of Barbie dolls. Eventually the editors move on to discuss which photographer to use. Dana listens attentively to each of them. He may be their boss now, but he’s also still one of the guys, part of the team.
All I Really Want to Do A large W (for Wenner Media) dominates the small lobby, but, neatly lined up along the wall, framed issues of the publication give away the place’s true identity: home of the most famous magazine in the world devoted to music and pop culture. Beneath the glass, the newspaperlike first issue from 1967 is far from pristine. Dogeared and yellow—the fold still visible—it’s a clear sign that Wenner, the magazine’s founder, had little idea what an integral part of that culture
Rolling Stone would become. A single black-and-white image—a still photo of John Lennon in army fatigues— dominates the colorless cover. The offices of Rolling Stone are, though, simply offices. Bob Dylan isn’t hanging out at the water cooler, nor is Aerosmith performing its latest song. In fact, there isn’t any music playing, unless people are listening through headphones. The place is busy but surprisingly quiet, businesslike, except that jeans outnumber suits even on a Tuesday. “That’s all I remember about my first day,” says Dana, “how quiet it was here. The place was sleepy. The saying was you’d work here for one year or 15.” Dana started his career as an unpaid intern at Harper’s right after graduating from Middlebury in 1985. He has also worked at Interview, Esquire, 7 Days (which won a national magazine award for general excellence two weeks after closing down), Manhattan Inc, Outside, and Worth. After that he worked for Details, what he calls his “lone Condé Nast experience” in his 20-year career. He says he felt uncomfortable there because the culture was so competitive and there was no real sense of job security. So when Rolling Stone called Dana in 1996—after periodic inquiries on his part—it was, he says, as if a helicopter had flown over and dropped a ladder to rescue him. “This is really where I wanted to be all along.” Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
es My Back Pag A Satisfied Mind “Will Dana and I get along great,” says Wenner, who promoted him in May. “He’s got my deep respect, and we’ve been working very closely together for quite a few years. He’s been in training for the job for a long time, and he got it on his own merits and hard work.” Prior to the promotion, Dana was one of three deputy managing editors, but he’s held a number of roles in his nine years at the magazine. During his stint as the political editor, he interviewed most of the major figures in the last presidential campaign. Dana clearly does his homework. For the most part, his interviews are straightforward questions and answers, but he writes introductions for each that let the reader know exactly what’s at stake. Among his many subjects, he has interviewed John Kerry, Tom Brokaw, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, Wesley Clark, Thomas Friedman, and Dennis Kucinich. “Kucinich. I loved him,” says Dana. “That was the most fun because it was just him and three other people. I was sitting next to him on the plane, sitting next to him in the van. I followed him for a couple legs of that trip. When Kerry was going there were tons of people around him. Dean, by the time I got to him, he was at the height of his campaign. With Kucinich, no one else was talking to him.” 24 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
The Times They Are A-Changin’ Now that he’s running the magazine, Dana says his concerns are more conceptual and amorphous: “I have to think about the whole equation,” he says. “Is the rock section working? Do we need to think up more special issues? Did we mess up by not putting Kanye West on the
This is topic number one. “In Japan this is the focus, and here you’d never know— ‘buy an SUV and burn more gas.’ So I try to get those issues out there,” he adds. “We want to get beyond the chicken-little approach and look at the people who are rolling up their sleeves and trying to find ways to solve it.” But Dana wants to be clear: Rolling Stone is not a policy magazine. “We try to treat
Will Dana ’81 interviewed Vice President Al Gore during the 2000 election. Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone
cover before Time did?” In the course of a morning he suggests two different energy-related stories to editors who pop in and out of his office with questions. He’s obsessed, he says, with energy. “It’s the biggest story out there, and we’re not talking about it. We have an energy crisis, but the general sense of how much or what the crisis entails is hardly discussed. They write about oil issues, but they don’t get it or don’t want to get it. And it just amazes me.
our readers with intelligence, but we don’t see it as our job to get deep into every policy discussion,” he says. “Other people do that better; it’s not where we’re going. We’ll cover the war in Iraq, or the war on drugs. Long articles are worth doing, as long as they aren’t boring. Good articles are not just about facts; we’re trying to tell stories.” National affairs may be only two or three pages per issue, but the issues they choose
to cover are always provocative. And Rolling Stone takes a more partisan approach than standard news media. “I would say the difference is that we don’t hide our bias, but we’re fair. Our stories generally have an argument to them,” he adds, “but we don’t distort the facts. Being fair and being objective are two different things.”
