Historic Watertown Hydrofracking
Borken leading, learning, living green
in this issue
Carly Borken: Connecting Life and Learning for a Greater Impact By Debra Meyers
From the Green Preserving Watertown’s Historic District By Jennifer Clement
Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know By Alex Prud’homme ’80
Departments 2 From the Editor 3 Letters 3 Taft Trivia 4 Alumni Spotlight 10 Around the Pond 17 Sport 40 Tales of a Taftie: Deane Keller ’19 42 From the Archives: Secret Societies v Taft Chaplain Bob Ganung leads Lion Dancers down Main Hall in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Peter Frew ’75
from the EDITOR After 26 years, and approximately 100 issues, the time has come for me to turn over the reins of Taft Bulletin. How many issues I’ve put together depends on how you count special issues like the Centennial and those I started or finished as I embarked on a sabbatical year, but either way, it’s a lot of stories. Of course I have my favorites, and feel humbled by the accomplishments, courage and commitment of so many alumni. Beyond the articles themselves, though, have been the adventures, the hunt for the best stories—the day I got to spend shadowing Will Dana ’81 at Rolling Stone, or my private tour of the Bronx Zoo’s gorilla exhibit with its creator, John Gwynne ’67, Skyping with Linda Zackin ’80 in Namibia, trips to Maine and Vermont to interview our oldest alumni and hear their stories of Mr. Taft and life in the old Warren House. Those who know me well know how addicted I am to school history and trivia, so I have been equally enthralled by finds in the Taft archives, perusing back issues of the magazine for the Bulletin’s 75th anniversary issue (founded in 1923), or when a stack of large-format negatives for the 1929 yearbook arrives in the mail. Just the thought makes me giddy. Above all, though, I have seen myself as a reader’s advocate. What would YOU want to read? How can we tell this story in a way that will make you want to read it? What does this story say about Taft? Will you feel inspired, informed, connected?
But I hope at least once in this last quarter century you have read something in the Bulletin that made you question my judgment, if not my sanity—what was that editor thinking?! We proudly claim to graduate lifelong learners at Taft, and I hope the magazine in some small way has been able to help fulfill that goal. We tell students that to truly learn, they need to go outside their comfort zones. So, yes, every once in a while I tried to make you a little bit uncomfortable, dear reader. I hope you’ll forgive me. So now it’s time to make myself a little uncomfortable, to try something new. You’ve inspired me to take a risk. I have another story I’d like to tell—a slightly longer one, completely fictitious (don’t worry, what happens in class notes stays in class notes), so I am taking a leave of sorts. The good news is that I’m the wife and mother of Tafties, so not only will I continue to receive the Bulletin, but I also still get to live on campus. How sweet is that? Please welcome Linda Beyus as the “new” editor of Taft Bulletin. Linda is familiar to class secretaries as the person who has edited the Alumni Notes for the past 11 years, and will continue to do so. A few of you may also remember that she served as acting editor during my sabbatical leave and as managing editor this last year as I devoted more time to the capital campaign. She, too, wants to hear your stories! —Julie Reiff
On the Cover v Wold Family
Chair in Environmental Studies and Stewardship Carly Borken at the school’s new chicken coop.
Historic Watertown Hydrofracking
leading, learning, living green
Taft on the Web
Spring 2014 Volume 84, Number 3
Editor-In-Chief: Julie Reiff Managing Editor: Linda Hedman Beyus Design: Good Design LLC www.gooddesignusa.com Send alumni news to: Linda Hedman Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 email@example.com Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Summer–May 15 Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Send address corrections to: Katey Geer Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 firstname.lastname@example.org 860-945-7777 www.TaftAlumni.com
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2 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
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.
Then and Now
I look forward to receiving the Bulletin each quarter and read it from cover to cover. Not only does it bring back memories, but it also updates me on news of the school and all the wonderful changes that have been made since 1948. I envy the students of recent classes as to the facilities available to them. Yes, in our day Taft was very progressive for the time, but advances, especially in the later years, are fantastic, starting with the admission of females in 1971. When I attended Taft, the war was coming to a close, but there was so much that had to be done to rebuild the world. However, these were also great times as we approached the ’50s. We were innocent compared to the young people of today, but we were also ambitious. I entered Taft in the 8th grade and therefore spent five years there. I was head monitor and received the Class of 1908 Medal. Unfortunately many of my classmates have passed away in the last few years, but there are still enough of us alive to share memories of our years at Taft. I must say that those years were some of the best of my life and still have good friends from my days there. My wife and I have lived in Switzerland since my retirement in 2008, and we enjoy our chalet in the Swiss Alps. —George Gershel ’48
Cuba and More
I receive many alumni publications from various schools, and yours is the most outstanding. It is great reading for me to relive some of my high school experiences. I remember setting up hockey boards and flooding a field with fire hoses all night. When I visited Hotchkiss with my sons’ Taft team, they still had preserved the old short white boards of the old rink (very easy to check an opponent over those short boards)! It is very special for me to hear about fellow trustees from my years on the Taft board. I miss seeing Ferdie a lot; he stopped by New Canaan from time to time—absolutely We neglected to mention a key fact in the winter Bulletin story “USA Hockey,” that the women’s national team game against the boys’ varsity ended with a 1–1 tie in regulation, with the women scoring in suddendeath overtime. Very exciting.
irreplaceable to all of us. Great article by Eduardo Mestre ’66, too, although I don’t agree with all of it. I was in Cuba for a few months (at Guantanamo while in the Navy) and went on my honeymoon there in 1958. —John Burns P’84,’88,’93
It was moving to read the “From the Archives” piece in the winter Taft Bulletin. The message from Paul Cruikshank was so simple yet so powerful—imagine what it was like to lead the school at this time. Fifty-nine Taft graduates paid the supreme price, a very large number considering the size of the school at that time. Thanks for including this in the magazine—a critical part of the rich Taft history. —Peter Ziesing P’07,’09,’12
In the fall Bulletin, Andy Klemmer ’75 makes a casual reference to having learned “roof climbing” at Taft. Knowing Andy as both a Taft student and a Taft parent, I suspect that “roof climbing” included running the peaks of CPT, a not unusual occurrence in the early ’70s. In my opinion, the most notorious of the roof runners was the member of the Class of ’72 who has run for president of the U.S. on three occasions: John Hagelin. How John was identified as a roof runner is an interesting story. I’m sure that many students have wondered about exactly what goes on in those faculty class committee meetings, where they talk about every student. Usually, it’s pretty uneventful, but at a meeting of the Uppermiddle Committee (chaired by Selden Edwards) in the 1970–71 school year, when John’s name was read, a faculty member raised his hand. He said that the previous night he had caught him running the peaks of
CPT and told him that it was very dangerous, and if he ever caught him again, he would turn him in to the Dean’s Office. (It’s interesting to note that in the Student Handbook of that year there is no rule about being out on the roofs of the school.) At this point 19 other faculty volunteered the information that they too had caught John up on the CPT roof at one time or another and had delivered the same warning. The story goes that he ran the peaks while dressed in black with a black cape flowing behind him. John survived his roof-running experiences, but as I recall he spent most of the first term of his senior year living in the infirmary, having broken several bones in a motorcycle accident over the summer. His photo in the 1972 Taft Annual has him on crutches. The 1972–73 Student Handbook contains the following rule: “Students may not, under any circumstances, be out on the roofs of school buildings. Since the school cannot take responsibility for such activity, students who abuse this regulation may be asked to withdraw from school.” —Dick Cobb, faculty emeritus
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! Linda Hedman Beyus, managing editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 or email@example.com
Taft Trivia In what year did the Arts and Humanities Center rise from the shells of the “old” and “new” gymnasiums by the pond? Send your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner, whose name will be chosen at random from all correct entries received, will receive a stone coaster. Congratulations to Matthew Petroff ’11, who correctly named Global Service and Scholarship as newest academic department at Taft.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 3
By Linda Hedman Beyus
v Bergin O’Malley ’95 leads one of her Sing and Play Together interactive shows for children.
A Positive Note “I find myself wanting to write more about swimming like a fish and blowing bubbles than I do about politics or romance, as I once did,” says songwriter/ performer Bergin O’Malley ’95. Becoming a mother shifted her priorities and the way she wanted to live and work, so she started Sing and Play Together, a program of interactive music shows for children, in Stonington, Connecticut, where she lives. Graduating from Columbia with a degree in international relations, O’Malley worked on reproductive health issues at George Soros’s Open Society Institute, ran field programs for Democratic candidates like Senator Hillary Clinton, and ran a campaign to promote social enterprise for the Cabinet Office in London. Then she got pregnant. 4 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
“My college friend, Melissa Haith, and I were scheduled to perform at a folk festival, but it felt strange to be singing about exes and war and politics with this burgeoning life inside me,” she says. “I wanted to create something positive and fun for my son-to-be, so we tried children’s music. As soon as we started, we were hooked.” The duo Bergin and Melissa released their first album, Let’s Sing and Play Together, in 2010, and another in 2012. They’ve been performing Sing and Play shows since then, and last fall, O’Malley started weekly classes; she also performs for the community center’s preschool program. “One of the bonuses of spending such focused time writing and performing my children’s music is that
it’s reinvigorated me to write non-kid music,” she says. This year she plans to release an album of new and old songs. “I’ve been writing music since I was very young. I won my first songwriting competition at age nine, when I beat out the school piano wiz for the gold,” says O’Malley. Taft strengthened her love of music. “I thought of the Choral Room as my own personal sanctuary,” she says. Wanting to work for a local, established company—with adult peers—O’Malley also does business development at Cottrell Brewing. It offers a crossover of skills in marketing, design and consumer relations. “It’s a great mix,” she says. “Sing and Play allows me to connect with other young families and children, and taps into my mom brain and creativity. The brewery is where I think and talk beer, events, sales, bottling.” The combination enables O’Malley to have a few days with her two children. “It takes a village, for sure, to raise a family, and I am blessed to have help from a wonderful crew and family,” she says. “On my son Emmett’s birthday, I was putting him to bed, and said I was so grateful to be his mom and that before him I wasn’t a mommy, I was just Bergin. He turned to me and said, ‘But Mommy, you weren’t just Bergin, you were Bergin and Melissa.’ He understands that music is a huge part of who I am, so I’m lucky to have my kids support too!” For more see www.singandplaytogether.com
Locally Inspired Gray McNally ’98 does what he wants to do every day—he cooks, amazingly well. The executive chef for Chicago’s Tortoise Club, McNally’s passion for fine cuisine took root early on. And, even better, in his hometown. “Growing up I was always interested in food, and both of my parents were great home cooks. Going out to eat was always a treat, and I had a great respect for the restaurants that provided remarkable experiences,” he says. It wasn’t until he was faced with the real-world job search after college that McNally started thinking about becoming a chef as a career option. “I just knew I loved to eat and took a leap of faith that I could make a career out of it,” he says. He went to culinary school, but he
says that his real training and development came from working in the best restaurants with talented chefs and established systems. McNally spent many years working his way up the ranks in Chicago’s best restaurants, including Spiaggia, BoKa and Ria (in the former Elysian Hotel). The Tortoise Club, with its classic city-club atmosphere, brought McNally on board when it opened two years ago. A patron on the restaurant’s Facebook page noted, “It’s like dining on the set of Mad Men.” “I work almost exclusively with local farmers and artisans,” he says. “The best part of my job is going to the Green City Market before work, where hundreds of Midwestern farmers come to show off
n Top-notch chef Gray McNally ’98 in the
kitchen at Chicago’s Tortoise Club.
their goods. This is where I pick up a lot of the inspiration for my seasonally inspired menu. “I decided that the most important thing for me was to pursue a career that I was passionate about,” he adds. “This way, being successful coincides with doing exactly what I want to do every day.”
