Summer 2012 Taft Bulletin

Page 1

Taft’s highest Honor Monsieur Denyer retires Team Gov A graduation secret Summer 2012

h Dechen Gyatotsang, Caitlin Kennedy, Connie Cheung, Yadira Ochoa, Sarah Nyquist, Zephaniarh Jacob, Cathy Chen, Mayra Arroyo and Clair Beltran celebrate on graduation day. Robert Falcetti

in this issue

Summer 2012


A Recipe for Success

122nd Commencement Remarks By Katherine G. Windsor


A Life of Quiet Dedication

Brian Denyer, the absolute team player, retires. By Bonnie Blackburn Penhollow ’84


For the Good Days

When Todd McGovern ’92 and Amanda Costanzo ’93 got married, life threw them a curve ball. By David McKay Wilson



Alumni Weekend Reunion memories in photographs By Robert Falcetti

2 From the Editor 3 Letters 3 Taft Trivia 4 Alumni Spotlight 12 Around the Pond 20 Sport 23 Annual Fund Report 46 Tales of a Taftie: Geoffrey T. Hellman ’24 47 From the Archives: Potter’s Hidden Clues

from the EDITOR When the Taft Annual came out this spring, on a page of reflections, my son Alex answered the question “Why did you come to Taft?” with: “Because it’s frowned upon to leave babies at the hospital.” Of my 24 years at Taft, these last four have been particularly memorable, watching him navigate the school in his own way. I have a newfound appreciation for my colleagues as they took him under their wings or inspired new interests. He was especially lucky to have experienced Latin class with Dick Cobb, to study jazz from T.J. Thompson for all four years, to have a devoted adviser in Ted Jewell for three years, and yes, to study math with his father, Al Reiff ’80 (which went far better than I expected). He had so many great teachers; my only regret is that there are so many others here he had yet to see in action. Four years did not feel long enough. Alex and classmate Eliza Davis (daughter of Rusty Davis and Linda Saarnijoki) were voted the seniors “most likely to leave last.” Indeed, both (and many other “fac brats” before them) have spent their whole lives here. I wonder how different campus will feel for me this fall, not just as an empty-nester (I adopted a puppy as a preventive measure) but also without that current parent lens. I suppose what I will gain is a greater sense of the young alumni perspective. That’s the thing about the Taft community. We may wear different labels—parent, alum, teacher, grandparent, volunteer—and often several at a time, but what rarely changes is our love of this school and the people who make it. What teachers inspired you at Taft? As always, I want to hear your stories. —Julie Reiff

Monsieur Denyer retires Team Gov A graduation secret Summer 2012

Our apologies to English teacher Jennifer Zaccara, whose name was cut off from the list of Taft Faculty who grade Advanced Placement exams for the College Board (“Test Makers, Test Graders,” spring 2012). Jennifer reads for the English Literature exam. Tom Goodale ’55 corrected the hockey record on page 76 of the spring issue (“Mays Rink: Taft’s D-I-Y Project”). The team also won the Housatonic League in the 1952–53 season, for a total of seven Taft titles. Thanks, Tom.


Taft on the Web

Find a friend’s address or look up back issues of the Bulletin at Visit us on your phone with our mobile-friendly site What happened at this afternoon’s game? Visit Don’t forget you can shop online at 800-995-8238 or 860-945-7736

Look up your classmates on the go! x

On the Cover

Taft’s highest Honor


v Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 congratulates board chairman Rod Moorhead ’62, who was honored with the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal on Alumni Weekend in May (see page 7). Robert Falcetti

2 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

Please recycle this Bulletin.

Summer 2012 Volume 82, Number 4 Bulletin Staff Director of Development: Chris Latham Editor: Julie Reiff Alumni Notes: Linda Beyus Design: Good Design, LLC Proofreader: Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Summer–May 15 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. 1-860-945-7777 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.


Bravo for Bayes

I was enthralled to read—in the spring edition of the Bulletin—of the interests and accomplishments of my friend Chris Bayes ’80, who played Rosencrantz to my Guildenstern (or was it his Guildenstern to my Rosencrantz?) in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead my senior year at Taft. As an actor, teacher and director, Chris is known and esteemed all across the country. It has been my own great good fortune to have seen his joyously inventive work as director of movement in The 39 Steps on Broadway and to track him as a venerated teacher at the Juilliard Drama Division, where I still have friends nearly 25 years after my own graduation from that wonderfully challenging theater school. Chris was an inspired and inspiring actor when we were at Taft, a kid who somehow took the craft as seriously as an adult but who could also still invent and play with the creative abandon of a little boy in a playroom. The theaters where he has worked—among them the Guthrie in Minneapolis and the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C.—are among the best in the world, and the fact that he has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University and Juilliard tells you all you need to know about his abiding talent and skills. It’s great news for the American theater, today and tomorrow, that Chris has kept up his ingenious, lively, animating commitment to it as a performer, director and teacher. I admire him in many ways—including the fact that, more than 30 years after we graduated from Taft, he can still grow his hair that long, that thick and that dark! —Tom Dunlop ’79

Theater Then

As a former head of drama at Taft, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the program has grown and expanded to include international exposure for the school. In my time, during the ’60s, I had to go into town to find women to play roles in what the Bulletin later referred to as “The Thinking Man’s Theater.” My first


Taft Trivia

How many Taft alumni and Taft faculty have gone on to become headmasters, or more reasonably, how many have we identified to date? We’ll even put your name in the prize drawing twice if you can add a name to our list! (Hint: we’ve added to the list since it appeared in the Bulletin, but you can find it on our website.) Send an email with your guess to Congratulations to Mark H. Herrlinger ’84, who correctly identified Mrs. Robert Black as the person who rented the original Taft School buildings to Horace Taft. production was The Miracle Worker, and I cast a local seventh grader as Helen Keller, and she got to meet Ms. Keller to learn how to do the alphabet in her hands. At the time, we even had designers from Yale come to do sets for a few plays and several of my tech crew went into the field professionally. —Richard Geldard I write to praise your fine work. I love the Bulletin! It is inspiring to read of the fine work of the school and of alumni. I am particularly interested and moved by the myriad ways you connect with the big world outside of Taft, Connecticut and the USA. As we become ever more global in business, religion, art and friendships, the learning and achievements of Taft alumni become ever more important. —Steve Chinlund ’51

Rink Memories

In response to your “From the Archives” article about Mays Rink I have the following recollection. As a new mid in the autumn of 1955 I arrived with a broken arm and was unable to participate in sports that season. When we returned from Thanksgiving vacation, my cast was off and I was raring to go. One Saturday evening we were given the option of watching a movie in the auditorium or going up to the rink to play hockey. I chose the latter. Having only modest skating skills I said I would play in goal. Big mistake! I was totally unaware of Taft’s prowess in hockey. Once I had the pads on I got in goal, only to see my life flash before my

eyes. Pucks were flying all around me and I soon headed for the “storm cellar.” That was my last visit to Mays Rink other than as a spectator. Never in my life have I ever seen a group of players during that period that appeared to be so above their opponents in talent. Old-timers will remember the names of Rusty Ingersoll, Roger Hartley, Chuck Voss, Bob Blanchard, Archie Salyards, Burt Lippa, John Beebe and so many, many others. Having the first artificial rink in the New England area gave Len Sargent a wonderful recruiting tool, and he did a marvelous job of mining talent in Duluth, Boston and Eastern Canada to produce a team with extraordinary skill. It was a joy to watch those very talented Taft players of the mid 1950s, many of whom were there because of Mays Rink and Len Sargent. —Jack Bulkley ’58

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

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 3

alumni Spotlight

By Julie Reiff

v In “Pavo,” choreographed by Tara Lee ’93, a dancer spreads paint onto her partner as they move— an offering of herself, literally and figuratively. Charlie McCullers , Dancer and choreographer Tara Lee has been with Atlanta Ballet for 16 seasons. Jonah Hooper

Pavo A dancer enters; she is covered in blue paint and represents the peacock in its fully realized form. She begins to spread the color onto her partner as they dance. It’s an act of love that transmutes the cycle of poisons in which the man is trapped. It’s an offering of herself, literally and figuratively. She shows him the way, but it’s his choice in the end. So begins “Pavo,” a new work for Atlanta Ballet choreographed by Tara Lee ’93, a principal dancer with the company, 4 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

that had its world premiere on the stage of the Alliance Theatre as part of the mixed program New Choreographic Voices. Pavo is Latin for peacock. Lee says she chose that name for its spiritual symbolism. The bird, while beautiful, with its surprising ability to digest poisonous snakes, serves as a metaphor for triumph over poisonous tendencies like anger or greed, a central theme of the performance. Peacocks are also known for their mad, agitated dancing before

rainstorms. In “Pavo,” dancers move restlessly in anticipation of a major change. As peacocks mate for life, the powerful simplicity of a pas de deux reflects the focused love of the couple Lee also performed in the show as part of choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Prayer of Touch.” “I love the work, and I knew that I could do both pieces,” Lee told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I knew that if I made myself frantic or frenzied, then it was

Reporting with Rather Caroline Noel Cooper ’92 traveled to Afghanistan last year as a producer with Dan Rather Reports, a weekly news magazine that airs on cable channel HDNet. She joined the show in 2007 after three years as an associate producer for 60 Minutes. “It was an opportunity to produce my own pieces,” says Cooper, “and in theory, I was going to travel less by focusing on Capitol Hill stories, although that never happened! Dan will be 81 in October but is showing no signs of slowing down.” Most recently, she and Dan traveled to the Middle East, where their team spent three days onboard the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson as it transited the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. “It was right when Iran threatened to retaliate against the oil boycott by closing down the Strait, and the United States was eager to show off its naval capabilities and its commitment to keeping the Strait open for the global traffic of oil and other exports.” On the way home, the team spent two days in Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based. “Bahrain is a safe haven in a turbulent area because the tiny kingdom

going to be too much. I could choose to approach it in a stressed-out way or I could choose to approach it in a joyful way. “I wanted to give back more to others,” she added. “But I wanted to stay in this world—to create, to perform, to work at the highest levels of artistry. Choreographing was a natural inclination for me and that was the ideal.” Lee also created characters Lootie and Goblin Queen in Twyla Tharp’s world premiere of The Princess and the Goblin last

h Caroline Noel Cooper ’92 with women training to be officers in the new Afghan Air Force.

allows the U.S. to keep its navy fleet there,” Cooper explains. “But it’s an uneasy relationship because the Sunnis in power have been cracking down on the Shia majority, who have taken to the streets in ever-increasing numbers to push for more freedoms. Some of the protestors spoke to us at great personal risk to themselves, all of them wondering why the U.S. wasn’t doing more to help them. It made for a thoughtprovoking hour on how the U.S. is torn between its democratic ideals and geopolitical realities.” You can watch the report, “A Dire Strait,” on iTunes. At Dan Rather Reports, producers

February. “Pavo” is Lee’s first main stage work for the Atlanta Ballet in eight years. Lee has choreographed two other pieces for Atlanta Ballet: Poem, 16 String in 2003. After making its world premiere with Atlanta Ballet, Poem was also performed by New Orleans Ballet Theatre. Subsequent works include two commissions for Emory Dance Company; a Margaret Mitchell-inspired duet for Georgia Public Broadcasting; and an ensemble piece, Akara, which she created

are all responsible for pitching their own stories. “Dan pushes us to find investigative stories and underreported issues that make for good long form stories,” Cooper says. “It’s really nice to be doing journalism where our subjects aren’t reduced to short sound bites.” Cooper studied undergrad at University of Virginia and earned a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri. After that, she spent five years at ABC News in Washington, working for 20/20, This Week with George Stephanopoulos and Nightline.

with Jesse Tyler for Wabi Sabi, Atlanta Ballet’s experimental troupe. “Best known as a principal dancer in her 16th season with Atlanta Ballet, Lee has proven that she is a multi-dimensional and exciting emerging choreographer,” ArtsATL. “Her work bridges the worlds of classical and contemporary dance, resulting in “a pleasurable marriage of traditional and trendy styles. Bursting with raw emotion and cinematic in nature, Lee’s choreography captivates.” Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 5

h Molly

Davidson ’05 poses in front of Team USA’s Car 10 before the 2012 Rhino Charge.

Rhino Charge 2012 Picture yourself driving up the side of a mountain with no roads or trails to reach a checkpoint at the top and then racing down the other side—over cliffs and through riverbeds—to reach the next. Now picture all those trees as 17-foottall bushes with 3-inch thorns and imagine the ground is entirely sand. Such was the challenge Molly Davidson ’05 faced in Kenya in Rhino Charge 2012. “It was so hot and so challenging,” says Davidson, “but it was such a rewarding

When I’m 64 Michael McCabe ’07 made it through rookie camp in May with the Green Bay Packers and Organized Training Activities (OTAs). A minicamp and rookie training followed in June. At Holy Cross, McCabe, 23, was a first-team All-Patriot League selection and a first-team All-New England choice in 2011, the third straight season he earned all-conference honors and the second straight he was named all-region. He started all 11 games at left tackle as a senior, helping the Crusaders average 400.9 yards of offense per game. McCabe played in 47 career games with 36 starts along the offensive line, including a streak of 34 straight to end his college career. He signed a three-year free-agent contract with the Packers in April.

6 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

experience. Out of the 65 competitors, 14 cars made it to all 13 checkpoints within the allotted 10 hours. We completed 9 checkpoints—placing us in the middle of the pack. We were slightly disappointed at first that we didn’t finish all 13 controls, but then we heard tale after tale of catastrophes from the event.” Eight cars rolled at least once, teams reached the edges of cliffs and were forced to retire early, cars broke down or were totaled during the event, and people were hurt.