Like a Rolling Stone The cover discussion over, Dana is back in his own office, which is a mirror image of the photo editor’s. He leans back in his chair and puts his now bare feet up on the desk. It is uncluttered, a little dusty at the edges, but organized. An Apple flat-screen monitor dominates one corner and chimes like a cowbell every few minutes announcing new e-mail messages. The only personal item in the room is a black-and-white photo of his 7-year-old son on the shelf behind him. [Dana lives in Manhattan with his wife Ellen Tien, who writes for the New York Times Sunday Style section, and their son Jack.] Features editor Eric Bates leans in the doorway to see if Dana has time to talk and then takes the chair by the glass wall. They discuss the draft of an article about the mission to Mars, deciding what order things should go in—the vision behind it, the reality, the challenge, and the why—as well as where the draft still needs fine-tuning and what questions they’d like it to answer. “I think it needs to really explain the scope of the chal-
My Back Pag e
lenge—the insane challenge of it—in the second half,” Dana says to Bates, sliding his glasses up on his forehead. “I think it’s got to be like, ‘Mars is the future.’ Show it first as this wacky idea, and then get to Bush and explain why it’s worth bankrupting our treasury to do it. Did the writer talk to any astronauts in person? He needs quotes from them; I want to hear their voices.” “Will is a creative thinker about story assigning,” Wenner agrees later, “as well as being a very good leader and listener. He inspires writers and other editors.” Dana is most proud of two projects: coming up with the idea in 1998 for a series of articles on fast food for the magazine that ended up as Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation and author Evan Wright’s award-winning book on the war in Iraq. Generation Kill also began as a series of articles for Rolling Stone while Dana was the features editor. “Will came up with the basic idea and the title of Fast Food Nation,” says Schlosser. “He asked me to find out what was happening behind the counter at fast-food restaurants. He didn’t know the answer, but sensed that it would be interesting. My research turned into a huge investigative piece that challenged some very powerful, very mean companies. Will backed me all the way, never asked me to tone things down, and had faith that the piece was worth publishing at length. “I’d like to tell you that Will is a vain, arrogant,
egotistical monster who routinely takes credit for other people’s work…,” says Schlosser, “but that would be a total lie. Will is without question one of the finest editors working today. He’s great at seeing the big picture and equally skilled at worrying about every comma, en-dash, and semi-colon. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with him, arguing with him about vari-
Thompson—who pioneered the gonzo journalism genre for which the magazine is famous—took his own life earlier this year. “It was the sort of thing where we just dove so deeply into this guy’s life,” Dana says. “It was a great experience to pull all these stories out and read all his stuff, and talk to all these people to create a portrait of the guy. We usually close the issue on Friday,
“With Music in His Ears…” Dana is a serious Bob Dylan fan. He rarely covers music for the magazine, although he did review Dylan’s NYC concert in May and interviewed Trey Anastasio ’83 last year. He still loves and follows music—from the latest indie rock groups like Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, or the Magic Numbers to the classics from his days at Taft. “In a weird way, with everything available at the touch of a finger, new music doesn’t mean as much as it used to,” says Dana. “Somehow, if it’s new to you, it’s new. It’s not necessarily what was released last week. Your path through the music is much more winding and circuitous than it used to be.”
ous sentences or paragraphs, and occasionally winning those arguments. He is not only a terrific editor, but also a dear friend.” In Dana’s time at the magazine, he says the two most profound experiences were also the two worst. The first was September 11, he says. “Because it happened right here, we did this big issue. It was really cathartic to deal with what was going on. It was an amazing group effort.” The other was when Rolling Stone writer Hunter S.
maybe around 6 o’clock and I don’t think we finished until 8 on Saturday morning.” Dana points out that what he calls the “gonzo” stuff—a more partisan, youare-there style of writing that doesn’t always follow the rules—only worked for Thompson “because he had such great analytical reporting skills—and he had things to say.” Underneath the gonzo journalism image, Rolling Stone has a very traditional approach, Dana says later.
