Summer 2004 Taft Bulletin

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alumni day 114th COMMENCEMENT



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B U L L E T I N Summer 2004 Volume 74 Number 4 Bulletin Staff Director of Development John E. Ormiston Editor Julie Reiff Alumni Notes Linda Beyus Anne Gahl Jackie Maloney Design Good Design Proofreader Nina Maynard

Bulletin Advisory Board Todd Gipstein ’70 Peter Kilborn ’57 Nancy Novogrod P’98,’01 Bonnie Blackburn Penhollow ’84 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 U.S.A. Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Summer–May 30 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. 1-860-945-7777

This magazine is printed on recycled paper.

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On the Cover

Dinner with Alumni 24

Front, Boys' tennis posted its best record in 20 years, winning the league title and finishing 12–1 for the season. For more on spring sports, please turn to page 18.

Six restaurateurs talk about the rewards and challenges of the business and how they got there in the first place. By Julie Reiff

Alumni Day


By Julie Reiff, Photography by Peter Finger

Voyages of Discovery 40 Excerpts from the 114th Commencement Remarks By Elisabeth Griffith, Andrew Eisen ’04, Octavia Giovannini-Torelli ’04, Willy Oppenheim ’04, and William MacMullen ’78


From the Editor


Alumni Spotlight


Around the Pond




Spring highlights by Steve Palmer

Annual Fund News




Some Thoughts on the Creative Process and the Fate of Artifacts by Steve Schieffelin


Back, Ann Kidder and Kerry Kiley applaud their classmates’ achievements at the 114th Commencement Exercises. Ann received the Mark Potter Award in Art and Kerry a senior athlete award. For more on the day, see page 40. BOB FALCETTI

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! Send your latest news, address change, birth announcement, or letter to the editor via e-mail. Our address is We continue to accept your communiqués by 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 Taft Alumni Community online. Visit us at What happened at this afternoon's game?—Visit us at for the latest Big Red coverage. For other campus news and events, including admissions information, visit our main site at, with improved calendar features and Around the Pond stories.

Please take our survey! Turn to page 23 and take three minutes to tell us what you like most, and least, about this magazine. You may use the enclosed envelope to send it in. Completed surveys received by September 30 will be entered into a drawing to win a Taft School chair. Or, you can e-mail your responses to us. Please follow the “Survey” links from

The 10-member Taft Dance Ensemble performed its annual spring dance concert on April 15 and 16. Featured in the performance were faculty- and student-choreographed works of various styles ranging from ballet to modern to jazz. Here, the dancers kick up their heels in After the Ball, a classical work choreographed by faculty member Elizabeth Barisser to music by Shostakovich. PETER FREW ’75




The summer issue inevitably sets me to thinking about my own reunions. My high-school class was so unified that we waited 20 years before we held our first gathering. (I probably don’t need to add that I went to a public school.) My college on the other hand welcomes graduates back after only two years—so they can officially welcome their little sisters into the alumni association. (Need I explain that I went to a women’s college?) In many ways, that first college reunion, was more memorable for me than any graduation. After two years in the real world, or in my case, two years of teaching in a boarding school—not Taft—it was a revelation to me that some of my classmates had already changed jobs several times. Unhappy as a teacher, it occurred to me for the first time that there was no shame in moving on. I once gave a Morning Meeting talk here about why, despite my decision to give up teaching, I still chose to work in a boarding school. The truth, in part, is because I married one of those rare natural-born teachers whose skills in the classroom I envied. (Since many of you ask, my husband Al ’80 is the son of Al Reiff Sr., who passed away in 1988—the year I came to Taft.)


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

But the other truth that drove me to work in boarding school in the first place is the sense of community, the level of integrity and intelligence of one’s colleagues, and the opportunity to contribute to a place whose mission is no less than to train young minds to change the world for the better. My 20th—or first, depending on how you look at it—high-school reunion was also memorable. Although there were friends I wanted to see but with whom I had lost touch over the years, I was also secretly dreading the inevitable awkwardness—the conversations with people with whom I had little in common then and even less now. Would those same divisions that defined us two decades ago still be there? Would they be even wider? But we had, thankfully, matured. Perhaps it was a blessing we skipped over those career-centered years and skipped ahead to a time in our lives where we all proudly pulled out pictures of our kids and talked about them as much as ourselves. That gathering reminded me of a piece Bonnie Penhollow Blackburn ’84, who was back for her own 20th Reunion in May, wrote for the Bulletin: “Ten Things to Be Ready for When Returning for Alumni Day” [Spring 2000]. Among her observations, to me the following rang particularly true;

• Women who had trouble keeping a cactus alive when you roomed with them…will arrive with six kids confidently in tow. • The people you shunned in school will seem surprisingly interesting, and the people you once worshiped will seem a tad dull. You will assume that this is because they’ve changed. Actually, it is because you have. • No matter how dull and unrewarding your life seems to you, there will be someone there who envies it. There is no doubt that the milestones that reunions and graduations are make the late spring a very special time of year, but even if you’ve never been back to campus for a single Alumni Day, remember that the class notes are, after all, a sort of Reunion in Print. So please continue to share your stories with us. —Julie Reiff, editor

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 • Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. or to



Alumni S P OT L I G H T

The Candidate Vote For Me! is a political comedy written and directed by Nelson Antonio Denis ’72 and set in El Barrio, New York City. Drawn from his experience as a former state assemblyman, it’s the story of a 70-year-old Puerto Rican super who runs for congress and wins. The 78-minute feature film premièred at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival to three sold-out houses. The New York Times said the film was “reminiscent of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, but with a lighter touch.” “My four years in the New York State Assembly were rich with drama, humor and betrayal,” Denis says. “Almost everything in Vote For Me! is autobiographical: including a suddenly dead incumbent, a three-way special election, blood-sucking consultants, drunken domino players, opinionated drug dealers, a midget field operative, a grocery-store headquarters, a conga drum campaign bus, a raucous debate, outdoor salsa rallies, and fistfights over the posters. In addition, half the actors in the movie were volunteers in my campaign…including my campaign manager, my treasurer, and my mother.” The character of Leo Machuchal is based on two much-adored characters in Puerto Rican folklore and on Leo Rodriguez, a former employee of Denis’s assembly office. “I had to fire Leo when he beat up a local drug dealer,” Denis said,

Nelson Denis ’72 talks with actors in his movie, Vote For Me!

“and the drug dealer filed a complaint against my office. Leo was 72 years old.” The greatest shock during their fourweek shoot, Denis said, was not the movie itself. “It was the anxious phone calls from Congressman Charlie Rangel’s office, demanding to know ‘Who is this Leo Machuchal and why are you supporting him against me?’” All humor aside, said Denis, the congressman should be worried. “A generation of Leo Machuchals would revolutionize our government, and


change the way we live. I hope my movie helps it happen.” A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Denis also ran a free legal clinic in El Barrio for several years. He won national journalism awards as the editorial writer for New York’s El Diario/ La Prensa. Born in Washington Heights of Puerto Rican parents, Nelson told the Daily News he “wanted to communicate to the Latino population that becoming a leader is accessible to any of us.” He is running for office again this fall. Taft Bulletin Summer 2004




Norcott Receives Law Day Award Connecticut Supreme Court Associate Justice Flemming L. Norcott Jr. ’61 was among 20 African-Americans honored in May by the Connecticut Supreme Court. “Every year during Law Day, the Connecticut Supreme Court recognizes a group of individuals who epitomize our great heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law,” Chief Justice William J. Sullivan said. “The Law Day 2004 theme is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in May. In connection with the theme, the Supreme Court chose to honor these 20 distinguished individuals, who exemplify the legacy of the Brown decision through their notable achievements in Connecticut.” Justice Norcott received his bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from Columbia University. He was nominated to the Connecticut Superior Court in 1979 and remained there until

his appointment to the Connecticut Appellate Court in 1987—the first time an African-American had been appointed to the Appellate Court. In 1992 he was elevated to his current position as associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. He received honorary LL.D. degrees from the University of New Haven in 1993, from the University of New Haven in 1993, and from Albertus Magnus College in 2004. Upon his graduation from Columbia Law, Justice Norcott worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was a lecturer in the faculty of law at the University of East Africa. He then served on the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporations legal staff in New York City and later as an assistant attorney general in the United States Virgin Islands. He was the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Advocacy, Research and Planning in New

Haven. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he also served as a hearing examiner for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. He currently serves as a lecturer at Yale College.

Defending Human Rights Tamaryn Nelson ’96 is a program associate for Latin America and the Caribbean with Witness, a pioneer in the use of video to fight for human rights and rooted in the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words ( Founded in 1992 by musician Peter Gabriel in partnership with Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) and the Reebok Foundation, Witness has worked with over 150 human rights groups in 50 countries by assisting them to use video cameras to expose injustice, right the wrongs, and end impunity for human rights violators. “What intrigued me about Witness,” says Nelson, “was its innovative approach Tamaryn Nelson ’96, right, on a trip to Colombia reviewing footage for a video to show Congress. 6

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

to human rights advocacy. We empower local activists to tell their stories to the world and then make their voices heard in places where they otherwise would probably go unnoticed. By using visual imagery as a way to put a face on human rights, people remember that we are looking at human lives and not just a stack of statistical reports or case files.” Witness uses video as a complementary tool to human rights campaigns and advocacy strategies, as evidence in court cases, to make an appeal to the media, as an empowerment and mobilizing tool in communities, and to make a case to regional or international organizations, such as the United Nations. “I have always been involved in public service,” says Nelson, who received the school’s Non Ut Sibi Award at her graduation, “and combining it with the arts.



Financing Afghan Entrepreneurs Jonathan Griswold ’94 moved to Afghanistan just over a year ago to be the director of the Foundation for International Community Assistance there. FINCA is one of several organizations that provide credit programs to women entrepreneurs and working mothers. In 2002, FINCA programs lent nearly $135 million directly to subsistence-level entrepreneurs in Central America, Africa, and Eastern Europe, with a 97 percent repayment rate. Griswold worked in the northwestern province of Herat, where there are streetlights and electricity, but said that most of FINCA’s clients live in rural, mountainous areas, where such amenities are unheard of and the roads are often bad. FINCA employs female credit officers to meet the women in their villages, but finding suitable help is a challenge, Griswold told the Washington Times. “It’s hard to get the skills you want in a country where so few have had any

It’s not easy to go into nonprofit work—especially when you leave college with lots of debt—but it’s possible if you are willing to sacrifice some things. I can tell you it’s hard to juggle.” A native Brazilian, Nelson loves Latin America and feels privileged to work closely with activists on the frontlines. Based in New York City, she recently spent time in Colombia and Mexico. Nelson has previously worked for the Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence (IACPV) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). She has a degree in international relations from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She speaks fluent Portuguese, English, and Spanish and is proficient in French.

Jonathan Griswold ’94 in Afghanistan works to provide credit programs to women entrepreneurs and working mothers.

access to school, let alone information technology or accounting training,” he said. “Many women want desperately to start their own careers but must still finish school, do all the domestic work, and sometimes overcome the resistance of male relatives.” Griswold began his work with FINCA when they asked him to manage their loan portfolio in southern Azerbaijan back in 2002. He had been interning with Save the Children in Azerbaijan for the previous six months at their micro finance program. “I had always been interested in the developing world and wanted to use my modest business experience in a more exciting place to help poor people. When FINCA asked me to start up the Afghanistan program in August 2003, there probably weren’t too many people interested in the job.” Griswold said he had few expectations; the few he did were either about the developing world in general (both poorer and more resilient than he expected) and nongovernmental operations (many of whose contributions made him

skeptical about humanitarian agencies). “Afghanistan is a land of extremes,” he said, “and also a hopelessly romantic place. Few places on earth have been so lightly touched by time as many of its remote villages. Few places are so different from America. The people have an amazing and deep tradition of courtesy, and the poorest family will accord a foreigner an embarrassing display of hospitality.” At the same time, Griswold said he has found that Afghanis are often fiercely proud and independent, and tribal traditions are often observed far more strictly than Islamic teaching. “Most of what has been taken for Islamic extremism in Afghanistan (abuse of women, distrust of foreign influence, factional feuds) is backward tribalism clothed in a misapplication of Islam. “It’s an amazing and exhausting place that gets under your skin and defies tidy summary,” he said. Griswold left the Afghan steppe in June to make his way back to U.S. via Baku, Turkey, Zurich, and Paris. He is currently living in Washington, D.C. Taft Bulletin Summer 2004




Jamie Better ’79 voted Alumni Trustee




Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Jamie Better was this year’s pick in the annual election of alumni trustee, as announced at the Alumni Day luncheon in May. Jamie earned a B.A. from Williams College, where he majored in political science, and an M.B.A. from Stanford, along with a certificate in public management. Following business school, Jamie spent five years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. In 1993, Jamie joined Capricorn Holdings, a private equity investment firm in Greenwich, Connecticut. Two years later, Jamie became one of Capricorn’s four general partners. Today, Jamie also serves as the president and chief executive officer of Whitestone Corp., a Capricorn portfolio company involved in the manufacture and sale of disposable medical products. Jamie and his wife Nancy live in Greenwich with their three children: David, Charlie, and Sarah. Jamie serves on the board of directors of the Greenwich YMCA and is a former board member of the Fairfield County chapter of YPO (the Young Presidents’ Organization). He is a trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, focused on Middle East policy issues. In his free time, Jamie enjoys coaching and playing hockey, as well as golfing and skiing. Other members of the school’s board of trustees chosen by alumni ballot are Roger Lee ’90, Rosilyn Ford ’80, and David Coit ’65. Each serves a four-year term.