“We began to realize that the 2012 course was an exceptionally tough one for everyone,” says Davidson, “and we gained solace in the fact that we were safe, our car made it around the course, and we had a great time.” The best news came on Sunday at Prize Giving when her team received an award for the third highest cash donations raised for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust—about 4.2 million Kenyan shillings ($52,000) to help to protect the African rhino. Rhino Charge raises funds to protect the wildlife in the Aberdare National Park, located within the mysterious and majestic Aberdare Mountain Range in central Kenya. The park contains a broad range of climates and landscapes, from dense jungle to alpine tundra. This climate diversity allows the area to support a unique wildlife community, including the critically endangered black rhino. The Rhino Ark Charitable Trust was founded to protect this delicate mountain habitat.

h Mike McCabe ’07 with Packers offensive line coach James Campen. Jim Biever/ Green Bay Packers

Alumni who played football for Mike’s dad at Taft, likely know that Steve McCabe was drafted by the Redskins out of Bowdoin. What few may know is that the Packers later invited him to try out. At that point

though, Steve had already decided to pursue a different path. Those lucky enough to have either Steve or Susan at the blackboard must be glad he did.

Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal Rodman W. Moorhead III ’62 received the Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal, formerly known as the Citation of Merit, on Alumni Weekend. The medal is the school’s highest alumni honor and is given each year to a person whose lifework best exemplifies the school motto: Not to be ministered unto but to minister. Moorhead first established himself as a dedicated member of the Taft community when he arrived as a student more than 50 years ago. During his three years at Taft Rod was a monitor, corridor monitor and a member of the class committee. He was also a member of the Glee Club and Church Choir, was Alpha Club president, chairman of the Chapel Committee, a member of the Switchboard Committee and Community Chest Committee. He played varsity football, basketball and track, earning varsity letters all three years. Rod continues his service to Taft today as chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees. Earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard College, Moorhead, MBA in hand, moved to New York, where he spent more than 30 years with the private equity group Warburg

Pincus. As head of healthcare investment activities, he helped grow the company’s assets under management from approximately $40 million to $15 billion. A staunch supporter of a broad range of education initiatives, he has been a valued and contributing member of many corporate boards. He is currently a director at Proximity Learning, which provides language learning programs for K–12 students, and at the Scientific Learning Corporation, a computer-based special education training company. Rod also sits on the Board of Directors of Imagine Schools, Inc., which operates public charter schools. Beyond the field of education, Moorhead serves on the ElderTrust Board of Trustees. ElderTrust operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests principally in senior housing and other healthcare facilities, primarily skilled nursing facilities, assisted and independent living facilities, and medical offices and other buildings. He is a member of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows, a former member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, a trustee of the Jackson Hole Land Trust and cochair of the Board of Directors, Stroud Water Research Center, Inc. Moorhead’s dedication to both education and to Taft is in evidence in

the academic facility here that bears his name. At the dedication of the Moorhead Learning Wing in 2004 Headmaster Willy MacMullen said, “Rod Moorhead is one of the school’s most remarkable, generous and committed graduates. In addition to being a longtime trustee, he has supported the school in every way imaginable, and his unique commitment to student learning has changed this place. Without his intellectual curiosity, this center would never have happened. This is clear: We will meet the school’s mission of educating the whole student even better now.” First elected to the school’s board in 1991 as an alumni trustee, he stayed on after the completion of his four-year term, becoming a corporate trustee and eventually the treasurer. He succeeded Will Miller ’74 as board chair in 2006. Rod is a current member of the Admissions Committee, the Committee on School Life, the Development Committee, the Finance and Investment Committee, chair of the Governance Committee, a member of the Audit and Financial Risk Committee and the Campus Planning Committee. Rod and his wife, Alice, split their time between their homes in Wyoming, New York City and Pennsylvania. In his free time he enjoys fly-fishing, fox hunting, golf, traveling, biking in France and Italy, and fishing in South America, Alaska, New Zealand and the American West. The Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal is awarded each year to a Taftie whose actions demonstrate something humanitarian and has gone above the ordinary demands of life or occupation. The award is a reminder of Taft’s commitment to serve others. For more information, or to see the list of previous recipients, visit v Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal recipient Rod Moorhead ’62 with wife Alice and sons Clay ’98 and Rod ’97 and wife Brooke. Robert Falcetti

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 7

alumni Spotlight

Skill of Persuasion

n Will Sealy ’05 with Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

Each day, Will Sealy ’05 speaks with members of the Massachusetts business community for U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. “At Taft, I never imagined that I’d wind up working in politics,” Sealy says. However, courses with Jon Willson ’82 and Greg Hawes ’85 at Taft got him hooked on history and current events, and in his role as a school monitor, he was intrigued by the process of engaging people for the betterment of a community. At William and Mary, he became concerned with the issue of drinking and driving on campus. Frustrated by the lack of response from the student government and administration, he realized he needed to step up and help make a change, creating a safe-ride program, SteerClearWM, that now includes a nonprofit wing to educate students about the dangers of drinking and driving. “As a government major, I was more interested in political discourse than in the day-to-day bureaucracy of government,” says Sealy. “I focused my studies on the Abramoff lobbying scandal, and it deeply frustrated me. Later on, when Barack Obama announced his campaign, I thought, ‘He’s different. He’s my guy.’” Sealy still did not see politics as a long-term career, but he got a summer job street canvassing for the Democratic National Committee. 8 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

“New Yorkers are the fastest walkers in the world. It’s amazing how quickly you learn when you’re all that stands between a New Yorker and his lunch. Each day, I had 40 to 50 conversations with well-informed people. My team once convinced a hedgefund manager to donate the maximum amount of $28,500 and he handed over his credit card right there on the street.” Sealy then moved to California as a community organizer with U.S. PIRG, where he worked 90- to 100-hour weeks. He was exhausted by year’s end, but it was great training. Shifting gears, he became interested in effecting change through social entrepreneurship and worked with Taft classmate Camden Flath on a more affordable textbook model that would help students tap into new technologies and social media to help them learn. But in the midst of shopping their idea around Google, Sealy got an invitation to visit the White House and he was hooked. A few weeks later he was an intern on Pennsylvania Avenue. He has bowled in the White House, spent the holidays with

Santa in the West Wing and dressed as President William Howard Taft for the Halloween office party. The best memory Sealy has from his time there is when he helped set up a press event about the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which featured classmate Sean O’Mealia and the O’Mealia family standing with President Obama in the Rose Garden. While there, Sealy worked with Elizabeth Vale, executive director of the White House Business Council. He later transitioned to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the launch of the new agency. It was there that he met Elizabeth Warren. In January 2012, she invited Sealy to join her U.S. Senate campaign as a special assistant and deputy business outreach coordinator. “She essentially asks if we want to be a country that says ‘I’ve got mine and the rest of you are on your own,’” says Sealy. “‘Or are we a country that believes, all the way down, in celebrating success and working to invest in each other?’ I admire that.”

Ocean House

n Architect Jefferson Riley ’64. Derek Hayn

Jefferson B. Riley ’64 recently received several awards for his design of the new Ocean House resort hotel in Rhode Island, including an interiors

award from Contact Magazine and a design award from the American Institute of Architects of Rhode Island. A founding partner of Centerbrook Architects, Riley is currently designing a new medical and graduate campus for Quinnipiac University, an academic and laboratory science building for Southern Connecticut State University, the Nantucket Science Center that will include an aquarium and planetarium, a new Mission House for the Port-au-Prince campus of the Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti, a biomass heating plant for the Hotchkiss School, where he also designed the Esther Eastman Music Center.

In Print Wherever There Is Mia Borders ’05 Mia Borders has captured the attention of both local and national audiences with her energetic blend of funk, soul and contemporary songwriting. USA Today named her one of the 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s “hidden surprises.” Citing Bill Withers and Etta James as the biggest musical inspirations in her life, Borders wrote and composed all but one song on this album. “Although all my work is personal, this new album and new material represent my first solo effort from conception to release,” Borders told the Times-Picayune. “I find myself much more like a nervous and excited parent than ever before. I’m in a completely different—hopefully more mature— place personally and professionally, and I’d like my newest baby to convey that.” Listen at

Zero to $30 Million: The Business Lessons I learned Mostly the Hard Way Stan Donnelly ’71 Zero to $30 Million consists of 50 short battle-tested lessons that are a breeze to read and saturated with a great sense of humor often lacking in books of this nature. Containing hard-fought personal experiences and common sense tips that aren’t always obvious, Donnelly is not afraid to tell you about his mistakes, political philosophies and business lessons learned. His can-do attitude is infectious. Readers called the book “honest, humorous at times. Stories of his maturing as a manager and business owner are straight from the heart. Better yet, they are practical, value-added lessons every business owner can benefit from.” Another wrote, “A quick read packed with useful business tips anyone can adopt on the fly. Full of humor and self-deprecating anecdotes, Donnelly shares the good, the bad and the ugly, but most of all the excitement of growing your own business.” Available only on Kindle.

Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) Counting Crows [Adam Duritz ’82] Underwater Sunshine is the sixth studio album by American rock band Counting Crows, released in April. The album is composed of cover songs, with vocalist Adam Duritz stating, “Sometimes it’s great to play someone else’s music and try to make it your own. Sometimes it’s great just because it’s fun.” Produced by both the band and Shawn Dealy, the album features tracks from the 1960s through to the 2010s, and includes songs written by band’s early contemporaries, Tender Mercies and Sordid Humor, both of which included members of Counting Crows before the formation of the band.

The Chappy Ferry Book: Back and Forth between Two Worlds—527 Feet Apart Tom Dunlop ’79 For 37 years, the ferry was owned and skippered by a blind man. A seaplane has hit it, a hurricane has splintered it, and a fire has consumed it. The ferry served as the setting for a pivotal scene in Jaws (as well as a principal camera boat) and played a role in a car accident that changed not only the undiscovered island of Chappaquiddick forever, but possibly American history too. These events—and many more—have all happened on the stone’s-throw route between the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Chappaquiddick. Dunlop’s The Chappy Ferry Book tells the amazing, lively, myth-busting, 200-year-old story of the Chappaquiddick ferry for the very first time. Generously illustrated with historic, previously unseen pictures as well as contemporary photographs by acclaimed Vineyard photographer Alison Shaw, the book also includes a complementary DVD, The Chappy Ferry Movie, a 15-minute film hosted by Chappy summer resident Dick Ebersol, former chairman of NBC Sports, which weaves together interviews with owners and captains, as well as clips of the ferry at work going back to World War II. Tom Dunlop is also the author of the awardwinning Morning Glory Farm and the Family that Feeds an Island (2009) and Schooner: Building a Wooden Boat on Martha’s Vineyard (2010). For more information, visit Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 9

In Print

The Lost Prince Selden Edwards, former faculty The author of the beloved New York Times bestselling novel The Little Book returns with a sequel about a love that is capable of bridging unfathomable distances. Recently returned from the experience of a lifetime in fin de siècle Vienna, where she met and tragically lost the first great love of her life, Eleanor Burden has no choice but to settle into her expected place in society, marry the man she is supposed to marry and wait for life to come to her. As the 20th century approaches, hers is a story not unlike that of the other young women she grew up with in 1890s Boston—a privileged upbringing punctuated by a period of youthful adventure and followed by the inevitable acknowledgment of real life—except for one small difference: Eleanor possesses an unshakable belief that she has advance knowledge of every major historical event to come during her lifetime. But soon the script of events she has written in her mind—a script described by no less than Sigmund Freud as the invented delusions of a hysteric—begins to unravel. Eleanor Burden, at once fragile and powerful, must find the courage of her deepest convictions, discover the difference between predetermination and free will, secure her belief in her own sanity, and decide whether she will allow history to unfold come what may—or use her extraordinary gifts to bend history to her will and deliver the life she knows she is meant to have.

The Rock Star in Seat 3A Jill Kopelman Kargman ’92 It’s Hazel’s 30th birthday and she has everything she’s ever wanted: a kickass job, a dream apartment in New York City, and the perfect boyfriend—who’s just days away from proposing. Hazel thinks she’s happy but isn’t quite ready to settle down. So when her most far-fetched fantasy enters the realm of the possible, shouldn’t she drop everything to see it through? The morning after her birthday, Hazel boards a flight to L.A. only to get the surprise of her life. When she’s bumped up to first class, extra legroom and free drinks are forgotten as soon as she catches sight of her seatmate: her all-time biggest celebrity crush, rock star Finn Schiller! A lively novel about a down-to-earth New York City girl who suddenly finds herself in a rock ’n’ roll Cinderella fantasy, The Rock Star in Seat 3A is seasoned with Jill Kargman’s signature wit and hilarious dialogue. This is a fairy-tale romance with a twist.

10 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

Kargman is the New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including The Right Address, Wolves in Chic Clothing, Momzillas and The Ex-Mrs. Hedgfund. Her last effort is a nationally bestselling book of essays, Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut. She is also a featured writer for Vogue, Harper’s, Town & Country and Elle, and a copywriter for her greeting card company, Jill Kargman Etceteras.

Evolution of the PORSCHE 911 in Competition 1965–2010 Michael Keyser ’66 and Bill Oursler The Porsche 911 has the unique distinction of having the longest life of any sports car in automotive history; its production began in September of 1964 with the first examples arriving on U.S. shores early the following year. Today, in thoroughly modernized form, it still bears the hallmark design features that brought it such attention for nearly a half century. Evolution of the PORSCHE 911 traces the long racing lineage of this iconic car from its inaugural appearance at the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally, where it scored an amazing class victory, to its 2010 class win at Le Mans and an American Le Mans championship season where it successfully battled the might of Ferrari and Corvette. Since the 911’s first days in competition, its versatility not only produced a long string of successes in rallies, but also wins at some of the world’s great road circuits, including Daytona, Sebring, the Targa Florio, the Nürburgring and Le Mans. With 54 black and white and 299 color photographs, many never previously published, this book brings that history to life.

