Alumna Honored Taft Dining
Life in Russia
in this issue
Departments 2 From the Editor 2 Taft Trivia 3 Letters 4 Alumni Spotlight 9 Around the Pond 15 Sport by Steve Palmer
34 Tales of a Taftie: J. Irwin Miller â€™27 by Amy Wimmer Schwarb 35 From the Archives: Search The Papyrus! by Alison Gilchrist
A Common Mission
Rear Admiral Cindy Thebaud ’81 on service and leadership, in pursuit of peace By Brady Dennis
Food, Glorious Food
At the heart of any school is its dining— and at Taft it’s all about heart. By Jennifer A. Clement
h Students at Mount Vernon during their trip to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration in January. Megan Valenti
The Domestic Goddess of the Green Line
By Jennifer Buttenheim Eremeeva ’84
from the EDITOR A school is its people, its stories. I remember interviewing an alumnus who roomed with Charlie Taft ’14 (the president’s son) and whose first ride in an automobile was while visiting the White House with him over vacation. Another told me what it was like to haul heavy wet boards back up to the pond rink after they had washed down stream in an early thaw. I’ve enjoyed the tales of the first girl pioneers and listened to Old Boys’ tales of the Raid on Wade (now my office). I am privileged in my role to hear some amazing Taft tales—from those who knew Mr. Taft to those who spent only a few short months on campus but have never forgotten them. Sadly, I have only been able to share with you on these pages a
portion of what comes to my ears. Over the years there have been a few attempts to record this oral history, most of those focused on the war years, but we know these have only scratched the surface. Toward this end, won’t you share your favorite Taft memories with us? The spring we are launching the Rhino Tales project (see back cover). Tell us your favorite memory—a teacher, place, tradition or classmate. Record it on your own and send it to us, or join us for a recording session on Alumni Weekend. As always, I want to hear your stories— and want to make sure that future generations will be able to enjoy them as well. —Julie Reiff
In what year did the school first award the Citation of Merit, now called the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal? (Remember, you can use the website to help you find the answer!) Send your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll send a Vineyard Vines tie— or reasonable substitute—to the winner, whose name will be drawn from all correct entries received. Congrats to Kat Wills Muthig ’86, who correctly identified girls’ basketball as the team Dick Cobb coached for 29 years. (It helped that she co-captained the ’86 team.)
On the Cover v Rear Admiral
(select) Cindy Thebaud ’81 is this year’s Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal recipient. Read her interview that begins on page 18.
Alumna Honored Taft Dining
Life in Russia
Jocelyn Augustino Spring 2013
Taft on the Web
Find a friend’s address or look up back issues of the Bulletin at www.taftalumni.com Visit us on your phone with our mobile-friendly site www.taftschool.org/m What happened at this afternoon’s game? Visit www.taftsports.com
Please recycle this Bulletin or share with a friend.
2 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013
Don’t forget you can shop online at www.taftstore.com 800-995-8238 or 860-945-7736
Spring 2013 Volume 83, Number 3 Bulletin Staff Director of Development: Chris Latham Editor: Julie Reiff Alumni Notes: Linda Beyus Design: Good Design, LLC www.gooddesignusa.com Proofreader: Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. email@example.com Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. firstname.lastname@example.org Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Summer–May 15 Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. email@example.com 1-860-945-7777 www.TaftAlumni.com The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855) is published quarterly, in February, May, August and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100, and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents and friends of the school. All rights reserved.
No Small Accomplishment
I read with interest Andy Larkin’s account of his rowing days at Harvard for a then very young Harry Parker, an American icon for USA and collegiate rowing. Andy isn’t giving the whole story! He and Francis “Beak” Watson ran cross country for John Small, and they would be part of the early cornerstones that led to Jim Sterling, Parker Mills and Mike Macy leading us into the years of power and success in running at Taft. Watson went to Yale and Andy to Harvard and rowed against each other several times. Beak told me he finally hung up his oar after handing his racing shirt to Andy on several occasions. Andy is considered one of many of the great oarsmen at a school that has a bunch of great oarsmen. In the winter of 1978, a group of us from UNH were allowed to use the Newell boathouse indoor rowing tanks. I ran into Coach Parker one Sunday morning (almost literally), and we talked about Andy and the influence that John Small and his brother Bruce had on guys that either ran for them or rowed for them. If Taft had had rowing, Small would have coached crew, as his brother did, and it would have been an awesome time for schoolboy rowing. As it is, they both had great impact on runners who for whatever reason decided to row in college. I do not think I can adequately describe what the 1968 Harvard Heavyweight boat accomplished, and it would be the last USA boat to be selected from the collegiate system. Andy and that entire 1968 boat are considered legends for many reasons—like they won the Harvard-Yale boat race (4-mile distance row) and then turned around and won the collegiate nationals (2,000-meter sprint) and then headed for Mexico City. I heard Small say he was there at Red Top when Harry Parker gave them their Harvard diplomas. In Andy Larkin Taft has a real gift. —Charlie Wemyss, Jr. ’74
Often times in life you don’t know you’ve had an extraordinary experience or been around someone great until years later when there is a moment of introspection. As a day student, I only had Mr. Cobb for one year in Latin. The way he taught was radically different. He used the Socratic method. He addressed students formally (Mr. Liu). My personal and brief encounters only scratched the surface of his greatness that “The Legendary Mr. Cobb” beautifully illustrated, the depth of his preparation, richness of his character and his humanity. In retrospect, they were there all the time, but as someone just trying to get through the class and as an adolescent, I didn’t appreciate it or see it. Now, as a physician leader who supports and inspires over 500 doctors to provide care that is even more personal, convenient, and affordable, Mr. Cobb’s quiet and thoughtful leadership through his various roles at Taft resonated with me. Because doctors traditionally are a notorious bunch to lead, do not like to be told what to do, and yet are incredibly intelligent, leadership is about influence and persuasion and not so much about power or titles. No doubt, this too is the mark of a brilliant teacher. Doctor comes from the Latin verb docere, which means to teach. In the business school literature, there is discussion on whether leaders are born or made. I believe in the latter. Reading the article and reflecting, I realize that all Taft teachers are excellent, but is it possible someone might be exceptional? You know someone has made an indelible mark on your life when decades later one voice and quote still rings in your ears and you repeat, “You have a 50/50 chance, but 95 percent of the time you’ll be wrong.” And decades later one tribute to a teacher provides further mentoring and guidance without saying a single word. Thank you, Mr. Cobb.
—Davis Liu ’89
The Larger World
Congratulations on another superb Taft Bulletin! I was a student at Taft in 1949–50, my junior year, and returned to Friends Seminary in New York City. The real reason for my leaving was that the culture of the school seemed selfish and materialistic. I wanted to go to a school that cared about the larger world and imbued students with a sense of responsibility. Now, if I had a chance to spend a year at school anywhere, I would certainly be delighted to go to Taft. The turnaround came pretty quickly after Paul Cruikshank left and was replaced by a headmaster with a great vision for the larger world and a gift for communicating that vision to students, faculty and alumni. That dramatic change has been massively sustained and deepened over the years. A very big job. The Bulletin has done a brilliant job of communicating the excitement and satisfaction of life as a student and as a graduate devoted to serving others and engaging in further learning for its own sake. Not just smiling faces all in a row getting awards, but people on the scene, doing their thing, in faraway countries. With students from exotic lands coming to Taft and being made thoroughly welcome, I just want to be right there because you make it so attractive! —Steve Chinlund ’51
Love it? Hate it? Read it? Tell us! We’d love to hear what you think about the stories in this Bulletin. We may edit your letters for length, clarity and content, but please write! Julie Reiff, editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Julie Reiff
v Amanda Green and Phish front man Trey Anastasio ’83. Previews of the show opened in New York in February. Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic
Hands on a Broadway Score Considering the breadth of his musical résumé—he has composed symphonic scores, performed with prestigious orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, created a jazz album, and over the last two decades been the leader of a rock band that has enjoyed a fanatical following and phenomenal success—it’s no surprise that Trey Anastasio ’83 would eventually tackle Broadway. He’s come a long way since Space Antelope and Red Tide, the bands he played in while a student at Taft. In his latest incarnation, Anastasio, most widely recognized as front man of the rock band Phish, is co-composer of the new Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody. The musical, with a book 4 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013
by Pulizer Prize-winner Doug Wright and with music co-written by Anastasio and Amanda Green, is based on a 1997 documentary film about a yearly endurance competition in Texas in which contestants vie for a brand new pickup truck. The winner of the truck is the last one to remain standing with his or her hands still touching it—after what can be days on end under the elements. The musical had its world premiere last spring at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, and the original cast members are reprising their roles for the Broadway show, staged at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. “It’s a rock musical in the best American way,” said Anastasio while
promoting the La Jolla show. The story’s “American Dream” foundation is the perfect canvas for Anastasio’s trademark blend of folk/funk/rock music. He also noted that many of the songs speak to very relevant issues today. Chronic unemployment, financial distress and the working class take center stage in Hands on a Hardbody, though there’s not necessarily a redemptive, fairytale Broadway ending. While Anastasio has composed umpteen (152 and counting) songs for Phish, Trey Anastasio Band and others, he said that what made this project unique was co-writing songs with Green and then hearing them sung back by the ensemble—a feeling he describes as “a joyous experience.” As he told Rolling Stone, “The songs are, by their very nature, far more direct emotionally than many songs I’ve written or co-written in the past. Writing for singers other than myself or another band member has been incredibly liberating.” For more information, visit www.trey.com. —Phoebe Vaughn Outerbridge ’84
h Photographer Jonathan Selkowitz ’84 was recognized by FIS and the USSA as FIS Journalist of the Year.