Social Skewer The Right Address by Carrie Doyle Karasyov ’90 and Jill Kopelman Kargman ’92 is the latest book in a new genre the New York Times called “gossip lit,” following the popular Bergdorf Blondes, The Nanny Diaries, and The Devil Wears Prada. “Their novel skewers a certain kind of woman found on the Upper East Side,” the Times wrote, “whose only ambition is to preside over benefit dinners…and to have her tiny, shinyface photograph appear in the party pages of any magazine.” In The Right Address, a socialclimbing flight attendant is catapulted into Park Avenue society, where, they

write, hiring the wrong decorator is tantamount to social suicide. She quickly discovers that in the world of the rich and idle, malicious gossip is as de rigueur is as owning 20 pairs of Manolo Blahniks. “This is not a book we’re spending 10 years writing” Karasyov told the Times. “Our book is what you read between oiling up and then hopping back into the pool.” Taking the title one step farther, the Times followed up with an article about Kargman’s own search for the right address: “In a White-Glove ZIP, A Walkup Perspective.” She says her building’s history has plenty of stories of its own. Kargman and Karasyov, who worked together on the screenplay for Intern [Winter 2000], are collaborating on another novel that features “a slightly younger crowd of equally obnoxious paparazzi-courting New Yorkers.”


pond The John L. Vogelstein ’52 Dormitory, designed by Robert A.M. Stern architects, received Traditional Building’s 2004 Palladio Award for new design and construction over $2 million. The Awards were announced in April and presented at the Restoration and Renovation Conference and Exhibit in Boston. The Palladio Awards are named in honor of Andrea Palladio, the Renaissance architect who created modern architecture for his time while using models from the past for inspiration and guidance. “Walking on the campus of the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut,” Traditional Building wrote, “one wouldn’t know that the John L. Vogelstein ’52 Dormitory is new. Integrated with the original single-building campus, and connected to the 1929 Charles Phelps Taft Hall, the residence hall is a landmark of sympathetic new construction.” continued on next page—


Kind, Firm Molder Dormitory wins Traditional Building award

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004



—continued from previous page The article about the dormitory and its award, “Combining Innovation with Tradition” in the May/June issue ( goes on to praise the school as a “faithful steward of their architectural heritage.” Architect Robert Stern says their main goal was always to meet the school’s programmatic requirements, but “also to carry forward the language that the school has had since Goodhue and Rogers.” Bertram Goodhue, perhaps best known for the Los Angeles Public Library and the Nebraska State Capitol, was the architect Horace Taft selected when it came time to build his school in earnest, starting in 1912 with what is now known as Horace Dutton Taft Hall (HDT), which Goodhue designed in an Arts and Crafts Gothic style.

Taft later hired James Gamble Rogers, who designed Yale’s Memorial Quadrangle and Sterling Memorial Library as well as the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and Columbia’s Butler Library, to create a new campus plan in the 1920s that included Charles Phelps Taft Hall (CPT), McIntosh House, and Congdon House (as well as a chapel that was never built). Although connected to HDT, the “new building,” as CPT was known for many years, is more collegiate Gothic in style. Will Miller ’74, chairman of the school’s board of trustees and a key figure in the school’s long-range planning for the last 20 years, said at the dormitory’s dedication [Fall 2002] that the “buildings are harmonious with one another, yet distinct in…details, creating…a dialogue between two voices speaking the same language with different accents…. Our strategy,” Miller said, “has been to

Collegium Musicum followed up their March tour to San Francisco with a performance on April 18 in the world’s largest Gothic cathedral—New York City’s St. John the Divine. Under former cathedral choral director Bruce Fifer’s direction, Collegium sang a varied concert organized in four parts: Music for a Great Space, Songs of Freedom, Songs of the Sea, and Music of the Americas. Roughly 50 students are chosen by audition each year to perform with Collegium. Their repertoire spans nearly every major period of music from medieval to contemporary, and their vocal style encompasses selections from Gregorian chant to James Taylor. Previous trips have taken the group to China, Spain, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Collegium Sings at New York’s St. John the Divine

pursue a diversity of interpretations of a style, rather than a diversity of styles.” To connect the 30,000-square-foot dormitory to Rogers’ 1929 structure, Stern chose to use a bridge-topped cloister. Placing the new building perpendicular to CPT also created a new quadrangle. “Any good building,” Stern told Traditional Building, “has the capacity not only to solve a problem within itself, but also to create new opportunities.” Some of the challenges, Stern said, “included building a dormitory that provided privacy but wasn’t an iron fortress…. Each student has a private room, but the possible connection to another fosters sociability. The rooms offer more privacy than 1920s dorms.” At the dedication, Miller also quoted Winston Churchill when he said, “First we shape our buildings. Thereafter, they shape us.” This mold seems to be a fine one.


Hammering for Habitat Seventeen students along with faculty members Baba and Peter Frew ’75 and Mike Aroesty headed south to work on a Habitat for Humanity build on Johns Island, South Carolina, for a week in March. “Every morning, at 8:30 on the dot, we met with a variety of college groups, homeowners, volunteers, and contractors,” said Baba Frew, who heads the Volunteer Program at Taft, “to divvy up the jobs for the day. We found ourselves doing everything from backfilling to Andrew Parks ’06 working for Habitat for Humanity over spring break. PETER FREW ’75

roofing, with a lot of hammering everywhere you looked.” Every afternoon the group returned exhausted and aching to Kiawah Island, where they were hosted by Kathy and Steve Parks (parents of Kate ’05, Andrew ’06, and Clare ’08). When they weren’t working, they found time to go into Charleston, tour the old city, head out to Fort Sumter, and even do a ghost tour. “We are very pleased,” Frew added, “to have had the opportunity to establish what we hope will be a long-term liaison with the Sea Island Habitat for Humanity Affiliate.”

Students of Japanese Receive Top National Honors Of the 24 students currently taking Japanese classes at Taft, five have been accepted to programs that will take them to Japan this summer. In particular, Jon Acquaviva ’04 and Malcolm Munkittrick ’05 have both received full scholarships from nationally renowned programs. Acquaviva was accepted to the High School Diplomas Program at Princeton University last year, and this summer was selected through the same program to be a representative of the U.S. in Japan, studying and traveling for six weeks on that full scholarship. Munkittrick received a scholarship with Youth for Understanding, whose mission is to “prepare young people for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing, interdependent world.” This highly competitive program takes American students to Japan for five weeks. He is Connecticut’s only recipient of the Japan-American Friendship Scholarship this year. Last summer Ian Donahue ’05 successfully completed the FALCON language program at Cornell University. The youngest member at the program, Ian studied Japanese intensively at the college level for nine weeks, entering our program at the third-year level.

Derek Chan ’06 and Vanessa Kwong ’06 were both accepted into the Experiment in International Living program, through which they will live and study in Japan for five weeks this summer. Kwong advanced from first- to third-year Japanese this year,

and Chan will jump into the fourthyear level next year. “Despite its small numbers,” says Japanese teacher Russell Wasden, “I believe the Japanese program here is proving to be one of the most dynamic academic opportunities for students at Taft.”

Scholars of Japanese Derek Chan ’06, Ian Donahue ’05, Jon Acquaviva ’04, Vanessa Kwong ’06, and Malcolm Munkittrick ’05 and teacher Russ Wasden, left. PETER FREW ’75 Taft Bulletin Summer 2004



Juried Student Art Exhibition SAMUEL DANGREMOND ’05

his pastel painting. Nicole Miller of Lewis S. Mills High School was awarded first prize in three-dimensional work for her ceramic sculpture, and Helena Pihl of Kent School was awarded second prize for her earthenware sculpture called “Language Buddha.” “I’m impressed with the quality of work,” said Marie Peterson, whose daughter Annie is a junior at Westover School and had a work of mixed photography on display. “This is such a beautiful space.” The response to the show was very positive, said coordinator Claudia Black, who teaches studio art at Taft. “Our students have been so excited to see work from other schools. It’s been really worth it.” ROGER KIRKPATRICK ’06

Over 250 public and independent schools across Connecticut were each invited to enter student artwork for a juried exhibit this spring in the Mark Potter ’48 Gallery. “There has been considerable discussion since the opening of the Potter Gallery about how best to use this beautiful space,” said gallery director Loueta Chickadaunce. “One idea was to hold a student competition with other high schools, so that young artists from all over Connecticut could have a chance to see each other’s work and to present that work to professional artists and teachers other than those in their classrooms and studios.” The first of such competitions was held this spring. Each school contacted was invited to enter up to six student works, and judges decided which pieces would be included in the exhibit. 12

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Amy Noonan, a senior at Canton High School, had four pieces in the show. No one else from her school was interested in submitting work, so she sent all six. “It was a nice surprise to see them here, quite an honor,” she said. The judges, who also selected the prize winners, were Mark Aronson, chief conservator of Yale University Art Gallery; artist Megan Craig ’93, a teacher at Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, and Eugene Lang College; and Nicholas Dawson, architect and sculptor and the chair of Phillips Exeter Academy’s Art Department. Prizes were awarded to the artists of two two-dimensional works, and of two three-dimensional works. Recognized students in the first group were Jessica Hines of Fairfield High School for her “Self Portrait” collage and Gregory Person of Lewis S. Mills High School for

Coach of the Year Mike Maher was named the Connecticut Hockey Coach of the Year by the Connecticut Officials Association. Maher, who leaves this year to become the new head of the Berkshire School, has an 18-year record of 224–142–18.

Engineering Part I Sixteen Taft students competed in the 14th annual Boston University Engineering Design Challenge. Competing in teams of two, students build a vehicle powered by two AA batteries that will move down a six-foot track as a competitor moves in the opposite direction, deposit a hackey sack in a hole, and return in under 15 seconds. “Points are awarded for different aspects of the race,” explained adviser Jim

Mooney, “but the idea is to get your sack in the hole first but then to delay your return so that you come back as close to 15 seconds as possible without going over.” The teams of Eugene Young and Wilson Yu, Nathan Chuang and Zernyu Chou, and Samantha Glazer and Spencer Barton made the semifinals— the top 16 of the 90 total after four rounds. Spencer and Sammy made the finals and ended up in fifth place.

Frisbee Golf The sport may not be new, but the passion with which students pursued it around campus this spring was. For those who graduated from college—say—before 1980, imagine a course of 18 predetermined landmarks or “holes,” which you must hit in order with a Frisbee, in the least number of throws. Hazards, including the pond, moving vehicles, and errant dogs who thought the Frisbee was for them did little to discourage the students and faculty alike who came out in droves to play. Seeing two, four, or even eight Frisbees cascading over the playing fields as “golfers” moved from hole to hole was a common sight, even on blustery, cold days. The windows of the Headmaster’s Conference Room got pinged hourly as not all participants could control their shots. Passions intensified with the announcement of a tournament—replete with T-shirts—organized by teachers Matt Blanton and Jay Tandon. Upper mids Jamie Wheeler and Renier Van Breen took the title.

Engineering Part II Two varsity and two JV teams traveled to the annual Junior Engineering Technical Society competition at the University of New Haven in March. The varsity-one team placed first in its division, and the JV-one team tied for second in its division. All together, 32 Taft students participated in JETS this year. The competition started with nearly 1,500 teams overall. For teams that pass

the scoring threshold, the second part of the test is forwarded to Washington, where it will be graded as part of the national competition. “The two teams that advanced to the nationals did well,” said adviser Jim Mooney, “with the varsity team placing 12th in the nation in their division of selective admission schools. Their preliminary score was the highest in Connecticut.”

Varsity participants were seniors Supriya Balsekar, Jeff Fielding, Viet Hoang, Nate Kuslis, Chris Kwok, Jason Lee, Chanatip Metheetrairut, and Wan Ling Yih on team one, and seniors Michael Woon, Simon Kim, Tucker Marrison, Lauren Malaspina, and Joseph Mastrocola, and upper middlers Avery Clark, Matt Davis, and Joel Yu on team two. Taft Bulletin Summer 2004



Trees Dedicated in Memory of AIDS Victims PETER FREW ’75

In celebration of Earth Day this spring, students planted two maple trees in memory of Russell Pais ’69 and Albert d’Ossche ’66, both of whom died of AIDS. To a gathering of faculty and students on a sunny April afternoon, Chaplain Michael Spencer offered a prayer, Choral Director Bruce Fifer and Collegium Musicum sang “The Garden of My Lord,” and Senior Lindsay Gael read a poem by Thoreau. “The two trees stand and will grow,” said Spencer, “as part of our commemoration of the earth and the life which we are blessed to share together.” Two more trees were planted at the same time to celebrate Earth Day.