Spy Mom: The Adventures of Sally Sin Beth McMullen ’87 Meet Sally Sin. Wife. Mother. Retired Spy. Or so she thinks. Just when she’s starting to settle into retirement, her old Agency boss shows up to recruit her for one more job. It seems illegal arms dealer Ian Blackford is on the move and no one can stop him but Sally Sin. Can she make it to preschool pick-up, get dinner on the table and foil Blackford’s nefarious plot? And just when you think the thrills are over, you’ll be ready To Sin Again. When the agency director is taken hostage, Sally is once again called into action. A rescue operation? Easy. That is until Sally learns of a connection between the kidnapping and her own mysterious

childhood, which complicates everything, even Theo’s kindergarten applications. Being a mom is hard enough without having to save the world. Funny, fast-paced and compulsively readable, Spy Mom offers two adventures for mothers and spies, and anyone who has ever dreamed about being either.

By Invitation Only Alexis Maybank ’93 and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson For years, sample sales have lured fashion insiders to makeshift storefronts in anonymous locations, offering dramatic, fleeting bargains on coveted designer brands. For those lucky enough to make an exclusive e-mail list, a Marc Jacobs or Hermès sample sale is a drop-everything-and-run event. Harvard MBAs Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, best friends and dedicated sample sale shoppers, saw the industry-changing potential of taking sample sales onto the Internet. In November 2007, they launched their members-only website to a select national group of 13,000 young, high-end shoppers. They offered 50–70 percent off luxury brands like John Varvatos and Valentino, in “flash” sales lasting just 36 hours. It became an immediate viral hit as members rapidly invited friends to join. In four short years, Gilt Groupe has spawned dozens of imitators and grown to five million members and has a valuation of $1 billion. Maybank and Wilson explain how they launched a simple yet groundbreaking business that catered to their passions. They provide straight talk on how to build a start-up and negotiate the conundrums that still face women in business. For Gilt customers interested in an inside view of the fashion industry, they also provide a revealing portrait of key players like Zac Posen, Christian Louboutin and Valentino.

The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me Tom Santopietro ’72 Forty years and one billion dollars in gross box-office receipts after its initial release, Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful trilogy continues to enthrall viewers old and new. The Godfather Effect skillfully analyzes the reasons behind this ongoing global phenomenon. Including behind-the-scenes anecdotes from all three Godfather films, Santopietro explores the historical origins of the mob and why it thrived in

America, the manner in which Italian-Americans are portrayed in the media, and how a saga of murderous gangsters captivated audiences around the globe. Laced with stories about Brando, Pacino and Sinatra, and interwoven with a funny and poignant memoir about the author’s own experiences growing up with an Italian name in an Anglo world of private schools and country clubs, The Godfather Effect is a book for film lovers, observers of American life and Italians of all nationalities. The Hollywood Reporter called it “a beautiful narrative of the way pop culture shapes our self-image.” The book is also a natural outgrowth of Santopietro’s continuing work on Broadway shows as well as performing around the country in a salute to Frank Sinatra (the subject of his previous book, Sinatra in Hollywood). Santopietro is also the author of Considering Doris Day and The Importance of Being Barbra. For more information, visit

When Billy Went Bald Julie C. Morse ’75 All the other kindergartners think he looks weird because he has no hair. But there’s a special reason that Billy is bald—he has cancer. Billy’s doctor thinks he will be fine, but he has to have an operation to take the cancer out. He has to have chemotherapy, and that medicine is what makes him lose his hair. It’s not fun but he needs it to get better. Billy’s teacher helps the other children understand that just because on the outside he is bald it doesn’t mean that on the inside he is any different. Soon Billy is playing soccer and running from the girls on the playground. Billy is better! Julie Morse, a journalist and investigative reporter, is also the author of Out of the Box. She was inspired to write When Billy Went Bald after her son, Greg—with whom she co-authored the book—was diagnosed with kidney cancer. “We have been blessed in so many ways,” says Morse, “as he is now 29, happily married and If you would like a copy healthy and we felt it was time to of your work added to give back with this book.” 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 , Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 greets Bill and Jane Donaldson and sons Matt ’88 and Adam ’08 at the dedication of the pavilion in May.

around the Pond

By Debra Meyers

Phil Dutton

Courtly Pavilion “Thanks to the Donaldsons, we surely have the most beautiful tennis facility in New England,” says boys’ varsity coach Peter Frew ’75. All 12 outdoor courts were rebuilt this year and two new pavilions were installed—one on the hill that provides a place for fans to watch, and a second alongside court one for players to assemble. “Our five teams are inspired every day by this setting, and spectators are treated to fantastic viewing angles.” The courts were completely 12 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

reconstructed of three inches of compacted asphalt with four coats of acrylic tennis court surfacing with a silica sand finish to control ball speed and spin. The pavilions are made of brick, thermal bluestone floors and walkways and Ipe wood pergolas with climbing wisteria to provide shade. There is teak furniture for spectators. The projects innovative features include automated LED lighting in the pergola and along the McCullough

field house, says facilities director Jim Shepard. The landscape architect also designed the plantings to control bank erosion along the steep slope. Water fountains, improved drainage and irrigation also enhance this project. “Bill and Jane Donaldson are such great friends of Taft,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “Matt and Adam were great kids, and it was simply wonderful having the whole family here to dedicate an incredible facility.”

Bring on the Brass Naval War College, completed a fellowship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was honored with a Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award. Unique among Marines, Cartwright served as commander, U.S. Strategic Command, before being nominated and appointed as the eighth vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s secondhighest military officer. During his four-year tenure as vice chairman, across two presidential administrations, Cartwright became widely recognized for his technical acumen, vision of future national security concepts and keen ability to integrate

Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright came to Taft this spring under the auspices of the Rear Admiral Raymond. F. DuBois Fellowship in Inernational Affairs. Cartwright was both a naval flight officer and naval aviator. In 1983, he was named Outstanding Carrier Aviator of the Year and went on to command Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, Marine Aircraft Group 31, and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Cartwright graduated with distinction from the Air Command and Staff College, received an MA in national security and strategic studies from the

n General James Cartwright was this year’s DuBois speaker. U.S. Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox

systems, organizations and people in ways that encourage creativity and spark innovation in the areas of strategic deterrence, nuclear proliferation, missile defense, cyber security and adaptive acquisition processes.

Treehouse leads to Birches When the Independent Studies Program awards were announced this year, a huge cry went out for Oliver Salk ’13 and his film Birches [see the trailer at]. “I have been making short films at Taft every year,” says Oliver, “and my connection with Mr. Doyle and the Treehouse grew [in the course of the ISP] along with my skill as a filmmaker.” In addition to his work in the Treehouse, Taft’s video editing studio, Oliver had worked with acting/video teacher Rick Doyle on summer film trips to Montana in 2010 and Maine in 2011, where Oliver also produced a short film of his own. “This year I decided to step up my game,” adds Oliver. “I wanted to write, direct, and edit a feature length ‘big-budget’ movie at Taft made by and starring Taft students.” It is the story of a boy who attempts to find himself amidst the chaotic and overwhelming environment of a New England boarding school. Embarking on the project through

the Independent Studies Program gave Oliver some time off from sports and allowed him to focus his time on the film. “The result was astounding,” says Oliver. “Because I was able to give my project lots of energy, many other actors and crew started to volunteer their time to help and support me. By the end of the project I had producers, extra writers, supporting actors, assistant directors and more by my side helping produce this film.” “It is amazing the kind of support Oliver was able to solicit from his peers,” says Doyle. “The kids really wanted to see him succeed. He’s amazingly talented, and they see that.” “Most of what I learned was very technical and related to film theory,” says Oliver, “but I also believe my skill as a friend and as a student at Taft improved as well. As a director, communication is your number-one skill set.” Other recipients this year of the David Edward Goldberg Memorial Awards for outstanding independent

work were Christopher Browner ’12 for his project “Learning the Art of Theatrical Direction and Design”; Everett Brownstein ’12 for his “Gallery Show and Installation”; and Jacky Zheng ’13 for his work on “The Pathophysiology of Human Disease,” which also won him second place at the Connecticut State Science Fair.

around the POND

In a Good Light Taft continues to rack up the design awards! The Moorhead Wing project received an Edwin F. Guth Memorial Award for Interior Lighting, Regional Award of Merit, from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES). After winning the regional award, the project was advanced for international judging. International awards will be announced in November.

n Halo Award nominees Chris Hylwa ’14, Christopher Browner ’12, Will O’Meara ’12, teacher Rick Doyle, Max Flath ’13, Jillian Wipfler ’13, Blake Joblin ’13 and Emily Nelson ’12 at the Palace Theater in Waterbury.

Fearless Theater

It was a tremendous year for the arts at Taft, with students winning accolades in galleries, concert halls and on stage. It was an especially grand year for theater, with extraordinary performances of the classic shows Beauty and the Beast and Harvey, and the original play Roomies (see page 18). All three were recognized this spring with Halo Award nominations. Now in their ninth year, the Halo Awards recognize excellence in high school theater. More than 30 area schools compete for the honors. Taft was nominated in 17 categories, and took home three awards. The full list of nominees is posted at q Best Comic Male

Performance in a Musical: Max Flath ’13 as Gaston, Beauty and the Beast (tie)

q Best Standout

Performance by a Male Actor in an Ensemble Production: Chris Hylwa ’14 as Julian, Roomies

q Fearless Award (Play) – Language and subject: Roomies

Other Arts Recognition Earned During the spring term: Alicia Wang ’15, first place (tie), Schubert Club Awards Natalie Tam ’14, second place, 2012 Hudson Philharmonic Orchestra Piano Concerto

Tae Young Woo ’12, concertmaster, Irvine Young Concert Artists Caitlin Morton ’12, first prize – student category, 32nd Annual Photography Exhibition, New Canaan Society of Art

Robert Falcetti

In the Gallery The Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery hosted a special show for the 50th Reunion class: John Foltz ’62 exhibited an eye-catching collection of his photography, and Kit Youngs ’62 shared a number of paintings. “Both man and nature provide a lot for us to observe,” says Foltz, who seeks out the often overlooked beauty all around. “I tend to see things on a smaller scale; thus I’m seeing small areas of beauty within a larger scene. Abstracts come out of the many ways nature paints and forms abstract shapes, as well as from architecture and sculpture.” For a complete list of gallery shows for the 2012–13 school year, visit

14 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

n Sand and Rock Composition, Fotos by Foltz

FBLA Speaker

n Fast Company co-founder Bill Taylor ’77. Robert Falcetti

In the second installment of the student Future Business Leaders of America workshop series, on Alumni Weekend, Bill Taylor ’77 told his audience that success doesn’t often follow a business plan. What’s important, he said, is that it follows your vision. “There will be a lot of people telling you the right way to do something, but Netscape, Google and others have shown us that, today, knowing when to create your own path can be even more rewarding.” Taylor is co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, a magazine that won countless awards, earned a passionate following among executives and entrepreneurs around the world and

became a legendary business success. In less than six years, an enterprise that took shape in some borrowed office space in Harvard Square sold for $340 million. He has helped to shape the global conversation about the best ways to compete, innovate and succeed. His latest project, Practically Radical: Not-SoCrazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself, is based on in-depth access to 25 organizations that are making major organizational changes under difficult circumstances. He is also the author of Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win and an adjunct lecturer at Babson College.

Taft Running Club Club

They say when one door closes, another Spotlight opens. For seniors Eric Metcalf and Charlie Garcia, leaving behind their baseball and tennis careers opened many doors, not just for them but for the entire Taft community. As juniors, Eric and Charlie joined the track team, though somewhat reluctantly; both had been cut from other sports teams. They had run cross-country previously, so track seemed like a reasonable option. “During senior winter, I started to think that I needed to stay in shape for spring track, but lacked the motivation to keep running,” Charlie said. “I went to Eric and said, ‘I have an idea: I need motivation to run and think I can get it from the Taft community.’ ” That set the wheels in motion for Taft’s new running club. Six students attended the club’s first meeting on January 8. The next weekend, 13 showed up. The club continued to grow throughout the spring, meeting

h The Running Club at White Memorial. Josie Danziger ’14

twelve times in all for Sunday runs in Litchfield’s White’s woods. Eric lead the “fast group” through a six-mile course. Charlie and the “slower” runners averaged four to four and a half miles. For their senior project, Eric and Charlie organized two running events on Alumni Weekend to benefit Seas It, a nonprofit organization started by alums Todd ’92 and Amanda McGovern ’93; both were a huge

success. Eric and Charlie hope both the running club and “Sweat for Sweets” will continue now that they have graduated. “We really hope both will continue for years to come,” Eric said. “We really started this to spread the love of running, to help people develop a lifelong passion for running and to build community. The club is not exclusive, it is about relationship building.”

