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IN THIS ISSUE Chairs for Athletes Alaska AIDS Ride 110th Commencement Farewell Dinner Alumni Weekend


Bulletin Staff Editor Julie Reiff Director of Development Jerry Romano Alumni Notes Karen Dost Design Good Design Proofreaders Nina Maynard Karen Taylor Photography Craig Ambrosio Michael Benabib Peter Finger Peter Frew ’75 Highpoint Pictures Matthew Hranek Leslie Manning Archives Mario Morgado Tim Myers Gary Parkin Julie Reiff Greg Stevens ’02 Olivia Tuttle Vaughn Winchell 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 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1-860-945-7777 http://www.TaftSchool.org This magazine is printed on recycled paper.

Class of 2000 school monitors Emily Smith, Ribby Goodfellow, Tim Pettit, Arturo Solis, Keely Murphy, (standing) Kim Noel, Price Bell, Krissy Scurry, Jessup Shean, Ryan Byrnes, Nicole Uliasz, Emily Blanchard, Demetrius Walker, and Meredith Morris. Photo by Highpoint Pictures.

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BU L L E T I N SUMMER•2000 Volume 70

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SPOTLIGHT Wheels ............................................................................ 4 John Vanderpoel ’36 designs chairs for athletes

By Wendy Killeen Riding for AIDS Research ............................................... 7 Cancer survivor Stacey Klein ’84 takes part in the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride

By Liz Freeman, Naples News 110th Commencement .................................................. 10 Remarks by Lance R. Odden, John M. McCardell, Jr., Emily Smith ’00, and Venroy July ’00

Ten Ways Not to Retire ................................................. 15 By Henry Pollack II ’40 Dinner is Served ........................................................... 16 A farewell event for retiring faculty members Barclay Johnson ’53 and John and Gail Wynne

Annual Fund ................................................................. 18 Report from Annual Fund Chair Dyllan W. McGee ’89

Alumni Weekend .......................................................... 37

DEPARTMENTS Letters ........................................................................... 19 Alumni News ................................................................ 20 Producing presidents, honoring “Doc,” Boston dinner, from music to management, family ventures, Before They Were Famous, alumni elections, and the Alumni Citation of Merit

Around the Pond .......................................................... 26 New head monitor, musical trips to Europe, science extras, senior seminars, student videos, alumni offspring, new art fellowships, and more

Sport ............................................................................. 33 Endnote by Barclay Johnson ’53 ..................................... 41 On the Cover Front: Reunion 2000. For more photographs of the weekend, turn to page 46. Back: What could be better on a rainy May afternoon than watching your alma mater trounce Hotchkiss? Photos by Peter Finger. 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!

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Visit Taft on the Web to find the latest news, sports schedules, or to locate a classmate’s e-mail address: www.TaftSchool.org or www.TaftSports.com. The password to access alumni or faculty e-mail addresses—or to add your own—is


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Wheels By Wendy Killeen Photograph by Vaughn Winchell

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f you happen to catch a marathon, basketball game or ski event featuring disabled athletes, chances are you’ll see the handiwork of John Vanderpoel ’36. Since 1977, John, a career military man and mechanical engineer, has been a key player in a Somerville, Mass., company that makes specialty wheelchairs for all types of sports from road racing to tennis to archery. “I love the people. They are so grateful for anything we do for them,” John, 82, said of the thousands of physically-challenged people who come to New Hall’s Wheels with dreams of crossing a finish line, scoring a basket, or schussing down a mountain.

John and company co-founder Bob Hall met by chance 25 years ago through a disabled man they knew. When Hall found out John had a machine shop— and was an avid bicycle rider and enthusiast—he asked for help adapting his own wheelchair for marathon racing. “I made a wheelchair on my own, but it wasn’t right and I went to John to correct the problem in a mechanical sense,” said Hall, 48. “He has a vast knowledge of production and engineering and was able to listen and develop what I needed.” 4

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The first thing John did was modify Hall’s 40-pound-plus aluminum wheelchair to make it lighter. He put a canvass band between the two front wheels to support Hall’s feet, and a block between the rear wheels to angle them for improved balance. Then he made a radical change. He reduced the number of front wheels from two to one, for a three-wheeled chair with better steering. When Hall road tested the chair, and began winning races in it, interest followed. “Everybody wanted his chair,” John recalled.

“It became obvious there was a need,” Hall said. “We had an opportunity to develop the chair and create a business, so we forged ahead.” John and Hall worked in a machine shop in the basement of John’s Concord, Mass., home for six years, moving to Somerville as the business expanded. “John taught me the skills of operating machines and tools and I developed as an apprentice. I learned on the job under his tutelage,” said Hall, who is now president of New Hall’s Wheels.


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They developed a chair for disabled basketball players that is similar to an everyday, unfolding chair but much lighter. “You can’t believe how fast the players get around,” said John, a former athlete who was on the wrestling and track teams at Taft and wrestled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Then came the tennis chair, which has three wheels, two in the back and one in front that is placed between the person’s feet, allowing room to swing a racket. The archery chair doesn’t have armrests. New Hall’s Wheels also makes three styles of skis, one designed by John which quickly adjusts in several

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ohn was always willing to accept the challenge and do something new and different…. He brought his resources and knowledge and experience to the end product and the business. We’re known for innovation in design, craftsmanship, quality, and performance.”

directions to help disabled skiers board a chairlift, negotiate a trail, and get up if they fall. John said the company is now working on developing a water ski for disabled athletes. And, it continues to create specialty chairs for people with individual needs as to size or weight. “John was always willing to accept the challenge and do something new and different,” Hall said. “He brought his resources and knowledge and experience to the end product and the business. We’re known for innovation 6

in design, craftsmanship, quality, and performance.” He said a chair he and John made is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And, many of their chairs have been used in the Boston Marathon, for which John has been the wheelchair inspector for ten years. New Hall’s Wheels, with eight employees, produces about 250 wheelchairs a year for people all over the world and is the only company of its kind in New England. John, who’s semiretired, still makes many parts for them in the machine shop at his home, which he shares with his wife of 59 years, Joan, and his son John Jr., 55. His older son Eric, 58,

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a retired Navy captain, graduated from Taft in 1961. The Vanderpoels have four grandchildren. John is modest about his contributions at New Hall’s Wheels. “I’m no artist,” he said. “But I can make the beams strong enough so they don’t break. I decide how much metal has to be in a certain spot. Strength is what I’m concerned with. If a chair falls apart, we’re in trouble.” Growing up in Litchfield, Conn., John was encouraged by his father, an electrical engineer, to become a me-

chanical engineer. “My father said that the only thing that electricity does is run the machinery, so learn to make the machinery,” John said. After graduating from Taft—as did his late brother Eric ’40—John went to MIT, which he affectionately calls “Tech,” earning a degree in mechanical engineering. He became a member of ROTC, which was required by the college, and worked summers at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Pennsylvania. Graduating from MIT in 1940, he went to work full-time for Baldwin for seven months before going into the service. He joined the flying cadets, which later became the Army Air Force, and became a pilot. His military career lasted for 27 years and included service on Guadalcanal in the Pacific, in Japan during the Korean War, and stateside. He was involved with high-level classified projects, and earned commendations from the Army and Air Force. John’s service also included teaching Air Force organization and tactics in the ROTC program at MIT, which he did for four years. And, he worked at the Pentagon in systems acquirement for three years, before his retirement from the military in 1967. While at the Pentagon, John rode a bicycle to work each day to avoid having to park far from the building. He became “very enamored with bicycles and their history.” So after retirement, he began restoring bicycles for museums, companies like Schwinn, and for individuals. “I took off all the rotten nickel plate and buffed them up and re-nickeled them and took the dents out and repainted them and put new tires on,” said John, of the avocation he pursued for nine years. After meeting Hall, he traded bicycles for wheelchairs. And, he said, “I’ve never regretted it at all.” Wendy Killeen is a freelance journalist in West Newbury, Mass. Her article on Laura Biddle appeared in the winter issue.


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Riding for AIDSResearch Cancer survivor Stacey Klein ’84 takes part in the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride, a 510-mile bike ride from Fairbanks to Anchorage By Liz Freeman, Naples News Photography by Tim Myers Taft Bulletin

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Stacey Klein has the gumption to commit to a 510-mile bicycle ride to benefit AIDS research, and what she needs now is the generosity of Southwest Florida residents to help her fund-raising goal. The 33-year-old Naples resident is taking part in the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride, where 1,500 bicyclists from around the United States and six foreign countries will pedal from Fairbanks to Anchorage. The six-day journey, from August 21 to 26, will benefit AIDS research in pursuit of a vaccine against the infectious disease. Each bicyclist must raise a minimum of $3,900 in donations. “My goal is to raise $10,000,” said Klein, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Collier County. She’s doing the ride to help people with HIV/AIDS be as fortunate as she was recently. Two years ago when she was living in Santa Fe, N.M., and working as state prosecutor, Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and came back the healthy and athletic woman she had always been. She realizes advances in cancer research and treatment are what enable her today to ride her bicycle, pursue a pilot’s license, scuba dive, and aim for whatever adventure strikes her fancy next. People with HIV/AIDS equally deserve a fair shake, she said. “I thought of all the people who have supported cancer research,” Klein said. “And cancer is now accepted, but HIV/ AIDS still has that whole stigma and it is affecting the world just as much as cancer. There needs to be more money put into AIDS research.”

Where the money goes Three research centers will benefit from the fund-raiser ride, according to Pallotta TeamWorks, a not-for-profit company in Los Angeles that is producing the event. The research centers are Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York, 8

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Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University in Atlanta, and the UCLA AIDS Institute in Los Angeles. “We think these three organizations represent the most prestigious in the world for vaccine work and they have a history of working together,” said Kenny Taylor, managing director of the Alaska ride.

AIDS affects everyone About 10 years ago, Klein lost a friend to AIDS, but at the time she had not known for certain her friend had had the disease. “People didn’t talk about it,” she said. “Even I didn’t know at the time. Because of that, I went to go see the AIDS quilt. I was living in San Francisco. I was overwhelmed by the size of it. Floor to floor, wall to wall.” When Klein was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, her treatment lasted from February, when she was diagnosed, until August. She lost her hair and her emotions were jangled, but she knew survival chances were in her favor. “With AIDS, there isn’t that survival rate compared to breast cancer,” she said. “I’m challenging myself to do this ride, to prove to myself I can do it, for my friend, and for the people who have not been diagnosed yet.”

Getting ready Klein signed up for the ride last fall, even though she had never done any endurance riding. “We closed registration last November,” Taylor, the ride’s managing director, said. “We sold out the ride in 71 days. That’s incredible.” Bicyclists must be at least 18 years old, and some are in their 70s. “Most of our riders have never done something like this,” said Taylor, who will be participating. “Most are doing it because they want to make a difference. Some are serious bicyclists. It’s not competitive at all. It’s not about that.” Klein seems unfazed by the training she knows is necessary.

Klein rides her 24-speed Cannondale road bike five days a week from her Naples Park home to Fort Myers Beach, most of the time before work. She’s logged about a thousand miles in training so far.