Over the past two decades, photographer Jonathan Selkowitz ’84 has brought the visual action of ski racing to life through his lens. A Massachusetts native now living near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Selkowitz was honored by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) as 2012 FIS Journalist of the Year. The award recognizes career contributions to the sport, and Selkowitz joins a distinguished list of a dozen U.S. journalists honored since 1996. In his career, Selkowitz has covered the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Salt Lake City and Torino. His work has appeared in myriad publications, from Powder to ESPN Magazine, Newsweek and Rolling Stone. “Skiing is a very visual sport, and it’s important to recognize the contribution that photographers like Jonathan Selkowitz have made to bring the excitement and passion of our sport to the public,” said FIS Communications Director Riikka Rakic. Selkowitz grew up skiing at Bousquet and Jiminy Peak in the Berkshires, where
he competed in freestyle and alpine racing during his Taft years, continuing to race at Colby College. While at Taft, he and Duke Sullivan ’83 founded the Taft Ski Club. In 1988, Selkowitz moved to Jackson, where he coached ski racing and was an instructor for several years. A fall in which he injured his knee gave him the opportunity to study photography more seriously. At his first World Cup in 1994 in Park City, Utah, Selkowitz encountered his former college Spanish tutor, a photographer for Ski Racing, and his career in sports photography took off. “As a coach and instructor, I tried to teach the perfect turn. Now, as a photographer, I strive to capture and illustrate the most dynamic turn,” said Selkowitz at the award ceremony. “It is a great honor and pleasure to work with some of the finest athletes and sport professionals.” Few have matched the passion of Selkowitz, who routinely drives all night or grabs a couch for a night just to photograph the sport he loves. But Selkowitz isn’t all work and no play. “I’ve been enjoying a mix of alpine, Nordic and backcountry skiing close to
home in the Tetons,” he said this spring, “as well as making photos—some of the best conditions for this happen in late March and April.” —Linda Beyus Source: www.usskiteam.com
Don’t forget to share your Taft memories with us on Alumni Weekend or online. See back cover for details, or visit www.taftschool.org/rhinotales.
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The Healing Power of Music When a young child picks up an instrument, he is learning more than just music. “Through the instrument they learn everything,” says Katie D’Angelo ’97, who has been a Suzuki teacher of violin and cello since 2007, after five years of teaching music in the Greenwich school system. The philosophy of Suzuki education in particular is very interesting, says D’Angelo. “It’s about process- not product-based teaching. We focus on the whole child and work on skills like cooperation. I love teaching young children through experiential musical activities and play. The Suzuki Method has a joyful approach.”
She began studying cello at the age of eight and continues to play professionally throughout Fairfield County and Westchester. She teaches students as young as three years old as well as adults in her studio in Newtown, Connecticut, which she opened in 2011. This year, not surprisingly, D’Angelo dedicated the winter concert, held in Walker Hall at Taft, to The Healing Power of Music. Thirty of her students performed various songs as part of the “Old Man Winter”-themed program. Both children and parents enjoyed themselves and had fun making music together as a community.
“You really can see [the healing power of music],” says D’Angelo. “Kids may come in from a rough day and by the end of their music lesson their mood is transformed. My goal is to help children become happy and musical people.” For more information, visit www.katiedangelo.net.
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(a retired judge, an edgy practitioner and Schoonmaker). Together they started videotaping their focused discussions; Schoonmaker then works with CBA staff to create multimedia programs. The first program received 500 views in its debut week. The third program received 1,474 views within the first two hours of its release. “We only produce important programs. When the CBA announces a new program, members watch it immediately,” he said.
The CBA is working to expand Case Flash, and Schoonmaker has received inquiries about introducing the program to other bar associations. “Nonprofit bar associations serve their communities in many ways, including a lot of pro bono work,” he said. “Hopefully this will help them serve members and be a new revenue source.” For more information, visit www.ctbar.org. Sources: Family Advocate, Connecticut Lawyer Dan Anderson/Connecticut Bar Association
The law evolves constantly, and attorneys strain to stay current. Continuing legal education (CLE) programs help lawyers synthesize new statutes and court decisions, but lag behind the law by many months, and sometimes years. “CLE has not changed much since the 1970s,” says Sam Schoonmaker ’86, a Connecticut attorney who focuses on appeals and family law. Programs are about 90 minutes to 4 hours in duration, and attorneys usually drive to an auditorium to listen to a program designed for a wide audience. While preparing to speak at a CLE program last year, Schoonmaker had the idea to create short, intensive programs that could be delivered electronically. ”Why not combine video, text and graphics to bring CLE right to attorneys’ computers and smartphones? Distribute timely programs—within a week of a court decision,” he said. He worked with the Connecticut Bar Association staff to create a multimedia CLE format, and formed the three-attorney Case Flash team
Coach Cobb A number of Coach Dick Cobb’s former players returned to campus in February to celebrate his 29 years of coaching girls’ varsity basketball. Alumnae and current players gathered for a reception after the last home match, a win over Hotchkiss. From left, Kathrene Wills Muthig ’86, Kara McCabe ’02, Katie McCabe McDonough ’04, Patty Carlson Ruprecht ’85, Denise Shirley ’78, Erin Duffy ’95, Cobb, Elizabeth Macaulay Lewis ’98, Lisa Frantzis ’75, Melissa McCarthy Meager ’74, Susan Salisburg Ziegler ’75, Jean Strumolo Piacenza ’75, Pam Church ’81, Katie Karraker ’11 and Sarah Curi ’86. Coach Cobb also attended receptions in California over spring break and in New York City in April. Ledlie Pastor
MacArthur Board Paul Klingenstein ’74 has been elected to serve on the MacArthur Foundation Board of Directors. Klingenstein, who has spent most of his career focused on health care innovation and young companies, joined the 13-member board in March. “Paul brings to the MacArthur board a rich knowledge of health programs in some of the world’s most challenging places and expertise in investing in the game-changing ideas that will improve that care around the world,” said Board Chair Marjorie M. Scardino. “He will enrich our understanding and debate about MacArthur’s work.”
After a brief period as an advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation, Klingenstein formed Aberdare Ventures, a venture capital firm in San Francisco, in 1999. Since then, the firm has invested in more than 50 companies, the majority of which are now public or have been merged into public companies. In the late 1990s, Klingenstein advised on private-sector healthcare initiatives in India, China and Malaysia; in the late ’70s, he worked as a field biologist in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He has served on the boards of
various educational and nonprofit institutions, including the African Wildlife Foundation, Juma Ventures (former chair), Marin Country Day School and Taft. He is currently chairman of the board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. MacArthur’s board sets policies and strategic direction for the Foundation; approves grant-making areas, initiatives and grants; and oversees investments and the audit process through the work of its committees. Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 7
In Print Scopes Retried: A Novel About Creation and Evolution Stephen Bartholomew Jr. ’63 There are almost 10,000 books on the subject of creation and evolution. Among this vast body of literature, however, Bartholomew’s book is novel— in that it’s a novel. It also takes dead aim at a theory that most people agree is “the central organizing principle of biology”—the theory of evolution. Ian Taylor, author of the classic book about creationism, In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order, currently in its sixth printing, wrote a compelling foreword for the book. In it he said: “When I sat down to actually read it through, I couldn’t put it down. Parts of it brought me to tears! I was stunned … this was surely not your average creationist literature! … Held to the page by the story line, by the end of the book the reader will have received a powerful and compelling defense of creationism. While traveling the exciting journey through the book, all along the way the reader is being fed life-saving food—the truth about God’s creation. It is a brilliant concept, and a truly remarkable achievement. I strongly recommend it to anyone searching for the truth in this intense and critical debate.”
Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History Richard Smoley ’74 While studying at the University of Oxford, Richard Smoley came in contact with a small group that was studying the Kabbalah, one of the mainstays of the Western esoteric tradition. It was here that he was introduced to many of the ideas he has gone on to explore in his many books and articles. His latest work, Supernatural, is a concise anthology that provides both an introduction to the paranormal and a reason to take a fresh look at it. “We are often conditioned to think of the Judeo-Christian tradition as the only valid, historically accurate and rational spiritual philosophy,” says Smoley. “Occultism, magic and the esoteric are, by contrast, considered illegitimate, delusional and lacking in intrinsic worth. Supernatural challenges this prejudice, revealing that Western occult traditions are richer and more 8 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013
historically impactful than most of us imagine.” The book is a critical and respectful account of topics from the unseen world and a primer to the occult and magical traditions of the West. “Richard Smoley pushes the newest frontier in human knowledge,” author John Shelby Spong says of Smoley’s previous book, The Dice Game of Shiva. “The path he walks is not into a new religion, but beyond the boundaries of all religious systems and into a new and universal consciousness, where new visions of the meaning of life are found.” Smoley was a longtime editor of the respected spiritual journal Gnosis and is the author of Inner Christianity and coauthor of Hidden Wisdom.