The Gift A marble sculpture created by Fred X. Brownstein ’64, The Gift, won the Pietro and Alfrieda Montana Award for an outstanding work either carved or cast in the 80th Annual Exhibition of the National Sculpture Society. The juried show exhibited 48 works of art, first at the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida and then at Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. The sculpture was made on commission for collectors in Maryland, and this was the first time The Gift was publicly exhibited. “My work in private collections is rarely shown in public exhibitions, so this was an exception,” Brownstein says. “The owners allowed me freedom to create it for them,” he says. “Most of my marble sculptures are female
figures, and there is always some visual poetry involved, so The Gift is both typical and unique.” “My experience living and working in Italy from 1975 to 1991 is the foundation of all my work,” Brownstein says. He apprenticed in a marble workshop with Italian carvers for four years and worked there for one year as a professional craftsman before opening his own studio in Querceta, Italy. Brownstein also studied figure drawing for four years with Signa. Simi in Florence to learn more about the human figure for his work as a sculptor. Brownstein is a fellow member of the National Sculpture Society and a professional member of the Stone Carvers Guild. He moved to Vermont with his family in 1991 and established his present studio in North Bennington.
v The Gift, a prize-winning marble sculpture created by Fred Brownstein ’64.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 5
Juice Juggernaut As social chair of Phi Kappa Psi at George Washington University, Chris Wirth ’08 decided that the “jungle juice” served at college parties was in need of improvement. While working part-time at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C., Wirth enlisted the help of the hotel’s cocktail consultant, Massimiliano Matté, to develop juice blends that tasted better than the concoction of neutral spirits (like Everclear) and frozen juice concentrate ubiquitous at college parties and that could be mixed with club soda or spirits. The feedback on what they came up with was that the drinks were too good, that these blends belonged on the menu at a hotel bar. And with that reaction, American Juice Company was born. Wirth started the business during
his senior year of college and split his time between running it and working at a luxury residential real estate firm in New York City after he graduated. He quit the real estate gig when the shuffling between his office, his apartment (for client tastings) and AJC’s production site in Long Island City, Queens, made it impossible to maintain both jobs. Last fall, fellow Taftie Ann Samuelson ’08 year joined AJC (after hearing about it at her class’s Fifth Reunion) as director of operations, and has helped grow the business into what it is today: a far-reaching juice juggernaut that counts as clients Hornblower Cruises, Danny Meyer’s North End Grill, the Campbell Apartment and the Marriott Marquis, one of the largest hotels in Manhattan.
AJC uses 30 different ingredients, including a variety of fresh fruits, spices and homemade syrups, to make the current nine blends, all of which have Ben-and Jerry-like names inspired by famous Americans: Chuck Blueberry, Cornelius Vanillabilt and Harriet Peacher Stowe, to name a few. Wirth puts in very long days. Production days can run as long as 15 hours. But his dedication is paying off. Wirth and four other New York entrepreneurs under 30 were filmed not long ago for the television pilot Driven to Succeed. You don’t have to wait until the show premieres to get a taste of AJC, though— all the blends are available for purchase at www.americanjuicecompany.com. —Sam Dangremond ’05
h Chris Wirth ’08, left, and the American Juice Company team serve cocktails using the Herman Mangoville and the James Guavafield blends at the Museum of Natural History’s Soirée in the Park.
6 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Taft’s Highest Alumni Honor Taft has honored Will Miller ’74 with the 2014 Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal. The school’s highest alumni honor is given annually to a person whose life work best exemplifies Taft’s motto: Not to be served but to serve. Miller has led a widely encompassing and ongoing life of service in philanthropy, the civic sector and business. The award will be presented to him on Alumni Weekend before his fellow alumni, peers and family. “What he’s done is really extraordinary,” says Rafe de la Gueronniere ’70, chair of the selection committee. “Will stands out among people who have dedicated their lives to service.” From Miller’s many roles a theme emerges: a commitment to education, human rights, community redevelopment, health care and the arts. He is president of the Wallace Foundation, one of the nation’s 50 largest independent, charitable foundations, whose primary goal is to expand learning and enrichment opportunities for children and to strengthen educational leadership. “He is thoughtful, effective and selfless,” de la Gueronniere says. “Will serves for the right reasons, not for any accolades, and doesn’t want credit for it.” Having served as a Taft trustee for nearly three decades, “with his institutional memory, judgment and skill set, no one ever felt he should leave the board,” adds de la Gueronniere, who served on Taft’s board with Miller for 15 of those years. “Will was irreplaceable.” Tapped for Taft’s board of trustees right out of college, Miller soon became the moving force behind the board’s Long-Range Planning Committee, embarking on a journey that would remake the campus over the next quarter century. “Will grew up in Columbus, Indiana, where he was surrounded by buildings
n Alumni Medal winner Will Miller ’74, with daughters Laura, Katherine and Emily, and wife Lynne, enjoying a visit to Spain.
created by the most innovative architects in the world, including Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche and Cesar Pelli,” explained John Vogelstein ’52, who preceded Miller as board chair. “He applied his architectural sensibilities and took the lead in a program that steadily remodeled and rebuilt the school and its campus.” Miller had a vision that would bring the physical plant back in touch with Horace Taft’s central buildings and at the same time create facilities that would rival those of the best independent schools. He served on the board for a total of 28 years, with four as chair (2002–06). He also served as chair of the board’s Governance Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. He has served on the boards of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Yale University, and is a past board chair of Public Radio International. Miller was a founding member of the Community Education Coalition, a regional partnership of school superintendents, community college leaders, the business community and others that focuses on education and careers in advanced manufacturing, health care and hospitality/tourism
for southeastern Indiana. As director of the Cummins Foundation, he helped support programs designed to promote education, the environment and social justice, along with community improvement. Miller served as chair of Irwin Financial Foundation, whose work supports hospitals, education, abuse prevention, human services and community redevelopment. Miller earned a B.A. from Yale University in 1978 and an M.B.A. from Stanford University in 1981. Following in his father’s footsteps, Miller began his business career at Cummins Inc. J. Irwin Miller ’27, great-nephew of the firm’s founder, led Cummins to international prominence and was also awarded the Citation of Merit award in 1961 for his life of service. Miller served as president and CEO of Irwin Management Company in Columbus from 1983 to 1990, and was chair and CEO of Irwin Financial Corporation from 1990 to 2009. He also spent two years as an associate at Warburg Pincus, in New York City. Miller is married to Lynne Maguire, and they have three daughters: Katherine, Laura and Emily. Katherine and Emily are both at Yale.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 7
In Print Due Diligence and the Business Transaction: Getting a Deal Done Jeffrey W. Berkman ’82 Due Diligence and the Business Transaction: Getting a Deal Done is a practical guide for anyone buying or selling a privately held business or entering into a major agreement with another company. When buying a business, Jeffrey Berkman advises, it’s wise to conduct due diligence: the process of investigating and verifying a firm’s finances, labor record, exposure to environmental issues, store of intellectual property, hard assets, ownership structure and more. The book also shows sellers how to conduct due diligence on their own firms to arrive at the right sales price and uncover issues that might scare off buyers or investors. Berkman is principal at the Berkman Law Firm, a corporate/business law firm advising startups, emerging and established companies, investors and business ventures in a variety of industries. He writes about business law issues on his blog, www.mybizlawyerblog.com, and is a lecturer for continuing legal education classes and a presenter at seminars and business workshops.
Damage Control: A Memoir of Outlandish Privilege, Loss and Redemption Sergei Boissier ’83 Damage Control is a powerful memoir about a gay man and his larger-than-life Cuban mother finding each other and reconciling after years of estrangement. When Sergei Boissier, a psychotherapist, discovers that his mother is terminally ill, he leaves his practice and life in Paris to be with her. In the process of adopting a child himself, he hopes to understand and make peace with her. Alternating between his mother’s last months as she battles cancer, and poignant, often hilarious (and sometimes shocking) scenes from the author’s childhood, this is a tale of excess and of glamorous and entitled lives deep in denial. Boissier’s memoir travels from the mountain village of Gstaad, Switzerland, to New York, Miami and Cuba. Through his own experiences, coming out in the early ’80s and his years as an activist and therapist, Boissier describes helping his mother come to terms with her guilt, regrets and fear of dying. After a brief stint in publishing and later as a family counselor, Boissier moved to Paris, where he lived and worked for 10 years. He is the author of “Children with AIDS in the Bronx,” published in Betrayal: A Report on Violence Toward Children in Today’s World, as well as several unpublished novels. He is a single parent, raising his daughter, Yasmina. 8 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Pan Am: An Aviation Legend Barnaby Conrad III ’70 After Pan American’s first commercial flight, from Key West to Havana, in 1927, its visionary founder, Juan Trippe, teamed up with heroic aviator Charles Lindbergh to pioneer routes into the Caribbean and South America. Enlisting early aircraft builders Sikorsky, Martin and Boeing, Pan Am developed planes that finally conquered the vast Pacific and Atlantic oceans. During its first 40 years, the company was responsible for virtually every innovation in commercial aviation, from safety and performance features in its aircraft to jet travel at affordable fares. Although Pan American World Airways stopped flying in 1991, its photographic history still stirs air travelers’ imaginations. With more than 250 illustrations and vivid text, Barnaby Conrad honors not only Pan Am’s golden era of the 1930s and ’40s, but also depicts its iconic style of the ’50s and ’60s jet age. This newly reissued book recounts the great friendship between Trippe and Lindberg, the secret wartime mission Franklin Roosevelt made aboard a Pan Am Clipper and the courageous acts of pilots who bravely flew across the Pacific in 1935. Conrad is the son of the late author Barnaby Conrad ’40, who was also an amateur bullfighter. After graduating from Yale, he worked as a journalist and magazine editor. In 1982, he moved to Paris and became an adventure travel writer. He has authored more than 11 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. Conrad has also taught at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for many years.
