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Farewell to the Oddens


Bulletin Staff Editor Julie Reiff Director of Development Jerry Romano Alumni Notes Karen Dost Design Good Design www.goodgraphics.com Proofreaders Nina Maynard Robin Osborn Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org Send alumni news to: Karen Dost Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 TaftBulletin@TaftSchool.org Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Summer–May 30, 2001 Fall–August 30, 2001 Winter–November 15, 2001 Spring–February 15, 2002 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1-860-945-7777 www.TaftAlumni.com This magazine is printed on recycled paper.

The End of the Odden Era Twenty-nine years ago a young Lance Odden took on the task of leading The Taft School and transformed it into one of the nation’s top boarding schools. Today, Lance and Patsy’s children are grown (Jake has a child of his own), and the school is in better shape than it has ever been. Their work here may be done, but how can we say “thank you ”or “good-bye?”


BU L L E T I N SPRING•2001 Volume 71

Number 3

SPOTLIGHT Ut Ministret .............................................................. 12 A Tribute to the Statesmanship of Lance and Patsy Odden

By Barclay Johnson ’53 Influence and Ideals .................................................. 15 Voices from some of the many whose lives the Oddens touched

The Odden Years: A Timeline ................................... 24 1961–2001

Mr. Odden’s School .................................................. 28 By Andrew Karas ’01, Taft Papyrus editor-in-chief Reflections ................................................................ 32 The dedication of the Odden Arena, and the accompanying Alumni Games, turns into a winter homecoming to remember

By Richard S. duPont ’60

DEPARTMENTS From the Editor .......................................................... 4 Alumni Weekend 2001 ............................................... 4 Alumni in the News .................................................... 5 Around the Pond ........................................................ 8 Scoreboard ................................................................ 11 Endnote: The Virtues of Horace Taft By Lance R. Odden .................................................... 38 On the Cover Already praised for its successes, the Odden Era will be even more fully appreciated with a certain amount of distance. The same is true of this photomosaic, composed of more than 100 different photographs of the Odden years from the Leslie Manning Archives—and best viewed from 15 or 20 feet. The master image is by Camille Vickers. Collage by Good Design The Taft Bulletin is published quarterly, in February, May, August, and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100 and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends of the school. E-Mail Us! Now you can send your latest news, address change, birth announcement, or letter to the editor to us via e-mail. Our address is Taft Bulletin@TaftSchool.org. Of course we’ll continue to accept your communiqués by such “low -tech” methods as the fax machine (860-945-7756), telephone (860-945-7777), or U.S. Mail (110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100). So let’s hear from you! Taft on the Web: News? Stocks? Entertainment? Weather? Catch up with old friends or make new ones, get a job and more!—all at the new Taft Alumni Community online. Visit us at www.TaftAlumni.com. What happened at this afternoon's game?—Visit us at the new www.TaftSports.com for the latest Big Red coverage. Courses and the latest campus news?—Visit www.TaftSchool.org.


ALUMNI WEEKEND 2001

From the Editor Not since Horace Taft has our campus faced the departure of someone whose leadership is nearly synonymous with the school. And yet it is precisely because Lance Odden made a point of “bringing Horace Taft back” to his school—in his words and in our buildings—that he will be missed as much as the King himself. Although the Odden Era might truly be called the Golden Age of the school, don’t expect this issue of the Bulletin to be a history of the school’s last thirty or forty years. Dick Lovelace has already covered that ground very well in his book. Since Lance’s leadership is so often praised for its resurrection of the school’s physical plant, it seemed important here to focus on the influence he and Patsy have had on so many lives. In fact, 75 percent of all living alumni passed through Watertown in his 40-year tenure, and others too as parents. Who better to describe Patsy and Lance’s leadership than longtime friend and colleague Barclay Johnson ’53, who joined the faculty with Lance in the fall of 1961. I’ve also included his more personal recollection of an adventure that they shared (page 17), in part because Lance told me the story first last spring as Barclay prepared to retire, and I thought it telling that both remembered that trip so fondly and so well. I also thought it fitting to give the nation’s most senior headmaster the final word, so in the Endnote (page 66), Lance reminds us of Horace Taft’s mission to teach character first, to do things well and do them for others, and that school, indeed, is what we make it. Over the years, Board Chairman John Vogelstein ’52 tells us, Lance received more lucrative offers, offers to head socalled more powerful schools, but he chose to stay the course. Lance can confidently move to Vermont this summer with his wife and able partner Patsy, knowing that this school is indeed what he made it. He stayed because he loved it, and for this I believe the alumni who entrusted him with their alma mater and the parents who entrusted him with the education and care of their children will always return that affection. It is still very much Mr. Taft’s School, thanks to the Oddens. —Julie Reiff

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Alumni Weekend 2001 Thursday, May 17 6:30

50th Reunion Cocktails and Dinner Class of 1951 Waterbury Country Club

10:00

The 50th Reunion Class hosts Taft Today and Tomorrow with Headmaster Lance R. Odden Choral Room

11:00

Dedication of the Mark Potter ’48 Art Gallery Charles Phelps Taft Hall

Friday, May 18 7:50-2:00

Classes in Session • Alumni Welcome

11:45

8:00-3:00

Taft Golf Tournament Watertown Golf Club

Assembly and Parade Main Circle

12:30

Alumni Luncheon The Donald F. McCullough ’42 Field House

12:45

Children’s Program McCullough Field House

1:30

Founders’ League Golf Tournament Watertown Golf Club

2:30

Home Athletic Contests

2:30-5:00

Celebrating Diversity in the New Millenium Panel Discussion and Reception Choral Room

11:00

Campus Tours Harley Roberts Room

11:00-1:00 School Lunch • Alumni/ae Welcome Armstrong Dining Hall 12:00

Reunion Class Luncheons Classes of 1933, 1936, and 1946

3:15-5:00

Early Registration, Main Circle

3:30

The Old Guard classes host Students’ Views of the Taft Experience Choral Room

5:00

Annual Service of Remembrance Bingham Auditorium

3:00

Alumni vs. Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse Geoffrey C. Camp Field

6:00

Old Guard Dinner Headmaster’s Home

6:00

6:30

Reunion Class Dinners Classes of 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996

 A Night for Patsy & Lance  The Odden Farewell Gala Cocktails, Dinner, Dancing and Farewell Tribute, black tie optional Under the Tent

Saturday, May 19

Sunday, May 20

7:00-8:00

School Breakfast Armstrong Dining Hall

10:00-12:00 School Brunch Armstrong Dining Hall

7:00

Class of ’46 Reunion Breakfast Heritage Inn

10:30

John Small One-mile Memorial Run William Weaver Track

11:00

Alumni vs. Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Geoffrey C. Camp Field

12:30

Picnic Lunch Headmaster’s Home

7:30-12:00 Registration, Main Circle 7:50-11:45 Classes in Session • Alumni Welcome 9:00-11:30 Student-Guided Campus Tours Main Circle

For more information, please call the Alumni Office at 800-959-TAFT (8238)

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 or to ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Alumni IN THE NEWS

Cord Keller ’69 Down Under on Survivor II, the sequel to the hottest show on TV last year. Directing everything except the day-to-day campsite reality of the contestants, Keller says, as far as he’s concerned, he got all the fun stuff.

Survivor, Too You may not have seen Cord Keller ’69 snuff his torch at the last tribal council or display feats of bravery in one of the challenges, but Keller is a survivor, too. As senior producer, his main function on Survivor II was to serve as the show’s director. “I directed anything that was essentially directable,” he says, “the marooning, the challenges, the tribal councils.” It’s a real fleece-jacket, rugged crowd over there at Survivor, according to Keller, and for good reason. “The shoot was very, very difficult. The hours were long, the terrain and weather challenging. I was one of a multinational crew of 250 who ultimately inhabited our little camp-town in the bush; I lived in the Outback for 11 weeks with a three-man tent as my home.” Keller headed a team of 35 Australian and U.S. camera operators, sound technicians, and assistants in the multi-

camera coverage of those one-time events. (“We did insert shots of body doubles,” he admits, “to add a cinematographic element to the games!”) His counterpart supervised the four producers who managed the shooting of the reality segments, “which, believe it or not,” he adds, “was entirely documentary. There is not a scripted moment in any of the shows.” To describe the experience as enjoyable would be all too limiting, he says. “I was shooting 53 days in a row (10 days in rehearsal and 43 with the contestants) with only a brief 30-hour break somewhere in the middle there; it was agonizing at times. “We had an early wet season, and the rising river threatened to take out our massive Tribal Council set. We lost a few lights to the current as it was. At one point we were marooned in our camp, forced to cross the river by boat, and then hoof it a half

mile to our bus when the road was washed out. But I don’t believe a day passed without a moment of deeply felt appreciation for the magnificent countryside that I had the privilege to know for those many weeks. Life was simple, deconstructed to suit the demands of the isolated environment. A rare simplicity that I cherished even in the worst of times.” Keller is supervising the production of yet another vérité-style show, “so I am pleased with the audience response that these shows have generated,” he says. “I think people have tired of the old formulas and are hungry for something new. I also have always felt that television is a medium of immediacy, conducive to a direct, unsullied connection between the human drama and the spectator. Unscripted, real people behaving questionably will always have a home there.” Taft Bulletin

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ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Yachtswoman of the Year

Daniel Forster

Olympic Silver Medalists Pease Herndon Glaser ’79 and J.J. Isler

Pease Herndon Glaser ’79, of Long Beach, Calif., received the 2000 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award during a ceremony in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan February 9. The annual award, established in 1961 by U.S. Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. since 1980, recognizes outstanding on-the-water achievement in the calendar year just concluded. A panel of noted sailing journalists selected the Olympic medalist for this year’s distinction. Glaser and her skipper J.J. Isler were recognized for their perseverance in the

470 women’s class, which resulted in a silver medal at the Olympics (see winter 2001 Bulletin). Isler and Glaser first made headlines in October 1999 when they won the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, surprising many who had labeled the talented pair as underdogs. After securing their berth to Sydney, the duo embarked on a rigorous training program, spending significant amounts of time overseas fine-tuning their boat handling skills. They finished seventh at the 470 European Championships, eighth at Kiel Week, and 11th out of 57 boats at the 470 Women’s World Championships. Isler and Glaser posted a 6-1 on the first day of the Olympic Regatta, earning them the right the next day to wear the gold bibs that identify the regatta’s leaders. Acknowledging that they were “challenged by the conditions,” Isler and Glaser fell to sixth overall at one point in the regatta. They recovered their form, however, with a brilliant performance on the final day—passing five boats on the last leg of the last race of their 11-race series—going from fourth overall to claiming the silver medal. “That they were perceived as having

come out of nowhere only strengthens their claim on this award,” remarked a member of the panel. Before teaming up with Isler, Glaser—who, with 13 years, holds the record as longest consecutive member of the U.S. Sailing Team—had launched three previous Olympic campaigns as a 470 and Tornado skipper. In the Tornado, noted as the fastest Olympic-class boat, she made her mark as the only woman skippering in any of the four open classes during her ’92-’96 Olympic campaigns. The 1986 Goodwill Games 470 Women’s Silver Medalist, Glaser has three national doublehanded titles and is also a three-time North American Champion in the Tornado class. She works at Ullman Sails where her husband, 1984 Tornado Olympic Silver Medalist Jay Glaser, is a partner. Jay also coached the Isler/Glaser team at the Olympics and was named U.S. Sailing national coach of the year. “Winning the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award is the perfect finale to a special year of sailing,” Glaser said.