The Most Creative, Escape the Ordinary, Excel at Public Speaking Book Ever: All the Help You Will Ever Need in Giving a Speech Philip Theibert ’71 Philip Theibert has extensive experience in speech writing, online teaching, marketing, media relations, internet marketing and public relations. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Vital Speeches, ToastMaster, Executive Speaker, Communication World, BusinessWeek Careers, Writer’s Digest and Public Relations Strategist. In addition, he has considerable communication experience as an executive speechwriter, newspaper reporter, magazine editor, advertising copywriter, public relations director, college instructor, college textbook writer and media relations director. His books include Business Writing for Busy People, How to Give a Damn Good Speech, The Hard Problems of Management and Lessons in Corporate Change. You can follow his blog at www.writingcoachnow.com.
If you would like a copy of your work added to the Hulbert Taft Library’s Alumni Authors Collection and listed in this column, please send a copy to: Taft Bulletin The Taft School 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100
For the latest news on campus events, please visit www.taftschool.org.
around the Pond
By Julie Reiff
Ghanaian Dance Craze Takes Over Bingham Ghana’s Azonto dance craze, in which the dancers mime everyday activities, has taken over dance floors across Africa, Europe and the U.S., writes The Guardian (U.K.)—and now the Bingham stage! Guest artist Leah Moriarty, a Brooklyn native who recently traveled to Ghana to be immersed in the country’s dance and drumming, worked with the Dance Ensemble on “two incredibly fun pieces,” says Taft dance teacher Kate Seethaler. “What is really wonderful about the concert this year is the sheer volume of talent and enthusiasm our students clearly showcase with respect to dance,” says Seethaler. “A number of the pieces pack the stage full of energetic and passionate people. The students are a truly fantastic group of playful, funloving movers, who have gelled and grown tremendously as individuals throughout the course of the season.” Seethaler was joined by science teacher Amanda Benedict as another faculty choreographer, adding that her contemporary ballet piece “was truly lovely and very well performed.” Patti Buchanan, dance director at Westover, also expanded her usual contribution to the show from one piece to two—“a real treat!” says Seethaler. Moriarty’s two African-themed pieces—one classical and one contemporary—were among the highlights of the concert. The show also featured improvisation in two of the pieces, where the dancers have been given a structure that they improvise within as part of the live performance. “The dancers take bold risks,” says Seethaler, “working extremely hard and pushing themselves outside their comfort zones. I was excited to see where they let the performance take them each night.” n Jillian Wipfler ’13.
Watch the Azonto dance online at www.taftschool.org/arts.
Olivia Paige ’15
around the POND
Aquaculture Haiti was once one of the wealthiest countries in the Western hemisphere. Now 63 percent of people there survive on one meal a day or less. Bill Mebane is trying to change that by improving the country’s fish-farming efforts. Speaking in Laube Auditorium in February, Mebane outlined the project and the science behind it. He is the originator and director of the Sustainable Aquaculture Initiative as well as superintendent of the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Marine Resources Aquaculture Engineering Division at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He has been actively involved in the field of aquaculture for over 25 years. His first visit to Haiti in 2000 introduced him to the problems of rural mountain fishponds; he has been working, pro-bono, to develop and implement low-resource tilapia production techniques in the country ever since. His team looked for ways to feed
the fish with indigenous plants, but they failed at first to understanding the culture they were working with. Most Haitians, they soon realized, didn’t have the skills to put together the complicated food the scientists had come up with. So they turned to efforts in Bangladesh and Israel, where they were using periphyton aquaculture technique. Essentially, farmers put substrate in a pond and add nutrients and sunlight for periphyte to grow. Periphyte is the ideal fish food and is an efficient, low-resource way to grow fish. They brought the technique to Haiti, where they trained local leaders who, in turn, trained others. They are now successfully providing relatively high-yield protein and a valuable income source to needy families there. Still, the program has struggled financially, existing on small grants and donations. Three Taft students are participating this spring, trying to create the cheapest, most sustainable, family-sized
n Bill Mebane with new friends in Haiti
aquaculture production tank, with the goal of going to Haiti in another year to do some installations. Interim Director of Environmental Stewardship Carly Borken started on the project with Mebane 10 years ago as an intern at MBL. “I am glad that Taft students and Ms. Borken have stepped up to the plate to lend a hand!” says Mebane. “As they say in Haiti, this is a bon bagay (good thing). What your students accomplish in that small computer room with a fish tank could literally improve the lives of many people.” For more information, visit www.mbl.edu/sai/.
Peter Frew ’75
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Concert pianist Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences around the world, at Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Warsaw’s National Philharmonic— and now Taft’s Walker Hall. The one-hour concert, held in January, included Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor by Chopin, Claire de Lune by Debussy, and Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. Taft’s instrumental music teachers also performed their annual concert, Art from the Heart, in January. Winter weather forced folk musicians Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem to reschedule their concert in April, which was followed by a program of classical choral music later in the month.
Noises Off As soon as the cast of Michael Frayn’s hilarious comedy Noises Off read the script for the first time, every actor and actress knew this show was going to be unlike anything they had ever participated in before. Noises Off is a “play within a play,” so the characters in the script prepare for their own play, Nothing On, a complicated ordeal involving love, ghosts and burglars. As a result, each Taft actor plays two roles. The entire play is set on a rotating stage, expertly constructed by David Kievit and his crew, and in Act II, the audience views the production from the backstage side of the set, seeing the pantomime unfold as the cast struggles to keep the production going in the midst of chaos. “Initially, we were very nervous,” said Tommy Robertshaw ’14. “The script was absolutely hilarious, but we knew this play was going to be a challenge…. The timing has to be perfect. Everything going on onstage has to match up perfectly with our pantomime backstage! It makes for the most hilarious situations, and by the end of rehearsals what was originally the hardest part of the play ended up being our favorite.” Director Helena Fifer hired a professional stuntman to teach the cast how to fall down stairs, flip over couches and accidentally hit each other. “The script calls for so much physicality,” says Rebecca Karabus ’14, “and we had so much fun learning how to be funny with our bodies as well as with our words!” “There is no question,” adds Fifer, “that ‘it took a village’ to perfect Noises Off but we think it has been worth all of the fuss.” The cast included Max Flath ’13, Gaines Semler ’15, Vienna Kaylan ’15, Sebastian LaPointe ’14, Cassie Willson ’13, Rebecca Karabus ’14, Aidan Gorman ’14, Tommy Robertshaw ’14, Simmons Gaines ’15 and Maggie Luddy ’16. Set design was by Sean Fanning, costumes by Susan Becker Aziz, lights by Blake Joblin ’13 and sound by David Kievit. —Vienna Kaylan ’15, Taft Papyrus
h Gaines Semler ’15, Simmons Gaines ’15 and Vienna Kaylan ’15 perform the play within the play, Noises Off. Peter Frew ’75
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around the POND Robert Falcetti
NYBG On Wednesday, February 27, five Taft seniors traveled to the New York Botanical Gardens for an exclusive tour of the beautiful conservatory and the cutting-edge molecular biology laboratory. These students are enrolled in a new course, Post-AP Biology, which is designed to expose graduates of AP Biology to the process of designing and carrying out scientific research. The students received a tour of the conservatory buildings from Dr. Scott Mori, a research biologist with the NYBG who has become a wonderful resource for Taft. The NYBG’s famous orchid display was set to begin in early March, so the students got to see some of these amazing flowers up close, with the benefit of Dr. Mori’s expert commentary. After traveling through the many ecosystems modeled in the conservatory, the students proceeded to the molecular biology facility, where they were greeted by Dr. Amy Litt, another scientist at the NYBG. The students were able to see a modern, well-equipped lab facility in action. They marveled at the scanning electron microscope and the fascinating images of pollen grains it captured. They also observed graduate students performing some of the same lab techniques that they had been learning to perform themselves. The trip culminated in a lively discussion with Dr. Litt, as she mentioned a new scientific approach, DNA barcoding, that had just been covered in their class.
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Wisdom of Solomon When he was 17, author and journalist Normon Solomon walked through a tent city on the Mall in Washington, D.C., called Resurrection City, part of the Poor People’s Campaign—a 1968 effort organized by Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “There had been a lot of rain,” Solomon recalled for the audience. “We were at a cusp of history. At a time when the federal government was spending huge amounts of money for a war in Southeast Asia, they would later come and bulldoze the city. Here in 2013, we have an opportunity anew to resurrect our faith and our hope. Not faith in any narrow sectarian sense—we need faith in democracy and the essential hope that together we can create a much better world for the future.” Solomon is a journalist, media critic and antiwar activist. He is a longtime associate of the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), and in 1997, he founded the Institute for Public Accuracy, which works to provide alternative sources for journalists, and served as its executive
director until 2010. The Los Angeles Times called him “a formidable thinker and activist.” His latest book is Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State. He is also the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, Target: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You, Target Iraq” “Wizards of Media Oz: Behind the Curtain of Mainstream News,” “The Trouble With Dilbert: How Corporate Culture Gets the Last Laugh,” “False Hope: The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Era,” “The Power of Babble: The Politician’s Dictionary of Buzzwords and Doubletalk for Every Occasion,” and “Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Radiation.” A collection of Solomon’s columns won the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language. He has appeared on PBS NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, C-SPAN and NPR’s Marketplace, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation.