Science Department Hosts Lectures Ruth Malins, director of the Housatonic Valley Association Resource Center, spoke in Laube Auditorium in May about the river’s

recent designation as one of the top ten most endangered rivers in the United States and about what is being done to solve the problem. Students

in Dave Griffith’s Explorations of Water elective and Jim Lehner’s A.P. Environmental Science class attended. “We all hold a place in the Housatonic Watershed,” notes Griffith. “Potter’s Pond and our streams on campus eventually drain into the Housatonic River, and all of the water we use at Taft is pulled from the Housatonic Watershed.” The department also hosted the Connecticut Valley Independent School Science Teachers Association for its semiannual meeting. Guest lecturer Sandra Anagnostakis, one of the world’s leading experts on the fungus affecting the American chestnut tree, spoke on current efforts to produce a blight-resistant hybrid. Ruth Malins spoke with science students about the future of the Housatonic River. PETER FREW ’75


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


A League of Their Own Most evenings this spring, the dining hall would clear out by 6 as people

raced to find their gloves and baseball hats. Nearly 150 students and 37 faculty

Softball “Commish” Mike Aroesty says he made sure to include highlights from each game in his e-mail write-ups because students especially seemed to enjoy them. PETER FREW ’75

signed up to play in a newly organized softball league that captured the interest of the entire school. “When I started the league,” said teaching fellow Mike Aroesty, “I was hoping for enough people to field six teams. In two days we had enough for 14. The hardest part for me was creating a schedule for so many teams,” who adopted names such as the Fighting Dandelions, Reckless Endangerment, and the China Stars. Participating faculty divided into two groups: the Main Hallers and the Wu Train Clan. “I am not quite sure why I took this on,” said Aroesty, “except that I think students and faculty go through their days so busy that they don’t even get to enjoy the good weather. I enjoy it just as much if not more than the kids, so it’s fun for me to be out there.” Team PG-15 overcame the favored Team Ram-Rod 10 to 15 in the final game.

Thirty-seven students journeyed to Washington in April to join more than a million other marchers on the National Mall in a call to government leaders and lawmakers not to intrude on a woman’s right to access critical reproductive health services and make deeply personal decisions about her health and life. The March for Women’s Lives was led by seven organizing groups: American Civil Liberties Union, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Feminist Majority, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Organization for Women, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Delegations from around the world were addressed by Ashley Judd, Madeleine Albright, Delores Huerta, and Dorothy Height among others.


Women March in D.C.

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004



The Soprano Mezzo-soprano Lauren Malaspina ’04 won the Connecticut Choral Society’s Kannengeiser Scholarship. For the CCS concert in May she sang Handel’s Care Selve and Mio Care Bene! She received the school’s George Morgan Award for choral music at graduation. Lauren was the only student from Taft who moved up from the Connecticut Northern Regional music competition and festival to the All State Festival in late March.

Poet Tony Abbott, published poet and novelist and professor of English at Davidson College, visited the school in May. He gave an evening reading of both poetry and prose in the Woolworth Faculty Room and visited English classes the next day. The Winner of the 2003 Novello Literary Award for his first novel, Leaving Maggie Hope, this was Abbott’s second visit to Taft.


In Brief

In the Gallery Artist John R. Whitton Bria ’69 exhibited nearly three dozen still lifes and landscapes in the Mark Potter Gallery in May. Choosing mostly works in oil painted in the last year or two, Bria clearly displays his admiration for the beauty of upstate New York. He lives in Pound Ridge with his wife Kris.

Harvard Book Prize Tania Giannone Dartmouth Book Prize Matthew Davis Holy Cross College Book Award Pete Wyman Smith Book Award Liz McMorris Brown University Award Kelin Hall Hamilton College Prize Chris Lacaria Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award Tania Giannone and Chris Lacaria Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Jessica Lee


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Upper-Mid Awards

Seen on Campus Jackie Rosa ’82 visited campus in May to conduct interviews for Morgan Stanley’s paid summer internship program for students of color. Rosa, above center with Doug Moses ’06, is vice president for Global Diversity and Work-Life Programs and

a former A Better Chance scholar at Taft. Five Taft students received internships. Also, on campus, Sam Bloom ’84, a professor of French in Haifa, Israel, spoke at School Meeting in May about his experiences living and teaching overseas.


A Little Samba

University of Rochester Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences Chris Lacaria John T. Reardon Prize in United States History Peter Wyman David Edward Goldberg Memorial Award Kristine Specht Michaels Jewelers Citizenship Award Paul Sorokin


Departing faculty

Flutist Sergio Pallottelli and guitarist José Manuel Lezcano performed “A Little Samba Music” in Walker Hall in early April. “The concert had a unique mix of Italian solo repertoire as well as Latin American music with a bit of Western European influence,” said instrumental music director T.J. Thompson. “The most amazing thing was how effortless the performance was. What they performed was incredibly hard, but seemed so easy when watching that no one would ever know it.” Cuban-born Lezcano has received many awards, including a Fulbright to teach, perform, and research indigenous guitar traditions in Ecuador. He has performed at Carnegie Hall as well as in major festivals in Rio, Lima, and Quito, and is a professor of music at Keene [N.H.] State College. Pallottelli has performed internationally, as principal flute, with the Sinfônica do Orquestra Estado de São Paulo, Brazil; Rotary Club International Orchestra; Utah Philharmonia; Waterbury Symphony; New Britain Symphony; and Yale Philharmonia. For four years he was a member of the

Canyonlands New Music Ensemble. An active chamber and orchestral musician who tours the world, he is also the adjunct flute instructor at Taft. “He is absolutely amazing and we are lucky to have him,” says Thompson.

Matriculations The following eleven schools were the most popular choices for graduates from the Class of ’04. Although numbers may change, at press time four or more students chose to attend each of these colleges and universities: Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges 7 Cornell University 6 Middlebury College 6 Boston University 5 Colby College 5 Brown University 4 Bowdoin College 4 Georgetown University 4 Tulane University 4 University of Wisconsin at Madison 4 Yale University 4

Matt Blanton, mathematics Amory Bradley, English fellow Ellen Brown, science fellow Jessica Clark ’94, science Laura Erickson, science David Griffith, science Dana Hardy, science Tyler Hardy, history Mike Harney, mathematics Irene Jenkins, philosophy & religion fellow Brian Kirby, history Cheryl Larson, mathematics Alyson Lyndquist, history fellow Molly MacKean, history Jean Woodward Maher, Spanish, admissions Mike Maher, dean of students, history Charlie McNair, physician Juan Ortiz, Spanish Daniel Sheff, Spanish Garrison Smith, science Chip Spencer ’56, development Jason Tandon, English Jonnifer Vasse, French Chinese teacher Yen-Lung Liu has been granted a year’s sabbatical leave.

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004







sport Spring highlights By Steve Palmer Girls’ Lacrosse 11–3 The team finished the season ranked 4th in New England behind convincing victories over Deerfield (13–10) and Andover (19–8). Forward Tucker Marrison ’04 was a League All Star, while Molly Davidson ’05 and Katherine Simmons ’04 were named to the

Matt Smith ’04 battles a Salisbury defender—a classic moment in the rivalry between two of New England’s best lacrosse teams PETER FREW ’75

Western New England All-Star Team. Simmons led the team in scoring, assists, and ground balls—a deserving winner of the Wandelt Lacrosse Award in a year with the most girls playing interscholastic lacrosse in the school’s history.

Liz Nelson ’06 breaks through two NMH girls. PETER FREW ’75


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Boys’ Lacrosse 10–3 Founders League Champions The season ended in stirring fashion for this strong team that had some inconsis-

tent games early on. Their powerful 9–5 win over league-leader Hotchkiss secured the Founders League title and again showed that Taft has one of the best programs in the highly competitive New England ranks. Seniors Todd Johnson (defense), Nick Smith (Odden Award winner, midfield), and James Cabrera (attack) were dominant at their positions and were named Founders League All Stars, along with Rory Shepard and Austin Gardner-Smith.


Andrew Foote’s guidance, the team has a 28–3 record, and the trend should continue next year with 6 of the 7 letter winners returning.

Reid Longley ’06, who won the Kingswood Invitational, shot a 73 at the Founders League, finishing as the individual medalist and setting the team up for a second place finish. PETER FREW ’75

Golf 18–0 It was a remarkable undefeated season for the golf team, highlighted by convincing wins over league champion Kingswood (397–407) and New England champion Brunswick (5–1 match play). Joel St. Laurent ’04 led the team with a 75.5 season-scoring average, while Reid Longley ’06 set up their 2nd place finish in the Founders League Tournament as the individual medalist, shooting a 73. Under two-year captain and upper mid

Boys’ Track 7–5 The team finished 4th at the Founders League Meet, 7th at New Englands, and defeated Division III champ Kingswood on the way to a winning record. In the javelin, shot put, and discus, Taft outscored their opponents 161–67 during the season, placed two throwers into the finals of each event at the N.E. meet—the only school to do so—and became the first school to sweep all three throwing events at the Deerfield Relays. Senior Tyler Whitley was the New England champion in the javelin, and Camden Bucsko ’04 placed in the shot (5th with 49'5") and discus (2nd with 144') for the third year in a row.





meet, just 15 points behind champion Exeter. By the end of the season, the team had set seven school records (100 meters 12.5; 200 meters 25.8; 110 High Hurdles 15.8; Long Jump 17'6"; High Jump 5'4"; Triple Jump 34'6"; 4x100-meter relay 50.9). Returning upper-mid record setters Tracy Dishongh, Tamara Sinclair, Tania Giannone, and middler Taylor Bodnar will lead a very strong team again next year. Senior captain Katie McCabe finished her career with school records in three events and placed in all four of her events at the N.E. meet.

Boys’ Tennis 12–1 SNETL Champions The boys’ team posted its best record in over 20 years, cruising past Hotchkiss, Deerfield, and undefeated Avon to win the league title. Will Minter ’06 (1st singles), Will Karnasiewicz ’05 (2nd), and Julius Scheifele ’05 (3rd) were all league

Girls’ Track 8–2 Founders League Champions The girls’ team won its 2nd league title in three years and finished 3rd at the N.E.

Co-captain Sha-kayla Crockett ’05 nails a landing in the long jump.

Captain-elect Pete Wyman ’05 volleys behind doubles partner Julius Scheifele ’05. ROGER KIRKPATRICK ’05


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004







champions with 11–2 records, bettered only by league champion senior Dan Kennedy’s 12–1 record at number 4 singles. The doubles teams of Chris Carlson ’04 and Minter, Karnasiewicz and Kennedy, and Peter Wyman ’05 and Scheifele had a combined 30–6 record.

Girls’ Tennis 6–6 Having graduated seven of ten varsity players last year, the girls regrouped behind the 7–0 league record of upper mid Lindsay Littlejohn at number 2 singles and middler Annie McGillicuddy’s steady play in the number one slot. Senior Bettina Scott was named a League All Star, playing first doubles with Mercer Wu ’05. The team enjoyed narrow victories over Kent, Kingswood, and Porters on the way to a 5–2 league record.

Softball 5–7 There were many close games in this solid season, including wins over NMH, Westminster and Hotchkiss. Founders League All Star Abbey Cecchinato ’05 compiled 109 strikeouts, pitched every single inning for the entire season, and led the team in RBIs. Center fielder Jessica Lee ’05 (0 errors) led the team in hits. This squad graduates only one senior and will look to contend for the league title next year.

Baseball 8–9 It was a streaky season for the varsity team, winning five in a row in late April, including wins over Hotchkiss, Loomis and Kent, before dropping below .500 at the very end. The team was quite young, but seniors Joe Mastracola (cleanup) and Keith Shattenkirk (leading batter .432 avg. 4 HR, 23 RBI) provided power at the plate, while John Lockwood and Nick Young were effective on the mound. Key starters included Tom Piacenza ’06 (caught every game), 20

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Jake Erickson ’05 (.350 batting average and League All Star), Hunter Serenbetz ’06 (pitcher, first base) and John McDonald ’05 (most innings pitched).

Girls’ Crew 7–4 Alumnae Cup Winners For the first time ever, the girls’ team put three boats into the Grand Finals at the New England Regatta, and the third boat nearly took it all, placing 2nd to Groton. With this fine showing, Coach Michael Spencer’s squad was ranked 4th in all of New England, the highest ever. With 16 new members starting in late March, the progress and success of this team was remarkable. Three devoted seniors anchored this powerful crew: Fiona McFarland (Navy), Johanna Pistell (Wisconsin) and Lucy Piacenza (Bates) will all continue their careers at strong college programs.

Boys’ Crew 10–2 Dupont Cup Winners The first boat finished 3rd at the Founders League race, losing by only one second to rival Gunnery. The crew of Alex Bisset ’04, Justin Martin ’04, Charlie Staub ’05, Patrick Coleman ’05, and Kierstin Nagle ’04 came back with a stirring 4th place finish at the New England finals, the first time a Taft boat has made it to the Grand Finals in that regatta. The 2nd and 3rd boats also peaked for the final New England race, defeating strong teams from Choate and Gunnery. Seniors Will Shiverick (3 years) and Bisset (4 years) have been central to this program that grows stronger with every season. The first boat also set a new course record (5:15.0) on Bantam Lake in its win over Berkshire. Seniors Justin Martin, Alex Bisset, and Gray Bigler, part of the record-setting first boat this season. PETER FREW ’75


fund A N N U A L

Volunteers Raise $2.8 million

On behalf of the Development Office, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the 2004 Annual Fund has raised $2.8 million in gifts and pledges, an increase of over $170,000 from last year. I am deeply grateful to all the alumni/ae, current parents, former parents, grandparents, and friends of Taft for their generosity and loyalty. Forty percent of alumni raised over half of that total with $1.5 million. Thank you to all the class agents who worked so hard this year to raise these funds. Special thanks and congratulations go to Class Agent Rocky Fawcett and the 50th Reunion Class of ’54 for raising $194,405 for the Annual Fund and a grand total of $638,835 as a 50th Reunion class gift.