The Yard: Building a Community Carrie Hitchcock ’75 From concrete desert to green oasis, photojournalist Carrie Hitchcock ’75 tells the story of The Yard, a community-led, self-built housing development in inner-city Bristol, England. Hitchcock is one of a group of people who built houses in the St. Werburghs district, and in The Yard, she tells the story of how a piece of concrete-covered industrial land became a thriving community. More than simply a record of the project, the book aims to inform others who want to study or create similar developments. It includes practical tips and resources, and gives insight into the person or family who created each house. The book explores ideas of community, selfdetermination and the creative potential of resistance. The Yard is a visually rich and inspiring book about innovation and adaptive reuse, and strengthened by Hitchcock’s creative photos.
Linens: For Every Room and Occasion Jane Scott Offutt Hodges ’87 (Paul Costello, photographer, and Charlotte Moss, Foreword)
Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns John Massengale ’69 and Victor Dover (Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales)
Offering both visual inspiration and practical information, Jane Scott Offutt Hodges’ Linens: For Every Room and Occasion is a beautifully created guide to living and entertaining with fine textiles. She shows how linens are uniquely adaptable to the way we live and decorate, and can put a personal stamp on a home. Images of beautiful linen-filled rooms adorn this book, detailing interpretations of appliqué, embroidery, quilting, prints, monograms and borders. Linens offers the author’s advice and insight on use and care, as well as contributions from leading decorators and home stylists. It opens up the possibilities for decorating and a fresh look at entertaining, and focuses on the relevance of linens for today’s lifestyle. Credited with reviving the art of couture linens for everyday use, Hodges’ contributions have made her a favorite of house and home magazines. As the founder and owner of Leontine Linens, she has spent the past two decades studying, collecting and innovating the world of fine linens.
John Massengale and Victor Dover know how to fix America’s neighborhoods, cities and towns to make them walkable again. It begins with great streets where people want to be, streets that are comfortable and safe, and where they can get out of their cars to bike and walk. In Street Design, these two accomplished architects and urban designers share insights on how good street design can increase happiness, unlock economic value, improve our health and lower our carbon footprints. It is ideal reading for anyone who wants to create streets that are not just routes to someplace else, but places that are destinations in themselves. This is an essential handbook for urban designers, civic leaders, architects, city planners, engineers, developers, landscape architects and community activists. It includes examples of more than 150 excellent historic streets, retrofitted streets and new streets, and explains how they were designed. Massengale is an architect and urban designer in New York City. He is a board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism. With Robert A.M. Stern, he co-authored New York 1900: Metropolitan Architecture and Urbanism 1890–1915 and The AngloAmerican Suburb.
Multiple-Choice & ConstructedResponse Questions in Preparation for the AP Chemistry Examination David Hostage, Patsy Mueller and Arden Zipp Produced in response to the newly revised curriculum framework and examination format developed by the College Board, the sixth edition is an entirely new book. Its chapters feature a clear and concise review of the covered topics, and each chapter ends with at least 25 multiple-choice questions in the new exam format. Also included are separate student answer keys for these questions. Designed to augment the question book is the Student’s Solutions Manual to Accompany Multiple-Choice & Constructed-Response Questions in Preparation for the AP Chemistry Examination, which provides a step-by-step solution and discussion of common incorrect responses. David Hostage has taught chemistry at Taft since 1984 and has been head of the Science Department for two different terms, and he has served on the AP Chemistry Test Development Committee for the College Board.
The Blockbuster Book of Brain Expanding, Creativity Enhancing, Writing Exercises Philip Theibert ’71 “Guaranteed to make you a great writer, an innovative thinker and a creative force in any walk of life,” Philip Theibert promises in his latest book. He has published extensively and teaches writing at various universities, as well as conducting creativity and writing seminars. This book is the result of more than 20 years of picking and choosing the best writing exercises to boost creativity and move one toward becoming a published author. “An exercise a day will help build a writing portfolio, along with building the creative side of your brain,” Theibert says. This book is not just for someone who If you would like a copy of your work wants to be a writer—it is for those added to the Hulbert Taft Library’s Alumni Authors Collection and listed who want to improve their thinking, in this column, please send a copy to: creativity and communication skills. Theibert has been a corporate Taft Bulletin speechwriter, copywriter, technical The Taft School writer, reporter, editor and author. He 110 Woodbury Road has also developed writing courses for Watertown, CT 06795-2100 Fortune 500 companies.
For more information, visit www.taftschool.org/news , The Dance Ensemble performs Ya Dig?, choreographed by guest choreographer and former Rockette Lauren Gaul, one of the highlights of the Winter Dance Concert in February. Olivia Paige ’15
around the Pond
By Julie Reiff
Dance Concert The Dance Ensemble presented the annual Winter Concert in February in Bingham Auditorium. The diverse program featured 27 dancers and six very different pieces from various genres of dance. Directed by Sarah Surber and assisted by Amanda Benedict, the program displayed the versatility, talent and spirit of Taft dancers. “They were challenged with six very demanding dances,” says Surber, “spanning the dance genres of ballet, modern, jazz and cultural, and they certainly rose to the task.” 10 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Dance Director Surber choreographed three pieces for the evening, including the fan favorite Les Parisiennes, a ballet choreographed to the music of Edith Piaf and using café chairs to set the scene. Guest choreographer Patti Buchanan of Westover School contributed a stark and somber piece to the program, Losing Your Todays, about relationships between society and the homeless, and guest choreographer Lauren Gaul, a former Rockette, added a fun and quirky jazz piece set to “Little Green Bag” by George Baker.
Closing out the evening was a piece by Surber, The Same in Any Language, which displayed the youth, vibrancy and individuality of the 16 dancers on stage and was described by one student in the audience as “charming, playful and carefree.” Beautifully crafted costumes were designed and built for each dance by resident costume designer Susan Becker Aziz, and the striking lighting design was thanks to guest lighting designer Dewey Strang. Overall, the evening was sophisticated, diverse and enjoyable.
Remembering Zoë It is a rare and tragic day when a school loses one of its own, a current student. As students prepared to return to campus from winter break, news of the sudden and unexpected death of Zoë Klimley ’15 began to filter across social media. On that Tuesday morning, second semester began with a gathering in Bingham to remember her. Zoë came to Taft in the fall of 2011. An Honor Roll student, she served as a monitor for her dorm and was elected co-chair of her class committee. After her mid year, she was elected captain of the girls’ crew team. Zoë was radiant every day and in everything she did. Her enthusiasm was infectious and her smile dazzling. In addition to the remembrance at Taft and a candlelight vigil by the pond later that week, many students
and faculty traveled to Bronxville, New York, to attend the family’s memorial service for her. “Zoë was all we hope for in a Taft student,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 at the service in Bingham. “She embodied the best of what this school can be, what we all might strive to become. She was a young woman of incredible kindness and curiosity who wanted to befriend anyone she met, regardless of race or background. She was a leader of strength, integrity and compassion, in the dorm, rowing and class committee. She was resilient and strong, and challenged herself to be her best in everything she did, from classes to crew. She wanted to serve—her school, church and community—to make things better. We each carry a
piece of her heart. We are all better for knowing her.” The Zoë B. Klimley ’15 Memorial Scholarship Fund has been created in her memory. To date, 105 donors have contributed $125,000, enough that a recipient will be named among this spring’s newly admitted students.
Twelfth Night Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You Will, set not on a Greek Isle but rather at an exclusive seaside golf course? Of course! The Illyria Country Club, in fact. “St. Andrews golf course in Scotland,
the Old Course, was established in 1552. Twelfth Night was first performed in 1602,” explains director David Kievit. “I’m just saying it is possible.” Shakespeare’s script was left mostly
intact, he adds. A few words were changed, so the challenges become about playing golf rather than dueling with swords—different kinds of irons. A steward becomes a golf pro; a servant serves as caddy. The tale is about identical twins lost at sea, each one thinking the other has drowned, and the madcap adventure that ensues when they are mistaken for each other. Think Globe Theatre meets Caddyshack. This story about love—unreturned love, misdirected love, self-love, secret love, love of the idea of love—is as appropriate at Valentine’s Day as it is for the Twelfth Day of Christmas, adds Kievit. As the bard so perfectly noted, “If music be the food of love, play on!” v Sebastian LaPointe ’14 as Orsino in the win-
ter production of Twelfth Night, or Two Days at the Illyria Country Club, with Bella Ordway ’15 as Cesario/Viola and Camila Papadopoulo ’16 as Olivia. Peter Frew ’75
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 11
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Sonnets and Soliloquies February was Shakespeare month at Taft. Lowermids competed in the third annual Macbeth Recitation Contest, followed a week later by the Mid English Sonnet Recitations. Students also put on a production of Twelfth Night for Parents’ Weekend (see page 11). For the Macbeth Recitations, finalists performed in Laube Auditorium, reciting a speech from “the Scottish play” in an attempt to bring that speech to dramatic life. A representative was selected from each section of Lowermid English, and the eight finalists then went head-to-head in front of the entire ninth grade. The champions this year
are Eugenie Greef, first; Tise Ben-Eka, second, and George Shepherd, third. “The recitations are an excellent opportunity for students to find value in expression beyond the written word,” says English teacher Caitlin Hincker. “Finding ways to successfully communicate the poetry of Shakespeare to a modern audience connects to so many of our goals as an English department here at Taft. Not only do students have to understand what they are saying, but they also need to understand what is motivating these characters in the context of the larger play. They are often stretched outside of their comfort zone and
must take a leap of faith to perform for their peers. It is a wonderfully memorable and rewarding experience for us all. To see students excel in this way is awesome.” The Mid Sonnet Recitations, an annual event with even deeper roots, was equally competitive. This year’s winners were Harry Wang, first with Sonnet 130; Ai Bui, second with Sonnet 29; and Maggie Luddy, third with Sonnet 25. You can watch the performers online at http://tinyurl.com/ozro9pt.