“I do things because I don’t think anybody should be limited on anything,” she said. “I’ve just done stuff.” She’s working on getting her pilot’s license, even though she’s not fond of flying. “Fear kind of reinforces that you’re alive,” Klein said. When gas prices skyrocketed earlier this year, she decided to commute to work by bicycle the 12 miles each way, to save money and to train. The catch is AirportPulling Road, where the legal aid office is


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located, isn’t exactly safe for bicyclists. “That lasted three weeks,” she said. “I started training last week seriously, an endurance program.” Early in the morning, Klein bikes for 90 minutes five days a week for roughly 20 miles. On a recent Sunday, she rode for two hours and 10 minutes, logging in 33 miles. “I was moving,” she said. Soon, she plans to step up the weekend ride to 45 miles. One trouble is that Florida’s flatness is no match to Alaska’s hilly terrain. She’s considering a weekend trip to Mount Dora in Central Florida for uphill conditioning. The elevation in the Alaska ride

will range from 240 feet to 3,000 feet, Taylor said. Each day the bicyclists will log 65 to 95 miles. “It’s challenging but incredibly beautiful,” said Taylor, who has not biked in Alaska before. At night, the bicyclists will sleep in tents, have a catered hot meal, and perks include a massage tent and some entertainment, he said. During the day’s course, there are pit stops for water and energy bars. “You are allocated time to do the ride,” Klein said. “They pick you up if you don’t finish that day.”

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She will be joined by two friends on the Alaska ride, one from Ohio and the other from Los Angeles. Recently she got in touch with Taft biology teacher Sally Dickinson, who is also doing the ride. “We are all celebrating life,” Klein said. “Everybody is riding for a different reason.” To find out more about the ride, check out the Website www.alaskaride.org. To find out more about Stacey Klein’s fundraising efforts, contact her at skilegal@aol.com. Copyright 2000 Naples Daily News. Reprinted with permission.

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Of Family and 10

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“The real responsibility of a moral people is not to soothe the wounds of the afflicted, but to search for the root causes of inequity and to move to eradicate those cancers.�

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Lance Odden leads the procession with Commencement speaker John McCardell, president of Middlebury College.

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ommencement is a time to say goodbye and to recognize that life will never be quite the same again. Your care and knowledge of each other will never again be matched by like circumstances, for the world that you enter will be larger, more fluid, and less rooted than your Taft experience has been. You will form new friendships and love the freedoms of college life, but you will never be so intimately connected with a large group of people as you have been at Taft. One day you will build your own families but those will be far smaller, and still more intimate than your experience here, and so your life will change fundamentally today.

Justice

Opposite page: 1. Aurelian Award winner Jessup Shean 2. Valedictorian Michael Baudinet also received the Bourne Medal in History. 3. Class speaker Venroy July received the Lawrence Hunter Stone Award. 4. Head monitor and 1908 Medal winner Price Bell 5. Pranisa Kovithvathanaphong, Joyce Kwok, and Prom Petklai 6. Hussein Chhatriwala received both the Chemistry Prize and the Maurice Pollack Award. 7. Ribby Goodfellow received the Joseph I. Cunningham Award and the Chinese Prize. 8. Charlie Baker, Ross Koller, and Cameron White 9. Class speaker Emily Smith

110th Commencement Remarks By Lance R. Odden, Headmaster Taft Bulletin

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Justine Landegger ’00 with parents George and Eva Landegger, sister Vanessa ’91 with her new baby, and members of their extended family, some of whom traveled from Europe to attend

Joni and Carlisle Peet ’70 with daughter Hillary, the fourth generation of Peets to graduate from Taft

A word about family. I worry greatly about our modern age—we are too busy pursuing careers and wealth, personal experiences, ever needing to be externally stimulated and entertained. In recent years, people spent too little time together, in quiet pursuits, in the simple rituals of family life. The philosopher, Sam Keene, said that he had the best father ever, because he was always there. In contrast, the average father in today’s world spends five minutes daily with his children. We cannot pass on our love, our beliefs, our joy in living, in sound bites; we cannot sustain the values of our world without being there for our children. Being there for our children does not mean buying things, but spending time in play, in conversation, in approbation, and in saying no, in helping them understand their limits. Everywhere we turn in modern America the crisis of children speaks to a crisis in our society. On the one hand, ours is an opulent society that has the worst record in child life expectancy and in early

ism of our drug policies hardens. And, we invest in police—not in prenatal care, the family, and education. So often, we the privileged take solace in our charitable response to the needs of those less fortunate. However, the real responsibility of a moral people is not to soothe the wounds of the afflicted, but to search for the root causes of inequity and to move to eradicate those cancers. Today, there is no public discourse about the essential issues of our time. There is only silence. If the past decade is to be known for the triumph of capitalism and the new economy, it will also be identified for its failure to move us toward a more just world. Thus, it falls to your generation to do so. There is no easy journey to the love of family, or to the search for justice. Both require personal sacrifice and hard work. However, in the unifying ideas of the world’s great religions, there are essential directives in Confucianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, from the Islamic, Judaic,

childhood education of any postindustrial society in the world. On the other hand, ours is a world where one in five children under five are being prescribed psychotropic drugs to manage the psychological challenges they theoretically have. We must confront this malaise, and yours must be the generation to do so. Let me be clear that my concern for family circumstances and personal morality is not an echo of the religious right’s belief that such focus will take care of society’s ills. Indeed, I believe that the companion to our family crisis is our preoccupation with ourselves at the expense of public discourse about matters of public policy, of justice for all in our society. In this presidential election year, we debate how to carve up the surplus to benefit all of us, but both parties—pandering to our apparent selfishness—fail to challenge Americans to search for what is right for the future of all. As a result, the infrastructure of our cities decays, our educational system disintegrates, the rac-

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John and Bonnie McCardell with sons John ’00 and James

and Christian worlds. We are urged by all to put aside our preoccupation with self and to find happiness by denying worldly goods and helping others. In all religions it is noted that we should treat others as we would be treated were our roles reversed. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you— the essence of justice. In life you have a choice. Will you live in an acquisitive world serving only yourself? Or, will you seek to make the world a better place by serving others? Everyday, you will be called upon to make decisions that will lead you in one direction or another. The challenge is clear, and I believe that you are uniquely prepared, precisely because of the motto of this school and our ultimate calling. Non ut sibi ministretur sed ut ministret. Not to be served, but to serve. If you carry those words with you in your heart, you will choose well, and when the final record is written, you will have contributed to making the world a better place.

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Parents Fund Chairmen John and Joan Goodwin with son Andrew

John M. McCardell, Jr. Guest speaker John McCardell has been a member of the history faculty of Middlebury College since 1976, and in 1992 the college called John to become its 15th president. In the intervening years, he elevated the college to unprecedented heights, with a farsighted vision. He is also the proud father of 2000 graduate, John M. McCardell III. John took his theme from The Education of Henry Adams, looking back at the Paris Exposition of 1900. “He implies that the quaint 18th century notion of a natural and harmonious balance between pure knowledge and moral force will have no meaning in the 20th. ‘The power embodied in a railway train could never be embodied in art,’ Adams writes. ‘All the steam in the world could not, like the Virgin [Mary] build [the cathedral at] Chartres.’ “The world of 1900, then, is a world splitting apart, and The Education of Henry Adams is a search for order in a new, tech-

nological culture of multiplicity, complexity, and contradiction, where explanations and verities are neither fixed nor eternal. It is, even more, a desperate search for something to believe in, and for some transcendent moral purpose that might give society shape and direction. At the dawn of a century whose chief scientific discovery is to be the theory of relativity and whose chief moral legacy is to be, perhaps as a result, a theory of moral relativism, Henry Adams is reduced to bowing down before the graven image of the machine. “And if technology seemed inevitable and permanently ascendant in 1900, how much more so does that appear to be the case a century later? And are we any less inclined to worship at technology’s altar? Reality has become increasingly virtual— and increasingly able to be manipulated and monitored without our knowing it. A recent report of the Carnegie Foundation notes that ‘the volume of new information is increasing at such a rapid pace that the Class of 2000 will be exposed to more new

Commencement 2000 Taft Bulletin

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Frank and Christine Wisner, with son David and Lance Odden

data in one year than its grandparents encountered in a lifetime.’ The Human Genome Project is soon to place on a genetic map the most fundamental elements of human life and remove the veil of mystery from creation and being. We may soon have within our mortal powers the ability to alter (and, yes, to regulate) the very essence of human existence. “St. Francis reminds us that every human soul has value and that every human being—but especially the educated human being—has a special obligation. And that obligation is to balance knowledge and…something else. Call it character, perhaps, or duty, or virtue, or moral compass, or civic responsibility. Call it, if you will, faith. Above all call it selfless and call it timeless. Glimpse it always in the distance, ever on the horizon. Follow its gleam. Make it yours. Make it you.”

Emily Smith ’00 Class speaker Emily Smith likened Taft to a casino in her remarks, while pro-

fessing no personal experience with the latter. “We wouldn’t be where we are had we not taken risks,” she told her classmates and their guests. “We learned early on that only big risks yield generous rewards. Over four years, we’ve dealt with the bad hands and worked intelligently with the good, understanding that everyone has their fair share of both.” Finally, the difference between the two establishments, she explains, “at Taft, you can’t lose.”

Venroy July ’00 Class speaker Venroy July complimented his peers on how far they’ve come since freshman year. “There’s no doubt we have matured since those days, when we congratulated each other on who had the most conduct grades. I’m not sure what brought about this change, but by some mysterious means we seemed to learn that maybe, just maybe, we’d have to face the consequences of our actions. Whether it was our personal desire to succeed or the

Jon Bennett and his great-aunt Evelyn McGaughey

threats from our parents after receiving letters home, those immature kids who entered Taft four years ago matured into adults. You definitely learn when you have to buck up and when you have to change. “Now, I’m skeptical about using the word adult, which for people our age can be a code word for boring. We need to think about this for a second, How can this be when we look at examples like Mr. Johnson and Mr. Wynne who, at times, act younger than we do. If you come to the track and see Mr. Johnson hurdling or Mr. Wynne beating up on somebody in the wrestling room, you’d see what I mean. “But think about yourself four years ago and think about yourself now. Think about how much we have grown. As we have matured together, we’ve developed a definite bond, but in doing so we’ve had fun. Class of 2000, look around, at each other. Now think for a second. Don’t we look great? We just make this look fantastic!” Photography by Highpoint Pictures

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Ten Ways Not to Retire —Without Even Trying By Henry Pollack II ’40 1. Be sure to work for a cousin, some other relative, or your best friend so that your summer vacation and trips overseas will never be interrupted. 2. Have a desk at your office which is a lot more important than you are, but be sure to keep active in some specialized phase of the work (mine is making the company’s brewed decaf ). 3. Arrange to work in a stress-free vocation (i.e., teaching Mexican children to speak Spanish, or selling IPOs ending in .com). 4. On the other hand, if you are one of those people who require a maximum amount of stress in your life, play duplicate bridge as well. 5. Allot a certain amount of time each day to play and recreation. If there is not a casino near at hand, you can at least turn on the television to a sports event. 6. Keep up with your friends. A social life is important. A friend is someone who does not a) tell you how much better you look than the last time he saw you; b) call you Bill when your name is Jerry; c) send you all the jokes he’s getting on e-mail. 7. Exercise your mind. Try to remember the name of that company which gave you that special memory course last year. 8. In order not to retire, there is a broad consensus among specialists that it is necessary to survive until retirement age. To that end: a) Be lucky. Don’t get born before carefully checking your health genes. Otherwise, get to know a scientist working on the Human Genome Project. b) Live the good life. Exercise by lifting enormous amounts of healthy foods into your mouth at high speed to ensure that you burn 400 calories per meal. 9. Keep your dog. Dogs are not only great friends, but also helpful in keeping your blood pressure down, and they force you to do aerobic walking while they piddle. If your boss won’t let you bring your dog to work, this is not the kind of company you wish to be associated with. 10. Per your doctor’s instructions, be sure to drink about two ounces of liquor a day. However, if on some occasion you get carried away and become plastered, be sure to use a healthful red wine, which explains why the French outlive the Russians, who drink vodka. Alumni are invited to submit humorous or lighthearted essays on any topic for this column. All should be structured in a list of ten items and contain no more than 750 words. Writers will receive $50 if their essays are published in the Taft Bulletin. We regret that manuscripts cannot be returned, so please do not send originals. Taft Bulletin

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A Celebration for Barclay Johnson ’53 and John & Gail Wynne

Barclay Johnson ’53 and Terry Feldman

Jon Albert ’79, Penny Hudnut P’82, ’84, ’90, Slade Mead ’80, Gail Wynne, and George Utley ’74

Beverly and John Watling ’53, Archie van Beuren ’75, and Paul Klingenstein ’74 16

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Reuben Cox, John Wynne, and George ’65 and Mimi Boggs


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arents and alumni gathered in great numbers in early May to wish farewell to retiring faculty members Barclay Johnson ’53 and John and Gail Wynne. Their combined years of service to the school, guiding students and young colleagues alike, total over a century of dedication.

