Fall 2010 Taft Bulletin

Page 1









Works by Potter Housing Haiti j World Trade Center j Endurance Rides j

Fall 2010

in this issue


Housing Haiti

Bruce Johnson ’67 designs homes that fit the culture. By Brady Dennis

h The light-blue team at tug-of-war on Super Sunday…the traditional get-to-know-everyone event at the start of the year. Blake Joblin ’13

B ulletin

Fall 2010


Endurance Rides An extreme equine sport becomes one vet’s laboratory. By Kenneth L. Marcella ’75, DVM


Rising from Ground Zero As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, three alumni work to rebuild the World Trade Center. By Ryan Nerz ’92

Departments 2 3 4 10 28

From the Editor Taft Trivia Alumni Spotlight Around the Pond Tales of a Taftie: Actor James Franciscus ’53 29 From the Archives

from the EDITOR

Small World

B ulletin

It has become a tradition for Tafties to document the large number of schoolmates present at their weddings and to share those photos with the Bulletin, so I am always pleased but rarely surprised to receive one. This fall, I was pleasantly surprised, however, to open an email from the mother of a current student. Attached was a photo of ten Taft alumni she met recently at a wedding in Colorado. This mom, Pauline Hudson, is a good friend of the mother of the groom. All but one of the Tafties in her photo are descended from the great-great-grandmother of the bride. I love small-world stories, and in this case, a chance encounter in 2010 connects us back to 1890 as well. A photograph of Mary Grace Witherbee Black (great-great-grandmother of the bride) from 1875, in her wedding gown, graced the cover of the program— which Pauline was kind enough to share with me. Despite 20 years of poking around in the school archives, it’s the first likeness of Mrs. Black I have ever seen.

Love it? Hate it? Read it? Tell us! We’d love to hear what you think about the stories in this Bulletin. We may edit your letters for length, clarity and content, but please write! Julie Reiff, editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 or Reiff J@TaftSchool.org

Fall 2010

Volume 81, Number 1 Bulletin Staff Director of Development: Chris Latham

It was Mrs. Black who owned the “Red House” in which our school began and who helped finance Horace Taft’s new endeavor with an inheritance from her father. Her sons were among Taft’s very first students. Together those alumni relatives at the wedding (see page 30) represent three branches of the Black family tree, whose roots go back to the school’s founding. So, yes, the rest of the world may have six degrees of separation, but at Taft it’s often far, far fewer. We’re connected in so many ways, with our history and through our friendships. We have roots here, and, yes, we also have wings. In these pages you will certainly find evidence of both. Now, let’s hear your stories.


—Julie Reiff

Taft on the Web Find a friend’s address or look up back issues of the Bulletin at www.TaftAlumni.com Visit us on your phone with our mobile-friendly site www. www.TaftSchool.org/m What happened at this afternoon’s game? Visit www.TaftSports.com Don’t forget you can shop online at www.TaftStore.com 800-995-8238 or 860-945-7736

Cert no. SW-COC-002556

Please recycle this Bulletin.

2 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

Editor: Julie Reiff Alumni Notes: Linda Beyus Design: Good Design, LLC www.gooddesignusa.com Proofreader: Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftBulletin@TaftSchool.org Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Summer–May 15 Fall–August 30 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1-860-945-7777 www.TaftAlumni.com The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855) is published quarterly, in February, May, August and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100, and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents and friends of the school. All rights reserved.


On the Cover

Taft Trivia

v Two Days Before

Who is the only faculty member to have lived in the Wade House, the senior house named for Howard V. Wade (the first alumnus killed in WWII) that has since served as a day care and now my office? The photo should give you a clue. A stainless steel Taft travel mug will be sent to the winner, whose name will be drawn from all correct entries received. Email your guess to Reiff J@TaftSchool.org









Works by Potter Housing Haiti World Trade Center Endurance Rides

Fall 2010

Christmas, Judson Farm, Washington, Conn. (detail), Mark W. Potter ’48. Watercolor, 10 in. by 22 in.; one of 38 paintings recently donated to the school’s permanent collection. See page 11.

Join Taft’s Collegium Musicum on their June 2011 trip to Italy. For more information, turn to page 52, or contact Collegium Director Bruce Fifer.

alumni Spotlight

By Julie Reiff

n Larger than life in Times Square: ECOtality president and CEO Jonathan Read ’74, right, with son

and VP Colin Read ’02 and board member Slade Mead ’80 as ECTY goes public in July. www.NASDAQ.COM

Plug It In Some experts predict that by 2020 about 10 percent of new cars will be either entirely battery driven or plug-in hybrids. The two major hurdles electric cars face today are range and ease of recharging. Jonathan Read ’74, CEO and president of ECOtality, has a solution for both problems. This fall, the company began rollout of its flagship electric vehicle charging stations, Blink. ECOtality will install approximately 15,000 of the charging stations in 16 cities across six U.S. states as part of the EV Project—the 4 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

world’s largest deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure. The $230 million public-private initiative is funded in part with a $114.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Blink will be available in two models—one, an in-home residential wall-mount unit and the second, a commercial stand-alone charger. They are the centerpiece of an infrastructure system designed to pave the way for long-term success in the adoption of electric

vehicles in the United States and abroad. “Blink is more than a place to plug in a car—it is the fulcrum between the driver, car, home and utility,” says Read. “This high level of interactivity built into our system sets Blink chargers apart from anything else on the market and is key to driving consumer EV adoption. Never before has consumer demand been so high and the market potential so large for EVs. By introducing a charger that is simply smarter and really connected, ECOtality and our partners are setting a new industry standard.”

At home, drivers will pull up to their garage or carport, plug in their car—and walk away. Blink delivers a full charge in two to six hours, can be programmed to charge the car when electricity rates are the lowest and will link to participating utilities and be controlled remotely through smart phone and web applications. An extensive amount of consumer behavior analysis and market research guided both the design and location decisions for the commercial chargers. EV drivers will simply travel to their normal destinations—movie theaters, shopping malls, coffee shops and retailers—pull up and charge. Both the home and commercial chargers are connected to 240V AC circuits and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a partner in the EV Project, is testing the units to certify them to UL’s uncompromising safety requirements. ECOtality, which went public in July, is headquartered in San Francisco. Its chargers offer significant improvements over previous options and are well positioned in a market that is expected to grow to $1.5 billion by 2015, according to a recent Pike Research report. Read is an entrepreneur and experienced brand manager. Prior to founding ECOtality, he was the founder, former chairman and CEO of Park Plaza International. He grew the chain from just four hotels to a leading global hotel group with operations in 32 countries. In 2003, he sold the companies to Carlson Hospitality and Golden Wall Investments. He served as chairman and CEO of Shakey’s International from 1984 to 1989, expanding the business into a worldwide franchise and licensing group with operations in the United States, Southeast Asia, South America, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean. Jonathan’s son, Colin Read ’02, is the vice president of corporate development at ECOtality with the responsibility of overseeing strategic corporate initiatives, international expansion and business development. Slade Mead ’80 is also a member of the board.

Helping Families Jeff Baxter ’67 performed at a benefit for families of CIA officers killed in the line of duty. The gathering, sponsored by the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and held at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, Virginia, was a sellout. Some 400 distinguished members of the intelligence community attended. Dan Aykroyd served as keynote speaker, and Baxter was joined by fellow musicians, Lee Dotson, Jeff Bean, Sean Peak and Linc Bloomfield. Aykroyd and Baxter were also joined on stage by INSA’s Senior Intelligence Advisor and longtime intelligence professional, Charlie Allen, for an unforgettable performance. “The focal point of the evening,” writes McKim Symington ’66, who attended the event, “was a reprise of the Blues Brothers’ jam, starring our Baxter, original Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, and that most distinguished intelligence analyst, Charlie Allen, as brother Jake. Baxter was on guitar. Aykroyd was on harmonica.