“You’ve got to hook people and bring them in. An article may seem very offhand, very casual, but it still takes a lot of work to make it read like that. Attitude is just the veneer; it hides a lot of really hard work.”
When I Paint My Masterpiece Dana seems to grasp intuitively what will work for the magazine, and things are going well. So far, circulation is up 20 percent over last year according to the New York Times. In returning to its roots—what Wenner described as long-form journalism with an emphasis on politics, culture, and, of course, music—Rolling Stone seems to have a better grasp on its readers than it has in 20 years. “We can make this magazine as good as it’s ever been,” says Dana. “It’s never going to have the importance it had in the late ’60s because the culture has changed. But it can be a better magazine than it was then, and every bit as ground breaking.” When the 982nd issue of Rolling Stone finally hit the newsstand, the cover featured the band White Stripes in front of a ruby-red theater curtain with Jack White dressed as a magician and Meg as his assistant. With the landmark 1,000th issue of the magazine looming in April, Dana is planning a little magic of his own, but he’s not about to reveal what he has up his sleeve. You’ll have to go to the newsstand to find out. Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
Fly Angler Diana Rudolph ‘90 Casts for World Records By Julia Feldmeier ’99
Diana Rudolph’s world record tarpon catch had all the trappings of a suspense flick. It was a hot, breezeless day in April; the shallow waters off the Florida Keys were blanketed by the kind of stillness that—in movies, at least—portends chaos. So it was no real surprise when the 32-year-old Rudolph, fly fishing aboard a skiff called—what else?—Hell’s Bay, hooked into a giant tarpon. Measuring 6 feet, 8 inches long, with a 37-inch girth, it tipped the scales at 135.5 pounds. As fishing writer Jerry Gibbs once wrote: “Tarpon hunting is not a genteel endeavor. Tarpon hunting is war.” At 5 feet, 6 inches, and 125 pounds, Rudolph was the token underdog. Her battle with the fish lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes. Movies that run more than two hours are considered long. But a fishing bout? Really long. And arduous. Rudolph held on furiously from the bow of the skiff as the tarpon zipped back and forth through the water, enraged. Her fishing guide, Dale Perez, deftly maneuvered the skiff through the shallow waters using a 22-foot fiberglass pole, trying to keep pace with the fish. Perez estimates that he poled for more than a mile during the struggle. And how’s this for a stunt? The tarpon, a specie known for its strength and acrobatic maneuvers, shot through the air eight times while Rudolph had it on the line. Rudolph held on. Then a plot twist. Enter the bull shark: ruthless, pugna-
cious and known to attack tarpon. (Not to mention humans. Had Rudolph fallen overboard—which occasionally happens, she says—she’d have been fair game.) Keen to the vibrations of a fish in distress, the shark began circling the skiff. “It scared the hell out of me,” Rudolph said, “but it was one of those things where you obviously don’t want the fish to get munched.” Perez quickly put the boat’s engine in neutral and revved it, hoping the noise would scare the shark away. “Sometimes it doesn’t work,” he said. “But in this case it did.” When the tarpon finally surrendered and flopped up against the side of the boat, Rudolph hauled it in—and burst into tears. In order to submit the fish for a world record, it would have to be brought back to shore to be weighed. It would die in the process. “I’ve never felt that type of adrenaline or that much emotion,” Rudolph said. In all her years of fishing, she’d never brought a tarpon back to shore. “The fun is catching them— I’d much rather let them swim.” She promptly iced the tarpon down and called the University of Miami to pick it up for research. That is, after the scale revealed it to be a new world record for tarpon using a 16-pound test (the heavier the test, the stronger the line)—outweighing the old record by more than 50 pounds.