Sustainable Mark W. Potter Gallery Photographers Dan Mead, a former educator turned psychotherapist, and his wife, Sally Eagle, entrepreneur and the first executive director of the BerkshireTaconic Community Foundation, first photographed their travels for personal enjoyment, and subsequently to document them for family and friends. Over the past 35 years, the process of editing and selecting photographs to be viewed by others enticed them to focus more intently on vividly capturing the essence of the landscapes, the wildlife and the cultures they encountered and the scenes they witnessed. Since the advent of digital photography, they have had the opportunity to both travel extensively and to study with and learn from some of the leading landscape and wildlife photographers in the country, including David Muensch, Jack Dykinga and John Shaw. In 2008, they began exhibiting their work in schools and communities in the Northeast. Visit www.meadeaglephotos.com for more information.
h Chinstrap Penguin, Antarctic Peninsula, 2009, 20x30 digital print. Mead Eagle Photography
around the POND
Celebrating Civil Rights
h Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 with MLK Day panelists Holly Donaldson ’07, Donald Molosi ’05, Ashley Barronette ’07 and Mike Rubin’74. Peter Frew ’75
Among the highlights of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration was an alumni panel on Sunday night, focused on service and featuring Ashley Barronette ’07, Holly Donaldson ’07, Donald Molosi ’05 and Mike Rubin ’74. In his introduction, Headmaster Willy MacMullen posed the question,
Inauguration The presidential inauguration was the driving force that inspired 70 Taft students to visit the Capitol in January and celebrate the swearing in of Barack Obama for his second term. The visit, though, started off with an afternoon spent at Mount Vernon, thanks in part to Curt Viebarnz (P’11,’12,’14). There, students enjoyed a tour of the property and a special lecture from George Washington University Professor David Brunsman, who discussed the significance of George Washington’s election. Over the course of three days, students also visited numerous national monuments, the Manassas Civil War Battlefield and the Newseum.
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“Do you think a good life is one that is marked by serving others?” Remarking on the school’s motto of service, he added “We are a school that is interested in understanding the past, in asking difficult questions, in committing to service, in trying to ensure that justice is shared evenly—in preparing you to be
a global citizen and leader, and just a good person. This is our work. It’s a different day, but it’s just another day at Taft.” The celebration continued with the now traditional Prayer Breakfast on Monday morning. Acting Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick, the first African American to head the department, served as the keynote speaker. This was followed by an all-school gathering in Bingham, where Steven Tejada performed excerpts from his remarkable one-man show, Boogie Down Journey. From there, some students headed to the gym to welcome middle-school students from the local area in the Young Heroes Program. Others headed to class to watch civil rights-themed films for the remainder of the morning. The school reassembled in the afternoon for the multicultural arts celebration of Taft’s Beloved Community. Visit www.taftschool.org/news to watch videos of the various events.
For more on the winter season, please visit www.taftsports.com.
winter SPORT wrap-up By steve Palmer
Wrestling 13–8 Blessed with excellent senior leadership, this year’s squad earned the most victories in quite a few years. Tri-captain Will Pope ’13 was the heart and soul of the team and finished with 20 wins and 6th place in New England at 195 pounds. Undefeated in the regular season, tri-captain Adam Parker ’13 took 5th in New England at 220 pounds. The weather-forced cancellation of the league tournament, to be held at Taft, was a blow to the Rhinos, who were poised to do quite well. High seeds in that tournament included tricaptain John Davidge ’13 and Jeff Kratky ’13. Newcomer David Wolff ’13 finished the season with a flourish and took 7th in New England at 285 pounds.
Boys’ Basketball 18–5 New England Quarterfinalists
h Co-captain Kade Kager powers the boys’ basketball team to an 18–4 regular season and team’s 9th postseason appearance in 11 years. Peter Frew ’75
Taft won 16 of its last 18 games to finish the regular season with an 18–4 record and qualify for the Class A New England basketball tournament. This marked the 9th postseason appearance in the past eleven years for the program. Although the Rhinos fell to Trinity Pawling in OT in the quarterfinals, this team will go down as one of the most successful in school history. Co–captains Tim Drakeley ’13 and Kade Kager ’13 led a talented group of eight seniors and together were honored with James Painter Logan Memorial Trophy. Senior forward Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 15
Risley Sports Photography
Maggie O’Neil ’13
Joey Flannery averaged 19.8 points per game and shot a blistering 46.3 percent from three-point range for the season. As a result, Flannery was named the TriState League’s most outstanding player. Kager and Flannery were also named to the All-New England Class A team, while Quinton Dale, Shawn Strickland and Kager were named to the Tri-State All-League second team. During a 7-day period in February, the team was forced to play four road games due to postponements and came away with four victories at Avon (74–64), Salisbury (61–58), Kent (62–49) and Loomis (70–50). The victory at Salisbury, the defending NE champions, was the crowning accomplishment of a tremendous season. The team will be left in good hands with Shawn Strickland ’14 and Hadley Stone ’14 as co-captains for next season.
Girls’ Basketball 12–9
wins were against teams to which the Rhinos had previously lost: Loomis (58–53), Kent (63–40), Berkshire (48–34) and Hotchkiss (58–50). The squad’s improvement was due to greater commitment to defense, adjustments made by post players Rylie Mainville ’14 and Chelsea Robinson ’15, and the allaround play and leadership of tri-captains Morgan Manz ’13 and Maggie O’Neil ’13. The Big Red’s strong second half of the season led to its qualifying for the third straight year for the Class A New England tournament, where it lost to a talented Rivers team. Manz (13.5 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals per game), who will play at Quinnipiac next year, and O’Neil (7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals per game), who will play at Swarthmore, were named both Founders League and Class A New England All-Stars. Starting guard Dominique Moise ’14 (5.7 points per game) was elected captain.
New England Quarterfinalists
Girls’ Squash 11–5
The Rhinos stood at 2–7 in mid-January and then lost tri-captain Katie Harpin ’13 to a season-ending injury. Yet, from this low point, Taft rebounded and won ten of its last 11 games. Four of those
With a strong lineup top to bottom, Taft went undefeated in the Founders League to capture its 5th consecutive league title. Key wins during the regular season came
16 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013
Founders League Champions
against Exeter (6–1), Hotchkiss (6–1) and Westminster (6–1). At the New England Tournament to close the season, top returner and co-captain Sue Ann Yong ’14 played powerful squash to finish in third place and lead Taft to 5th place, just points behind a powerful Groton team. Elle Carroll ’16 (#4) and co-captain Isabel Stack ’14 (#5) both finished 4th in their respective draws, while Bella Jones ’15 took an impressive 3rd place at #6. Maggie O’Neill ’14 was a strong #2 all season, and Eliza Dunham ’16 (#3), Sarah Cassady ’13 (#7) and Pensiri Naviroj ’15 (#8) rounded out Taft’s formidable lineup. Though the National Championship Tournament was cancelled due to the major winter storm in January, Taft had earned a #5 seed among high schools across the country.
Boys’ Squash 13–3 Founders League Cochampions
At 13–3, the team had a strong season after losing four of the top players from last year’s team. With three new middlers in the line-up, Taft raced out to a 9–0 record and a #4 ranking in the U.S., thanks to sharp and convincing wins over Rye Country Day (7–0) and Choate (5–0). A 1–6 loss to Brunswick as well as the cancellation of the U.S. High School Nationals put a damper on the mid-season but did not prevent the team from sharing the Founders League Title. Senior captain Andrew Cadienhead put an exclamation point on his outstanding four-year career with a 3–1 victory over champion Brunswick’s #2 player at the New Englands to secure a 3rd-place finish. Taft’s #1 all year, Atticus Kelly ’14 finished a very strong 4th at New Englands, and captain-elect Jake Lord ’14 and Brandon Salvatore ’15 both won the consolation bracket in their respective fields to secure 5th place for the team overall. This young but talented team will return six of eight players next year.
Skiing Taft’s 2nd place finish out of the 15 teams at the Class B New England championships marks this squad as the strongest in program history. The Rhinos possessed a formidable 1–2 combination in both the boys’ and girls’ fields. Eli Cooper ’14 was nearly undefeated on the season and won both the slalom and giant slalom individual titles at the New Englands. Henry Conlon ’15 was right behind, with a 2nd place slalom finish and an 11th place in the GS. Throughout the season Captain Kramer Peterson ’13 was a strong third man and finished 18th out of 70 New England racers. For the girls, Sarah Reilly ’14 was exceptional, winning the slalom and placing 2nd in the GS out of the 60-plus skiers. She was closely followed all winter by Captain Karlea Peterson ’14, who was 3rd (SL) and 5th (GS) at the championship races.
