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Professional Soccer player

Will Orben ’92 An Interview with Head of School

William R. MacMullen ’78




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B U L L E T I N Summer 2001 Volume 71 Number 4 Bulletin Staff Editor Julie Reiff Director of Development Jerry Romano Alumni Notes Anne Gahl Design Good Design Proofreaders Nina Maynard

Bulletin Advisory Board Bonnie Blackburn ’84 Todd Gipstein ’70 Thomas P. Losee Jr. ’59 Rachel Morton Nancy Novogrod P’98, ’01 Josh Quittner ’75 Peter Frew ’75, ex officio Julie Reiff, ex officio Bonnie Welch, ex officio Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 Send alumni news to: Anne Gahl Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Fall–August 30, 2001 Winter–November 15, 2001 Spring–February 15, 2002 Summer–May 30, 2002 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 1-860-945-7777 This magazine is printed on recycled paper.

Around the Pond SPOTLIGHT

To Build a Dream


Can an American make it in European football? Will Orben ’92 gives it a try. By Rick Lansdale

Steering the Course 26 Page 21

An interview with Head of School William R. MacMullen ’78 By Julie Reiff

The Odden Gala


On the eve of his retirement, the headmaster offers advice to the graduating class. By Lance R. Odden

Alumni Weekend Album Page 24

From the Editor




From the Odden tribute to profiles in conservation, here’s what you thought of recent issues.

Alumni in the News


Peabody Award for a school sleuth, the dark side of ballet, king of the domain, allergy alerts, stories from life, and more.

Taft 10


Questions for Jeffrey Baxter ’67. Once a guitarist for the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, now an adviser to the Pentagon, the man called Skunk explains why a thumping bass is the nation’s best defense. Reprinted from New York Times Magazine.

Page 36



Transformations. How does a school cope with the varying demands of tradition and change? By Andrew Karas ’01

On the Cover Students bearing flashlights encircle Potter’s Pond for the farewell tribute to Patsy and Lance Odden on Alumni Weekend. More photos of the evening begin on page 29. PETER FINGER

At left: Even the clown, played by faculty child Nathaniel Fifer, enjoys the sun on Saturday morning of Alumni Weekend. For more photos of the event, turn to page 56.


Three heads of school side-by-side, multigenerational family gatherings, highlights on the playing fields, and other moments of the weekend captured in pictures.


Page 29

Annual Fund Report 22


A Night for Patsy and Lance was an evening to remember. By Julie Reiff

Lessons from Life


Gallery and exhibit to honor Mark Potter ’48, the AIDS story, icy ISP adventures, printing in clay, travel postcards, feats of engineering, alumni offspring, undefeated teams, and more.

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 Of course we’ll continue to accept your communiqués by such “low-tech” methods as the fax machine (860-945-7756), telephone (860-945-7777), or U.S. Mail (110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100). So let’s hear from you! Taft on the Web: News? Stocks? Entertainment? Weather? Catch up with old friends or make new ones, get a job and more!—all at the new Taft Alumni Community online. Visit us at What happened at this afternoon's game?—Visit us at the new for the latest Big Red coverage. For other campus new and events, including admissions information, visit our main site at, with improved calendar features coming this fall.








It’s an unusual accomplishment for a school to have only four leaders in 111 years—an average tenure of 27.75 years—and one this community can justifiably take pride in. Afterall, the success of a head of school falls not simply on his shoulders alone. For Lance Odden it may have been the “best job in the world,” but his success as head depended as well on the willingness of young people to spend three or four years in Watertown, on the ability of the faculty to make that experience worthwhile, on the generosity of alumni and parents, and on the contribution of so many people in so many ways. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes much more to create a thriving community across the generations and across the miles. As you read this, a new school year is about to start. The Oddens are happily settling in to their new home in Vermont, and the MacMullens are preparing their residence on Guernseytown Road for the opening faculty party and the year ahead. We have our feet in both camps, so to speak, in this issue. Thousands of people wished the Oddens well at the gala in May (page 29) or at one of the many receptions around the country last spring (for photos of these, go to and click on Gatherings Photos). We spoke with Willy MacMullen ’78 about his hopes for the school (page 24), and coincidentally, we profile one of his former soccer players about his own challenges and successes in the world of European football(page 21). And finally, Lance Odden shares some of his special wisdom with us as he prepares for retirement. Alumni, too, have had their own share of successes in recent months, including Peabody Award winner John Merrow ’59 and Jeff Baxter ’67, and the unprecedented fundraising success of class agents like George Hampton ’60 and others. Best of all, is how many alumni were able to come to campus in May, to get together with their families, to greet the new head or to say “thanks” to the Oddens. We have much to be proud of indeed. And even more to be thankful for.

Please keep those letters and stories coming. —Julie Reiff


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


From the Editor

Where Credit Is Due

Missing Man

I was thrilled to get the spring Bulletin and find my 1972 photo of Lance and his young family splashed bigger than life across two pages inside the front cover. I was an uppermid in January 1972, and I remember the top-secret mission Fred Genung [’63, then director of development] gave me to shoot the photos. Very few people knew that Lance was about to be named headmaster. No announcement had yet been made. The students and the faculty knew nothing, but pictures were needed for press releases and I was trusted not to tell anyone. I was even afraid to say something congratulatory to Lance during the time I took the pictures, as I wondered if he knew that I knew! Then, once I developed the negatives, I was careful not to leave the strips of film hanging up to dry in the darkroom, as I figured it would look strange that I took a hundred photos of just Lance, Patsy, and their kids! —Brad Joblin ’73

I must congratulate you on a wonderful tribute to the Oddens in the spring Bulletin. I was, however, distressed not to see Oscie [Don Oscarson ’47] mentioned or photographed alongside Mr. Odden at all, for he is the only faculty member to be at Taft as long as Mr. Odden. —Jack Downey ’99

Editor’s Note: Although Brad did receive a credit for his photo on page 22 of that issue, we belatedly credit him now with the photograph on page one as well. Thanks for the memories.

I noticed something in the winter Bulletin that is either a wonderful inside joke or a fantastic coincidence. The article about guitarist Trey Anastasio ’83, “Phish Insist It’s a Break, Not a Breakup,” has a sidebar called “Reelin’ in the Years.” Of course, the song “Reeling in the Years” was a huge hit in 1972 from a group called Steely Dan... a group that featured a guitarist named Jeffrey “Skunk” Baxter ’67. —Jim Ramsey ’80

Taft Tone Your winter Bulletin was the school’s best. It is very professional. It has just the right Taft tone. What’s more, the layout is creative and the articles are most readable. Too bad alumni notes for some classes can’t be better. Congratulations. The issue must have been exciting to create and edit. Yes, I was in publishing for 40 years. —Bernie Auer ’35

Something Phishy


In Camelot The whole spring issue was, of course, terribly moving. What a wonderful stamp Lance Odden has put upon cameloticus watertownicus! Most impressive to me was his talk to the faculty about Horace Taft. I was allowed to enter Taft at the last moment, with dismal grades from a California prep school, at the age of 15, solely because my grandfather Judge Wm. H. Hunt, had been a friend and classmate of Mr. Taft at Yale. My grandfather wrote an “inspite-of-doleful-grades-the-lad-has-certain…” letter which caused Mr. Taft to ask Mr. Cruikshank to accept me “in spite of, etc.” Mr. Taft’s Lincolnesque lanky figure around the campus was almost taken for granted, but he always inspired awe and respect from the faculty and students—and, above all, from the seemingly autocratic and cold Paul Cruikshank. I took a civics class from Mr. Taft—I’ve forgotten how many sessions it was. It was held in “Jocko” Reardon’s classroom—and I was too dumb to realize how very valuable it was to understand how our great government works. But all of us, in the class and in the school, realized what a privilege it was to be in the presence of this distinguished man. And so I am grateful, as always, to Lance for reminding us once again that Taft didn’t just grow like Topsy but was the child of an exemplary human being. Like Lance Odden. —Barnaby Conrad ’40

Heroes I read Lance’s article on Mr. Taft last night and it certainly evoked memories. His question about heroes is apt. For some reason my heroes have been teachers, if not formal classroom ones, those that showed a way. Certainly Dougie the Rock, Joe Cunningham, and John Small are on my list. Not that they had to struggle to overcome obstacles, but that they taught a way and lived it. It was so nice the last time I visited the school, which must have been 1995, to see the photos of significant masters in the faculty room [Woolworth library] and to have known/had them. I think there were 17 depicted, and I knew 13. I was a little puzzled in an earlier Bulletin at a letter from a person who graduated not too far ahead of me saying that the masters in his time were aloof and relations with them were dis-

tant at best. My experience was quite the opposite, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if most boys’ were similar to mine. My roomie and I spent countless hours in Mr. Small’s “flat” as he called it, and Dougie the Rock could be depended upon to provide a shoulder to cry upon. My first Thanksgiving there Len Sargent loaned me a pair of skates and cooked for the few of us that stayed over. I will say that it was up to the boy to initiate anything, though. Masters were nothing but very fair. Tall Paul Cruikshank was aloof, but that was his job. He knew more about us than we thought. He was always “suggesting” that it was time for me to get a haircut. One time he approached me in the hall and said, “Tommy, I know you have fourth period free tomorrow, and I notice that there is an opening in the barber’s schedule during that time, so why don’t we go over to the bulletin board and sign you up?” —Tommy Hickcox ’57

Conservation Quartet Congratulations on a most exciting winter issue of the Bulletin—exciting, especially for me, because it brings together four friends, former students, and colleagues who have shared with me their love of nature and their strong desire to conserve it. Perhaps by chance that issue of the Bulletin is strongly directed toward the environment and its conservation. John Gwynne [’67] has devoted his life to delivering the conservation message. This is reflected in the work that he is doing with the Wildlife Conservation Society, but John is also a talented artist. In addition to his work at WCS, he is the artist for the field guide, The Birds of Venezuela. Early in his career he painted the birds described in The Field Guide to the Birds of Panama. Two years ago on a birding trip to Venezuela I waited with the trip guide in the Caracas airport for the rest of the group to arrive from Miami. The young leader told me he was excited because John Wayne was going to be on the trip. I finally realized with delight that John Wayne was really John Gwynne. In the letters to the editor, Lee Jordan and her children Joyce ’74, Bob Jr., and Ginny ’80 have corrected a misconception concerning Bob Poole’s [’50] death in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1978. Bob, too, was a dedicated conservationist. As the Peace Corps director for all of Africa and later director for Kenya he was







particularly interested in the animals of Africa. Later, through his work with the Smithsonian Institution and as Africa director in Nairobi for the African Wildlife Foundation, he devoted his energies to conserving the wildlife of East Africa. The year before Bob died, I visited the Pooles in Nairobi. Although the border to Tanzania was closed to tourists, Bob got permission for me and his family to enter Tanzania and to camp in wonderful places such as Ngorongoro Crater and the Crater Highlands. These were lifetime experiences for me. Len Sargent, whose generosity to Taft is reflected on the last page, was a dedicated conservationist also. Len was a leader in the efforts to conserve land and wildlife in Montana and in the area surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Because of this he was pretty much in conflict with his rancher neighbors. He once told me that he believed he was the most hated man in Montana. Because of his work in Montana, he served on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Among many memories of Len was one when I was a first-year student at Taft in 1938. He often took some of us on picnics to a cabin he had built near Nonnewaug Falls in Woodbury. These were welcome breaks for a scared new student at Taft. Another friend who has shared his love of nature with me is Willy MacMullen [’78]. Willy has devoted his life to teaching and coaching, but he still has been a conservationist. He is a sometime birder and as a senior at Taft, spent a few birding hours with me. In the process he discovered a pond down the road toward Woodbury, where he still pursues his first love, fishing. Willy tells me he has already directed two seniors to this pond for fishing. By chance, the winter issue brought together these wonderful people, and in a common cause. —Neil Currie ’41, faculty emeritus

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

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001




Merrow Wins Peabody Award Reporting is very much like detective work, explains John Merrow ’59, a 25year veteran of the education beat whose latest television program, School Sleuth: The Case of the Excellent School, received

PeabodyAward-Winner John Merrow ’59 as the School Sleuth on PBS. After years of reporting, Merrow says he isn’t sure how he feels about winning the award for the first role in which he doesn’t play himself. 6

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

a Peabody Award in May. The show aired on PBS last fall. In it, Merrow plays a private detective—complete with trenchcoat and fedora—who seeks out characteristics of excellence in schools, exploring different issues in each segment. The program tackles issues of school safety, both physical and psychological, as well as academics. Although the awards luncheon this year was at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, the University of Georgia journalism school is home to the Peabodys. Thirty-four awards were given from 1,100 nominations, and although many go to news and public affairs program, The West Wing and The Sopranos were also among this year’s winners. Pat Mitchell, president of PBS, told the New York Times she’s a fan of the Peabody, because unlike other awards, there are no set categories, citing Merrow’s School Sleuth as excellent journalism that defies the usual labels. School Sleuth came out of a “whimsical memo” Merrow wrote about his own experiences as a teacher and education reporter, along with his suggestions for improving education. That evolved, in turn, into Choosing