East/West The works featured in the East/West exhibition encouraged the viewer to ponder the human condition in a global environment where technology has broken through barriers of culture, countries and continents, narrowing perceived gaps between countries and continents, near and far, outsider and insider, the individual and the collective. The artists—from Asia, Europe and the United States—address universal issues of identity, nationality, consumerism, politics and individuality with works that have been previously
exhibited in museum shows and galleries around the world. “This fantastic sampling of modern works employs the visual language of painting, photography and sculpture by an internationally acclaimed selection of contemporary artists, to evoke a dialogue about the flattening world we currently inhabit,” says Mark W. Potter Gallery Director Loueta Chickadaunce. Like several of the artists featured in East/West, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s work is influenced by American pop art and its godfather,
Andy Warhol. The exhibition was anchored by the oldest pieces, black and white images from The Americans by Swiss photographer Robert Frank. Also represented were Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming, Americans Scott Hug, Barbara Kruger and Richard Prince, and Scotsman Douglas Gordon. The works were loaned to the Mark W. Potter Gallery by a private family foundation, and were on display from January 10 to February 16. The connecting force between the pieces presented in East/West is perhaps best summed up by one of the most illustrious American artists working today, Jeff Koons, whose iconic sculpture New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers carries on the Dada tradition of the ready-made by placing these existing consumer products, literally, on a pedestal. Says Koons: “Art is about profundity. It’s about connecting to everything that it means to be alive, but you have to act.” v Students began referring to the Mark W. Potter Gallery as MoMA North during the East/West exhibit this winter. Peter Frew ’75
What Makes a Tomato a Tomato By combining genomic, molecular, morphologic and phylogenetic techniques, Dr. Amy Litt evaluates how evolutionary changes in the genetic structure and function of plants have produced the diversity we see growing all around us. Her talk at Taft, “What Makes a Tomato a Tomato: Twenty Years of Plant Research,” helped students understand how the study of genetics can help answer scientific questions. As director of plant genomics and Cullman Curator at the New York Botanical Garden, Litt studies the evolution of fleshy fruit from dry fruit, the role of epigenetic modification in the
domestication of tomato, the complex relationships between plant and soil microbial diversity in the deciduous forests of the Northeast, and ethnobotanical, chemical and the genomic analyses of the high-antioxidant blueberries found in the Andes. Litt is also interested in the phylogeny and floral morphology of vochysiaceae, a tropical family known for its beautiful and unusual flowers. The New York Botanical Garden Seminar Series at Taft features unique lectures by NYBG scientists, and is made possible by a grant from the Yerkes Family Botanical Art and Science Speakers Fund. NYBG’s Kate E. Tode
n Plant geneticist Dr. Amy Litt presented the latest talk in the New York Botanical Garden Seminar Series.
Curator of Botany, Dr. Charles M. Peters, brought his expertise in tropical ecology to the Taft community on April 4. v The girls’ golf team bonded and baked
cookies for the Taft grounds crew in March. Ginger O’Shea
Service Through Sports Under the umbrella of the newly formed Center for Global Leadership and Service, student athletes are finding new ways to put the school motto into practice. The Service Through Sports initiative, led by faculty member Ginger O’Shea, helps teams find ways to reach out to the greater community and fill a need. The Center is premised on the philosophy of “servant leadership,”
explains director Jamella Lee. “We are giving student athletes an opportunity to be servant leaders as they mentor younger students in the community, help serve seniors and support important social causes. In January, student athletes organized clinics for local elementary students through the MLK Young Heroes Program in golf, skating, rock climbing, volleyball, basketball and
squash. Students from Waterbury’s Police Activity League also came to watch a girls’ varsity basketball game. Local senior citizens were invited to the matinee performance of the winter play, Twelfth Night (see page 11), and were welcomed by members of the boys’ JV squash team, who served as their hosts. The girls’ varsity golf team got into the action early, baking cookies in memory of Katie Fisher ’04 (www.katiefisherday.org) in March to thank the school’s Grounds Crew for their herculean efforts last winter. They will continue their tradition this spring, with the boys’ golf team, of helping send children affected by domestic violence to camp this summer. O’Shea is also helping student organize a memorial run for Zoë Klimley ’15 in May (see page 11).
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n Sameness and Persistence, one of SoYoung
Park’s two Gold Key winners.
Senior SoYoung Park was recognized by the Connecticut Scholastic Art and Writing Awards with two Gold Keys and an Honorable Mention! The Scholastic awards recognize student achievement in the visual and literary arts in 28 categories, including poetry, graphic design, fashion, science fiction and video game design. Each work of art and writing is blindly adjudicated, first locally through more than 100 affiliates, and then nationally by panels of judges comprised of renowned artists, authors, educators and industry experts. Works are judged on originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice. In the past six years, students have submitted more than a million original
Model United Nations Taft’s Model United Nations delegation made a strong showing at the Harvard Model U.N. competition this year. Representing the country of Luxembourg, Taft faced some fierce competitors. “We are proud to say our delegates representing the European Union won the Outstanding Delegates award on their committee. Rozalie Czesana ’14 in particular was simply phenomenal—her scholarly acumen, diplomatic leadership and negotiation skills distinguished her on the European Union,” says teacher Jamella Lee. “This was my third time at HMUN, and it was the best one,” says Rozalie. “Representing Luxembourg in the European Union committee was a great experience, especially since we discussed reforming the European Neighborhood Policy, specifically the very current issue of the possible ascension of the Ukraine into the E.U. While my committee was extremely competitive—we spent more than 20 hours fiercely debating, note-passing, block-building, resolutionwriting and finally voting—I also met many new people from around the world.” There were more than 3,000 delegates from over 200 schools at the Harvard conference. Taft’s Model U.N. class, new this year, prepared next for the Cornell Model United Nations conference in April.
14 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
h Rozalie Czesana ’14 presenting at the Harvard Model United Nations.
works of art and writing. Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. It has an impressive legacy and a noteworthy roster of past winners, including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Joyce Carol Oates and many others. SoYoung’s work was displayed at the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition from January 12 to 31 at the Silpe Gallery at the University of Hartford. As a Gold Key winner for Connecticut, her pieces will now be judged at the national competition. Results are announced in mid-March.
h Judy Carmichael
h Eugene Friesen
h Andrew Armstrong
The Cello/Piano Project, Eugene Friesen and Tim Ray, followed in February, performing contemporary jazz, Brazilian classics and American folk tunes. As featured players with the likes of Paul Winter, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt and others, both Friesen and Ray have cultivated unique styles
of accompanying and soloing. The Music for a While series wrapped up the term with an “Evening of Piano Trios,” with Andrew Armstrong (piano), Amy Schwartz Moretti (violin) and Edward Arron (cello). The program included works by Beethoven, Handel, Rachmaninoff and Brahms.
Concerts It was a wild winter of concerts, beginning with the fabulous Grammynominated Judy Carmichael. One of the world’s leading interpreters of stride piano and swing, she performed with celebrated tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and Chris Flory to a packed Walker Hall.
v Lowermid Jennifer Jeon, left, was selected to perform with the Connecticut All-State Music Festival at The Bushnell this spring, after serving as concertmaster for the Regional Orchestra in January. She has been featured on many pieces with Taft’s Chamber Orchestra this year, both on and off campus, on tour in Lisbon over March break and in local theaters. She was first violin in the pit orchestra for Guys and Dolls at Taft and played the fiddler for Fiddler on the Roof at Torrington’s Warner Theater last fall.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 15
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New Faculty Chairs Announced
Donald Oscarson ’47 Master Chair Rusty Davis
Holcombe T. Green Chair of English Pam MacMullen
Parish Family Chair Laura Monti ’89
Littlejohn Family Chair Rachael Ryan
Bradford C. Laube ’51 Senior Master Chair Jon Willson ’82
Rink Energy n At the start of their Asian swing in February, Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 and his wife, Pam, and Director of Development Chris Latham enjoyed dinner in Hong Kong with Danny and Louise Chiang (parents of Ian ’17), Jackie Chow ’95 and her parents, Charles and Pat Chow, Helen Chen and former trustee Lady Ivy Kwok Wu (June ’88, Carol ’89, Thomas ’90). They continued on to Beijing and Seoul on their nine-day journey.
n Taft alumni and parents gather for the school’s first official event with the headmaster in Seoul, South Korea.
16 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Hockey rinks are known energy hogs, but since 2009, Taft’s rink management has improved the efficiency of operations of both rinks by 21 percent. In 2008, Mays Rink alone was consuming close to 10,000 kWh a week. Mays now operates in such a way that it consumes closer to 7,500 kWh a week. This is due to improved automated systems, staff operations (shout-out to Rink Manager Pete Montesano for his efforts), reduced lighting when not in use—and, in the case of this past winter, just good, cold outside temperatures.
For more on the winter season, please visit www.taftsports.com.
winter SPORT wrap-up By steve Palmer
h John Cannon ’15
helps lead the varsity squash team to a final ranking of #7 in the U.S. and #3 in New England. Peter Frew ’75
Boys’ Squash 12–7 3rd at New England Championships
A very young team, Taft featured two freshmen in its top seven but went toe-to-toe with the best squash teams in the nation. The Rhinos opened the season in Philadelphia by defeating U.S. #4-ranked Haverford. The season also included victories against strong rivals such as Choate (7–0), Rye Country Day (6–1) and Westminster (5–2). Riding a wave of confidence, Taft traveled back to Philadelphia to
finish 7th at the U.S. Squash National Championships. However, the highlight of the season came at the New England Championships, as the Rhinos did not appear sharp following four tough 3–4 losses in February. Yet, with great team balance, Taft fought its way onto the podium, finishing 3rd. Finishing in the top three in their draw were Kyle Salvatore ’17 (3rd at #5), and captains-elect Coley Cannon ’15 (2nd at #5), Brandon Salvatore ’15 (3rd at #6) and John Cannon ’15 (3rd at #7). Senior captains Braden Chiulli and Jake Lord will play next year at Tufts and Trinity, respectively.
Girls’ Squash 14–4
Founders League Champions 3rd at New England Championships One of the strongest teams in school history, Taft won the Founders League for the sixth year in a row. Along the way, the Rhinos defeated league rivals Hotchkiss (7–0) and Westminster (5–2), along with New England powers Nobles (5–2), Exeter (6–1) and Andover (6–1). In their 5th-place finish at the National Squash Team Championships, Taft had to overcome talented teams from Lawrenceville Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 17
h SueAnn Yong ’14 finished the season at 15–3 and placed 4th in New Englands. Peter Frew ’75
(5–2) and Episcopal (5–2). The only losses on the season came at the hands of the top two teams in the nation— Greenwich Academy and Deerfield. Perhaps even better than their national team showing, Taft placed 3rd at the New England Championships, with five players fighting their way into the top four spots: Sue Ann Yong ’14 (4th at #1), Maddie Chiulli ’17 (4th at #4), Elle Carroll ’16 (4th at #5), Bella Jones ’15 (2nd at #6) and Isabel Stack ’14 (3rd at #7). Taft will miss the play and spirit of its three talented tri-captains: Harvard-bound Yong, who has played exceptional squash in the top spot for Taft; and Maggie O’Neill ’14 and Stack, who had great seasons in the #2 and #7 spots respectively.