Born to Rule For centuries British government was dominated by members of a small number of families—a ruling elite whose every generation was almost guaranteed a place in Parliament. In his new book, Born to Rule, Ellis Wasson ’66 explores who these families were and how they were able to command social, economic, and political primacy. Based on data of nearly 2,800 families and 18,000 individuals, Wasson creates a landmark book, including Welsh, Irish, and Scottish elites as well. “Although it is focused most sharply on the years between the Restoration and the First World War,” he explains in the introduction, “the data assembled here also have implications for the study of England ranging between the reigns of both Elizabeths.” Such exhaustive study, he adds, is made possible for the first time by the development of computerized database programs. Despite families like the Edgcumbes, who produced an

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unbroken chain of fifteen generations of the head of the House in parliament between 1467 and 1945, what becomes clear is how Britain’s “much larger second echelon broadly open to ‘new men’ from business helped Britain become the first modern society and prolonged the elite’s supremacy.” Wasson is the author of Whig Renaissance: Lord Althorp and the Whig Party, 1782–1845 and a contributor to the new Dictionary of National Biography. He is head of the History Department at Tower Hill School, Delaware, a member of the AP European History Test Development Committee, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

New Additions to the Alumni Collection The Hulbert Taft Jr. Library has received the following additions to its collection of alumni publications: 1965 David Armstrong Paints the Vanishing American Landscape: The World and Works of David Armstrong [’65]. Video Recording, directed and produced by Michael Briggs, 1995 David Armstrong: A Retrospective 1965-1995, David Armstrong ’65, Butler Institute of American Art, 1995

Not-So-Accidental Tourists In Salon.com’s Wanderlust: Real-life Tales of Adventure and Romance, Don George ’71 and 40 other travel writers describe for us the “sensation of being spellbound outsiders, wide open to all the beauties of a place.” The collection, also edited by George, includes pieces by Peter Mayle on Provence and Isabel Allende on her journey through the Amazon. Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler gives a Down Under perspective on travel, renowned author Carlos Fuentes discovers the less neutral sights of Switzerland, and Taras Grescoe’s sojourn in Spain in search of “the liquid muse of the avant-garde, the licorice-flavored, highoctane herbal alcohol” known as absinthe, cites a fine book on the topic by Barnaby Conrad ’70. There are newer voices, too, that open windows to extraordinary places around the planet. The book boasts “compelling adventure, delectable food, and poignant humor that will transport you to a wish-list of exotic locales.” Armchair travelers and veteran globe-trotters alike will enjoy the adventure. Don George moved to Paris after graduating from Princeton more than two decades ago—and never looked back. He has lived in Athens and Tokyo, has wandered through some 50 countries, and has written more than 500 articles for such publications as Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and Travel Holiday. He was travel editor of the San Francisco Examiner from 1987-95 and is the founder and editor of Salon magazine’s travel column “Wanderlust.” Don began work for Lonely Planet in March, writing and editing—developing magazine-style content for their Website and possibly for a print publication. He’s developing an ongoing series of interviews with travel writers and explorers to be called Lonely Planet Conversations, which they hope to syndicate to TV and radio. Don lives with his wife and two children in the San Francisco Bay area. Illustration by Zach Trenholm, Salon.com Cover design by Eleen Cheung, Villard Books

1966 When the Moon Fell on California, Robert Force and Albert d’Ossché ’66, LP recording, Kicking Mule Records, 1984 1943 Hostage to Fortune: A Novel, Ted Mason ’43, Bartleby Press, 1999 1949 The Wall Paintings of Thera, 1997. A three-volume publication of the proceedings of the First International Symposium on the wall paintings of Thera, organized by The Thera Foundation and Idryma Theras—Peter M. Nomikos ’49, under the auspices of the Archaeological Society at Athens. 1956 From Knight Hospitaller of Saint John of Jerusalem to Knight of Malta, Gerard Le Roux ’56, O.H.F.O.M./B.G.F., 1998 1958 Goodman and Gilman’s the Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, Dr. Alfred G. Gilman ’58, editor. Pergamon Press, 1990 1964 Masterworks of American Sculpture: Selections from Members of the National Sculpture Society, 19751999 (Fred Brownstein ’64)

Born to Rule: British Political Elites, Ellis Wasson ’66, Sutton Publishing, 2000 (facing page) 1970 Pan Am: An Aviation Legend, Barnaby Conrad III ’70. Woodford Press, 1999 1971 Salon.com’s Wanderlust: Real-life Tales of Adventure and Romance, edited by Don George ’71, Villard Books, 2000 (at left) 1974 Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions, Richard Smoley ’74, Arkana, 1999 1977 Wild Thing, CD recording, Laura Biddle ’77, Spirit Productions, 1998 Happy Valentine’s Day, Miss Hildy! Bridget Starr Taylor ’77 illus., Random House, 1998 1992 Andrew Solomon, Andrew Solomon ’92, CD recording, 1999 Taft Bulletin

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pond “Lift Every Voice: Twentieth Century African American Artists” Until very recently, little attention has been paid to African American artists, so it is more than fitting that the first major exhibit in the Mark Potter ’48 Gallery should highlight a broad spectrum of important African American artists of the

last century during Black History Month. The show was loaned to the school through the courtesy of the Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans; the Jones’s son Harry is a member of the Class of ’02. “Lift Every Voice” includes works by

Peter Frew ’75

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such wide-ranging talents as Benny Andrews, Ernie Barnes, James Richmond Barthe, Romare Bearden, Phoebe Beasley, Margaret Burroughs, Anthony Carreno, Elizabeth Catlett, Jeff Cook, Louis Delsarte, Reginald Gammon, Frank Hayden, Richard Hunt, Loïs Mailou Jones, Gwen Knight, Artis Lane, Jacob Lawrence, Richard Mayhew, Barbara Chase Riboud, Gale Fulton Ross, Howard Smith, Charles White, and Dennis Paul Williams. “It is not my aim to paint about the Negro in America in terms of propaganda,” Romare Bearden said when asked why his artworks are usually of the same themes of jazz and music, “[but] the life of my people, as I know it, passionately and dispassionately as Breughel. My intention is to reveal through pictorial complexities the life I know.” The show was on display in the Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery from January 15 to February 27. Benny Andrews was on campus on February 20 to talk about his work.


AROUND THE POND

John Kilbourne ’58 with the school’s first Kilbourne Fellows: Margeaux Walter ’01, Greg Stevens ’02, and Vanessa Wood ’01. Kilbourne grants underwrite all or part of the expense of participating in summer programs in the performing or visual arts. Offered to sophomores and juniors, grants may be made to one or more students in a given year, who must submit proposals to the head of the Arts Department.

Wynne Dedication With the construction of the Odden Arena last fall came renovations to other athletic facilities, including the wrestling room. The previously unnamed room was dedicated to John Wynne, honoring this highly successful coach who retired last spring after ruling the mats at Taft for 35 years. Above: John and Gail Wynne, center, at the dedication of the Wynne Wrestling Room in January, pictured with the 2001 wrestling team and alumni wrestlers Al Reiff ’80, new head coach (left); front from left, Slade Mead ’80, Lee Burbank ’68, Gary Sklaver ’68, Jon Albert ’79, Jim Miller ’71, Eric Albert ’77, Paul Klingenstein ’74, and assistant coaches Lenny Tucker ’92 and Greg Hawes ’85.

Taft Scientists Soar problem statement was very open-ended, asking teams to design anything that would assist a disabled or injured person. “We owe a special thanks to trainer Maryann Laska,” said advisor Jim Mooney, “for her assistance in their design of an ankle brace that allows for greater range of motion in directions that do not conflict with the sprain.” After consulting with Laska, students did research on the Web and got some useful information from a polymer production

company, eventually contracting a local engineering firm to turn their plans into a functional prototype. Vanessa Wood ’01 captained the team of Nirica Borges ’01, Andrew Karas ’01, Grace Morris ’02, and Elena Sorokin ’02. Below: From left—David Hostage, James Lee ’03, Pea Phadhana-Anake ’03, Grace Morris ’02, Khanh Do Ba ’03, Andrew Karas ’01, Vanessa Wood ’01, Dan Riley ’02, Nirica Borges ’01, Jim Mooney, and Elena Sorokin ’02 with their engineering medals.

Peter Frew ’75

Taft students proved their prowess at two competitions sponsored by the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) this winter. Taft sent two teams to the Connecticut regional Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS) on December 14. The test consists of ten indepth, multiple-question problems that the team solves cooperatively. The varsity team placed first in its division and received an “Outstanding Performer in the State Award” given by JETS and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Industrial Technologies. Congrats to seniors Vanessa Wood, Torsak Luanphaisarnnont, Andrew Karas, and Victoria Choi, and uppermids Henry Tsai, Annabelle Razack, and Kyle Dolan. Our JV team placed second in its division: uppermids Jason Chen and Natalie Ie, and middlers Steven Ambadjes, Khanh Do Ba, Pea Phadhana-Anake, Emily Marano, and Tucker Serenbetz. The Taft entry in the National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC) placed second in the Connecticut competition on January 17. This year’s

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Pailey Dance Studio Maryann and William Pailey Jr. ’57 and their daughter Joann ’95 were on hand on Mothers’ Day at Taft, February 17, for the dedication of the Pailey Dance Studio. Julie Pailey ’00 was unable to attend. Members of the Dance Ensemble showed their appreciation for the new space, located in the former Black squash courts at the north end of the Arts and Humanities Center, by performing for the assembled guests. “Dance extends beyond the physical definition of a sport,” senior Aimee Palladino told the audience, “and includes a unique emotional component. It is an art. Dance is constantly changing and adopting new ways of movement, and yet, similar to a sport, it is deeply rooted in tradition and technique. Only after combining physical aptitude and emotion can one achieve dance— an incomparable and timeless expression.”

Model U.N. Conference Taft students represented the country of Brazil on the Economic and Social Council and Specialized Agencies in February at the 38th North American Invitational Model United Nations. For four days, delegates attend committee meetings and spend hours debating and deliberating over two current U.N. issues. Representing their appointed country, delegates attempt to pass resolutions that would help solve the problem. Hundreds of other schools from across the country and around the world, as far away as Japan, send delegates to this annual event; there were over 3,000 students this year. “The key to success,” explains advisor Rachael Ryan, “is learning which countries are your allies in order to form coalitions, but more importantly the delegates must learn the fine art of compromise.” This was the first year of the Model U.N. Club at Taft, organized by senior Greg Dost after attending an international relations conference at Georgetown University last summer. “What is remarkable,” says Ryan, “is that none of the students had ever participated in a Model U.N. before, and they all jumped right in with two feet and were not afraid to speak before their committee nor to sponsor resolutions. The Taft delegation did such an outstanding job that this club is sure to have even more success in the future.” Uppermids Arllyn Hernandez, Jen Higgins, Kristina Leone, Elise Mariner, Ali Rickards, Dan Riley, Julia Shlyankevich, and Jane Ventresca completed the team. 10

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In Brief Professor Peter Kreeft was the third of the Paduano Lecturers in Philosophy and Ethics (following Dr. Christina Sommers and the Tibetan Buddhist Monks). A professor of philosophy at Boston College and the author of over 55 books, he is widely regarded in his field as one of the leading moral philosophers in the country, specializing in Catholic moral philosophy. In two of his recent books, Refutation of Moral Relativism and Back to Virtue, Professor Kreeft picks up one of his familiar themes, challenging the culture of moral relativism and defending the claims of moral absolutism. Nancy Rankin, a psychologist who works with families and adolescents, spoke with faculty about the issues and anxieties that parents have about their adolescent children. Rankin has worked as a teacher, administrator, and most recently as a counselor in private practice and as coordinator of counseling services at Loomis Chaffee. One teacher remarked, “Her perspectives on the roles of educator and parents seem to be spot on.” Others called her “one of the most practical speakers we’ve had this year; that she was able to answer our questions with distinct, specific suggestions was most helpful.” Steve McCabe resigned as head football coach after nine seasons. He had been an assistant coach under former head football coach Larry Stone for the previous 11 seasons. Steve felt that after 20 years, it was time to devote more time to his children Kara ’02, Kate ’04, and Michael, 11. McCabe guided the Big Red to the New England Class B title in 1992 and finished with a 32-41 career record. “This is not necessarily my finale as a coach,” McCabe told the Waterbury Republican American. He will remain as head track coach and math teacher. Athletic Director Dave Hinman ’87 will succeed McCabe as head football coach this fall.