Ted Greene and Greg Oneglia ’65

Laura and Gary Sklaver ’68 with daughter Anna

Jeff Boak ’70, Fred Small ’70, and Katharine Esty

Mike Brenner ’53, and Alex ’53 and Pat Platt

Harry Hyde ’52, Jerry Romano, and Fred Parkin P’00, ’03

John Wynne, center, with Jim and Mary Beth McCormack P’00, ’02

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1999–2000 Annual Fund Report This has been a great year for the Annual Fund. In total, we have raised $2.6 million for the school, $200,000 higher than our goal. I am deeply grateful to all the alumni/ae, current parents, former parents, grandparents, and friends for their generosity and loyalty to The Taft School.

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The Alumni portion of the Annual Fund stands at $1,397,703, with alumni participation at a very healthy 44 percent. Congratulations and thanks go to the 50th Reunion Class of 1950, led by Class Agents Jay Greer and Chick Treadway,

Class Agent and Donor Reception On Monday, September 25, John L. Vogelstein, Jr. ’52, chairman of the Board of Trustees, will host a reception at the New York Yacht Club in New York City honoring all class agents and assistant agents for their great work in helping the 1999–2000 Annual Fund raise $2.6 million for Taft. John also extends the invitation to all donors from the Classes of 1921 through 1985 who made gifts of $1,000 or more to the 1999– 2000 Annual Fund and to donors from the Classes of 1986 through 2000 who made gifts of $500 or more to recognize them for their generous support. Olivia Tuttle, Annual Fund director, is coordinating the reception and may be reached at 800-959-8238. 18

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which raised $783,863 for the school. The Class of 1960, which celebrated its 40th Reunion, won both the Snyder Award for the most amount of money given by a reunion class and the Chairman of the Board Award for highest participation—for the fourth year in a row—with 81 percent participation. I would like to commend George Hampton, the class agent for 1960, for his dedicated service to his class and the school. He has won the Chairman of the Board Award for the fifth consecutive year! Well done! I would also like to congratulate Woolly Bermingham and Ross Legler, class agents for 1943, for reaching an astounding 100 percent participation. Special recognition should also go to the Class of 1990. Led by Class Agent Roger Lee, the class and three anonymous donors raised $100,000 for the John Alexander Memorial Scholarship Fund.

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Joan and John Goodwin P’00 have led the Parents’ Fund to yet another impressive level by raising $1 million with 94 percent participation from current parents. This extraordinary level of giving is proof of the strong endorsement the parents give to Headmaster Lance Odden and the faculty. I would like to thank Joan and John, who are handing over the reins to Carol and Will Browne, parents of Alex ’98 and David ’01.

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Special recognition should go to both the past parents and the grandparents here at Taft. I’d like to thank Pam and Gib Harris P’88, ’95, ’96, for their work with former parents, and Del Ladd ’44, GP’99, ’01 for his involvement with the grandparents. For the sixth consecutive

Annual Fund Chair Dyllan McGee ’89 presents Sam Crocker ’60 with the Snyder Award for the most amount of money given by a reunion class and the Chairman of the Board Award for highest participation. The Class of ’60 also donated new football bleachers in memory of their legendary coach, the late Bob Poole ’50—a gesture that deeply moved Bob’s classmates.

year, these two groups have raised well over $200,000 for the Annual Fund. Well done!

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My first year as Annual Fund chair has been a delight. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and dedication of our alumni body. I am already looking forward to next year as we explore new ways to integrate the Annual Fund with the World Wide Web—so hold on to your hats because we’re entering the 21st century full steam ahead! Sincerely,

Dyllan W. McGee ’89 Annual Fund Chair


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Letters to the Editor Taft and the AP Your article sparked memory! Advanced Placement exams started because school graduates were complaining that their freshman college courses were repetitious (of their senior year in school). These complaints I first heard when I was teaching at Andover in the late ’30s and early ’40s. After the war I taught at Yale, and I recall Walter Gierasch’s coming to see me; he was on the Andover English faculty. As I think back, AP was operational but not accepted everywhere. The two goals were placement AND credit. Harvard went along with this, but Yale was dragging its feet.... Could I help? What Harvard and Yale did would affect the decisions of other institutions. The stance of Brad Welles, professor of ancient history and a very good friend, was typical: placement okay, but no credit. At that time one requirement for the B.A. was a year of Latin, Greek, or Classical Civilization. It was Classy Civ. that kept the department alive! Jump ahead to the late ’50s: Latin AP’s continuance depended on the number of students standing the examination! Alston Chase, Andover’s classics chair and my close friend, and I were determined. What he did, I don’t recall, but I required(!) my eleven senior Latin students to take the examination. (The fee in those days was maybe $5.00.) As I recall (the accuracy of this is what you might call my privilege!), my two an-

chor men (bare 60s for the year) received threes (on a five-point scale)! The end of the story is that there was a meeting of teachers, whose students had taken the examination, later in the summer at Hotchkiss. I learned humility from one of the teachers—an older lady who taught in a public school somewhere who said that in order to give the Vergil course, she held class Saturday mornings...in her home. Her principal didn’t think a fourth year of Latin was of any value. I have never forgotten that; independent school teachers do have a privileged workplace! —Robert Woolsey Classics, Bulletin editor 1952–63

Hats Off There is something universal about the “Ten Things to Be Ready for When Returning for Alumni Day”—so universal that I want to print the list for the Vermont Academy alums. Bonnie hit the nail on the head in so many ways. We however, cannot print her, first, because at least as of now, we don’t have the styrofoam hats. Continued praises for your fine work with the magazine—it serves as a model for us all. —Jim Mooney ’74 Headmaster, Vermont Academy

Inspired to Return Your Spring 2000 edition of the Bulletin is the best ever! The color photography is outstanding and your articles well written and illustrated. The overall quality and content exceeds the many other alumni magazines that come to our home. Because of a year abroad before college, my Taft reunions have always coincided with my Yale ones (Class of ’42), and I’ve never attended an alumni weekend at Taft. But after looking over this issue of the Bulletin with me, my wife has determined that we SHALL attend in 2002! —John M. Packard ’37

We’re pleased to announce that the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education has awarded the Taft Bulletin a bronze medal in its Circle of Excellence program in the category of Independent School Magazines.

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 Taft Bulletin

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ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Alumni IN THE NEWS

Producing Presidents

In all, the project took five years to put together.” “One of the most interesting things that emerges,” said co-producer Philip Kunhardt III, “is that personal flaws are not necessarily a barrier to greatness, and rigorous personal virtue does not necessarily protect against failure.” The program interviewed all living presidents, except Ronald Reagan, and divided the 41 subjects thematically into ten parts: Family Ties, Happenstance, An Independent Cast of Mind, The Professional Politician, The American Way, The World Stage, The Heroic Posture, Compromise Choices, ExDyllan McGee ’89 attends a dinner at the White House with President Clinton to celebrate the debut of panding Powers, and The the PBS documentary, The American President. Balance of Power. Horace Taft’s brother is profiled Dyllan McGee ’89 has been working for (stills and film for all 41 presidents), the last few years on the documentary shoots (conducted both at the White in the final episode, with General The American President, which aired on House and at all of the presidents’ Colin Powell providing the voice of PBS in April. The five-night series in- homes), editing, postproduction, and William Howard. For more information, cluded famous politicians, actors, and publicity. “On top of coordinating,” she visit the accompanying Website— even Don Imus, reading the words of the said, “I also directed our narrator, Hugh www.americanpresident.org—which has individual presidents. Sidey, at all of his recording sessions. For been called the most ambitious educaAs a coordinating producer, Dyllan a 10-hour documentary, we recorded 79 tion site ever mounted in support of a oversaw all phases of production: research hours of narration over about three years. television series. 20 S u m m e r 2 0 0 0


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

“Howe” Honored He Is Colleagues and friends gathered to pay tribute to “Doc” Howe ’36 for his career of service to education. The former U.S. commissioner of education and senior lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education was honored during a luncheon held near his home in Hanover, NH, last January. Doc’s first major task as commissioner of education under President Lyndon B. Johnson was to implement the newly-passed ESEA, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965). “I had the job of setting up a system for doing something nobody had ever done before,” establishing an unprecedented federal role in schools, Education Week reported. He was responsible for making sure that federal money was distributed to the then nearly 27,000 U.S. school districts, “many of whose addresses we didn’t even know.” Passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 had made the task all the more challenging, because it prohibited federal funds from going to schools that discriminated on the basis of race. “In effect, we took on the job of desegregating the

Southern schools so that we could give them Title I money,” he said. Doc’s testimony to the House Rules Committee in 1967 was considered “crucial to desegregation in the future,” said Jerome Murphy, then a lobbyist for the then U.S. Office of Education and currently dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Reflecting on his work in the 1960s to step up the federal role in education, Doc said it should come as little surprise that hopes that the ESEA would transform education fell short. “We’re ready for a rethinking of the federal role,” he said. “It ought to have an enlargement and also a hands-off element, which is not now there, and is going to be hard to put there.” While at Harvard in 1988, Doc headed the commission that produced the frequently cited report, “The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America’s Youth and Families.” A graduate of Yale University, Doc later received his master’s degree in history from Columbia. Although he never received his doctorate, he said he’s had the nickname “Doc” since childhood.