Allen danced. And all sang. They were rewarded by a standing ovation that went on for at least a minute. Personally, having danced at numerous mid-’60s mixers to the sound of Jeff Baxter and Brooks Barnett ’67, I was never prouder to be a Taftie as I was at the fundraiser.” This event benefited the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, founded in 2001, which provides educational support to the families of fallen CIA officers. The band played to a packed house. Baxter, former guitarist for Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan who has two Grammy Awards and numerous gold and platinum records, now chairs a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense. For more information visit www.insaonline.org, or watch a clip from the event at www.youtube.com/watch?v =29Uhm8NUGtg&feature=related , “Skunk” Baxter ’67 performing at the CIA

Officers Memorial Foundation charity dinner on July 8, hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. www.insaonline.org

Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 5

alumni Spotlight

Optimism on Tour Five-time Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter ’76 has been on tour with her new album, Age of Miracles, her first since a pulmonary embolism put a stop to her last tour in 2007. “I have always made albums with the idea that each one is a snapshot of where you are in your life,” says Carpenter. “The Age of Miracles is a personal exploration of regret and resilience but also a larger, more universal expression of wonder at the times that we are living in. The title song ties together my own personal need to invest in optimism and hope with what I see as the world’s weary yet

unwavering ability to teach us lessons of humility and grace.” Starting with a summer tour in the U.S., she spent the month of October performing in Ireland, Scotland and England.

In September, Carpenter also received the Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award, presented by the First Amendment Center. For more information, visit www.marychapincarpenter.com. h Mary Chapin Carpenter

on tour in Ridgefield, Connecticut, last August. Brad Joblin ’73

New Trustee E. Marc Pinto ’79

After Taft, Marc received a B.A. from Yale in 1983 and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School in 1987. Marc is a portfolio manager with Janus Capital Management in Denver, where he manages the Janus Growth & Income Fund and co-manages the Janus Balanced Fund. In addition to Janus, which he joined in 1994, Marc has worked at a number of securities firms including Goldman Sachs & Co. and Fred Alger Management, Inc. Marc is also a chartered financial analyst. Marc is active in several schools and other educationoriented organizations in Denver and New York and has an interest in issues related to diversity. He currently lives in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, with his wife, Margot, and their four children, Hannah, Adam, Matthew and William.

6 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

Faces of Fundraising Building the school’s endowment beyond its current level of $180 million is no small task. Last year alone, the school raised more than $7 million in capital funds (and another $3.5 million in annual support). Two new faces have joined that effort—Edward Roberts, who came to Taft in 2009, and Paul Parvis, who joined the team in October. “We are most pleased to welcome Paul as the newest member of the Alumni/Development team. Paul assumes the position most recently held by Lindsay Tarasuk Aroesty ’99. After seven very productive years at Taft, Lindsay and her husband, Michael, relocated to Pittsburgh to pursue new careers in development and finance,” says Chris Latham, director of development, who came to Taft in 2007. Edward came to Taft from Northwestern University in Chicago

and has also worked in development at George Washington University and at Yale. Paul served most recently as the director of planned giving at the New York Botanical Garden. Also on the road for Taft are longtime Admissions Director Ferdie Wandelt ’66, Ben Pastor ’97, who joined the office in 2007, and Chip Spencer ’56, Taft’s former director of development who now consults on planned giving. , New development officers Edward Roberts and Paul Parvis. Julie Reiff

x NurturMe

co-founder Caroline Murphy Freedman ’96 with daughter and company spokestoddler Audrey. Shana Berenzweig Photography

Nurture Me Caroline Murphy Freedman ’96 had the idea for a better way to feed her little one when still pregnant with current NurturMe spokes-toddler Audrey. “I realized very little had changed since I was a baby getting puréed foods in bulky glass containers. As a busy new mom I need a little extra convenience in my life,” says Freedman, “but I don’t want to sacrifice quality and nutrition when it comes to feeding my baby.” After sharing that notion with longtime friend Lauren McCullough, the two fed off each other’s complementary skill sets and got the ball rolling. But, they say, they couldn’t have taken their idea this far, this fast without the help of an ever-increasing network of nothing less than Wonder Women. Working with a pediatrician, a nutritionist, a graphic designer, a photographer, a web developer and other forward-thinking women (and a token male copywriter and dad) they created a more nutrient-rich, delicious, earth-friendly and convenient

way to nurture babies everywhere. A messy first run of dehydrating foods in the kitchen of Freedman’s condo—an experience that quickly convinced both of them to seek assistance—led them to seek out drum- and freeze-drying experts in the organic farming community. Nearly two years later, NurturMe offers a line of dried fruits and veggies that parents can mix with water, formula or breast milk. “It’s actually the exact same concept as rice cereals,” adds Freedman, “only we’ve applied the processing/preparation method to fruits and veggies. Our product appeals to organic- and greenminded consumers as well as raw food and breastfeeding advocates.” The benefits are higher nutritional value than jarred foods due to less exposure to heat, the option to rehydrate using breast milk, formula or water as well as the convenience of lightweight and earth-friendly packaging (less wasteful than jars).

“I was thrilled to collaborate with Caroline,” says Alison Sauter ’96, a friend of more than 15 years who serves as brand director. “I’ve spent the last year building the brand. From the logo to the packaging, I focused on targeting smart moms on the go who appreciate clean, functional and iconic design. Even though she is in Texas and I’m in California, thanks to Caroline’s text updates on sales meetings and snapshots of the initial unveiling at Whole Foods, I’ve been able to partake in every phase of its success.” “I’ve really enjoyed seeing this idea take shape through the collective efforts of friends and colleagues,” says Freedman. “What we’ve developed is exactly what I’d envisioned all those years ago. I couldn’t be prouder of it!” Their products are now available at Whole Foods stores in Texas and soon in Manhattan and through www.Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.Nurturme.com. Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 7

In Print Arm Candy Jill Kopelman Kargman ’92 For two decades, 39-year-old Eden Clyde has been enjoying wealth and glamour as the muse and lover of Otto Clyde, the ultrafamous and much older king of the art world. Genetically, she hit the lottery, but Eden is unlucky in love: 18 years ago she put aside her dream of true love and marriage and turned a blind eye to Otto’s philandering in exchange for a life without want. In her younger days this seemed like a fair bargain, but as 40 looms—and as the beauty for which she’s known begins to fade—she feels the cost of the arrangement finally taking its toll on her happiness. “I grew up next door to Andy Warhol on East 66th Street and saw him almost every day until he died,” Kargman told the Philadelphia Enquirer about the inspiration for her character Otto Clyde. “I was so intrigued with the cadre of people around him and the whole milieu of the artist’s studio as a mini universe orbiting around them.” Poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, and written with heart and humor, Arm Candy shows that although 40 may sometimes feel like the ultimate F word, its never too late to find true love. The Washington Post has dubbed Kargman— author of The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, Momzillas and The Right Address—“queen of the beach read.” She is currently working on a book of essays about growing up in New York City.

Below C Level: How American Education Encourages Mediocrity and What We Can Do About It John Merrow ’59 “American public education is failing our children,” says John Merrow, “but not because we are aiming too high and falling short. On the contrary, we’re aiming too low—and, unfortunately, we’re succeeding.”

8 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

American education, he argues, often encourages and rewards mediocrity. School reforms are destined to fail until that changes. Step one, he says, is identifying those who actually benefit from mediocrity. And he does just that in this book. He also provides a road map for success. It won’t be easy, Merrow adds, but America has no choice if we want our democracy to survive. “No one has done as much for in-depth TV coverage of education as John Merrow,” writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post. “Now here he comes with an exciting, upsetting, galvanizing book, an angry look at how little many of our kids are learning, and identifying what he sees as the villains in this drama. You won’t agree with everything he says, but it will force you to think harder about our schools than any of us have done in some time.” Merrow began his career as an education reporter with National Public Radio in 1974 with the weekly series, “Options in Education,” for which he received the George Polk Award in 1982. He is president of Learning Matters, an independent media production company, and recently served as scholar in residence at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Stanford.