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Winter Big Red Scoreboard Boys’ Basketball Record: ............................................................................. 9–14–0 Logan Award: ........................................... Anthony T. Piacenza ’01

Girls’ Basketball Record: ............................................................................. 16–5–0 Basketball Award: .......................................... Jennifer K. Feffer ’01 K. Christine Murphy ’01

Boys’ Ice Hockey

Elizabeth Barisser joins the Taft faculty as the new dance teacher, replacing Robyn Lewis, who left at the end of the fall term to join Dance Masters of America. Barisser is an experienced professional dancer and teacher. For several years she’s been the head of the nonprofit Brass City Ballet in Waterbury. Fifteen students and faculty gathered last fall to participate in a 5K walk in Hartford for cancer research. They were joined by Liz Terenzi, mother of Rob ’01 and a oneyear survivor of cancer.

Founders League Co-Champions

Record: ............................................................................. 20–3–1 Angier Hockey Award: ............................. Christian M. Jensen ’01 Ryan M. Trowbridge ’01 Coaches Hockey Award: ............................... Ryan P. Shannon ’01

Girls’ Ice Hockey Record: ............................................................................. 13–6–3 Patsy Odden Hockey Award: ........................... Victoria S. Fox ’01

Boys’ Ski Racing Record: .............. 6th grand slalom, 7th slalom in Berkshire League Ski Racing Award: ............................................ John C. Parker ’01

Girls’ Ski Racing Record: ............................................... 3rd in Mt. Institute League Ski Racing Award: ...................................... Courtney J. Krause ’01

Boys’ Squash

Founders League Champions

Record: ............................................................................. 13–2–0 Squash Award: ................................................ Eric S. Wadhwa ’01

Girls’ Squash Record: ............................................................................... 6–8–0 Squash Award: ............................ Alexandra Maas-Geesteranus ’01

Wrestling

Founders League Co-Champions

Record: ............................................................................. 12–5–0 Hitch Award: .................................................... Colt T. Lorson ’01 Wynne Award: ................................................. Ryan M. Burns ’01

“We wanted to raise as much money as possible for the American Cancer Society,” said Rob, “but in doing so, we also wanted to raise awareness, not just that cancer is a part of so many lives, but also about the Taft Cancer Forum.” Rob co-founded the Taft Cancer Forum last year as a support group, but it also does some fundraising. This year, Rob is trying to get the program going in other boarding schools under the name of ISUAC (independent schools united against cancer). Poet O Quartet, a highly acclaimed jazz group, performed a Valentine’s Day concert on campus. Critics cite “a completeness, an organic development that carries the listener through a musical story.” Tyler Jennings ’02 said, “I observed a most sane and beautifully composed jazz-fusion arrangement; my fascination with that song still lingers.” Guitarist Michael Musillami, Mario Pavone on bass, Peter Madsen on piano, and Micahel Sarin on drums form the quartet.

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Ut Ministret A Tribute to the Statesmanship of Lance and Patsy Odden By Barclay Johnson ’53 I slept and dreamt That life was joy. I woke and saw That life was duty. I acted, and behold! Duty was joy. —Rabindranath Tagore

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ast fall, when Headmaster Odden announced his retirement at the year’s end, he told the school that he has had “the best job in the world.” Everyone  The Oddens in Vermont in the early ’70s could hear the gratitude in his voice—a voice known to be steady, dispassionate. The seniors, however, may have questioned this claim. Headmasters enjoyed good, clean work, but little life of their own. The horizon had to promise better jobs. With his knowledge of the world and his desire to serve it, Mr. Odden could have been a statesman and served multitudes. Those seniors probably concluded that “Lancer” just wanted his people to feel glad for him.

 “Like diligent statespeople, Lance and Patsy have used role models from history to become role models themselves.” Photographs courtesy of the Leslie Manning Archives and Insight Studios. Portrait by Larry Bruce Bishop.

The faculty, of course, knew the truth in what he had said. Lance, of all leaders, would not have given up the teaching and coaching that he loved for anything less than the best job in the world. As the head of a renowned independent school, he had thrived on a rare combination of privileges: a clear mandate for progressive change with the freedom and support to bring it about. Then, beyond their remarkable achievements, Lance and Patsy had realized, perhaps, the greatest satisfaction that any leader could have. In what other Taft Bulletin

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position could anyone know personally so many people of all ages and nations and contribute to their individual lives? For those alumni less familiar with the new Taft, the questions may remain: How did this partnership manage to pilot such a traditional school into the vanguard of secondary education for the 21st century? How did Lance become the president of the nation’s Headmasters Association in its Centennial year, and Patsy, the leading advocate for women’s hockey in the U.S.A.? Colleagues and trustees have known the answer for years: The Oddens, both of them coaches at heart, created a worldclass team from all constituents, then led it with the wisdom and grace of premier statespeople day by day.

It is difficult to realize all the qualities necessary for great statesmanship. The list is ponderous, if not interminable. Of course, integrity, fortitude, and joy of duty must quickly come to light; composure and compassion often take longer; and, for the less rarefied leaders, humility may take forever. Therefore, it is with some amusement that older colleagues recall which quality Lance may well have developed first. Mystically, the day that he became the youngest headmaster in the nation, at age 32, Lance impressed the faculty as “experienced.” At the same time he appeared no older than the day he shaved off that black beard, cultivated on sabbatical to Wisconsin University five years before. One afternoon, while picking up papers in the main hall (Mr. Cruikshank style), Lance

noticed a candidate for admission treading time in the Harley Roberts Room. Apparently the parents had gone off for their interview. Lance welcomed the boy to Taft, then inquired, “Is there something, in particular, that you’d like to see?” The boy answered quickly, “I’d like to meet the headmaster.” Hardly pausing, Lance said, “I am the headmaster.” The boy’s eyes grew dim. “You are?” After a brief, one-sided conversation, Lance returned to his office and told his secretary about the encounter. She was so tickled that he, too, had to laugh. Then he added reflectively, “I think this young man expected to see Horace Taft.” Of course, the irony is not lost on the “Old Guard” who once knew the

 A champion of women’s athletics, Patsy annually presents the Marion Hole Makepeace award at graduation.  Former Taft faculty at the Washington, DC, party in 1975, from left, Bob Poole ’50, Fred Clark, George Boggs ’65, Henry Welton ’35 (son of Paul Welton), Dave Miller, and Lance Odden  Welcoming old boys back to campus on Alumni Day, boater and all, in 1982  The Oddens’ first grandchild: Margot, daughter of Karen and Jake ’86


 A succession of headmasters and their wives: John and Katherine Esty, Paul and Edith Cruikshank, and Lance and Patsy Odden

Influence and Ideals When Lance and Patsy announced their upcoming retirement this June, letters poured in by the hundreds. Parents, grandparents, old colleagues, and especially alumni wrote in to express their joy for the Oddens and their great sadness at the loss for the school. All remarked on the incredible influence Lance and Patsy had on their lives and those of their children, as well as their strong moral example in a time when heroes often fail to live up to our expectations. —Editor

 Hockey coaches Lance Odden, Len Sargent, and Mike Maher

 A natural athlete, Patsy joins her team out on the practice field in 1978.

Any individual who has ever worked with Lance has to recognize his keen mind. In addition, in my days with the association, he stands out as the single most significant president who had the admirable ability to cut through rhetoric and always see the big picture. Everything he did was done with a vision as to how best to serve the total association family…. —Richard J. Bradley former executive director, New England Association of Schools and Colleges Years ago I spent a day in Washington calling on congressmen with Lance Odden and a few other school heads from Connecticut. “Our” side needed a few more votes, and our task was to persuade those votes to come our way. Lance clearly was in his element. And, as the hours passed, I began to see one of the reasons he has been such an outstanding school head. Not only is Lance bright and well informed, committed, articulate, and incisively thoughtful; he loves to be involved in the process of persuasion! —Peter B. Tacy executive director, Connecticut Association of Independent Schools

 Headmastering can’t be all bad if part of the job is hanging out with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter ’67 of the Doobie Brothers and Adam Bronfman ’81 at the Los Angeles dinner in 1991.

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founder, or on anyone who has learned about “the King” and his beneficent wife, Winnie. In principles, humor, and devotion, Lance and Patsy have replicated the Tafts. Like diligent statespeople, they have used role models from history to become role models themselves. In fact, a large part of Lance’s scholarship has focused on great leaders in direct service to others: heads of state, diplomats, education reformers. With references to outside authorities, his cogent speeches have invariably probed a particular social or moral malaise that threatens the minds and bodies of young people. Also, to support his position, he has acknowledged the ideas of many headmasters—past and present—and quoted the input of students.

Undoubtedly the earliest influence on the Oddens at Taft was that of their predecessors. Recognizing the diverse strengths of the Cruikshanks and Estys, the Oddens struck a balance between traditional discipline and attention to detail, on one hand, and bold, creative life, on the other. Today Taft abounds with examples of this original balance, its most aesthetic symbol being Patsy’s elegant arrangements of fresh flowers for every major occasion. Needless to say, the Oddens have led this school with at least three distinctions of their own: worldly conviction, stormproof composure, and generous spirit. Quite possibly these convictions have developed from what may be called a “double vision”—at once, incisive and

high-angled—one a view on progressive teaching; the other, on humanity. While Lance’s respect for “school masters” has sounded old-fashioned, his charge to the faculty in the mid-1970s came ahead of its time. Convinced that his faculty was the best in the business, he directed all teachers to turn traditional teaching into student-centered learning. Lance believed that, if they could become classroom coaches as well as inspiring “professors” immersed in the texts, the students would learn, first, to think for themselves and, second, to solve problems in teams, sharing insights and credit. Therein, his faculty was going to lead the fight against superficial analysis and “information overload” masquerading as knowledge.

 Lance greets Taft’s first Nobel laureate, Al Gilman ’58.

Insight Studios

 Patsy coached girls’ lacrosse with Ferdie Wandelt ’66 for many years.

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 Always remembering those who volunteer countless hours for the school, Lance thanks Class Agent Linc Johnson ’40.


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 Lance has always known what to say to heal the wounds when a member of our school community dies. In 1995, together with the graduating class, he pays tribute to Dan Peynado at a tree dedication in his memory.

 Patsy has carried on the tradition of pouring at Taft. Here, she visits with A.J. Mleczko ’93 and A.J.’s grandmother, Mrs. C.H. Gifford.