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 15

around the POND

Opens for Natalie Cole education and care for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a genetic metabolic disorder in which harmful quantities of cholesterol and other fatty substances accumulate in the cells of the body. Dana Marella, Phil and Andrea’s daughter, was diagnosed with the disease in 2002 when she was eight years old; her brother was diagnosed two years later. Bailey first heard about DART through her friend and manager, Janice Roeg. “After hearing about the charity from Janice, I did some reading to learn more,” Bailey said. “I thought it was a great cause and decided to hold a DART benefit at Taft. The idea of a concert fit perfectly with my ISP.” In May, Bailey performed one of her ISP pieces at a major fund-raiser in Stamford, Connecticut. Hosted

h Bailey performs at Dana’s Angels Research Trust benefit. Lindsay Niegelberg, The Stamford Advocate

For her ISP, senior Bailey Outerbridge planned to write five original songs. She performed those pieces at Taft in April. And that was just the beginning. The Taft concert was not only a part of Bailey’s ISP, it was a fund-raiser for Dana’s Angels Research Trust (DART). DART is a nonprofit organization founded by Phil and Andrea Marella to fund medical research,

Living the Arts: Taft in Italy This summer a select group of Taft singers were Living the Arts in Italy. “Collegium embarked on an unprecedented residency in Faicchio, Italy,” explained music teacher and Collegium director Bruce Fifer. “The two-week program encompassed more than just singing.” The Taft Collegium Musicum is a group of 50 vocalists who sing a repertoire that represents every major period of music history. They have also sung new music and commissioned several compositions. Collegium has had master classes with a distinguished group of conductors and vocalists, and has toured Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain and Spain. This was the group’s third trip to Italy. Faicchio is in the Campania region of Italy, northeast of Naples and northwest of Benevento and the hometown 16 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

of librarian and archivist emerita Anne Romano, who helped make the arrangements. Taft travelers were welcomed to Faicchio by Mayor Mario Borrelli. During their stay, Tafties attended classes at the Castello di Faicchio, performed at masses and festivals throughout the region and soaked up the beauty and culture of Italy. They visited the Amalfi Coast, the Royal Palace in Caserta and Rome, to name just a few of the stops on their tour. The trip culminated with Collegium performing during mass at the high altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, on June 19. Saint Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.

x Taft Collegium spends two weeks celebrating the arts in Italy. Peter Frew ’75

by celebrities Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, the DART Gala Benefit and Concert featured headlining artist and nine-time Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole. Opening for Cole, Bailey debuted her song “Smile,” which was dedicated and inspired by Dana’s battle with her disease. “In writing the song, I talked to Dana’s mom a lot and looked at her pictures and I was really struck by her smile,” Bailey told the press. “Her smile is really one of the only ways she can interact with people, but she has this really rich smile that is really very touching.” The Independent Studies Program was created at Taft in 1964. Taft remains the only school of its kind to offer this non-credit, yearlong opportunity in a formal program supervised by faculty volunteers.

The Psychology of Sport

h Sports psychologist Bob Rotella with the varsity girls’ team on the links. Rita Catherine O’Shea ’14

Renowned sports psychologist, author and golfing guru Dr. Bob Rotella spent a day at Taft this spring. He dined with the golf team, inspired students and coaches during an evening presentation and even shared tips and insights on the links at the Watertown Golf Club.

Widely recognized as one of the world’s top sports psychologists, Rotella has worked as a personnel consultant for the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Senior Tour, U.S. Olympic Ski Team and the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team,

as well as the New York Yankees, San Francisco 49ers, New Jersey Nets, and Texas Rangers. And now—thanks to Kristine and Tom Gordon, parents of Heather Gordon ’14—Taft School. Rotella spoke to Tafties about visualization, self-confidence and the power of mental preparation. And a part of that preparation, Rotella says, is developing a meaningful routine. In the end, however, the most powerful message was not about stroke mechanics, chip shots, or where the ball lies, but about what lies within. “The idea that resonated most with me was about not being fearful and having confidence,” said girls’ golf team cocaptain Ali Eleey ’12. “From now when I’m on the course I am going to trust myself and know that I have worked hard and practiced my game a lot, so there is no reason to be scared. I learned a lot from what Mr. Rotella said and it motivated me to continue working on my game.”

New Head Monitors Betsy Sednaoui and Andrew Cadienhead will serve as co-head monitors for the Class of 2013. “I am more than humbled to have been elected to the head mon position,” Betsy said. “We have a wonderful group of school mons for next year; we work well together and are always looking for new ways to improve the ways in which we lead. And I’m so excited to be working with Andrew. We are a cohesive duo and are both proud to be leaders of our class. I look forward to enhancing the community in any way I can, and continuing to uphold the pride and tradition that makes Taft what it is today” During her time at Taft, Betsy has played soccer and golf. She was co-captain of the JV tennis team this

spring, and will be co-captain of the girls’ hockey team this winter. She has been a dorm monitor, a member of Improv and a peer tutor. Andrew is a varsity squash player and two-year team captain. He has served on the Class Committee of 2013 since freshman year, is a member of the Admissions Council, and recently joined the Butterfly Catching Club. “I’m very honored to have been elected as one of the head monitors of the school. Next year, I plan on working diligently to better the Taft community. The head mon position is very challenging,” said Andrew, “but I know that Betsy and I will push ourselves to be the best head mons we possibly can be. I’m very pleased that

n Head monitors Andrew Cadienhead and Betsy Sednaoui ’13. Peter Frew ’75

Betsy is my co-head mon. I think she’s great, and I’m looking forward to serving with her for our final year at Taft.”

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 17

around the POND

The Other Wes Moore The Summer Reading Committee announced that this year’s all-school read is The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, by Wes Moore. This fascinating nonfiction work tells the story of two boys growing up in inner-city Baltimore, two boys living only a few blocks from each other, each coincidentally with the same name, but two boys who end up living very different lives—one very successful, one ending in life imprisonment. When the author discovered the existence of his alter ego, he decided to try to learn why their lives were so different. His book is the result of several conversations with “the other Wes Moore” and his research among neighbors, friends and family. What makes the difference in how a life turns out? This book offers some thought-provoking answers. Author Wes Moore will visit campus in the fall as the Paley Lecturer. In addition to The Other Wes Moore, students are reading a second book selected from a list of faculty recommendations. (Check out the list at students/readinglist.aspx.) “Of course, we hope that students will read several more than just these two books,” says Chaplain Bob Ganung, a member of the committee, “because reading expands one’s perspective on life, besides being entertaining. And we hope the list of facultysponsored books will provide many options and ideas and create an opportunity for many discussions in school and beyond.”

n Visiting poet Taylor Mali gives a reading in Laube Dining Hall. Peter Frew ’75

Visiting Poet Taylor Mali Well-known poet and YouTube sensation Taylor Mali was this year’s visiting poet, bringing his craft and wit to campus in May. One of the best-known authors and performers to emerge from the poetry slam movement, Taylor Mali has published two books, The Last Time As We

Are and What Learning Leaves; he has also recorded four spoken-word CDs. His life, words and mission speak of inclusion, not exclusion, which makes him an unexpected force among dissimilar wordsmiths. He claims to be one of the few people in the world to have no other job than that of poet. Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, and spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and SAT preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his New Teacher Project is working to attract 1,000 prospective teachers to the education field through his personal “poetry, persuasion and perseverance.” In 2001, Taylor Mali received a New York Foundation for the Arts grant to develop Teacher! Teacher! a one-man show about poetry, teaching and math; the show won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001 Comedy Arts Festival.

Roomies The spring production of Roomies: One Year at a Time brought current social issues to the forefront in Taft’s Woodward Black Box Theater this spring. An original play written and directed by Taft theater and film teacher Rick Doyle, Roomies “is about compassion, redemption, forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance,” says Doyle, “even more than it is about gay and lesbian students at a boarding school. It’s about love and being ‘human’ to one another.” Based on real events, the play captures the humor and drama that play out for the featured characters during the opening month of a new school year through a series of topical vignettes.

Roomies was recognized with two Halo Awards and five Halo Award nominations. (See “Fearless Theater,” page 14)

n Sam Stamas ’14, as Carl, and Tristan

Smith ’14, as Eli, navigate the challenging waters of dorm life in the original play Roomies. Rick Doyle

Summer Fellowships Kilbourne Summer Enrichment Fund in the Arts

Patrick Neil

Alexandra Hildreth ’15. ........................................................................................ SOCAPA Dance Intensive Elif Korkmaz ’14.................................................................... London Central College of Art and Design Jake Merrell ’13. ............................................. Juniper Young Writers, University of Massachusetts Carlande Nicolas ’14............................................................................................................... NY Film Institute Na Yung Park ’13............................................................................................................................ Pratt Institute Carrie Shin ’13..................................................................... UCLA Sitcom Writing and Producing Camp Jillian Wipfler ’13. .................................................................................................................. Stagedoor Manor

College Bound

Meg Page ’74 Fellowships

Amy Feda ’13. ......................................................................................... Georgetown Medical Conference Fernando Fernandez ’14. ............................ National Youth Leadership Federation on Medicine Katie Harpin ’13............................................... National Youth Leadership Federation on Medicine Nicole Lu ’13...................................................................................................... Chinese Academy of Science Betsy Sednaoui ’13........................................................... Reiki with Libby Barnett, Emerson Hospital Linh Tang ’14...........................China California Heart Watch and the Sri Ram Orphanage, India (partially funded with William W. Hatfield ’32 Grant)

This year, Taft seniors chose to matriculate at the following schools in the highest number: Amherst College............................................................. 5 Bucknell University. ...................................................... 3 Colby College. .................................................................. 4 Duke University............................................................... 3 Franklin & Marshall College...................................... 4 The George Washington University.................... 5 Georgetown University............................................... 7 Gettysburg College........................................................ 4 Lehigh University. .......................................................... 3 Middlebury College. ..................................................... 6 Princeton University..................................................... 5 Rollins College. ................................................................ 3 Southern Methodist University. ............................. 3 Trinity College.................................................................. 5 Tufts University............................................................... 3 University of St. Andrews (Scotland)....................3 University of Virginia.................................................... 4 Wesleyan University..................................................... 5 Yale University................................................................. 4

Robert K. Poole Fellowships

Rozalie Czesana ’14............................................................................ Volunteering Solutions, Costa Rica Laura Feidelson ’14.......................................................................................... Helping Hands, Cuzco, Peru Judith Hsieh ’14........................................................................................................................ CARE, Costa Rica Joo Sung Kim ’14...................................................................Bement Alumni trip, Dominican Republic Jordan Maia ’14.......................................................... Adventures Cross-Country, California Katie McLaughlin ’13.................................................................................................... Habitat for Humanity Shelby Meckstroth ’13. .......................................................................... Fútbol sin Fronteras, Nicaragua Maggie O’Neil ’13...................................................................................................................... Rustic Pathways Rosey Oppenheim ’14. ................................................................................... Helping Hands, Cuzco, Peru Kasey Pietro ’13................................................................................................ Rustic Pathways, La Fortuna Carl Sangree ’14. ....................................................................................................... High Mountain Institute Iliana Smith ’15............................................ Global Works Summer Service Adventure, Costa Rica

Ina Kosova ’12 was named a Morehead-Cain Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Faculty News Honors

• Chris Torino, Abramowitz Award


• Brian Denyer, French (see page 30)


• Suzanne and Bob Campbell ’76


• Jonathan Bender, lowermid class dean • Dick Cobb, Classics Department head • Diane Fountas, director of the Martin Health Center • Greg Hawes ’85, History Department head • Jamella Lee, dean of global and diversity education

• Rachael Ryan, assistant director, Taft Educational Center • Will Shotwell, Global Studies Department head


• • • • • • • • • • •

Isabel Aguirre-Kelly, English fellow Dan Calore, math/physics Erin Duffy, classics Phillip Koshi, Spanish Lindsay Leal, math fellow Rob Madden ’03, admissions Emma McBurney, history fellow Hannah O’Brien, history fellow Will Richardson, admissions Courtney Vris, French fellow Tyler Whitley ’04, admissions


• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Rohan Arjun, global studies fellow James Duval, math Brianne Foley, history Ellen Hinman, classics Gary Kan ’03, Chinese, physics Lisa Keys, health center Shaadi Khoury, history Matthew LaBrie, English fellow Peter Saltsman, science Claire Sheldon, admissions, mathematics Panos Voulgaris, history Walt Warner, science Chamby Zepeda, Spanish

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 19

For more on the spring season, please visit

spring SPORT wrap-up By steve Palmer

Girls’ Golf 19–0

New England Champions Founders League Champions

After sweeping league rivals Hotchkiss, Choate and Loomis during the season, Taft earned its second New England championship by winning the 27th Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girls Golf Classic held at Watertown Golf Club. Captain Ali Eleey ’12 was the individual medalist out of the 55 girls in the 18-hole division, shooting a 73, and her teammates Nikki Yatsenick ’12 (87), Jackie Eleey ’14 (82), and Lagare Augenstein ’14 (86) combined for the lowest team score of 328 to defeat a strong Greenwich Academy team. Pen Naviroj ’15 shot a 92. Taft has won the 18-hole team division for four years now. Faye Leithner ’14 and Courtney Chatjaval ’15 played in the 9-hole division. The Rhinos were also crowned Founders League Champions a week later, this time with the Eleey sisters as co-medalists (37), and Yatsenick, Augenstein and Margaret O’Neill ’14 leading the way for the team score. For the 5th straight season the girls’ annual Sadie Hawkins Golf Tournament has raised more than $200 in donations to the Daniel J. Wilcox Memorial Fund to help children affected by domestic violence to attend summer camps. Morgan Manz ’13 and Nicole Lu ’13 rounded off the undefeated team’s line-up. Since the inaugural girls’ golf team six years ago, the Rhinos have compiled one of the most impressive school athletic records at 90–6–3. 20 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

n Ali Eleey ’12 shoots a 73 to defend her New England championship title at the Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girls’ Golf Classic. Nicole Lu ’13

n Softball captain Taylor McGee ’12 behind

Boys Golf 13–3

Softball 15–0

This young but talented team, with four middlers in the line-up every match, posted a 381 against Kingswood and Kent in April, setting a new match scoring record at the Watertown Golf Club. Taft also avenged one of its few losses of the season when it defeated a very strong Brunswick team at home (4.5–2.5) behind wins by Jack Dayton ’14 and Bob Meng ’15 at #6 and #7. The Rhinos also placed 2nd at the Andover Invitational in Newport and 3rd at the Founders League championship, but their best day as a team came at the final Kingswood Invitational with another 386 score to place 2nd out of the 23 teams. Matt Schimenti ’14 won the individual title at the Andover Invitational Tournament with a 73, while Jack Porcelli ’14 and Julien Papadopoulo ’14 were 2nd and 3rd at the K.I.T. with a 71 and 72 respectively. Perhaps most impressive was the overall team scoring average, a 390.8, a new Taft season record.