b Diana Rudolph ’90 loves to fish in Montana as well as the Florida Keys. Most of what she does is catch and release. Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
udolph has none of the ego that might befit an angler of her status. She is disarmingly humble, too modest to admit how talented she really is. “I still don’t think I’m any good!” she said, laughing—despite holding four world records that suggest otherwise. “Every time I catch a fish, I’m surprised. I’m like, ‘Wow—damn!’” For Rudolph, fishing is a simple matter of lifestyle. As a mid at Taft, then English teacher Willy MacMullen ’78 gave her A River Runs Through It, Norman McLean’s acclaimed novel that begins: “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly-fishing.” “It’s true,” Rudolph said. “I can’t even imagine not having it. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it.” Fly fishing is a passion inspired by her dad, Alex, an investment banker in downtown Chicago and an avid angler. The family had a vacation home in Islamorada and the elder Rudolph began teaching his daughter the mechanics of fishing when she was just four years old. He never got to see his protégé’s spectacular, record-breaking catches; he died eight years ago. Rudolph was in her second year of graduate school at Florida Tech at the time, finishing up her master’s in marine biology. She’d finished her coursework and was trying to write her thesis. “I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind to have that much downtime,” she said. “I decided, ‘You know what? The hell with it. I love to fish, and I’m gonna try to do something in the industry.’” She moved back home to Chicago and spent two years working in a fly shop before relocating to the Florida Keys, where she spends five days a week working in the Florida Keys Outfitters, a local fly shop, and the remaining two days out on the water, fishing for new records. Alex Rudolph would have been proud of his daughter’s passion and accomplishments, said Joyce Rudolph, Diana’s mother. “They were very close. He’s up there looking down.” Two weeks before he died, Alex ordered a blank, the unadorned “rod” part of the apparatus, intending to build a fly rod for his daughter. Later, Diana took the blank and had a friend make it into a rod. On her first cast, she hooked a fish. Not just any fish: A permit—one of the most coveted catches among anglers. “I’d never caught a permit on fly before, my dad had never caught a permit on fly,” she said. “That’s like the holy grail of fly fishing, the ultimate catch. It was really cool.”
b Fly fishing is a passion Diana’s father instilled in her from the time she was four years old. 28 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
c Diana broke the previous women’s fly record by more than 50 pounds with this 135.5-pound tarpon, becoming the first woman to win the Don Hawley Tournament.
oday, Rudolph holds the women’s world record for permit (24 pounds on 12-pound tippet), in addition to tarpon, bonefish (10.5 pounds on a 6-pound tippet), and snook (6.5 pounds on a 4-pound tippet). Last year, she was the first woman in history to win the prestigious Don Hawley Tarpon Fly Tournament in Islamorada in the Keys, catching and releasing 15 tarpon over five days to best 17 other fly-fishing experts. Though Rudolph won’t brag about herself, her colleagues will. Sandy Moret, her boss at Florida Keys Outfitters, called her “dynamite.” “The skill that she uses in understanding how to manipulate the tackle is what makes her exceptional,” he said. Plus, “she has a tremendous amount of desire to excel at this, and she does. A lot of people talk about fishing, but she does it.” Dale Perez, who guided Rudolph to her world record tarpon catch, said Rudolph’s focus and quick reflexes help make her so successful. Rudolph’s tarpon catch marked Perez’s 20th world record as a guide (he also guided for her permit record). “I’ve been guiding for 35 years,” he said, “and she fishes as well as any man I’ve ever fished.” Her status as a top-notch angler—and a female—has earned her some cachet within the industry. In a recent Q&A with Mid-Current, an online magazine, Rudolph told editor Marshall Cutchin, “If I were a guy, no one would give a rat’s ass about me… But the guys really think of me as a fisherman. And I hope as a woman, too.” Oh, but they do. After the Mid-Current Q&A was posted, online fly-fishing chats began buzzing about Rudolph. Writes one chatter: “I’ve always liked women who cuss, and speak of passion.” Another chimes in: “And here I was just fallin’ in love with her simply because she fishes and drinks beer.”