In an era of fierce competition among independent schools Lance Odden believed fiercely in the collective strength of schools and implored his colleagues to join forces in resisting the increasing threats to our schools’ independence. A wise and courageous man with strong personal convictions, he was always willing to take the high moral ground on controversial issues–from athletic recruitment, to US News & World Report’s editorial policy, to state and federal attempts which threatened to compromise the autonomy of independent schools. In his 18 years on The Gunnery board, he always made time in his busy life for the little school up the road. —Susie Graham P’98,’01 head of school, The Gunnery

 Lance and John Wynne coaching lacrosse from the sidelines

Todd Gipstein ’70

In these times when the average tenure of a headmaster seems to be approaching that of the life span of a fruit fly, he survived the upheavals of the ’70s, moved through the changing climates of the ’80s, and gracefully surfed the tide of the ’90s. Lance has been so steadfast in his vision of the school, perhaps one could say that he has the tenacity of a bulldog, though that particular comparison would not please him. Those who have witnessed his competitiveness on the sidelines or at rinkside or on the golf course might call him a tiger, a mascot much more to his liking. His colleagues in our odd trade see Lance as a peer without equal. He has been a veteran director of the National Association of Independent Schools, determined spokesman for the Founders League consortium of schools, president of the august Headmasters Association in its centennial year, chair of the visiting committees for the decennial evaluations of Deerfield, Exeter, Groton, Hotchkiss, St. Paul’s, and The American School in Zurich, among others. Now in his fifth decade of leadership, Lance is poised to enter the pantheon reserved for the Peabodys and Boydens of our little world. What he has said along the way has been memorable. What he has done has been to take on a great school and leave it a far greater one. —Don Werner former headmaster, Westminster School

 A young Jake Odden ’86 and Andrew Everett ’88 on the athletic fields

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Moreover, a conviction of faith has supported this challenge. In 1976 Lance initiated the first formal program for professional development. He assigned a committee of teachers to design a process for teacher evaluation and provided a generous budget to pay for summer study grants. But a key to Taft’s strength over the years has been Lance’s unerring judgment in appointing administrators and in assigning the right projects to the right teachers, regardless of age or experience. Then he has given them the same freedom that John Esty had given him in the turbulent ’60s. It is the Oddens’ most worldly conviction, however, that may have been their most controversial. Lance has always embraced Horace Taft’s philosophy about

teaching “the whole person.” In recent years he has been adamant about developing character, largely because many colleges have shifted their emphasis from liberal arts education to professional training. Moreover, the Oddens believed that bright, sensitive teenagers can learn to be social leaders. This idea takes Taft’s motto one meaning further: “Ut Ministret” now means to lead as well as to serve. If altruism is difficult to nurture in an age of rampant selfhood, it seems particularly important to young people searching for purpose beyond the accumulation of things. Benjamin Franklin’s adage has begun to make moral sense: “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.” Conservative educators have doubted that leadership could be taught. To them,

 Patsy Odden, right, and Muriel Losee, wife of Tom ’59 and mother of Tommy ’84, at a trustee gathering in 1999  Lance marches with former N.Y. Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who spoke at the 1974 graduation of his granddaughter Clair Pierson.

 For years Lance returned to coaching for the alumni games in hockey and lacrosse, adopting a new motto for the occasion.

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it is a natural gift, like creativity. But these skeptics may have overlooked the distinction between innate characteristics such as resourcefulness, stamina, and comfort with power, and those moral qualities that social leaders must learn. To the queen bee and the head goose, leadership is a natural duty. From the day they take flight, they probably know who they are, what has to be done, and how to do it. Not so for leaders in the human world. Moreover, no matter how well the queen bee and head goose perform, the hive and the flock change only in numbers; whereas the human community or city state, when directed by a sublime leader, will evolve toward the sublime. How did this leader acquire such wisdom and grace? He learned it. Furthermore, history shows that

 Innumerable headmasters and college presidents alike demonstrated their admiration for Lance’s leadership by sending their children to Taft. Colin Campbell, right, then president of Wesleyan University, spoke (briefly due to rain) at his daughter Blair’s graduation in 1989.


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䉲 Patsy with Jill Bermingham ’82, just one of the many long friendships Lance and Patsy form with parents and advisees.

䉱 Lance Odden, in his second year as head, escorted retiring math chairman Ed Douglas to an alumni gathering in Detroit in 1974.

A Canoe Trip with Mr. Odden Late one spring, about thirty years ago, Lance took my seven-year-old son and me up the White River between New Hampshire and Vermont. His canoe, a veteran of rougher trips, was happy just to be out of the garage. While he and I stroked the flat water, Clay sat like a chief on the gear. He liked the way our paddle swirls came up to the gunnels in places and no farther. I liked the warm brightness under our chins. But by the time the sun had left the mountaintops, I had had enough of the silence and the river. Of course, Lance and Clay could have followed the river all the way to its source. They were wilderness men. In near-darkness we pitched the tent on Bear Island as planned, then built a fire. (I’ll never forget the first beer.) Clay loved the way we cooked the “chow” and quickly ate it, talking like trappers around the hot coals. Before long it was sack time. But Clay wouldn’t close his eyes. He kept asking Lance about bears. After Lance rebuilt the fire, Clay was out in minutes. The morning came fast through the trees. The sky was as blue as the underpart of a flame. I made the coffee; Lance fried the hash, then topped it with eggs kept whole in a jar. The coffee was strong enough to clean a rifle with, but the heat went down nicely. Soon, with nothing left to see on the island, we broke camp and shoved off. A mile or so downriver I felt Clay behind me twisting back and forth. “Hey, Dad...Mr. Odden,” Clay whispered hard. “Indians!” “How many?” I said, stroking through some kind of reverie. Lance was busy in the stern, trying to keep us off the rocks. We hadn’t seen a living thing for two days, except birds and fish. “They’re getting closer,” Clay insisted. When he wouldn’t give up, I brought my paddle in and corkscrewed around. “Hey, Lance. Take a look.” Lance smiled back, then glared, as this war canoe overtook us. The braves, all painted up, began whooping and waving many paddles. But their canoe, a shiny helmet green with white lettering, gave them away. It must have been tough for a Princetonian to wave back to the Dartmouth Outing Club. —B.G.J.

As a young faculty member at Kingswood Oxford School, I first knew Lance Odden as a remarkably animated coach observed across fields and ice rinks. I was delighted when, at an impossibly early age, Lance was named head of The Taft School. Over the last twenty years, no one who has ever engaged Lance in discussion of academic or ethical values has emerged without a sense of the intensity with which he holds his convictions. The leadership he has demonstrated has energized his colleague school heads as well as his faculty and students. —Ty Tingley headmaster, Phillips Exeter Academy I was asked recently to explain our community to someone unfamiliar with independent schools—what they stood for, their value, relevance, direction, and future. I decided that the best reply was to describe the head of one of our members who epitomizes what we are all about: Lance Odden. —Jefferson G. Burnett director of government relations, NAIS Lance knew kids and he knew schools. He trusted young teachers with responsibility unheard of in peer institutions. He made us believe in Taft’s mission to serve students. It was an exciting time and place to live. Everywhere there was a sense of purpose and vitality. He mentored a whole generation of teachers and headmasters (and one headmaster’s wife). All of us have been shaped by his example and deeply influenced by his vision of education. Always there is a sense of following in his long shadow. —Monie T. Hardwick Taft faculty 1977–89

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many great statespeople were products of families revered for political or social service; also that many had been young leaders as students. In other words, leadership, like creativity can, at least, be nurtured through increased opportunities and motivated by role model teachers.

• • • The Oddens themselves have set the standards with their demeanor. To be sure, they are natural leaders, but no one is born with composure and compassion. Masters of formal bearing and self-control, the Oddens have never bent under the weight of responsibilities. It is difficult to remember when either one has evinced frustration, confusion, fatigue, or

despair. Anger, perhaps, when confronting an act of incivility or a stupid breach of sportsmanship, but anger directed at the act, with only disappointment toward the kids. Moreover, for all their pride in Taft and in themselves, the Oddens have lived above vanity or arrogance. Humor and a sense of reality have served them like friends. Of course, stormproof composure must be seen to be believed. For examples, Lance in one of those full-faculty meetings “suddenly announced” or Patsy coaching a pivotal hockey game on Mothers’ Day. No one would know that Lance is off to a New England or national meeting and will have to polish his speech between airports, or that Patsy, as director of girls’ athletics, has spent

the morning checking the arrangements for home and away teams, and, as First Lady, directing the reception and lunch for 500 parents of both sexes. Undoubtedly the source of their poise has been a “joy of duty” and a generous spirit. All constituents have known the Oddens’ far-reaching hospitality. For dinner parties under thirty, Patsy has often done the cooking. Their house in Vermont is a veritable Green Mountain inn for drifting Tafties. (Lance and Patsy will play golf with almost anyone.) Also, “until this year,” Lance has known every student by name. Together he and Patsy have rooted from the sidelines of every game they could get to. (But don’t touch Lance’s cap with the “T” on it.) Perhaps most memorable will be the Oddens’

䉲 Lance with Kathy Sheridan ’79

䉴 Patsy greets mothers on opening day in 1992.

䉲 An accomplished hostess, Patsy graciously returns alumni applause for her contributions in making the Centennial Celebration an outstanding success.

䉱 One of the school’s greatest strengths has been Lance’s unerring judgment in appointing administrators, here late assistant headmaster Al Reiff Sr.

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INFLUENCE AND IDEALS

䉲 Proving that Taft is indeed like a family, the Oddens welcome Lance’s college roommate and past ambassador to Egypt and India Frank Wisner and his wife Christine, whose son David graduated with the Class of 2000.

䉳 B o a rd C h a i rman Peter Fink ’51 confers honorary diplomas on Lance and Patsy at the Centennial Celebration in 1990. Insight Studios

䉲 Lance and Patsy on the athletic fields in 1974

Lance has been the best in the business, and has the school—and the affection of its people—to prove it. I am among many school heads who regarded him as the model. His work for independent schools at the state, regional, and national levels did much to raise the stature of our institutions in the public and government eye. In that sense, all of us have been indebted to him. —James M. Coyle ’52 former headmaster, Greens Farms Academy When Patsy and Lance took our ’89 hockey team to Switzerland, I remember sitting at a typically Swiss restaurant with local music, good food, and a round of simple drinks. Lance and Patsy and the whole team broke out into song as the musicians taught us the chorus. At that moment, I realized that they were not only administrators, leaders, coaches, parents, and teachers who deserved my utmost respect, but they were also incredibly fun people and good friends. —Jess Matzkin ’90 Spanish teacher Lance set us on a course that allowed us to believe in ourselves. Much as we speak about teachers empowering students, for 28 years, he empowered teachers and taught us how to lead. —Ferdie Wandelt ’66, P’91,’96 director of admissions I always had someplace to go for an opinion I respected. Lance’s influence has not been just on the school, but on those who have worked with him. —Rusty Davis assistant headmaster for residential life Lance has made countless contributions to higher education beyond the walls of the kind, firm molder—especially the too often thankless, but manifestly necessary undertakings: assuring equal opportunity in secondary school education, and teaching The Taft School and other communities to open their eyes to the educational value and joys of diversity. —Wesley S. Williams ’59

䉱 Never underestimating the role of the headmaster’s secretary, Lance frequently credited Milly Reilly with helping him secure his first post at Taft. Karyl Scrivener and Graceann Hess (pictured) have been her able successors.