Competing Ideologies and Children’s Literature in Russia, 1918–1935 Jacqueline Olich ’88 After the October Revolution of 1917, the impetus to control authorship, the potential of children’s literature as a creative medium, and the desire to communicate their visions to child-readers and their parents drew many ideologues to children’s literature. Political figures, pedagogues, bureaucrats, authors and illustrators entered into a public debate about what form a Soviet children’s literature should assume. This interdisciplinary study integrates original Russian archival research, scholarship in Russian cultural and social history, and theoretical studies of children’s literature to show how the process of creating children’s literature

in Soviet Russia was a contested one. Adults entered into a symbolic discussion about the meaning of their past, present and future by authoring and contesting children’s literature.

Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work Alex Talbot ’92 and Aki Kamozawa The husband-and-wife chefs and the forces behind Ideas in Food have made a living out of being inquisitive in the kitchen. Their book shares the knowledge they have gleaned from numerous cooking adventures, from why tapioca flour makes a silkier chocolate pudding than the traditional cornstarch or flour to how to coldsmoke just about any ingredient you can think of to impart a new savory dimension to everyday dishes. Ideas in Food is the ideal handbook for unleashing creativity, intensifying flavors, and pushing one’s cooking to new heights. This guide, which includes 100 recipes, explores questions both simple and complex to find the best way to make food as delicious as possible. For home cooks, Aki and Alex look at everyday ingredients and techniques in new ways—from toasting dried pasta to lend a deeper, richer taste to making quick “micro stocks” or even using water to intensify the flavor of soups instead of turning to longsimmered stocks. They also explore topics, such as working with liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide— techniques that are geared toward professional cooks but are interesting and instructive for passionate foodies as well. They show how to apply their findings in unique and appealing recipes such as Potato Chip Pasta, Root Beer-Braised Short Ribs and Gingerbread Soufflé. With Ideas in Food, anyone curious about food will find revelatory information, surprising techniques and helpful tools for cooking more cleverly and creatively at home. Aki and Alex met in the kitchen at Clio in Boston in 1997 and have been cooking together ever since. Ideas in Food is also the name of their consulting business based in Levittown,

Pennsylvania. They have worked with individual chefs as well as with companies such as No. 9 Group in Boston, Fourth Wall Restaurants in New York City, Frito-Lay, and Unilever. Together they wrote an online column called “Kitchen Alchemy” for Popular Science. Visit them at www.ideasinfood.com

Lion of Liberty Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation Harlow Giles Unger ’49 In this action-packed history, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger unfolds the epic story of Patrick Henry, who roused Americans to fight government tyranny—both British and American. Remembered largely for his cry for “liberty or death,” Henry was actually the first (and most colorful) of America’s Founding Fathers—first to call Americans to arms against Britain, first to demand a bill of rights and first to fight the growth of big government after the Revolution. As quick with a rifle as he was with his tongue, Henry was America’s greatest orator and courtroom lawyer, who mixed histrionics and hilarity to provoke tears or laughter from judges and jurors alike. Henry’s passion for liberty (as well as his very large family) suggested to many Americans that he, not Washington, was the real father of his country. Unger, a graduate of Yale University with a master’s from California State University, is the author of sixteen books, including the biographies of America’s Founding Fathers: Noah Webster, John Hancock, the awardwinning Lafayette, and The Unexpected George Washington: His Private Life.

Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 9

For the latest news on campus events, please visit TaftSchool.org.

around the Pond

By Julie Reiff and Maggie Dietrich

“There are learnable, teachable strategies that facilitate self-control,” explained Dr. Angela Duckworth in her all-school presentation in September. Detailing and explaining various strategies, she emphasized her point that “hard work can be learned.” Dr. Duckworth spent a full day on campus in lively discussions, with faculty in particular, exploring the strong connection between self-discipline and achievement. A professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, she is one of the nation’s leading experts on impulse control and perseverance in children and adolescents. With research to back up her assertions, she helped break through the common assumption that pure talent and raw intelligence are the most important markers for academic success. “Of course, talent and effort both matter to a student’s success,” she explained, but her research demonstrates that students with a high degree of selfdiscipline are most likely to achieve. A guest speaker normally addresses faculty at their opening meeting, before classes begin, but in this case, Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 felt her message would be useful for students as well. Dr. Duckworth has had a distinguished career as a teacher, researcher and scholar. She graduated from Harvard and received an M.Sc. with Distinction in Neuroscience from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

10 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

Yee-Fun Yen

On Perseverance

New Acquisitions

Striking Gold The Moorhead Wing project (see Summer 2010) presented the school with a unique opportunity to reduce its environmental impact and “take the LEED”—gold, that is. The school anticipates a gold rating for the project from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC created the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process to advise architects and builders in the process of “greening” to help estimate environmental impact in such areas as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The school worked closely with architects at Gund Partnership in the course of design, using LEED checklists to inform the decisionmaking process. Renovating a historic building that is in constant use created challenges not seen in completely new construction, but there was never a question about whether the school would build a LEED-certified building— only whether we’d strike “Gold.” Taft’s multiyear, $30 million construction project runs through the heart of campus and addresses several campus needs in one bold sweep. Torrington-based O&G Construction, owned by Greg Oneglia ’65, sourced 30% of the building materials within 500 miles

of the site, reducing the environmental impact of transporting materials, and also helping the local economy. Among the project’s other environmental gains: • More than 92% of the construction waste was recycled instead of being sent to a landfill. • 93% reduction in wastewater through low-flow fixtures and use of captured rainwater. • More than 90% of the wood used in the project was sourced from sustainably managed forestry operations and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. • Five preferred parking spaces have been reserved for drivers of high efficient, low-emitting vehicles. • Bike racks were added to encourage cycling to campus • A large rainwater collection system captures an estimated 110,000 gallons annually, reducing the burden on the municipal stormwater system, and reduces potable water demand by more than 90%. • Task lights are provided at all work stations, reducing the need for large-scale lighting. • Multiple controls allow users to tailor lighting levels for specific uses and conserve energy—none or minimal lighting when there is plenty of daylight through the windows, and brighter light when students are taking exams. • By building compactly, at the heart of campus instead of sprawling into virgin territory, the project has protected an area of vegetated open space adjacent to the building that is twice the building footprint (earning an exemplary point).

The Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery recently received an extraordinary, anonymous gift of 38 paintings and drawings by prominent artists of Litchfield County, which were on display for the month of October. The new acquisitions, which become part of the school’s permanent collection, include works by such artists as Clare Leighton, Peter Poskas, David Merrill, Wendell Minor and by the late Mark Potter, who taught at the school for many years. “While Taft brings together students from across the country and around the world, we remember that we are specifically New England, a culture composed of weather, architecture, landscape and habit of mind reflected in these works of art,” says gallery director Loueta Chickadaunce. “Our particular history makes us the school we are today, and this generous gift to the school’s permanent collection strengthens a collective memory of muted colors under hard frosts and muddy late springs.” The collection also includes three wood engravings by Clare Leighton, the artist who did the engravings for the school’s series of Wedgwood plates in the 1950s. (See page 76.) , Cattle in a late winter field, oil by Curtis W. Hanson, one of 38 works recently donated to the school’s permanent collection.

Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 11

around the POND

Historic Preservation It’s official. The school has acquired Christ Church on the Green from the Missionary Society of the Diocese of Connecticut. The Diocese closed the church in July 2009 due to the reduced size of the congregation, which could not sustain the cost of maintenance. The property includes not only the church, but also the Green across the street as well as the Rectory next door and the historic Academy building. Its acquisition was made possible by generous support, led by the Woodward Foundation. The Woodward Foundation has supported the school in the past as well, establishing a scholarship fund for local students and donating the Woodward Black Box Theater. Marion Woodward Ottley (who was a member of Christ Church) established the foundation in 1975 in loving memory of her parents and in her words, “to carry out their wishes and mine in attempting to make this a better world for those who come after us.” The school received approval from the town Planning and Zoning Commission. “I am very pleased that Taft is going

h Christ Church on the Green, along with the neighboring Rectory and historic Academy building, sits at the heart of the town’s historic district. Watertown Historical Society

to be the new owner of what is an important core property in the middle of our historic district,” commented Jean King, chair of the Watertown Historic District Commission. “Taft has an impressive record of careful attention to the care of its properties including many in the historic district. Having these buildings and spaces used in the community while maintaining their historic character is important to our entire town.” The exact use of the buildings has yet to be determined, and much renovation will need to be done.

“This is a historic and fortunate acquisition,” says Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, “all the more so because we were able to have the purchase funded entirely through gifts. This was a rare opportunity to acquire open space that is contiguous to the campus and to preserve a historic and beautiful property that is important to the town and which figured prominently in the memories of Tafties when church attendance was still required and for many years, the site of the Service of Remembrance.”

Remembering Marina The Marina C. Petersen ’06 Scholarship is designated in remembrance of Marina, who spent four years as an active and happy member of the Taft community. Marina cherished her time at Taft, where she developed and nourished strong friendships with day students, boarding students, faculty and staff. This scholarship is to be awarded to an incoming day student girl, with demonstrated need, from Watertown. Marina, who died tragically in a car accident in 2009, attributed much

12 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

of her success and happiness in life to the lessons she learned at Taft. A bright, warm and caring girl from the start, Marina firmly believed that her growth, self-actualization and development into a mature young woman were all made possible by the firm foundation of support from her teachers and friends at Taft. Through her contributions to social, artistic and academic life, Marina exemplified the school’s motto: Not to be served, but to serve. Blessed with a large, loving family, Marina was always quick to win friends. “Her greatest priorities in

life were always her family and her friends,” says her mother Toni, who has worked in the school’s library for many years. “Her warmth, compassion and sense of humor naturally drew people to her. She loved Watertown, she loved Taft, and she loved life. It is our hope that the recipient of this scholarship will love her time here as well and embrace many wonderful friendships and life experiences along the way.” At the family’s request, a portion of the fund will also go to purchase books for The Hulbert Taft, Jr., Library in Marina’s name.

New Faculty • Winnie Adrien, Science Fellow • Jonathan Bender, Spanish • Chris Chung, Math Fellow • Nikki Glazer ’05, Spanish Fellow • Jessica Hayward, Math • Gary Kan ’03, Chinese, Physics • Jennifer Bogue Kenerson, Math • David Kievet, Arts, Technical Theater • Jamella Lee, Global Service and Scholarship Department Chair • Simón Ponce, Carpenter Fellow, Spanish • Jessie Ramos-Willey, College Counseling • Sarah Sanborn, Admissions, English • Claire Sheldon, Mailliard Fellow, Math n New faculty, from left, Valenti, Kenerson, Lee, Ponce, Adrien, Sheldon, Glazer, Kievet, • Megan Valenti, History Ramos-Willey, Kan, Hayward, Sanborn, Chung (Bender not pictured). Peter Frew ’75

Independent School Gender Project When English teacher Linda Saarnijoki first worked on gender issues at Taft in the 1980s, along with Robin (Blackburn) Osborn and others, the issues were pretty obvious. So many previously boys’ schools had become co-ed in the last decade, as Taft had, and needed to figure out how to change their cultures and educational programs to welcome girls and women and how to address issues of equity. This was the time when Taft did important work with Carol Gilligan, whose ground-breaking research on the moral development of girls informs so much of the research and thinking about girls today. Saarnijoki and 11 other faculty and three students revisited those issues at the Independent School Gender Project (ISGP) conference held for three days at Hotchkiss in June. Some of the ISGP leaders now are women Saarnijoki worked with on gender issues in the 1980s. “The work needed in our schools today—and in society at large—is more subtle,” says Saarnijoki. “Gender equity is not so much an issue of numbers and

rights and privileges anymore as much as it is cultural and attitudinal. I enjoyed looking at these issues again and hearing about important work at other schools who are helping girls find their identities as leaders. “Today we need to help girls figure out how to become leaders,” Saarnijoki adds, “to help society figure out how to value female leadership, and to help girls and women have a voice in a society and culture that tends too often to hear men’s and boys’ voices more loudly and clearly.” It was even more special for her to have daughter Eliza Davis ’12 at the conference, to watch her grow in her perspective and “to develop her voice as a leader just as I did as a young woman. She has a head start.” “Even though I didn’t originally want to go,” Eliza quickly adds, “the conference ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done. I really enjoyed talking to all different types of people and discussing similar problems even though we seemed so different. I feel that I benefited in so many different ways. It illuminated some of the gender-difference problems that we

have in our society and that I deal with on a daily basis even though I don’t really think about them. I became a lot more aware of the work that needs to be done in the Taft community to improve the gender divide.” “The conference was very productive,” says Andi Orben, who coordinated the Taft contingent, “in that it brought some existing gender issues to the forefront and raised the possibility of establishing a gender committee at Taft.” , At the ISGP conference, front, Shannon Lenz, Dani Lewis ’11, Eliza Davis ’12, Ellen Hinman, Dena Torino, Kendall Adams; back, Kash Griffith ’13, Linda Saarnijoki, Andi Orben, Shannon Tarrant, Edie Traina, Allison Carlson, Rachael Ryan, and Alexandra Kelly. Nikki Willis

Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 13

around the POND

Global Learning “I hope their artwork will nullify the 8,000-miles distance and share a lesson that I wholeheartedly learned from this trip: creating art is creating a visual language which is better understood than any verbal language.” Her trip was sponsored in part by a Poole Fellowship. Other Poole fellows were seniors Jack Beller, John Boyd, Lucas Gottlieb and middler Cassie Willson. Through the Meg Page ’74 Fellowship, senior Neve Schadler attended Brown University’s Leadership Institute, where she took a course on leadership and global health and studied with students from all around the world who are devoted to finding solutions to global health issues. Brandon Sousa ’12 received the newly created William W. Hatfield ’32 Grant to help fund a trip to South Africa and Botswana. v Poole fellow Cassie Willson ’13 worked

in Nicaragua with El Campo International’s Globetrotter program to provide clean drinking water and good sanitation to those in need.

Jasmine Oh ’11 was scheduled to arrive in Uganda in July, not long after a terrorist bombing in the capital city killed 74 people and the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert. She postponed her trip for a few weeks, arriving in Kampala in August. “A month later, security was still tight,” says Jasmine. Traveling six hours, with her father and two nuns, she arrived at the town of Jinja to teach drawing and painting at St. Benedict’s School. “Since English is Uganda’s official language, communication was not a problem, but art education is almost nonexistent. Most students had never touched paint or crayons, never mind mixing colors on a palette.” She brought back some of the students’ work and mounted a fundraising show called “Art4Uganda” in the Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery in September.

Artistic Endeavors Taking full advantage of Taft’s Kilbourne Summer Enrichment Fund, a number of students pursued their artistic passions last summer. Michelle Chang ’12 traveled to the Casalmaggiore Festival in Italy to study violin. Andre Li ’11 studied architecture at Cornell. Taylor Majewski ’11 studied painting at the UCLA Summer Art Institute. Jake Cohen ’11 took a creative writing course at Columbia, and Lexi Rogers ’12 studied dance at the Bates Dance Festival in Maine. x Andre Li ’11 was one of five students to take advantage of the Kilbourne Summer Enrichment Fund to pursue programs in the arts.