Excellence: “Good Enough” Schools are not Good Enough (Scarecrow Press, 2000). “Choosing Excellence is vintage Merrow: thoughtful, engaging, and delightfully opinionated,” writes Jerome Murphy, Harold Howe II [’36] Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “With passion and common sense, he provides a tonic for parents fed up with the testing mania and looking for better ways to evaluate schools.” NEA Today says the book reads like one of Merrow’s “fast-moving education debates” on television. Combining expert testimony along with real-life stories from students and teachers he’s met over his quarter-century in the field, Merrow examines such issues as technology, charter schools, attention deficit disorder, and high-stakes testing. “We’re arguing that ‘good enough’ is the enemy of excellence,” Merrow says. “Not all award-winning schools have what I’d call excellence in all areas.” Merrow is executive producer/host and president of Learning Matters, the nonprofit production company he formed in 1995 that produces The Merrow Report and Making the Grade, which airs on PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, as well as programs for National Public Radio. For more information on any of these programs, visit


Darker Side of Dance Tara Lee ’93, now in her sixth season with the Atlanta Ballet, will perform the female lead in the company’s upcoming production of Dracula. Lee trained with Donna Bonasera of the Connecticut Dance Theatre while growing up in Connecticut. Additionally she studied under Shamil Yagudin of the Bolshoi and was awarded full scholarships to the schools of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Joffrey Ballet; she joined Joffrey II upon her graduation from Taft. In Atlanta, Lee has performed the works of John McFall, Lila York, Ben Stevenson, and David Parsons. Last season, she was featured in Michael Pink’s Dracula (as Mina), Stanton Welch’s world premiere A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, and Diane Coburn-Bruning’s Berceuse. Lee also assisted John McFall in staging the London premiere of Peter Pan. One of the most shocking love stories ever written, the unearthly passion of Dracula, has mesmerized readers and audiences for over 100 years. This ballet illuminates Jonathan Harker’s journey to Transylvania and the mesmerizing powers Count Dracula casts over him, the beautiful Lucy and the doomed Mina. Dracula is an elegant, wickedly dark drama of love, blood lust, loss and redemption. Part of the Romance Classics Series, Dracula will run again from February 7–10, 2002. For more information, visit 䉲 Armando Luna and Tara Lee ’93 in Dracula, directed and choreographed by Michael Pink, at the Fabulous Fox Theatre February 7–10, 2002. PHOTO BY KIM KENNEY

Piedmont College Names Business School for Harry Walker

Piedmont College Business School Dean Bill Piper; President W. Ray Cleere; and Harry Walker ’40 and his wife Thea unveil the plaque for the new Harry W. Walker School of Business at the college in Demorest, Georgia. PHOTO COURTESY OF PIEDMONT COLLEGE

The sound of construction is in the air at Piedmont College, where work is under way on the new home for the Harry W. Walker School of Business. Renovation of a three-story brick building will be completed this fall. When finished, the building will house Piedmont’s undergraduate business administration programs and the new MBA program. President W. Ray Cleere formally revealed the business school’s new name at a special dinner to honor Harry Walker ’40, trustee emeritus and former chairman of the board of trustees at Piedmont. Fellow trustees recounted how Walker had helped spur more than a decade of major improvements at the college, including new buildings and academic programs. Walker, of Vero Beach, Florida, is a native of Connecticut and graduated from Yale in 1944. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. After the war, he began a career in industry that took him all over the world. In 1972, he founded Sunsweet Fruit Inc. in Vero Beach and served as its president and CEO until he recently retired. He has served on the boards of several corporations, including Carpenter Technology Corp., a leading manufacturer of specialty steel alloys. A former trustee at Taft, Walker serves as trustee of the Ruth Camp Campbell Foundation, and chairman of the Camp-Younts Foundation. He is on the Yale development board and was elected to the Piedmont board of trustees in 1987. Piedmont trustee Philip Ballard said Walker’s “adoption” of Piedmont College came at just the right time. “An industrialist and entrepreneur with a long history of philanthropy, Harry knew what Piedmont needed and he set about to see that the college got it,” he said. Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Fighting Gravity

New Alumni Trustee David M. Coit ’65 is this year’s alumni trustee, as elected by alumni ballot and announced at the luncheon on Alumni Weekend in May. David’s father, Charles A. Coit, was a member of the Class of 1935, and his eldest son, Charlie ’04, returns to Taft as a middler this fall. Together they have attended the school under all five heads. A graduate of Yale University, where he earned a degree in economics, and Harvard Business School, earning an MBA in 1975, David spent three years in the Navy. He formed North Atlantic Capital Corporation in Portland, Maine, in 1984 and has been a member of numerous privately held and public company boards of directors related to his investment activities on behalf of North Atlantic Capital. Nonprofit boards on which he has served include Maine Science & Technology Foundation (Governor’s appointment as chairman), Schepens Eye Research Institute (an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School), the Portland Concert Association, and the Yale Sailing Associates. David has run in eight marathons, including four Boston Marathons, and enjoys traveling and sailing with his wife Margaret and their sons Charlie and John. David will serve a four-year term on the school’s board of trustees. 8

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

Fighting Gravity, a novel by Peggy Rambach ’76, tells the story of Ellie Rifkin, a 19year-old college student from a privileged Jewish background. When she meets 41-year-old Gerard Babineau, he is a hard-drinking, Catholic ex-marine with a couple of ex-wives and several children in his life. A professor and writer, he singles Ellie out at a reading of his work, and shortly thereafter, they marry and have a baby. What gives this somewhat familiar tale its twist is the accident that occurs when Ellie, pregnant with a second child, receives a call from the hospital explaining that Babineau, who has stopped to help a motorist on the highway, has been seriously injured. Alternating between the present—the aftermath of Babineau’s accident and the painful disintegration of the marriage—and the past—the courtship and early marriage of the couple—Rambach moves beyond the mere consideration of a relationship between an older man and a younger woman. The response to their sudden misfortune, the issues of their differing faiths, the pain that we cause to those we love, the question of our choices and their connection to fate—Rambach encounters these issues in a personal consideration so vulnerable that it is often painful to read, though ultimately, it is this vulnerability that leaves us reading, rapt, hoping against hope that things will work out. When they do not, Rambach raises the question of self. She writes, says Carolyn Chute “with a clarity and honesty novelists and poets avoid.” The movement between the past and present, the third person narration of a highly personal account, and sheer pain of a relationship gone awry—so dramatically and so quickly—contribute to an engaging novel of love, survival, and ultimately, moving on. “Her prose is wiry, deft, and piercingly descriptive,” writes the New York Times. Former English teacher Jerry Romano praises the “clean, tight writing that cuts deeply with controlled passion and enormous insight. It leaves unsaid what ultimately demands to be left unsaid in such an intense and extraordinary relationship, all the while pulling the reader deeper and deeper into those dark truths with its brilliant play of time and sequence.” Rambach, the author of When Animals Leave, has published stories in the North American Review, Epoch, and the Indiana Review. Fighting Gravity was written with the support of a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant, and Rambach acknowledges, among others, former faculty member “Denny Blodget, who has believed in me since I was a high school girl.” A middleschool teacher and mother of two girls, Rambach was married to the writer Andre Dubus, who died last year. Although a work of fiction, Fighting Gravity [Steerforth Press] is based on their time together. —Debbie Phipps


Adirondack Museum Opens Mark W. Potter Education Center where he spent much of his life painting. In tribute to his father’s affection for the Adirondacks, his son Steve ’73 has dedicated a new building at the Adirondack Museum in his father’s name. The Mark W. Potter Education Center at the museum offers a variety of programs for young and old that interpret the story of the Adirondacks. With this The Mark W. Potter Education Center at the new building the museum’s eduAdirondack Museum. cation staff provide classes for Those who remember Mark Potter ’48 school children, workshops, demonstrarecall his love of the Adirondacks and the tions and seminars all year long. This tribute family’s property at Brandreth Lake, truly captures Mark’s devotion to teaching

and his passion for the Adirondacks. The building was constructed last year and dedicated in July. When the Adirondack Museum opened in May the Mark W. Potter Education Center was fully staffed and ready for workshops, classes, and seminars. The museum celebrated Brandreth Day on August 1 with a reception for the Potter and extended Brandreth family members at the education center. The Adirondack Museum is located in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, in the heart of the Adirondacks, and is open from May 25 through October 14, 2001. Plan a trip in person or visit online at

Allergy Alert


Paul Ehrlich ’62 is quoted in a June 10 New York Times Magazine articled called “The Allergy Prison.” A pediatric immunologist in New York City, Ehrlich holds a monthly support group in his office, writes Susan Dominus, “where a sign emblazoned with bold red letters informs visitors: absolutely no food or drink allowed. The parents come to the office for safety and reassurance; instead, a current of anxiety seems to flow from one parent to the next as the conversation repeatedly circles its way back to worst-case scenarios, stray ingredients and lapses in their own vigilance or that of manufacturers.” For those of us who grew up in the days before antibacterial soap, when the 10-second rule and the phrase “you’ve got to eat a peck of dirt before you die” were as common as the mud pies the kid next door used to consume (did you think the Rugrats and their juicy worms were pure invention?), allergies are probably something we associate with bee stings or hay fever. But the world is clearly changing. In less than ten years antibodies to peanuts alone had increased by 55 percent, and allergic reaction increased by 95 percent, according to one study. Ironically, one of the theories for the increase in immune reactions is the absence of dirt and disease in our lives today. To the nonallergenic among us, the detailed precautions in our schools and calls for stricter food labeling requirements may seem extreme, but when a milligram of some food can send your child into anaphylactic shock, parents feel no effort is too great. “I tell my patients, if people point at you when you walk down the street and say, ‘Look at that neurotic parent,’” Ehrlich told the Times, “then and only then are you being careful enough.” (See also “Breathing in the Bronx,” spring 1999)

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



King of the Domain

With over 1,400 domains in his collection, Hal Meyer ’82 is probably in the top quarter of private collectors, buying about 100 domains a month. Although there are over 30 million registered domain names, only a fraction of those actually have websites at them. NEWS-TIMES/DAVID W. HARPLE

At DotCom Cowboy he buys domain names. At he provides free e-mail addresses for more than a thousand people who want something out of the ordinary. No doubt about it, Hal Meyer ’82 is an Internet entrepreneur. “Back in 1998, I was doing a lot of web searching—still do!” says Meyer, “and to make things easier, I uploaded a page on one of my sites where I listed ‘all search engines.’ It was a pretty bare-bones page, but it was still my favorite. I told some friends about it, and everybody loved it, and it mushroomed and look at it today!” now gets around 10,000 hits a day. “It’s starting to make money,” he told the News-Times 10

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

of Danbury, Connecticut. Meyer gets paid up to three cents for every visitor that clicks onto another site.

Later that year, he attracted the attention of the major news networks with the creation of, which published the entire transcript of Kenneth Starr’s investigation report on President Bill Clinton and received over 15 million hits. At, Meyer uses his naming knowledge to consult for corporate clients about naming, branding, and corporate identity. He’s also created Novelint, a “business team for intellectual property enforcement.” “Mostly we deal with patent infringement situations, but we also have an interest in copyright infringement and trademark infringement,” he says. The site even lures new clients with an allexpenses-paid fishing trip. “You have to figure out what your most profitable products are,” he told the News-Times, “and you have to think strategically.” His latest venture? Free e-mail sites for all the Ivies:,,,,,,, and Next he hopes to start an Internet service provider called and a venture capital firm at Source: Joe Hurley, Danbury News-Times

Athletic Honors Tammy Shewchuck ’97 has “scored more than anyone else who has ever played ice hockey at Harvard,” according to Harvard Magazine. She set Harvard career records this year for goals scored (152), assists (155), and points (307), bettering the marks of fellow Taftie A.J. Mleczko ’93 in all three categories (128, 129, and 257 respectively). Nick Kyme ’99, who plays squash for Trinity College, was named first team All-American. Max Montgelas ’99, who plays squash for Williams College, earned the Malloy Championship from the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association.








10 Questions for Jeffrey Baxter ’67, Crossover Artist

Once a guitarist for the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, now an adviser to the Pentagon, the man called Skunk explains why a thumping bass is the nation’s best defense. Q: How does a Doobie Brother become a national adviser on missile defense? A:

It started with consulting for musicalinstrument companies. I would read the defense magazines to find out what the latest technologies were and try to apply them to digital recording.

Q: Really? Is there a lot of crossover? A: A data-compression algorithm that might be useful in the military arena would have much the same utility in a recording arena. As I read different magazines, I started to gather information on things like the offboresight capability of an AIM-9 missile.

Q: That wouldn’t really be too helpful in a future Doobie Brothers reunion. A:

No. However, one day I sat down and wrote a paper about converting the Aegis system, which is a defense system for American carrier battle groups, to do theater missile defense. I didn’t know what to do

with it. So I gave it to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who’s a friend of mine. Congressman Curt Weldon asked me to form a citizen’s advisory board for missile defense.


Of course. I have been blessed to grow up in a country where I can pick up a guitar and be able to pay the rent. But I could certainly have a full-time job in the national security area and still play the guitar. A lot of people in Washington play music.

Q: I read that John Cale is a big reader of missile defense magazines, and so is one of the guys in Brian Setzer’s band. Is there a claque of gearhead musicians who talk about military hardware between gigs?