Taft started out the season with a 12–0 win over NMH and never looked back in putting together a 15-game undefeated streak that ended in the Western New England title. Two of the best games came against Greenwich Academy (4–2) and defending champs Westminster (5–4), with Taft coming from behind to claim victories over both teams. Taft’s spotless record earned them the #1 seed for the New England tournament, defeating Greenwich Academy soundly in the first round, 7–1. Taft took on Westminster in the championship game the following day, fittingly the most exciting and challenging game of the season. Coming from behind once again, Taft tied the score in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings, and then won 6–5 in the bottom

the plate during a 17–2 victory over Deerfield. Phil Dutton/

Western New England Champions Founders League Champions

of the 8th to earn the school’s first softball championship. Throughout the season, Rhydian Glass ’12 led the way on the mound, earning six shutouts in 15 games and driving in the tying run in the championship game. New England honors went to Taylor McGee ’12, Katie McLaughlin ’13 and Cassie Ruscz ’13, the team’s most powerful hitter.

will play at Trinity College next year) was also named a Founders League AllStar and recipient of the Stone Baseball Award by leading the team with strong character, anchoring the team’s defense at short, and leading in almost all offensive categories (.386 BA, .493 OBA, 22 H, 16 R, 7 2B, 3 HR, 9 SB & 23 RBI). Uppermid Rob Kiska ’13 will return to captain next year’s team that will include 15 other returners.

Girls Tennis 6–6

n Anthony Gaffney had a fantastic season, breaking the long-standing long jump record of Peter Guernsey ’40. Phil Dutton/

Baseball 9–11 Come-from-behind wins over Westminster (10–9), Kent (8–7) and Hotchkiss (10–9) served as highlights for this young but gritty team’s 3rd-place finish in the Founders League. Hadley Stone ’14 emerged as a leading contributor and Founders League All-Star with great pitching performances (6 wins) and solid offensive production (.308 BA, .440 OBA). Jake Jordan ’12 (who

This experienced team included seven seniors who have largely played together for the last few years. The Rhinos got off to a slow start at 0–2 but went on a six game winning streak that included wins over Founders League rivals Loomis Chaffee (7–2), Kent (5–2) and Westminster (4–3). In perhaps their best match of the season, Taft upset highly regarded Sacred Heart (4–3) by sweeping the doubles points and gaining the win with uppermid Jacky Susskind’s 4–6, 6–3, 6–2 singles victory. Throughout the season Taft’s strength was its doubles play, led by co-captain Katie Knowlton ’12 and Maddie Rollings ’12, who formed what may be Taft’s bestever doubles team. Co-captain Maddie James ’12 also had a great season at doubles and was named a Founders League All-Star. Despite losing singles players Eleanor Hough ’12 and Wallis Kinney ’12, the team will be strong with returning #1 singles Courtney Jones ’12, #3 singles player Susskind and Bella Ordway ’14.


The Softball Award............................................................................... Rhydian W. Glass ’12 The Crew Award....................................................................................... David F. Hanke ’12 The Crew Award................................................................................. Hanna H. Dethlefs ’12 The Wandelt Lacrosse Award....................... Erin Jordan McCarthy ’12, Laurel H. Pascal ’12 The Odden Lacrosse Award........................................................ Maximilian F. Feidelson ’12 The George D. Gould Tennis Award.............................................. Katharine P. Knowlton ’12 The Alrick H. Man, Jr. Award..................................................................Jagger W. Riefler ’13 The Galeski Golf Award.........................................................................Henry F. Wesson ’13 The Seymour Willis Beardsley Track Award............................................Ellen M. Kalnins ’12 Zachary B. Karlan ’12 The Stone Baseball Award....................................................................... Jacob S. Jordan ’12 The Girls’ Golf Award................................................................................ Alison E. Eleey ’12

Boys Tennis 7–9 This young, enthusiastic team (three lower-middlers and no seniors in the line-up) opened the season with a win at home over Avon (5–2) to begin play at the beautiful new courts of the Donaldson Family Pavilion (see page 12). Following a win over Kent (6–0), the Rhinos would then drop three matches by the score of 3–4, a rough streak. Perhaps the highlight of the season came in the next match against Westminster, when Griffin Conner ’15 pulled out the #5 singles match 7–6, 7–5, to earn the much-needed 4–3 win. Throughout the season captain Jagger Riefler ’13 played well in the #1 singles spot and teamed up with Michael Mulroy ’15 for the top doubles team. Eric Delapenha ’13 was a solid #2 singles player and won some crucial matches with partner Tucker Killian ’14 as the second doubles team.

Boys Crew 7–3 This year’s team was deep in talent and highly competitive. At the Founders Day Regatta on Lake Waramaug, all four varsity boats qualified for the afternoon finals, with the First boat winning the Petite Finals. A week later, the First boat won the prestigious du Pont Cup for the first time since 2004 defeating strong teams from BB&N, Pomfret and St. Mark’s. By the end of the season, all four varsity boats had qualified for the New England championship races in Worcester, with the Fourth boat finishing 2nd in the morning heat and then 6th overall in New England. The First boat finished 3rd in its morning heat, missing the Grand Finals by .079 seconds, and then 10th overall in New England. With three middlers and two uppermids—Alli Elkman ’13 (coxswain), Liam Carty ’14 (stroke), Hayden Pascal ’13 (3 seat), Carl Sangree ’14 (2 seat), Will Kirsten ’14 (bow)—this young boat has a great future ahead of it, and the entire team looks very deep again for next year. Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 21

spring SPORT (49.74), and Erich Marcks ’12 took 3rd in the 800m (2:01.17). To end the season, Robertson and Marcks would team up with Karlan and John MacMullen ’14 to smash the school record in the 4x400m relay (3:25.17).

Boys Lacrosse 10–7

n Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 congratulates Boys’ Varsity Tennis Coach Peter Frew ’75 on his more than 25 years of service to the team. Phil Dutton/

Girls Crew 6–4 This was a relatively deep and balanced team, indicated by the strong 3rd-place finish at the Founders Day Regatta of the Third boat of Ellie Park ’13, Kelley Gaston ’12, Liz Demmon ’13, Caroline Leopold ’15 and Tiffany Li ’14. Taft had perhaps its best day near the end of the season in sweeping Berkshire, Canterbury and Hopkins, ensuring that all four Taft boats qualified for the New England championships (NEIRA). At the NEIRAs, the Third boat again rowed extremely well, making the Grand Finals for a 6th place finish. Throughout the spring, captain Hanna Dethlefs ’12 teamed up with Anne Tewksbury ’12, Alanna Fogarty ’12, Josie Danziger ’14 and cox RC O’Shea ’14 to power a very competitive First boat.

Girls Track 6–4 Again this year Taft was dominant in the weight events and scored big points in the jumps. Early wins over Deerfield and Berkshire made for the winning season, but the Rhinos had their best meet at the New England championships, where they edged out Choate by one point to place 22 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

6th. At that meet, the 400-meter relay team of Lexi Rogers ’12, Candice Dyce ’13, Shana Joseph ’14 and Alex Lewis ’12 set a new school record in 50.68. Katie Harpin won the shot put by less than an inch with a throw of 36'2", while tricaptain Ellen Kalnins ’12 placed 2nd in the javelin. Dyce placed in the long jump but also shattered her own school record in the triple jump by winning the event with an impressive 37'7" leap.

Boys Track 8–4 Taft earned regular-season wins over Avon, Berkshire and, for the first time ever, Andover, due to its strength in the jumps, throws and middle distance. At the Founders League meet, senior Anthony Gaffney ’12 won the long jump with a final leap of 22'11.5" to break the long-standing record of Peter Guernsey ’40 [22'7"]. Gaffney also anchored the 4x100m relay team of Demetrius Russell ’12, Zach Karlan ’12 and Adam Parker ’13, to set another new school record (43.72) and a 3rd-place finish. At the New England championships, the Rhinos had their best day, with Shane Hardie ’13 winning the high jump (6'0") and Kevin Trotman ’12 winning the discus (151'10"). Andrew Robertson ’12 placed 4th in the 400m

Taft lacrosse ended the season with a 10–7 record and placed 4th in Western New England. Taft was led by All-Western New England and Colorado College-bound goalie Chase Murphy ’12 with a 66 save percentage in net. Virginia-bound Jeff Kratky ’13 was All-Western New England for the second straight year and won 67% of his face offs and ended with 28 points. Virginia-bound Tyler Breen ’14 led the team with 24 goals, and Chas South ’13 and Eric Smith ’14 showed why they are some of the best defenders in the nation helping the defense hold opponents to 6.57 goals per game. Taft’s big win this year was a 14–10 win over nationally ranked Hotchkiss on Alumni Day.

Girls Lacrosse 13–2 This fast team had real offensive punch and defensive tenacity, playing well together all season. Convincing wins over Deerfield (17–8) and Westminster (14–6) set up a showdown with Andover at home; in a back-and-forth contest, Taft prevailed 7–5 behind senior Laurel Pascal’s two unassisted goals. In the final week, the Rhinos fought for two exciting wins, defeating Hotchkiss in overtime (13–12) for the third straight year, and then Choate 14–13. Throughout the season All-Americans Pascal and defender Jordan McCarthy ’12 led the team in scoring, while Charlotte O’Leary ’12 and Caroline Queally ’14 were crucial to the team’s offense. Goalie Lexi Dwyer ’12 and fellow seniors Story Viebranz, Jackie Michnoff and Caitlin Majewski anchored the defense.

Annual Fund Report 2011–12

Thank you for each and every piece that helped complete the Taft picture this year.

Annual Fund Report 2011–12 This has been a superb year for the Taft Annual Fund, and I could not be more proud of the thousands of Taft alumni/ae, parents, grandparents and friends whose generosity carried us to our $3.7 million goal. Those dollars equate to almost $6,500 per student and provide critical operating support for the school. Key to reaching this year’s fundraising goal was the Class of 1962 which, in celebration of its 50th Reunion, deservedly won both the Snyder Award and the Chairman of the Board Award by, respectively, contributing more dollars than any other reunion-year class and by achieving the highest level of donor participation among classes 50 or fewer years out. Alumni giving also got a magnificent boost from an anonymous donor, whose matching challenge raised more than $377,912 for the school. While class giving tends to increase during its reunion years, the year-to-year success of our Annual Fund rests solidly on the broad and deep support from all corners of our Taft community. I offer my most sincere thanks and congratulations to all Taft donors for their selfless generosity and loyalty in this great achievement, and I hope that others are inspired by your example. For the first time in many years, overall alumni participation reached 40%, reflecting a significant increase over last year’s level of 38%. We should congratulate ourselves on this result, as it comes in the midst of continued economic uncertainty, but I am optimistic that our fantastic alumni will drive us well beyond that level of support in years to come. This growth in participation is largely attributable to the outstanding efforts of our class agents and volunteers, who work very hard to advocate on behalf of the Annual Fund and who build and sustain vibrant connections between Taft and our alumni body. Few of us enjoy being solicited for donations, and fewer still prize the responsibility to conduct that work. It requires discipline, fortitude, time and enthusiasm to make “the ask,” and hundreds of Taft alumni and student volunteers have taken on this role in the true spirit of service. This year’s performance, and the consistent contributions of our corps of volunteers, bodes very well for next year’s campaign and for Taft’s future. Extending its remarkable fundraising streak, the Taft Parents’ Fund completed another amazing year (see page 25). Our Parents’ Fund continues to set the standard among all such funds at the nation’s best independent schools. This phenomenal success is the result of the continued largesse of our current parents, the exemplary leadership of the Parents’ Fund chairs—Don and Maris Pascal, and the determination and toil of the Parents’ Committee. They have earned our unreserved gratitude. As chair of the Annual Fund, I am fortunate and honored to work with many talented and dedicated volunteers and staff in service to Taft and its future. The Taft Annual Fund continues to generate financial resources that are critical to providing the best possible learning environment for our students, and the engagement of the larger Taft community is fundamental to that undertaking. Thank you for your partnership and generosity in support of Taft. With warm regards,

Dylan Simonds ’89 Annual Fund Chair

24 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

2012 Class Agent Awards* Snyder Award

Largest amount contributed by a reunion class Class of 1962: $1,244,221 (includes Annual Fund and capital) Class Agent: Fred Nagle Gift Committee Chair: Rod Moorhead

Chairman of the Board Award Highest percent participation from a class 50 years out or less Class of 1962: 63% Class Agent: Fred Nagle Gift Committee Chair: Rod Moorhead

We would like to express our appreciation to all Taft families who contributed to the 2011–12 Taft Parents’ Fund. We also wish to express a special thanks to the Taft Parents’ Committee who worked so hard to connect with parents about the importance of participation. Contributions totaled $1,458,685 and participation reached 92% for the year. Thanks so much to those who participated and we hope to see everyone participating next year! Sincerely,

Don and Maris Pascal Parents of Laurel ’12 and Hayden ’13

McCabe Award

Largest amount contributed by a non-reunion class Class of 1974: $117,215 Class Agent: Brian Lincoln

2011–12 Parents’ Fund

Class of 1920 Award


Greatest increase in dollars from a non-reunion class Class of 1974: increase of $21,815 Class Agent: Brian Lincoln

The Romano Award

Greatest increase in participation from a non-reunion class less than 50 years out Class of 1999: 41% from 25% Class Agent: Lindsay Tarasuk Aroesty

Young Alumni Dollars Award Largest amount contributed from a class 10 years out or less Class of 2002: $8,780 Class Agent: Peter Hafner

Young Alumni Participation Award

Highest participation from a class 10 years out or less Class of 2011: 44% Class Agents: Nick Auer and Sara Guernsey

The Spencer Award

Largest number of gifts from classmates who have not given in the last five years Class of 1987: 9 Class Agent: Cinda Goulard Lord Gift Committee Chair: George Moore *Awards determined by gifts and pledges raised as of June 30, 2012

Maris and Don Pascal


Jan and Eric Albert ’77 Michelle Andrews Heidi and Andrew Arthur ’81 Rachel and William Brannan Anne and Toby Brown Constance and Michael Carroll Lynn and Ed Cassady Sheilah and Tom Chatjaval Irene and Albert Cheng Louisa and Edward Cheng Stasha and Mark Cohen Jane and Jack Cooney Lilo and Tom Cunningham Kathy and Brian Daigle John Davidge III and Deborah Lott Laura Delaney-Taft and John Taft ’72 Jacqueline and Christian Erdman Doone and George Estey Linn ’82 and Robert Feidelson ’82 Melissa and Trevor Fetter Libby and Terry Fitzgerald Kristine and Peter Glazer Colleen and Peter Grant Nicky and Jamie Grant Anne and Randy Harrell Jean Marie and Douglas Jamieson Barbara and David Knowlton Val and John Kratky Kathryn and John Kuhns Juliette and James Lee Lisa and Joe Lovering Alice and Albert Ma

Christiana and Ferdy Masucci Lisa and Jay McDermott Sawnie and Jim McGee Rose and Paul McGowan Laura and Frank Michnoff Wendy and John Motulsky ’74 Regina and Dennis Olmstead Nan and Tim O’Neill Ellen and Bill Oppenheim Jacqueline and Harry Pierandri Madeleine and Frank Porcelli Lee and Michael Profenius Elizabeth and Frank Queally Kim Gassett-Schiller and Philip Schiller Staley and Carter Sednaoui Karen and Rick Shea Gigi and John Sheldon Chris and James Smith Patty and Bill Snyder Claudia and Allen M. Sperry Mimi and Marc Tabah Denise and John Trevenen Kimberly and Michael Tucci Sarah and Bob Underhill Cissy and Curt Viebranz Beverly and Mark Wawer Rod Westmoreland Diane Blanchard Whiting Susan and John Wilson Elizabeth and John Woods Won Hi Yoo and Kyung Ae Song Peter and Jo Ziesing ’78


Commencement Exercises

A Recipe for Success

Katherine G. Windsor, Ed.D., P’12

Wallis Kinney

Katherine G. Windsor, Ed.D., P’12


Headmaster Willy MacMullen presents Eliza Davis with the Joseph I. Cunningham Award.