Harrington. Taft moved into its space on September 12. Rowing at Taft started in 1991, with a secondhand shells, a co-ed squad and Al Reiff ’80 as the only coach. Today Taft offers varsity rowing for both boys and girls, fielding more than 50 athletes, coached by five faculty members. Both teams compete in the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association. “The completion of the boathouse helps show how far rowing has come at Taft,” said girls’ coach Brendan Baran. Taft will officially open the boathouse at its first home race in early April.

Walker Hall Series The Walker Hall series, Music for a While, opened once again with a visit from Ralph Lee ’53 and his Mettawee River Theater Company, who performed The Woman Who Fell From the Sky. Sam Lardner and Barcelona returned in October to a packed house, and Brass City Brass was scheduled for November 5. Terry Waldo performs on December 3, and the semester concludes on December 14 with the Annual Service of Lessons and Carols. For more information, visit www.TaftSchool.org/arts/walkerhall.

Brendan Baran

After years of planning, Taft Crew has a new home. The new boathouse, built by Litchfield Hills Rowing Club and Taft, is a three-bay, two-story facility located on the north end of Bantam Lake. In recent years, Taft has outgrown its original space: a cobbled together shed with dirt floors. The new boathouse has ample storage for Taft’s ten rowing shells, launches, ergs, and other equipment. Additionally, it is fully powered through solar electricity, and not connected to the grid. “The boathouse marks a significant upgrade in the quality of our facilities,” said boys’ coach Michael

Kaitlyn Squires

New Boathouse at Bantam

Good Works in Guatemala

Twelve students successfully completed Taft’s third service trip to Guatemala in June. Led by faculty members David Dethlefs, Carly Borken and Robert Ganung, the group built three houses through the God’s Child Project based in Antigua. They also helped distribute food and volunteered at a homeless shelter and helped out at an orphanage. In addition they visited Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango and the Mayan ruins at Ixitlan. David Dethlets

South Africa

The World Cup was only the beginning for 32 Tafties and their six faculty chaperones who explored the Rainbow Nation in June. From the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela’s home in Johannesburg to Robben Island and District Six in Cape Town, the group had an unprecedented introduction to the fledgling democracy in action. And yes, they also attended the Denmark vs. Netherlands match in the opening round at Soccer City Stadium. Carmen Pullella ’12

Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 15

Housin F

©www.iStockphoto.com/Claudia Dewald

rom his perch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Bruce Johnson ’67 has spent decades designing utterly enchanting homes for utterly wealthy clients. His projects are both awe-inspiring and inviting, with splendid stone fireplaces and magnificent wood beams, soaring open spaces and endless rustic charm. But these days, the successful 61-year-old architect spends much of his time—and most of his energy—devoted to an entirely different undertaking in an entirely different corner of the globe: Haiti.

“For 35 years, I’ve been doing houses for the wealthiest people in the world,” he said, “and now I’m doing them for the poorest people in the world. And that’s pretty exciting.”

ng Haiti Bruce Johnson ’67 designs homes that fit the culture By Brady Dennis

n Bruce Johnson ’67 and Pastor Michel Morisset

The source of that excitement is a new venture aimed at producing low-cost, sustainable houses using local labor and local materials. Johnson and two partners—a Canadian developer and a mining engineer from the Dominican Republic—hope the burgeoning business will turn a profit. But more important, they hope it will allow Haitians to build their own homes—better and sturdier homes—and to break the cycle of dependency on donations from foreigners. How exactly did a sought-after architect wind up dedicating so many of his waking hours to this troubled island nation, designing homes that are smaller than the walk-in closets of his clients back in America? That story begins years ago. Some people might call it chance. Johnson calls it divine intervention.


e grew up in western Pennsylvania, the son and brother of Taft graduates. His grandfather, father and brother each attended Yale University, but this particular Johnson boy headed south. “I broke the cycle,” he said. He wound up studying fine arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Later, he earned a master’s degree in architecture down the road at North Carolina State University, where he wrote his thesis on energy conservation, a preface to a career-long focus on using alternative energy. Fast forward nearly three decades to 2002. Johnson had built a successful business as an architect based in Asheville, a jewel of a town in the western North

Carolina mountains, not far from the Tennessee border. He has a wife, two children and a comfortable career. The athletic director at his children’s private school, a native Haitian, was organizing a mission trip to rebuild houses in the country. His son and daughter weren’t yet old enough to make the trip, but after some urging from the athletic director and some early reluctance, Johnson decided to tag along. “Almost at the last minute, I decided I needed to go,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t going down there on any great altruistic venture ... I didn’t know the first thing about Haiti. My experience in the Caribbean was going to Club Med.” The group flew to Port-au-Prince, which already was rife with political unrest under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The next day, they boarded an open-air bus for the long, hot ride north to the port city of Gonaïves. Along the way, Johnson smelled the stench of open sewers and saw people living amid garbage heaps—a depth of poverty he barely could fathom. “It was a pretty eye-opening experience,” he said. “You just couldn’t believe that anybody was living like that ... My sheltered life in the U.S. was shattered.” The group spent a week at the EbenEzer Mission, where Johnson struck up an instant friendship with Pastor Michel Morisset, who had founded the effort decades earlier and built it into an organization that provided local citizens with schools, medical clinics, credit unions, churches and farm land. “I’d just never encountered a person who was that devoted to his religion and to helping his country; I couldn’t get over that. I had never encountered that anywhere,” Johnson recalled. “He basically started a mission on the front porch of his house to help these people and has never strayed from that. To see this guy do that and to just hit it off with him almost immediately was an experience that made me want to get involved.” That’s precisely what he did. As Haiti endured floods and

hurricanes and political upheaval, Johnson became one of Morisset’s closest advisers. He returned again and again, offering his time, his money and his architectural expertise, such as designing a prototype open-air public shelter that could withstand an earthquake. In addition, he has traveled as far as Paris to help Morisset try to fundraise for the mission. The two men have stayed in each other’s homes, have offered each other repeated advice and support.

“We come from two different cultures; we are two different colors. But I feel like he is a brother to me,” Morisset said in an interview. “Usually, Americans pity us, and we sense it ... We feel we are not being treated as equals. It’s different with Bruce. He challenged us.” Morisset said that over the years, as problems have arisen, he always could turn to Johnson. “I can pick up the phone and call him,” he said. “He will answer my call.” This past January, when a series of earthquakes brought yet another wave of death and destruction to Haiti, the call came once again. And again, Bruce Johnson answered.


n the chaotic aftermath of the disaster, Johnson caught a flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He found himself on another bus ride to Gonaïves, this one 10 hours long, past crumbling buildings and tent cities brimming with refugees. “It is worse than the TV can show or

anyone can describe,” he wrote later. On that same bus was Roberto Vargas, a native Argentinian living in the Dominican Republic, a mining engineer and longtime contractor who shared Johnson’s desire to build a better Haiti. They began talking about starting a company to build housing for the local population. Not just any housing—and certainly not the plastic domes, converted shipping containers and other lackluster materials that so often get carted in to house displaced people—but rather something more permanent, homes made by Haitians and for Haitians, structures that would instill pride in their owners and respect local culture. Many of the proposals coming from the United States and other countries, Johnson and Vargas felt, did not adhere to—or even recognize—Haitian cultural values. “Putting a family in a permanent home is more than providing adequate shelter, regardless of the location, cost or income level. Importing a prefabricated product that has no relation to the people or culture does little to build self-esteem,” Johnson said, describing a driving motivation behind the effort. “Haitians have the God-given right to deserve better and should get it, without costing more and taking longer.” Johnson and Vargas decided their varied skills and their vision made a “good recipe,” Vargas said. The pair soon teamed with Jim Collishaw, a veteran urban planner from Canada who also had come to Haiti looking to help. After months of research—talking to native Haitians, meeting with government officials, reading architectural journals, surfing the Web, studying various housing options proposed by

groups from the United Nations—the trio formed a company called Karivian. Based in the Dominican Republic, it features a simple construction system that can be used to build homes, schools and other community structures. The typical family home Johnson has been designing measures about 420 square feet, with a large outdoor common area, indoor plumbing and the ability to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes. The idea is for a Haitian construction crew to be able to build a house in less than a week for less than $10,000, using local labor and materials. Ideally, Johnson said, Haitians would create entire new villages comprised of Karivian homes as the country’s population decentralizes and builds outside major cities such as Port-au-Prince. The larger goal: To erect safer structures to house the 1.6 million people in Haiti currently without a home, and simultaneously to instill pride of ownership. “We are seeking to come up with a solution to the problem that is meaningful to the economy of Haiti,” Collishaw said. “People all around the world have a basic need for dignity, and housing is a very important aspect of that. Pride of ownership and the dignity that goes with it is the glue that holds a society together.”