Q: Who on the Hill has chops? A: Orrin Hatch is a very good songwriter.

I think so. There’s no doubt that the techheads of the music world certainly see it as an extension of what they do.

Congressman Collin Peterson is a good guitar player and a really fine performer. Chris Cox is a fine lyricist.


Q: Given your dual life, do you ever Q: Have you plugged in with any of have one of those Spinal Tap “Hello, Cleveland” moments when you forget which role you are performing?


I have never showed up at a war game with a guitar or showed up at a recording session with a space-based-laser briefing book.

these guys, maybe gone through a little “Black Water”?


Absolutely. Collin Peterson and I a couple of years ago put together a band and did a benefit for the families of the Capitol police officers who were killed. We did something together at Farm Aid a year ago.

Q: When you go to the Hill, do people ask you about missile defense or about what it was like to be in Steely Dan?

Q: What’s the nickname Skunk for? A: That’s an interesting question.

Both. It opens an interesting avenue for dialogue. Another area I’ve been thinking about is what Joseph Nye called “soft power” and the idea that the tremendous influence the United States has in the world is not only due to its military prowess but to its cultural prowess—Elvis Presley, blue jeans, Baywatch. If that’s true, then you could make the argument that artistic freedom is a national security issue.

—John Leland, ©New York Times Magazine. Reprinted with permission



Q: Would you give up rock ’n’ roll to save the world?

If someone is more interested in trying to find the roots of how I got my nickname than they are to read information about weapons of mass destruction, it gives me a little insight into the depth of this person’s commitment to information and life in general. It’ll be in my book.

Jeff Baxter ’67 is the real thing, missile-defense experts told the Washington Post. “Jeff is amazingly astute when it comes to this sort of thing,” said Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the government agency that oversees all missile defense programs. “He knows far more than I do, and I’ve been in the Air Force for 21 years.” Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



pond Alumni Honor Mark W. Potter ’48 The new Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery was officially dedicated over Alumni Weekend. Many of Mark’s former students donated examples of their work to create a permanent Alumni Collection

The Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery “is already a part of daily life for students and faculty at Taft,” says art teacher Louetta Chickadaunce. “It is a beautiful space and a great tribute to Potter.”

The gallery exhibits the work of students, visiting artists, alumni and traveling exhibits. The Alumni Collection was on view from April 4 to May 27. Artists who gave or loaned work for the exhibit are Barnaby Conrad ’40, Richard S. duPont ’60, Fred X. Brownstein Jr. ’64, David Armstrong ’65, Kenneth Rush Jr. ’67, Langdon Quin ’68, John Richard Whitton Bria ’69, Rod Beebe ’71, Wendy Weaver Chaix ’74, Joseph C. Sinsbaugh ’75, Elizabeth P. Hiden ’78, Barry Thompson ’78, Galen W. Cheney ’80, Lee F. Goss ’80, Marc Leuthold ’80, Robert F. Whitmer ’80, Debra Zawadzki ’80, Clare Sullivan Adams ’81, William S. Hudders ’82, Jennifer Glenn Wuerker ’83, Aaron Wuerker, Leslie Banker ’88, Kathryn A. Jellinghaus ’89, Tara Nora Wymes ’90, Kendall Ayoub ’92, Jeff Borkowski ’95, and Juliana Gamble ’95. If you would like to contribute to the permanent

The entire Potter family gathered on Alumni Weekend to witness the dedication of the Mark W. Potter Gallery, including Mark’s wife Bobbie, their children—Mark ’72, Steve ’73, Andrew ’75, Barbie ’79, and Jeff ’80—and cousin Bing Bingham ’64. 12

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collection, please contact Lou Chickadaunce at


When ISP Stands for Ice, Seas, and Penguins

Ned Farmer ’01 on his Independent Study Project trip to Antarctica in February.

Independent Study Projects often fall in three general areas: arts, science, and occasionally travel. An ISP veteran, Vanessa Wood ’01 has won awards for her ISPs in music and physics, and has also done independent work in French. “Vanessa’s physics project was amazingly cool,” said ISP director Rick Lansdale, “especially since she put together an ISP cello concert last year. Ayuko Nakamura’s piano concert was fabulous, as was Reina Mooney’s dance recital. This was clearly a talented group of students.”

“My attraction to Antarctica began on my first trip down to Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America, when I was eleven,” said Ned Farmer ’01, who created an Independent Study Project this spring based on a February trip to the southernmost continent. “I got hooked on glaciers, icebergs, seals, penguins, whales, and mountains,” Ned said, “and I saw an opportunity to educate the Taft community about a fascinating part of the world.” Ned created a slide show of his voyage and wrote a paper relating famous Antarctic expeditions “to my own odyssey.” A New York City native, but frequent traveler, Ned’s trip to Antarctica was only the next installment in a series of adventures. By the age of 17 he had traveled to remote regions of Iceland, hiked the Pyrenees, Alps, Adirondacks, and the Mt. Cook range in New Zealand, climbed Ben Nevis (the tallest mountain in the U.K.), and explored the Canadian High Arctic and Greenland—each drawing him closer to the “most beautiful and most remote” place on earth. Embarking on his voyage in February, Ned found himself—one day out on the Southern Ocean in the Drake Passage—in a cyclone with 95 mph winds (hurricane force is 72) and 40- to 50-foot seas. “What I got most out of the trip,” said Ned, “was an unparalleled appreciation and respect for nature and for the sea.”

The following is a list of this year’s projects: Nirica Borges ’01, Perspectives: A Study of Glazes Victoria Choi ’01, Music Box Mechanism Victor Chu ’01, Raku: A Different Approach to Pottery Bancha Dhammarungruang ’01, Visual C++: The Theory and the Application Nathaniel Farmer ’01, A Voyage to Antarctica—The Forgotten Continent Leigh Fisher ’01, Study of the Harp Throughout History Tyler Jennings ’02, A Play: The Metempsychosis of Forgotten Grace Ravi Katkar ’02, Friday-Saturday-Tuesday, A Film Trilogy Tom Keidel ’02, Self-Composed and Performed Full-Length Music CD Samantha Ladd ’01, Woodworking Mihoko Maru ’01, Teaching Japanese Culture to JSL Students Angrette McCloskey ’02, Theatrical Reflections Tim Monahan ’02, Raku: A Different Approach to Pottery Reina Mooney ’02, Body, Mind, and Spirit—Exploration in Choreography Ayuko Nakamura ’02, Piano Possibilities Maiko Nakarai ’02, Japanese Calligraphy Vincent Ng ’01, Visual C++: The Theory and the Application David Sicher ’01, Jazz Trio Dan Teicher ’02, An Application of Music Theory to Guitar Rob Terenzi ’01, Jazz Trio Kelly Wang ’01, Oil Painting in Various Styles Vanessa Wood ’01, Monte Carlo Methods with Applications in Physics

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



In Brief Faculty News Lance Odden received an honorary degree from Middlebury College in May. The following faculty members received endowed chairs: Louetta Chickadaunce: The van Beuren Family Chair Mike Townsend: Edwin C. Douglas Chair John Piacenza: Henry L. Hillman ’37 Chair Laura Erickson: Leonard R. Sargent Chair Linda Saarnijoki: William E. Sullivan Chair Linda Saarnijoki will also serve as the acting director of the library for the coming year. Penny Townsend has been named dean of faculty, Alison Jastromb Carlson will serve as interim head of the Modern Language Department, and Jennifer Bogue Kenerson will succeed Patsy Odden as assistant director of athletics.

After completing a second year of fieldwork at Taft, Jon Bernon received his MS in social work from Columbia University. He will serve Taft as school counselor, working with Jean Piacenza ’75, who will take on the role of director of counseling and community health. Departing faculty this year include Amy Bernon, Sheila Boyd, Thibault DeChazal, Garrett Forbes, Michael Hill, Bill Hinrichs, Christine Lalande, Tony Lambert, Susan 14

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

Eight months in production, the latest Rick Doyle video, Exposed, is receiving high acclaim. Shot in the small town of Peabody, Kansas, last summer with Taft students, Exposed is the “continuing story of AIDS,” Rick said. “It’s aimed at young adults who are the largest growing population of new infections.” The goal of the hour-long production is to educate people that there is still no cure for the disease. Cast members Cordy Wagner ’01, Eric Hansen ’99, and Rachel Holmes ’00 were nominated for Regional Emmys. Gary Roosa ’02 was nominated for sound. “The mileage we’re getting from Exposed is incredible,” Cordy, who held the lead role, told The Papyrus. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done.” “What pleased me most about the final product,” said video/acting teacher Doyle, “is its believability. People who’ve been HIV positive for nearly ten years came up to me after seeing the movie and said ‘This is right on.’” To add to the film’s credibility, some scenes were taped at an AIDS center in Torrington, Connecticut, with actual AIDS counselors. Exposed was shown in Bingham Auditorium on the large screen and on Cablevision 5 of Litchfield.

Steel Magnolias Blossoms came early to Watertown as Helena Fifer’s Advanced Acting class put on its spring production, Steel Magnolias. Audrey Banks ’02 and Faith Rose ’02, with Grace Morris ’02 and Kat Tuckerman ’01 in the background, get into some serious girl talk at “Truvy’s Hair Salon,” the set designed by Japanese teacher Russ Wasden. The cast also included Manya Albertson ’02 and Meghan

Stone ’01. In the final week of rehearsal AP exams and Red Inc. deadlines loomed, said Audrey, but she’s never had so much fun with a class. “We made countless trips to thrift stores collecting costumes that promised to win laughs and made embarrassing runs to the dining hall with our curled hair bouncing behind us. I wouldn’t trade this experience with anything.” Audiences agreed. VAUGHN WINCHELL

Brian Denyer will be on sabbatical leave. He has received a fellowship to spend part of the year at University of St. Andrews, Scotland.



Loyd, Sasha Lyapin, Jess Matzkin ’90, Tim Palombo, Peter Press, Bebeth Schenk, and Molly Williams. Lance and Patsy Odden retired, in case you didn’t catch that earlier.

On Behalf of Liberal Arts Dr. John Agresto spoke about the merits of a truly liberal arts education at a School Meeting in March and again that afternoon with faculty. The fourth speaker in the Paduano Lecture Series in Philosophy and Ethics, Agresto is the former president of St. John’s College in New Mexico. He is the author of a number of articles and three books on constitutional democracy. He also served as assistant deputy and acting chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities. In his address to the school, he spoke on making decisions in the college process and the spirit of education.

All-State Musicians Rockwell Visiting Artist Mitch Lyons demonstrates his clay monoprint technique in the Arts and Humanities Center studio. GREG STEVENS ’02

Rockwell Visiting Artists The school community benefited from the presence of two visiting artists this spring, funded by Taft’s Rockwell Visiting Artist program. First, Mitch Lyons, an accomplished potter turned printmaker, came to campus in April. Lyons has been experimenting with clay monoprints in his New London, Pennsylvania, studio for the last 20 years. His clay monoprints can be found in numerous private and public collections throughout the U.S., including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Woodmere Museum, American University, and the University of Delaware. He has taught at several colleges and universities and

has led more than 100 workshops over the past 10 years. Later that month, artist Alison Barnes presented a talk on the “Landscape as Lyric and Narrative.” An accomplished artist, writer, teacher, and editor, Barnes says her most recent collection of photographs was made in her hometown of Deerfield, Massachusetts, and reveal landscapes embedded with both stories of the past and contemporary times. Both artists spent the day in classes and working with students following their School Meeting talks. The fund was established by Sherburne B. Rockwell Jr. ’41 and H.P. Davis Rockwell ’44.

Seniors Foster Chiang and Sara Jacovino performed, on violin and trombone respectively, with the All-State Orchestra and Jazz Band at the Hartford Bushnell to a full house in April. “The concert was an immense success,” said music instructor T.J. Thompson, “and their acceptance to such a high-caliber ensemble is a phenomenal achievement on both their parts.”

Meditation and Memory Dr. Herbert Benson, director of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard and author of The Relaxation Response, spoke with faculty in April about the research in which lowermid biology students participated this year. A cardiologist by

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



training, Dr. Benson has spent more than 20 years looking for ways to counteract the harmful effects of stress on the body. Working to bridge the gap between medicine, religion, and science, he has focused on ways self-care—such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management—can supplement surgery and medication. Ninth grade biology students spent part of their course this year studying the effects of meditation on memory.

Postcards from Taft

Beloved Online Molly Williams’ English classes participated in a Bread Loaf/NEHfunded grant program. Along with a teacher at the American School in Switzerland, she asked her classes to have online discussions about Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Jeff Nunokawa of Princeton University facilitated the discussion. The goals of the exchange were to increase student awareness to issues of ‘audience’ in critical writing, emphasizing responsible, well-supported arguments; to emphasize the necessity for clear, concise writing; to encourage a more intimate reading of a challenging text; and to expose students to the opinions of peers from non-American perspectives as they tackle themes of racism, memory and national history. “The Beloved project worked beautifully,” Molly said, “because the students were so committed. I think almost all would agree that it helped raise the intellectual bar in class because it demanded participation, and those who normally don’t speak were able to contribute much to the conference.”