Girls’ Hockey 8–12 Taft got off to a 4–0 start before dropping six one-goal losses in the next ten games. In fact, playing solid team hockey all season, the Rhinos ended up in 12 one-goal games, often against the topranked teams in New England, and that
h Captain Andrew
Peter Frew ’75
was the story of this season. Perhaps the best of those games was a wild 3–4 loss to #3 ranked Westminster that saw three goals in the last 90 seconds. Key wins for Taft came against Deerfield (5–0), behind four goals by Rachel Muskin ’14, and Kent (5–4) behind uppermiddler Katherine Roznik’s four goals. Linemates Roznik and Muskin worked well together all winter and led the team in scoring. In an exciting finale, All-Founders League goalie Colleen Marcik ’13 tallied over 30 saves to finish her great threeyear career with an inspiring 2–1 win
2012–13 WINTER ATHLETIC AWARD WINNERS The Patsy Odden Hockey Award-----------------------Kathleen C. McLaughlin ’13 The John L. Wynne Wrestling Award----------------------------William C. Pope ’13 The Harry F. Hitch Wrestling Award-----------------------George Adam Parker ’13 The Boys’ Squash Award---------------------------------- Andrew O. Cadienhead ’13 The 1986 Girls’ Squash Award--------------------------------Margaret N. O’Neill ’14 The Girls’ Ski Racing Award------------------------------------------ Sarah T. Reilly ’14 The Boys’ Ski Racing Award------------Eli H. Cooper ’15, S. Kramer Peterson ’13 The Coach’s Hockey Award--------------------------------------- Charles T. South ’13 Angier Hockey Trophy--------------------------------------------- Albert B. Nejmeh ’13 James Paynter Logan Memorial Basketball Trophy------Timothy S. Drakeley Jr ’13 Kade G. Kager ’13 1978 Girls’ Varsity Basketball Cup----------------------------Kathryn M. Harpin ’13 Morgan G. Manz ’13, Margaret E. O’Neil ’13
over Hotchkiss. Throughout the season, Audrey Quirk ’14, Athena Wilkinson ’15 and Sierra Hannough ’14 were multitalented defenders who made up for the injury loss of All-League player Lynndy Smith ’13. Captain Katie McLaughlin ’13 was a force at both ends of the ice, while Victoria Gordon ’15 and Rachael Alberti ’15 were the team’s most aggressive forwards.
Boys’ Hockey 11–10–2 The 2013 Rhinos, comprised of 13 seniors, were 4–6–1 in the first half of the season, losing three one-goal games. Taft then went 7–4–1 for the second half, with huge victories over Deerfield (5–3), New England finalist Kent (4–2), and Hotchkiss, twice (3–1, 6–1). The team’s leading scorers were All-New England Selection Andrew Gaus ’14, who tallied 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points, and fellow Founders League All-Star Cole Maier ’14, who finished with 11 goals and 11 assists. Throughout the season, the team was led by captain and Angier Award winner Al Nejmeh ’13, while three-year varsity letter winner Chas South ’13 earned the Coaches’ Award for his play on defense. Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 17
Com mo n
R e ar A d m i ra l Cindy Thebaud ’81 on Service and L e a d e rs h i p, i n P u rs u i t o f P e ac e B y Bra d y D e n n i s
A s C i n d y T h e b a u d ’ 8 1 moves through the first floor of her two-story colonial house a few miles from the Potomac River, in Alexandria, Virginia, the walls around her tell the story of a life lived fully, on land and at sea. She is surrounded by reminders of the missions she has undertaken against pirates and drug runners and potential U.S. enemies, of the fellow sailors whose careers she has helped to shape, of the people she has encountered and the lives she has touched from Haiti to the Horn of Africa. “They all have stories,” she says, gazing around her living room on a recent winter afternoon. “I’ve had an opportunity to do some pretty neat and unusual things.” On the shelves nearby sit wooden elephants from Gabon, a carved lion from Cameroon and trinkets given to her by the Senegalese Navy’s chief of staff, as well as from counterparts in other navies. Elegantly carved figurines of African women stand near a front window. “The tall lady was a small token from the mother of a tribal chief in Ghana,” Thebaud says. “She was 92 years old—quite an amazing person.” On one wall hangs a colorful plate she bought during her time stationed in Naples, Italy. Other walls hold pictures of the 26-foot boat she first
sailed on with her family as a girl in Connecticut, as well as a 44foot, custom-designed sailboat that she and her Navy classmates raced on in the Chesapeake Bay. There’s a bowl she bought in Taiwan, a desk from the Philippines. Together, the keepsakes tell the deeper story behind Rear Admiral (select) Cindy Thebaud’s impressive résumé: Graduating with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985. A master’s degree from the George Washington University. Honors graduate of the Naval War College. Service on ships in the Atlantic and the Pacific fleets, with missions in every corner of the globe. The second woman to serve as a commanding officer on a Navy destroyer. Two deployments focused on increasing maritime security in west and central Africa. Stints in Washington working to support the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including as a Taiwan desk officer and as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. The list goes on and on. The objects also offer another insight that no piece of paper quite can: While she has spent her days in the armed forces, much of her work has been decidedly humanitarian—even the motto for the detroyer she commanded, the USS Decatur, was “In Pursuit of Peace.” Which makes Thebaud an ideal recipient of this year’s Horace D. Taft Medal, the school’s highest alumni honor, given each to a person who has consistently gone beyond the call of duty to serve others. On the eve of receiving that honor, Thebaud sat down with the Bulletin to talk about how she ended up in the Navy, what she has learned about leadership and what the future might hold. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation:
Photo by Jocelyn Augustino
At the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. When Thebaud is not aboard ship, she makes her home in Alexandria, Virginia.
G r o w i n g u p, w h at d r e w y o u t o sa i l i n g a n d t o t h e w at e r ?
My family grew up sailing. Some people have an RV and go out camping. We sailed. Weekends, we were either cruising or racing. That’s what we did for family vacations. I grew up sailing a lot in the summers on Long Island Sound. I sailed at Taft and had the opportunity to go to the Naval Academy to race in high school regattas. That was where I first really learned about the Naval Academy.
Ta l k a b i t a b o u t y o u r t i m e at T a f t . W h at d i d y o u ta k e away f r o m i t ?
As far as my parents were concerned, whatever you are interested in should drive whatever you want to do. Don’t be bound by the confines of perceptions. And I think Taft really reinforced that—to branch out, to develop a confidence in following your interests. It’s [also] a very regimented life. That was one of the ironies. When I got to Navy, it really wasn’t nearly the culture shock that a lot of my classmates had. My academic plebe year at Navy was easier than my academic senior year at Taft. It got you used to being out on your own, living on your own, responsible for your own time. Self-discipline.
W h at ar e s o m e o f t h e l e ss o n s t h at b e i n g i n t h e Na v y h as ta u g h t y o u o v e r t h e y e ars ?
One of the things that’s neat about the Navy is that it gives you a lot of responsibility at a very young age. When I was 23, I had 67 people working for me running the engineering department of a 49-year-old ship. You’re responsible for making sure that they’re all getting their work done and that the ship can get underway when it needs to and where it needs to go. It may not be a lot of fiscal responsibility, per se, like working on Wall Street. But you’re sailing in harm’s way and being prepared to go out and do whatever the country asks you to do. One of the other things that’s unique about military service is that, as a leader, you have responsibility for your people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, if somebody has family issues or personal issues, you are coach and counselor. In some ways, it’s probably akin to being a teacher at Taft.
With family of the local Paramout chief in Sekondi, Ghana, aboard USS Nashville.
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W h at c o n c l u s i o n s have you come to a b o u t w h at a good leader is and does?
A vision of what your organization’s mission is and where you are trying to take it. How the people underpin and support that. In particular, with the military, building the esprit de corps and the camaraderie of doing things we may not want to do or that we may not necessarily understand, but moving that unit forward as a whole.
Ha v e y o u e n j o y e d the challenges of being in positions o f l e a d e rs h i p ?
Absolutely. One of the big things in the military is the “covenant leadership” you have of serving the people who work for you. As a unit commander in the military, you have a moral and ethical obligation to be responsible for the people that work for you. It’s not just doing your functional day job. As a commanding officer in the military, you’re charged in addition with the personal and professional development of your people. It’s an opportunity to serve your country and other people in an unusual and dynamic and challenging way. And you learn a lot about yourself in the process. I was so surprised when I got the call about this [alumni] award. I see my time in the Navy as more of a vocation because it’s what I’ve been trained to do. But then I turn around and think, Well, if I wasn’t doing this, what else would I be doing instead? And I really don’t know. One of the reasons I’ve stayed in the Navy is it is service and it reflects Taft’s motto: “Not to be served, but to serve.”
G e o gra p h i ca l l y, w h e r e ar e s o m e o f t h e p l ac e s t h e Na v y h as ta k e n y o u ?
I have been to every continent except Antarctica. I have been stationed on both the East and West coasts—Norfolk, Va., San Diego, Washington, D.C. I was director of professional development at the Naval Academy … and have been in ports around the world, Guam, the Middle East, Philippines, Singapore, the Mediterranean, Israel, France, Spain, Greece, West Africa from Senegal to Angola. When I was executive officer on the cruiser, we were based out of Pascagoula, Miss., which was a whole new culture for me. While on that ship, amongst other things, we went into Haiti to conduct some community support and outreach. I was also there in 2010 with my African deployment staff as part of the earthquake relief effort. That’s why they say, “Join the Navy and see the world.”
You’ve had many m i ss i o n s a n d m a n y ass i g n m e n ts o v e r t h e y e ars . Is t h e r e o n e t h at r e a l l y st u c k w i t h y o u o r t h at w as r e a l l y f o r m at i v e ?
There are several. [But] being in command of a ship is an awesome opportunity. We were over in the Middle East in late 2003, into 2004, not too long after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. You have to be ready all the time. There’s uncertainty in the environment you’re going into, and you have a warship that’s trained to put ordnance on target if that’s what we’re called to do. We hope world events don’t require that of us, but know that if the country calls, it’s part of what you’re going to do.
H o w h as t h e Na v y i ts e l f e v o l v e d o v e r t h e y e ars ?