Doc Howe ’36 and Jerome Murphy, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Photo by Mario Morgado Source: Erik W. Robelen, Education Week

Family Ventures Peter Sallick ’83 didn’t plan on joining the family business. “I came back because I saw that there was a market,” he told House & Garden magazine this spring. “It had nothing to do with family.” A graduate of Harvard Business School, Peter joined Waterworks, his parents’ 22-year-old Connecticut-based company that sold bathroom fixtures, in 1993. As president and CEO, he has nurtured the company from four modest outlets to 28 upscale one-stop bath boutiques—with six more in the works. Tapping into a generation of label-conscious consumers, Peter and his mother, Barbara, developed a private label line of bathroom goods, covering everything from soap and towels, to faucets, tiles, light fixtures, and even the bathroom sink. “We think of ourselves as a fashion brand,” he said. But don’t expect to see Waterworks opening in your local mall. “We love the sense of independence and community that we get from being in a neighborhood,” Peter said, “and hanging out our shingle on the street.” Peter Sallick ’83 and his mother, Barbara, work together at the family business. Photo by Matthew Hranek Source: Lygeia Grace, House & Garden

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ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

From Music to Management It’s not the typical success story you might expect to read about in Forbes magazine. Andrew Solomon ’92, described by the august business journal as “talented and boyishly handsome,” gave up his job at Salomon Smith Barney to spend more than a year pursuing full-time his dream of becoming a professional musician. What was unique about Andrew’s approach is that he took advantage of the fledgling promotion tool, the Internet. “The Internet made the idea seem less flaky,” he told Forbes. Playing New York City clubs by night and courting radio stations, record labels, and Websites by day, Andrew was able to sell a few thousand of his self-pressed CD but still hoped for a shot at the big time. What caught the interest of Forbes were the golden promises of the music Websites, like MPS.com, that dangle fame in front of wanna-be musicians: “Get fans! Sell more CDs! Get famous!”

Andrew’s effort was not entirely without success. He was voted the most popular new artist by Billboard magazine’s Website, and later received a nice mention in Billboard magazine— the music industry mainstay. He’s had meetings with Arista, Columbia, Maverick, and Sire Records, along with other labels. The Web just isn’t enough, Andrew explains. Without the record labels, being a full-time musician isn’t “economically feasible.” It’s impossible to get the kind of marketing they can provide, he says. Andrew says he doesn’t regret his “leap of faith”—also the title of a catchy single from his CD. He still hopes to sign a recording contract sometime, but in the meantime, he has found a new way to use the Web—for a job. Andrew moved to San Francisco earlier this year to become the director of business development for emusic.com Source: Amy Doan, Forbes

Andrew Solomon ’92 painted his Web address on the back of his keyboard when he played the NYC club scene. Photo by Michael Benabib 22

Summer 2000

New Alumni Trustee John Moon ’85

Alumni Trustee John Moon ’85 was this year’s pick in the annual election of alumni trustee, as announced at the Alumni Day luncheon in May. A cum laude graduate from Taft, he received his AB in economics at Harvard magna cum laude in three years. John took a position with Alex, Brown & Sons, Inc., at its headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland, before returning to Harvard for graduate school. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in business economics in 1994, John joined the investment banking division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York City. In 1998, John left Goldman to join the private equity business of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. Aside from his professional activities, John is involved with Learning Leaders in New York City, volunteering as a tutor in a local public school. Prior to that, he was active with Operation Exodus Inner City, a tutoring and mentoring program for children from the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York. John is also a member of the Associates Committee for the Harvard Graduate School Fund and has served as a member of the special gifts committee for his college class. John currently lives in New York City with his wife, Hee-Jung, and two children. Other members of the school’s board of trustees chosen by alumni ballot are Ken Pettis ’74, Jon Albert ’79, Don Taylor ’76, and Firkins Reed ’78. Each serves a four-year term.


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Alumni Citation of Merit H. Wick Chambers, Jr. ’27 was this year’s alumni honoree, recognized for “a life filled with extraordinary achievement and exemplary concern for and commitment to the welfare of others.” Wick’s service to his country in two wars brought him the Bronze Star. Service to his community and its institutions brought him stellar regard and affection, said Lance Odden. “Always you made time to go the extra distance in helping others. For 41 years you served families and their needs as dean of the New Haven banking community,” Lance praised. “Always you lived up to the highest aspiration Horace Taft held for his graduates: that they would ‘go into things and make them work.’ How proud your headmaster would be today to join in honoring you for your service to others.” Wick has served as treasurer of Trinity Church, president and director of Farnam Neighborhood House, chairman of the Connecticut Institute for the Blind, and trustee of the Foote School, Hamden Hall Country Day School, and Yale-New Haven Hospital. He served as a Taft trustee from 1965 to 1975 “with incomparably sound and steady judgment.” In an era of change and innovation, his voice stood strong and clear on the side of principle, setting the standard

Citation of Merit recipient Wick Chambers ’27 with his family: son Wick ’66, with wife Susan and sons Jonathan and Timothy; and daughter Lori Chambers

for what it meant to be a trustee of our school, Lance said. “Beginning in 1893, when my father entered The Taft School,” wrote Wick Chambers, “Taft, as it has done for so many people, so faithfully, over such a long time, has contributed to my life in the most wonderful and lasting ways. It has done that by adhering to Mr. Taft’s mission of educating the whole person toward the goal that we, who are so privileged, might be of service to others.” His remarks were read by his son, Wick ’66.

Honored for Kosovo Coverage Steven Erlanger ’70, New York Times bureau chief for Central Europe and the Balkans, was awarded the Peter Weitz prize of the German Marshall Fund for his coverage of Serbia and Kosovo in 1999. The German Marshall Fund, created in 1972 by a gift from the German people as a permanent memorial to postwar Marshall Plan aid, aims to deepen understanding, promote collaboration and, stimulate exchanges of practical experience between Americans and Europeans. Steven lives in Prague with his wife, Elisabeth. Source: Waterbury Republican American

“As I look back over my 92 years and think of the wars, the depression, the cultural and social upheavals, and now all the technological change, I marvel at the school’s fidelity to its original mission and at the excellence with which it carries that mission out. If I was of some service along the way, I am very glad.”

For Classes of 1952–1990 For a biography of John B. Small, I am seeking factual information, stories, even apocryphal tales of Mr. Small’s career at Taft. I especially need to hear from anyone having contact with Mr. Small between his retirement in 1987 and his death in 1991. No detail is too small; credit will be given. Michael Dawson ’64 420 W. Baseline, Suite C Claremont, CA 91711-1621 revdawson@aol.com 909-624-1762 ext. 5 Taft Bulletin

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ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Our Man on Education Teacher Shortage: False Alarm? a documentary by John Merrow ’59, has won first prize for investigative reporting from The Education Writers Association. John also received the James L. Fisher Award for distinguished service to education, from CASE [Council for the Advancement and

Support of Education] at their annual assembly in Toronto. Previous winners include The New York Times, Father Theodore Hesburgh, Fred Friendly, and the United Negro College Fund. John is the host and executive producer of The Merrow Report, a program on public television.

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Before They Were Famous You may know the names of these alumni in the spotlight, but can you identify them from these photographs from their pre-glory days? Turn to page 57 for the answers. 24

Summer 2000


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

The Boston Reception On April 18, Patsy and Lance Odden joined 130 alumni, parents, and friends at the Downtown Harvard Club for a cocktail reception. Overlooking the city from the 38th floor, the group listened to the headmaster as he gave them a quick update on the state of the school. The party was so enjoyable, it will have to become an annual affair!

The Class of ’95 has a mini-reunion: back row, Tony Pasquariello and Nick Parks. Front row, Eugenia Leath, Jo-Ellen Viola, Amanda DiMauro, and Wendy Soutsos.

Elaine and Harry Dickson ’38, Joan and John Vanderpoel ’36, P’61, Peg and Frank Killorin ’36

Alice and Dan Comiskey P’80, ’84, Courtney Brady P’83, and Tanny Reiff P’71, ’74, ’80

Derek and Amy Ostrander Twombly ’89

Andres Estrada ’85 and Sarah Curi ’86

Jennifer and Jeff Potter ’80

Paul Coppola ’98, Jeff D’Amelia ’97, Kris Bagdasarian ’97, and Dan Chak ’99

1999 Classmates Sonia Cheng, Winnie So, Zach Heineman, and Adair Ilyinsky

George Reichenbach ’47, Mary Anne and Dave Powers ’45

Christian Kearney, Heide Anthony, Cammy Graham, and Jennifer Burns, all members of the Class of ’93

Suzanne Hogan P’00 and Buddy and Nanette Lewis P’00

Bob Mongeau and Dave Vietz, both Class of ’55 Taft Bulletin

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pond Head Monitor Empowered by New Role

Dave Hinman ’87 is the new athletic director, succeeding John Wynne, who retired in June.

Steve McKibben received a Klingenstein Fellowship for his sabbatical year. As one of only 15 fellows in their program for independent school teachers, Steve will take courses at Columbia and participate in an extensive seminar on educational practices.

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Tarik Asmerom’s little brother didn’t believe her when she told her family she had been elected head monitor, the top position in student government at Taft. In fact, she was a little stunned herself when she heard. “When I came out of Laube during a break in my AP US History exam, a friend said, ‘You made it,’ and I thought, ‘Made what?’” Tarik admits it was a little hard to focus during the next section of the exam. “I was shaking,” she said. “One essay probably suffered from the excitement, but I think the rest will be okay.” A leader of United Cultures at Taft (UCT), a member of NAALSA, an editor for the International Forum, a contributor to the Papyrus, and former class committee chair, Tarik clearly brings leadership experience to her new post. Only the fourth girl ever elected head monitor and the second student of color—

she is the first to be both. “I think her winning has lightened some of the cynicism that one has to be white or male to succeed here,” said Lenny Tucker ’92. “That’s a good thing for Taft.” Tarik, a four-year senior from Houston, Texas, found out about Taft through A Better Chance, but prior to her arrival in the fall of 1997, she had never known anyone who’d gone to boarding school. Tarik hopes to pick up where this year’s school monitors left off. “There’s some work that still has to be done,” she said, ideas they had that she hopes to implement, such as spending more time with lower schoolers, explaining how the school works and why things like the honor code are so important. “I’m excited to have so many responsibilities but kind of nervous about the speeches I’ll have to give. Now that I’ve been made head monitor,” she said, “I feel like I can do anything.”


Eric Norman ’81 has been appointed business manager, following the departure of Rick Wood ’72.

Bill Weaver demonstrates a new way to cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Weaver Track this spring, ably assisted by track captain Venroy July ’00 and Headmaster Lance Odden. Photo by Craig Ambrosio

Weaver Track Dedicated Varsity track athletes enjoyed a cold but exciting season on the new all-weather Weaver Track, which certainly lived up to its billing in the snow and heavy rains in April and May. According to Coach Steve Palmer, “The extra thickness of the running surface makes it perfect for training purposes, yet nothing is sacrificed in terms of speed. In fact, running times have been very fast, notably faster than previous seasons. Also, the layout of the track is intelligent for big meets, as individual events can be easily located and viewed due to the positioning of the areas and their bold coloring.” Donated by William M. Weaver, Jr., of Easton, Conn., the track was formally dedicated on May 10. Bill, a former Exeter and Princeton runner, said that with the new facilities he hopes to see Taft alums competing in the 2008 Olympic track events. Bill and his daughter, Wendy Weaver Chaix ’79, attended the ceremony.