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

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Better by Design Taft entered seven teams in Boston University’s engineering design competition in June. The competition involves building a vehicle no bigger than one foot in any dimension and powered only by two AA batteries. At the start of each race, two teams face off at the ends of a 16-foot-long, 12inch-wide track, and their vehicles deposit a hackey sack into a six-inch hole halfway down, returning to the starting line in as close to 15 seconds—without going over—as possible. Five of Taft’s seven teams were among the sixteen semifinalists (out of 130). After two more rounds, Tim Monahan ’02 and Tucker Serenbetz ’03, and the three-man team of middlers Steven Ambadjes, Pea Phadana-Anake, and Khanh Do Ba— represented by Steven—moved on to the finals, with Steven accumulating the highest point total.

Tim and Tucker wound up fourth overall, and Steven won the next three rounds to move into the final race to determine the overall champion. “Everyone crowded around the one track to watch the last race,” said advisor Jim Mooney. “Both cars zoomed down the track, but Steven’s sack fell through just a fraction of a second behind his rival’s, and so he ended up second overall, with some nice trophies and a $10,000 scholarship if he goes to Boston University.” The other teams were uppermids Grace Morris and Neena Qasba; Jeff Fielding ’04; middlers John Spatola and Tyler Auer; middlers Emily Marano and Meghan Gallagher; and uppermids Jason Chen and Henry Tsai. Because the competition took place after the end of the school year, several students could not attend, but at least one memb;er was present for every team. All put in long hours on their entries.

Bruce Trammell Named Head Mon If you told Bruce Trammell ’02 when he was a lowermid that one day he would be head mon, he probably wouldn’t have believed you. At the time, he didn’t think he’d return to Taft the next year. “This was not at all in the plan,” he says. “I hated leaving all my friends from home. I didn’t try anything here; it was the worst year of my life.” His parents insisted he stick it out, though, and Bruce began to get involved in NAALSA, UCT, the Diversity Committee, writing for The Pap, and tutoring his fellow students and even a Naugatuck neighbor in math and physics. Only the second day student elected to the post, Bruce has decided to board for his senior year to make his schedule a little easier. He’s also agreed to keep a journal of his year for the school archives. “Tarik [Asmerom ’01] told me it’s not going to hit me until I come back and have to give my first speech,” he said. “I’m ready for it, though, and excited to be here for the change in heads, this crucial point in Taft’s history. I’m glad to be part of it.”

Of Math and Milkshakes The Math Team concluded its most successful season ever, reports advisor Ted Heavenrich. Students took a series of six New England Mathematics League contests over the span of six months. Each month the sum of the top five scores became the team score. This year the team scored 160 (out of a possible 180), which placed them first in the region and 16th in all of New England (out of about 250 competing schools). “In our region we just edged out Kent and New Milford High School while clobbering Hotchkiss,” Ted said. In New England only three boarding schools (most of the competing schools are public) did better than Taft. There were several standout individual performances. Khanh Do Ba ’03 was one of only six students in New England to get perfect scores on all his tests. Senior King Luanphaisarnnont was close behind. Other top scorers included seniors Ha Tran and Victoria Choi, James Lee ’03, and uppermids Kyle Dolan, Maiko Nakarai, and Natalie Ie. “My standard incentives of giving a milkshake for every perfect test and for the top five cumulative scorers practically bankrupted me this year!” said Ted.

Uppermid Honors In a special assembly, the following uppermiddlers were recognized for their outstanding performance this year: Kara McCabe, Harvard Book Award; Bridget Baudinet, Dartmouth Book Prize; Cassidy Morris, Holy Cross College Book Award; Audrey Banks, Smith Book Award; Arllyn Hernandez, Brown

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



Poole Fellowships Continuing the tradition of service to the global community exemplified by Bob Poole ’50, eleven Taft students received grants for summer projects. Uppermids Faith Rose and Blair Boggs worked at the Bermuda Aquarium. David Gambone ’03 worked with World Horizons in St. Lucia. Andrew Yarbrough ’02 spent five weeks in Samoa. Taylor Snyder ’02 worked with Rustic Pathways in Fiji. Christina Jankowski ’02 traveled to Ecuador for a month of community service and language immersion. Alexandra Rickards ’02 went to Cuba to make a documentary on the effects of communism on daily life. Dan Riley ’02 went to Cordoba, Spain, to join a local community service program. Marc Moorer ’02 worked with Tokyo Volunteer Action to help refugees in the Izu Islands, one of which recently became an active volcano. Elise Mariner ’02 spent a month in Kenya doing a wildlife management study, and Marci McCormack ’02 volunteered with a children’s summer school program in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.


University Book Award; Kyle Dolan, Hamilton College Prize; Annabelle Razack, Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award; Kuan-Chi Tsai, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal; Maiko Nakarai, Xerox Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences; Bridget Baudinet, John T. Reardon Prize in U.S. History; Timothy Monahan, David Edward Goldberg Memorial Award in ISP; Norah Garry and Jenny Zhang, Michaels Jewelers Citizenship Award.

Summer Reading We asked faculty what books they thought would make for good reading this summer. Some are light beachside reading, others more thoughtful tomes. So if you have a few spare hours in your future, here are our recommendations for some time well spent. And we promise you won’t have to write a book report.  The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan —Amy Bernon  Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin —Tom Fritz  Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates  Nothing Like It in the World: The Men who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863–1869 by Stephen E. Ambrose  Naked by David Sedaris  Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx  Nothing but Blue Skies by Thomas McGuane  Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez  A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson  Broken Vessels by Andre Dubus —Greg Hawes ’85  Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry —Ellen Hinman

 Hija de la fortuna/Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende —Jessica Matzkin ’90  Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously by Bill McKibben  Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier —Karla Palmer  Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King —Jerry and Anne Romano  A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Walker Percy —T. J. Thompson  The Way of the Wanderer: Discover Your True Self Through Travel by David Yeadon  The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell  The Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteacher’s Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling by John Taylor Gatto —Jon Willson ’82

And if you want to read what every Taft student and faculty member is reading this summer…  Ship Fever: Stories by Andrea Barrett, who is scheduled to speak at Taft on September 17. 18

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Alumni and Their Offspring at Taft Great Grandfathers Elias C. Atkins II* ’15 ............................................ Eliza A. Clark ’03 Thomas W. Chrystie* ’21 ............................. Peter H. Wyman Jr. ’05 Eugene W. Potter Sr.* ’17 ................................. William A. Schatz ’02 J. Stillman Rockefeller ’20 ........................... George S. McFadden ’03 Grandfathers Bernhard M. Auer ’35 .............................................. Tyler P. Auer ’03 Dexter B. Blake* ’33 (step) ............................... Sarah E. Bromley ’02 Edwin P. Boggs* ’40 .............................................. Blair M. Boggs ’02 G. Renfrew Brighton Jr. ’43 ................... Renfrew M. Brighton Jr. ’05 Robert A. Campbell ’34 .............................. Randolph H. Lamere ’04 Page Chapman* ’29 ......................................... James H. Wheeler ’05 Thomas L. Chrystie ’51 ................................ Peter H. Wyman Jr. ’05 Marshall Clark ’40 ............................................. Mary F. Graham ’04 Charles A. Coit* ’35 ........ Caroline M. Coit ’05, Charles M. Coit ’04 Benjamin E. Cole Jr. ’36 .................................... Ilan S. McKenna ’02 David W. Fenton ’48 ................................ Elizabeth W. Shepherd ’05 William J.H. Fischer Jr.* ’33 ................................ Jane B. Spencer ’03 Kenrick S. Gillespie* ’25 ................................ Eleanor S. Gillespie ’02 Robert G. Lee* ’41 ......................................... Emily C. Monahan ’04 Timothy D. Monahan ’02 J. Irwin Miller ’27 .............................................. Aaron I. Schiller ’02 Thomas F. Moore Jr. ’43 ............................ Marguerite L. Smythe ’03 Samuel M. Smythe ’05 John R. G. Ordway* ’38 ..................................... Peter T. Yawney ’04 Scott Pierce ’49 ..................................................... Pierce M. Brix ’04 William A. Pistell ’44 ...................................... Johanna M. Pistell ’04 James C. Sargent Sr. ’35 ............................ Stephen D. Sargent Jr. ’03 William Shields Jr.* ’29 ................................ Katherine M. Squire ’04 Cheves McC. Smythe ’42 ........................... Marguerite L. Smythe ’03 Samuel M. Smythe ’05 William B. Snyder Jr. ’41 .................................. Taylor M. Snyder ’02 Frederick W. Squires ’28 .................................. Ted S. Thompson ’02 Gordon B. Tweedy* ’24 ............................ Elisabeth T. McMorris ’05 Gordon B. McMorris ’04 Harry W. Walker II ’40 ................................... Webster C. Walker ’05 Charles F. C. Wemyss Sr. ’45 ......................... Jennifer W. Higgins ’02 John S. Wold ’34 ............. John C. Wold ’02, Cecily R. Longfield ’03 Parents Michael J. Aleksinas ’72 ................................... Marc A. Aleksinas ’02 Matthew J. Aleksinas ’02 Bruce E. Alspach ’71 ............................................ John P. Alspach ’03 John W. Biedermann ’77 .............................. John A. Biedermann ’03 Arthur F. Blake ’67 (step) .................................. Sarah E. Bromley ’02 George T. Boggs ’65 .............................................. Blair M. Boggs ’02 Renfrew M. Brighton ’74 ....................... Renfrew M. Brighton Jr. ’05 Peter S. Britell ’59 ......................................... Alexander C. Britell ’03 Adam R. Bronfman ’81 ..................................... Joshua Bronfman ’05 Gordon S. Calder Jr. ’65 ............................. Gordon S. Calder III ’03 Edward J. Cavazuti ’70 .................................... James E. Cavazuti ’02

June Pratt Clark ’72 ............................................... Eliza A. Clark ’03 Robert T. Clark ’72 David M. Coit ’65 .............................................. Charles M. Coit ’04 Carlotta Shields Dandridge ’74 .................... Katherine M. Squire ’04 Frederic P. Erdman ’71 .................................... Charles S. Erdman ’02 Frederick J. Fessenden III ’66 .................... Nicholas E. Fessenden ’03 Jeffrey Foote ’73 .................................................. Andrew J. Foote ’05 Peter A. Frew ’75 ............................................... Amanda L. Frew ’05 Michael D. Gambone* ’78 ............................. Ashley I. Gambone ’05 David M. Gambone ’03 David Gillespie ’60 ........................................ Eleanor S. Gillespie ’02 Richard T. Ginman ’66 .............................. Alexander T. Ginman ’03 John W. Gussenhoven ’65 ......................... Walter J. Gussenhoven ’02 Gordon P. Guthrie Jr. ’62 ........................... Gordon P. Guthrie III ’04 Eugene R. Hack Jr. ’65 ..................................... Rowena W. Hack ’03 Robert S. Jennings ’67 ...................................... Tyler C. Jennings ’02 Douglas G. Johnson ’66 ........................... Douglas G. Johnson Jr. ’04 Laura Gieg Kell ’73 .............................................. Abigail M. Kell ’02 Daniel K. F. Lam ’75 ....................................... Arthur H. Y. Lam ’03 Brian C. Lincoln ’74 ........................................... Gray B. Lincoln ’05 Nicholas D. LoRusso Jr.* ’72 ......................... Michael R. LoRusso’03 Laird A. Mooney ’73 ......................................... Clare E. Mooney ’05 Reina E. Mooney ’02 William G. Morris Jr. ’69 ................................. Cassidy A. Morris ’02 Frederick F. Nagle ’62 ....................................... Kierstin A. Nagle ’04 Cassandra Chia-Wei Pan ’77 .................................. Nicholas Chu ’05 Neil Peterson ’61 ................................................ Guy E. Peterson ’03 Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75 .............................. Lucia M. Piacenza ’04 Langdon C. Quin III ’66 ............................ Langdon C. Quin IV ’05 Jonathan R. Read ’74 .............................................. Colin J. Read ’02 Peter B. Rose ’74 ......................... Faith C. Rose ’02, Amy B. Rose ’04 Michael Schiavone ’59 (step) ................................ Nicholas Fisser ’02 Roy A. Schonbrun ’68 .............................. Zachary S. Schonbrun ’05 Lynn Creviston Shiverick ’76 ....................... William L. Shiverick ’04 James L. Smythe ’70 .................................. Marguerite L. Smythe ’03 Samuel M. Smythe ’05 John P. Snyder III ’65 ........................................... Torie T. Snyder ’04 W. Bunker Snyder Jr. ’68 .................................. Taylor M. Snyder ’02 Clayton B. Spencer ’56 ........................................ Jane B. Spencer ’03 Laney Barroll Stark ’79 ....................................... Samuel B. Stark ’02 Paul A. Sylvester ’74 .................................... Shannon K. Sylvester ’03 C. Dean Tseretopoulos ’72 .................. Adrianna S. Tseretopoulos ’03 Karen Kolpa Tyson ’76 ........................................... Julia B. Tyson ’04 Elizabeth Brown Van Sant ’75 ...................... William R. Van Sant ’04 James L. Volling ’72 ............................................ Jeffrey J. Volling ’02 Sally Childs Walsh ’75 ......................................... Sarah H. Walsh ’02 Christopher C. Wardell ’69 ......................... Cooper T. A. Wardell ’03 John P. Wold ’71 .................................................... John C. Wold ’02 Michael S. C. Wu ’73 ............................................ Mercer T. Wu ’05

*denotes deceased alumni

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



Spring Sports Highlights Boys’ Lacrosse For the second consecutive season, the boys’ lacrosse team marched through the season without a loss. Finishing at 14–0, this year’s Founders League Championship and top NE and National ranking may have been more unexpected due to the loss of the entire starting defense, including All-American goalie Jake McKenna ’00. While there were some closer, low-scoring games this season, the defense was even stingier, allowing a NE-best 4.0 goalsagainst-average. Senior Will McIntire enjoyed a great season in net, supported

by the strong, physical play of league allstars Colby Griffith ’01 and Jamie Sifers ’02. Two All-Americans led the team in scoring, Kevin Nee ’01—the Stuart Lindsay Award winner as the league’s best attackman—and senior Christian Jensen, the Lance Odden Award winner as the league’s best midfielder. Seniors David Browne and Kirk Kozel also made the first team for the Founders League. The toughest games came against a talented Hotchkiss team, a 10– 8 win, and against perennial powerhouse Loomis-Chaffee, an 8–7 victory via Colby Griffith’s goal with no time remaining on the clock.