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visits to the infirm and their many thoughtful letters of praise, thanks, and sympathy; also Lance’s fun-loving tributes to compatriots departing; and those heartfelt eulogies, which are masterpieces of eloquence and personal loss. Finally, all these gestures of loyalty and appreciation have prevailed in the remarkable continuity of Taft’s teachers. Moreover, the Oddens have extended themselves to people as far away as Southeast Asia. As humanitarians who have traveled the world, Lance has served as spokesman for diversity and as a trustee for several philanthropies; Patsy has taken her teams to compete in Europe. Their greatest initiatives, however, have been directed at the humanity of young people. The Oddens continue to encourage

students to see a world beyond the mall. For all their own privileged education in the ’50s, they want others to have what they themselves had missed, like the best in coeducation, community service, and direct attention to people of all nations.

• • • The faculty once thought that the Oddens would leave Taft for Andover, Princeton, or Washington. (Originally Lance had come to Taft largely by chance, and Patsy with, perhaps, less deliberation.) It was during his announcement last fall that he told the assembly why he and Patsy have stayed for all these years. Between the explicit reasons about teenagers, opportunities, trustees, a single

sentiment flowed: Lance and Patsy have always felt a deep affection for Taft people as their extended family—all the more so, perhaps, because each of them had lost a parent early in life, and what better place than Taft to raise Jake ’86 and Laurie ’89. Therefore, as we celebrate the luminous careers of the Oddens in a season of old and new beginnings, we also pay homage to Taft. Both the old and new school are strikingly visible from the hill—and immensely durable. But for those leaders to come it will be the statesmanship of Lance and Patsy, like the character of Horace and Winnie, that holds the light. Meanwhile, we the people are most grateful that Headmaster Odden has had the best job in the world and his best friend to share it with.

䉲 At a panel discussion in 1990, Lance laughs with New York Times reporter Steve Erlanger ’70 and former Headmaster John Esty

䉱 Patsy, Lance, Laurie, and Jake travel with Dinny and then director of development Fred Genung ’63 and their first child, Alec, in 1973 on one of Lance’s alumni tours around the country. 䉳 Lance and Patsy with retiring faculty members Susan and Jol Everett in 1999 22

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䉲 Lance shares his vision for the campus with the Long Range Planning Committee of the board of trustees in 1989.

To observe Lance Odden at A Better Chance and at NAIS was to keep him in mind should I ever need a companion-in-arms to man the barricade. —Mildred Berendsen, former head of Chapin School In our era, money is glorified and dedication is trivialized, as typified by professional athletes. Lance is the antithesis to this lowering of standards. If I had three words to describe him, they would be class, strength, and vision. Not a bad hat trick. —William Mayo-Smith ’74 I am proud to tell people where I went and I have the Oddens to thank for that. —Dick Williams ’89 Posterity will recall the “Odden Era” as the golden age of the school. —Craig Shealy P’76,’81 I want to thank and congratulate Lance and Patsy for living lives that those who want to make a difference will look to for inspiration for many years to come. —Ron O’Connor P’91 I have always thought that one of the best decisions I ever made as head of Taft was to step aside so that Lance could be considered for the position. It was a good decision for my family and me; I hope it was a good one for his family and him. Lord knows, it was a magnificent decision for Taft! —John C. Esty Jr. headmaster 1963-72

䉴 Patsy and her crews on Community Service Day have planted thousands of spring bulbs throughout Watertown.

䉳 Retiring Board Chairman Don McCullough ’42 sums up his affection for Lance at the “Hats off to Don” party after the dedication of the McCullough Athletic Center in 1999.

Lance’s talks were always the highlight of parents’ weekends and often made us reflect on the jobs we were doing as parents, and how we could do even better. —Charlie and Charlotte Atwood P’94,’95,’97 A southern boy, sent off to an eastern prep school, I felt like a stranger in a strange land for much of my time there. All was not gloom, however, because I was able to find two of my old friends there: sports and words. Lance Odden and Barclay Johnson were the lighthouses I looked to for direction. —Marty Pryor ’68

Vickers and Beechler

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Bradford Joblin ’73

1961— The new arrivals, fall 1961: Lance Odden, Barclay Johnson ’53, Edward Schriver, Dave Mitchell, Walter Foley, Thomas Fox, and Thomas Weld 1972— The new headmaster and his family

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1969— Appointed assistant headmaster by John Esty.

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1968— Son Jake (Class of ’86) born.

1971— Coeducation begins, also the year daughter Laurie (Class of ’89) is born.

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1970— Awarded the Robert Congdon Memorial Chair in History.

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1967— Named chairman of the History Department.

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1966— Sabbatical year at the University of Wisconsin, where he earns his master’s in history. His thesis deals with American Foreign Policy with China from 1929–31. Odden Lacrosse Award created by the varsity lacrosse team of 1966.

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1965— Awarded Mailliard Fellowship for “excellence in teaching.”

1964— Introduces a course in Far Eastern History and is appointed director of the newly created Independent Studies Program.

1963— Marries Patricia Kerney, who also grew up in Princeton. Under Lance’s leadership, lacrosse becomes a varsity sport.

1961— A cholera epidemic cancels Lance Odden’s plans to participate in the Yalein-China program after his graduation from Princeton. A last-minute interview with Headmaster Paul Cruikshank secures Lance a position coaching hockey with Len Sargent and running the school store. By the next semester, Lance is teaching history.

Odden Years 1972— Lance Rue Odden is named the school’s fourth headmaster, and—at age 32—is the youngest to lead a major independent school. School endowment stands at $2 million.


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Lance has been a wonderful leader, and both he and Patsy have been great friends to the community of Watertown. —M. Heminway Merriman II ’67, P’93,’97

1979— Daniel Lam ’74, Lee Klingenstein ’44, Lance Odden, Louis Lam ’80, and Francis Lam ’74 in Hong Kong, on Lance’s first trip to China

Lance and Patsy’s greatest legacy is the expansion and deepening of the Taft family, representing the best of the traditions, clear values, and care that characterize a strong family. —Bill Morris ’69, P’97,’99,’02 dean of studies I am grateful to Lance for the way in which he built on Taft’s great traditions to shape an institution that is vital and relevant to a troubled society in a complex world. —Bob Bremner P’87,91,94

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Lance’s teaching helped me as a teacher and a historian. Only one lecturer ever approached his excellence during the course of my education (Stephen Ambrose at Johns Hopkins), and no other teacher conveyed the passion for learning about other cultures and the past with the conviction he brought to the job. Some years ago a student of mine went to Princeton and took a course from Arthur Waldron ’66. After a while the student began to recognize a similarity in the way material was presented and in other aspects of the course. Finally he asked Arthur if he knew me. Lance not only inspired us, but also helped shape the way his students look at problems and conduct intellectual discourse—an influence so powerful that the young Princetonian could recognize it. In a sense, he had become Lance’s student too. —Ellis Wasson ’66

1980— Challenge grant of $2 million by the William Rand Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust helps the school to double its endowment in less than three years and inspires the board to embark on a campaign to raise the endowment to $30 million. Paul and Edith Cruikshank Athletic Center joins the Mays Rink and Logan Field House to complete the move of the athletic facilities up the hill. Patsy Odden Hockey Award given by the 1980 girls’ varsity hockey team to that member of the team who in the minds of the coaches best exemplifies the spirit of leadership, determination, and ability.

What has touched us so deeply about Taft is the school’s powerful interest in doing the right thing, whether alerting parents of potential problems in a child’s behavior or trying to direct young people to make the right choices, or at least be aware of the consequences if they do not. Both our children are far better equipped to face the world having had the Lance Odden/Taft experience. —Nancy Novogrod P’98,’01

1979— Fulfills a long-postponed personal and professional dream with a two-month visit to China, accompanied by Patsy and by Daney and Lee Klingenstein ’44. Founds the Taft Education Center under Ed North, a summer program for teachers Lance sees as an important bridge between the worlds of private and public education.

1978— Long Range Planning Committee Report provides the master plan to make Taft “the best middle-sized coeducational independent school in the country.”

1973— Patsy begins the girls’ ice hockey program.

1980— Groundbreaking for the new Cruikshank Athletic Center, Lance’s first major construction project in what would become the school’s greatest period of physical growth.

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Insight Studios

1986— At the dedication of the Arts and Humanities Center

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1992— Donald F. McCullough Athletic Center built (dedicated in 1999) to help eliminate nighttime practices in the winter.

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1991— Patsy’s girls’ varsity ice hockey team wins its first in what will be an unprecedented string of three New England Championships.

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1990— As the school nears gender parity in the enrollment, construction of more housing for girls becomes essential. Centennial Dormitory, named in honor of John C. Esty, creates a new quadrangle in front of the Hulbert Taft Jr. Library. A gala celebration in May brings over 3,500 people to campus to celebrate the landmark year.

1988— Creates the Poole Summer Fellowships in honor of Robert Keyes Poole ’50, who left education to devote his life to service through the Peace Corps and African Wildlife Federation.

1985— With the completion in 1980 of athletic facilities up the hill, the Arts and Humanities Center is created out of the old gymnasiums at the heart of campus.

1993— Patsy’s three-time New England Championship team: clockwise, Sara Vintiadis, A.J. Mleczko, Heather McVicar, Kate Schutt, Natasha Fine, Whitney Parks, and Coach Odden

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1989— School begins its hundredth year with a special convocation in the fall. Lance is joined in leading the festivities by college presidents Frances Ferguson and Harold Shapiro and former U.S. Commissioner of Education Doc Howe ’36.

1983— Serves as president of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

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1981— Patsy named assistant director of athletics, following Marion Makepeace.

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1989— With Vassar President Frances Ferguson, Princeton President Harold Shapiro, and Board Chairman Peter Fink ’51 at the Centennial Convocation

1993— Patsy Odden appears in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” for guiding her ice hockey team to its third consecutive New England Championship. Lance receives an honorary doctorate from Piedmont College, along with Senator Sam Nunn. The degree is presented by Harry Walker ’40.


INFLUENCE AND IDEALS

Without discounting the many priceless personalities of Taft, I have never associated any institution more closely with one individual. Nor, would I guess, has one individual ever done so much for a single institution. —Peter Bowden ’91 Vickers and Beechler

1997— Honoring Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Kwok Wu on the eve of the dedication of the new science building

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Lance and Patsy always set the tone in a way that connected Taft to its great traditions, but kept it marching forward into the new millennium. —Gregory J. Seitz ’86 Lance has done so much for our beloved school. The King would be proud of him and so am I. —Nelson Howard ’25 Lance’s quiet battle for an open-hearted, liberal-minded society is a legacy I hope his successor will carry forward. —David J. Piel ’42, P’72 I can say with certainty that I am sitting in the chair I have now thanks to the profound influence Lance had on me as a student and then as an educator. —Jim Mooney ’74 headmaster, Vermont Academy

American history abounds with the unique stories of many remarkable independent school heads. There is another book waiting to be written, however, and it will be called The Oddens of Taft, or something like that. Their tenure has always been highlighted by its being a team effort, and that process helped move coeducation along. —Peter Buttenheim ’60, P’84

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Here’s to a man who could have done or been anything that he wanted, only to choose the noble profession of seeing to it that others could be more than they thought possible. —Donald S. Tuttle III P’98,’00

2001— January: Odden Arena dedicated in honor of Lance and Patsy. A record number of alumni and parents attend, surpassing even previous Alumni Weekend turnouts (see page 30). May: The Taft community honors the Oddens’ four decades of devotion to the school with a black-tie gala planned for May 19 (see page 2).