Departing Faculty Andrew Bisselle, Fran Bisselle, Sally Dickinson, Mark Gwinn, Volker Krasemann, Steven Laufer, Jane Lee, Yong Li, Elson Liu, Rebecca Loud, Sherrie McKenna, Nadia MettinaBelknap, Alex Nagy, Paul Nanian , Maria Jose Panadero, Andy Parker, Sara Rumbao-Real, Amy Spencer, Lindsay Stanley ’93, Mark Traina, Carolyn White, Rick Wood ’72, and Jennifer Glenn Wuerker ’83

Retiring: Barclay Johnson ’53 and John and Gail Wynne

The New England Girls’ Prep School Ice Hockey Association voted unanimously to name the New England Championship trophy after Patricia K. Odden, recognizing her unparalleled 25-year coaching career. Patsy closed out her tenure on the ice with a 79 percent winning record, five Founders’ League Championships, and an unprecedented three consecutive New England Championships.

John Wynne received the Nadol Award, given to that individual who has done most for athletics in the Founders’ League, as voted by its athletic directors and headmasters. John, who retired this spring, served as athletic director since 1995. His wrestling teams amassed 312 wins, 113 losses, and 9 ties over 35 years.

Other Honors Matt Blanton was selected for the five-week Klingenstein summer program. David Hostage has been asked to stay for an extra (fourth) year on the test development committee for Advanced Placement Chemistry.

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Operating Room is Classroom for Taft Students Four times a year “class dress” is scrubs for Taft’s AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology students who head to St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury to observe live operations at a close range. Over the past four years that Dr. Jerry Sugar, a Waterbury otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat surgeon), has been taking students on surgical rounds, they have seen a wide range of procedures including open abdominal surgery, open brain surgery, tonsillectomy, tumor and thyroid removals, gallbladder removal, and tubal ligations. Students, in groups of three, are provided the opportunity to enhance the learning they have done of the human body in their course work and learn about the operations of a hospital surgical unit. According to biology teacher Laura Erickson, also head of the Science Department, “They usually return absolutely amazed at the significance of the whole experience.” Students themselves admit that the handson learning is phenomenal. Senior Kat Liu said, “It was an incredible experience, to be able to witness what we had learned in the classroom in the outside world. I gained immense respect for doctors such as Dr. Sugar with such compassion, brilliance, and dedication to their work and realized that medicine indeed is a path I might pursue in the near future.” Yumi Aikawa ’00 of Japan agrees: “As a student who wants to practice medicine in the future, it was a great opportunity to actually experience the atmosphere of the OR first hand. All the doctors were kind to us, and especially Dr. Sugar who let us see various kinds of operation and biotechnology labs to make our visit as interesting as possible. It was just so great to be able to wear scrubs, stand in the OR with other doctors and nurses, and hear what they say and see and do.” Source: Taft Press Club

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Science Extras Competition in the sciences was as diverse this spring as in any athletic season. First, students competed in the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS). Hats off to seniors David Hotchkiss, Mike Purcaro, Mike Baudinet, Mike Blomberg, and Paul Zhang, and uppermids Vanessa Wood, Andrew Karas, and middler Kyle Dolan, who won first place in their division at the state competition on Wednesday, March 15. In addition to engraved individual plaques for each student, Taft received $1,500 for software and engineering education related expenses. “We have been participating in this competition for more than ten years,” said physics teacher Jim Mooney. “We have won our division several times, but have come in second to Hopkins the last four years. This year they came in second.” The competition consists of an engineering aptitude test. The problems are very complex, usually taking 5–10 pages to fully specify the given set of circumstances. There are typically about 70 schools competing.

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Next, five students displayed their knowledge of chemistry, when they competed in 2000 Chemathon, a test administered by the Department of Chemistry at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Victor Chu ’01, Panipak Kovithvathanaphong ’02, Victoria Choi ’01, Margot Schou ’01, and Andrew Karas ’01, were selected by the Taft chemistry faculty to represent Taft. They completed the 80-question, two-hour, multiple choice test, which is designed to cover all the material of a one-year introductory high school chemistry course with about 150 other students. Andrew Karas placed second in our division and tenth overall in the competition. All Taft students scored in the top twenty. Chemistry teacher David Hostage says that competing in the Chemathon is good review for his students, most of whom will take the SAT II subject test in chemistry on essentially the same material only days later. Margot Schou added, “Even though I didn’t place in the competition, the experience was a valuable one that exposed me again to all the material I’d learned this year.”

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Finally, 12 Taft students stayed on at the end of the school year to attend the “Peak Performance” competition in Boston on Sunday, June 4, sponsored by the Engineering Department at Boston University. Twostudent teams bring vehicles they have constructed to the competition, where they compete against the other teams with the vehicles climbing an 8-foot ramp. There were nearly 150 teams at the competition. Taft representatives were: Andrew Karas and Vanessa Wood; middlers Tim Monahan and Norah Garry; middler Greg Grinberg and senior Bancha Dhammarungruang; middlers Grace Morris and Neena Qasba; Victoria Choi and Natalie Ie; and Kyle Dolan and Jason Chen. The Choi/Ie team made it all the way to the finals. “These kids spent many long hours in the woodshop working on their designs,” said Jim Mooney, “and did a great job at the competition.”


AROUND THE POND

Memorable Musica The Collegium Musicum traveled to Spain over March break. During their eight-day trip to Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Sitges, and Segovia, the Collegium gave five major concerts in Spanish cathedrals and churches. The group gave several performances at the Catedral de la Seu (Barrio Gotico) and la cripta de La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo, the Colegio Estudio in Aravaca, and at Nuestra Senora de la Almudena in Madrid. Director Bruce Fifer incorporated a number of Spanish Renaissance pieces into their program, all of which were originally sung at these same churches and cathedrals. Collegium students were genuinely touched by this rare experience. For example, at a cathedral concert in Barcelona, “everyone was in tears afterwards,” said Meghan Kish ’02. “I think

The Collegium Musicum performs in Barcelona. Photo by Peter Frew

it was our best concert ever.” In Barcelona, the group met up with Baba and Peter Frew ’75 and their family who were on sabbatical for the school year

in Spain, and were treated to dinner in a local restaurant by the Landegger family. Source: Sera Reycraft ’02, Taft Papyrus

Austro-Hungarian Highlights “Superb, we had a great time,” said Alex Nagy, director of instrumental music, of the Chamber Ensemble’s March trip to Austria and Hungary. The ensemble performed concerts for elementary schools and various older

audiences in Vienna and Budapest, where all members agreed that the sights were gorgeous. One of the most memorable aspects of being in Budapest for Mihoko Maru ’01 was the welcoming response

Chamber received from the elementary school children for whom they performed. A highlight of the trip for others was the night of Mr. Nagy’s 50th birthday celebration, for which music instructor Mickey Trentalange treated the group to dinner at a renowned Hungarian restaurant. Another highlight of the trip was catching up with local alumni Andrea Uzdi ’98 and Csaba Zalanyi ’99. The chamber trip was clearly a success. “People there wanted us to send them our music so they could learn and play it,” Alex said. “We were very well received.” Source: Khayriyyah Muhammad ’01, Taft Papyrus The Chamber Ensemble explores Vienna over spring break. Photo courtesy of Kat Liu ’00

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In Brief On Language Teaching and Learning Dr. Peter Patrikis, executive director of the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning, gave a conference at Taft on the use of technology in teaching modern languages and on the strengths and weaknesses of high school programs from the colleges’ point of view. The Language Consortium includes Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Penn, Princeton, and Yale, where the consortium is based. Dr. Patrikis has published and lectured extensively in this country and abroad. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard. Taft’s exchange teacher from Spain, Juan Ortiz, organized the conference.

Visiting Poet

Senior Seminars Studying the crisis in Kosovo is a likely topic for students embarking on an independent research project, but the subject had special meaning for senior Adriana Blakaj, who escaped the civil war in Pristina, Kosovo, in 1990 with her parents and her brother. “I finally decided to focus my research on the role of communist dictator Josip Broz Tito in the former Yugoslavia, and especially in Kosovo,” Adriana said. “I found it ironic that only a short while after his death, a myriad of nationalities that had existed peacefully for 35 years should descend so quickly into chaos, violence, and overt ethnic aggression.” In the second semester, Adriana began her fieldwork, interviewing refugees and political personnel, attending lectures, and trying to get a feeling for the current problems that have stemmed from the war. Adriana is a student at Yale University this fall. Other seniors who participated in the Senior Seminar course were Demetrius Walker, Peter Webel, Lisa Ehrlich, Michelle Holmes, Avery Moore, Bryan Moore, Janelle Matthews, Lindsay Dell, and Evan Chow. Students worked on research topics and completed fieldwork of their own design. Expert panelists who helped evaluate the students’ efforts were Prof. William McNeill, Dr. Charles McNair, Mr. Leigh Perkins, Mrs. Ann Pollina, Mr. Bob Fiske, Mrs. Lynne Kazimer-Pittsinger, Mrs. Nancy Chapman, Atty. Sean Butterly, Dr. Jerry Sugar, and Mr. Yee-Fun Yin.

Photo by Greg Stevens ’02

Billy Collins, dubbed “the most popular living poet in America,” gave a reading at Taft in May. Collins reads regularly on NPR and at colleges and high schools nationwide; his sense of humor and desire to convince contemporary audiences that poetry need not be stodgy or boring enlivens his performances. His subjects are varied, often taken from the seemingly prosaic objects and activities of daily life: the notes in the margin of a borrowed book, a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, the sounds of his dog lapping water from its bowl.

Adriana Blakaj ’00 with her expert panelist, history professor Dr. William McNeill (right) and college counselor Andrew McNeill (his son). Photo by Greg Stevens ’02


Various ArtistZ: Redefining student films at Taft How far would you go to display a principle, to uncover the truth or to escape your reality? These questions are simply the surface of Various ArtistZ, a film directed by middler Dennis Liu. The film begins with an array of stunning images that slash through the screen and send the audience on an intense roller coaster ride of adrenaline-charged scenes about assassins who attempt to overthrow the U.S. government. The film is more than the “telling of a story,” says Dennis, more than an “action flick.” The original concept for the film was modest. Two years ago, he sat down to put his idea on paper, and it ballooned into a 120-page script. Then Dennis wanted to see if he could make his idea a reality. Over the past two years, he has logged countless hours making this project. His cast and production team worked weekdays, weekends, and vacations to ensure the film’s success. What did Dennis learn from producing the film? “Have a good production team and cast,” he said. “There is no letter or number to do justice to their dedication,” said film teacher Rick Doyle. “The technical status of the film is superb.” Source: Ravi Katkar ’02, Taft Press Club

Kilbourne Summer Arts Grants Three students were awarded the first Kilbourne Arts Grants, enabling them to participate in enriching programs in the arts this summer. Taft is proud to announce the establishment of this new fund from Taft alumnus John Kilbourne ’58, in memory of his parents Samuel W. and Evelyn S. Kilbourne. Vanessa Wood ’01 studied cello this summer at the Academie de Musique at Domaine Forget in Carlevoix, Quebec, Canada; Greg Stevens ’02 studied at the Photographer’s Formulary in Canton, Montana; Margeaux Walter ’01 studied photography at the Summer Workshops in Rockport, Maine. Grants may be used to underwrite all or part of the expense of participating in summer programs, classes, seminars, or trips that are enriching and will encourage and expand a student’s interest and skill in the performing or visual arts. Preference is given to proposals that relate directly to music or photography and, although it is not required, which take place abroad. Offered to middlers and uppermiddlers, the award may be made to one or more students in a given year. As with Poole Fellowships, students are expected to report back to the Taft community about their experience the following school year in the form of a talk, concert, exhibit, or other appropriate presentation.