Girls’ Tennis Also for the second consecutive season, varsity girls’ tennis finished undefeated, 11–0, as the Founders League Champs. Clearly the most talented girls’ tennis team ever, the top four singles players are all middlers, and two cruised through the season without a loss: Brie Bidart at #4 singles, and Hannah Baker at #3. Middlers Katherine O’Herron and Katie Franklin led the charge all spring in the #1 and #2 spots, and the first doubles team of senior Dina Tseretopoulos and middler Tory Ilyinsky also never lost. The team posted a perfect score of 36 points at the Kent Tournament, sweeping all the singles and doubles slots—the first time that has ever happened at the tournament. The team has not lost a league match in over two years, and with so many talented young players, that streak will likely continue for awhile.

Golf The golf team posted a 12–5 record this year, losing the Founders League Tournament by just one stroke. Playing under tough conditions at their home course, Taft did take home the individual title— or titles would be more accurate. Senior captain Geddes Johnson and lowermid Lauren Mielbrecht tied as co-medalists with impressive 74s. Considering that the field average was 84.4, coach Jack Kenerson described Ged and Lauren’s rounds as “simply outstanding.” Ged finished with a season-stroke-average of 76.2, the best Taft average since James Driscoll’s 76.1 in 1996. Lauren, who also placed third at the Girls’ New England Tournament and finished the season with an average of 82.7, clearly has many great seasons in front of her. Jamie Sifers ’02 wins a faceoff against Hotchkiss. Taft won the game 10–8 and went on to finish the season with a 14–0 record. CRAIG AMBROSIO 20

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Big Red Scoreboard Varsity Baseball

Varsity Softball

Record: ................................................................................... 9–7

Record: ................................................................................... 8–5

Captains-elect: ....................... Luke LaBella ’02, Steve Richard ’03

Captains-elect: ............. Jennifer Fischl ’02, Marci McCormack ’02

Stone Baseball Award: .......... Benjamin Crabtree ’01, Eric Nigro ’01

Softball Award: ........................................... Ashley Cecchinato ’02

Founders League All-Stars: ... Benjamin Crabtree ’01, Eric Nigro ’01

Founders League All-Star: ..................................... Emily Pettit ’01

Boys’ Crew

Boys’ Varsity Tennis

Record: ................................................................................... 3–5

Record: ................................................................................... 9–6

Captain-elect: .................................................. Ted Thompson ’02

Captain-elect: ....................................................... Michael Idy ’02

Crew Award: .................................................. Zachary Medoff ’01

Alrick H. Man Jr. Tennis Award: ........... Vincent Kar-Chiu Ng ’01 Founders League All-Star: ..................................... Michael Idy ’02

Girls’ Crew Record: ................................................................................... 6–2

Girls’ Varsity Tennis

Founders League Champions

Captain-elect: .............................................. Kathleen Bernard ’02

Record: ................................................................................. 11–0

Crew Award: ............................................... Kathleen Shattuck ’01

Captains-elect: ....... Victoria Ilyinsky ’03, Katherine O’Herron ’03 George D. Gould Tennis Award: .... Constantina Tseretopoulos ’01 Founders League All-Stars: ...................... Katherine O’Herron ’03, Katherine Franklin ’03

Varsity Golf Record: ................................................................................. 12–5 Captain-elect: ........................................................ Colin Read ’02

Boys’ Varsity Track

Galeski Golf Award: ....................................... Geddes Johnson ’01 Founders League All-Star: .............................. Geddes Johnson ’01

Record: ................................................................................... 3–9 Captains-elect: ............... Nicholas Dabbo ’02, Bruce Trammell ’02

Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse

Founders League Champions

Record: ................................................................................. 14–0

Founders League All-Stars: .... Daniel Blomberg ’01, Victor Rivera ’01

Girls’ Varsity Track

Captains-elect: .......................... Peter Hafner ’02, James Sifers ’02, Rodman Tilt ’02

Record: ................................................................................... 8–2

Odden Lacrosse Award: ............................... William McIntire ’01

Captain-elect: .................................................... Kara McCabe ’02

Founders League All-Stars: ........ Colby Griffith ’01, Kirk Kozel ’01

Seymour Willis Beardsley Track Award: .......... Nicola Feldman ’01

Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse Record: ................................................................................... 9–5

Founders League All-Stars: .............................. Kirsten Pfeiffer ’03, Ciara Rakestraw ’01

Graduation Awards

Captains-elect: ................. Sarah Bromley ’02, Lucy O’Connell ’02 Wandelt Lacrosse Award: ............................... Theresa Berkery ’01 Founders League All-Stars: ..... Victoria Fox ’01, Sarah Bromley ’02

Marian Hole Makepeace Award: ... Kathryn Christine Murphy ’01 Lawrence Hunter Stone Award: ...................... Daniel J. Welch ’01

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



2001 Annual Fund Awards* Snyder Award Largest amount contributed by a reunion class Class of 1951 .................................. $113,593 Class Agent ..................................... Len Platt 2nd: 1976 ...................... $68,244 John Welch 3rd: 1971 .................. $34,700 Tom Gronauer Chairman of the Board Award Highest participation from a class less than 50 years out Class of 1960 ......................................... 78% Class Agent ........................ George Hampton (for the 6th year in a row) 2nd: 2000 ................. 59% Andrew Goodwin and Sam Hall 3rd: 1959 .............................. 58% Bob Barry McCabe Award Largest amount contributed by a non-reunion class Class of 1962 .................................. $144,010 Class Agents ...... Fred Nagle and Bryan Remer 2nd: 1974 .................. $59,906 Henry Brauer 3rd: 1953 ............... $57,753 Geo Stephenson Class of 1920 Award Greatest increase in dollars from a non-reunion class Class of 1962 .................................... $96,015 Class Agents ...... Fred Nagle and Bryan Remer 2nd: 1953 .............. $21,580 Geo Stephenson 3rd: 1984 . $13,603 Sam Bloom and Ed Fowler Participation Increase Award Greatest increase in participation from a non-reunion class less than 50 years out Class of 1987 ........................................... 8% Class Agent .................... Holcombe Green III 2nd: 1995 ........................... 7% Dan Oneglia and Tony Pasquariello 3rd: 1959 ................................ 3% Bob Barry Young Alumni Dollars Award Largest amount contributed from a class less than 10 years out Class of 1993 .................................. $19,135 (for the 3rd year in a row) Class Agent ..................... Margaret Fitzgerald 2nd: 1994 ..................... $8,478 Kate Genung and Ginger Kreitler 3rd: 2000 ............... $3,771 Andrew Goodwin and Sam Hall Young Alumni Participation Award Highest participation from a class less than 10 years out Class of 2000 ......................................... 59% Class Agents ....................... Andrew Goodwin and Sam Hall 2nd: 1999 ........................ 34% Alex Dickson and Laura Stevens 3rd: 1996 .............................. 30% Roo Reath *Totals as of May 16, 2001

Class Agents Continue to Break Giving Records This was a very special year in the history of Taft and the Annual Fund. With the announcement of Lance Odden’s retirement after 29 years as headmaster, I felt that it was important that we dedicate the Annual Fund to Lance and Patsy for all that they have done for the school. I am very proud to announce that we have raised $2,784,021 for the Annual Fund. Considering the stock market and the economic outlook of the country, I think we should feel very proud of our accomplishments. I am deeply grateful to all alumni, current parents, former parents, grandparents, and friends for their generosity and loyalty to The Taft School. A special thanks to all the class agents and assistants for their loyalty and hard work. This year, we have worked hard to enlist more volunteers. The old adage, “the more, the merrier,” appears to be true! Welcome to all the new agents for the Classes of 1962, 1971, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, and 2001. We now have 80 head agents and 283 assistant agents. This year, alumni raised $1,560,719—over $200,000 more than last year. Congratulations to the Class of 1951, led by Len Platt, which raised a total of $618,355 for the school. The class also won the Snyder Award for the largest amount contributed to the Annual Fund by a reunion class ($113,593). George Hampton and the Class of 1960 received the Chairman of the Board Award—for the sixth year in a row—for the highest participation from a class less than 50 years out, with 78 percent of the class contributing. I would also like to congratulate Woolly Bermingham and Ross Legler, agents for the Class of 1943, for soliciting all 52 classmates and reaching 100 percent participation again this year! This is a bittersweet time for all of us. I am saddened to see Patsy and Lance retire after 40 years of dedicated service, but at the same time, excited about our future with Pam and Willy MacMullen ’78 as they lead our school for hopefully another 40 years! Thank you all for your generosity and loyalty to Taft. Have a happy and healthy summer. I’ll be in touch next fall. —Dyllan W. McGee ’89, Annual Fund Chair P.S. Don’t forget to visit our website at By joining the community, you can receive a free e-mail address and keep up with what’s happening with your classmates and your school. Check it out!

New Chairs of the Parents’ Fund Marilen and Rod Tilt P’02 will succeed Carol and Will Browne as chairs of the Parents’ Fund. With the help of the Parents’ Committee, the Brownes raised $950,350 from 91 percent of Taft’s current parent body. “This level of continued parent support is unparalleled in school giving,” said Lance Odden, “and could not have happened without the outstanding leadership of the Brownes, a dedicated Parents’ Committee, and the hundreds of parents who have given so much, in so many ways, to this great school.” Marilen and Rod Tilt, current members of the Parents’ Committee and parents of Roddy ’02, are looking forward to working with Taft’s very loyal group of parents.

To Build a Dream Can an American make it in European football? Will Orben ’92 gives it a try. By Rick Lansdale

Previous page: For Will Orben ’92, Denmark is a long way from his native Indiana, but he has committed himself to the game, playing here for FC Kobenhavn. Since Will has gotten this far, he says, he must keep going to find out just how good he can be. © PER KJÆRBYE

So there you are, a good college soccer player at a university known mostly for its engineering program, and an opportunity arises for you to leave for a semester, work as an intern in Coventry, England, and play some “football” in a country that thinks it invented the game. If you’re Will Orben ’92, you blink and you’re in England training with the Queen’s Park Rangers, a team in the premier division, and you find, remarkably, that even as an American you’re good enough to play with the pros. Except that you’re not quite one yet. And the only way, it seems, to be as good as the Europeans is to play in Europe. Ambition is wonderful fuel. It burns with an intensity that has lighted Will’s path all the way from the prep school playing fields in New England, to All-America status at Lehigh University, to the professional ranks in Denmark and the Olstykke Football Club. Will’s arrival in Denmark in July 1998 was unheralded, to say the least. Having played American collegiate soccer, having trained in England for half a year, and having played the 1998 season with the A-League Hershey, Pennsylvania, Wildcats doesn’t carry the same clout as having played for Manchester United or even D.C. United. With a letter of introduction in hand from a Hershey Wildcats teammate who had played in Denmark in the early ’90s, Will knocked on the door at Parken, Denmark’s National Team stadium, the home stadium of powerhouse Football Club Kobenhavn (Copenhagen), asked to see the manager, and somehow wangled a tryout. Flemming Pedersen, the club’s second-team manager, liked Will and his courage and agreed that he could begin training. With only a six-month tourist visa, though, Will could not stay in Denmark unless he obtained residency status.