The biggest thing for me, personally, is Women at Sea. When I was commissioned in 1985, fewer than 20 of more than 1,000 new Surface Warfare ensigns we sent to ships were women. And, it was just a handful of auxiliary support ships we could go to. In 1994, the combat exclusion law changed, and opportunities began to open markedly. Now, virtually every ship in the Navy is open to women, and about a quarter to a third of our new shipboard officers each year are women. We've had women commanding officers of both ships and aircraft squadrons, and indeed of an entire carrier strike group. In the last two years, women also started serving in submarines… all things that were wild pipedreams when I came in. It truly has been a sea change! But, we are also down to a Navy that’s about 285 ships, from nearly 600 when I started. We still maintain a global presence, but with fewer ships. The capabilities of each individual ship have grown, and the expertise of our people has evolved with the technology. The capability of our young sailors is amazing. Virtually all our enlisted personnel have high school educations, and many have undergraduate or master’s degrees. So we have a very, very educated force compared to when I first came in. Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 21
A t n e ar l y e v e r y stag e o f y o u r car e e r , y o u h a v e been one of few w o m e n t o cr o ss t h at p art i c u l ar threshold. How m u c h h as t h at m att e r e d t o y o u ?
Although I’m just doing what everybody else in the Navy is, it is unique to have generally been in the minority. When I went through the schooling to be a department head, to be an engineer officer, I was the only female in a group of 67 officers. So it can be isolating. People say, “What was it like to be the first or second female commanding officer of a surface combatant [ship]?” And I say, “What it’s like to be a commanding officer.” I grew up in that community. I had commensurate operational background and experience to my male peers. Sure, there were challenges, but all commanding officers have challenges! There was a young man who was working for me when I was engineer on the destroyer. He was leaving, and he said, “Ma’am, I just really want to thank you. Where I come from, the men work in the garages and warehouses and the plant, and the women work in the beauty salons and the supermarkets. And never the two shall meet. When I heard we had a female coming in as our chief engineer, I thought, Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen? You proved that we’re all working with a common mission and a common objective.”
Is i t i m p o rta n t to you to have set an example for other women coming along?
It is. I’m extremely indebted to those who went before me and set the stage for all I’ve been able to do, and I hope I can do the same for those following in my wake. When I first came in there was no path to command for the women who were officers at sea. We sort of intuitively knew these were some very talented ladies—things would have to evolve and change. And they did. And it’s been a good thing.
I’m curious about y o u r l i f e away f r o m t h e Na v y. W h o is Cindy Thebaud when she’s not R e ar A d m i ra l T h e b a u d ? W h o ar e you when you’re out of uniform?
My sports passions were skiing and sailing, and unfortunately, I don’t spend nearly as much time as I would like to with either of those, because the Navy does keep you pretty busy. For a while, I was running quite a bit. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon a number of years ago. Following [a bout with] breast cancer [in 2005], I also got involved in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, which is a two-day, 40-mile fundraising effort to help with cancer research as well as making services available to people in need locally. When I’ve been stateside, I’ve done a number of those walks. I tend to look for causes like that. I also enjoy singing. I sang in glee club at the Naval Academy. So, when I’m in a place where I’m there for long enough and I’m not bouncing all over, I tend to sing in church choir. One of my personal challenges is that every time I go into a job in the Navy, it’s something new. So I have this perpetual steep learning curve everywhere I go. I spend a lot of time reading, trying to get smarter on all the aspects of it. We have this euphemism, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” [Laughs]
In a previous i n t e r v i e w, y o u ta l k e d a b o u t p o ss i b l y r e t i r i n g f r o m t h e m i l i tar y b y 2005. Why have you c h o s e n t o sta y o n ?
It had to do with the continued opportunities that kept coming up. I’ll have to move on at some point, but the Navy has kept making terrific opportunities available to me. My next ideal job would be to serve as a Strike Group commander, which would be an amazing, phenomenal opportunity, but that decision will be up to the Navy. Time will tell.
Speaking of r e t i r e m e n t, e v e n t u a l l y, W h at comes next?
22 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013
Good question. I haven’t figured out what I want to do when I grow up. [Laughs] It will be interesting to see what kind of turn that takes, whether it’s working with an NGO, working in some sort of international development, something in the maritime domain, something in the national security realm, or perhaps even back in education. My interests remain varied.
With VADM Harry Harris (commander, 6th Fleet), who presented Thebaud with the Legion of Merit award for her work as the Destroyer Squadron Commodore.
W h at w o u l d y o u sa y t o a n y st u d e n ts at Ta f t w h o m i g h t c o n s i d e r a car e e r i n t h e m i l i tar y ?
Service in the military really is a great opportunity—a very broad range of career fields, lots of high tech and leading-edge areas in which one can get involved, combined with superb leadership opportunities at a very junior level, challenging environments that force you to grow both personally and professionally, and, of course, the opportunity to serve our country and to work with really top-notch people from all walks of life. Personally, I figured I’d do my five years and get out. Heck, I figured I’d be doing well if I made it through all four years at the Naval Academy! What’s kept me around, though, is the unique opportunities I’ve had—both operationally and educationally, as well as the phenomenal people with whom I’ve been able to work. The breadth of responsibility that you gain as a young officer—I had no idea. I’ve always had a diverse range of interests, and that’s one of the things that’s been good for me in the military. It provides you an opportunity to either specialize in something if you want or to maintain a very diverse portfolio. Aside from service to country, service to others on a day-to-day basis is one of the tenets that’s very important. People tend to think of the military as an organization with a mission of killing people, but for most of us, that’s the last thing we want to do. Our job is to prevent wars, but if they do occur, to be able to prevail, and to defend our national interests. In the Navy, it’s about operating forward, building partnerships and relationships but being ready for whatever our country calls us to do.
You’re headed out to a twow e e k tra i n i n g conference in A f r i ca t o m o rr o w . Is p ac k i n g j u st s e c o n d n at u r e n o w ?
No. I don’t do civilian attire well, so I really have to think about that. [Laughs] I’m joking a bit, but if you don’t like to think about what you’re going to have to wear every day, go into the military! j
Brady Dennis is a staff writer for The Washington Post. For more on the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal, visit www.taftschool.org/alumni/merit.aspx. Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 23
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
At the heart of any school is its dining— and at Taft it’s all about heart. by Jennifer A. Clement / photography by Robert Falcetti It’s 7 a.m., and lower schoolers slowly start to drift in to Laube Dining Hall and scratch their names off the sign-in list. But as hard as it might be to pull themselves out of bed at this hour, the rewards that await them are worth it. The oversized bagels are from Ami’s Bakery in Waterbury, which were written up in Connecticut Magazine. On Thursdays, there are homemade cider doughnuts from Dottie’s in Woodbury. Every morning, students are treated to a fruit and yogurt bar brimming with fresh-cut honeydew and cantaloupe. “You should see the pineapple,” said Chef Jerry Reveron. Oatmeal with fresh blueberries and honey comes highly recommended. “Breakfast is so important. It makes a kid’s day. It really does.” This spring marks the third anniversary of the new Moorhead Wing, which houses the new Laube and Prentice dining halls, the newly renovated east dining hall and an expansive underground kitchen. Geographically and socially, this complex serves as the heart of the Taft campus. At its center is Reveron, awarding-winning chef and director of Food Services. Reveron’s passion for and knowledge of food are reflected in the tremendous variety and quality of the dishes on offer daily—from Carnegie Deli-inspired sandwiches to a sit-down dinner of
“ You live here, you get educated, you eat. And if you don’t get the food part right, it makes for a bad day in the classroom.” Chicken Marbella, studded with apricots, currants and golden raisins, for 1,300 on Parents Weekend. Since 2009, Reveron has overseen and managed every aspect of food services at Taft and, by his own account, spends quite a bit of time in the kitchen. But he does not allow himself to be confined by it. Rather, his enthusiasm for sharing a great meal seems to bubble over, whether he is teaching cooking classes for faculty, advising seniors on food-related projects, leading alumni on tours of a local dairy farm, or immersing himself and his students in regional cuisine, as he did last June for the “Living the Arts in Italy” adventure. “It has to be about the food,” Reveron said in late February during an interview in his office, which has a small window overlooking the Servery, the school’s mealtime hub. Food, he asserted, essentially accounts for one-third of the student experience at boarding school. “You live here, you get educated, you eat. And if you don’t get the food part right, it makes for a bad day in the classroom.” To ensure that students have a good day in the classroom every day, nutrition is paramount in meal planning. The school employs a full-time nutritionist who is available for one-on-one consultations for students with special dietary needs or restrictions. Students are quick to point out that the Servery offers lactose-free milk and a gluten-free station with everything from pizza and pasta to cupcakes. Food service at the school is also nut-free, with the exception of peanut butter at the sandwich station. All meals are prepared with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients. The marinara sauce is made from scratch, and 90 percent of all baked goods are made on the premises. “We whip our own butter and cream cheese, peel our own carrots and onions,” Reveron said, leading a tour through walk-in coolers filled with fresh produce and a station where the pastry chef was frosting a fresh carrot cake. Taft also keeps pace with the farm-to-table movement, sourcing an increasing number of items locally. The milk and ice cream, for example, come from Litchfield’s
“ It’s a new adventure every day.”