I would also like to recognize the following class agents for their extra efforts this year. Woolly Bermingham and Ross Legler have for the sixth year in a row led the Class of ’43 to 100 percent participation. A remarkable feat! Barnaby Conrad, won the Romano Award for achieving a 33 percent increase in class participation for the Class of ’70. Alumni participation is our primary goal, and an increase of this level is a tribute to the hard work of the class agent. My first year as Annual Fund chair has been fulfilling. It is great fun to work with a group of people that are passionate about their cause and committed to a goal. The Taft Annual Fund is fueled by a group of inspired volunteers who do a tremendous job of engaging the Taft community. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and dedication of the extended Taft Family. Again, I thank you all and please have a happy and safe summer. Sincerely,

David F. Kirkpatrick ’89

Annual Fund Director Jessica Oneglia Travelstead ’88 and 50th Reunion Gift Chair Rocky Fawcett ’54 at the presentation of Class Agent Awards during the Alumni Day Luncheon in May.

2004 Class Agent Awards* Snyder Award—Largest amount contributed to the Annual Fund by a reunion class Class of 1954: $194,405 Annual Fund, $638,835 total Class Agent: Rocky Fawcett Chairman of the Board Award— Highest percent participation from a class 50 years out or less Class of 1960: 75% Class Agent: John Michaelsen McCabe Award—Largest amount contributed by a non-reunion class Class of 1978: $57,299 Class Agent: John Kerney

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004



Class of 1920 Award—Greatest increase in dollars from a non-reunion class Class of 1987: $19,410 Class Agent: Lucinda Goulard Lord The Romano Award—Greatest increase in percentage support from a non-reunion class less than 50 years out Class of 1970: 69% from 36% Class Agent: Barnaby Conrad Young Alumni Dollars Award— Largest amount contributed from a class less than 10 years out Class of 1995: $19,820 Class Agents: Dan Oneglia & Tony Pasquariello Young Alumni Participation Award— Highest participation from a class 10 years out or less Class of 2003: 68% Class Agents: Eliza Clark & Glenton Davis The Spencer Award—Greatest number of gifts from previous non-donors Class of 1970: 14% Class Agent: Barnaby Conrad * Awards are determined by funds raised as of June 30, 2004.

2003–04 Parents’ Committee Leslie & Angus Littlejohn, Chairs Leslie & Samuel Acquaviva Rosanne & Steve Anderson Sandy Bisset Cindy & Larry Bloch Susan & Don Brant Sandi & Glenn Bromagen Vivian & Richard Castellano Len Chazen & Linda Rappaport Howard & Barbara Cherry Gail & Dan Ciaburri Peg & John Claghorn Pamela & Michael Clark


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Leslie and Angus Littlejohn P’03, ’05

New Parents’ Fund Chairs Cindy and Larry Bloch with Reisa ’05 and Matt ’05

Parents’ Fund Raises $1.1 Million 94 Percent of Parents Participate Parents’ Fund Chairs Leslie and Angus Littlejohn are delighted to announce that the 2004 fund broke new records for giving again this year. “This success is due in great part to the Littlejohn’s leadership and untiring dedication,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, “along with a loyal committee and of course the hundreds of parents who have given so much to this great school.” Raising $1,106,791 from 94 percent of the current parent body made this year’s fund one of historic significance for Taft and for parent giving nationwide. For the

Donna & Chris Cleary Kate & Dan Coit Mary & David Dangremond John Deardourff Emily & Steven Eisen Julie & Michael Freeman Pippa & Bob Gerard Debbie & Vin Giannetto Katy & Tiger Graham Susan & Chuck Harris David Hillman Leslie & Herb Ide Lisa Ireland Pam & Michael Jackson Linda & Bill Jacobs Sally & Michael Karnasiewicz Kathy & Tom Kelley

fifth time in the past six years, over one million dollars has been raised by current parents for the Annual Fund. Just as notable is the 90-plus percent parent participation for the 12th consecutive year. “A parent body that supports a school so unanimously,” said MacMullen, “speaks to the strong belief that academics must remain strong, athletics competitive, and the arts flourishing.” The Littlejohns, parents of Angus ’03 and Lindsay ’05, have handed the reins over to Cindy and Larry Bloch, current members of the Parents’ Committee and parents of Reisa ’05 and Matt ’05.

Kim & Dave Kennedy Meg & Stuart Kirkpatrick Ginny & David Knott Laura & Dale Kutnick Janet & Paul Lewis Carol & John Lyden Bridget & John Macaskill Mary & Joe Mastrocola K.T. & Alan McFarland Linda & Clem McGillicuddy Lynn & Mike McKenna Clare & Howard McMorris Patrick & Patricia McVeigh Kate & Hans Morris Hattie & Bill Mulligan Kathleen & Peter Murphy Kenny & Gordon Nelson

Debbie & Joe Petrowski Mandy & Adam Quinton Rose-Lee & Keith Reinhard Sera & Tom Reycraft Ann & James Rickards Carol & Bill Sammons Lindsay & Edgar Scott Suzanne & Peter Sealy Jean & Stuart Serenbetz Debbie & Michael Shepherd Charlotte & Richard Smith Maria & Glenn Taylor Peggy & Joe Toce Jane & Bill Waters Sandra & Rick Webel Ann & Jack Weiss Peter Wyman

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Dinner Alumni with

Six restaurateurs talk about the rewards and challenges of the business and how they got there in the first place. By Julie Reiff

Jonathan Albert ’79 Albert Brothers, Inc. Waterbury, Connecticut Albert Brothers is a fourth-generation company owned and operated by Eric Albert ’77 and Jonathan ’79. Founded in 1895 by their great-grandfather and his brother who had recently emigrated from Lithuania, it is the largest independent scrap metal processor in New England today. Using the skills he’d learned during ten years in Manhattan with a real estate investment company, Jonathan began to diversify the family business by starting a real estate company and a food service company. Established with Jonathan’s close friend and business associate who

Jonathan Albert ’79, left, at the recent construction of a Burger King unit in Pécs, Hungary

Dinner withAlumni had run the food and beverage operations of the Hyatt hotel system, the restaurant operation began with the formation of a company headquartered

in Budapest, which acquired the exclusive development rights for Burger King in Hungary and what was then Czechoslovakia. “At the time we started,” explains Jonathan, “the Berlin Wall had not yet fallen. There were considerable risks, including a lack of infrastructure. Even the phone service was so poor that there were many times it took days to complete one conversation. Because we couldn’t own real estate we had to form a joint venture with a hotel company to get the best property on the market. In order to survive, the company had to establish its own distribution company, local meat processing operation, salad preparation facility, construction team, etc. We even brought seeds for iceberg lettuce in our suitcases to grow our own lettuce locally.” While the business was well received in the local marketplace, building the company required a new business orientation, since one of the primary focal points under communism was maximizing the workforce rather than profits. Today the company has a team of about 500 people and 17 restaurants—including the largest Burger King in the world—and has two new restaurants under development. “I have often been asked how we operate a fast-food business when our roots are in heavy manufacturing,” says Jonathan. “The fact is that the experience is similar with high-volume, low-margin businesses, where money is only made by watching every detail of the business. Our overriding principle,

though, has always been a 110-percent focus on the customer, and that is very transferable.” As the business in Eastern Europe stabilized, the team continued to work on other restaurant projects with its operations center in Chicago. Operating under the Cornerstone Restaurant Group, the two primary business activities include a management company that develops and operates the food and beverage operations within hotels. The company has worked with Hyatt and is involved with Starwood Hotels with a focus on the W hotel brand.

The company also works with Michael Jordan through a joint venture named Jump Higher that is responsible for developing, owning, and operating restaurants under the Michael Jordan brand. The company has two restaurants at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut—the high-end Michael Jordan’s Steak House and 23 Sport Café—a Michael Jordan’s Steak House in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, and one in Chicago. Jonathan says that anyone who knows him will attest that Jordan did not choose to partner with him based upon his athletic talent. “As one can imagine, Michael sets extremely high standards,” he said, “which has assisted in our company’s overall success. You are only as good as your last meal served.” The restaurant business is very risky with many opportunities to fail every day, he adds. “Everything boils down to the quality of the team, the execution of all the little details, and the overwhelming commitment to the customer.”


Stea o c i n o m l e D

serving nts p e r ie d k e r g In ye stea ce ribe n u s -o o 6 t 1 a ried tom shroom 3 sun-d mu o ll e b to 1/2 por y spear ar m e s o 1r tock s veal s e egar 8 ounc mic vin a ls a b s e c 4 oun garlic ginger 1 clove grated s ts e c n u 2o d shallo otatoes mic d balsa choppe p e d c e n h u s o a ger. Ad duce by 1 in m g n o d k n re t, a s Yu c, shallo eal stock and 6 ounce v he garli t e t h a t e d w e d. A d uce, s tes. t twelv e the sa ce to one thir r for 30 minu otato a ered. p d To mak e u e d m h e t s a en and r nd sim e the m atoes c vinegar k seasonings a and pip nder the pot , g c in e k h li u ak our half. C t in the the ste ef to y nd roas usha Grill be e plate. Place s and steak. r e p p m pe on th otatoe salt and tomatoes and op of o’clock jus over the p oil and t d n in ie o r m it e -d o h place e su n ushro h d t m N ape t n r e a e h t y ly t te gh y, la Marina kewer li o se m a r g the r wer. Grill the s in s U . oven g a ske creatin . rooms otatoes k and p a e t s e th Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Timothy Connors ’78 Mezcal Denver, Colorado Tim Connors ’78 is one of four partners who own Mezcal, a casual Mexican cantina that opened in Denver last December. One may wonder why Connors, the owner of a mortgage company, would choose to get involved in the unpredictable, and sometimes risky, restaurant business. The answer is simple—go to a Pearl Jam concert with a couple of buddies. Connors and Steve Cohen completed their undergraduate studies in Vermont—Connors at the University of Vermont and Cohen at Middlebury— and have kept in touch over the years. They reconnected in Colorado a while

back, and Steve introduced Tim to Jesse Morreale and Chris Swank, local concert promoters and co-owners of a popular Denver nightclub. Not long ago, Connors, Cohen, and Morreale went to a Pearl Jam concert. “At some point during the evening we decided we should all go into business together,” says Connors. “We thought a restaurant might be a good idea.” Together with Chris Swank, the four became partners in Mezcal, with Connors and Cohen providing the capital for the project. The result, Connors says, has been an unbelievably successful restaurant. Designed to conjure up the feeling Tim Connors ’78 at his new restaurant, Mezcal, with Sarah and Laney Barroll Stark ’79 and his wife Elsie and their sons Lachlan and Hamilton.

of an old neighborhood cantina, the restaurant includes hand-painted tiles, colorful stenciled Mexican patterns, and distressed wood. The interior also features vintage Mexican movie posters, vibrant Latin American colors, oil paintings of masked Mexican wrestlers, and a mural of a Mexican billboard. Mezcal’s ironwood bar is a focal point in the center of the restaurant and boasts a list of more than 100 tequilas and mezcals. An eclectic jukebox adds to the ambiance offering tunes ranging from Tito Puente to the Clash. Connors lives in Cherry Hills with his wife Elsie and their two sons, Hamilton and Lachlan.

Sopes de Frijoles Neg ros

Ingredients 4 cups corn m asa 2 1/2 cups wat er 1 teaspoon sa lt 1 pound dried black beans 1/2 medium on ion, peeled an d chopped 1 1/2 to 2 chop ped jalapeños 1 to 2 sprigs ep azote or cilant ro Shredded lett uce Pico de gallo (recipe below ) Queso Quesa dilla* Crema*

To make bean s: Soak beans according to qu on package. Sa ick soak metho ute the onion, d ja lapeños, and ep pot. Drain bean azote in a larg s and add to on e ion mixture; ad to cover. Coo d enough wat k covered for er about three ho tender. (Check urs until bean occasionally to s are make sure ther water in the po e is still enough t to keep bean s from burning. ) To make sope s: Mix the corn masa, 2 1/2 cu Roll the mixtu ps water, and re into 12 sm salt. all balls (roug balls). Flatten hly the size of each ball into go lf fat corn tortill and mold into as and turn ed tart-like shells. ge s Pu t the masa ta and place in rtlets on a tray freezer until fro zen. Deep-fry two at a time, the frozen sh in vegetable oi ells, l to cover for ab out five minut es. To make pico de gallo: Com bine diced to pepper, onions matoes, jalape , and cilantro. ño Mix with fresh lime juice. To assemble: To p each shell with black beans, qu shredded lett uce, and pico eso quesadilla, de gallo. Driz serve immedia zle with crem tely. a and *Available at La tin supermarke ts


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

John Dayton ’64 says he thoroughly enjoys the theatrical side to the restaurant business, “that public aspect of presentation.”