ood fishing, capped off with a cold beer, is exactly the kind of lifestyle Rudolph enjoys. “Fly fishing isn’t like bass fishing, where you can make a ton of money in the tournaments or anything,” she said. “It’s more trying to win the respect of your peers and the people that you look up to.” Camaraderie is a big part of the appeal. “I’m certainly not saving the world working in a fly shop, but I’ve met a lot of really interesting people because of fly fishing.” Moret, Perez, and other guides are her mentors, she said, always imparting new wisdom. That’s what keeps her tethered to the sport: discovering new tricks. “The day I stop learning is the day I want to get out of it. There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not surprised by something or intrigued or just completely awestruck.” In August, she left for Montana, where she owns a house and where she planned to spend two months doing some freshwater fly fishing before returning to the Keys in October. She’s hoping to squeeze in some traveling, too, maybe to Australia. For fun, yes, but also for records. She may be humble, but she’s still competitive. “It kind of keeps it interesting,” she said. “That’s not to say I don’t go out and go fishing just to go fishing, but there’s always a little bit of competition. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.” So if somebody broke her tarpon record? “Oh, I’d go break it. I’d have to go out there and try to break it.” After all, every good story merits a sequel. Julia Feldmeier ‘99 writes for the Washington Post. Although she loves the water, she admits she hasn’t been fishing since she was five. . Diana, who now holds five women’s world records, reels in a Pacific sailfish in Guatemala.
Little Rock Five By Julie Reiff
“Rather than accept desegregation, Arkansas governor Orville Faubus chose to close Little Rock’s four high schools for the 1958–59 academic year….”
30 Taft Bulletin Fall 2005
Boarding schools have long been places of refuge from times of upheaval. Diplomats stationed to unstable parts of the world have turned to schools like Taft as a safe haven for their children. More recently, as most of you know, the school has reached out to those affected by more natural disasters. By the start of October, three students from Louisiana had found their way to Watertown. One girl had already started classes three times, in three different schools, in three different states before settling in here. Almost 50 years ago, another city faced closed schools—but for very different reasons. Rather than accept desegregation, Arkansas governor Orville Faubus chose to close Little Rock’s four high schools for the 1958–59 academic year—following the crisis over the “Little Rock Nine” the previous fall. “It was clearly a tense time,” says Jim Rule ’60. “My father was frantic, and one of the people he confided in was George Hampton (father of George ’60). He called Joe Orgill ’23—a member of Taft’s board at the time and whose son had graduated in 1955—with whom he did business and told him of my situation. He must have contacted Mr. Cruikshank. Two
days later I was on the plane to New York to start my upper-mid year. “Life magazine came to the school that fall to photograph me for an article they were doing on the Little Rock diaspora, but I didn’t make the article.” Nearly 3,700 students were affected by the closings; Life called them “passive victims in a national tragedy” in its 1958 article “The Lost Class of 1959.” Of that number, five students arrived at Taft that fall—most joining the Class of 1960. “They all seemed like terrific guys,” says Henry Lanier ’61. “I only wish the school had been more enlightened and had opened up some discussions around civil rights and why these kids were in Watertown rather than at home.” Years later Lanier worked at Lehman Brothers with Ernie Green, the oldest of the Little Rock Nine, and the first black student to graduate from Central High School. “In another era (today),” Lanier says, “Ernie might well have found a welcome at Taft, and then wouldn’t we have had an interesting discussion.” Julie Reiff is editor of this magazine m Students arriving at Taft in the fall of 1958 Leslie Manning Archives
Come Join Us! Walker Hall Series December 6 | Reception following 70th Service of Lessons and Carols (Congregational Church, Watertown) January 20 | Pianist Husnu Onaran, 7:00 p.m. January 26 | Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin, 7:00 p.m. February 10 | Arts Faculty Recital, 7:00 p.m. February 23 | James and Jamie Dutcher Living with Wolves, 7:00 p.m.
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