“We whip our own butter and cream cheese, peel our own carrots and onions,”
Arethusa Farm, which students know is branded as “milk like it used to taste.” Apples are picked seasonally at March Farms in nearby Bethlehem, and the all-natural beef, pork and poultry come from Roxbury’s Greyledge Farms. Lunch is by far the main event, with 900 students, faculty and staff filling the dining halls on an average day. “That’s where all the action is,” Reveron said. From the brickoven pizza to the rainbow-studded salad bar to the “action station,” where menu items such as uber-trendy noodle bowls are prepared to order, the choices are dazzling. “It’s a new adventure every day,” said Gaby Fabre ’13, who describes how she and her friends determine what to have for lunch each day. “We scope the entire cafeteria before beginning the selection process, which also takes a while.” Here, even a salad can become a complex and artful undertaking. “For such a long time salad was really boring to me,” said Fabre, who professed that she now enjoys taking time to construct a salad each day and recently discovered that sunflower seeds make a great topping. “You improvise every day. It’s healthy, and you have a lot of options. Even today, you have the option of regular salad and the special salad,” she said as she tucked into both—a vegetable-pasta salad made with tri-color tortellini, and a small garden salad of her own design. Adhering to a long-standing Taft tradition, Fabre was sharing her lunch period with her adviser, Dean of Faculty Chris Torino. She follows this same routine every Thursday. For them and other students, the shared meal provides a chance to catch up on the week. Other times, Fabre dines with friends and teammates. “At Taft you don’t have one or two friends, you have 16 of them,” she said. “I play on a hockey team. When we have dinner, it’s a very long process.” “The dining hall is a really nice place to relax,” agrees Cassie Willson ’13, who is a
by the Numbers
900 600 700 125 5 1,000 150 500
Lunches served on an average day Average breakfast or dinner service Seating for a sit-down dinner Pizzas served at lunch daily
Minutes to produce 5 brick-oven pizzas Pounds of pasta made weekly
Gallons of fresh marinara sauce cooked per week Cookies baked at once in the convection oven
Minutes to bake all 500 cookies
fan of the wheatberry salad and blackened tilapia. “I’m not a fish person,” she added, “but this fish is really good.” Willson is also intimately familiar with the dining hall scene, having eaten here “since the age of two.” A faculty kid, she has witnessed the changes in both food and facilities, but one thing that remains the same is the experience of sharing food with friends. “We tend to sit here for a really long time. That’s when we socialize. People come and go,” she said. “We’ll sit here for two hours.” A highly unscientific survey of Taft students’ favorite foods revealed that homemade potato chips, rotisserie chicken and “fro-yo” bar are popular, along with the “Tour of Italy” pasta dinner. Cole Maier ’14 said the cheeseburgers, steak strips, mashed potatoes and chicken parmesan top his list of Taft favorites, while Andrew Cadienhead ’13 said he would most miss the buffalo chicken tenders after graduation—and the double chocolate chip cookies. The biggest hit, however, seemed to be Reveron’s “Top Chef ” inspired competitions, such as this winter’s Chili Cook-Off and Chowderfest. “They all compete,” said Torino of the chefs, noting that students and faculty are asked to vote for their favorites—and the competition is fierce. “This isn’t like, ‘I’m serving your food.’ His chefs were calling out, ‘Vote Number 3!’ They were all peer pressuring.” “It’s great what he’s doing with this and his team,” Torino said, adding, “No dining hall has ever felt that way to me. Everything is exceptional.” The cook-offs are just one example of Reveron’s passion for culinary excellence, which also is evident in the trophies and medals that have accumulated in his office. In 2012, Reveron earned his National Pro Chef Level II certification from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He was one of seven Aramark chefs in the country to take the exam, with only five earning this certification. He received an American Culinary Federation Gold Medal in the 2012
“Everything is exceptional.”
Aramark Culinary Excellence Competition, in which 150 chefs from around the country compete, along with ACE Silver Medals in 2011 and 2012. “It says to me that I must be doing the right things,” Reveron said of his achievements, but he is even prouder of what he has accomplished with the food service program at Taft. “It’s all about making sure the students get the best meal. I’ve toured a lot of boarding schools in the Northeast. I think we have the best program, and I’m not just saying that. We really set the benchmark for what boarding schools should be. We’re always reinventing ourselves.” Reveron was thrilled when several parents emailed to request his Chicken Marbella recipe from Parents’ Weekend. He recalled a sign at a colleague’s restaurant. “It said, ‘Beyond this door walks passion.’ That’s so powerful,” Reveron said. “I thought, Here’s a guy who loves food—lives it. I really see that here.” Alongside his awards, Reveron keeps photographs of his students and experiences at Taft. Several are from the 20-day tour of Italy, where the Collegium Musicum performed and students took classes in Italian, drawing, photography and, of course, cooking. “It was the first time a chef was involved. It was just a great time,” Reveron said, recalling that they visited local farms for cheese and herbs, learned how to cure prosciutto and siphoned olive oil from huge vats. The reception they received in the town of Faicchio, in the Campania region, was overwhelming. “This town took us in,” Reveron said, recalling one evening spent dining al fresco in the homes of local townspeople. “Everything was magical. It was one of the biggest highlights of my career as a chef. We’re doing it again in 2014. I can’t wait.” Jennifer Clement is a freelance writer who has been living and working in Litchfield County for nearly 20 years.
Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 29
Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com
V eteran American expatriate Jennifer Buttenheim Eremeeva ’84 is a writer, photographer, Russian historian, blogger, and humor and cooking columnist based in Moscow. In addition to Russia Lite, Jennifer is the creator and curator of The Moscovore. Calling Moscow home for the past 20 years, she always tries to find the funnier side of life in Russia. Here’s one of the great unsolved mysteries of the universe: Why does the alumni magazine get through the floundering Russian postal system with a regularity you can set your clock by, but the New Yorker almost never appears? Still, I give the Class Notes a summary glance before I consign the magazine to the trash. The Class of 1984 seems to be doing well. Many of my classmates are approaching the zeniths of their professional lives—or at least those who write in are. The last time I submitted anything to the alumni magazine was back in my banking days—a picture of me “enjoying a joke at the Russian Economic Forum” with the Duke of York. I consider how I might update it without suggesting entropy: “Jennifer Buttenheim Eremeeva ’84 is still living Moscow, Russia, with her husband, HRH (Leningrad Officers’ Cadet School # 401, class of ’86) who is the Deputy CEO at A Difficult Start Up he’s asked her never to write about, and daughter Velvet, 12. Jennifer has abandoned attempts at working in Russia’s formal economy and is currently employed full-time as a domestic goddess.” I never set out to be a domestic goddess. I cannot even remember wanting to learn to cook, and I certainly never intended to become an expert on Russian food. Recently, like good domestic goddesses do, I held a massive clutter-bust and gave away all my corporate gear. Today my wardrobe consists of a different pair of yoga pants for each day of the week. Suddenly, I know how to make kvas—kvas of all things! I write a popular food blog about culinary adventures in the Russian capital.
Domestic Goddess of the Green Line Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 31
I photograph blini. Magazine editors from the United Arab Emirates inexplicably want my borscht recipe. Katya, my Russian emigré friend from New York, sent out an urgent all-points bulletin the other day on Facebook. “Friends,” she urged in two languages, “what is the correct culinary translation for ‘salo’?” I didn’t miss a beat. “Salt pork or lard,” I typed back automatically. No, I never planned to become a domestic goddess, but in two decades, Russia, it seems, has turned me into just that.
Goddess Incubator In 1992, I moved to Moscow to live with my boyfriend, whom I later married. I call him HRH, which I tell him stands for Handsome Russian Husband, but I sometimes alter it to mean Horrible Russian Husband. He calls me Petrovna, since my father’s name is Peter. Everyone should have a patronymic. “Marrying a Russian man,” people comment with surprise, “that’s unusual—normally it’s the other way round.” It is unusual. And here’s the other thing: It isn’t the same thing as when a foreign man marries a Russian woman. In fact, the only thing we have in common is that we name our daughters Sophia and our sons Alexander. Apart from that, it’s like comparing apples and gasoline stations. The foreign man—let’s call him Bill—who marries Natasha is welcomed into her family enthusiastically with open arms no matter what his age or circumstances. As long as Bill can chew gum and walk a straight line—a straight line to the embassy that is—to fill out the paperwork for a fiancé visa, he’s a member of the family now. “Molodets, Natasha!” (Atta girl!). Natasha moves into Bill’s well-appointed flat on the Pond, lowers her heels and tones down her fingernails. When Bill’s contract is up and he whisks Natasha off to Connecticut or Cumbria—that’s considered the logical next step, and a step up at that. Bill and Natasha have made an equitable exchange of commodities and look likely to live happily ever after. When we meet and fall in love with our HRH— let’s call him Boris—matters do not unfold quite so smoothly. We may be Bill’s equal on paper or in the boardroom, but we are leagues below him in the Russian marriage stakes. We tend to speak better Russian than Bill does, but never quite well enough 32 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013
for our Russian mothers-in-law. These tough-cookie Russian ladies, who are happy to grin idiotically at Bill, find it harder to discuss politics with us. Foreign daughters-in-law are suspicious creatures. We work. We eschew potatoes. We expect their sons—men brought up to believe they actually are the scions of some royal house—to help us unload the dishwasher. We are reckless with our health. We put ice in our drinks and air conditioning in our apartments. We sit on stone walls or metal chairs, thereby rotting our reproductive plumbing. We marry woefully late (around 28), which means that by the time we do get around to having children (30-35) we are way past any expectation of normal gestation or pregnancies. We expect Boris to be with us in the delivery room, rather than boozing it up at home with his friends. When we miraculously do give birth to Sophia and Alexander, we don’t automatically hand them off to the older generation. If career advancement isn’t obvious, we have to think strategically about whisking Boris back to Boston or Brixton, because it might not be a win-win. How have HRH and I have managed to avoid these pitfalls? Well, for one thing, he is the one who works in the cutthroat Russian formal economy while I stay at home and battle writer’s block in yoga pants. I can’t see it working the other way around. And, despite my mother-in-law’s worst fears, I have become a domestic goddess—exactly what most Russian men expect from their wives. When I moved to Russia, I didn’t know how to cook, but as I was female, the task naturally fell to me, just as gassing up the car did to him. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, right? My first culinary laboratory was a modest affair, located in Northern Butova (Southern Butova being then only a vague sketch on a drawing board), a charmless environ most expats only glimpse fleetingly on the way to Domodedovo Airport. HRH had his apartment and “propiska” (registration) there, so that is where we lived. Now I am glad we did. When Russians or those funny expats who have gone native start talking about overprivileged foreigners, I reel out a few well-honed anecdotes about our happy years in Northern Butova and that tends to shut them up. It was appropriate that our glasses outnumbered our plates, since there wasn’t much food in the mid-1990s. We lived on pasta alla carbonara, which I improvised using Rossiisky cheese and tinny-flavored faux ham. This was the first of many culinary revelations for HRH, who had hitherto only eaten pasta in “makaroni po flotsky,” a military staple.