Jordan Stone is called up to receive the Lawrence Hunter Stone Award, which he shared with Anthony Gaffney.

These remarks are excerpted from Dr. Windor’s Commencement address on May 27. To read her entire speech, or listen to those by Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, class speaker Lindsay Karcher ’12, or head monitors Will O’Meara and Story Viebranz ’12, visit

My first introduction to The Taft School came in the fall of 2007 when Jack and I pulled into the circle, parked, and made our way to the Harley Roberts Room. We headed off on our tour and were instantly introduced to what I call the “prep school birthday prank.” Every time we rounded a corner, someone called out to the tour guide, “Happy Birthday!” It was not his birthday but we, of course, fell for the punch line. We knew better by the time we arrived at the second, third and fourth school and, while the prank persisted, the energy and sense of community we experienced at Taft that morning was singular. I should also mention that it was twin day, so as we stood outside the door to Mr. Frew’s office watching classes pass, Main Hall was filled with laughter and warm exchanges among faculty and students alike. At Taft, the people truly make the place. Many things at Taft have been the same for generations, including the school’s motto—not to be served but to serve—and an undefeated swim team. There are, however, several things about the Class of 2012’s experience that have been unique. You arrived in Watertown as construction began on what is now a magnificent dining hall. Your transcripts include the transition between a six-point and a 100-point grading scale. And you are the first class to have co-head monitors—what wonderful leaders they have been.


Headmons Will O’Meara and Story Viebranz place the class stone into the wall of Centennial

You have all been on the crest of the social networking phenomenon. As parents we thought it was great that we could reach you easily on your cell phones rather than a shared line in your dorm rooms. But we also quickly understood that we needed to learn how to Skype and text if we really wanted to get your attention… and forget using email. Though I am a Taft parent, I am also the head of Miss Porter’s School; I am the competition, the enemy on the playing field. But then again, we have a lot in common: I look forward to a good win over Hotchkiss. I understand why seniors are thrilled that they can skip sit-down. And I know how it is possible to love this place with every bone in your body and also feel like your skin is crawling because you want to get this over with so badly!

I am going to share with you the truth about what it takes to be a professional and also a parent, and I am going to share with you a secret—a secret Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 27

Piping the seniors into the quad for the ceremony



Ina Kosova, Mai Nguyen, Dima Yankova and Thuy Tran


Valedictorian Kristen Shaker

I have been asked to reveal many times over the course of the past four years here at Taft. Let me begin with the truth. I graduated from a day school in Baltimore whose motto is palma non sine pulvere or, “reward is not without work.” When I delivered remarks to my own classmates I was very focused on success. I challenged my class to continue to push themselves, to be bold, to work hard, and save the world. I had not thought about the concept I’m asking you to consider today—how to begin to construct a life that is fulfilling and purposeful and not simply about chasing other people’s definitions of success. My parents are both educators and while I have always loved school and have an enormous respect for educators, I did not imagine that I would have a career in education. I took a job teaching history, coaching lacrosse and running a dorm right out of college because I wanted to give back before I moved on to “bigger and better things.” As you know now, I never left. Perhaps I had unwittingly, and luckily, embraced the idea that it is better to serve than be served. In many ways things are more difficult for you than they were for me. There is more pressure to 28 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

Associate Dean of Faculty Jennifer Zaccara inducts this year’s Cum Laude Society members, including class speaker Lindsay Karcher.

be really great (or even exceptional) at absolutely everything you do. And heaven knows, each time you filled out a college application this year you were faced with the reality that it was not simply good enough to distinguish yourself as a student. So I know you know pressure. And at times I bet this enormous pressure caused you to doubt yourself. I do not intend to stand before you today and present a message of doom and gloom. Rather I would like to present another way of approaching life. One where you make choices first and foremost that open doors, rather than close doors. That you do not try to do it all or have it all, but rather that you figure out the few things that matter most in your life and focus on making them happen. The challenge should not be about mastering many things, but rather about mastering the things that matter. The real challenge is to construct your individual definition of success. What actually makes you happy? What if we were to dispense with the word success and instead seek a life that was purposeful and fulfilling? I think that Horace Taft was hoping to inspire this way of thinking when he wrote: “A great advantage of boarding school is that it gives opportunities for students to get out of themselves. They must work for others.” For me personally, Horace Taft’s words have rung true. So now we get to the secret part and how knowing what matters and doing it well pays off. My guess is that more members of the class of 2012 know me as the mom who shows up with the “brookies” than as the mom who is head of Miss Porter’s. For those of you who have not had a brookie, they are a little piece of brownie/cookie heaven. These treats are my way of connecting with Jack


Aurelian Award winner Christopher Browner .

Kwadwo Asamoah-Duodu, Anthony Gaffney and Jackson McGonagle Red and blue are popular colors for the day.

and his friends. It is my way of saying thank you to the coaches and teachers for taking care of my son. They are my way of being a mother when my son is away at boarding school. Brookies are not complicated and they don’t really take a lot of time. They are so easy that Jack’s dad is willing to be the baker more often than I am. But let’s face it, because I am the woman, I get the credit. This is the perfect example of how being really good at one thing works. It also illustrates how a simple gesture can create and strengthen the connections between people. I just needed to perfect a single recipe and repeat it. And in doing so I’ve been able to connect with many of you. Now the last game has been played and Jack has moved out of the dorm, we will take our brookies to a new campus and leave the recipe with you. And here it is, the little bit of magic: one bag of sugar cookie mix and a box of brownie mix. It is simple, it is sweet, and it is complete. So what is your recipe, I ask? It does not need to be complicated, in fact the simpler the better. But it does need to be complete and the proportions matter. Remember the ingredients that have been so masterfully delivered to you here. They begin with Horace Taft’s expectation that graduates be prepared to serve rather than be served. They include the bonds you have developed with each other over the course of the past four years. It is not only the people who make the place, I would argue, but also the people who ultimately make your life. j Read or listen to all of the remarks, or view Commencement Day photos, at

“The challenge should not be about mastering many things, but rather about mastering the things that matter.”

Walter Yoo bubbles over with enthusiasm for the day.

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 29

A life of Quiet Dedication: Brian Denyer, the absolute team player, retires.

By Bonnie Blackburn Penhollow ’84

Meilleurs Voeux

Le meilleur professeur

de français! Il m’a fait comprendre le subjunctif. Il m’a rendu employable par le service linguistique de l ’ONU. Vous êtes le meilleur!!! —Susan Isko ’03

One of the greats. The beret made class feel authentic. 33 years of teaching teens French—wow. Bonne chance, Monsieur! —Cameron Dauler ’90

Great teacher, great human being. Toujours enthousiaste, toujours juste. Que tous les profs soient comme lui! —Andy Winchell ’86

Photos from the Leslie D. Manning Archives

I may have been the worst French student to pass through those doors in the last 33 years. But Monsieur Denyer never treated me or any other student with anything less than the utmost respect, patience and kindness. —Chris Pollock ’93

the image one may have of Brian Denyer, the retiring French teacher, coach and mentor, may be one of a serious, somewhat balding man, with big black eyeglasses, head bent studiously as he gently corrects a student’s awkward French phrasing. Or perhaps the image is of Denyer, his remaining hair flying behind him as he races down a field, whistle dangling around his neck, calling plays or fouls on the soccer and lacrosse fields. Or perhaps he was knocking on a dorm room door, giving a customary “one-one thousand” pause before opening said door to ensure no mischief was at hand. Or perhaps you’ve seen the artistic side of Brian Denyer, one that creates perfect rhymes in colloquial French or paints lush landscapes in oils and watercolors. All these and more make up Denyer, who retired at the end of the spring term 2012 after more than three decades at Taft. Charismatic, warm, inviting, gracious, tenacious—these are the accolades that poured forth from former students and colleagues when asked to describe their views of Denyer. And they are all accolades he would probably shrug off, being as he is a selfeffacing man who has never sought the limelight. “There is just an innate goodness and gentleness and caring in him,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “This is a school that values men and women who commit to serve the school. I’d be hard-pressed to think of someone who has done so more generously and with less fanfare and no interest in accolades than Brian Denyer. It’s not just that he’s been an incredibly dedicated French teacher who is absolutely committed to the classroom. Not only did he do whatever was asked, he volunteered to take things on outside the classroom. “He is the absolute team player.” Denyer was born in Shawford, England, and grew up in Scotland, spending time in Carnoustie and Edinburgh before moving to the United States to attend Amherst College. Though his emigration was many decades ago, he still carries a hint of a Scottish lilt in his voice. He and his wife, Valerie, came to Taft in 1979 after spending nine years at King School in Stamford, Connecticut. Retired French teacher Gerard LeTendre recalled hiring Denyer after being impressed with Denyer’s command of the language. “For someone originally from Scotland, his spoken French was devoid of a Scottish accent,” LeTendre remembered. “Brian has done an excellent job as a teacher of French.” Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 31

Meilleurs Voeux

Taft was a perfect place for the Denyer family, which grew to include three daughters: Karen ’88, Heather ’96, Emily ’99. The family lived on CPT 3. MacMullen lived just down the hall from them when he was a rookie faculty member. “He was one of the very first people I met when I came to Taft. I ended up living on his floor and we were both soccer coaches. I was a bachelor who didn’t know how to cook, so I was always in their apartment. He and Val could not have been more gracious, warm and inviting,” MacMullen said. “I probably hung around like a puppy at their door.” The Denyers spent eight years in CPT before moving to their home on North Street, not far from the soccer fields. During that time, Brian moved from coaching varsity soccer to developing the less-experienced players on the junior varsity soccer team, coaching and molding players just as he did in the classroom. “Brian was the assistance coach my first year on boys’ varsity soccer (fall of 1980) and also the head of my dorm (CPT 3) my uppermid and senior year,” recalled Jon Willson ’82, who is now dean of academic affairs for the school as well as a history teacher. “What I remember most clearly about him from my days as a student and an athlete here are the same qualities which I have valued in him as a colleague for the past 16 years: his warmth, caring and kindness. Thirty years ago, he was a highenergy, ever-smiling and encouraging, long-haired (despite a bald spot on top!) and dark frame glasses-wearing benevolent presence on the soccer pitch and on corridor. I remember him warming me up for practices (I was goalkeeper) and offering the gentlest of constructive criticism as he did.” “Brian was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” recalled Rob Madden ’03. “He had the light, fun-at-heart style that was indicative of his personality. Practice was the bright spot in all of our days. Coach Denyer demanded a lot of us as a team and as individuals. He would not stand for players carrying their bad days to the pitch and would often pull kids aside during a drill because they weren’t playing with respect for teammates or as hard as possible. This authority and being able to stand up for what he believed was the way soccer should be played and earned him the respect of all who took the field for him.” Madden, who later worked alongside Denyer in the language department as a Spanish teacher, said Denyer’s mentoring was invaluable.

warmth caring kindness ~ ~ 32 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

I remember Brian when HE was new to Taft—a deeply courteous, warm and cheerful colleague and fellow corridor master in CPT. Retirement is great, Brian. Perhaps our paths will cross again. —Roger F. Stacey, former faculty

I have enjoyed so very much the pleasure of your company and wise counsel as your Summer School colleague these past several years. Enjoy your retirement, Brian, but do hang around Summer School for a while longer. —Jack Hill ’61

Je me souviens d’un Mid Year examen oral pour le livre Les Voleurs, lorsque M. Denyer me regarda, secoua la tête et dit: “ Votre accent est merveilleux, mais votre grammaire? Quel dommage!” Je n’oublierai jamais ça! Merci d’être un merveilleux professeur, M. Denyer! —Brett Valenstein ’92

“Chez Renoir”

en surveillant le tableau, Petite fille à un arrosoir La petite fille à un arrosoir M’invite à voir les fleurs de Renoir ; Je découvre ses yeux bleus et suppliants, Et veux, vais lui tenir la main. Ma guide, en bleu brodé de dentelle Vers son rosier m’amène-t-elle ; Je renifle ces bourgeons sous ma vue, Un sourire arrive au visage. Nous faisons le tour le long du sentier Pour voir son oeuvre jardinier ; Elle arrose la soif, perçoit que moi, J’admire son ruban en vol. Elle descend son pot, elle prend la fuite, Son papillon rouge en poursuite ; Je la chasse pour saisir le regard, Mais des nuages en or s’y coulent. La petite fille à un arrosoir M’invite à voir la joie de Renoir ; Je redécouvre les yeux: bleus, suppliants, Et lui offre la main d’amour.