John Dayton ’64 Routh Street Investments Dallas, Texas John Dayton opened his first restaurant, Routh Street Cafe in Dallas, in 1982. He had been a real estate lawyer for a large Dallas firm, but didn’t see himself spending his whole career that way and decided to try real estate development. “I came at restaurants from the real estate development perspective,” Dayton says. In the process of setting up his first project, he discovered that few restaurant projects run by silent investors succeed. “And I realized at the same time that I really enjoyed the restaurant business.” By the fall of 1982, he committed to be an active partner with chef Stephan Pyles. Together they created a small, whitetablecloth restaurant that focused on regional American cuisine with an upscale taste of the Southwest. The Dallas Morning News quickly gave them five stars, and USA Today named them “one of the best new restaurants in America.” Part of their success, says Dayton, was the growth of the American cuisine movement beyond the West Coast. As luck would have it, Routh Street Cafe was the hot new restaurant in Dallas when the Republican National Convention came to town in 1983. The national press also came to town, and their coverage catapulted the restaurant into the national limelight on the coattails of the convention. For 11 years Routh Street was always among the best restaurants in Dallas. In its sixth year, they opened offspring Baby Routh, a larger, more casual operation but still with high culinary standards.

The success of both restaurants got Dayton an invitation to start two new restaurants in his hometown of Minneapolis. Goodfellow’s, named after the local dry goods store Dayton’s great-grandfather acquired in 1902, opened in 1988. “It was the Midwest equivalent of Routh Street,” says Dayton, “fine dining, high culinary standards, but with a Midwest rather than Southwest flavor.” The Food Network’s Best Of series said that Goodfellow’s allure was its 1930 art deco interiors and its inventive menu. It, too, received its share of awards—from a AAA four-diamond rating to annual recognition for its wine list by Wine Spectator. At the same time, Dayton also opened Tejas in the Twin Cities. A fun, more casual restaurant with a Southwestern flair, Tejas was followed in the late ’90s by Bar Abilene. “It was far and away our most financially successful establishment to date,” says Dayton, who has since sold the Dallas restaurants, but also created the Franklin Street Bakery. Originally conceived as a way of providing desserts for the three other locations, the wholesale operation eventually aligned with a local chain of coffee shops and wholesale distributorships and now provides all their baked goods as well. “I’m not as involved as I was,” says Dayton, who continues to live in Dallas while both restaurants are in Minnesota. “I spend three to four days there each month. My role has largely been in concept development and opening.” Dayton focuses on the design and décor and works with his chef partner on the development of the menu and the wine program “and then let them handle the daily operation,” he says. The restaurant business is about “the ability to cater to the basic pleasures of the public and to provide a total dining experience,” says Dayton. “It’s theater. I thoroughly enjoy that public aspect of presentation.”

Pecan Crusted Walleye with Sweet Corn Salad and Horseradish Cream Pecan Crusted Walleye 6 cleaned fillets of walleye 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 cups Japanese bread crumbs 1 cup pecans Salt and pepper Fine chop the pecans in a food processor with 1 cup of the breadcrumbs. Add this to the rest of the breadcrumbs and set aside. Arrange the fillets in a non-reactive pan. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the buttermilk over the fish to coat. Sprinkle crumb-nut mixture over the top and press into the fillets. Cover with film and set aside in the cooler. Sweet Corn Salad 3 ears roasted sweet corn off the cob 1 pint red grape tomatoes, sliced in half 2 red bell peppers, small diced 2 scallions, sliced thin 2 sprigs basil leaves, torn 2 bunches arugula, washed and dried 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil Salt and pepper Combine the corn, tomatoes, pepper, scallions, and basil in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Set aside in the cooler. Horseradish Cream 1/3 cup fresh horseradish, peeled and chopped 1 cup sour cream 3/4 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon sugar Salt In a blender, buzz the horseradish with enough water to purée. BE CAREFUL not to inhale the purée. Combine all ingredients and season with salt. Chill. To assemble, set a heavy-bottomed nonstick pan on high heat. When hot, add a little oil and with the crusted side down, saute the fish until golden brown. Carefully turn the fillets and finish on the other side. Set onto serving plates. Toss the corn salad with arugula and arrange on top of the fish. Drizzle the horseradish cream around the plate with a spoon. Serve.

Craig Larson ’82 Crazy From the Heat Restaurants, Inc. Boca Raton, Florida “The restaurant business has been a fabulous choice for my wife and me, but it is certainly one people should think long and hard about before entering,” says Craig Larson ’82, who owns three restaurants in south Florida. “My advice is to get all the practical experience possible and remember—you are committing to a lifestyle, not just a job!” Larson says he knew from an early age that he would need to find a career that did not involve sitting at a desk, one that would provide a different experience every day.

Karin and Craig Larson ’82 with their children Ryan and Cole at Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ.

“Renegade” Chili, Q B B e n o B e th to d a Lucille’s B Ingredients vegetable oil 2 tablespoons ped 1 onion, chop s 2 red pepper juice ns tomatoes in 2 16-ounce ca 1 can water oth 3 cups beef br garlic powder 3 tablespoons wder 1/4 cup chili po in m 1/4 cup cu salt 3 tablespoon s n kidney bean ca ce un -o 1 16 ef brisket be -cooked lean w slo n. d un po 8garlic, and onio salt and pepper, ith y. w sil on ea t as ar se ghtly t breaks ap et on tin foil. Li s urs or until mea nt ho ie 5 ed to gr Place beef brisk 4 in r r fo d all othe 5 degrees an 22 et at isk ok br co d d ad and Seal an es until tender Sauté vegetabl beans. finished, add 45 min. When t except beans. ou ab r fo s gree Cook at 300 de ings. Makes 10 serv e days. Will keep for fiv


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

“I was fortunate enough,” he says, “to luck into a job at an upscale restaurant/ hotel when I took a year off from college to ski and work in Utah, working for a young, enthusiastic, and wonderfully creative executive chef. After that, I knew the foodservice industry was for me.” After college, Larson packed up his worldly possessions and headed south to sunny Florida with partner and girlfriend Karin (who’s now his wife). “A deli case and a slicer were all we had in the beginning,” Larson told Nation’s Restaurant News in 1999, “and that kitchen we worked in was so unbearably hot I know it had a permanent effect on our psychological state.” Starting with that “tiny deli” in 1987, the Larsons have expanded their operations into Crazy From the Heat Restaurants, which now includes three Lucille’s BBQ restaurants—in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and Boynton Beach— as well as Silver Sac Catering, having sold Bistro Zenith and Lucille’s American Cafe. “We struggled, made tons of mistakes, and worked incredibly hard. I believe to this day that it was our naïve optimism and determination that allowed us to overcome the numerous obstacles inherent in this business and find a way to succeed.”

Dinner withAlumni

Rolph Nelson ’84 Sconset Café Nantucket, Massachusetts Buying the Sconset Café ten years ago was a kind of homecoming for Rolph and Cindy Nelson, who first met while working at the restaurant in the summer of ’83. But the connection between their families began years earlier, in 1965, when his mother swapped a gin and tonic for one of her grandfather’s striped bass. Both families have long ties to the island; Cindy’s family’s dating Rolph Nelson ’84 with wife Cindy and sons Cooper and Reece. CARY HAZLEGROVE The Sconset Café is an unpretentious restaurant where people can come right off the beach and get a meal as good as anywhere else on the island. PATRICIA ADAMS

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


back to 1910. In fact, her family even built his family’s house. Not much came of that first summer, and five years passed before they bumped into each other in New York while Rolph was at Culinary School. They married, and he went on to work at Windows on the World at the World Trade Center, until the 1993 bombing closed the restaurant. So they moved to North Carolina to run a country inn together. Two years later, the owners of the Sconset Café approached Rolph and Cindy about buying the restaurant and returning to Nantucket. “I always knew I wanted to go into the restaurant business,” says Nelson. “I never thought I’d go the traditional business route. Going to culinary school was definitely a good thing to do, to be a chef/ owner you need to know about both sides of the business.” Nelson says he cooked with his mother all the time growing up and he had uncles who loved to cook. “My family back in England were brewers and wine merchants; good food has always been important in our family.” In fact, the Nelsons’ current business venture is acquiring the wine shop next door. “The restaurant is BYOB, so that’s something I’ve always missed, having been in the wine business,” Nelson says. Nantucket is a seasonal resort, so in the off-season, he spends time on the business side of the venture, “chasing up plumbers” and recruiting staff for the summer. “I really enjoy working with young people,” says Nelson, who spent two summers teaching at Taft. “We bring in interns from cooking school. There’s a lot of teaching in the cooking environment. It’s definitely an additional benefit to this kind of work.” But by far the largest advantage to the off-season, he says, is that he gets to be a full-time dad. “It’s a bit of a struggle in the summer when things are crazy, but when I graduated from culinary school I thought, if I can get to a place where I 30

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Quahog Chowder

tomdon’t hear from their cus t Café that the Nelsons nse Sco ns of the sio at ver s ny pas ma ’t A day doesn . There are as wder they’ve ever tasted cho re st mo be ails the ent e hav ipe y rec the ’s ers that cooks. Rolph g) chowder as there are aho er. qu wd (or m cho cla ms nd -cla gla -of En New amy, chock-full says, is a full-bodied, cre effort but the result, he Ingredients on, finely chopped 1/2 pound uncooked bac 1 large onion, minced pped 1 carrot, very finely cho ced min 3/4 cup celery, 2 teaspoon dried thyme ed 1 tablespoon dried dillwe er pp pe ite wh on spo tea 1/2 1/4 cup flour stock 3 cups clam juice or fish e win ite wh 1/2 cup dry pped clams, with juice 3 6.5-ounce cans of cho 3 bay leaves cooked until tender 3 cups diced potatoes, 1 cup heavy cream utes Preparation Time: 40 min s Time to Bake: 40 minute Makes 8 to 10 Servings il the fat The Base: r medium-high heat unt ot, cook the bacon ove ckp sto té until ge sau gau and vyery hea e cel In a larg onions, carrot and the d Ad p. cris is on weed, and pepper is rendered and the bac utes. Add the thyme, dill min 8 ut abo to r, de ten ring constantly over low the vegetables are the flour and cook, stir in r Sti r. ge lon s ute and sauté 2 min flour to burn. minutes. Do not allow the medium heat for 4 to 6 non-aluminum saucepan The Chowder: bay leaves in a 2-quart, the h wit s e win and e mer for about 5 minute Heat the clam juic the heat and cook at a sim er Low g. me ilin to bo ot il unt ckp t over high hea t under the sto o the base. Raise the hea int th and bro ms the cla stir the d ally Ad then gradu ring frequently. wder for 10 minutes, stir es of the dium and cook the cho potatoes against the sid the of ng about a half cup shi chowder ma ly the gh int rou po s, s oe thi tat At . po is warmed through er wd cho the il unt t stockpot, and hea ered with plastic wrap. up to 3 days, loosely cov may be refrigerated for temperaer to reheat to serving am and allow the chowd cre ary. vy ess hea nec the if t, add sal h ve, To ser Season to taste wit il. bo e tur mix the let to ture, taking care not

can balance family and doing what I love, then I’d feel really lucky.” Rolph and Cindy live in Amherst, Mass., during the school year to give their boys Cooper, 7, and Reece, 4, access to a

better school system, with one or the other running out to the island in the spring and fall, but, Rolph asks, “what better place is there to spend a summer than Nantucket?”

Dinner withAlumni

John A. “Sandy” Saxten ’63 TS Restaurants Hawaii and California Saxten credits his interest in restaurants with his first experience as a waiter while studying at Stanford. In 1968, he was fresh out of school and started the Rusty Scupper, eventually opening several restaurants in Massachusetts as well as in Philadelphia and Chicago before selling the franchise to Nestlé. (Classmate Biff Barnard, who’s on Saxten’s current board, was also involved with the Rusty Scupper for a few years.) “Restaurants shifted gears in the early ’70s,” he says. They brought in lighter natural woods, bright colors, younger servers and a more informal atmosphere, still with simple American cuisine. “We wanted to be a part of that.” In 1977, Saxten and his late partner Rob Thibaut opened their first restaurant in Hawaii. “We decided we loved restaurants. We liked the people, the upbeat tempo,

and the variety of the business skills required to succeed. We wanted to be in the restaurant business. “We were different,” says Saxten, “but we had the same values. We wanted to have restaurants in places we either wanted to live or go on vacation—and on water whenever we could.” Eleven other restaurants followed: five more in Hawaii and six in California, with more in the works including another Hula Grill in Waikiki, next door to their own Duke’s restaurant, “only a little fancier,” he says, “but not much.” “Our customers have grown up,” he says, “and we have to do more, be a little more sophisticated now. Our restaurants are wonderful places to relax and enjoy life with friends. We still consider ourselves a small company even with over 2,000 employees. With twelve restaurants—all in beautiful places where we

Poke Rolls, TS Restaurants Poke Roll Ingredients 1 pound Ahi, trimmed and diced (small) 1 bunch chopped scallions 1/4 cup chopped pickled ginger 1/3 cup soy sauce 2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon red chili flakes 1 teaspoon sesame seeds 1 teaspoon sesame oil wonton wrappers Mix all ingredients together and wrap with wonton wrapper. After assembling the rolls in wonton wrappers, saute in a small amount of olive oil for two minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve with dipping sauce." Poke Sauce Ingredients Equal parts: Honey Soy sauce Sirachi chili Dash of cilantro Mix ingredients together and serve.

ourselves would choose to live—and our greater size, we still consider ourselves just a small group of close friends.” California Restaurants Duke’s Huntington Beach, Duke’s Malibu, Jake’s Del Mar, The Cliffhouse (La Quinta), Jake’s On The Lake (Tahoe City), and Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge (Tahoe City) Hawaii Restaurants Duke’s Kauai, Duke’s Waikiki, Keoki’s Paradise (Kauai), Kimo’s (Maui), Hula Grill (Maui), and Leilani’s on the Beach (Maui) 䉳 Sandy Saxten ’63, right, with wife Dana and son Jack, says he wanted restaurants in places that they would either want to live in or visit on vacation—and on the water whenever they could.