His mother, up from Kiev for an awkward weekend, was appalled. “My son has forgotten what a potato is,” she wailed up and down the musical scale. She and I will never see eye to eye on matters culinary. As we geared up to become parents, HRH and I agreed that it was time to leave the Orange Line. I lobbied hard for the Green Line, to which I retain an affectionate affinity to this day. A big part of that was the Leningradsky farmers’ market, and once we moved within walking distance, Velvet and I became regulars. The market was full of sights, sounds and smells that cut through the gray gloom of a Moscow winter. More Mediterranean than Slavic in their outlook, the market vendors seemed glad to see us, or at least did a credible imitation of being so. Slowly but steadily, with fresh meat, produce, herbs and eggcups of pungent spices from the one-armed Uzbek spice merchant, I gained confidence in the kitchen. Recipes with unavailable or hard-to-find ingredients became irresistible puzzles to solve. Interest became passion. I made “plov” (pilaf), I made pesto, and I made apricot baby food for Velvet. I did a turkey. I contemplated attempting a whole suckling pig. I still do. Cooking gradually became therapy. There was so much I could not control about my life in Russia— the messy politics, the volatile economy, the traffic snarls and the disturbing rise of anti-foreign feeling. But in the kitchen, the food did exactly what I told it to. I needed no spravka (certificate) to fit the right blade in the food processor and mix lemon juice, mustard, vinegar and oil into vinaigrette. Things were straightforward in the kitchen: corruption, after all, when it happens in the kitchen, is easily dispatched down the disposal, its lingering smell eliminated with a few sprays of vinegar and water and a firm swipe of the counter. Becoming a domestic goddess is largely a question of trial and error, and my journey was full of both: the duck that a shifty poultry salesperson sold me without removing the quills, the strawberry sorbet that refused to freeze (strategically repurposed into daiquiris at the very last moment), and the Thanksgiving I tried to go to the St. Andrew’s Ball the night before and cook a meal for nine the next day. You can do one or the other, but not, I learned, both. An extended version of this essay first appeared in an anthology published by the Moscow Times and can be read on Jennifer’s blog: www.russialite.com. You can also check out more of her recipes at www.moscovore.com— culinary adventures in the Russian capital.
4–6 young beets, with their stems
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, mashed
3 large tomatoes seeded and diced
2 liters of beef, chicken or vegetable stock
300 grams of meat (lamb, pork, beef or a mixture of the three), cubed
1 cup of sauerkraut, coarsely chopped, retain the juice or “rasol” to add as a finisher
3 large carrots, julienned
Salt, pepper to taste
½ cup fresh dill
½ cup fresh parsley
Chopped fresh dill and scallions
Roast the beets in their skin, with their stems for 30–40 minutes in a 350°F/180°C oven. Let them cool, then peel the skin from the beets and cut them into small cubes. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, sauté the diced onions and mashed garlic until translucent. Add the diced and dried lamb, pork and beef, and brown gently.
4. Add the carrots, sauté briefly, and cook mixture, 5. 6. 7. 8.
covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the stock, beets, tomatoes and sauerkraut. Bring to a gentle boil. Simmer on low heat until the carrots are soft. Add rasol and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. When ready to serve, taste, correct seasoning with salt and pepper and add dill and parsley
9. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.
Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 33
tales of a TAFTIE
J. Irwin Miller, Class of 1927 Industrialist and Advocate for the Arts
SOURCES: “This is Irwin Miller,” Town & Country, July 1974 Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future, edited by Eeva-Lisa Pelkonen and Donald Albrecht “A New Concept of Beauty,” House & Garden, February 1959 Interview with Bradley Brooks, director of historic resources and assistant curator of American decorative arts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art “Is It Too Late for a Man of Honesty, High Purpose and Intelligence to Be Elected President of the United States in 1968?” by Steven V. Roberts, Esquire, October 1967 “J. Irwin Miller,” Indianapolis Star Magazine, Sept. 13, 1970
What successful Taftie, no longer living, would you like to see profiled in this space? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
J. Irwin Miller turned his family’s ailing company into an enterprise that supplied half of America’s diesel engines for trucks. But his reputation as a principled businessman is just one side of this multifaceted man. A white man from Indiana who leaned Republican but sometimes voted for Democrats, he was an early proponent of civil rights who helped organize the March on Washington and pulled his business out of South Africa during apartheid. A devout and scholarly Christian, he became the first layman to lead the powerful National Council on Churches and commonly read the New Testament in Greek. Miller also believed in the power of music; he played his Stradivarius regularly and expected his five children to practice daily for their piano lessons. He was a 20th-century Renaissance man. Yet for all Miller’s accomplishments, his most lasting legacy might be his support for the work of others—namely, forwardthinking architects. One giant in architecture, Kevin Roche, called him “the perfect client.” Roche was among those who owes part of his career to Miller’s vision for sanctioning architects to do what they do best and began his career as a protegé of master architect Eero Saarinen—a mid-century architect and industrial designer best known for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Miller’s respect for architecture began while he was an undergraduate at Yale. When he returned to Columbus, Indiana, after earning a master’s at Oxford, he persuaded his hometown church to think big and interview some enterprising architects. The church’s hire was Eliel Saarinen, father of Eero, who taught architecture at the University of Michigan. “In essence,” Miller explained to Town & Country in July 1974, “they said: We don’t know anything about modern architecture. But we do know something about people, and this is a great man. We’re willing to go wherever he might lead us, even though we might not like it, because we really trust this guy.’”
The First Christian Church became the first modern architecture showpiece in Columbus, but it was only the beginning. Saarinen brought with him his son, Eero, and one of his architecture students, Charles Eames, the man who would become a great mid-century furniture designer. At the soda fountain in downtown Columbus, Miller forged a friendship with the young men. More projects followed, with Miller’s vision, and often his funding, behind them. When Columbus was struggling to keep up with the public school building boom in the years following World War II, Miller encouraged the community to use talented, notable architects from a list he provided, and his company foundation paid the architects’ fees. Today, this city of 44,000 is home to more than 70 buildings and pieces of public art by internationally acclaimed architects such as I.M. Pei, the two Saarinens, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, Dale Chihuly and Henry Moore. Smithsonian magazine has called Columbus, a “veritable museum of modern architecture.” The American Institute of Architects ranks Columbus sixth in the nation for architectural innovation and design, right behind New York City and Washington, D.C. “When important buildings and important architects started flourishing in Columbus, it attracted attention to Columbus,” said Bradley Brooks, director of historic resources and assistant curator of American decorative arts at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. “It’s still an ordinary Indiana county seat town, but it’s concerned about design, architecture, planning. They think about things in ways that other cities their size only wish they could.” The city’s architectural pièce de résistance is Miller’s personal home, designed as a modern architecture marvel by his friend Eero Saarinen. Today, it is owned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which offers small group tours of the place where this Renaissance man once practiced violin and read the New Testament. j
Courtesy of Indianapolis Museum of Art
John Loengard//Time Life
By Amy Wimmer Schwarb
from the ARCHIVES
Search The Papyrus! Exciting news from the Archives! With the recent digitization of The Papyrus, thanks to a grant from The Hook Fund, a trove of Taft history is now accessible to the entire Taft community. The student newspaper, which was started in 1894, is now readable in full text and keyword searchable. That’s 1,913 issues. Issues from 1894 to 1988 are also available through the school website. Until now it has been a cumbersome process to research something in the printed Paps. From the Taft website, you can now quickly hone in on a decade and issue, look for a references to a person, event or subject, and find it highlighted in the text. The Pap is perhaps the resource in the Archives that best conveys the history of the school from the student perspective. It’s the first place to look for information on Taft lore and traditions, school life, contests in athletics and debate, which girls came to campus for a dance, how the gym was decorated, distinguished speakers, and news of faculty and student views about the school and the world, especially in times of war. There are even a few spoof issues. The paper and its editorials are very much a reflection of their times, from early editors chiding their fellow students’ behavior in the early issues, to their serious questioning of the value of a prep-school education and authority much later in the century (thanks to then Editor- in-Chief Steven Erlanger ’70, now Paris bureau chief at The New York Times!) www.taftschool.org/about/papyrus.aspx. —Alison Gilchrist, The Leslie D. Manning Archives
Taft Bulletin SPRING 2013 35
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