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

He became a student again and enrolled in a graduate program in architecture, and in July of 1999 the staff at FCK arranged a contract for Will to maintain the field at the stadium and continue to train with the second team—but without a paycheck. That’s a contract? Just imagine Derek Jeter in Triple A ball mowing his stadium’s outfield. Right. Ambition without skill, without devotion, is only a brief flare. What has allowed Will to move up the ladder— from second team rookie to first team regular—is a firm and constant confidence in his skill and understanding of the game. He credits new Head of School Willy MacMullen ’78, soccer coach at Taft for the last fifteen years, for a great deal of his early success. “At Taft, Mr. Mac focused on our development as young people, not just as young soccer players. Many times, I have found inspiration in this ideal because it reminds me how simple the game is at its core.” Certainly, flashes of that confidence and inspiration blazed on the field behind Centennial. We had all marveled at his prowess as a high school player years ago because he moved in quick concert with the ball and usually left his defenders gasping for air or grabbing for his shirt as he shifted by. “Silk,” we called him. Against Hotchkiss in the final game of the 1991– 92 season, Urban Dabuta ’92, an exchange student from Botswana, had driven a ball deep into Hotchkiss territory, almost to the corner of the field to the right-hand side of the goal. His only play was to get the ball out front again, out to the edge of the penalty box to Will. At this point in the season, everyone in the league knew that Will was Taft’s most dangerous player, and his defender had him marked stride for stride. Urban fired a bullet of a cross

that came out to the edge of the penalty box waist high. Will, dashing across the field parallel to the goal with his defender dogging his every move, struck the ball in midair so cleanly that only when it was in the back of the upper right-hand corner of the net did the Hotchkiss goalkeeper even move. Longtime Hotchkiss coach David Coughlin was standing next to Willy MacMullen at the time. “I’ve never seen a goal like that,” he said in an almost reverential tone. The difference between the gifted high school player, the All-America college amateur, and the professional is consistency, and Will has been the model of consistency and discipline during his career. “While an amateur pitcher, for example, can throw a great pitch one out of ten times,” Will said recently, “a professional can do it seven out of ten times in any environment. We have wellbalanced training sessions and weight sessions, are monitored regularly, and are equipped sufficiently. We play matches regularly (whether it be for the first team or for the reserve team or for the second team), we are communicated with regularly, and we are paid regularly. We are put in a position where our only interest is to be the best football players we can be. And this is what is expected, every day, regularly. There is no reason to miss training or not to be prepared.” With thirty-three games from January to June and then, after a break, from the end of July to November, the professional season is a marathon. Off-season training occurs during each break, and there are league championships and exhibition matches. The season is long, and Denmark is a long way from his native Indiana, but Will has committed himself to the game. He speaks Danish fluently and knows Kobenhavn by heart. He eats a spare diet— no food three hours before a match—and tea is about the strongest drink he’s had in years. He maintains a lot of friendships through e-mail, and his phone bill can be

rather dear, but since he has gotten this far, he says he must keep going to find out just how good he can be. Watching a football match is not just a matter of observation. It is a matter of passion. While I was traveling through Scandinavia last summer, Will invited a group of us to watch a midsummer “friendly,” a training match, between FC Kobenhavn and the Celtic Football Club from Glasgow, Scotland. In the world of football, Celtic is world famous, FC Kobenhavn only less so. Will had debuted for FCK during the previous April and had played in three games, but a broken toe in June had brought his season to an end. I enjoyed myself immensely, but Will was almost in agony. That was his club on the field, and he was relegated to the sideline. Football stadiums in the United States are massive affairs where sixty to eighty thousand people watch from quite a distance. Most European stadiums are much smaller, more intimate places that allow fans to see the action on the field from almost the sideline. FC Kobenhavn dashed to an early lead when the club’s top striker found half a step, an open look, and an extra three seconds to spot the ball behind an out-of-position goalkeeper. Celtic began a concerted effort in the second half to control the ball, and the pressure exerted against the Danish defenders led to a 2–2 draw at the end of regulation time. The crowd roared until the last minute; I don’t remember seeing fans leave early. Professional football is as cutthroat as any other sport, and recently Will found himself riding the pine more often than he wanted to. He found himself “on loan” this fall to a rival club in Viborg, a small town in the middle of Denmark’s northern peninsula. Will played well and returned to Kobenhavn determined to do even better, but in the same way that many baseball players travel from team to team, so has Will. Now with the Olstykke Foot-

Back on the fields at Taft, Will—nicknamed “Silk”—learned about the expression of oneself through individual play and through sacrifice to the whole of the team. PETER FREW ’75

ball Club, Will has a greater opportunity to demonstrate his skills, but Olstykke is a first division club fighting off reassignment to the second division, not powerful FC Kobenhavn of the Superligaen. Why keep going? The beauty of the game occurs “when the ball seems to be where you want it all the time, and as a player you seem to possess the power to make it do whatever you like,” Will said. “The thrill of this mastery, this control, is what I enjoy most in football. The game and the ball are normally moving in chaos, but there are times when vision and skill combine magically to slice through the jumble with remarkable directness and efficiency. It is like a perfect circle drawn through a series of scattered points. These timeless instances of distinction and clarity inspire the team and the individual; the experience they provide is like no other I can name.” Finding that balance between playing the game for love and playing the game for a living is often difficult, but Will again credits Willy MacMullen for helping him keep perspective. “Mr. Mac’s

coaching focus was always about the expression of oneself through individual play and through sacrifice to the whole of the team. This may not sound so novel, but the further and further I have gone in football, the less and less I hear about this side of the game. The more money and exposure involved with the game, the more we hear about playing dependable, clinical, and professional football. It is all about winning and losing, and it is that simple. The expressive and human side of football is up to us, as professionals, to handle on our own.” Rick Lansdale is a member of the English Department, a soccer and lacrosse coach, and director of the Independent Studies Program. He visited Will while on a studytravel grant from Taft last summer. To learn more about Will’s latest soccer activities, check out his team’s website at That is, if you’re fluent in Danish, as Will now is. He tells us a switch to another team might be in the works, so stay tuned.

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


The new head of school with head monitor Bruce Trammell ’02. A class dean for many years, Willy is looking forward to working closely with student leaders.



An interview with Head of School William R. MacMullen ’78 By Julie Reiff


illy MacMullen has often been compared to Lance Odden over the years, and yet his leadership will bring many firsts of its own. Not only will Willy be the first alumnus to hold the job, he’s the first to bear the new gender neutral title “head of school”—a change recommended by Lance Odden and accepted by the board of trustees this year. A member of the English Department for six years, Willy’s wife Pam will be the first head’s wife to teach at Taft, although her load will be understandably reduced to allow for her new responsibilities. As the end of the school year neared, we spoke with Willy about his thoughts and hopes for Taft. Meet our fifth head of school… Fellow English teachers and class deans, Pam and Willy MacMullen have always been a “teaching couple.” Their responsibilities will inevitably change this year, but both are looking forward to the challenge. VAUGHN WINCHELL


When you were a student here, what did you think you would be doing twenty years down the road?


Given that both of my parents were Yale professors and that I loved the outdoors, I thought I would either end up in education or in something that involved the wilderness. If you had asked me then I might have said I’d become a teacher, but more likely I would be working for the forest service, for an Outward Bound or a NOLS program. Before my senior year at Yale I took a job where I spent six weeks hiking in the White Mountains with a group of emotionally disturbed kids. At that point I was convinced that I would go into experiential education. It brought together my love of working with kids and my love of the outdoors.

The job I landed after college was with the Pike School, in a year-round program they had just started in northern Canada for at-risk kids. These were terribly angry, deeply disturbed adolescents. The problem was that—in what became an international incident— some of the kids kidnapped their counselors and set fire to the woods, and the Canadian government put an end to the program. So I found myself without a job. Finally Pike said they were starting a new program in very rural northern New Hampshire for slightly retarded, emotionally disturbed boys, with a very heavy experiential education component to it. Did I want to help create a residential program? So I took that job, never thinking I was going to be a prep school teacher. On my first night alone, the kids, seeing a new person, revolted, and one came after me with a knife. A couple of other kids went upstairs and set fire to the mattresses and threw them out the windows. Six months later, the program was in place and I felt very good about the progress we had made, but I came to the very clear realization that I wanted to work with kids who might change the world rather than with those who had already been damaged by it. And that was the fundamental shift for me. The fact that this coincided with the Taft motto was very important to me. I wanted to serve somehow. That was a lesson, a torch that was passed to me by the great teachers I had known at Taft.


Is this the first headship you’ve applied for?


Yes. I’ve been asked to apply to other schools, but my answer was always the same: That I didn’t have an interest in 28

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

being a headmaster, but I might have an interest in being the head at Taft. My love has always been for this school.


How do you feel about the changes this job will bring to your life?


I think the head of school here still has the opportunity and the responsibility to be really involved, both with the faculty and the students. That’s not the case everywhere. What appeals to me is being in a position where I can try to affect the direction of the school, but don’t have to lose touch with the kids in the halls, the fields, classrooms, or lose touch with colleagues. I want to know students by name. I want to go to their games and performances and be able to chat with them afterward. That is a high priority for me. There are definitely changes in my role, but at other schools these priorities would be unrealistic.


What appeals to you most about your new role?


I love the school, so talking to alumni—building those relationships and getting to know and make friends among them—is something that appeals to me. Talking to people about their school—and having dinner with people who graduated a year ago and those who graduated 50 years ago is exciting to me. For that reason, seeing the hundreds who returned this Alumni Day was very special. The most exciting aspect of the job, though, is that this faculty is brimming with energy and creativity. I like talking very idealistically about vision and about

the big picture, and you get to do that in this position, and you get to do it with people who are really good. So the idea that I could in some way help make the school grow and improve by allowing good faculty to take initiative and do things is extremely appealing. I’d also like to make Taft even better known, not just for the quality of its teaching but also as a place where intellectual discourse and academic innovation are a real signature. That’s happening already, with the pedagogical initiatives you see with Mike Townsend, Laura Erickson, Steven Schieffelin, and Debbie Phipps. They are brilliant, committed educators who want to make how we teach and learn part of everyday conversation. Perhaps because of my parents, I never forget that at the heart of a school is good scholarship and great teaching.


At your Morning Meeting you talked about recognizing scholars and being a place where we value that. Do you think we pay too much attention to sports and the arts?


I do not apologize for one minute that we have kids who are at the top onetenth of one percent of their abilities as artists, as actors, and as athletes. We should take great pride in their accomplishments. But I do think that great scholarship at the high school level is not celebrated the way it needs to be. American students don’t always have the opportunity to show what they know— and programs like Independent Studies and Senior Seminar are critical. Finding ways for students to show what they know, so that scholarship becomes palpable and visible, would make this a better place. So I’m interested in finding more opportunities for students to

engage in great scholarship—deep probing of a narrow area of inquiry. That’s what great scholarship is. And clearly we need to look at how we can change the senior year so that students remain committed to their own learning right up until the day they graduate. Of course, there are no easy solutions to this problem; every school is grappling with it.

coaching for this year, and in time, I will teach. I’d like to continue with my literature of the wilderness class. But even if I cannot teach as much as I have, if I have any part in helping or encouraging talented kids to apply and great faculty to come here and teach in interesting ways, I can sleep at night.

Although Willy will not be teaching this fall, he is coaching varsity soccer. Resuming his literature of the wilderness, or another English course, as soon as his schedule allows is a high priority. VAUGHN WINCHELL



You are going to be spending less time in the classroom, less time coaching. How do you feel about that?

There are not many jobs today, outside of politics, that require a spouse to take an active role. How does Pam feel about her new responsibilities?

get her here for some time because I knew she was great. And she brought her passion and expertise here, and now is a terrific class dean as well. She’s going to remain, as Patsy was, invested in the school and professionally committed. And, like Patsy, she has strong opinions about education as well. She’ll still be a class dean, she’ll still teach honors lowermid English, and I assume she’ll still want to do her aerobics class!




Obviously I feel regret. Everyone who loves to teach worries about that when responsibilities take them out of the classroom. It’s hard for people who aren’t in the profession to understand how much teachers in general love what they are doing. They go to work and they don’t think of it as work. Teaching becomes as necessary as breathing. Having said that, I’m going to try to continue

I think she loves it. The prospect of being in partnership together is exciting. I feel grateful for many things, but one of them is that I get to work with my best friend. That’s an experience not many people get to have. Pam taught in the Wallingford public school system for ten years and was one of their very best teachers. We met at Middlebury, doing graduate work, and I had been trying to

She’s already promised many students.


I think the kids are more worried about what she’ll keep doing than what I’ll do! But she loves the idea of taking these things on; she’s someone who reaches out well to people. She’s looking forward to having dinner with groups of students Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


at the house. She likes entertaining, and she likes meeting people. She’ll be great at that. I think it comes naturally to some people. And remember she knows the school well and is a great educator in her own right.


Many have said that Lance will be a tough act to follow and few have envied his successor. How will you cope with that powerful shadow?


People have asked me about that, but I feel more opportunity than shadow. Whoever was going to take over was going to begin with a school that was fiscally sound, had great facilities, a terrific faculty, a very good admissions tradition, and a clear sense of mission. All that means I am in an exciting position. What I hope people realize is that in taking me, the board of trustees was saying that having someone who is a product of Taft, educated at Taft, who taught at Taft, says to the alums, “This is your school and we picked one of you.” To parents, it says we took someone who has educated and taught many of your sons and daughters, and advised them and coached them. And to families looking at Taft it says we are a school that is not suddenly going to lurch in a different direction.


What do you see as the greatest challenge facing secondary education?