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


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By Julie Reiff

The campus may have changed, but for alumni, the reasons they come back remain much the same. In the words of Amy Bernon’s revised Alma Mater… “friends and teachers always these, Taft, our memories linger on.”

why they come back

alumni day


Chaplain Michael Spencer greets alumni after the Service of Remembrance at Christ Church on the Green. PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER FINGER ○

Madeleine, daughter of Dick Mattson ’49, has her face painted as part of the Children’s Program during the Alumni Luncheon. ○

What is always so remarkable about Alumni Day are the distances graduates travel to see old classmates and check in on their school. Hailing from Russia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia as well as from San Francisco, New York, and Watertown, nearly 500 people made the trek on a beautiful May weekend. From the Class of ’31 to the Class of ’03, alumni returned to their campus to see old friends, to pop in on teachers, and remark on the beauty of the place. “It’s great to be back,” said Rob Petty ’79, New York City, who had only been back one other time in 25 years. “What’s striking is the beauty of the place. It was always beautiful, and it’s always been a special place in the world.” Dylan Simonds ’89 of Mill Valley, California, too, “came back to see old friends and faculty members and to check out the campus—which has changed so much. I wanted to see some classmates—like Kate Jellinghaus— whom I hadn’t seen in 15 years.” “Of course the school has changed,” said Stephan Koenen ’94 from Hamburg, Germany, who had been back only five years earlier. “I found it amazing how CPT just flows into the new building [Vogelstein] and you don’t even notice it. It’s brighter; everywhere seems brighter.”

After a rain-soaked weekend in 2003, alumni took advantage of the wonderful weather for this year’s reunion festivities and stayed on throughout the afternoon to watch the athletic contests.

Members of the Class of ’39 ready for the parade in front of the school: Clare and Jes Dall (left), Peggy Lou Feldmeier (right), and Spanky and Sylvia Sheldon, who traveled from New Zealand to attend the reunion.

Chip Spencer greets Nancy and Herb Frisbie ’44 after the memorial service on Friday afternoon.

1964 classmates Scott Farley, Andrew Larkin, and John Dayton take a moment to catch up before the parade.

The Class of ’54 turned up in force to celebrate its 50th Reunion.

The oldest alumnus in attendance, Dick Simpson ’31, right, and his wife Rebecca visit with Ruth and Dick Davidson ’33.

1984 classmates Madeline Djerejian and Felecia Williams greet Jennifer Buttenheim, left, who made it to the reunion all the way from Russia.

alumni day

Here to celebrate Wesley Williams’s selection as this year’s Alumni Citation of Merit recipient are his mother, Dr. Bathrus Williams, his wife Karen, sons Bo and Bailey, and daughter-in-law Drew.

The Herrlinger family on Alumni Day: Kim and Ted ’46, Erika and Mark ’84 with son Seth, and Kitty Herrlinger Hillman ’76 with Daniel ’06

Although most alumni are impressed by the new facilities, most admit it’s something else that brings them back. “It’s a different place entirely from when I went here,” said Jon Warner ’54 of Pelham, New York. “First of all there are girls, and the place is so expanded in terms of facilities, but the people are what draw me back. Seeing the people again.” It was a momentous week for Jon, who arrived in Watertown for his 50th Reunion having spent the day before at a Moroccan restaurant in Jerusalem. “Yesterday I put a prayer in the Western Wall of the Temple for my two Jewish granddaughters,” he said, “and I lit two candles at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for my two Catholic granddaughters.” For Petty too, reunion weekend is about “friends, and the community and the time you spent together at that early age. We had a wonderful, crazy time. It’ll be nice to see everybody matured, to see everyone grown up and comfortable with who they are, with families and spouses and all that. I’m just happy to be back.” Derek Pierce ’84 of Portland, Maine, however, admitted he had ulterior motives for his return. “I’m here to secretly tape some stuff about my

The Alumni lacrosse game was short on players but long on fun. Even the referee from the varsity match stayed on to play. Faculty members Brian Denyer and Jonathan Bernon refereed.

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Martha and Bryan Smith ’89 at the Headmaster’s Supper on Saturday

1994 Classmates Carol Ciriello, Jordan Young, Scott Mackay, and Jeff Tucker team up for the Alumni Golf Tournament.


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Steve Blakeslee ’54 and his guest Pam at the Old Guard Dinner

A mixed alumni group—Spike Hasler ’59, Taylor Moore ’99, Mac Brighton ’74, and Trip Stocker ’74—at the Friday golf tournament. The Class of ’79, however, won the trophy.

Faculty emeriti Marion Makepeace and husband John ’38, Polly Merriman (widow of Bill ’43), John Noyes, Ted Greene, Pecky Lodge, Tanny Reiff, Tom Lodge, and Neil Currie ’41

The men of the 50th Reunion Class of ’54 join the Old Guard. Bailey and Whitney, daughters of Phobe Vaughn Outerbridge ’84, help gather balloons after the luncheon.

Latin teacher and baseball coach Joe Brogna rallies the team in its game against Kent on Saturday afternoon.

alumni day

dad [Scott Pierce ’49]. It’s his 50th wedding anniversary with my mom this year, so I’m going to talk with his classmates about what really happened when he was here and find out the nature of the nickname in his yearbook, which he never revealed to us, so we’re going to find out.” Pierce was not alone in his family ties over the weekend. Three generations of Herrlingers were spotted visiting before the parade, and Jim Moore ’74 balanced his time between his classmates and visiting his lowermid daughter Emily. “We had a great class,” Moore said. “It’s wonderful to see everyone, and so many of the old masters were [at the ’74 party]: Bill Nicholson—I hadn’t seen him since I’d graduated—and Roger Stacey. I got the chance to apologize for living down the hall from him my lower-mid year.” “My teachers and classmates were the most memorable part of my experience,” said Shruthi Mahalingaiah ’94 from Brookline, Massachusetts, “Mr. Everett (whom I got to see at the party), Mr. Comiskey, Mr. Potter, and BJ Goodwin…. I had time between graduation from med school and starting my residency. Before too much time passed I wanted to reconnect with my classmates, see how they are and

Headmaster Willy MacMullen thanks reunion volunteers Kevit Cook, Rocky Fawcett, and Steve Blakeslee ’54 for their dedication this year. 1933 classmates Dick Davidson, Rib Hall, and Henry Becton returned for their annual reunion luncheon with their original class banner.

Williams honored with alumni citation of merit The Citation of Merit Committee this year bestowed the school’s highest honor on Wesley Samuel Williams Jr. ’59, a lawyer, businessman, philanthropist, and pioneer who “never shied from hard work…and always deflected personal glory.” “Fluent in eight languages,” Charlie Yonkers read from the citation, “you are well versed in the legal rhetoric of your profession, you communicate the universal truths and humanitarian values steeped in spiritual allegiance to your church, through which your devotion to civic responsibility is manifest.” Williams, among his many community activities, is a member of the executive committee of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a former president and longtime board member of Family and Child Services, receiving their Stoddard Award for “sustained exemplary community service.” Williams is chairman of the Executive Committee and the Committee of the Whole, Board of Regents, of the Smithsonian Institution, and a cancer survivor who chairs the National Prostate Cancer Coalition. “There are far too many men whom I have known personally,” he said, “who have experienced needless pain and suffering—and even premature death—from prostate cancer.” He said it was also out of gratitude for his own full recovery that he took the position. A magna cum laude graduate of 38

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Harvard College, he received degrees from Columbia, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, and Harvard Law. Williams is the first African-American to serve both as legal counsel to a U.S. Senate Committee and as head of the Harvard Law School Association and of the Harvard Law School Fund. Paving the way for others, he has made a point of giving back. As a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, he headed the oversight committee for Harvard Divinity School for five years and later the oversight committee for Harvard’s Memorial Church. Dedicated to his faith, Williams is also a licensed lay catechist, lay reader, and lay preacher with the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., and a church-school teacher for both adults and teens. In 2002, by command of Queen Elizabeth II, Williams was invested as a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. When Virginia Union University presented him with an honorary doctor of laws degree that same year, they remarked that he “exemplified the committed life, characterized by excellence at every turn, resulting in high, often historic distinction in a broad range of fields.” On April 1, Williams became sole president and chief operating officer— while continuing as co-chairman and co-chief executive officer—of the 120-yearold Lockhart Companies, including all 22

Wesley Williams ’59, the recipient of the school’s highest honor, the Citation of Merit, talks about how his passion for learning was materially enhanced at Taft.

companies in Lockhart’s three divisions (real estate, insurance, and consumer finance), prompting his early retirement later this year from the Washington-based international law firm of Covington and Burling, where he has been a partner for more than 30 years. He remains active as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, as well as chairman of the National Conference that is comprised of all 24 chairmen and deputy chairmen of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks across the country. On June 16, Williams was elected to the board of directors of the Bear Stearns Companies. Together with Karen Hastie Williams whom he married in 1968, Williams has three grown children: Amanda Williams Calhoun, Wesley Hastie Williams, and Bailey Lockhart Williams, and one grandson, William Ernest Calhoun.

alumni day

Stallworth Larson, John Merrow, Charles Cheney, and Toby Hubbard, all ’59, congratulate classmate Wesley Williams on receiving this year’s Alumni Citation of Merit.

Barclay Johnson ’53 greets returning alumni at the end of the luncheon on Saturday.

Dancers especially enjoyed the music of the Taft Jazz Band at the Old Guard Dinner.

how they’ve grown, make sure I said hello. It’s still gorgeous here.” For Felecia Washington Williams ’84, it was her first Alumni Day as a faculty member, and her presence here was a draw for more than one of her classmates, said Brad Ring of Manchester, Vermont, also ’84. “I hadn’t been back in years,” admitted classmate Jennifer Buttenheim who was in the States on business from Moscow, Russia. “Living overseas I just haven’t had the opportunity, but it’s nice to be back.” Students escorted alumni and their guests to math and history classes or to the gallery to see the show by John Bria ’69, who was back for his 35th. They gave tours of the lower campus in the morning and of the athletic facilities after lunch. “We’ve been here a lot,” added Moore, “so it’s not quite as much of a shock to come back and see all the building, but even so it was quite something to drive up this weekend and—as you first see the campus from the road—to catch that view of the new dorm and looking on up to the fields beyond. It’s really beautiful.” “I enjoyed it so much,” said Koenen. “Coming back every five years is perfect. Coming back from Germany more often gets too expensive.”

Chip Spencer ’56 with Maggie and John Potter ’49

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Voyages of


Excerpts from the 114th Commencement Remarks

BY ELISABETH GRIFFITH, guest speaker I was asked to speak as a parent, so I will begin by expressing the affection and pride of every parent here. We love you. We are grateful you have survived the risks of adolescence in America and the rigors of a Taft education. As parents we offer our abundant and heartfelt thanks to Taft faculty and staff for challenging our children to rise to your standards of excellence. At Madeira, we require students to take public speaking; one assignment is to imagine themselves returning to campus in 25 years to accept the Alumnae Achievement Award. I revel in the ambitions expressed. This spring we had the future presidents of three countries, several senators, the poet laureate, a soup kitchen supervisor, a dancer, an astronaut, and assorted Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize winners. How would the Taft Class of 2004 imagine themselves, if we gave them the same challenge? It’s easy to envision A.G. Leventhal as senator from New York, working closely with Annie Strickland, who chairs the Democratic National 40

Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

Committee. Or Dozie Uzoma appearing on the cover of Forbes, perhaps the same week that John Lockwood is named People’s most eligible bachelor. I can imagine Fiona McFarland as secretary of defense and Supriya Balsekar lobbying to make squash an Olympic sport, and taking the gold. Equally predictable will be Lila Claghorn winning the Grammy for singer-songwriter or Jason Lee winning the Nobel Prize for physics or Lindsey Gael saving Russian lakes from industrial pollution or Willy Oppenheim writing about Walt Whitman for The New Yorker. Who will forget the night of the Taft sweep at the Oscars, when Matt Anderson, Daniel Barenholtz, and Julia Tyson won statuettes for directing, producing and acting in the same movie? On the red carpet, Ms. Tyson wore a gown designed by Katie Martin. Having sold his computer company at age 30, Chris Carlson donates a dorm and joins the Taft board. Chris frequents New York’s hottest art gallery, owned by

Veronica Torres, who represents the work of Ann Kidder and J.D. Deardourff. Meanwhile Tyler Whitley, winner of the Butkus Award, is linebacker coach for the New England Patriots, and Andrew Eisen has replaced Mr. Mac as headmaster. Whatever you imagine you may become may change entirely between now and your next graduation or your 40th birthday or your 50th reunion. The United States Department of Labor predicts that most of you will have seven careers in your lifetimes. For the first time ever, young men and women will be admitted to graduate school in equal numbers, will be hired for the same positions, and paid the same salaries. The historic discrimination, which results in college educated women being paid less than high-school dropout men, won’t become evident in your lives until you are in your thirties—when you are making decisions about having babies, how many babies, who will care for the babies, and who makes partner. I’m hoping that the young people in this class will work to



Faculty file past the soon-to-be graduates on their way to the ceremony; Dick Cobb, Steve Schieffelin, and Jack Kenerson ’82 lead the group.