Jefferson Today Thomas Jefferson came to campus this spring in the person of Clay Jenkinson, an historical reenactor. “He was fabulous in every environment,” said history teacher Jon Willson ’82, “in school meeting, in classes, and with faculty and students in the afternoon.” Jenkinson’s method is to stay in character, but he permits Mr. Jefferson to comment carefully on a world he did not live to see. “What was most impressive,” Jon said, “was the way he fearlessly ‘predicted’ how Jefferson would respond to situations in the U.S. today in regard to race relations, libertarianism, social engineering, etc. He thinks Jefferson would in most respects be a true liberal in today’s sense of the term.” A Rhodes and Danforth scholar, Jenkinson has also won the National Endowment for the Humanities’ highest honor—the Charles Frankel Prize. He was a principal on-air consultant for Ken Burns’ Thomas Jefferson as well as the creator of The Thomas Jefferson Hour on public radio. He is considered by many to be the finest exemplar of first-person historical interpretation in the U.S. His book, The Paradox of Thomas Jefferson, is being published this year. The Diversity Committee sponsored his visit to Taft.

Rockwell Visiting Artist Richard Ryan, a contemporary realist painter, visited the school in April. He spoke at Morning Meeting and again in the afternoon, in addition to critiquing students’ work in the art classes of Jennifer Glenn Wuerker ’83.

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AROUND THE POND

Alumni Offspring and Their Alumni Relatives Matthew J. Aleksinas ’02 .................. Michael J. Aleksinas ’72, father Marc A. Aleksinas ’02 ....................... Michael J. Aleksinas ’72, father Blake F. Alspach ’01 .......................... Bruce E. Alspach ’71, father John P. Alspach ’03 ........................... Bruce E. Alspach ’71, father Tyler P. Auer ’03 ............................... Bernhard M. Auer ’35, grandfather Christopher J. Bell ’03 ...................... Richard J. Bell ’71, father Tyler J. Bessette ’02 ........................... Chad P. Bessette ’74, father John A. Biedermann ’03 ................... John W. Biedermann ’77, father Blair M. Boggs ’02 ............................ Edwin P. Boggs* ’40, grandfather; George T. Boggs ’65, father Alexander C. Britell ’03 .................... Peter S. Britell ’59, father Sarah E. Bromley ’02 ........................ Dexter B. Blake* ’33, step-grandfather; Arthur F. Blake ’67, stepfather Gordon S. Calder III ’03 .................. Gordon S. Calder, Jr. ’65, father James E. Cavazuti ’02 ....................... Edward J. Cavazuti ’70, father Thomas C. Cherry IV ’01 ................. Thomas C. Cherry, Jr. ’65, father Victor W. B. Chu ’01 ........................ Cassandra Chia-Wei Pan ’77, mother Eliza A. Clark ’03 .............................. Elias C. Atkins II* ’15, greatgrandfather; June Pratt Clark ’72, mother; Robert T. Clark ’72, father Charles M. Coit ’04 .......................... Charles A. Coit* ’35, grandfather; David M. Coit ’65, father Grace R. de la Gueronniere ’04 ......... Rafe de la Gueronniere ’70, father Charles S. Erdman ’02 ...................... Frederic P. Erdman ’71, father Andres Fernandez ’04 ....................... Eladio M.J. Fernandez* ’60, father Nicholas E. Fessenden ’03 ................. Frederick J. Fessenden III ’66, father Nicholas Fisser ’02 ............................ Michael Schiavone ’59, step father Brookfield A. Fitzgerald ’01 .............. Duncan G. Burke ’61, stepfather David M. Gambone ’03 .................... Michael D. Gambone* ’78, father Eleanor S. Gillespie ’02 ..................... Kenrick S. Gillespie* ’25, grandfather; David Gillespie ’60, father Alexander T. Ginman ’03 .................. Richard T. Ginman ’66, father Colin M. Graham ’01 ....................... Marshall Clark ’40, grandfather Mary F. Graham ’04 ......................... Marshall Clark ’40, grandfather Colby N. Griffith ’01 ........................ Clark L. Griffith ’68, father W. Jordan Gussenhoven ’02 .............. John W. Gussenhoven ’65, father Gordon P. Guthrie III ’04 ................. Gordon P. Guthrie, Jr. ’62, father Rowena W. Hack ’03 ........................ Eugene R. Hack, Jr. ’65, father Lucy Hanan ’02 ................................ John H. Hanan ’63, father Jennifer W. Higgins ’02 .................... Charles F. C. Wemyss, Sr. ’45, grandfather Tyler C. Jennings ’02 ........................ Robert S. Jennings ’67, father Abigail M. Kell ’02 ........................... Laura Gieg Kell ’73, mother David W. Killam, Jr. ’03 ................... David W. Killam ’70, father Mary Samantha Ladd ’01 .................. Delano W. Ladd, Jr. ’44, grandfather Arthur H. Y. Lam ’03 ....................... Daniel K. F. Lam ’75, father Craig M. Levy ’01 ............................. Geoffrey W. Levy ’65, father Cecily R. Longfield ’03 ..................... John S. Wold ’34, grandfather Michael R. LoRusso ’03 .................... Nicholas D. LoRusso, Jr.* ’72, father Elisabeth H. Luckey ’02 .................... Charles P. Luckey* ’18, greatgrandfather; Charles P. Luckey, Jr.* ’43, grandfather 32

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George S. McFadden ’03 .................. J. Stillman Rockefeller ’20, great-grandfather Ilan S. McKenna ’02 ......................... Benjamin E. Cole, Jr. ’36, grandfather Gordon B. McMorris ’04 .................. Gordon B. Tweedy* ’24, grandfather Timothy D. Monahan ’02 ................ Robert G. Lee* ’41, grandfather Reina E. Mooney ’02 ........................ Laird A. Mooney ’73, father Cassidy A. Morris ’02 ....................... William G. Morris, Jr. ’69, father Catherine M. Morris ’04 ................... Lawrence B. Morris, Jr. ’35, grandfather; Lawrence B. Morris III ’65, father K. Christine Murphy ’01 .................. Dudley F. Blanchard ’44, grandfather F. James Neil III ’03 .......................... F. James Neil, Jr. ’72, father Guy E. Peterson ’03 .......................... Neil Peterson ’61, father Anthony T. Piacenza ’01 ................... Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75, mother Lucia M. Piacenza ’04 ....................... Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75, mother Johanna M. Pistell ’04 ....................... William A. Pistell ’44, grandfather Colin J. Read ’02 .............................. Jonathan R. Read ’74, father Amy B. Rose ’04 ............................... Peter B. Rose ’74, father Faith C. Rose ’02 .............................. Peter B. Rose ’74, father Stephen D. Sargent, Jr. ’03 ................ James C. Sargent, Sr. ’35, grandfather William A. Schatz ’02 ....................... Eugene W. Potter, Sr.* ’17, great-grandfather Aaron I. Schiller ’02 .......................... J. Irwin Miller ’27, grandfather Marguerite L. Smythe ’03 ................. Thomas F. Moore, Jr. ’43, grandfather; Cheves McC. Smythe ’42, grandfather; James L. Smythe ’70, father Taylor M. Snyder ’02 ........................ William B. Snyder, Jr. ’41, grandfather; W. Bunker Snyder, Jr. ’68, father Jane B. Spencer ’03 ........................... William J.H. Fischer, Jr.* ’33, grandfather; Clayton B. Spencer ’56, father Katherine M. Squire ’04 ................... William Shields, Jr.* ’29, grandfather; Carlotta Shields Dandridge ’74, mother Samuel B. Stark ’02 .......................... Laney Barroll Stark ’79, mother William W. Strumolo ’01 .................. Tom R. Strumolo ’70, father Shannon K. Sylvester ’03 .................. Paul A. Sylvester ’74, father Ted S. Thompson ’02 ....................... Frederick W. Squires ’28, grandfather Constantina M. Tseretopoulos ’01 .... C. Dean Tseretopoulos ’72, father Adrianna S. Tseretopoulos ’03 ........... C. Dean Tseretopoulos ’72, father Jeffrey J. Volling ’02 .......................... James L. Volling ’72, father G. Corydon Wagner IV ’01 .............. George C. Wagner, Jr.* ’13, grandfather; G. Corydon Wagner III ’43, father Sarah H. Walsh ’02 ........................... Sally Childs Walsh ’75, mother Diana D. Wardell ’01 ........................ Charles W. B. Wardell III ’63, father Cooper T. A. Wardell ’03 .................. Christopher C. Wardell ’69, father John C. Wold ’02 .............................. John S. Wold ’34, grandfather; John P. Wold ’71, father John D. Yawney ’02 .......................... John R. G. Ordway* ’38, grandfather *denotes deceased alumni


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sport Spring Sports Wrap-Up Boys’ & Girls’ Track The new William Weaver Track facility made for some great performances throughout the season. Five school records were set, including two by captain Venroy July. He broke the 110-meter

hurdles record three times and tied the 300-meter hurdle record, but went on to win the 200 meters at the New England Championships. For the girls’ team, new records were set by captain Kim Noel in the discus, Megan Stone in the pole vault, and fresh-

man Marisa Ryan in the 3,000 meters. The girls’ team had great wins over Berkshire and Hotchkiss; the boys’ team managed a one-point victory over Deerfield, but fell just short of Hotchkiss and Loomis in two exciting meets at the very end of the season.

No. 20 Kevin Nee ’01 notches another goal in his record-breaking season. Photo by Peter Finger. Taft Bulletin

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Girls’ Lacrosse The season began with three easy victories and the usual high expectations for this lacrosse team, which has been among the best in New England for several years. However, five consecutive losses made for an unusual mid-season predicament for Coach Jean Maher and the team. The play of seniors Keely Murphy, Sam Hall, Kate Putnam, and Meredith Morris helped to pull things together for a late-season run to finish with an 8–6 overall record. The team’s finest play came at the very end during a 14–13 win over Choate and a 10–11 loss to rival Hotchkiss. The four-year seniors in this program have enjoyed a fabulous run, at 45–10–1. This year, Kelly Sheridan and Chrissy Murphy were selected as first-team All-New England, and Emily Smith was honored as an Academic All-American.

Boys’ Lacrosse

Co-captain-elect of the newly interscholastic riding team, Audrey Banks ’01. Photo by Gary Parkin, Sporting Images © 1999

Girls’ Softball The season began with some uncertainty and average expectations, according to Coach Steve Schieffelin, but turned into one of the finest softball seasons in Taft’s history. Their 8–1 league record and first Founders’ League title was built on spirited team play and great pitching from junior Emily Pettit. Pettit, who pitched in every inning of every game, set a new standard 34

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for dominance on the mound, recording over 80 strikeouts for the season. Hillary Peet provided solid production at the plate all season and great leadership as captain. Highlights of the season came with the opening 18–11 win over NMH and the best game of the season, a 3–2 victory over LoomisChafee. With Ashley Cecchinato behind the plate and Emily Pettit again on the mound, Taft looks to defend its league title next spring.