The group currently is building the first prototype houses and hopes to start on two schools later this year near the Eben-Ezer Mission. They have encountered predictable obstacles— government corruption, cultural differences, competing proposals—but also have found promising opportunities, given the amount of public and private aid flowing into Haiti. Should the project succeed, Johnson and his partners hope to expand into other countries in need of similar low-cost housing. For now, however, their focus remains on Haiti. “Not only are they building homes here, they are our partners,” said Morisset, the pastor at Eben-Ezer. “It’s a great blessing. Haiti will ultimately be the beneficiary.” That’s certainly the hope for Johnson, whose unlikely passion for this place blossomed nearly a decade ago and has only grown over time. “I’m guardedly optimistic,” he said. “I think this is the best chance ever for something to happen in Haiti that is more than just a Band-Aid. If you get enough people thinking like that, that’s a start.” j Brady Dennis is a staff writer at the Washington Post. He has previously written about Oliver Spencer ’85 and Justine Landegger ’00 for the Bulletin.

An Extreme Equine Sport Becomes One Vet’s Laboratory By Kenneth L. Marcella ’75, DVM

Endurance I t is nearly 6 a.m., and it always begins this way. All around me, barely visible in the early morning mist, are horse-rider teams that will soon begin a 100-mile endurance race over the rugged mountains of the Big South Fork National Forest in Tennessee. Some of the horses are barely contained energy, so intent on getting started that they spin and rear and dance wildly as their riders try to control them. Other teams stand quietly, horses eager but reserved, game-faced riders seriously intent on trail strategy or decisions concerning pace. 20 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

The official timers bark out the minutes remaining and check the numbers that we drew on each horse’s hip at the medical inspection the night before. They must verify rider and horse identification. The veterinary staff has previously examined each horse to determine its fitness for competition, and officials now check to see that only those horses are starting and to get an accurate list of everyone who will be riding. There

Helicopters have occasionally been needed for rescue efforts and some horses that have fallen and become separated from their rider have simply disappeared in the wilderness. Similar to mushers and their dogs in the Iditarod, the horse-rider team is a special unit with a bond of trust and respect forged by miles and miles of trail. Each depends on, and encourages the other because there are places on some trails where all you have is each other. I have seen many instances where riders have saved fallen or lost horses on trail and been present late at night when a horse brought a feverish and disoriented rider back to camp. “I trusted my partner and he got me home,” was all he could manage later when we talked while he fed and groomed his horse. Some people have questioned the humane nature of endurance riding, but through my involvement with the sport I have come to see it as a partnership and been reassured by the nature of the relationship between most riders and their horses. So that is why I am here. I try to keep problems from happening. The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) keeps detailed re-

Rides are remote sections of the trail that will be inaccessible to vets or emergency personnel so keeping track of horses and humans is crucial. This is an extreme sport. The world record for 100 miles is 6 hours 28 minutes 28 seconds, though rides lasting 20 hours are also common. Variations in terrain, obstacles and weather challenge the participants. Horses and humans have died out on the trail.

techniques and more so that we can push to the edge of what is possible in equine performance. It is my job to keep everyone on the right side of that edge so I am here to insure the safety of these horses, to provide care for them if problems arise and to investigate issues related to sports medicine and equine physiology. I am a kid from the city, Waterbury actually, and I never owned a horse or rode as a boy. While in veterinary school I became interested in the things that horses could do and the amazing physiology of this tremendous athlete. I found that I somehow understood how they moved, the way their muscles and joints interacted and that for some reason I could slow down their complex motion in my head and see the altered step, the disconnected muscle movement and the lameness that turns an elite jumper or racehorse into merely an animal with a limp. I found that I enjoyed trying to put them back together—the examinations, the diagnostics (we have digital ultrasound, digital radiography, endoscopy and thermography—all types of high-tech equipment that goes farm to farm and allows for sophisticated field

This is an extreme sport. The world record for 100 miles is 6 hours 28 minutes 28 seconds, though rides lasting 20 hours are also common.

cords from all rides occurring across the country. Every problem, every incident, every fatality (and there are fortunately few) is investigated and reviewed. The veterinary committee, the research committee, the education committee, all meet and go over problems. They investigate new ideas, test new strategies, and educate riders on issues as diverse as nutrition, fluid and electrolyte balance, foot care, conditioning/training

work-ups), the rehabilitation and that exhilarating feeling when an injured equine athlete makes it back to the track, the dressage or jumping arena, the working cow pen or an endurance race. Though I run a regular equine practice where my days are filled with the more routine parts of veterinary work—vaccinating, deworming, dental care, reproductive work (collecting stallions, breeding mares and foaling out), Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 21

lameness and so forth my association with sport horses and the ability to conduct field research on these elite athletes always gives me something to think about as I make my daily rounds. “Burn out” is a serious problem in all medical fields and my involvement with equine sporting events, from the PanAms to the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games has helped me stay enthused and passionate about what I do. It is a shame that there currently is a crisis in large animal veterinary practice in the United States. There are fewer and fewer large animal oriented students entering school to replace the dwindling number of cattle, goat, pig, sheep and horse vets still in practice.

I look around at rides such as this and there are few new veterinary faces. We are no longer an agrarian society, and the legions of farm boys and girls who wanted to grow up and become veterinarians servicing their communities are all but gone. The educational debt incurred for a DVM degree, the rigors of practice, the physicality of large animal work and the time demands of this career have taken a toll. So serious is the lack of vets in some areas of the country that the profession and the federal government have gotten together to make large animal veterinary practice more appealing. A number of special non-taxable educational loan programs have been

proposed and repayment or nonpayment of loans is being discussed as a way to get students to look at a career in large animal medicine. I’ve even seen situations where a community has gone to veterinary schools offering to pay tuition, a living stipend, and to give a student a house, land and guaranteed work in exchange for a number of years of practice in a rural location. Through all of the economic ups and downs, vets generally stay very busy. The profession is a place for independent thinkers and doers. It is an outdoor career where you are afforded the respect and salary of a professional but where you can be your own boss, play the truck radio as loud as you want and spend a

“Four…Three…Two…One, the trail is yours, ride safely,” yells the official timer but his words are lost amid the dust and thundering hooves as 100 horses and riders charge off down the trail.