Head monitor and recipient of the 1908 Medal, Andrew Eisen raises the class stone before placing it in the wall of Centennial.

change those institutions which undermine the stability of families and which still discriminate against women less privileged than you. As parents we hope you find a vocation you love—in banking or biophysics, farming or fashion, poetry or politics; an occupation that covers the rent and pays for health insurance; and passion, something to inspire your life— a calling, a cause, a person. Lucky people find all three. I will insert here a public service announcement on behalf of teaching, nursing, firefighting, and serving your community and country. Come back to Taft and become the next Rusty Davis. Consider the Peace Corps or the Job Corps or the Marines. Be a police officer or Army ranger like Jamie Wallace’s brothers. I also want to invoke you to vote and to run for office. It is alarming to me that more people voted for American Idol than voted for president in the last election. Young people ages 18 to 34 volunteer in enormous numbers, as you have here at Taft in the Watertown community (and as Madeira girls do every Wednesday for

of the Mississippi River, provided invaluable scientific data, and encouraged our sense of Manifest Destiny. Finally, ignoring the population of African-American slaves and freedmen, it forced the overwhelmingly Protestant and white East to confront the polyglot culture of the West. Acquiring the Louisiana Territory would test our nation’s ability to absorb and assimilate different cultures, a characteristic that has defined us as a nation of immigrants but a concept with which we still struggle. This new land west of the Mississippi was a savory multicultural gumbo, populated by French and Spanish Catholics, free blacks, pirates, backwoodsmen, and nations of Native Americans. The question of whether slavery would be extended into its 800,000 square miles was a cause of the Civil War. Its magnificence gave us “amber waves of grain, and purple mountains majesties.” Its frontier gave us a recurring theme in American literature, as men like Leatherstocking and boys like Huck Finn “lit out for the territory,” and families like the Joads searched for a promised land. The story of Lewis and Clark appeals

three years). Yet this cohort rarely votes. Clearly there is a connection between the country’s needs and your vote. Have you seen the T-shirt, “If you aren’t appalled, you haven’t been paying attention”? It’s time to pay attention. In addition to being a mom and a headmistress, I am a historian. So I considered past events for my rite of passage metaphor today. During your senior year we will have commemorated the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. One hundred years ago last December the Wright brothers launched their biplane at Kitty Hawk. Two hundred years ago, on May 2, 1804, Lewis and Clark launched their “voyage of discovery.” That two-year odyssey from St. Louis to the Pacific coast, exploring and mapping unknown territory, offers provocative and singularly American life lessons for all of us. Purchased from France for $15 million, the Louisiana Territory doubled the size of the United States, gave us control

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Salutatorian Jeff Fielding ’04 also received the Bourne Medal in History and the Wilson-Douglas Mathematics Prize.

Chaplain Michael Spencer and Headmaster Willy MacMullen greet guest speaker Dr. Elisabeth Griffith, Headmistress of The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia.

to me in part because when the troop was lost they had to ask directions from a woman. Married to a French trader, Sacagawea was only 16 and pregnant when she acted as their guide. The band was also biracial; Captain Clark had brought his slave York. It impresses me that once the corps reached the Pacific and established camp, the commanders called for a vote on which route to take home, including both York and Sacagawea in the tally. I hope you found resonance in that account: that life is a voyage of discovery; that there are lessons in the past (so you should listen to your parents); that taking risks and embracing diversity are rewarding endeavors; and that pursuing your dreams could require undaunted courage. My second history lesson offers a more recent example of courage. No one here today will forget that your time at Taft included September 11, 2001. For many of you, who came as middlers, it was your first day in a new school. It was the first day of classes and Mr. Mac’s first assembly as headmaster. Our world changed forever on 9/11. Those changes haunt us today,

when the country is on orange alert and antiaircraft guns circle the Capitol. As a way of remembering and respecting those who died escaping the buildings or rushing into the buildings or in other acts of heroism that day, I made myself read every “Portrait of Grief ” published in the New York Times. Only a few of those short obituary paragraphs mentioned where the dead went to college, much less to prep school. No SAT scores, no job titles were included. The focus in each entry was on the character of the individual, as defined by deeds like coaching Little League, singing in a gospel choir, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or teaching tap dancing to retirees. The dead were devoted dads and dutiful daughters, pet lovers and pranksters. They were remembered not for what they earned but for how they behaved— honorably, bravely, kindly, ethically. They were loved for themselves, as you are by your parents. With your teachers, we wish you farewell on your life’s adventures—no matter how challenging or perilous. Even if you find your route unmapped or if you get diverted from


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your original destination, you will always be welcomed home, by your families and by Taft. You will never need to introduce yourselves or present your credentials to us. We love you. Godspeed.

Dr. Elisabeth Griffith has been headmistress of The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia, since 1988. A historian, educator, and author, she received a Ph.D. in history from The American University. She holds an M.A. from Johns Hopkins and a B.A. from Wellesley. She has been a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard and has taught women’s history at The American University and at the National Cathedral School. She served as a consultant for Ken Burns’s documentary, Not for Ourselves Alone, about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, based in part on Griffith’s biography of Stanton, In Her Own Right. In addition to her many civic activities, she also serves on the advisory board of The White House Project, a bipartisan effort to create support for a woman president. She is married to John Deardourff, and they are the parents of Megan and J.D. ’04. She has two grown stepdaughters, Anne and Katie.



Jean Maher presents Katie McCabe ’04 with a senior athletic award. Katie also received the Marion Hole Makepeace award as the girl who has given most to Taft athletics.

Parents and graduates enjoyed a post-graduation luncheon on Snyder Field this year, just the other side of the arch from Centennial Quadrangle.

ANDREW EISEN ’04, head monitor As I attempted to picture my first days at Taft, I recalled the visions of an unfamiliar place—visions that elicited wonder and were filled with an endless possibility of accomplishing anything and of being anyone. Now I see a place that is anything but unfamiliar. Taft knows us; we know Taft. We’ll never forget what the Jig was, or what “the scene” meant, or what the practice rooms were really used for. But with that increased familiarity comes a decrease in possibility. It’s only natural as you grow older; certain possibilities become impossible. It’s disheartening perhaps—but it’s true. As a lower mid, I dreamed of playing varsity lacrosse, and I told myself that if I hadn’t quit playing hockey in 6th grade I would be playing under Mr. Maher. Well, I have yet to make a single JV team, not to mention varsity, and now I never will. When I was four, I dreamt of riding a two-wheeler. I’m 18 now, and each day that passes makes that dream seem less and less achievable. And although most of you can ride a bike, and although most

of you have played at least one JV sport during your years at Taft, I’m sure that in some way, some goal that you had as lower mid or mid has gone unrealized. We all have dreams and expectations of ourselves that go unmet. This may seem rather bleak, but it does not need to be, and in fact, it should not be. Taft does not hinge on one’s individual goals. Your Taft experience should not be made or broken by the aspirations that you did or did not realize. Taft is bigger than you. Rather, as you look back and attempt to recall Taft, you should think upon the experience— the WHOLE experience—not just the classes you aced and the ones you failed, or the teams you made and the ones that cut you, but the bigger picture. The afternoons you spent by the pond wasting time. Or the mornings you spent in the Jig killing your debit account. And the nights before the big tests when you got 14 grades at 12:30 for an off-corridor association. And all the times that you spent in the company of your friends. Those are what matter. Those are what make the Taft experience.

What made my Taft experience is all of you, the kids in front of me and the teachers behind that have made coming here every day for four years so incredible and such a pleasure and a joy. I will never forget the time we spent together. Graduation is bittersweet. Whether you are the kid who has been crying openly all week about how much you will miss Taft or the one who has been crying for four years about how much you cannot wait to graduate, at some point, you will be swept with a longing for Taft, and the days spent here and you will be overcome with some sorrow about your departure. My advice is to put that someday far away. Enjoy the next week, the next night, the next few hours. Try to appreciate the fact that these are the last days that we will share as a class, as a united group. Take a last walk by the pond, grab a last snack at the Jig, enjoy a last stroll down the halls of Centennial and CPT. Hope that you’ve taken in this experience for all it’s worth, then take off the afternoon, and have a great time. I think we’ve all earned that. Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Rob Kneip ’04 with brothers Will ’96 and Fred ’92

Kevin Jacobs ’04 and his very proud parents

OCTAVIA GIOVANNINI-TORELLI ’04, class speaker Repeatedly, teachers and parents with a big grin have admitted, “You guys are my favorite class.” Today graduates a class that can only be defined as charismatic. We are not afraid to take risks, or try new things, and we certainly have not succumbed to fit any Taft mold. Instead, we have accepted many challenges and succeeded in our own style, without shedding our distinct qualities, and always with a laugh. We have a special oomph, a certain positive energy, and an intriguing enthusiasm that unifies the individuals sitting in front of me. When I came here, three years ago, I was completely unaware and unprepared. What I found was a force that settles among and solidifies the red brick buildings and fuels the individuals that walk among them. In each of the students graduating here today, a little fire has been sparked by this powerful passion. For me, in an English classroom during the fall of my junior year, a teacher lit my first 44

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match. In the chem lab, during a heartbreaking game against Hotchkiss, at breakfast with an adviser, studying late one night for a big exam, touring the campus in a relaxing game of Frisbee golf, reading Red Inc., performing at a coffeehouse, chilling in the Jig, listening during a moving Morning Meeting, or perfecting a pastel portrait of a best friend, my peers have found their own sparks throughout this rare haven. The teachers sitting behind me have provided us with this excitement along with limitless knowledge, support, and inspiration, and it is because of them that I stand in front of you today. My success didn’t come easily, and I was frequently frustrated with many failures. But it was my teachers who wiped my blood, sweat, and tears, and repeatedly instilled their eager faith in me. Three years ago, I was confused, worried, and scared. Today, I am brave, confident, and ready for any daunting hurdle. I can feel the future on my skin. I owe these teachers—we all owe

them—infinite gratitude for sharing their brilliance and compassion and allowing us to believe in one another and ourselves. I will leave with stories of all the living, eating, fighting, exploring, winning, losing, sharing, cuddling, traveling, dancing, cheering and creating together. The intensity of our journey and the genuineness of your companionship have helped me discover my greatest strengths and have guided me on the path to attain my full potential. I owe you, Class of 2004, for challenging me, invigorating me, and encouraging me. Thank you for your time, your ears, your laughs, your tears, your smiles, and your love. In a few years we will look back on our Taft times, and remember them as a fond memory, like how we recall camp. But Taft is a place that we once called home. Today we leave our safe shelter and are released out into the fresh air. Breathe deep and inhale the sweetness of our youth and all the infinite



Class speaker Willy Oppenheim ’04 reminds his classmates not to dwell on the past but to look ahead to the future.

Friends Lauren Malaspina, Tumelano Gopolang, Patricia Garcia, Jessica Durkee, Eugenia Saunders, and Rebecca Duffett

possibilities. We have marked our territory, and now it is time to go take on the next terrain. And every time we visit we are welcomed home by a

greeting engraved on red brick stone. We graduate with more than a diploma, with more than memories, but with that distinctive flame that yearns

for the inspiration from the journeys ahead of us, to help our sparks burn brightly. Now it is time for us to let this little light of ours shine. Good Luck.