Boys’ Hockey 11–12–2 The Rhinos skated into the New England “Martin/Earl” Large School Tournament as a #7 seed after finishing the regular season with record of 11–11–2. Facing #2 Phillips Andover on their home ice in the first round, 18 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Taft played a great game only to fall to the “Big Blue” by a score of 3–2 on a power-play goal in the waning minutes of regulation. To earn that 7th seed, Taft notched impressive regular-season wins over Berkshire (4–3), Deerfield (3–2) and Hotchkiss twice (5–2 and 8–2). Captain Cole Maier ’14 was selected All Founders League and won the Coach’s Award for his steady, physical play, while fellow captain Easton Miller ’14, a highly skilled forward, was awarded the Ainger Hockey Trophy. All Founders League forward Ross Colton ’15 led the team in scoring, totaling 25 goals and 18 assists for 43 points, and Marcus Mollica ’15 tallied 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points. Trevor McGee ’15, Dan Quirk ’15 and T.J. Schultz ’15 were selected as the 2014–15 team captains.
Girls’ Hockey 3–16–2 Taft competed in every game in a season that included nine one-goal losses. As a mark of the team’s competitiveness, the Rhinos were leading eventual New
England champion Westminster 4–1 late in the third period, only to lose the heartbreaker 4–5 on an overtime penalty shot. Several of the team’s best efforts were ties, including a fierce 1–1 tie against Division II New England champion Gunnery, and an exciting 1–1 night game against Kent. The final game against Hotchkiss was representative of the season: down 2–0, Taft outworked their rivals to tie the game with three seconds left in regulation and dominated OT before losing 2–3 in the final minute. Throughout the season, Taft was led by a hardworking, dedicated group of five seniors and one postgraduate. Caroline Queally ’14 and assistant captain Sierra Hannough ’14 contributed greatly on the wing, while assistant captain Rachel Muskin ’14, a Founders League All Star, generated numerous scoring opportunities and was a key defensive player. Katherine Roznik ’14, also a Founders League All-Star, was the team’s leading scorer for the second straight year and served as an anchor to the defense. Captain Audrey Quirk ’14, the Patsy K. Odden Award winner, has been at the heart of Taft’s defense for several seasons, while Ange Noss ’14 outskated opponents throughout the season and was Taft’s most relentless and effective forward.
Wrestling 11–7 Despite looking at what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Rhinos produced a strong winning record behind great leadership from captains Carl Sangree ’14, Nicky Ganek ’15 and Parker Fiske ’14. A thrilling 42–30 win over Canterbury in the first match set the tone for the season. Other key wins came over Salisbury (38–28) and Williston (54–27). Ganek, along with returning starters Reid Shafran ’15, Stephen Mesh ’15 and Locke McGee ’16, all placed in the top four of their weight classes at the Western New England League Tournament.
h Tri-captain Carl Sangree ’14 dominates his Avon opponent. Phil Dutton/Phototrophies
Newcomers Chico D’Iorio ’16, Robby Galbraith ’15 and Michael Hennessy ’17 added crucial victories throughout the season. With only two seniors graduating, the future looks very bright.
Skiing At the Class B New England Championships, Taft placed a solid 4th out of 14 teams in the boys’ combined scores behind an impressive 1st-place finish in both the GS and slalom by Eli Cooper ’15. Cooper defended his titles from 2013 convincingly, winning the GS by two seconds and the slalom by four. Also placing well in the GS was Michael Wasserstein ’17, 8th out of the 68 skiers. The girls’ team finished 3rd out of 14 teams, with Sarah Reilly ’14 skiing very well for 2nd in the slalom and 5th in the GS out of 62 skiers. If not for the huge early-season injury loss of captain Karlea Peterson ’14, Taft might have had the chance to win the New England title. Like Cooper, Reilly has been right at the top of New England skiing for the
past few seasons. At the final Berkshire League Slalom Championships, Cooper won the slalom again, but in a much tighter race, by 3/100ths of a second.
Captains-elect Lauren Drakeley ’15 and Madison Haskins ’15 were both important versatile players and will lead next year’s team.
Girls’ Basketball 10–12
Boys’ Basketball 8–15
The team took a while to find its rhythm, posting three wins in the first 12 games, but riding their defensive style, Taft turned things around. In their 7–3 record over the last 10 games, the Rhinos avenged earlier losses by defeating strong teams from Kent (54–36), Choate (48– 36) and Hotchkiss (41–38). Central to Taft’s fine defense were Founders League All-Star Rylie Mainville ’14, who controlled things inside and finished averaging over nine rebounds per game, and captain Dominique Moise ’14, the team’s most tenacious player. New uppermid Hannah Friend ’15 led the team in scoring, averaging over 20 points a game and setting a new single-season school record with 442 points—a season that deservedly earned her designation as a Class A New England All Star.
It was a season of close and exciting games, with Taft fighting until the end of each contest. Senior captains Hadley Stone ’14 and Shawn Strickland ’14 led the team both physically and mentally with spirited play and exceptional leadership. Stone averaged 8.9 rebounds per game, while Strickland was the team’s high scorer in all but four games, enjoying his best moment and a season-high 30 points in front of an electric home crowd in the night victory against Avon (73–71). Throughout the season, Taft would face taller opponents, but forwards Quinn O’Malley ’14 and Sam Barrett ’15 were fearless on the boards, and David Gagas ’15 contributed at both ends of the court, including a clutch 3-pointer with just 20 seconds left in a thrilling victory over Loomis Chaffee (62–59). Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 19
For Borken and for Taft, living, learning and the world around us are deeply and inextricably intertwined.
Connecting life and learning for a greater impact By Debra Meyers Photography by Robert Falcetti
In 1998, just over 5,000 students took
the nation’s first Advanced Placement Environmental Science exam. Among them: a young woman at Groton School who not only found confidence and inspiration through her study of the physical and biological world around her, but a lasting and meaningful connection between learning and life. Today Carly Borken shares that inspiration with the Taft community while teaching students the value of that connection. “I educate Taft students about environmental issues knowing that many of them are going to move into jobs in economics or business,” explains Borken, Taft’s Wold Family Chair and director of environmental studies and stewardship. “They will be making real-world business decisions in those positions. I want to help them understand the environmental implications and context of those decisions—I am priming our kids to make a much bigger impact on environmental justice than if I were to do it all by myself.” Borken learned early about the impact one person can make. As a high school student, she was invited to do field research with her environmental studies teacher, Mr. Black. As a concerned citizen and representative of the Groton Conservation Trust, Black was leading an environmental impact study on 300 acres of land that was for sale and destined for development. Borken and Mr. Black walked the land near
Groton’s northeastern Massachusetts campus every weekend, setting traps for salamanders and other wetlands organisms. Their hope: to stop development by finding a threatened or endangered species living on the 300-acre parcel. “I just loved that work,” Borken says. “It was so exciting to go out and do species counts.” One weekend, Borken’s mother was visiting campus. Mr. Black suggested that Borken take her into the field and show her the work they had been doing. It was on that day, with her mother by her side, that Borken discovered a small population of the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species. “Our discovery helped stop development on about 175 of the 300 acres,” notes Borken. “I was fortunate enough to be involved in a project that actually had an impact, and I thought, This is what I want to do.”
Borken quickly threw herself into the
world of biology, zoology, ecology and environmental science. At Mr. Black’s suggestion, she spent time studying at the University of Hawaii, a geographic treasure trove of diverse biomes and ecosystems. “I met professors there who were looking for research assistants; I took every job that I could. All of the work was biology applied to environmental issues,” recalls Borken, who
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 21
ultimately spent time studying to the University of Hawaii to complete her undergraduate studies, and stayed on to begin her career in environmental education and stewardship. “I was this white girl from the mainland who was really excited about learning. But I had to do a lot of work to build trust—to prove that I was being respectful and that I wanted to learn the science, because preserving the culture was an important piece of that science. If you just want to know the science to know the science in Hawaii, you are simply self-indulgent,” she says. Borken immersed herself in Hawaiian life, volunteering with local environmental advocacy groups, and in Hawaiian culture, embracing local arts and traditions, including hula dancing. She taught high school science during the academic year and worked with the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps in the summer, where she offered students the opportunity to do hands-on field work, just as she had done with Mr. Black. Borken’s students climbed mountains researching the impact of invasive plants on native plants, pulled algae off reefs while snorkeling and conducted albatross counts during their mating season. “I wanted to be as ingrained and involved with the culture and environment as I could be, while connecting young people to it on the same deep level,” she says.
So many of Borken’s experiences were built around research—not just her academic and professional experiences, but pieces of her childhood. The daughter and granddaughter of prep school faculty, Borken and her family spent their summers in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, home of the renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Surrounded by scientists, Borken learned not just the importance of research, but the importance of conducting her own research. It is that understanding that ultimately brought her back to the mainland.
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Borken began applying to graduate schools and for jobs to support her graduate education. Remarkably, the call from Taft came at almost the same moment as the acceptance letter from Duke. Borken accepted the position at Taft and, a year later, enrolled in Duke’s elite online Master of Environmental Management (MEM) program, reserved for just 12 students each year. “I learned so much from the program, but I also learned so much from my peers,” Borken says. “There was the environmental manager from Harley-Davidson, one of the treasurers from Google, people in government and people who do green building installations. I was the youngest and the only high school teacher.” Borken’s MEM thesis, Green Collar Job Training in Urban Environmental Justice Communities, included a study of Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit organization working to address economic and environmental issues through a combination of green job training, community greening programs and social enterprise. “I started to look at how it is that we have environmentally unjust communities,” Borken explains. “Even in Hawaii, the poor live near dumps and power plants but the rich do not. How do you educate people in environmentally unjust communities to seek out jobs that are green? In the South Bronx, how do you get people away from doing waste management and into doing more solar panel installations?”
The answer, Borken believes, lies in the
creation of tangible opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning—in actively connecting individual actions with community and environmental impact. And it is this belief that drives Borken’s work at Taft. Now in her second year as the
“I educate Taft students about environmental issues knowing that many of them are going to move into jobs in economics or business. . . . I am priming our kids to make a much bigger impact on environmental justice than if I were to do it all by myself.”