1999— Five-year Campaign for Taft closes at $133,035,898 on December 31, surpassing the original $75 million goal. The New England Girls’ Prep School Ice Hockey Association votes unanimously to name the N.E. Championship trophy after Patsy, recognizing her unparalleled 25-year coaching career.

1998— Odden named honorary doctor of humane letters from Hamilton College and received Princeton Country Day School’s highest alumni award.

2000— Lance and Patsy announce to the assembled faculty and student body their plan to retire at the end of the school year. John Dayton ’64 heads the trustee committee charged with finding Lance’s successor.

1997— Lady Ivy Kwok Wu Science and Mathematics Center and the Nancy and Ben Belcher Learning Center are added to a renovated library.

Craig Ambrosio

2001— In front of a packed house, the Odden family gathers for the Odden Arena Dedication in January: from left, Mike Brown, Margot, Karen, and Jake ’86, Lance and Patsy, and Laurie ’89.

It is certainly true that the school reflects the headmaster, and Taft has become the finest of its kind. —Samuel F. Pryor III ’46, P’73

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Mr. Odden’s

By Andrew Karas ’01 䉱 Vespers was a tradition Lance believed to be at the heart of our school—a coming together, a time of reflection—and throughout his tenure spoke every week when possible.

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here is a certain comfort in convention, for institutions as well as individuals, especially when the tradition is one of sustained success and strength. This alone might have been reason enough for the Taft community to register a significant response to the announcement that Headmaster Lance Odden will retire from his post on June 30. Taft has, after all, grown accustomed to having a sure hand at its helm.

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INFLUENCE AND IDEALS

䉲 The happy task of awarding diplomas at Commencement

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䉱 Lance reveled in student accomplishments and spent innumerable Wednesday and Saturday afternoons out by the athletic fields rooting for the Big Red.

Over the past 29 years, that hand has steered our school to prosperity and prominence, which we take for granted but which were unattainable for much of Taft’s history. That we are an equal and a rival of the greatest boarding schools in the country, that we rest on a $132 million endowment, that our facilities are new and first-rate, we know. And we recite

that list every time we try to explain what Mr. Odden has done for Taft, and why we revere him for it. And yet, we cannot help but feel that there is more—more than money, more than buildings, numbers, and fundraisers—to account for Mr. Odden’s success as headmaster of Taft. For while the numbers so often quoted—the soaring dollars, the shrinking

It’s been a long day, longer than usual. The fluster of six classes over, I want to talk to someone. About my day, myself, about me, me, me. I want someone’s full attention, even though I have no significant problem. As I pass his office, I see the open door. I wonder if he’s too busy... I wonder if I could pop in for no reason at all... I wonder if he would mind...? I peek in. “Hello, Mr. Odden.” He sets his pen on his desk, leans back, and motions me to the “advisee chair” located nearest to his own. This is the man who runs The Taft School, who is readying for his retirement, whose daily desk work is more crucial than my end-of-year exams, whose schedule for every day of next week is already booked. But he drops everything, his eyes on mine, his chair facing mine, and asks, “How are you, Annie?” I am struck by his genuine interest in me. For 20 precious minutes, he devotes his attention, knowledge, advice, support, and encouragement to me. Amidst all of his influence and power, Mr. Odden is a teacher. Although he has never taught me a class, he is the best teacher I have ever had. —Annie Olson ’01 Mr. Odden has been so much fun to work with this year. Our school monitor meetings with him are influential yet entertaining. He is always concerned with what we see going on in school, and asks how we think any problems should be dealt with. Mr. Odden has led by example, showing us how to be patient and understanding, yet influential and strong in the face of any problem. He is always interested in how we are doing. By having us be involved in everything that goes on at Taft, Mr. Odden has allowed us to see what it takes to run such a successful school. —Ashley Cecchinato ’01

䉲 As master of ceremonies, Lance dedicates the Weaver track last spring with the help of captains Venroy July ’00 and Kim Noel ’00, and of course, Bill Weaver.

Craig Ambrosio

I really enjoy getting to know Mr. Odden. I used to think he was always formal, but now that I’m one of his advisees, I can talk to him in a casual way. I am comfortable talking to him about anything. He always has some piece of advice, like a wise godparent. I am amazed by his smarts and by his knowledge of the world. He knows how to read people, and he takes care of the students at Taft so well. I don’t know what the school will be like without him here. I know that I will miss our meetings, and his Morning Meeting speeches. —Hannah Baker ’03

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䉲 A voracious reader, Lance routinely kept faculty informed and inspired about the latest education research.

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䉱 Lance continued to teach Asian history even after being named headmaster.

acceptance rate—are impressive, they are also cold and impersonal. Instead, Mr. Odden’s greatest contribution to the school can be easily summarized with the simple number “one:” one life, elevated by purpose, sustained by will, and dedicated to service through leadership. This characterization preempts all others; it represents quantifiable accomplishments and recognizes personal

success at once. There can be no greater gift than that of self to community. And that is what we should remember through this year, and what the school must remember into the future. We have benefited not only from an administrator but also from a visionary, whose concern for students—not for donations or reputations—drove him. Finally, Mr. Odden has been respon-

sible for setting the tone of the place, something that we at Taft have come to know as progressive but reflective, focused on the future but rooted in the past. When our school was founded, it was known simply as Mr. Taft’s School. For the last three decades, it might appropriately have been called Mr. Odden’s School. Without the first man, it wouldn’t exist, and without the second,

䉲 A varsity lacrosse and ice hockey coach, Lance took equal pride in the successes of the school’s football team, particularly if they beat Hotchkiss on Fathers’ Day.

䉱 Supporting a strong belief in nurturing student leaders, Lance worked closely with school monitors: here, head mons Kate Schutt ’93 and Andrew Solomon ’92. 30

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INFLUENCE AND IDEALS

䉲 Taking part in the annual Community Service Day

It’s been great to get to know Mrs. Odden both as my advisor and my coach. She has always taken an interest in me on and off the ice. —Christina Jankowski ’02 Mr. Odden is one of the most versatile and well-rounded thinkers I have ever known. He spends so much time broadening his many areas of expertise that he has a supported opinion on nearly everything we talk about. I think his greatest strength has been the genuine interest he has in every area of Taft life. —Christian Jensen ’01

Lance Odden often claimed to have “the best job in the world.” it wouldn’t exist as we know it. We learn in buildings he has built, under policies he has implemented, in a school he has shaped. It is not easy to imagine his absence. Remembering that Taft needs to replace an educator, not a businessman or a bureaucrat, the one thing we must not do is fear, either for the school or for its future. Change is difficult, true. It can

also be beneficial beyond all expectation. We take heart in the fact that the last time the trustees hired a new leader for Taft they chose Mr. Odden. This essay originally appeared in The Taft Papyrus, of which Andrew is co-editor-inchief. The ranking scholar in his class, he received both the Harvard and Brown book awards last spring.

䉲 Always reminding us of Horace Taft’s motto for the school

I was timid about asking Mr. Odden to be my advisor, as I am a freshman and new to the school. He said “yes” in the days before announcing his retirement, and I was thankful I would have the opportunity to spend a year under his guidance. He made me feel Taft was my home away from home, encouraged me when a class proved difficult, and invited me for a round of golf, a sport he knew I loved. Each time I would pass him in the hall, he would speak a kind word or ask about my classes and activities. He made my first months at Taft special and rewarding. I respect Mr. Odden for his character, integrity, and intelligence. I am thankful I had the opportunity to work with him. —Lauren Mielbrecht ’04 Mr. Odden has been my advisor for two years. Some people are a little intimidated by him because he is the headmaster, but when you sit down and talk to him, you realize that he is an average guy. He likes hockey, plays golf religiously, and enjoys what he does. He is one of the most genuine and sincere men I know. When you talk with him he gives you his full attention and the needed support. He has taught me many important lessons about confidence, personality, and leadership. But the greatest thing Mr. Odden has given me is his friendship. On many occasions, he has taken me to go play golf with him. As insignificant as this may seem, it means a great deal to me, as it’s times like this when Mr. Odden becomes more than an advisor, he becomes a friend. —Colin Read ’02

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Reflections

The dedication of the Odden Arena, and the accompanying Alumni Games, turns into a winter homecoming to remember By Richard S. duPont ’60 Photography by Craig Ambrosio 32

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Lynne, Elise, and Peter Maro ’83 with Jol Everett and Jeff Kelly ’85

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s I turned left up the hill from Watertown toward my final destination, I began to recall an image. I was back slogging up the snow-covered path in unfastened boots, up from the gym locker room where we dressed, with skates and sticks over the shoulder, plodding onward—past the Infirmary and the Wade House and the tennis courts—to the Mays Rink for yet another afternoon of valuable self-discovery.

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I moved on down the passageway on the “business side” of the rink and who do you suppose came charging by to greet me at full stride on the pass? It was Lance beaming, “duPs! You made it.” And he was on his way again. I climbed the stairs at the other end to the spectator level to get a name tag and found a warm greeting from Chip Spencer ’56 and Olivia Tuttle. I began to look around for other familiar faces. There was Jerry Mitchell ’60 with son Dave ’92, cheerful and happy to see me. Over here was Larry Stone for a quick hello. Then followed a warm handshake from Drummond Bell ’63, Fred Genung ’63, and Neil Peterson ’54. God, this was great. I headed toward the entrance corridor, stopping by the Rhino, and paused to give Patsy and Lance’s portrait a careful inspection. Portraits tend to make me

Lance Odden and Steve Potter ’73

Each day (and there were many over four long winter terms) there was this sallying forth and later retreat—a time to gather your thoughts and your resolve on the way up and an opportunity to run through instant replays and lessons learned on descent. We did this because that’s the way it was then. But, you know, it wasn’t a negative at all. You climbed the hill; you got the view from the top. This trip to Watertown was, in fact, a pilgrimage for me, as heartfelt as it was

impromptu. What a profound experience it was to attend the rink opening. Pulling into the redesigned parking lot, the outside of the rink looked normal enough. If ever form follows function, here it must do. Inside I was greeted by a bright, functional, and balanced interior—everything you might need or want in a first-rate prep school hockey rink, but nothing of excess— plenty of good ideas and quality without the frills.

Left: Lance and Patsy officially open the Odden Arena. They could have no better lead-in to the ceremony than the girls 3–2 sudden-death victory of Choate minutes before.

Linda and Hem Merriman ’67 with Smithie Merriman P’67,GP’93,’97 Taft Bulletin

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uncomfortable; they so easily miss the mark. But here was a definite exception—a fine statement and a testimony to the rewards of undertaking risk. Next I cruised down the corridor and took in the wonderful mural on its interior wall—a life-sized black and white photocollage of relevant faces, poses, action shots of key players and coaches over the years. Hey! There’s Lance with hair. And I always loved that shot of Len Sargent with hockey stick and whistle. And here’s my cousin Kate Schutt’s radiant

face with classmate A.J. Mleczko ’93 and their epic team. What a terrific record they had at Taft (and after)! I moved on to the foyer, stopping to peer at the various trophies and awards. When you view a compilation of teams over many more years than are spent as a student at Taft, you see things in a more comprehensive and honest perspective. It was comforting to see my name flash by among the others. I rounded the bend and looked down a corridor with shiny new squash

Jol Everett, left, with Lance Odden, Hal Erdman and his three hockey-playing sons: Fred ’71, Carl ’77, and Guy ’68

Peter Maro ’83 makes the save as Kyle Reis ’93 waits for the rebound.