At 14–0, this was a season of firsts for the boys’ varsity squad. It was the first undefeated season in the 38-year history of boys’ lacrosse at Taft. The team won the Founders’ League for the first time in 25 years, keyed by a 15–13 win over rival Loomis-Chafee. It was also the first time one school has had three players named All-American in the same season. Game highlights include a phenomenal 28–8 victory over previously undefeated NMH and an overtime win over Salisbury. According to coach Steve McKibben, the special success of this year’s squad was built on personal sacrifice for the team in that some players moved to new positions, others accepted and excelled at a limited role, and everyone put in something extra to make sure that this was a perfect season. Kevin Nee set a new single-season record with 54 goals and was selected as the league’s top attackman; Tim Pettit


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posted the single-season assist record with 40, was selected as the outstanding midfielder, and also won 81 percent of his face-offs, an unprecedented statistic. And, Jake McKenna was the best goalie in New England, earning the Most Valuable Defensive Player award for the league. All three were named All-Americans—the first time one school has swept all three league awards. (Taft has only had four other AAs: Jake Odden ’86, Andrew Everett ’88, Courtland Weisleder ’95, and David Jenkins ’97.) Both the JV and thirds teams finished at 12–2, capping off a fantastic season down the line.

Horseback Riding This was the first official season for the new varsity sport. Coached by Virginia Leary in Litchfield, five riders competed in two interscholastic tests, an interscholastic dressage show, and two Connecticut horse shows. The team won against both hosts Kent and Ethel Walker on their home turf and placed fourth at Ethel Walker’s dressage show—competing against both school and college teams. One of the most challenging competitions, said Coach Leary, was when two riders were out sick and middler Isabel Cowles and uppermiddler Audrey Banks each rode twice. Next year’s team will be led by co-captains Audrey Banks and Megan Kish.

Girls’ Tennis This team was an unusual mix of youth and experience, and that led to some unusual success on the courts. Amassing a 11–1 record and their first Founders’ League title, the girls’ tennis team pounded out wins over Deerfield, Loomis, and the defending NE champs—Miss Porter’s—all teams which Taft had not defeated in a number of years, if ever. The league title came down to a gritty, hard-fought match versus

Hotchkiss, which Taft won 4-3 when KP Parkin and Jessup Shean took the final doubles match. With three freshman returning to the varsity, including Kate Franklin at #1 singles and Hannah Baker, undefeated at #4 singles, Taft looks to continue the standard it set this spring.

Boys’ Tennis This was an erratic season for the boys’ varsity, beginning with an inspirational win over Hotchkiss to open the season and then struggling through some tough, very close losses thereafter. Surviving two 3–4 losses late in the spring, the team pulled together to post an overall record of 9–6. With five middlers returning for the varsity, the team will have a solid core of talent for the next three years, including returning #1 singles Nick Lacaillade; Ben Bradford, who went 5–2 at #2 singles; and Michael Idy, who was 6–1 in the #3 spot this year.

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spring weather pushed back a number of contests to the final two weeks of the season, making it difficult for Taft to rely on their ace, senior Mike Martinez, who pitched brilliantly all season as well, adding a lot of power at the plate. But, the back-up staff of Sean Cronin, Eric Nigro, Mike Hogan and others came through in close games versus Hotchkiss (8–6) and T-P (6–5) during the final two weeks. In the end, Taft won eight of their final ten games to take a share of the Colonial League title. John McCardell was solid all season behind the plate, and Martinez was the dominant player in the league, leading Coach Brogna to define this as one of the best defensive teams Taft has ever had. Perhaps the finest game of the spring, a 21 victory over Avon, was won in the final at-bat when Luke Labella drove home Brian Sullivan in the bottom of the seventh inning to seal Martinez’ 3-hit performance on the mound.

Golf Girls’ Crew The less-than-ideal weather all spring made for over 15 days off the water, but the crew team pulled together for some of their best workouts on these days, and this type of team effort accounted for the most successful season in the ten years of this program. The first boat posted an 11–0 record, and the total for all four boats this spring was 31–3. The highlight of all this success came with a thrilling half-second win over Choate, a team Taft had never beaten. Senior Nicole Uliasz and captain-elect Katie Shattuck provided much of the power behind the first boat’s undefeated season.

Varsity Baseball According to Coach Joseph Brogna, this 11–5 team was made up of “gamers” who had an unusual ability to get the job done when it came down to it. The typical

This was a solid, tightly packed golf team that played well together all spring for a 15–1 regular season record. There were a couple of off days, including a sixth place finish as the defending champions at the Kingswood Invitational Tournament, but Taft finished only seven strokes out of second place with a 406 total. The highlight of the spring, the Founders’ League title, came with the narrowest of margins, a one-stroke victory over Avon. Yet, it was solid team play that carried the day, from medalist Connor McNally’s 38 to Ross Koller’s 45 as Taft’s fifth golfer. Captain-elect Ged Johnson paced Taft for much of the season, including his fifth place 76 at the KIT. Chapin Hoskins—the only girl on the team—had another great year, shooting an 82 to place fourth at the New England Prep Girls’ Tournament. She also played in the top five for the team in several matches early in the season. Taft Bulletin

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Spring Big Red Scoreboard Baseball

Softball

Founders’ League Champions Head Coach ................................................... Joseph Brogna Captains .................... Mike Hogan ’00, Mike Martinez ’00, John McCardell ’00, Record ......................................................................... 11–5 Stone Award................................................ John McCardell Captains-Elect ..................... Eric Nigro ’01, Dan Welch ’01

Founders’ League Co-Champions Head Coach ................................................ Steve Schieffelin Captains ...................................................... Hillary Peet ’00 Record ........................................................................... 8–6 Softball Award ................................................... Hillary Peet Captains-Elect ....... Ashley Cecchinato ’01, Jillian Hunt ’01, Emily Pettit ’01

Girls’ Crew

Boys’ Tennis

Head Coach ............................................................. Al Reiff Captain ..................................................... Nicole Uliasz ’00 Record ......................................................................... 11–0 Crew Award .................................................... Nicole Uliasz Captain-Elect .......................................... Katie Shattuck ’01

Coach ...................................................... Andrew Bogardus Record ........................................................................... 9–6 Captain-Elect ............................................................... TBD

Golf Founders’ League Champions Coach ............................................................ Jack Kenerson Captains ............... Geddes Johnson ’01, Ryan Sochacki ’00, Record ......................................................................... 15–1 Galeski Golf Award .............. Ross Koller ’00, Ryan Sochacki Captain-Elect .............................................. Geddes Johnson

Boys’ Lacrosse Founders’ League Champions Head Coach ............................................... Steve McKibben Captains .... Eric Dalton ’00, Jake McKenna ’00, Tim Pettit ’00 Record ......................................................................... 14–0 Odden Lacrosse Award ................................ Jake McKenna All-American ...... Jake McKenna, Tim Pettit, Kevin Nee ’01 Captain-Elect ........................................ Christian Jensen ’01

Girls’ Lacrosse Head Coach ....................................................... Jean Maher Captains .................. Samantha Hall ’00, Kelly Sheridan ’00 Record ........................................................................... 8–6 Wandelt Lacrosse Award ............................... Samantha Hall Captains-Elect ........ Victoria Fox ’01, Christine Murphy ’01 36

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Girls’ Tennis Founders’ League Champions Coach ............................................................... W. T. Miller Captains ...... Pranisa Kovithvathanaphon ’00, KP Parkin ’00 Record ......................................................................... 11–1 Gould Tennis Award ............................................ KP Parkin Captain-Elect ........................ Constantina Tseretopoulos ’01

Boys’ Track Head Coach ................................................... Steve McCabe Captain ........................................................ Venroy July ’00 Record ........................................................................... 4–8 Beardsley Track Award ....................................... Venroy July Captains-Elect ....... Dan Blomberg ’01, Nicholas Dabbo ’02

Girls’ Track Head Coach ................................................... Steve McCabe Captain ........................................................... Kim Noel ’00 Record ........................................................................... 6–3 Captain-Elect .......................... Khayriyyah Muhammad ’01, Ciara Rakestraw ’01

For more information on Taft sports, check out our Website at www.TaftSports.com.


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r. Taft commenced as soon as there were enough graduates to pick out a baseball team, to invite them all back on Memorial Day for a good time together, to renew old friendships and revisit old scenes. His invitation was accepted with enthusiasm, and each year has seen increasing numbers return in the springtime.” Frederick G. Mason 1897, Taft Biography Book 1912.

Class signs ready and waiting to be carried in the parade

Although the storms held off for the morning, umbrellas came out by the dozens before the alumni lacrosse game, for what turned out to be the rainiest Alumni Weekend in decades.

Reunion 2000 was certainly the soggiest alumni gathering in recent and not-so-recent memory, moving dinners inside and prompting record sales of umbrellas in the school store. But spir-

Seth ’40 and Franny Taft with Bob Sweet ’40

its were hardly dampened and the rain held off for the parade—only just. The warmth of renewing old friendships, the pleasure in seeing the success of the school today, and the comfort of happy memories erased the gloom and made for a highly memorable weekend at Taft. Alumni came from France and Peru, California and Alaska, and from across the street. Graduates from 1927 and 1999 gathered with family and friends to renew old ties and create new memories to be shared at future reunions. Others, who could not return, were truly missed. For those who traveled across the years and miles, we’re glad you came back!

Bill Hatfield ’32

Chip Spencer ’56, Dave Farwell ’70, and Barnaby Conrad ’70 30th Reunion classmates Tom Strumolo, Len Cowan, and Barnaby Conrad are among the many classmates who marched in the parade.

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Kristen Zwiener ’01 interviews Frank Riordan ’35 for the Taft Oral History Project. Left: Tipping their hats to the crowds are Art Stock ’50 and wife Barbara, Bill Dowd ’50 and wife Joan.

Head monitor Price Bell ’00 and head monitorelect Tarik Asmerom ’01 lead the parade, carrying on a tradition as well as the banner.

Dr. Ronald J. Grele of Columbia University explains the latest trends in oral history to alumni and current students at the launching of Taft’s Oral History Project. 1965 Dads and their Tafties: Jordon Gussenhoven ’02, George and Blair Boggs ’02, Jeff and Craig Levy ’01, Gordon III ’03 and Gordon Calder, Rowena ’03 and Eugene Hack

Wendy and Bill Krag ’55 with Robert and Ginny Lambrecht ’55

Gino Kelly ’55

Classes of ’65 and ’70 in parade

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Right: Seniors Dallas Dyer, Bryan Moore, Christina Coons, and Evan Chow talk about their experiences at Taft.

Continued on page 58


Polly and Bill Merriman ’43, Ted Mason ’43 and wife Genevieve, and Jim Emison ’43

Classmates and friends gather to remember departed alumni at the annual memorial service at Christ Church on the Green. Music was performed by the Taft Collegium Musicum and the Chamber Ensemble.

Scott Reiner ’90, Sarkis Izmirlian ’90 and wife Katherine, and Alexandra Miller ’95 at the 10th Reunion celebration

1933 at the Old Guard Dinner: Fred and Elane Ehrich, Claudia Fischer, Bill Hatfield ’32, Kay and Don Buttenheim, and Rosemary Dooley and John Weld. Below: Headmaster Lance Odden talks with alumni about their school today and the challenges now facing education. Alumni children were happily entertained by a storyteller and a magician during the afternoon lumcheon.