Tilapia, like those raised in Taft’s aquaculture lab and studied by Borken and daughter Sadie, serve as a natural biological control for most aquatic plant problems. Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 23
Wold Family Chair and director of environmental studies and stewardship, Borken has established a number of high-visibility, student-driven environmental programs on campus. “Borken has become a wonderful leader at Taft,” notes Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “She has a passion for environmental issues, and she is a scientist, someone who models what it means to ask tough questions and demand good data. She has helped Taft establish itself as a nationally leading school in our environmental curricular and cocurricular work. She has served as a remarkable catalyst, and she has inspired the entire campus.” ” One of Borken’s first initiatives was the introduction of a new leadership opportunity for Taft students. “EcoMons” are the school’s environmental student leaders, educators and liaisons on campus. They meet weekly to plan events to raise environmental awareness, consider solutions for environmental concerns on campus and review the success of Taft’s environmental programs. “I applied to be an EcoMon because I wanted to improve the community’s awareness about being greener,” explains Natalie Whiting ’14. “I think it adds perspective to the Taft community about elements of the world that need to be viewed as pressing issues.” EcoMons also play a critical role in Taft’s participation in the annual Green Cup Recycling and Green Cup Energy Challenges, and are on the front lines in Taft’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint through constant evaluation of the school’s energy and material consumption, waste stream, efficient technology opportunities and sustainable behavior. Like the traditional monitors on campus, EcoMons must apply for these leadership posts. “There are 15 EcoMon positions. Last year, when I first introduced the program, 12 students applied, so I accepted
24 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
them all,” Borken said. “This year 30 students applied for the 15 spots. Though I hated writing the rejection letters, it was gratifying to see that this new program has grown quickly and is clearly a valued position on campus.”
Taft has also embraced sustainable
living and learning through a new program that mirrors the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green certification rating system and borrows from a program at the University of South Carolina. A LEED Green Associate, Borken is trained in the application of LEED accreditation principles and built Taft’s new Green Rhino Room Certification program around them. The certification process begins with a formal training session and continues with participants pledging to engage in specific “green behaviors,” from recycling plastic bags and batteries to using smart power strips and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Room audits confirm that pledges are fulfilled and determine the final green rating. In less than one year, 45 rooms and five faculty offices have earned green certifications. The program reflects both Borken’s innovative thinking and detailed project execution. “Borken is a font of both good ideas and hard work,” notes Jim Lehner, head of Taft’s Science Department. “She is there at the beginning, the middle and, most importantly, the end to ensure that the effort is completed with gusto and imagination.” Perhaps the most hands-on initiative Borken introduced to the Taft community is the farm program. Each term, eight students sign on as an alternative to sports. Participants travel to Washington’s Waldingfield Farm three times each week, where they are work under the direction of Borken’s husband, Jed. Depending on the season, their work may include planting, harvesting, mechanical work on tractors or breaking
“I wanted to be as ingrained and involved with the culture and environment as I could be, while connecting young people to it on the same deep level.”
Borken and Sebastian Cheng ’14 tend Taft’s chickens at the solar-powered coop.
â€œIt is very special for me to be involved in a community that is so important to my family, at a school where the rowing community feels like family.â€?
Coach Borken with her rowers at the Head of the Charles Regatta last fall.
Borken is the only female coach in her dynastic rowing family, and has a record of wins at Taft that ensures her place in the annals of Taft rowing.
26 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
down and storing equipment. Maddie Haight ’14 participated in the farm program last fall. “I was able to work with a small group of people and learn valuable skills from farmers who are incredibly passionate,” Maddie says. “I saw how committed they are to producing food that is not only good for you but also good for the environment.” On the days students don’t travel to Washington, they care for Taft’s chickens. “We got the chickens as part of a summer school class on environmental science and farming,” Borken explains. “The summer school students built the first chicken coops and welcomed the first chicks. They were too young to lay eggs during the fall term, but this spring we will incorporate an egg-sharing CSA program. We will also get seven more chicks.”
In Hawaii, Borken sought to be ingrained and involved in every aspect of the culture and community. The same is true at Taft. In addition leading Taft’s environmental programs, Borken teaches classes, coaches crew and soccer, and lives in the dorms. And while every aspect of Taft life is important to Borken, coaching crew holds a very special place in her heart. “Borken comes from a family that Rowing News called the “first family” of high school rowing in the United States,” notes fellow Taft crew coach Will Shotwell. “She brings generations of experience and acumen to her jobs as head coach of the girls’ crew team and director for the crew program as a whole. She is rigorous and demanding, holding her rowers to the highest athletic and personal standards. Yet she is a compassionate and caring coach who understands from personal experience how rowing fits into the bigger picture of a student’s life at Taft. ” The granddaughter of a 40-year coaching veteran at St. Andrew’s School in Delaware and niece to three other New
England coaches, Borken made her mark first as a rower in prep school and again in college. She is the only female coach in her dynastic rowing family, and has a record of wins at Taft that ensures her place in the annals of Taft rowing. “It is very special for me to be involved in a community that is so important to my family, at a school where the rowing community feels like family,” Borken says. “Our team spends so many hours a week together, really more than any other team. The sense of community is strong and very, very special.”
To say that what Borken Borken brings to the Taft community reflects the totality of her life experience would sound sweeping and grand. It would also be true. Her passion for teaching and her dedication to environmental stewardship engender a practical and fundamental understanding that drives living and learning at Taft: Taft’s business office purchases green energy, the school has lowered its utility use in each of the past three years, and, this summer, construction of a green faculty home will be complete. Taft has EcoMons and farm students, Green Rhino rooms and a growing and competitive crew program. Borken established Taft’s first oceanography course and takes her students to Woods Hole, her childhood haven, every year. She brought Sustainable South Bronx founder Majora Carter to Taft as part of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, and brings the spirit of Mr. Black and the lessons of the Hawaii Conservation Corps to campus by creating opportunities for students to grow and explore, then empowering them to do just that. For Borken and for Taft, living, learning and the world around us are deeply and inextricably intertwined. j
Debra Meyers is director of alumni relations at Taft.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 27
Walker Hall, the former Watertown Library, was acquired in 2002.
28 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Preserving Watertownâ€™s Historic District By Jennifer Clement Photographs by Yee-Fun Yin
On February 28, snow was banked high around the gray granite exterior of Walker Hall, but the light from the tall stained glass windows cast an inviting glow as students, faculty and a few community members arrived for an evening performance by acclaimed pianist Andrew Armstrong. Bruce Fifer, head of the Arts Department, stood just inside the arched entry, greeting families and couples warmly as they shed puffy coats and long, thick scarves to take their seats beneath the paneled, vaulted ceiling of the historic hall. Although the building began its life as the town library, the acoustics here are perfect for chamber music, especially cello, which seems to reverberate against the wood, Fifer notes. Indeed, as the audience fell silent, music filled the space
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 29
aft intervened, and one school saved another.
as Armstrong, accompanied by Edward Arron on cello and Amy Schwartz on violin, moved through a gorgeous program that included works by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Brahms. “This is just such a treat, this space and this community. I just said to Bruce, I forgot how great this piano was,” Armstrong says, referring to the Hamburg Steinway grand piano, which was donated about 10 years ago when Taft acquired Walker Hall. At the time, the building was being utilized as a Lutheran Church, but the apse, where the Steinway now takes center stage, is original to the structure. “Everybody who comes here love it,” Fifer says. The winter concert, part of the Music for a While series, is just one example of how the Taft School is breathing new life into historic buildings on and around the Green. Walker Hall and Woodward Chapel, where Fifer will conduct Music for a Great Space in April (two days before Collegium performs the same work at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York), are among Taft’s oldest and most historic structures. Both are also gems in the town’s historic district, which Taft has helped to maintain and preserve for many years.
Saving the Academy
Christ Church on the Green, now Woodward Chapel, still hosts Episcopal services every Sunday as well as Taft’s optional Choral Vespers on Sunday afternoons.
30 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
The historic district bordering Taft School was established by town ordinance in January 1997. The district is comprised of approximately 113 buildings, including homes linked to the town’s prosperous early industrialists, one public school building, several structures that house town offices and three churches. The district was born out of a neighborhood effort to save the Academy Building on the Green from demolition in 1992. Local residents rallied around the historic structure, which was built in 1846 as a private academy and served as the town’s first high school, first library, as a parish hall and community building utilized by the American Red Cross and scout groups, among others. In a 1996 report, the Historic District Study Committee described the Academy Building as “one of the most important structures in Town, both architecturally and historically.” By the early 1990s, however, the building had been shuttered and there was talk of tearing it down, says M. Heminway Merriman 2d ’67, who has a photo of Watertown Historic Commission members picketing on the Green, carrying signs that said “Save the Academy.” “Developers were talking,” says Merriman, who hails from one of Watertown’s founding families and grew up in the historic district. The fear was that the Academy Building would be razed to carve out space for one or more new houses overlooking the Green, or to create additional parking space for the church. “I think everybody got scared,” he says.
he district was born out of a neighborhood effort to save the Academy Building on the Green from demolition in 1992. Local residents rallied around the historic structure, which was built in 1846 as a private academy.
The historic Academy Building now serves as the schoolâ€™s Business Office.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 31
That is until Taft intervened, and one school saved another. In July 2009, Taft acquired the Academy Building, Christ Church, the rectory and the Green from the Missionary Society of the Diocese of Connecticut, with the help of a generous donation from the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1975 by Marian Woodward Ottley, in memory of her parents, with a mission “to make this a better world for those who come after us.” “All of the pieces fell together so Taft was able to purchase the property through the Woodward Foundation,” says Merriman, who sits on the foundation’s Board of Trustees. “When the Christ Church property came on the market, we had talked in general about purchasing the property,” recalls Gil Thornfeldt, Taft’s chief financial officer and business manager. “We were looking for people to step up with donations. Then it was a matter of deciding what to do with the property.” Under Taft’s ownership, the Academy Building, Christ Church (now Woodward Chapel) and the former rectory have been carefully renovated and brought into compliance with current building codes. “You want to be a good neighbor. You want to preserve as much of the history as you can, and we renovated these buildings with the intent of preserving as much of the architecture as we could,” Thornfeldt says. Last fall, the Academy Building
A historic house on Woodbury Road serves as a faculty home.
32 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
reopened as the home of the Taft School Business Office. From his office on the second floor, Thornfeldt notes that replacement windows were installed throughout the building but the historic 12-over-12 design was retained and the original leaded glass was repurposed as interior windows for a second-floor conference room. Cathedral ceilings were also created upstairs, bringing a single frieze window, once visible only from the attic, into view. The former Christ Church Rectory, built in 1846, is now Taft faculty housing known as the Morris House. It includes a family residence on the first and second floors and a third-floor apartment. “When we finished it, we invited all the neighbors in,” Thornfeldt says.