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courts on the left and windows to the exercise room on the right. What a sight! There was a full-blown match in progress portside, complete with abundant spectators, and then a perfect cross-section of the student body wringing out the various contraptions to the starboard. It seemed to me that none were idle. I couldn’t help thinking how much healthier they all seemed in comparison to my memory of our student body. Or was it just my age? I tiptoed past the matches in progress and made my way toward the Mays Rink. I wanted to pay my respects and take one more long drink from that barrel. I wasn’t sure of the exact way in. I made a quick change of direction instinctively, as I sometimes would do when carrying the puck into the enemy zone, there to drop it for Sam “without looking”—then hard to the net. (A good portion of what goals I scored came from Sam’s rebounds.) I made that move and, bingo, there stood Sam Crocker ’60—looking just as he always does and smiling that fetching smile—and his delightful daughter, Wizzie. Without the slightest bit of communication, once again we had, “without looking,” remade our connection with each other and with the old Winter Palace. That moment alone was worth the trip.

Classmates Dave Forster and Bryan Remer ’62 present Lance with his own commemorative photo of the 1962 hockey season— Lance’s first season at Taft.


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Sam and I stayed glued together after that. In fact, it was Sam who called Edith Fenton Tuckerman’s presence to my attention. We stopped to greet her and her husband Roger. Their daughter, Kat ’01, was hard at it in the squash match with Andover. We paused to watch a bit of the boys’ varsity basketball game against Hotchkiss and had dinner and a legal beer together (in fact, we had two) and attended the Dedication Ceremony side by side. I sincerely hope we didn’t bore Wizzie to death. We both got the biggest rush from the girls’ game against Choate. We felt our side had demonstrated superiority, but our two-goal lead disappeared and there we stood 2-2 for the whole third period—and thus did it end in regulation. We wondered if overtime would be allowed in view of the Dedication Ceremony to follow, but, in typical Odden form, there was never a doubt. There would be a five-minute, suddendeath overtime. The pulse went to warp speed with more near misses for Taft than for the Choate girls. And then in the last thirty seconds of play one of our girls made a rush and reached for that extra something that astounds us all. She found it—just. She managed to get around the Choate defense, but, wouldn’t you know, her shot missed the opposite goal post by inches. Our hearts sank. But then our girls made one more Herculean effort. There was a hardfought retrieve and a great pass and, this time, a shot that was not to be denied. What a moment—what a victory! The Taft girls all poured out of their bench and smothered our heroine in a heap of joyous wriggling bodies. My eyes filled with tears of joy. It was great stuff! It was staggering to witness what has been achieved in four decades through the burst in popularity of the sport, through the advances in devoted coaching, and through the pursuit of excellence from an early age. It is crystal clear to me that Sam Crocker’s and my experience

Tammy Shewchuck ’96 burns up the ice in the alumnae game. Tammy went on to play for Katey Stone ’84 at Harvard and then for the Canadian national team.

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Rafe de la Gueronniere ’70 at center ice

Old friends Whitey and Judy Frew P’71,75 and Dutton and Henry Long GP ’04,’04,’04

would be tough to duplicate today. We started our play lowermid year and somehow managed three years of varsity hockey. Forget that idea now. But, on the other hand, just look at what these brilliant young players—boys and girls— have achieved. It’s fantastic! Next came the dedication—all the more moving for the moments just gone

down. The last words out of Lance imparted the message that if our boys were to play with the same heart demonstrated by our girls, then they could expect similar results. Then, BOOM, on with the boys’ team and were they cranked. The pregame stuff was worth the price of admission. They were flying! Pucks Taft Bulletin

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were flying. Everything was flying over the new glass and everywhere. I had scouted out a viewing spot earlier. It was right beside the check-in table overlooking the left corner of the rink. But the crowd came on a little quicker than I thought. I was obliged to “weasel” my way in between a very tolerant man and an unrelated woman on his left. First I put a hand on the railing and then my shoulder was in. Hell, fi-

nally the Full Monty, as it were. It was an ugly piece of work, except my desire was of the purest sort, there really was plenty of room and everyone else was doing it. I just couldn’t resist. To my great surprise, this very nice man to my right looked up and smiled. I liked him instantly. I glanced at his name tag. It read “Dave something” and there was a son, “Chris ’01” I asked him if he had a son playing. He answered,

The oldest alumnus on the ice, Day Brigham ’44 smiles for the crowd in the Odden Arena.

Christian Jensen ’01 presents Lance Odden with a team jersey

Patsy readies her alumnae team as they’re about to take on the varsity squad that beat Choate the night before. 36

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“Yes, he’s the goalie—no. 1.” I had just been watching him. He moved like a leopard. I was dumbfounded to learn Chris Reis had started as a lowermid. With the game underway, the boys wasted no time expressing their intentions. Choate was perfectly able, but Taft was dominant. The first period ended with Taft ahead 2-0 and it could easily have been more, but the second period was not so fine. A few of our Taft lads succumbed to temptations unmentionable, and, BANG, in go two well-deserved goals on two Choate power plays. I can imagine what Mike Maher had to say about discipline and focus and what it would take to win. And while those curative measures were undoubtedly in progress, I took leave of Dave Reis to say hi to Lily Stroud ’03, the daughter of Moose and Boo Stroud and a former classmate of my son, Zack. Then back to the railing. Taft was “born again” great in the third period and virtually unstoppable. It was simply a matter of time before the pucks started dropping into the Choate net. And then it was all over, 5-2 or 6-2, I can’t remember, but it was soothing. Just before the end, Jerry Romano was kind enough to slip an Odden Arena puck in my pocket which I had requested earlier. What a guy! And what a game! What games! What a day! What a trip! I was a young trustee when the board asked Lance to serve as Taft’s new headmaster. So I was more than happy to have been there for the real closing ceremony marking the end of The Odden Years— both Oddens. What a fine passage Taft has undergone. And what a fine bit of stewarding—the sort of leadership one always hopes for but seldom gets. And so the seasons come and go, and passages are made and the really good stuff in life lives on to move on. —Richard S. duPont ’60


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Alumni Squash Team

Alumnae Basketball Team

Front, Andrew Bogardus ’87, Rob McLean ’98, Nick Kyme ’99; standing, Bill Morris ’69, Peter North ’62, Andy Taylor ’72, Peter Frew ’75, Geoff Blum ’73

Front, Evelyn Baratta Lee ’75, Loren Wright ’92, Adriana Blakaj ’00, Justine Landegger ’00; standing, Leila Brazo Spelman ’84, Sarah DePolo ’94, Anna DePolo Schultz ’89, Kristen Kawecki ’98

Alumni Basketball Team

Alumnae Hockey Squad

Front, Chris Persley ’91, Rob Hicks ’92, Ryan Jordan ’95, Jamie Menapace ’95, David Kilborn ’86, Peppie Wagner ’81, Andy Hertzmark ’94, Tommy Daily ’78; standing, Michael Baudinet ’00, Mshangwe Crawford ’00, Roger Bensen ’52, Tom Scozzafava ’88, Paul Graham ’88, Tim Mariano ’87, Jon Willson ’82, Jon Dodd ’92, Pat McCormack ’92, Sean Wright ’84

Front, Sara Coan Carr ’86, Katey Stone ’84, Marian Reiff Cheevers ’74, Elise Brokaw ’81, Amy Upjohn ’79, Emily Smith ’00; standing, Jess Clark ’94, Laurie Odden ’89, Jess Matzkin ’90, Kelvey Richards ’95, Alison Coope ’98, Tammy Shewchuck ’96, Patsy Odden

Alumni Hockey Squad Front, John Long ’88, Chris Watson ’91, Peter Maro ’83, Dave Jenkins ’97, Adam Gorra ’94, Brett Chodorow ’96, Greg Seitz ’86, Ed Travers ’86, Jeff Potter ’80, Jamie Better ’79, Carl Erdman ’77, Fred Erdman ’71, Tom Strumolo ’70, Rafe de la Gueronniere ’70, Whit Knapp ’66; standing, Jim Stone ’83, Jack Kenerson ’82, Jerry DeLeo ’82, Kyle Reis ’93, Mike Stone ’74, Nick Tuozzolo ’87, Matt Gora ’90, Todd Mills ’90, Dave Forster ’62, Garry Rogers ’83, Scott Richardson ’82, Colin Aymond ’88, John Cavanaugh ’86, Jake Odden ’86, Chad Bessette ’74, Steve Potter ’73, Day Brigham ’44, John Collett ’70, Guy Erdman ’68, Rick Preziotti ’82, Larkin Glazebrook ’76, Don Taylor ’76, Drew Stone ’79, Ted Judson ’73, Rocky Shepard ’69, Jol Everett, Mike Maher, Lance Odden

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The Virtues of Horace Taft By Lance R. Odden With the retirement of Barclay Johnson ’53 last June, I have become senior master—the last to have worked for Paul Cruikshank and to have been initiated into Taft by those who worked for Horace Taft, as well as Paul Cruikshank. My mentors were men like Ed Douglas, Jim Logan, Harry Stearns, Joe Cunningham and others who worked for a long time for Horace Taft, and then some of the most significant but younger men such as Bill Sullivan and Len Sargent. The impact of those men was extraordinary, and I will be forever indebted to them, as was a generation of Taft students and faculty. All this moves me to talk about our history and about Horace Taft in greater depth than I ever have before. Although Horace Taft retired in 1936, his influence on the school remains essential. In fact, I am proud to have brought him back as a central icon for our school community, for I deeply believe his values are as apt today as they were 110 year ago. Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of a lawyer, judge, and diplomat, Horace Taft graduated from Yale in 1883, having roomed with Sherman Thacher for several years. Trained in the classics and destined to study law, Taft often mused with Thacher about teaching and starting his own school. However, family directives pushed him into the law to prepare him for politics and service to the nation—the family’s calling. Within a few years, Horace Taft rebelled, leaving the law, 38

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returning to Yale to teach classics, and earning the disdain if not disrespect of his parents, who were sure that he would soon come to his senses and return to a higher calling. After several years on the Yale faculty, Horace Taft did come to his senses, not to return to the law, but instead to start his own school to prepare young men for college, preferably in New Haven. His years at Yale had taught him that a student’s fundamental

character was in place by the time he arrived at college and that it was at the secondary level that the fundamental habits of heart and mind were established. A secondary school would offer a teacher the greatest influence on the next generation.