Brian is one of the most gracious, kind individuals I have ever met. The same qualities that have endeared him to his students over the years, are what endeared him to me when I was a newbie teacher at Taft. Brian was always willing to listen to my concerns and to share his pearls of wisdom about life at Taft, whether about life in the classroom, on the field, or on dorm. —Debra McKenna Faye, former faculty

Je me souviens toujours du poème, “Sur Le Pont Mirabeau.” Monsieur Denyer est le meilleur prof de français que j’aie jamais eu... Félicitations! —Eliza Whetzel ’06


lines written upon viewing Renoir’s Girl with a watering can A little girl with a watering can Invited me to see her flowers; I met her pleading eyes just once And knew I had to take her hand. My guide—in blue and trimmed with lace, Toward her rose bush led me then; She turned and saw me sniff those buds, Approved and smiled with all her face. Along the path we toured all things, Stopping to watch her garden grow; She watered blooms, then caught my eye Admiring the flapping ribbon’s wings. She dropped her pot and took to flight – Trying to hold her butterfly; I chased to see that smile again But clouds of gold were all I’d sight. A little girl with a watering can Invited me to see her flowers; I met her pleading eyes once more And offered her, with love, my hand.

—Brian Denyer

“I cannot express how grateful I am and have been for his friendship and mentoring at some of the most important stages of my life,” he said. “He influenced me, both as a teacher and coach, in ways that are profound and are lasting. I am sure Brian will miss being at Taft after so many years dedicated to the school, but Taft and all Taft’s future students will miss not having Coach Denyer in soccer or Mr. Denyer in the classroom more than can ever be realized. He is one of those men whose dedication and enthusiasm are sensed from the first conversation. He is one of those men that I will never forget.” Former students and players are quick with stories of how he mentored them through rough patches and challenged their understanding of French literature and language. Javier Garcia ’05 is one such student who thrived under Denyer’s tutelage. “‘Bien, zéro!’ These are the words I remember most vividly from my three years as a French student at Taft under Brian Denyer. They marked the completion of a common ritual in his classroom,” Garcia recalled. “It would all begin so innocently. Mr. Denyer would ask the class a trick question with his lips slightly curled into a smile of expectation. Then a hush of unknowing would descend upon his unsuspecting prey. His students, whether foolhardy, genuinely brave, or simply oblivious to the trap set before them would answer incorrectly. Perfectly according to plan, Mr. Denyer would immediately roar in triumph, ‘Bien, zéro!’ The ritual would end here, and we would all tremble in fear before the colossal power of French grammar to dupe us again and again. In that process of breaking us, the grammatical principle being taught would be indelibly ingrained onto our minds.” Denyer taught both French literature and grammar, finding ways to instill a love of learning a foreign language in students who came to him without any prior experience in French. “Perhaps this is where Mr. Denyer’s secret lay,” Garcia added. “He understood that the service of teaching is intrinsically and pervasively formative. While teaching me French, Mr. Denyer was actually teaching me so much more. In the small victories of

colleague neighbor friend ~ ~ Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 33

Meilleurs Voeux How thankful I am to have been on his wing in CPT when I first came to Taft, he really looked out for me. Thank you, Mr. Denyer. —Lanny Baker ’85

grammar and vocab, Mr. Denyer was granting me confidence and courage as a young man. Mr. Denyer was showing me through literature the complexities of the human condition and its strange beauty.” Susan Isko ’03 said her love of the language—inspired by Denyer’s teaching— helped her prepare for her current career in freelance translation for the United Nations. And it helps in her daily life, as she is based in Geneva, Switzerland. “I depend on French every day of my life, both for communication in the city where I live and for my professional livelihood. (I interpret from French and Russian into English.)” she said. “I would not be able to live as I do had I not studied with him. Looking back over the past 15 years of French study, it is hard to think of any teacher that has been more influential in fostering my passion for the language than Mr. Brian Denyer. What was special about him was his way of teaching, his enthusiasm and dedication, his willingness to give extra time and attention, to make French seem useful even in Smalltown, Connecticut. This is what made the language come alive for so many of us.” Faculty members shared their memories of Denyer as well. Spanish teacher and language lab director Kevin Conroy described him as “a colleague, neighbor and friend. On several occasions, he has invited me over for un peu de vin rouge so we could share, vent, visit or attempt to solve the problems of the world. With timely compassion he tightens the reins of friendship, especially when you find yourself in need of a friend willing to listen. We have shared successes and hardships, trips to art museums, mini road trips for a quick break from the bubble, countless ideas for teaching language, and above all else a sincere and lasting friendship. So quietly he does so much; his absence will be felt by all of us.” Retired faculty member Jol Everett described Denyer as “one of those people who have made Taft into the wonderful school that it is. Brian has always worked hard as a teacher, coach, and, in my last years at Taft, as a lacrosse referee who made alumni lacrosse games possible and enjoyable. He did all of this and much more in a quiet way, never seeking the limelight, but always doing what was best for the whole Taft community.”

morning noon night ~ ~ 34 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

Brian Denyer, who taught my older brother, had already become a household name with the Garcias before I attended Taft. One Parents’ Day, I joined my parents in a meeting with Mr. Denyer and became acquainted with his gentle, charismatic and good-hearted nature. Once a student I found it particularly special how personable and encouraging he was. He took his teaching well beyond its requirements, becoming a mentor and a real friend. The Taft community has been bettered with his tenure. —Daniela Garcia ’09

Mr. Denyer is a fantastic teacher whose enthusiasm for his subject inspired me and all his students. His classes were a highlight of my four years at Taft, and his infectious love of French language and literature has remained with me since and always will. —Katharine “Kit” Thayer ’07

Brian and his family were an integral part of my Taft experience. Living on the same hall in CPT, I was one of their regular babysitters. The Denyers became like family to me and we spent a great deal of time together. Brian is a warm and charismatic individual who dedicated himself to the school and his students. Whether in the classroom or on the field, I never heard anything less than praise for his spirit and professionalism. —Randy Schwartz ’80

I had the good fortune of playing one year of soccer under his leadership. We were sort of a middle of the road team that year, but Coach Denyer was a very steady and upbeat coach to play for. He struck the delicate balance between establishing appropriate levels of work ethic, stick-to-itiveness and fun. He definitely loved soccer. I can remember him scrimmaging with us and having a blast, despite his body’s aerobic misgivings. Class, positivity and above all, a genuine concern for his players’ well-being were the fundamental components of Coach Denyer’s playbook. —Mike Whittier ’85

Beyond Taft

Denyer’s love of language and of travel led him to take over the running of Taft’s Senior Year Abroad program in the 1980s. Since then, more than 150 students have spent a year living with families in France, Spain, Italy and China. “Most of the kids here have traveled with their families, but this gives them a very different look at the country,” Denyer said. “Living with a family in a foreign country not only changes your habits or your way of thinking, but it also, I think, is great for Taft kids who for the most part have a pretty privileged life. It gives them a better understanding of people in other countries.” Another love of Denyer’s is poetry. During a sabbatical at St. Andrews University in Scotland, he “played around,” as he described it, with translating poetry from French into English. “There are certain poets I’ve loved. I tried to render their poems in English. I guess [it is] the personal expression into a rhythmic form, and to try to convey what I see in their imagination, it’s the ambiguity or duplicity of meaning that draws me,” he said. In other creative pursuits, Denyer also oversaw the development of Taft’s Global Journal and represented the school in the local Alliance Française. He is also an accomplished painter, and said he’ll be painting more in retirement. And despite a serious illness in the past several years that forced a reduction in his teaching load, he remained committed to driving students to their volunteer work in the region. Denyer was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a plasma cell cancer, in December 2006. He said that while he’ll never be fully cured of the cancer, he is taking daily chemotherapy that keeps the disease at bay. Despite the toll the chemotherapy takes on him, he has continued to teach, coach and oversee extracurricular activities. “When others might have cut back on extracurricular commitments, Brian took on more tasks,” said Baba Frew, Taft’s director of community service and head of the Modern Language Department. “He drove for the volunteering program for the past two years—twice a week, all year long, and he did so without a word of complaint.” Frew said Denyer’s passion for French culture “goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and his students always look forward to the day when he makes crepes for his classes. “Brian’s top priority at Taft has always been the students in the classroom, the dorm or the field,” she said. “He is the quintessential schoolmaster who is there for his kids morning, noon and night, and the students know his interest in them is unfeigned. Brian is a man of inestimable courage, patience and love,” she added. Denyer is “an inspiration to all.” j Bonnie Blackburn Penhollow ’84 is a writer living in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband and two children.

courage patience love ~ ~ Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 35

For the Good Days When Todd McGovern ’92 and Amanda Costanzo ’93 got married, life threw them a curve ball.

By David McKay Wilson

“I figure I have about 60 really bad days a year. That leaves 305 good days, And it’s what you do with those good days that make your life.”

36 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

Todd is fueled by his belief that recreation is key to helping battle cancer

Taft seniors Charlie Garcia and Eric Metcalf ’12 present Todd and Amanda with the results of their fun run for Seas It.

In 2004, Todd McGovern ’92 was living his dream.

The competitive spirit that brought him stardom in hockey and baseball proved a boon in the business world, where he found great success placing executives in top corporate jobs. Love had found him too. He’d reconnected two years earlier in a Jersey Shore bar with Taft classmate Amanda Costanzo ’93, they’d fallen deeply in love, and were married that May. But six weeks after returning from their Caribbean honeymoon, McGovern’s dream lurched dispiritingly off course when he was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. That meant the cancer had moved to a second organ and was on the march to kill him. An oncologist told the 30-year-old, known by his friends as Gov, that he had six months to live. McGovern, now 38, understood the reality of mortality: we all die someday. What infuriated him that fateful day in July was the fact that his life would end far too soon. His life with Amanda, and all that it promised, had just begun. “I got angry that I had an expiration date,” he says. McGovern’s cancer changed his life. It changed Amanda’s too. A fifth-grade teacher at the French American School in North Cambridge, Massachusetts, when they were married, she quit the job to support Todd after his diagnosis and subsequent hospitalizations. A year later, she founded a nonprofit called Seas It to help young adults with cancer, and their families who care for them. The name comes from the comfort that the Atlantic Ocean has provided during the McGoverns’ journey, and their belief that

adults with cancer need to seize the day, for it could well be their last. The nonprofit has provided grants to 50 caretakers and cancer patients looking for opportunities to get healthy, think positive, and take control of their lives. Seas It provides grants of $400 to take golf lessons, buy a bike, learn yoga or go camping. McGovern, who played soccer, hockey and baseball at Taft, finds movement and recreation to be restorative— for both his body and mind. He turned to running during his bout with cancer, mustering up the energy to run four marathons in a relay team with Amanda in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Working with two Taft students, Seas It raised more than $8,000 through a series of fund-raising events on campus, including two separate 5k runs on Alumni Weekend. This will fund more than 20 grants to cancer patients and caretakers. “There’s nothing more rewarding than telling someone we’ve given them a grant,” says McGovern. “You’d think we’d given them a million dollars. I like talking with them. At times, there’s no one to talk to. Having cancer can be the loneliest experience, ever. I like to deliver the good news. For too many people with cancer, all they hear about are the statistics of death.” Eight years after his doctor gave him six months to live, McGovern continues to defy the odds. In 2010, his oncologist told him there was nothing left in their medical toolkit to halt the abdominal tumors that refused to stop growing, despite four surgeries, and scores of rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Once more Todd McGovern was told that his days were short, very short.

v Summer 2004, the battle begins

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 37

In Watch Hill, Rhode Island, for Ian and Lindsay Stanley McConnel ’93’s daughter’s baptism

At Taft, circa 1992, where it all began.