Patsy Odden and Orton Camp ’35

Peter North ’62 and his father, Bill North ’30, back for Bill’s 70th Reunion

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Faculty members John and Gail Wynne are honored for their many years of service to the school. After an exciting second half in the alumni v. varsity lacrosse game, that saw the alumni come to within one point with just over 1 minute left, the varsity pulled away for a 14–10 victory.

Kip Armstrong, Lance Odden, and Chris Armstrong ’85 present works by the late David Armstrong ’65 to be part of the new Mark Potter ’48 Art Gallery being built this summer.

Wick Chambers ’27 had the honor of being the most senior alumnus present for the weekend festivities. He was also honored with the Citation of Merit (see page 21). Rain and construction of the new hockey rink force the well-attended luncheon festivities into the warm, dry McCullough Athletic Center.

Betty Ann Morris, Marian Makepeace, and Larry Morris ’35

Lance and Patsy Odden thank Barclay Johnson ’53 for his years of devoted service on the faculty.

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Jeff Atwood ’85 and Matt Griswold ’85 with son Eli

Jennifer Blomberg ’97 won the Fun Run on Sunday, held on the new Weaver Track.


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The Spirit of Learning By Barclay Johnson ’53 Many of my outside friends have envisioned Taft as a kind of paradise, where teenagers grow up just fast enough and the rest of us stay young. There is some truth in this. Thanks to my students, I have grown a bit feathery without knowing it. Then, early this fall, one of my seniors, passing me in the hall, called back over her shoulder, “Hey, Mr. J., when are you going to retire?” Offhandedly, I replied, “2000.” “Cool,” she said. “You can graduate with us.” I felt ready for college myself. But wasn’t this sensation one of the benefits to teaching anywhere? Apparently not. More than one of my colleagues in rival schools have remarked at conferences or track meets that they envied me. Were they kidding? We all had good lives, with gratifying work, and probably more personal relationships than most doctors have patients or judges have criminals. So, which of Taft’s distinctions were they thinking of? The continuity of leadership? The closeness of the faculty? The rate of endowment growth? The teamwork of support between trustees, alumni, and students? No. None of these. They envied me for you. No offense, but I still didn’t get it. As it turned out, they were referring to something as simple as the conversations between faculty and students, which I had taken for granted. Rather suddenly I knew what they meant: Col-

lege pressure could make teenagers work hard, but dogged persistence was not the same as the spirit of learning. And, above all, visitors to Taft could feel this spirit. Of course, Taft has not always been this way. With only seventy days left to my career, I have begun to take little cruises into the past—back to the same HDT and CPT, the same towers and basements, but spiritually a very different school. Half a century ago, the only audible voice was that of the headmaster. Teachers hardly talked with students—in or out of the classroom—and seldom personally. As a result, the young remained adolescent and the old grew older fast. Frankly, my classmates and I didn’t know enough to care. As long as we got our diplomas, instead of draft notices calling us into the Korean War, as long as we went to colleges that our highpowered fathers could talk about, we were happy enough. And why not? Nearly half our original class never made it. I realize that you hardly need a trip back to the old school. But someday, during your own careers, you may need a little extra faith that what seems immutable can, indeed, be changed. So hang on. The old Taft looked and felt like a medieval fort. Set on a hill, it stood isolated from the farms and brass mills of the real world around it. Taft’s strength lay in its founder’s greatness and in the school’s reputation for high academic standards, austere discipline, and elitist

college placement. The faculty revolved around a hard core of Phi Beta Kappas from Universities of the Eastern Establishment. Having endured the Great Depression and served in World War II, these teachers were naturally demanding of privileged characters like us. Moreover, they admired Paul Cruikshank, the successor to Horace Taft. A puritanical taskmaster, he seemed convinced that some form of military training was necessary in a society that had grown overindulgent in victory. Then, too, while saving the school from near-bankruptcy, Mr. Cruikshank had kept their jobs open until they returned from the war. Loyalty became a prime virtue; obedience became the other one. Unfortunately, the headmaster was so conservative that he resisted the natural law of change, even in his own formal dress. Equally dated, the faculty was all male, all white, and nearly all Protestant—like the rest of us. This was not unusual, of course, in a New England boy’s boarding school of the ’50s. What was unusual, however, was the bleak and chilly silence. Mr. Cruikshank spoke to the school at the nightly Vesper service, but never about our generation, the country, or the world. Strangely, not a word about Horace Taft’s school of the past. After the sermon, based largely on a reading from the Old Testament, we sang hymns from our hymnals kept under our seats; then mumbled the school’s Taft Bulletin

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alma mater from memory, while the organist filled in the quiet spots. Dinner followed. (Every meal was “sit down” in coats and ties.) The only sound was the clinking of silver and dishes. (One year, instead of sending us home for Thanksgiving, the school brought in fifty very quiet turkeys. I can still remember the poultry trucks.) Half an hour after dinner, the lower school trudged off to a huge study hall above the dining room, which today, of course, is a field of easels and paint. (In Oscie’s and my day, we had recreational art, but that was it.) If anyone talked in study hall, he was sentenced to run laps on a rickety wooden track behind CPT. (Our coaches enjoyed counting the laps.) The upper school got room study. Those who couldn’t handle this privilege were sent to “The Hall.” Although some of the

thrown out of school for smoking a weed in the shower, when the faculty room had a ceiling of smoke? Was it worldly to be allowed downtown only twice a week, where the local merchants told us to keep our hands in our pockets, and strangers at the bus stop referred to Taft as a mental institution or a reformatory for rich delinquents? Was it educational to be denied posters of girls or motorcycles on our walls and forbidden to have radios, except in the McIntosh infirmary? Even there, only the worst cases got them. The rest of us had to wait for some kid to get delirious so we could sneak into his room and steal the kid’s music. And how did that coven of so-called nurses know to whom to give sympathy and back rubs? By who had the radios. We had to make our own fun. Was that healthy? Actually the school wasn’t so bad that

The audience roared fearlessly, for a change. Even the faculty stayed until the end. But the “Shank” walked out after the opening scene. I was ripped! (If some oracle had whispered to me that someday I would become his colleague, admirer, and personal friend, I would have laughed in the oracle’s face.) This is to say that my class had a love-hate relationship with the school— the love part came later. After a few years in business, the army, and graduate school, I received a gracious letter from Mr. Cruikshank, in response to one that I had written him about my life as a lieutenant with five tanks in the cold war of practice. His reply was actually humorous. The point is, we had never really conversed before. I was as surprised as my old teachers that I came back for a visit. Nothing had

“As long as we got our diplomas, instead of draft notices calling us into the Korean War, as long as we went to colleges that our high-powered fathers could talk about, we were happy enough.” corridor masters were hospitable and gave help on homework, most of the teachers seemed afraid to talk with us as friends. So we didn’t know them as people any better than they knew us. Our main objection, however, lay not so much with them as with the quality of life—or lack of it. Undoubtedly discipline was good for us, but no one seemed to know what else we needed. Was it natural that we had no free weekends, that we had to join the traveling Glee Club just to see females between the ages of ten and thirty? Was it fair to be 42

Summer 2000

my classmates and I couldn’t make it worse. We “tower crows” and “basement rats” were a tough gang of covert rebels, disguised as little gentlemen. Overt protest was as futile as a major rule violation was fatal. And with the “Shank” as the Law, most of the rules were major. Our rebellions had to be subtle. For instance, the lowermids allowed the gravy for the “mystery meat” at dinner to encrust their school ties. We seniors wrote and produced our own musical comedy that satirized Taft from the top down. It was called The Queen and I—or Alex in Wonderland.

changed, of course—with few exceptions. By then Taft had a new math and science building. But with a flat roof in New England, it had been designed to rot in thirty years, which it did in twenty. Also, the basement had a number of air-raid shelters. The walls were old, but the barrels of water and crackers were new. Finally, the effort grades had sunk to the level of the academic average of 74 (a 3.25 today). Alumni support had become sluggish. The endowment was one percent of what it is today. Moreover, a number of talented teachers were leaving. Equally disturbing,


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the bedrock of Horace Taft’s principles for character building and service to others had cracked. In other words, while Mr. Cruikshank had saved the school from serious debt, he now had to save it from himself. The Bay of Pigs fiasco had humbled the nation right down to the most secure schools. Taft had to meet the real world, at least halfway.

President Kennedy a year later, students everywhere became worried about the United States and about themselves. At every level of society, people were looking for leadership. Fortunately Taft had it. Both Headmaster John Esty and Mr. Odden, the assistant headmaster, knew that students needed the freedom to make choices, with faculty help, and to take more responsibility for themselves. The

“No other school in the country had anything like [the ISP]. Who would do this extra work without academic credit, and what teachers would oversee these freewheeling projects voluntarily?” In the fall of 1961, Mr. Cruikshank took the first risk of his life by hiring me. As a “loose cannon,” so to speak, I could help to destabilize the system, but I was too much an old school boy to know how to change it. Fortunately, in the same year, he hired a young Princetonian who had traditional values but also a liberal heart and radical ideas. This fellow looked too young to me and sounded too much like an Andover product—articulate, confident, and far too competitive for this avuncular business. I thought he would do better at IBM. But from day one we were friends—symbiotic and personal. While I could see the past, he could see the future; and we both liked parties. Actually Mr. and Mrs. Odden have been my friends for 39 years. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, in October 1962, and the assassination of

first change struck me as too radical, but I liked the idea. It was a program called Independent Studies. No other school in the country had anything like it. Who would do this extra work without academic credit, and what teachers would oversee these freewheeling projects voluntarily? Such creative effort required a new kind of interplay between participants and project advisors. It worked. Largely because Mr. Esty hired teachers like the Wynnes. The Wynnes had a special way of teaching individuals with informal dignity through good-natured conversation. Most of the faculty soon caught on. Before long, under Mr. Odden’s leadership, Taft became radically co-ed. The girls shared the same campus with the boys. Other all-boy boarding schools either built separate campuses for the girls, as did Choate and Kent, which didn’t work, or they absorbed neighbor-

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ing girls schools, as did Andover and Loomis, or they stood by, like Hotchkiss and Deerfield, to see if Taft could survive the gamble. What a surprise for males of all ages who knew little of the wants and needs of women. Quite possibly the girls were the first to chat with their teachers. Soon the Dress Code changed, and the course catalogue sprouted an array of new electives. In the ’70s we introduced course and teacher evaluation; in the ’80s, student-centered learning and volunteer services to the community; in the ’90s, the learning center, Senior Seminars, and committees for health, diversity, and spiritual life. Today all the programs create circuits of connectivity—conversations that, for the most part, are good-natured, confident, and appreciative. The informality becomes funny at times. This fall a group of seniors who wanted something new addressed the headmaster as Mr. O. Twenty minutes ago, a girl, half my size, punched me in the arm to remind me that this was her birthday. To be sure, Taft is no paradise. The conversations are not always cheerful. But the arrogance and fear have gone. Also, the voices of prejudice, self-pity, and oneupsmanship have a tough time finding an audience. This distinction belongs to you. I’ll miss the momentum of this place—and the many voices, including my own. That’s all right. I’m happy to be graduating with the Class of 2000. They have treated me like one of them. I feel young enough now for a second life. Thank you all. English teacher Barclay Johnson ’53 delivered the remarks above at the final Morning Meeting for the senior class this spring. Taft Bulletin

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