From our very beginnings in Pelham Manor, New York—where the school resided for three years—through the entirety of Horace Taft’s career, he spoke of educating the whole student. While Mr. Taft believed that pre-

paring the mind was the first responsibility of his school, he insisted that the heart, spirit, and conscience of a student were of equal importance, and that the totality of a person’s character counted most. In this regard, he was thoroughly Emersonian, and was most assuredly influenced by Emerson’s seminal essay on American character. Horace Taft believed deeply in personal honor, a value he emphasized continually in public speeches. He said, “As for me, truthfulness or honor is the foundation. Whatever else a student is, if they tell the truth, there is hope, there is something to build on.” From this value, evolved our honor system, so essential to our school today, and so much at odds with the world at large. “Next to honor, we have counted hard work as the most important element in character training.” Indeed, he believed so deeply in hard work, that he believed it could overcome nearly every obstacle. In his speeches, he praised students with “gumption”—the ability to overcome setbacks with hard work—which was so much more important than theoretical aptitude or natural ability. Mr. Taft derived great pleasure from the remarkable records his students wrote on college entrance examinations. He was always delighted by the great records of leading scholars, but he was proudest of the triumphs of those less able. How delighted Horace Taft would have been with Bill Weaver, the donor


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of our new track, who commented at the dedication ceremony last spring that “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” A comment so Taft-like, that it nearly belongs on the Belcher Library windows. Horace Taft also believed that the individual is responsible for his or her lot in life and that a residential school teaches enduring lessons. In his earliest recorded Vespers notes he wrote, “The first lesson here and everywhere is the lesson of unselfishness. Not to or for yourself. The great advantage of boarding school is that it gives opportunities for a student to get out of himself. He must work for others and learn that he can work with others. He must go into things and make them work. The great value of football and baseball is the unselfishness and self-suppression they enforce. The grandstand player or the one who trains only when the coach’s eye is on him, is not the one to be successful in life.” Or, “School is what you make it.” Horace Taft believed in total commitment to whatever he or his students undertook. Thus, he wrote, “There are two elevating aspects of work at Taft, first to do it well, and second, to do it for others.” Of course, the latter sentiment is rooted in his family’s deep belief in public service, a belief still carried on so many generations later by our own Bob Taft ’59, current governor of Ohio. In one Vespers after another, Horace Taft spoke of the duties of Tafties to contribute to American society, most often speaking of Washington and Lincoln as models of selfsacrificing men, one who gave up his fortune for the country’s good, and the other his life. From these beliefs came our motto—not to be served but to serve—a call to all Taft students and teachers to make a difference in the years ahead.

Horace Taft’s school was designed to assure that the whole student and his learning about every aspect of life would be the responsibility of his faculty. At Taft, masters would live among students, not segregated to the side, in houses connected to dormitories. Faculty meetings were to be about students, who were to be known well in the classroom and

even better on the playing fields, in the dorms, or as young people growing up. George Van Sanford, the great headmaster of Hotchkiss and a fellow Yale classicist, was famous for stopping students in the hall and asking them to conjugate verbs or to cite declensions. Horace Taft conversed with his students about their roommates, their extracurricular activities, and how well they were doing. He cared for the whole person and asked his faculty to do so as well. His was to be a student-centered community, and here his vision is also clear. Connectedness was virtue, and so we would eat, sleep, go to classes, and live together in one ever-connected, serpentine building, always designed so that people would acknowledge each other. While his collegiate Gothic architecture was grand, it was designed at a human scale so that people were connected and not diminished. Last spring, I went back to my alma mater for a meeting and arrived early. I went on a nostalgic walk only to find myself surprised that the students neither acknowledged visitors, nor asked if they could be of assistance, which our students do routinely. The academy’s paths and hallways are grand allowing people to pass without any eye contact, remaining anonymous. Size, scale, and a vision of connectedness shaped our campus and lie behind our traditions of reaching out to each other and to visitors, which we have maintained even as our campus has grown.

Trained in the law, Horace Taft was a man of undeniable principle. An avid opponent of Prohibition, Horace Taft gave one last dinner party the night before Prohibition began and never again took a drink in the United States until Prohibition ended. Perhaps this explains his deep devotion to Murray Bay and his beloved vacations in Canada! From 1890 to 1927, Mr. Taft owned his school and rejected all offers of financial gifts, fearing that they might somehow compromise his independence. When he was persuaded to incorporate as a nonprofit organization and turn governance over to “Old Boy Trustees,” to assure the school’s survival after his death, he contin-

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ued to reject any gift which had strings attached. Thus, when the great philanthropist Harkness approached him about a gift of $5 or 6 million, equal to his benefaction at Exeter, Mr. Taft asked if it meant we would have to incorporate the round table, or Harkness system, of teaching. Harkness said yes, and Mr. Taft said, I appreciate the offer, but I cannot accept, proving him to be a man of impeccable principle—and for our school to have a little less principal than we might have had otherwise.

However, Mr. Taft was never rigid. Two stories come to mind. In 1926, Ben Belcher, a middler from Lakeville, Conn., was caught importing enough bootlegged booze to intoxicate his entire class. Mr. Taft expelled young Ben, but called Mr. Van Sanford at Hotchkiss and asked him to take Ben on as a special day student for classes only, to return home before athletics each afternoon. If Belcher did well, Taft said that he would take him back as an upper middler. Van Sanford agreed and Belcher went to Hotchkiss for six months, meeting Mr. Taft’s requirements. Belcher returned to excel in his upper middle year, and subsequently Mr. Taft appointed him head monitor of the school. He went on to be not only a great head mon, but also a distinguished alumnus and, of course, a great benefactor of Taft. Penalty, contrition, and absolution were Mr. Taft’s values.

Once Taft was asked how he had survived 46 years as headmaster. He immediately replied, “I have never forgotten the little boy inside me.” He could empathize with the students. Imagine this story. One night the east wall clock hands disappeared from the Town Hall down by the old P.O. Drug Store. The town was scandalized. The next night, the south wall clock hands disappeared. Several nights later, the west. Several nights thereafter, the school’s best rock climber returned with the north wall clock hands, crept into bed in the dark certain that he had pulled off a remarkable coup. Imagine his surprise when he found Horace Taft Taft Bulletin

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resting comfortably in his bed and thus, he was caught. The clock hands were returned the next day and for a summer, the student lived at Taft and worked for the town. Horace Taft was a firm but creative and loving man.

Mr. Taft never liked to see anyone hurt. Imagine this: on Saturday nights in the 1920s, dinner was black tie and the school orchestra played. The wife of the athletic director, Jeannie Shons, then in her late twenties, was every boy’s romantic fantasy, and I can believe this because she was in her seventies when I first arrived, and she was still an astonishingly beautiful woman. One Saturday night, a graduate of the previous year returned from Yale for dinner and asked Jeannie to dance. She accepted, and they whirled amongst the tables eliciting admiration from all the boys while Jeannie earned the total disdain of faculty wives, who were shocked and envious. Afterward, when she entered Horace Taft’s living room for coffee, every wife present turned her back. Seeing this, Mr. Taft bellowed, “Jeannie, you look so beautiful tonight, I would have danced with you myself had I been a younger man.” Point made.

Horace Taft was not perfect. He was not a Lincoln Republican when it came to race, for African Americans were not welcome as students in his time. In turn, he did not countenance coeducation as a viable educational principle. However, he did welcome Catholics and Jews when most boarding schools did not. He was slow to recognize the importance of science. He would be dumbfounded to find all that we offer today. He loved music, but had little interest in the visual arts and, in general, creative activities were not part of his curriculum. In each of these areas, his vision paralleled that of his generation. I also believe that he did not imagine how rich, rewarding, and creative learning might be. Of the changes of the past 35 years, our success in Advanced Placement programs, in Independent Studies, and most 40

Spring 2001

recently in Senior Seminars, has shown how remarkably talented and self-reliant Taft students can be. In Horace Taft’s day, there was material to be mastered, and the idea that students might generate their own courses or projects for their own search for meaning or for their own intellectual quest was unthinkable. Again, he was in sync with his era. In one area, however, he was light-years ahead. Horace Taft believed deeply in principles and in pursuing a life of ideals. A Unitarian by upbringing, he loved to debate religious issues. Once following a dinner hosted by Taft, Father Sill, the Episcopal priest who founded Kent, wrote “My Dear Horace, thank you for a wonderful dinner and a great conversation about religion. You should continue to worship in your way and we, of course, will worship in His.” Horace Taft’s way was rooted in the Judeo-Christian world. He carefully chose from the Gospel of Mark our school motto. Chapter 10:42–45, “And Jesus called [the Disciples] to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be the first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Of course, from this paragraph, Horace Taft, chose Non ut sibi ministretur sed ut ministret. Not to be ministered unto but to minister. These words reflect the genius of Jesus’ life. Whether he was a Jewish prophet or the Christian son of God, he had the wisdom to challenge humanity to rise above its innate selfishness and to understand the paradox that it is in helping others that we help ourselves most fundamentally. We find our purpose on earth, our very being, by helping others. This was Mr. Taft’s deepest belief and it is our most important credo today.

I ask you to consider who your heroes are. I suspect they are individuals of conscience who have reached out to help others. I suspect that they are not defined by the money

they have made, but by the lives they have touched. Inevitably, the people we admire are the ones who have served others. In our world of rampant selfishness, of self-actualization through materialism and personal adventure, we need to remember the power of human connections, of caring for each other, and of trying to find new ways to make the world a better place. Several years ago, I asked a group of seniors who their heroes were. They cited rock and movie stars and professional athletes. There were no political figures, no intellectuals, no spiritual leaders. However, they did cite their parents and grandparents, and their teachers, coaches, and advisors. They gave witness to the power we have to help them as they shape their character and seek for meaning in their lives. I believe if we live by Horace Taft’s beliefs, we will challenge students to be better people and to live more generous lives.

In the chaotic world our students live in, the simple Victorian virtues of our school have remarkable power in helping youth define themselves and their way. Recall again Horace Taft’s virtues: personal honor, hard work in every important endeavor, empathy for others, the obligation to be responsible for ourselves, the obligation to go into things and make them work, the understanding that school—and indeed life—is what we make of it, the call to help others and thereby to help ourselves. Once Horace Taft wrote to his fellow headmaster, Sherman Thacher: “Whenever I see a youngster who never thinks about anything but himself, of getting and spending money and making the easiest life possible, it is hard to see what harm I can do in upsetting any creed he claims to have. The greatest problem is how to stir our students’ determination to do the right thing.” Indeed, our calling is to serve our students by stirring their determination to do the right thing, not just here, but always. Lance Odden adapted this column from his opening address to the faculty in September.


The

Lance R. Odden SCHOLARSHIPS

An endowment fund to provide financial aid to Taft students established in honor of Lance R. Odden, headmaster of The Taft School from 1972 to 2001 The board of trustees invites graduates, parents, and friends of the school to join them in honoring Lance Odden through the establishment of a permanent endowment fund to provide financial aid to a select group of talented and motivated students.

The Lance R. Odden Scholarships will bring to Taft a select group of talented and motivated students who show promise of fulfilling Horace Taft’s and Lance Odden’s highest aspirations for young people. Each, as headmaster, saw the education of the whole person as the mission of the School. Each saw a student’s experience at Taft as The Lance R. Odden Scholarships pay tribute to Lance’s crucial to the formation of lasting principles and values. extraordinary leadership of Taft during his twenty-nine Each took great delight in seeing young people build from year tenure as the school’s fourth headmaster. Lance has a foundation acquired at Taft to lead productive lives as been the central figure in the life of the school. He has concerned and committed citizens. put his heart and soul into seeing Taft emerge over the past three decades as one of the nation’s leading indepen- In establishing The Lance R. Odden Scholarships, the dent schools. At the same time, he has had a profound board of trustees believes there is no more fitting way to influence upon the course of education in America as recognize what Lance has given to Taft and to education president of the New England Association of Schools and in America than to create a significant program that bears Colleges and the Connecticut Association of Indepen- his name. Following his personal preference, the program dent Schools, founder of the Taft Education Center, will bring to Taft what he believes in most: students eager and as chairman of A Better Chance and trustee of the to reach for the best in themselves as they develop their National Association of Independent Schools. character, potential, and capacity to lead.

To learn more about The Lance R. Odden Scholarships or to discuss any aspect of a contribution, please contact either Jerry Romano, director of development, at 860-945-7738 or Chip Spencer, director of planned giving, at 860-945-7751. Direct e-mail to RomanoJerry@TaftSchool.org or SpencerC@TaftSchool.org or write to either at 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795.


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Spring 2001 Taft Bulletin