My lab is now open.

he World Equestrian Games were held in Lexington, Kentucky, this fall, the first time since the games began in 1990 that they have been hosted outside of Europe. With nearly 800 horses representing 60 countries, this year’s games will be the largest equestrian spectator event ever held in the U.S. and the largest sporting event of any kind held in Kentucky. Ken Marcella ’75 was part of the endurance veterinary crew for the 2010 games, hosted by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), and has been an FEI official for more than 18 years. He was the head treatment vet for the 2004 Pan American Games and the head veterinarian for the 2008 National Championships. In 1996, he moved to Atlanta to be a part of the veterinary support for the Olympic Equestrian Competition and remains there in private equine practice today. “Known for his fairness, humor and

clinical skills, Ken’s presence as head veterinarian, line veterinarian, or treatment veterinarian at national and international championships is immensely reassuring to competitors,” says Dr. Olin Balch, chair of the 5,000-member America Endurance Ride Conference’s Research Committee. “His contribution to the endurance horse community is significant; he serves enthusiastically and ably on AERC’s educational, research and veterinary committees.” Marcella also writes a monthly veterinary column for Thoroughbred Times magazine and another monthly column for DVM News Magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to other breed specific or discipline specific magazines such as the Quarter Horse Journal, Dressage, Endurance News. In 2010, he became board certified in veterinary thermal imaging by the American Academy of

good deal of time in the middle of nowhere, monitoring horses as they race over landscape that is rougher and more wild in its general inaccessibility than most people ever see. I use these rides as a laboratory. Along with other vets, we will use the 100 to 150 horses at each ride as our test subjects and we have investigated issues as diverse as weight/water/electrolyte loss during extreme exercise, thermographic (infrared) muscle changes due to imbalance issues (there are 80,000 foot falls in a 100-mile race so little problems are amplified) and changes in the urine color of endurance horses. Today we are collecting ticks from horses for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There is a new variant of Lyme disease called Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness or STARI that is affecting humans in the Southeast. It is believed to be caused by a different tick than the one that carries Lyme disease, and we need to know how prevalent that tick is, what its range is and

Thermology. There are currently only six similarly certified veterinary thermographers in the United States. An English and biology double major at Dartmouth College, Marcella received a DVM from Cornell University. While an associate professor at the University of Virginia, he provided anesthesia and surgical support to animal research projects and was also team veterinarian to the UVa polo team. He soon started a mixed-animal practice in Lexington, Virginia, and worked at the Virginia Horse Center. He operates Seldom Seen Farm with his wife, Elfriede, who is an American Association of Riding Instructors certified trainer. Together they provide equine rehabilitation services for their area and work with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. They have a 4-year-old son, Sevario.

whether it is indeed spreading STARI. Most of the time our research projects provide info for horses that lead to a better training technique or method to handle a performance issue. Obviously what we learn may carry over to human issues and every once in a while we uncover something that can really make a difference to many species. This research can be done in no other way, since riders and horses at many of

these competitions represent the elite of the sport and the stressors and physiological forces affecting them exist no where else. So that is why I am here. That is why I became hooked. “Four…Three…Two…One, the trail is yours, ride safely,” yells the official timer but his words are lost amid the dust and thundering hooves as 100 horses and riders charge off down the trail. My lab is now open. j

Rising from Ground Zero As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, three alumni work to rebuild the World Trade Center By Ryan Nerz ’92

24 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010


e are underground, countless stories beneath downtown Manhattan, navigating through a labyrinth of concrete corridors. I hear drilling and hammering in the distance. Our dusty path is lined with piles of rebar, and machines are everywhere— forklifts and backhoes and cranes. Ten feet above my head is a ventilation duct so huge I swear I could walk through it. These are the internal organs of what will soon be the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. We pass a group of construction workers who are dressed like us— helmets and neon yellow safety vests. I feel like an adventurous kid in some subterranean sci-fi parallel universe. The path leads us to a concrete wall; we have to turn around. I don’t hold it

against my guide. Without him, I would be hopelessly lost. And besides, he’s a Taftie. Doug Blais graduated in 1990, the year before I arrived as an uppermid. Now he’s a program manager on the World Trade Center site. For him to be momentarily disoriented down here is a testament to the vastness of this space. “Okay, we’re coming up on the central chiller plant,” Doug says. Sounds like a place where the cool kids hang out. Turns out it’s a $200 million bit of infrastructure that will deliver river water—up to 30,000 gallons per minute—from the Hudson, cooling and dehumidifying the air in the museum’s exhibition halls. We walk on. Up ahead, past orange safety netting, we come upon an opening that looks into a truly massive room. In

In the center of the room is a giant rectangular box covered by a tarp and bathed from above with a shock of sunlight. The box holds what is known as “the last column.”

v In addition to a towering spire of 1776 feet, the World Trade Center complex rebuilding program calls for the construction of a memorial with waterfalls, an underground museum, a visitor center, retail space, a world-class transit hub and four office towers that spiral in height. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

x Jay Hector ’74, Doug Blais ’90 and Dave Tweedy ’68, who each work for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s World Trade Center redevelopment project. Joseph J. Lawton

Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 25

the center of the room is a giant rectangular box covered by a tarp and bathed from above with a shock of sunlight. The box holds what is known as “the last column,” Doug explains—the symbolic last original steel column that was removed from the site during the recovery. The box protects it from construction-related activities, such as equipment bumping into it, until the museum is completely closed in. Nearing the spot where the escalators will one day carry visitors down to the museum, Doug points out the tridents—the seven-story steel structures that once formed the distinctive Gothic arch motif on the original façade of the Twin Towers. The steel icons were recovered from the World Trade Center site during the recovery effort, and two of them were installed in their new locations in September. From here, we can only see the lower half of the tridents; the forking tops remain aboveground. They will be enclosed by the glass walls of the Museum Pavilion building. As with the last column, the tridents are so large that the pavilion is being built around them. I remember seeing photos of them jutting out of the rubble in the days after 9/11, symbols of resilience and hope. I remember reading that they had been disassembled and kept in a hangar at JFK airport. We go back through the maze and ascend to the surface. But I’m on auto pilot now, moved to real sadness by these architectural ghosts. Only when we reach the sunlit surface does my mood begin to lift. Aboveground, the progress is truly dynamic. Off to our right I can see one of the memorial’s reflective pools, made from 50,000 cubic yards of concrete and soon to feature the biggest man-made x The master plan for the 16-acre World Trade Center site shows the locations of the planned commercial towers, transportation hub and cultural facility that will surround the museum and memorial plaza planted with hundreds of oak trees. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

26 Taft Bulletin Fall 2010

waterfalls in the hemisphere. Just ahead, Doug points out the already constructed 7 World Trade Center, a gleaming glass 52-story rectangular prism skyscraper. Its neighbor, One World Trade Center— originally known as the Freedom Tower—is already 44 stories tall, and growing like a teenager. It rises by a floor each week now, Doug says, and there’s a Subway restaurant that follows the construction using the tower’s crane. Though we’re surrounded by all these high-profile projects, Doug wants to show me a tree. It’s a swamp white oak, Doug explains, chosen because they grow naturally in all the major 9/11 sites—New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. We are walking on the plaza that will eventually include 400 trees, creating a leafy canopy about 40 feet above street level. The workers to our left are building structures to hold individual trees, the dimensions of

“…there are a lot of stakeholders who are trying to reach the best outcome that everyone will feel good about.”

which were determined four years ago. “A lot of this construction takes the coordination of a symphony,” Doug explains. j j j