Taft’s stewardship extends to nearly two dozen additional homes in the historic district that serve as faculty housing. In all, the school owns or rents housing for 125 faculty (including dormitory apartments). Thornfeldt says an inventory of all Taft faculty housing was conducted and the school has been renovating those properties over the last eight or nine years, installing updated heating systems, kitchens and bathrooms. “Obviously, we comply with the historic district when it comes to replacing windows or anything that has historic significance,” Thornfeldt says. The school’s properties include the Eli Curtis house, a large, elegant Greek Revival facing the Green that Tafties will recall as the former headmaster’s residence. In the Historic District Study Commission’s report, the home is attributed to Eli Curtis, a local Merino sheep farmer who made his fortune selling Panama hats. “There are so many properties that have been preserved going down North Street. There are many properties that probably would have been gone many years ago,” Watertown Historical Society President Jeffrey Grenier says of Taft’s efforts. Among several good examples of Colonial and Greek Revival architecture in the district, Taft owns two Colonial Revival homes on Woodbury Road built around 1900 for the Scovill family of Scovill Manufacturing, one of three large brass mills in Waterbury. One house is believed to have served as the family’s main residence, and the other as a garage with a chauffeur’s apartment above. The committee’s report noted the Scovills owned four adjoining buildings around the corner on Guernesytown Road. Additional Taft buildings include the Bronson House on Woodbury Road, a small Queen Anne house built in 1885; a 1924 Arts and Crafts bungalow built by Fred Holbrook, a Taft employee; and of course, Walker Hall and Woodward Chapel. All of these properties, and in fact all of the buildings in the town’s historic district, were named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
ou want to be a good neighbor. You want to preserve as much of the history as you can, and we renovated these buildings with the intent of preserving as much of the architecture as we could.”
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 33
Intellectual, Spiritual and Musical Reflection
According to the historical society’s records, Walker Hall was built in 1884 as a town library with funds donated by two brothers, John and Benjamin DeForest of Watertown. The Richardsonian Romanesque-style building was designed by Waterbury architect R.W. Hill, who also designed Thomaston Opera House. Built of Quincy granite, it served as the town library until 1958 and then as the home of Our Savior Lutheran Church before Taft acquired it in 2002 as a space for intellectual, spiritual and musical reflection. The building is named for Harry Walker ’40, who made the purchase possible through his generous support. At the time of its acquisition, Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 dubbed it “a community gathering place unlike any spot on campus.” “Thank God Taft took that over,” Merriman says. “It’s a gorgeous building.” Another gem in the historic district, Woodward Chapel, was built in 1924. Historical society records indicate it was the fourth Episcopal Church building erected in Watertown—the first was built by 1765; the second in 1794 on the Green; the third in 1854 on the present site and, when that structure was deemed unsafe, a new one was built on the same site. It was constructed of granite from nearby Roxbury and designed to resemble an English country church by Boston architects Francis R. Allen and Charles Collens, who also designed Riverside Church and the Cloisters museum in New York City. In 1924, Christ Church was completed in time for Easter services, with pews and stained glass windows that were repurposed from the 1854 structure. Many alumni will remember attending required chapel services there. In 1966, four new stained glass windows were installed along with needlepoint cushions handmade by parishioners, and a new organ, historical society records show. The organ is scheduled to be refurbished by Taft this summer through the generous support of private donors. “Thank God those three buildings are now saved by Taft,” says the historical society’s Grenier. “I’m afraid to think of what would have happened. Water was leaking into the sanctuary of the church. They literally had lost so many of their members that the diocese could no longer afford the maintenance.” Today, Woodward Chapel is still utilized for Episcopal services on Sunday, and it has been a nice addition to Taft, which as a non-denominational school has never had its own chapel, Thornfeldt says. The three-story chapel annex, which dates to 1960 and formerly housed church school classrooms and offices, has been fully renovated and opened last fall as the new Taft Alumni and Development Office. In its 1996 report, the Historic District Study Committee noted that as an “assemblage of buildings,” the area that comprises the historic district has remained “virtually unchanged” for nearly a century. At its heart is the Green. “This tree-lined greensward is an essential open space within the district and must be preserved,” the committee wrote. Through its continued preservation efforts, Taft is honoring that wish. j
34 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Jennifer Clement is a freelance writer who has lived and worked in Litchfield County for nearly 20 years. Yee-Fun Yin has taught photography at Taft since 2007. Connecticut has been his home for more than 30 years. He currently lives in Woodbury and is a member of PhotoArts Collective, the Council of the Arts in New Haven, the Westport Arts Center and the Washington Arts Association.
Originally the church rectory, this classic Greek Revival home now houses a faculty family as well as a third-floor apartment.
he area that comprises the historic district has remained â€œvirtually unchangedâ€? for nearly a century. At its heart is the Green.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 35
Taking on one of today’s most contentious environmental issues,
Alex Prud’homme explains the
basics of hydraulic fracturing,
considers the economic and political benefits, and explores
concerns about health dangers and damage to the environment. Stepping back from the impassioned debate,
Prud’homme offers an incisive introduction to hydrofracking.
Here is an excerpt from his book.
What Everyone Needs to Know By Alex Prud’homme ’80
Why I Wrote This Book I was first confronted by the intense emotions around hydrofracking at a public meeting in New York City in November 2009. It was a cold, blustery night in downtown Manhattan, but over a thousand people streamed into a high school auditorium to learn about the potential benefits and hazards of extracting natural gas from in and around the city’s upstate watershed. I was there to research my book, The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century, and was curious to know what impact hydrofracking might have on the quality and quantity of the drinking water supplied to over nine million people every day. The debate that night centered on the Marcellus Shale, which is a 95,000-square-mile swath of gas-rich rock that underlies parts of five states: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio. The stakes in play there—financial, environmental, political, and social—are enormous. The Marcellus deposit is thought to be the single largest energy deposit in the United States, and the second-largest gas deposit in the world (after the South Pars/North Dome gasfield, shared by Qatar and Iran). The Marcellus is estimated to contain at least 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is enough to power all American homes for 50 years. Shale is a dense layer of sedimentary rock that lies a mile or more underground in deposits sprinkled across the country (and, indeed, around the world). Natural gas or oil trapped in
ground, and air, and that these costs outweigh its benefits. It was against this backdrop that I attended the meeting in New York City in 2009. The large auditorium was packed to standing-room only that night. Roughly a quarter of the crowd supported hydrofracking; another quarter had not made up their minds; and the remaining half were opposed. Some attendees wore suits or high heels, some came in camouflage and blue jeans, others were dressed up as mountains, fish, or rivers. Red-faced politicians stirred the crowd with fiery rhetoric; state regulators and energy executives kept a low profile; journalists swirled around the auditorium; and citizens asked pointed questions. When gas companies began to explore rural upstate New York in the early 2000s, many residents leased their property for modest fees. Some were paid as little as $3 per acre plus a 12.5 percent royalty; by 2007 lease prices averaged about $25 an acre, plus royalties of 12.5 percent; by 2009, prices had skyrocketed to $6,000 an acre, plus royalties of 20 percent. The region was mired in an economic slump, and many residents and businesses were pushing then-governor David Paterson to open state-owned land to hydrofracking to generate jobs and revenue. But Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, cautioned that fracking “is not a risk that I think we should run.” Since that night in 2009, the two sides have only become more polarized. In New York State, for example, the public
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has
unlocked enormous quantities of shale oil and gas and set off an environmentalist backlash. shale formations is known as “shale gas” or “shale oil,” and is chemically identical to gas and oil taken from traditional wells. Geologists have known about shale reserves for years, but until recently they have been too difficult to access. In the last decade, however, industry and government groups have pushed a technology called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which has unlocked enormous quantities of shale oil and gas and set off an environmentalist backlash. Hydrofracking has created jobs, spurred industry, lowered carbon emissions, and provided an economic boon to many communities across the country. (While there is great interest in the technology worldwide, hydrofracking has been commercialized only in North America thus far.) Yet, while the temptations of “fracked” energy are great, critics say that it pollutes the water,
remains almost evenly split on the issue, with 39 percent in favor of hydrofracking and 43 percent opposed to it, according to a 2013 Siena poll. The Wall Street Journal opines, “fracking could be the difference between economic life and death” for New York. But celebrity opponents, like Yoko Ono and the actor Mark Ruffalo (who lives in upstate New York), shoot back, “You can’t say that we have climate change and we have to fight it, and then...say we’re going to move forward with hydrofracking….You can’t have both.” And “Fracktivists” note that if fracking fluids—some of which are toxic or carcinogenic (as is benzene)—pollute the city’s carefully protected watershed, New York will be forced by EPA regulations to build a $10 billion filtration plant that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year to operate.
v previous page: A fracking rig sits in a farmer’s field in Colorado. ©www.iStock.com/LonnyG
38 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has no easy answers. Hydrofracking advocates, such as the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, have pressured state legislators to approve the process for nearly five years, and complain that Cuomo is stalling. But opposition groups threaten to label Cuomo—who is said to have presidential ambitions—a traitor and sellout if he allows hydrofracking. Cuomo was given a momentary reprieve in early 2013. The day before state regulators were set to issue an environmental impact statement, the state Department of Health requested more time to review three new studies. The state assembly imposed a two-year moratorium on new hydrofracked wells to await results of the studies.
“bridge fuel” to tide us over until renewable energy sources— such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower—have been commercialized. To put it bluntly, hydrofracking is neither all good nor all bad. Rather, it is a timely and important subject rendered in shades of gray. And it is one that is worth talking about and, indeed, arguing over. My aim in writing this book is to help spur a healthy, informed dialogue about an energy supply that we still have much to learn about and that is changing the world we live in. j Reprinted from Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know by Alex Prud’homme with permission from Oxford University Press, Inc. Copyright © Alex Prud’homme 2014.