In today’s world, unlike twenty years ago, families want schools to provide an almost professional level of education in every specific area of a kid’s life. So there will be a temptation to provide a coach who has professional playing experience, 30

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a science teacher who won a Nobel Prize and a dormitory head with two psychology degrees. We cannot lose sight of what Taft believes, that we are working with the whole child and by logical extension we need humanist, triple-threat, empathetic teachers. I think that to lose that would be tragic. And so, one of the challenges becomes how to find people who can do so many things and do them all well. If you start saying that specialized instruction is more important than the whole of the child, then you fundamentally change the mission of this school. And if we go there, I think we’ve turned our back on Taft. There are schools you can go to if you want to have a specialized education, and I don’t quibble with their mission. But that’s not our mission. Our mission is to educate kids morally, physically, artistically, and intellectually. So the challenge I think will be to continue to staff the school with teachers who can meet that mission and have those kinds of abilities. How do you make this school continue to be a modern, intellectually rigorous school that offers the best opportunities it can to kids without losing sight of what it’s always been—a place of real warmth, and spirit, and familiarity, and intimacy? This is a school with a soul, and we should nourish it like a flame.


When it’s your turn to step aside, to go to the Cape, do more fishing than teaching, what do you want people to remember about your legacy?


I would like people to say that it was still a school that was true to the founder’s dreams. That it was still, no matter how much the world around us had changed, a school where we cared more about shaping the whole of a child’s life and having a child leave here with the belief that serv-

ing the world and serving others was important. I think that if that happened I would be proud. Second, I would like it to be known as an exciting, diverse, community where every student and teacher can fully realize his or her self. Third, I’d like it to be an intellectually exciting place to be and a place where a collegial exchange and camaraderie made teachers feel lucky to go to work every day and where students were engaged in the most exciting scholarship imaginable. I’d like for people to be able to say that this was a school that demanded excellence out of all of its students, but never lost that nurturing touch that’s made Taft. I’d like it still to be Taft’s school.


If there were labels—Horace Taft was the founder who put character first, Cruikshank the stern puritan who put morality and discipline high on the agenda; Esty the head who brought the school in step with the times, and Odden the one who brought the school back to Horace Taft, who resurrected the physical plant—how would you like the MacMullen years to be remembered?


I would like to be remembered as someone who led the school during a time filled with change and never lost sight of what was essential, what was bedrock, to the school. This is a place that shapes students in an ancient tradition: morally, intellectually, athletically, and artistically. I never want to lose sight of that. I’m a boater; I’ll use a different metaphor. I would like my years to look like the voyage of a well-run ship: a thousand tacks as the winds change, but a voyage which viewed from afar is a straight line, running from Horace Taft, through Cruikshank, Esty, and Odden, and then me.

The Odden Gala A Night for Patsy and Lance was an evening to remember

Michael Carney’s Orchestra

A Night for Patsy and Lance was a glamorous event by any standard.

Faculty emeriti Jol and Susan Everett


t has been a year of celebration, and a year of lasts: Lance’s last Morning Meeting talk, his and Patsy’s last sit-down dinner, their last Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, and their last official Alumni Weekend—since they have promised to return to gather with friends and family for years to come.

All year, students, faculty, alumni, colleagues, trustees, and friends have struggled with ways to say good-bye. On May 19, the school gathered to celebrate the Odden legacy and to express to the Oddens what their leadership and friendship have meant. It was an amazing weekend by any standard. Cold and damp on Friday evening, it turned warm and sunny on Saturday for the annual parade and alumni luncheon, at which the Oddens were awarded the school’s highest honor, the Alumni Citation of Merit. 32

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But the highlight of the weekend was certainly the student tribute on Saturday night. Flashlights in hand, students marched down Walnut Hill and circled Potter’s Pond as Collegium sang. Fountains rose as lights revealed a dancer, Reina Mooney ’02, rising on a stage in the center of the pond. A banner lowered from the HDT tower, proclaiming our thanks to Patsy and Lance, and just as the show seemed at an end, the lights grew dim and the sky was lighted again with an explosion of colorful fireworks.

Nearing midnight, the 1,500 people who gathered for the Oddens’ last hurrah lingered by the pond, still finding friends to catch up with, time for a few final hugs, and then a reluctant walk back to the car—or bus—for the trip home. It was the kind of evening you want to hold on to just a little longer, much the way we’d like to hang on to the Oddens. “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” —Julie Reiff


The Odden Gala

Patsy Odden and rising head monitor Bruce Trammell ’02

Lance dances with his daughter, Laurie ’89. 䉴 Reina Mooney ’02, daughter of Laird Mooney ’73, performs a final tribute to the Oddens from the center of Potter’s Pond. Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


John and Nancy Novogrod P’98,’01 and Dusty Tuttle P’98,’00

Willy MacMullen ’78, Taft’s next head of school, is welcomed by alumni and parents.

Will Miller ’74, Ken Pettis ’74, and Lance

Everyone, including the Oddens, showed every sign of enjoying the evening. Here, Lance dances with Maggie Picotte as Dennis Liu ’02, right, captures the fun on film.

Lance dances with his granddaughter Margot

Patsy Odden, Lulu McCullough, and John Orb ’37

Lance and Ward Belcher P’97,’02


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

Sisters Kat ’92 and Sara Curie ’86


Patsy Odden, hailed as a role model for young women, receives congratulations from Marianne Chaikin, Barbara Burns, and Jean Knight.

Faculty emeriti Tom and Pecky Lodge with former faculty members Chip and Betty (Williams) Wells

Patsy and Lance

The Odden Gala

George Utley ’74 and daughter Hannah

Lance Odden said that he insisted on only two items for the final celebration: That students be included and that the band be one all ages would enjoy dancing to. The combination was magic. Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Dyllan McGee ’89 and Will Miller ’74

Patsy and Fred Genung ’63

Classmates Greg Mucci, Will Polkinghorn, and Rob MacDonald ’95 enjoy an off-reunion year gathering as well.

Patty Boyle and Bryan Remer ’62


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

Ellen and Chuck Scarborough P’96,’98

Jen Burns ’93, Lance Odden, and Kristen Richardson ’93

“Horace Taft” escorts the Oddens to the pond for the final tribute.

Lee and Daney Klingenstein ’44


Harriette and John Gussenhoven ’65 with son Jordan ’02

The Odden Gala

Lance Odden and head monitor Tarik Asmerom ’01

For more photos of Alumni Weekend, turn to page 56, or view the entire weekend of images at George and Eva Landegger P’91,’00 with Louis Laun ’38

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On the eve of his retirement, the headmaster offers advice to the graduating class.

111th Commencement Remarks by Lance R. Odden, headmaster


Two graduates are better than one: Rick and Lynne Breed with school monitor siblings Mary Stuart and Rich Breed and their sister Ashley ’98. 䉳 The last graduate ever to receive a Taft diploma from Lance Odden, Kristen Zwiener takes a bow with the headmaster.


f I have learned anything in life, it is that I know very little. This much I believe: That we are unreasonably lucky to be here among the most privileged in all of the world and that with that privilege comes the obligation to give back.

I, a failure in second grade, owe everything to Mrs. Dennison, my third grade teacher who held me after school and made me practice phonics to overcome mild dyslexia. In today’s world, I would be given Ritalin, denied the opportunity to overcome my disability, and to develop the habit of hard work. When I wrote to thank Mrs. Dennison after becoming headmaster, she made me feel like the gift giver. Say “thank you,” and you will feel good. In tenth grade, my Algebra II teacher wrote my father at the end of the winter term saying, “If Lance cared about scoring points in math as he does goals in hockey, he might pass.” When I suggested to my father that my teacher was disorganized, boring, and considered the worst instructor at Andover, my father, uncharacteristically, got mad. He said, “Never blame anyone for your own shortcomings. In life, you will have poor

Lance Odden helps head monitor Tarik Asmerom lift the Class of 2001 stone during the commencement ceremonies. Given the distance to Centennial dormitory from the gym, Tarik did not have to place the stone in the wall.

teachers and ineffective bosses. Your job is to get the job done, not to complain. In the end, you are responsible for yourself.” Great advice. Remember it when you are parents. My Andover hockey coach was tough, perhaps, even a tyrant by today’s standards. He believed that if the conditions of practice were more demanding than those of competing under the pressure of games, you would perform well and win. We worked so hard we almost never lost. The end, in fact, does depend on the beginning, which is part of why I have always loved Horace Taft’s quote that “Sports are important because of the unselfishness and self-suppression they enforce. That the grandstand player or the one who only trains when the coach’s eye is on him is not the one who will be successful in life.” The harder you work, the luckier you get. Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Science Department Head Laura Erickson awards Stephanie Giannetto the Alvin I. Reiff Sr. Biology Prize. Stephanie also received the Harry W. Walker ’40 Non Ut Sibi Award for her community service work.

Bancha Dhammarungruang, here with his parents Jajjai and Kritiyanee and sister Benjamas, was recognized for his work in Chinese and computer science and received the Cunningham Award along with Jill Hunt.

As a junior at Princeton I saw a movie on China, where the conflict between Confucian and Western values interrupted a beautiful love affair. I couldn’t understand the Confucian point of view, and so I decided to take a course first in Chinese philosophy and then in Chinese history, and all of that changed my life. I turned away from the law and toward teaching. Never be deaf to the childlike curiosity that lies within you. Seek out other cultures, for paradoxically they will lead you to understand yourself and our society better. They will deepen your understanding of others, leading toward empathy, the process of putting yourself in the shoes of others, which is the essence of justice. As I get older, I understand that nearly all of my values come from my parents. My mother loved books, history, and the search for understanding. She was a teacher. My father was an

old-fashioned general practitioner, practically a country doctor. Together, my parents believed in the essential dignity of all people and the importance of helping others. I remember so well when my dad’s turn came to drive a friend and me to Andover for the spring term of my first year at school. As we drove on the New Jersey Turnpike, went across the GW Bridge, and then onto Interstate 95 northward to the Mass Pike, each time my father paid a toll, he spoke to the attendant and asked them how they were doing. Some responded appreciatively, others not at all. I asked him why he did this, and he said, “Because we should always recognize every individual as an equal. You would be surprised at how many people feel good about that and, in turn, make you feel good.” Simple, but decent, and so often lost today. I have never forgotten going through my father’s books


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after he died only to find that he treated one-third of his patients pro bono, impossible to imagine today. My parents lived simple lives, trying to understand humanity, believing in decency and the power of service, which went a long way toward making a happy life. Not a bad mantra for us all. In my lifetime, we have had a number of great presidents, but two stand out for their brilliant grasp of politics— Richard Nixon and William Clinton. They could have done so much for our country, but their egos got in the way. They made mistakes. They refused to accept responsibility for their errors and lied, destroying their careers. When John Kennedy botched the invasion of Cuba, he immediately apologized. This action calls to mind Horace Dutton Taft’s words, “If you tell the truth there is something to build on.” Accepting responsibility for his


Proud parents John and Lorraine Wood congratulate their daughter Vanessa, who was not only named Valedictorian, but received prizes for physics, mathematics, French, history, writing, and Independent Studies as well. Vanessa is the first graduate whose weighted GPA surpassed a 6.0.

Kisses and hugs were the order of the day as Jerry and Kathie Sugar congratulate daughter Sara.

Class speaker Jill Hunt, who received the Maurice Pollak Scholarship and was corecipient of the Cunningham Award, reminded her classmates of highlights of their years at Taft.

actions, John Kennedy, found that the American people were remarkably forgiving. Today, he is considered a great president. Be honest, accept responsibility, and move on. Do not look for a job or consider your life’s work based on perceived prestige, income, or titles commanding respect. Find out what you enjoy doing and find a way to build your life’s work around it. All of you love solving puzzles. For some, puzzles will be found in business, for others law or education, and for others how to create in the arts, music, film, or architecture, for others, the helping professions. Find the puzzles you like and your career will not be a job but a calling, which will engage you forever. Among you today there is a tendency to think that those who are already the extracurricular or intellectual leaders will be the most successful

in life. This, I can say with certainty after witnessing forty years of Taft graduates move through life: Success comes equally from all quarters of every class. I think of my first trip as headmaster to meet alumni. Ed Douglas, a forty-year veteran and former dean of students accompanied me. Following a dinner at a prominent businessman’s home, I said to Dougie, “Peter must have been an unbelievable leader at Taft.” Dougie said, “No way. He was forever in trouble because he had too much energy and imagination for the school’s rules and expectations.” Remember that story because those who show up for work loaded with energy and those who look at the world through creative lenses are most often the ones who get the job done. There is no substitute for hard work. I remember so well the words of African-American author Alex Haley

when he spoke at Taft about Roots, his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. When challenged at Taft whether black men have a real chance in America, he said, “I cannot abide that kind of comment because it represents what 95 percent of the people are thinking. I want you to be one of the 5 percent who when confronted with a problem says, Let’s get started with it, and get the job done.” Every problem is an opportunity, but only a few people understand that. Remember that most people, particularly those living in the ivory tower of higher education, are trained to analyze what is wrong, what does not work. Yes, it is important to define any problem, but then, the fun really begins. Devote your time and energy to finding out what works, and you will be part of the 5 percent who count. Talking to my Chinese history class the other day, I realized I was profoundly Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Caroline Novogrod and Sarah Persing

Andrew Karas struggles to carry his many prizes—the Aurelian Award, Salutatorian, Sherman Cawley Award in English, the Daniel Higgins Fenton Classics Award, and class speaker medal.

Jon Willson ’82 receives the Abramowitz Award for excellence in teaching. Other faculty honors went to fellow alumnus Lenny Tucker ’92, who received the Shoup Award.