“When they decided to put those trees there—which was an emotional decision—it cost the Port Authority significant amounts of money to strengthen the structural underpinning of the memorial,” says Dave Tweedy ’68. It’s three days after my tour, and I’m talking with another alumnus on the project, who’s got his own take on those trees. Dave is the chief of capital planning for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and it just so happens that Doug reports to him (though, prior to this article, they hadn’t made the Taft connection). Dave’s department oversees a capital program worth roughly $25 billion over ten years, so he’s intimately acquainted with the project’s bottom line. And though he liked the idea of adding trees, he knew it wasn’t just about trees. It was about emotions, money and infrastructure. “So when that decision was made, not by the Port Authority, but by other stakeholders in the city, to make the site less dour and more spiritually uplifting…the weight of those trees forced the Port Authority to fortify our hub project to the tune of $40 million…because the ceiling of the wonderful Santiago Calatrava-built hub is also the floor of the memorial.” And therein lies the key word: stakeholders. The burning question on the minds of many an impatient New Yorker—why has the redevelopment taken so long?—actually has a one-word answer. Stakeholders. There’s the Port Authority. There’s Larry Silverstein, the real estate developer who inked a 99-year lease on the World Trade Center just seven weeks before 9/11. There’s the city, the state. There’s the Durst Organization, a private development group that plans to invest $100 million in a joint venture with the Port Authority under which it

will market, lease and manage One World Trade Center. There’s the Metropolitan Transit Authority, because the subway runs through the site. There are so many hands in this 16-acre cookie jar that it’s a wonder a single brick has been laid. “There are a lot of entities that have opinions,” explains Jay Hector ’74, yet another Taftie working on the site. Jay’s on the business side of things—he manages development finance for the site—but that doesn’t shield him from the stakeholders. “There are the downtown community boards. There is the city of New York. There are the 9/11 families. So there are a lot of stakeholders who are trying to reach the best outcome that everyone will feel good about. And that’s a hard context in which to overlay these development agreements.” The most difficult part of working on the project, Jay says, is that while they were feverishly trying to reach these agreements, which were further slowed by the economic trauma of the 2008 stock market collapse, none of that behind-the-scenes progress was visible to outsiders. “Even though, when you have been working on the project, you can tell that progress is happening, it’s been very hard to convey that to the public.” Dave Tweedy shares Jay’s frustrations about perceived progress (and they’ve known each other for years, because Jay was friends with Dave’s brother, Jim Tweedy ’73, while at Taft)…albeit for a slightly different reason. “People couldn’t understand the progress that was being made, because it was all underground. There’s something on the order of a 7,000-square-foot underground city, supporting the plumbing and the heating and the air distribution systems for the memorial and the Vehicle Security Center and the hub project.” I can confirm the existence of said underground city, having gotten lost in its immensity on my tour. I can likewise confirm my sympathy for these three hard-working Tafties, who have faced the unenviable task of getting things done on

this complicated, emotion-soaked site, despite the often conflicting interests of all those stakeholders. And having been in New York on 9/11, and thus having a genuine desire to see the World Trade Center site reemerge with even greater splendor, I share Dave’s optimism that that day is forthcoming. The memorial is scheduled to open this fall, in time for the 10th anniversary. The pools and waterfalls will be operational, as well as the parapets surrounding the pools, which will display the names of the victims of the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks as well as the victims from Washington and Pennsylvania. The museum is scheduled to open in 2012, exactly one year after the memorial. “New York never stops rebuilding itself,” says Dave, “and I’m sure the World Trade Center will change over time. But it’s a great feeling to be part of actually getting it done, which is fortunately where we’re at now.” j For the latest progress photos or for more information, please visit www.national911memorial.org or www.panynj.gov/wtcprogress.

Ryan Nerz ’92 is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, New York, and the author of Eat This Book. His next book, about American marijuana culture, will be published by Abrams in 2011.

“New York never stops rebuilding itself…I’m sure the World Trade Center will change over time. But it’s a great feeling to be part of actually getting it done.”

tales of a TAFTIE

James Grover Franciscus, Class of 1953 Television and Movie Actor Sources: Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) Turner Classic Movies (www.tcm.com) Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) PHOTOS: On the set of Beneath The Planet of Apes, actor James Franciscus and actresses Linda Harrison and Kim Hunter. © Cat’s Collection/Corbis

James Franciscus, as his character John Novak, from the TV series Mr. Novak (1963-65) © Bettmann/Corbis

28 Taft Bulletin FALL 2010

Starring in five different series, James Franciscus was the “blonde, handsome, golden boy TV star of the 1960s and 70s,” writes Turner Classic Movies. After a number of smaller roles, Franciscus got his first big break as Detective Jim Halloran on ABC’s the Naked City television series in 1958. He starred briefly in The Investigators, the New York-based detective series on CBS, in 1961, but is perhaps best known for his title roles in NBC’s Mr. Novak and Longstreet on ABC. He was offered the title role of Dr. Kildare, but was already committed to another project so the role eventually went to Richard Chamberlain. Moving to the big screen, Franciscus played the title character in Youngblood Hawke in 1964 and was chosen for the lead in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, (many believe, for his resemblance to Charlton Heston, who starred in the original). “His favorite movie was probably Gwangi, at least it was a favorite of his children and mine,” says his brother John ’50. Although “it was Beneath the Planet of the Apes that gave a big boost to his career. He had to promise to make four more movies with the same producers, which he was glad to do. Goey was a good guy. I had a great affection for him. Always did.” Franciscus’s classic good looks also likely earned him two JFK-inspired roles, in 1978’s The Greek Tycoon and 1981’s Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

In 1973 he became the voice of Jonathan Livingston Seagull in the movie version of the hugely popular novella by Richard Bach (which received two Academy-award nominations). When the number of good roles coming his way diminished he tried his hand at script writing (29th Street, staring Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia) and then founding a production company that focused on such classic novels as Jane Eyre (starring George C. Scott), A Girl Named Sooner, The Red Pony, Kidnapped and Heidi. Although he played varsity football, hockey and track at Taft, Franciscus helped popularize the sport of tennis with two appearances on the series Celebrity Tennis and by founding the James Franciscus Celebrity Tennis Tournament to help victims of multiple sclerosis (a disease afflicting his mother) in the 1970s. Franciscus was a magna cum laude Yale graduate and produced and scripted three plays while at Yale Drama School. He had four children with his first wife, Kathleen Wellman, daughter of famed director William Wellman. After his death in 1991, the James G. Franciscus Theater Fund was established in his memory, which supports a stage production at Taft each year. j —Julie Reiff

from the Archives

—continued from page 76

Scenic Wedgwood How many of you have a set of these in your family? If your father or grandfather went to Taft, perhaps you grew up eating from this series of Wedgwood transferware dinner plates. Commissioned by the Alumni Association in 1953, they were made from four drawings by the artist Clare Leighton (1898–1989). Perhaps you’ve even seen one on eBay. Known primarily for her superb woodcuts depicting finely detailed, unsentimental scenes of agrarian life, Leighton also made bookplates, mosaics and stained glass. British by birth, she illustrated editions of Emily Brontë and Thomas Hardy novels, and wrote and illustrated seven books of her own, including A Gardener’s Chronicle, documenting the transformation of her meadow to a garden. Leighton lived much of her life in the U.S., including many years in nearby Woodbury. Leighton’s prints and engravings are held by major museums and private art collections throughout the U.S. and U.K. A recent gift to the school of 38 works by local artists includes three Leighton prints to be added to the several already in the permanent collection of the Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery (see page 11). The school owns two sets of the plates, one of which was given by the family of the late John Rogan ’37. In her designs for these emblematic scenes, Leighton clearly delighted in illustrating the shifting effects of sun, wind and clouds on the campus landscape. —Alison Gilchrist, The Leslie D. Manning Archives

Have any stories? We look forward to hearing from you!

The plates were offered for $12 a set (at cost) in the Bulletin throughout the 1950s and ’60s, “as a sentimental and useful memento of the School.” Printed on the back of each plate is the following inscription:

“This series of plates is dedicated to the two Headmasters who have served The Taft School—Horace Taft, the School’s Founder and its Headmaster for 46 years, and Paul Cruikshank, who succeeded to the Headmastership in 1936 upon Mr. Taft’s retirement…” Taft Bulletin Fall 2010 29

Taft Bulletin

The Taft School 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 860-945-7777 www.TaftAlumni.com

Change Service Requested

Join us for the Winter Alumni Games on January 8 For more information visit TaftAlumni.com/events

Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID burlington VT Permit # 101

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.