WILLY OPPENHEIM ’04, class speaker In a few hours, when the campus is quiet and the cars are packed and we have all gone our separate ways, this entire ceremony will seem like one big blur. The sun will be setting by then, and this fine May day will be coming to its ordinary end. We will be ambivalent, I’m sure, as we watch night approach—we will be giddy with excitement but unable to ignore the small sad void in our chests, the touch of nostalgia, the unspoken desire to cling somehow to this day, to Taft, to all that is changing in the world and hold it against our hearts forever. We will remember this moment, right now, here in the courtyard, together as a class and a community for the last time, and somewhere in our tired, tangled thoughts, we will know that we don’t need to be sad. We will

know that we loved it all as best we could, and we will smile. I want to talk about what it means to say goodbye, to leave a place that has touched you, to feel the force of change like the wind on your back, pushing you forward into a future unknown. At times like these it is easy to start believing that we have no control over our emotions. We can’t erase the quiet sadness that rides along with all the pride and joy and triumph of this day, but I think it is important to point out that we are not powerless. We can’t stop the force of change—no one can—but we can control the way that we respond to it. Essentially, we have two choices: we can fight against change, or we can try to embrace it. Fighting change is pretty futile. Nothing lasts forever, no matter

how hard we try to preserve it. Our school changes constantly, and so do our lives. We grow older; we meet new people and learn new things. Change is part of life, and it can’t be avoided. If we graduate today and we can find solace only in the fact that some things might stay the same, I think we will inevitably be disappointed. We should start celebrating the fact that we have shared something beautiful enough to make us hate saying goodbye. I have certainly had some feelings of nostalgia over the past few weeks, but I am comforted by my knowledge that I was here and that I loved this place. Taft doesn’t need to lead to anything in order to have been worthwhile. We leave behind the bricks and the pond and the dorms and the people, but we take Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


Guest speaker Betsy Griffith and husband John Deardourff with their son J.D. ’04, and daughters Anne, Katie, and Megan

Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 congratulates valedictorian Jason Lee ’04.

with us the signatures of an experience that can never be replicated. I am not referring to the quantitative knowledge that we have acquired here. Some of us might remember the quadratic equation and the rhyme scheme of a Petrarchan sonnet for the rest of their lives, but I would assume that the scattered bits of knowledge we studied so diligently have already begun slipping away into the land of the forgotten. The true signature of this place is invisible, unreadable. It is written not in our minds but in our hearts. We enter this world like the first explorers of some unknown land, but as we grow older, we begin drawing the maps that guide us for the rest of our lives. Every experience is like the discovery of a new mass of land or an ocean never seen before. There will always be blank spaces on our maps, but eventually as we become wise navigators of this life, we learn to recognize and understand the world around us. Taft has etched thick lines across our tattered scrolls of parchment, lines that will never fade. We might not remember where they came from, but they will continue to guide us all the same.

ars who blazed new light in their courses; and the stubborn, challenging, tenacious social thinkers. You need artists and musicians and you need people committed to bringing the stage to life. You need athletes and teams—seniors who will leave a long legacy of competitiveness, and more importantly, spirit, class, and humility. You need leadership, and we were blessed. Coaches talked of captains who inspired teams; dorm heads spoke of monitors up late at night counseling younger students, and I watched with the deepest, deepest respect as Andrew Eisen and the school monitors fundamentally set the course of the school, wrestled with essential ethical dilemmas in our Tuesday meetings or in marathon discipline committees, and gave of themselves unselfishly as they organized events all year. They had some help from a faculty to whom we owe an enormous debt. These are the men and women who have molded your children literally every


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

WILLIAM R. MACMULLEN ’78, headmaster It is impossible to look on this class and not feel considerable respect and affection for it. In ways as mysterious as alchemy, the boys and girls combined over the years to become a very close group—a family of sorts, with great loves, minor squabbles, healthy rivalries, and immense loyalty. They also found ways to affirm a hope so simple and innocent in our hyperactive and overscheduled age that we are close to forsaking it: that one’s high school years—if on occasion tumultuous—should also be fun. Taft is a place of very hard work, but this class also showed that it is a place of impromptu fun and even downright silliness. I have news for parents. Taft was not all work, despite what you heard, and that’s how it should be. It was a fun year. Spirit in an institution is a kind of alchemy, and I am not smart enough to figure out how these 156 seniors combined to make the gold in the end they have become. You need the schol-



Class speaker Octavia Giovannini-Torelli ’04 with her family

Director of Admissions Ferdie Wandelt ’66 presents Eugenia Saunders with the Harley Roberts Scholarship. Eugenia also received the Class of 1981 Award.

hour of every day, in dorms, classrooms, offices, fields, and apartments. They are the best in the business. There may be much mystery behind what happened this year, but there also is a simple truth: Something remarkable happens when a student aching to grow encounters a committed faculty member at a great school. And this I have been thinking even more as our nation marked the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. A few weeks ago, history teacher Tom Fritz spoke at Morning Meeting about the court ruling and showed photographs and movie clips, and I kept thinking this: What a needed thing is education, as much as the air we breathe. What a powerful thing the desire for learning can be. Never, ever should we take a good education for granted, nor fail to realize the collective power of inspired students. It was hard not to feel that when you saw the dangerous railroad terminal third-grader Linda Brown had to cross to get to her inferior school, or the sad, brave face of Earnest Green, one of

Education he wrote of the mission of American schools. Creating an educated populace was only a superficial goal, he said. Educating for change was a higher one. A society that not only changes but also has the ideal of such change as will improve it, he wrote, “will have different standards and methods of education from one which aims simply at the perpetuation of its own customs.” This may explain the fact that our standards here are different than at many schools, as they should be. We hope that this class will become leaders who make changes for the better.

the “Little Rock Nine,” as he walked through the gauntlet of jeering spectators, or six-year-old Ruby Bridges escorted by federal agents past a tomato splattered wall—an image Norman Rockwell would capture in his painting The Problem We All Live With. I thought of those brave boys and girls, and you could not help but realize the passion for learning, the insatiable hunger for education. And regardless of what we think of the complex legacy of that court ruling, there is something else that court decision told us: that schools are institutions of awesome latent power. More than any other institution— more perhaps than the federal government, more than the Supreme Court—schools, they said implicitly, shape a society. Schools serve as catalysts, forces of change for the good. And teachers—all of us pragmatic idealists— think in these terms; and on a day like this believe it more than ever. John Dewey, one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, knew this. In 1934 in Democracy in

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Creative Process AND THE

FATE OF ARTIFACTS By Steve Schieffelin

rightful claim to these creations and why, and then to wrestle with conflicting attitudes about the ownership of ideas, words, images, and the complex forms of individual creative expression.”


Taft Bulletin Summer 2004

I am very grateful to have received last year a Davis Travel Fellowship, a generous grant which allowed me to explore how much I didn’t know about the worlds of classical Greece and Italy, and almost immediately became intrigued by a question that relates to the convictions underlying Taft’s honor code—who owns the products of thought, speech, and artistic expression. On some levels, it doesn’t seem difficult to determine what is mine, what is yours; what is theirs and what is ours; but as I observed how many great architectural and artistic creations passed into and out of the possession of a succession of hands, I began to wonder who does have a rightful claim to these creations and why, and then to wrestle with conflicting attitudes about the ownership of ideas, words, images, and the complex forms of individual creative expression. To look at this question writ large, consider for a moment the Parthenon, the crowning glory of Athens’s Acropolis and Pericles’s ambition—and what might have been called the golden fleecing of the Delian League, a confederation of Greek city-states whose treasury was appropriated to finance the construction. What I thought about as I walked among the scattered remains of the Parthenon, now only “a shadow of the magnitude” that dazzled Periclean Greece, was who deserves to have credit for, and control over, this great wonder of the western world. Initially, could the Parthenon be claimed by Pericles, whose inspiration, initiative, and tireless compulsion ordered these magnificent cultural artifacts into being? Or did it belong to Pheidias, the phenomenal sculptor and master-builder, and the innumerable artists and artisans who realized in sculpture, architecture, painting, and metalwork the glorious conception in Pericles’s mind? Or couldn’t we say that this cultural icon belongs as much to the Delian League, whose pocket was picked by Pericles BRAND X PICTURES

“…who does have a

for the realization of his otherwise impossibly grand design? Or did it belong to the Olympian gods, to whom it was dedicated and for whom it was built. Furthermore, when Sparta finally dominated over Athens in 404 B.C., putting an end to the Peloponnesian War and obtaining complete control over the city, did Sparta then have rightful possession of the marvelous art on the Acropolis? Was it Sparta’s to claim and dispose of as it wished? The enormous statue to Athena, which the sanctuary of the Parthenon was created to house in the first place, was ripped off by the Turks and taken to Constantinople in A.D. 426 , where it eventually disappeared. Did Athena, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, belong to the Byzantine Empire because it was powerful enough to take it, and did the Turks have the right to strip it, melt it down, and reduce it to a memory? Eventually—after an incredible misfortune in 1647, when the Turks were using the Parthenon as a munitions dump and it was blown up in an attack— this remarkable creation seemed to be of little value to the Turks, the Spartans, the Athenians, the Delian League, or the gods themselves. But there was an even more ignominious fate awaiting this renowned monument. In the latter part of the 18th century when the Turks continued to have dominion over Greece and its properties, they had fallen into the practice of taking marble from the Parthenon and putting it into furnaces to convert it into lime, from which they could make cement for building. Lord Elgin, an ambassador to Turkey from England, noticed this desecration of Greek art and, having a lordly ambition to decorate his estate in Scotland with Greek statues and artifacts, requested the right to salvage some of these works; and the Turkish authorities, figuring that they would benefit from good relations with the British and having scant regard


“The [Sistine Chapel] ceiling he produced is an unimaginable achievement of creative genius and artistic virtuosity, but he never wanted to take up the project, repeatedly wanted to abandon it, and would never have completed it if Julius hadn’t shaken the fist of God in his face.”

for the Greek art anyway, gladly permitted him to cart off more than 300 chests containing freestanding and relief sculptures from the Parthenon. Consequently, Lord Elgin felt self-righteous about saving this irreplaceable cultural heritage at the same time that he seized possession of these creations to be integrated into a creation of his own. Later he willed these marble sculptures to the British Museum, where you can still see them today. Some people credit Lord Elgin for saving these marbles, others, especially the Greeks after they had achieved independence, curse him for stealing them. I’m not sure who has the most compelling claim to these creations. But the piles of disordered and fragmented marble I saw scattered around the colossal wreck of the Parthenon last summer were ample evidence for me that time and circumstance have a firmer grip on artistic creations than all the patrons, artists, conquerors, and governments together. During the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo was compelled by Pope Julius II to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling when Michelangelo would rather have been sculpting the magnificent tomb that Julius had commissioned long before he thought of remodeling the Sistine Chapel. When Julius cut off the funds for the tomb, Michelangelo returned home to Florence in a spastic rage of artistic defiance. But the papal staff was mightier than the sculptor’s chisel, and Julius sent a couple celestial constables to arrest Michelangelo and bring him back into the service of the pope. Michelangelo protested like a student with three tests on the same day, but Julius would not allow him to do what he wanted; instead, he forced him to spend the next four years of his life painting in fresco, with which he was inexperienced, a very high, architecturally complex, and expansive ceiling that he regarded as an endless affliction. The ceiling he produced is an unimaginable achievement of creative genius and artistic virtuosity, but he never wanted to take up the project, repeatedly wanted to abandon it, and would never have completed it if Julius hadn’t shaken the fist of God in his face. Moreover, the subject matter of these paintings was initially dictated to Michelangelo by the pope and his theological advisers; but when Michelangelo complained about how dull the pope’s conception was and how much more spectacular his vision would be, Julius allowed Michelangelo to collaborate with papal advisers to produce a dramatic representation of characters and events from the Old Testament which were thematically coherent and spiritually enlightening, with five sibyls from pagan mythology thrown in for good measure. And many of the ideas that were embodied in the fresco came from other Renaissance artists and philosophers. When the scaffolding of this celebrated ceiling was taken down on Halloween 1512, who did it







belong to? Historically, there was no question: it was called for many years “the Pope’s Ceiling,” and even a contemporary book by Ross King identifies it this way. But most of you, I believe, have heard of the Sistine Chapel in connection with Michelangelo, and may be clueless about Julius II. And even though Julius conceived of the project, financed it, compelled the artist to undertake and finish it, and determined (with the advice of others) what its content would be, don’t you think that Michelangelo, without whose extraordinary artistic talent the ceiling would never have been realized, has as much right to claim the ceiling as Julius? And where did the funds come from to produce this prodigious creation? From the dutiful offerings of devout Christians, and the plunder of some unchristian papal wars which we don’t need to go into. Perhaps the people of Rome and Italy have a share in the ownership of this invaluable art. And finally some of you may be aware of the rabid controversy surrounding the restoration of the Sistine Chapel in the 1980s that had art historians and representatives of the Vatican and the Italian government all foaming at the mouth. What 20th-century authority had the right to decide how to treat Michelangelo’s or Julius’s frescos? To whom did this art belong in 1981, and are there any limits to what the owner can do with this internationally prized artwork? For that matter, can the Vatican decide today to tear the roof right off and put up something more suitable to modern taste. That, incidentally, is how Michelangelo’s ceiling got painted in the first place—the pope didn’t like the previous painting of the vaulted ceiling as a starry heaven, done by D’Amelia, so down it came. So many factors contribute to the inspiration, conceptualization, and realization of art that it is impossible to separate original creation from a wide range of influences. Any artificial creation, engendered in the human heart and head and born of human hands, is such a complex collaboration that it is very hard to know what is yours and what is not. The creative act itself is a mystery with so many dimensions and connections that we cannot understand it, explain it, or control it. And even when a conception has been given palpable form in language, painting, sculpture, architecture (whatever medium), ownership is still often a matter of irreconcilable dispute. I have come to understand that nothing human beings make comes out of nothing, even though the origins of a creation may be impossible to trace, and nothing is ours for long. Now I sympathize even more with those inquiring students who are sincerely puzzled by our attempts to explain what Taft means by “original work” and our effort to distinguish one person’s creation from another’s in the interests of academic honesty. Taft Bulletin Summer 2004


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