Judy and Cordy Wagner ’43 with son Cordy, who earned the Theater Award and the Class of 1981 Award, along with Christine Maddock.

troubled by the rise of fundamentalism throughout the world. Just this week the Afghanistan government proclaimed that those who are not Muslims must wear labels identifying themselves as heathen, reminiscent of the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews. Throughout the Islamic world the gains of women are being reversed. In all of the Americas evangelical fundamentalism is growing at an unprecedented rate. All of this is at the expense of tolerance, and particularly respect for the rights of women. I am reminded of the story of Jesus when confronted with a female adulterer, who according to the laws of Moses should be stoned to death—a practice just exercised last week in Iran. Jesus put aside the law of Moses when he said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Place yourself in the shoes of others, and you will find justice and charity. Love others, as you would be so loved, and you will feel

good about yourself. Reject absolute judgments denying individuals their rights. Honor our historic separation of church and state. Of the trends of the past forty years, I regret most the shift from family to the state and to surrogate caregivers the essential responsibilities that come to a parent bringing a child into the world. I want you to nurture your children from conception to birth. I want you to fight to guarantee this right for all Americans. I want you to be with your children sharing in their adventures. Please allow them the joys of growing up. Avoid programming them, and when they are adolescents be there for them, but also let go. Let them begin to find their own way. As the Good Book says, “Give them roots and wings.” I will go to my grave believing in the familial ethic as the best guide to moral behavior. What does this mean?

It means that as emerging new adults, you the Class of 2001 should never undertake any behavior, which you would not discuss with your parents or with those you love. It means for us as adults, parents, and grandparents that we should not act in any way we would not share with our children and with those that we love. If we cannot talk about it, something is wrong. It is a simple ethic, it is familial in nature, it is Confucian at the heart, and it speaks to the essence of morality. This simple ethic avoids legalistic parsing, so deadly to our morality today. Each year at the 50th Reunion, Tafties reflect on their lives. Many focus on awards, money made, and career accomplishments. Then there are those who talk about their families, their children, and their grandchildren. They are the happy ones, the ones who are comfortable with who they are and what


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001


Commencement Trivia How much do you know about graduation at Taft? 1. At the end of the first year at Mr. Taft’s School, how many boys received diplomas? a. none b.two c. five d.ten 2. The Bourne Medal in History, awarded annually at graduation, is named in honor of Rain may have soaked the fields, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of 2001 graduates Nora Barta and Ha Tran, front, with friends Khanh Do Ba ’03, Henry Tsai ’02, Diego Quijano ’00, and Chris Dove ’02.

they leave behind. They got it right, and I urge you to do so as well. Throughout life how we make the small daily decisions of living determines what kind of people we will become. We cannot shortchange or lie about small matters and expect to be moral or truthful in the large choices of life. The habits of heart and mind we develop daily will form our moral being, which, in turn, will shape our response to the large and difficult decisions and temptations, which invariably present themselves to us throughout our life’s journey. How you practice determines how you perform under pressure. Again and again, I am drawn back to the brilliance of Horace Dutton Taft’s selection of our school’s motto. He clearly understood its central paradox that at the very core of idealism lies self-interest, the deep pleasure we derive from helping others. More than

money, materialism, attachments, sex, power, or pleasure, the desire to help others is the deepest human need, the key to our humanity. In the years ahead cherish our motto, non ut sibi ministretur sed ut ministret, for you have in one sentence the wisdom of the ages. You have a guide for life. Life is pretty simple—if you take care of others, you take care of yourself. I even think that Patsy and I still have something to contribute, and so let us, the Class of 2001 go out into the world determined to make it just a little better, ever mindful of the lessons learned here. Given that all of the speakers had to contend with the thundering sound of rain on the gymnasium roof, each of their remarks can be found on the school website at Class speaker Andrew Karas’s remarks can also be found on page 76.

a. Horace Taft’s roommate at Yale b.the school’s first instructor in history c. Horace Taft’s favorite teacher at Yale d.the Bourne Bridge on Cape Cod 3. In what year did Wesleyan president Colin Campbell cut his remarks short due to rain? a. 1979 b.1984 c. 1989 d.1994 4. Who gave the commencement address at Taft in 1914? a. Horace Dutton Taft b.William Howard Taft c. Charles Phelps Taft d.Henry Watters Taft 5. Taft seniors last wore black gowns and mortarboards in what year? a. 1968 b.1972 c. 1979 d.1990 (answers on page 58)

Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



Alumni Weekend Album Tafties of all ages gathered in May to join classmates, to wish the Oddens well, and to welcome new Head of School Willy MacMullen ’78. Celebrating diversity and a lacrosse win over Hotchkiss, and remembering classmates no longer with us, families and friends came together once again in our growing “little city beauty clad.”

Jay Greer ’50 presents Lance and Patsy with the school’s highest honor, the Alumni Citation of Merit.

Dick Stevens ’31 returns for his 70th Reunion.

A historic photograph recreated with the latest succession of headmasters and their wives: Willy ’78 and Pam MacMullen, Lance and Patsy Odden, and John and Katharine Esty.

Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75 and daughter Emily ’00, back from Yale for her first reunion.

䉲 Alex (son of Al Reiff ’80), Andrew and Emily (Elizabeth Kerney Zuehlke ’82), Henry (faculty Steve and Karla Palmer), Matthew (Eric Norman ’81) and Sara (John Kerney ’78) create the first kids’ fun run on Sunday morning at the Weaver Track. Sara’s dad won the 4-mile grown-ups’ race.

The victorious Alumni Lacrosse team turns out in good number on Sunday morning to win another one for the Lancer.


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



The Taft Collegium Musicum and Chamber Ensemble set an inspirational tone at the annual memorial service at Christ Church on Friday evening.

Classmates Rob Peterson, Caroline Lyon, and Scott Allyn ’80 perform a moving tribute to friend and classmate Paul Todd, who died earlier this year.

Patsy Odden’s Alumnae Lacrosse Team

Erica Forbes ’86 and daughter Allegra

Charles Moore ’81, Brigham Olson ’81, John Carnahan ’81, and Andrew Carnahan ’90 gather before the parade begins. Jay Peet ’46 and Suzanne and Pete Thompson ’46 at the Service of Remembrance.

Judith and Stephen Smith ’51 with son Stephen ’80 with Eve, Allison, and Steve

Continued on page 68 Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



Continued from page 57

Annual Fund Chair Dyllan McGee ’89 recognizes class agents at the annual alumni luncheon. For the complete list of honorees, see page 20.

Tom Chrystie ’51, with wife Eliza, still proudly wears his letter sweater.

So many alumni want to see the future head in action that Willy MacMullen ’78 winds up teaching his AP English class in the Woodward Theater on Saturday morning to accommodate the crowd. Talk about putting on a show.

Phil Howard ’66 visits with George ’65 and Mimi Boggs before the parade.

Cousins Sara Kerney and Emily Zuehlke march in the parade as Emmy Kerney and Elizabeth Kerney Zuehlke ’82 look on.

䉴 The Class of ’56 acknowledges onlookers as the parade works its way to the Alumni Luncheon. The varsity lacrosse team makes a superb win over rival Hotchkiss to win the Founders League and to cap two consecutive undefeated seasons on Saturday of Alumni Weekend. For more on their season, turn to page 18.

The family of Walter Hart ’42 gathers at Saturday morning registration: Trip ’71, Walt, Chuck ’76, Sally, Doug ’69, Muff, and Bill.


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001



Kristin and Don Taylor ’76 with Tina Shealy ’76

Faculty member Anne Romano prepares a crop of peonies for one of the hundreds of table arrangements that weekend.

Marguerite and Thomas Moore ’43 with daughters Alex Moore Barber ’81 and Susan Moore Metz ’86 before the parade

Jack Broome ’36 and Bill Snyder ’41

Lynette Sumpter ’89, Hank Torbert ’90, Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75, and Yi Ming Yang ’87 present a panel discussion on the topic of diversity at Taft.

Barbara and John Vogelstein ’52 greet faculty emeritus Ed North in the Potter Gallery. 䉴 Friends and classmates of Berkeley Matthews ’96 gather on Saturday to dedicate two benches given in her memory. The sunflowers, her favorite, served as a touching reminder of Berkeley’s warm and caring spirit.

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By Andrew Karas ’01

Transformations “And yet this place has an awesome sense of permanence about it for an institution that is, by definition, a temporary stop for those who are passing through it. This, I would argue, is because each change, each increment of growth, acts as a means by which the school attains a deeper fulfillment of its overarching, guiding principles and philosophies: that it educates and nurtures us wholly, and that it prepares us not just for college, but for life.” In an interview with the Times of London, Mexican poet Octavio Paz said, “Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two.” It struck me this winter, while I was meeting the six finalists for our next head of school, that the way in which Taft handles constancy and change by equating them is a unique and defining feature of our experience here, and that an understanding of the school is linked fundamentally to an understanding of this balance, this paradoxical dialectic that has implications not just for the vitality of our community but for the nature of our lives as well. It is said often and truly that this place is still very much Mr. Taft’s School, and I will not make another, unnecessary iteration of Horace’s Victorian virtues or their presence here today. It is not this kind of constancy, or its presence even amid and through such transformations as coeducation, that concerns me. Instead, I say, look only at what has happened during our short time here; look at the place we entered and the place we leave. In the short space of four years, Taft reestablished its interfaith chaplaincy and committed to foster the spiritual life and growth of its students. It constructed a Learning Center and hired a learning specialist to recognize and accommodate alternative learning styles and needs. It built up a counseling and student support system that formalizes and solidifies our institutional obligation and willingness to help students along the rocky parts of their journey. It stood solidly behind its active Diversity Committee as each of us was


Taft Bulletin Summer 2001

made to probe the ways in which racism, homophobia, and other prejudices poison our society and touch us all. It fostered forums for individual expression, especially through the sponsoring of intimate and popular coffeehouse performances. Stuff happened here. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it smartly and in far fewer words than I have: “Change alone is unchanging,” he said. And yet this place has an awesome sense of permanence about it for an institution that is, by definition, a temporary stop for those who are passing through it. This, I would argue, is because each change, each increment of growth, acts as a means by which the school attains a deeper fulfillment of its overarching, guiding principles and philosophies: that it educates and nurtures us wholly, and that it prepares us not just for college, but for life. What we have seen of life, admittedly, is not much, and we stand in a decidedly poor place to judge our preparation for what faces us. However, during our time here, we have been alive, and we too, through our experiences and perceptions, have been marked by transformation. As we came to know one another and ourselves more fully, we awoke truer incarnations of ourselves, each time more affirmed of our identity, more attuned to our aspirations and our passions, more pure in our expressions of our discoveries to the world. In a place that has moved assertively but not jarringly to remain always the first to nurture and to prod, to counsel and to cajole, both practicality and philosophy have been shown

䉱 The graduating Class of 1901, identified as Barlow, Meier, Hardwick, Lamson, Edwards, Buckley, Thomson, Doran, H. Taft, Baldwin, Holter, Chamberlain, and Brown.

to us by example. We will grow and change in the future—of that much I think we may safely feel assured—but as Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s hero Ulysses discovers about character, “That which we are, we are.” The fluidity with which Taft blends constancy and change is, I think, an important indication of the lessons we take away from the school that have no basis in books or courses but stem instead from the educational experience that is this community. A place that so understands Paz’s “dialectic” cannot help but impart it, and I do not know, but I think that we might notice such lessons more from eventually living them than from currently learning them. No surprise, change is in Taft’s future, too. Whether it be the cross-course integration of the science curriculum or, of course, the change which is on so many of our minds—the new headmaster—things will be different here when we are gone. On some Alumni Day of the future, we too will wander around buildings we never saw and hear of practices we never conceived. But we will still recognize the school. Taft is our school and will remain the same as it ever was. Things happen here. The place, in that sense, has a life of its own, and therefore teaches us to live. Andrew delivered these remarks at graduation in May. For more on the day, turn to page 36.

Giving Creatively to Taft’s Pooled Income Fund has grown significantly in size and number of participants over the past few years. Established 22 years ago, this special gifting vehicle is similar to a mutual fund. Your gift is pooled with other donors’ gifts and assigned a proportionate interest in the fund. Current earnings of the fund—dividends and interest— are paid out to each beneficiary on a quarterly basis. Alumni, parents, and friends have an opportunity to make gifts of cash or appreciated securities and receive these significant benefits in return: • Lifetime income paid to the donor and/or another beneficiary. Yield for the past two years has been 5.6 percent. • Increased income when using low yield securities, plus growth potential. Income has grown by 18 percent since 1998. • A charitable income tax deduction. • No capital gains tax when giving long-term appreciated securities. • Possible reduction of estate taxes. • Professional investment management and administration by State Street Bank and Trust Company of Boston. And most important . . . • The satisfaction of helping Taft remain strong in the 21st century. A gift to Taft’s Pooled Income Fund provides long-term support for the school and immediate benefits for donors.

For more information about the Taft Pooled Income Fund or other creative ways to support Taft, please contact Clayton Spencer ’56, director of planned giving, at 1-800-959-TAFT.

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Summer 2001 Taft Bulletin  
Summer 2001 Taft Bulletin