Hydrofracking has created jobs, spurred industry,
lowered carbon emissions, and provided an economic
boon to many communities across the country.... critics say that it pollutes the water, ground, and
air, and that these costs outweigh its benefits. The argument in New York mirrors the national dispute over hydrofracking and foreshadows a worldwide debate as shale gas and oil become increasingly important to the global energy equation. In the meantime, my own position on hydrofracking continues to evolve. In 2009, informed by my research into water-related issues, I was opposed to hydrofracking. There is little question that the process is inherently risky: it uses huge volumes of water and has set off local “water wars” in arid states such as Colorado, Texas, and California. Moreover, shale wells can pollute the air and groundwater. Once hydrofracked, each well generates millions of gallons of toxic wastewater, which includes secret chemical mixtures and naturally occurring radioactive elements that are difficult to clean and sequester. As hydrofracking technology spreads around the world, these challenges will become exponentially more difficult. Yet the technology, practice, and oversight of hydrofracking have advanced since 2009, and it has become difficult to ignore the benefits of shale fuels. The scientific consensus holds that natural gas burns more cleanly than coal or oil, and thus reduces greenhouse gases; the economic consensus holds that hydrofracking creates jobs, revenue, and new supplies of energy; and the political consensus holds that natural gas is an effective How hydrofracking is done. © 2011 Analysis Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Image by StudioSayers. n
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 39
tales of a TAFTIE
By Julie Reiff
Deane Keller, Class of 1919 Monuments Man
n Yale art professor Deane Keller ’19 in his 5th Army uniform
What successful Taftie, no longer living, would you like to see profiled in this space? Send your suggestions to email@example.com. 40 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2014
As a “fine arts officer” in World War II, Yale art professor Deane Keller ’19 helped to rescue Italian masterworks from the ravages of war. While the recent George Clooney film Monuments Men focuses on a group of Harvard experts working in France and Germany, Keller and a fellow Yalie were tasked with saving as much of the culture of Italy as they could. By 1943, when the Americans bombed Rome for a second time, Keller desperately wanted to do his part. “The riches of thousands of years of civilization—some of mankind’s greatest creative achievements—lay directly in the war’s path. Italy would soon become a combat zone,” writes Robert Edsel in his book, Saving Italy. “And here he was, an expert on Italy and its cultural treasures, stuck in a classroom lecturing.” Keller had been turned down by the Marines for poor eyesight. Now, his friend Theodore Sizer, director of the Yale University Art Gallery, recruited him for the Army’s newly formed art protection unit—known later as “monuments men.” Fluent in Italian and familiar with much of the region from his three years in Italy as the recipient of the American Academy in Rome’s Prix de Rome, Keller was the perfect man for the job. The Monuments Men were a group of men and women from 13 countries. Most had expertise as museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, architects and archivists. Their task was to save as much of the culture of Europe as they could during combat. In November 1943, Keller, 42, boarded a liberty ship bound for North Africa, where he would spend two months at the Army’s School of Military Government. As captain, U.S. 5th Army, Monuments, Fine Arts, and
Archives (MFAA) Officer, he would be the 5th Army’s first responder in terms of cultural monuments. Shortly after the Allies landed in early 1944, Keller was sent to MFAA headquarters in Naples. He didn’t feel much like a soldier at first, but traveling around southern Italy inspecting monuments relieved the tedium of writing reports. The devastation, though, was eye-opening. He wrote letters home to his wife filled with drawings to communicate with his 3-year-old son (Deane ’58)—a sketch of his jeep, or an illustration of himself sewing on his 5th Army patch. As the Americans moved north through Italy, forcing the Germans out, Keller followed, checking on the state of cultural and artistic treasures in each town, sometimes only hours after a town was liberated. Americans wondered why, with so many dead and wounded, that anyone would care so much for buildings or works of art, but the Italians were grateful. Keller’s presence and interest in their villages helped ease the wounds the Allied bombs had caused. The ancient hillside town of Itria, for example, had tumbled down the cliff and splintered into a heap. Keller could not even identify its famous Monastery of San Martino; it was simply gone. Arguably Keller’s most valiant effort was at the ancient cemetery of Camposanto in Pisa, with its walls of medieval frescoes. Before World War II, Pisa was best known not for the leaning tower but for Camposanto. Badly damaged by American artillery and six weeks of battle, the frescoes now lay in millions of fragments. Keller saw that the situation was dire—a single
rainstorm could wash the remains away—so he called for assistance. A man who had been working largely alone now supervised a group of army engineers, 84 Italian military personnel, and fresco specialists from Rome and Florence. They built a temporary shelter and began the tedious process of collecting every speck of plaster, saved for a day when restoration could begin. Two days after the German surrender in May 1945, Keller received a report from his counterpart in the 8th Army that the missing Florentine works of art, which the Nazis had transported north, could be found at Campo Tures and San Leonardo. Before he could head there, however, Keller needed to assess the damage in Milan. “Leonardo’s Last Supper is in peril, “ he wrote in a letter to his wife, “and we won’t know for some time what it looks like.” A few days later he added ominously, “It may be in ruins.” His stay in Milan turned into a week, but by May 14 he made his first visit to the repositories. The responsibility of returning the works to Florence now fell to him. While others celebrated the find, Keller focused on logistics—moving hundreds of uncrated paintings on roads and railways that were bombed to pieces. “The war is not over for me,” he wrote his wife. In the documentary film Rape of Europa, there is archival footage of Keller loading 13 fully packed freight cars and then later accompanying trucks on their triumphant return to Florence. The value of that shipment was estimated, in 1945, at $500 million. It contained the riches of the Uffizi Museum and the Pitti Palace.
Thousands crowded Florence’s Piazza della Signoria, clapping and weeping with bells ringing. Keller allowed himself three martinis when the job was done. He sent his son a sketch of his team unloading a 10-ton crate of sculpture by Michelangelo and Donatello at the Bargello Museum. There are photos of Keller chipping away the protective masonry from one of the Michelangelos. Keller returned to Yale and became a full professor. As Yale’s unofficial portraitist of the faculty, he painted nearly 200 commissions from the university and another dozen or so at Taft. After his death, the family donated his wartime papers to Yale. The collection includes letters, photographs and extensive records of Allied attempts to protect Italian art objects during the war, and documents Keller’s activities and the fate of specific monuments and collections. For his efforts during the war, he was recognized with the U.S. Legion of Merit, the Member of the British Empire medal, the Crown of Italy Partisan Medal, the Medal of the Opera from Pisa, and the Order of St. John the Lateran from the Vatican. He died in 1992 in Hamden, Connecticut. In 2000, he was buried at CampoSanto in Pisa, in recognition of his extraordinary wartime efforts in Italy, with honors from the United States, Italy, and the Roman Catholic Church. “The life of one American boy is worth infinitely more to me than any monument I know,” wrote Keller, but that never stopped him from risking his own. For him, the monuments were something worth fighting for.
Sources: Saving Italy: The race to rescue a nation’s treasures from the Nazis by Robert M. Edsel Deane Keller Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library Roach, Catherine. “Collateral Damage.” Yale Alumni Magazine (reprinted in Taft Bulletin, fall 2003) Morrison, Jim. “The True Story of the Monuments Men.” www.SmithsonianMag.com. 7 Feb. 2014. Web 21 Feb. 2014 Rape of Europa, Dirs. Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, Nicole Newnham, 2007. film “The Monuments Men: Deane Keller 1901–1992.” www.Monumentsmen.com. Monuments Men Foundation, Web 24 Feb. 2014
v Keller with the
statue of Cosimo de’ Medici from Florence
Taft Bulletin spring 2014 41
from the ARCHIVES
v The dapper White Caps members outside Taft’s Warren House, where CPT Hall is now, in 1894. , The Alpha Phi, or Alpha Pi, insignia from an 1894 Taft Annual.
Secret Societies From the school’s earliest days, Taft boys were casting about for traditions they could adopt. They had a sense that the young school, like them, was bound for a bright and distinguished future. Knowing that Yale was likely in their futures was part of what it was to be a Taftie. That New Haven was a hive of fraternities in the 1890s was not lost on Taft’s aspiring upperclassmen. After all, as Yale undergrads, Horace Taft and his brother, President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, had been members of the secret society Skull & Bones, co-founded by their father, Alphonso Taft, in 1832. Taft’s first secret society, Alpha Phi, had formed shortly before the school’s move from Pelham Manor to Watertown in 1893. (The group’s name may have actually been Alpha Pi, given the insignia in the Taft Annuals of the time; see the illustration above.) A couple of other societies sprang up soon after. Years later, in 1920, one member of that society, alumnus Abram D. Gillette, Class of 1895, wrote a cautionary letter to the Taft Papyrus, airing 42 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
what would seem to be classified tales of inter-society intrigue, heartbreak, betrayal and maturation: “Alpha Phi had a monopoly for a while, but soon a flaw appeared in the sworn friendships. Two of the members resigned; shortly afterwards, during the first year in Watertown, they formed Lion’s Head (though the name was never spoken). Its membership was drawn from all of those who had failed election into Alpha Phi, so the two societies took in the two upper classes almost entirely. “Things began to get interesting from this time on, and the arena of school activities was given over to political gladiators from each society, who vied by hook and by crook to get all the school offices, and if the supply ran out, and one crowd seemed to have more than another, new organizations were formed to offset the advantage.” In 1895, a third society sprang into life: the White Caps. “Things went along quietly enough until after Christmas vacation,” writes Gillette. “Gathering in solemn conclave, we were told that one of the two former members who had left us to form
n Members of the Lion’s Head society at Taft, 1895. v The Lion’s Head insignia from an 1894 Taft Annual.
vacation,” writes Gillette. “Gathering in solemn conclave, we were told that one of the two former members who had left us to form Lion’s Head had divulged our secrets to one of his fellow members. We were appalled.” “This was the beginning of the end,” Gillette continues. “Internal factions sprang up within the societies themselves; personal ambitions clashed….The White Caps survived another year or so. The societies could not survive long; they did not deserve to survive. They did their share of harm and died—that is their epitaph.” Shortly thereafter, the school developed the Club System. It began with the Junior Taft Athletic Association, also called the Reds and the Blues, which was formed “to stimulate interest amongst the younger boys in athletics,” and in lasting cameraderie. Intramural teams were formed from the boys not on the varsity squads. In 1922, the school took a step toward Horace Taft’s credo of educating “the whole boy,” instituting a three-club system
called the Triangle Club. It organized the lower school into three groups: the Cayugas, the Mohawks and the Senecas. As well as competing athletically, these teams vied for points in academics, conduct, debating, glee club singing and writing competitions. In this new system, “the good student, the singer, the debater, the writer and the boy who will keep off bounds, each has an equal chance with the star athlete to contribute points to his club,” stated the New Boy Book. By 1940, the renamed Alphas, Betas and Gammas comprised the entire student body. The New Boy Books of the 1960s called the club system the “focal point of student life at Taft.” By 1970, though, students were disinclined to participate in any kind of “system” at all. Since then, extracurricular clubs and interest and service groups have multiplied, with an emphasis on inclusivity and community. —Alison Gilchrist, The Leslie D. Manning Archives
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 43
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This app is the fastest and easiest way to update contact information, network professionally through LinkedIn and stay connected to your fellow Tafties.
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Alumni Directory with advanced search and filter functions Display “Alumni Nearby” on a map Integration with LinkedIn Direct access to the Taft School mobile site Connect to Taft Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels Easy access to make a gift to Taft
The Taft Alumni App is available free for iPhone and Android devices. Login is easy for the alumni community, and the data is secure, using your preferred email for verification. Only information already available through Taft’s online Alumni Community will be shown, and you may change what you display at any time. Visit our FAQ page to learn more: www.taftschool.org/evertrue. The Taft Alumni App is powered by EverTrue. Directory information is secure, and users are limited to the Taft community. Please contact the Taft School Alumni Office at 860-945-7743 or TaftRhino@taftschool.org with questions.