Yet again, McGovern survived. He did so with the help of a new medical regimen, undying support from his wife and friends and a healthy dose of optimism, fueled by his belief that recreation, as well as the new chemotherapeutic concoction, would win the do-or-die battle with the tumors that relentlessly returned to the center of his being, in his gut. “When you feel good, you forget how bad it was,” says McGovern with the smile friends remember in its fullness from the days when he’d lift his hands upwards after scoring a goal. “I figure I have about 60 really bad days a year. That leaves 305 good days, and it’s what you do with those good days that make your life.” Their Taft family of friends has gathered round for both the bad days and the good days. Tina Jennings, the mother of Sara Sutton Fell ’92, opened her home to Amanda and Todd during his three months of treatment and recuperation in Pittsburgh in 2005. Amanda’s brother, Eric ’92, a critical care pulmonologist, has been their sounding board on medical issues. Lindsay Stanley McConnel ’93 has supported Amanda through Todd’s illness and serves on the board of Seas It, the nonprofit founded by Amanda to support cancer recovery through recreation. And John Kennedy ’92 has shown up regularly to be at his Taft roommate’s side. McGovern was best man in Kennedy’s June wedding in Florida. Kennedy says McGovern’s refusal to accept his diagnosis was the latest manifestation of the irreverent spirit his friends know quite well. It’s the irreverence that McGovern displayed at Taft when he refused to accept the conventional wisdom that he

38 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012

Todd and Amanda at the Seas It 5k in 2009, Allenhurst, New Jersey.

was too small to play Division III hockey and baseball at Colby College. He played both and captained Colby’s hockey team. “Todd was an undersized guy, and that’s part of what motivated him,” says Kennedy. “Now the cancer is trying to kill, and he won’t let it. He’s fighting to stay alive, every hour of every day.” Todd and Amanda welcomed a visitor one foggy Friday morning in late May to their Corlies Avenue home, a block from the Atlantic Ocean in Allenhurst, New Jersey. Todd came downstairs with a special pillow for his wife, who was eight months pregnant with their twin boys and had a day off from her job in Manhattan at Cartier, the French jeweler and watch company, where she commutes 60 miles each way to serve as a client services manager. He had just completed his 135th round of chemotherapy, and #136 was scheduled for Tuesday. He smiled when reporting that he felt stronger. It wasn’t the strength that he once knew—that explosive leg power that sent him streaking past the blue line at Cruikshank with the puck on his stick, or helped him flag down a long fly ball in centerfield. But in Todd McGovern’s world, a two-mile walk along Ocean Avenue with his black Lab, Kingsley, was a definite win. A week earlier, he couldn’t climb the stairs at their home. He’d just returned after a month in the hospital, after his gastrointestinal tract shut down. It hurts when your gastro-intestinal tract shuts down. “It’s like getting stabbed in the side for ten seconds, and then someone takes barbed wire and drags it through where

Remission trip take 2, Italy 2007

Amanda with William Todd and Andrew Todd

“I hope our boys take after Daddy Gov, equipped with “diaper dude” bag and chemo fanny pack, takes boys to their first doctor’s appointment.

you’ve been stabbed,” says McGovern. “You lie in a fetal position, counting the seconds between the convulsions. And through it all, you’re vomiting.” At one point, McGovern’s doctor told him there was nothing else to do but hook him up to a device that pumped nutrients through a port that was inserted into his bicep, which meant he’d be walking around with a 20-pound backpack, always worried about infection, for the rest of his life. But here he was in late May, without the TPN device. He’d been drinking smoothies chock-full of tofu and bananas that Amanda whipped up. She found the recipe used by the Japanese national Sumo team to bulk up its wrestlers. Todd had gained two pounds since leaving the hospital—he’s up to 128 pounds—which gave him a reprieve from the TPN device. “I’m not working up a sweat out there, but I’m moving,” he says. “Exercise has been such a part of my recovery. The body wants to heal, and if you give it time, it will. Sometimes you have to listen to your body more than your mind. Amanda pushes me too. She wants me to remain active.” The impending birth of their twins has added a new twist to the McGoverns’ lives. While dating, they talked about having a family, and after they were married, assumed that children would be coming soon. But Todd’s diagnosis put that dream on hold. In 2005, Todd was in remission, and they explored invitro fertilization. But the time didn’t seem right. Six years later, Todd’s health was on the rise. Amanda had turned 36.

their father.”

“We were walking on the beach one day, when Todd was feeling good,” Amanda recalls. “Todd had a hang-up about his mortality, and didn’t want to leave children behind, but he has come to terms with that. One of my hang-ups was that I couldn’t imagine raising children on my own, without Todd. But it is what it is. It was now or never.” She got pregnant, and now, the tables are turned. On June 16, Amanda gave birth to their twins, Andrew Todd and William Todd McGovern, just in time for Father’s Day. Todd has become the caregiver to Amanda and the twins. She’s taking a three-month leave from Cartier, but will return to work, as she is the family’s breadwinner, and holder of the all-important family insurance policy. Todd will be a stay-at-home Dad, sharing child-care duties with friends and family while he shuttles back and forth for his chemotherapy treatments. The McGoverns are embracing their new life—with babies offering the promise of the family Todd and Amanda dreamed of in 2004. “We’ll live for today, we embrace the present,” he says. “We’ll get through it.” Amanda shares the optimism that has brought them this far, on a journey neither imagined. Says Amanda: “I hope our boys take after their father.” j David McKay Wilson, a columnist at The Journal News in White Plains, New York, writes regularly for alumni magazines around the country.

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 39

alumni weekend 2012 Photographs by Robert Falcetti,

Additional photographs by Phil Dutton and Peter Frew ’75

That was then…



years ago 1

At the 30th Reunion celebration, host Jon Willson, Joy Rosenberg Horstmann, Jill Bermingham Isenhart and Max Feidelson


At the Old Guard Luncheon on Friday in the Choral Room


Lawn games entertain the family at the Headmaster’s Supper on Saturday.



velt Franklin D. Roose

average costs $4,100 home $762 car $.10 gas


Amelia Earhart burg disappears; Hinden te Ga n burns; Golde ; ens op e Bridg Disney release the Snow White and Seven Dwarfs

#1 song

mp” by “One O’Clock Ju Count Basie

40 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012


Paul Cruikshank

It was a beautiful weekend for reunion. From the 50th Reunion Dinner on Thursday night to the Seas It fun run on Sunday morning, the campus was a festive place to be. Of course time with friends meant a little reminiscing, too. We remembered those no longer with us, but we remembered the good times, too. Here are some photos to remember the weekend by, and a few trivia tidbits to take you back in the day.



2 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 41



6 8




11 42 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012




Golfers Dave Hinman ’87, Omer Jilani ’87, Headmaster Emeritus Lance Odden, and Colin Read ’02 make a foursome on Friday.


Cinda Goulard Lord, Beth Long and Kurt Hupe at the 25th Reunion celebration at the Litchfield Country Club on Friday evening


Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 and Fred Nagle ’62 gather 50th reunion class for the Alumni Parade on Saturday.


Chaplain Bob Ganung gives the blessing after the Service of Remembrance on Friday.


1992 classmates Scott Willard and Lexi Brownell Reese


Members of the Class of ’67 at the Headmaster’s Supper


Jacki Snow, Andi Orben, Chris Snow ’97 and Will Orben ’92 at the combined reunion gathering at the Heritage on Saturday night


1992 Classmates Greta Brogna, Alison Wandelt, Demi Quinn Isenstadt, her son Quinn, and Kristen Hartnett Jones


Ellie, daughter of Betsy Jacks ’87, does her part for the parade.


Pam Bermingham, widow of Wooly ’43, and her daughter Jill Bermingham Isenhart ’82 at the Old Guard Dinner


A photo booth at the Heritage party on Saturday night proved to be loads of fun.

That was then…



years ago 50


John F. Kennedy

average costs $12,500 home $3,100 car $.28 gas


John Glenn

orbits earth; isis; Cuban Missile Cr ts hos Johnny Carson ow Sh Tonight

#1 song

er” “Return to Send ey esl by Elvis Pr


Paul Cruikshank




Mary Murphy Conlin ’82 and goddaughter Greta (Heath Kern Gibson ’82) march in the Alumni Parade.


1992 classmates Libby Seibert, Timoney O’Brien Dunlap, Sarah Frechette Potts, Todd McGovern, Amanda Costanzo McGovern ’93, Jen Holmes Pinney, Justin Bette with wife Rachel and son Alex


Three generations of the Offutt family: Jane Scott Offutt Hodges ’87, Bill Offutt ’57 and Talley Hodges ’15


25th Reunion classmates Rob Boardman, Alison Jahncke and Amy Wilson Jensen—Alison traveled from Hong Kong for the occasion.


That was then…



years ago 25


Ronald Reagan

average costs

$92,000 home $9,312 car $.89 gas


fair; Iran-Contra Af ay; nd Mo k ac Bl Prozac released

#1 song

“La Bamba” by Los Lobos


Lance Odden

That was then…



years ago Today


Barack Obama

average costs

$171,250 home $30,000 car $3.85 gas


Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

#1 song

“Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO


Willy MacMullen ’78

Paul Ehrlich ’62 listens to a panel of current students talk about their experiences at Taft today.


Alumni and their families help dedicate the girls’ varsity soccer field in memory of Katie Jackson Morrison ’92 with a friendly game.


Peter Frew ’75 greets reunion chair Sarah Bedford ’92.


Loren Wright Luddy ’92 and husband Jeff check out old yearbooks at the combined reunion celebration on Saturday.


Kicking off the Seas It 5K on Saturday afternoon








23 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 45

tales of a TAFTIE

By Julie Reiff

Geoffrey T. Hellman, Class of 1924 Longtime New Yorker Columnist

Geoffrey Hellman was “one of the most diverse, stylish, accurate, inquisitive, softhearted, multifriended, pretense-puncturing, droll, high-tone contributors that The New Yorker has ever had. He was also by all account most prolific—even torrential. No one wrote more for this magazine, and it seems safe to say that no one ever will,” wrote editor Gardner Botsford. A wonderful example of Hellman’s pretense puncturing is his 1950 column, “Does Muskrat Call For a Claret or Sauterne?”: Members of the Sports Afield Club have their choice of Ecuador Swordfish steak, Australian Jack Rabbit, African White Guinea Hen…. Is the Australian Jack Rabbit any tastier than his domestic cousin? Is the Ukrainian Grouse any more pleasing to the palate than the Sands Pointe Grouse? [Some of their offerings] sound like the sort of thing the people of Paris ate during the siege of 1870, in the Franco-Prussian War, when they consumed the contents of the Paris Zoo, but of course they thought they were roughing it… Wildlife conservationists have a new foe on their hands. I recommend that Mr. Fairfield Osborn, president of the New York Zoological Society, take a sharp look at his cages and moated enclosures before he goes home for the night. Hellman wrote for The New Yorker for 47 years and in that time produced 74 “Profiles” of the city’s most prominent denizens (Louis Auchincloss, Frank Lloyd Wright, Tom Stoppard, Frank Capra, Victor Borge, Alfred Knopf, Dorothy Schiff, Igor Sikorsky) and hundreds and hundreds of articles for “Talk of the Town.” Hellman wrote extensively about New York institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History and the Pierpont Morgan Library. He was also the magazine’s connection to New York society, reporting on parties, local clubs and societies such as the Grolier Club, the Explorers’ Club and the American Geographical Society, as well as

exclusive restaurants, from which he collected an impressive number of menus. “He was fascinated by the upper reaches of society—not as a snob but as an explorer, a chronicler of how it all worked. It was a world he moved in easily,” added Botsford. Born in New York City in 1907, he was the son of writer George Hellman. Young Hellman cut his teeth as an editor of Taft’s literary magazine, The Oracle, and later at the Yale Daily News, Yale Record and Yale Literary Magazine. He wrote briefly for the New York Herald Tribune’s Sunday book supplement thanks to a recommendation by Thornton Wilder. Then, as Hellman tells it: “I joined the staff of The New Yorker in March, 1929, when the magazine was barely four and I was barely twenty-two. I had offered my services, as a book reviewer, in the mail, enclosing samples of my work…. I was given an interview with the managing editor, Ralph McAllister Ingersoll…. He pointed out that The New Yorker already had a book reviewer, Dorothy Parker, but he hired me.” Some “Talk of the Town” pieces are signed collectively as The New Yorkers. Occasionally Hellman’s snippets shared a byline with James Thurber or E.B. White, as in this 1931 “Comment”: Hourly spreads the fame of our magazine. We are six years old this issue, and a trifling incident happened during the week illustrating the fruits of hard work and intelligent effort. We were riding uptown on the bus, holding in our lap a large envelope bearing The New Yorker’s imprint. Gradually we became aware that the conductor was staring at the envelope; seeing him thus, we experienced a pardonable feeling of pride. “A reader!” we thought to ourself. Then the conductor summoned his courage and spoke. “Is it still hard to get seats for that show?” he asked. Alistair Cooke took the opportunity to have a little fun with Hellman in a 1959 “Department of Amplification” column, in which he parodied

the writer and his style. “Hellman is a man of wide culture and discerning professional habits,” writes Cooke. “He rarely takes an assignment that does not include a dinner of five courses, two wines, and free Upmanns No. 30…. He weighs 208 pounds in the summer, when professional dinner engagements are hard to come by, and 218 at the height of the journalistic season.” From 1936–1938, Hellman was associate editor of Life Magazine, “long enough to realize that I was foolish,” he once commented. During World War II, Hellman wrote for the Office of Inter-American Affairs, the War Department and helped to write a top-secret history of the OSS. His books include: How to Disappear for an Hour and Mrs. DePeyster’s Parties, which were primarily composed of New Yorker pieces, and Bankers, Bones, and Beetles and The Octopus on the Mall. In addition to his pursuits as a writer, Hellman was also an enthusiastic butterfly collector. He died in 1977 at the age of 70. Perhaps this writer shouldn’t be so kind to Mr. Hellman, who twice wrote about the Taft Bulletin, and not in the most favorable terms. Having some fun with the list of “Lost Alumni” printed periodically, he wrote a piece for The New Yorker called “Mother Taft’s Chickens” in 1940, with a sequel in 1955. His familiarity with the Social Register and New York society came in handy as he located 14 lost Tafties in as many minutes. “Comparatively few Taft men come from New York,” he writes with not a little irony, “and perhaps for this reason a number of alumni have managed to conceal themselves right on Park Avenue.” I wish we could say there were no lost alumni today, but at least we did learn a few things from our savvy New Yorker. We know better than to publish the list. j NB: Hellman married twice—in 1941 to Daphne van Beuren Bayne and in 1960 to Katherine Drexel Henry—and had a daughter from each marriage: Daisy and Katharine. His stepson Matthew Cowles married actress Christine Baranski, and their daughters graduated from Taft: Isabel ’02 and Lily Cowles ’05.

Sources:; Gardner Botsford, Obituary, The New Yorker, October 10, 1977; Alden Whitman, “Geoffrey T. Hellman Dies at 70; Versatile Writer for New Yorker.” New York Times, September 28, 1977; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries; Photo: Leslie D. Manning Archives

What successful Taftie, no longer living, would you like to see profiled in this space? Send your suggestions to

from the ARCHIVES

Eleven of Potter’s brilliant watercolor studies are on view in the Hulbert Taft Jr. Library until October 15.

Potter’s Hidden Clues When Armstrong Dining Room opened in 1959, the windows were adorned with stained glass panels designed by art teacher Mark Potter ’48, who taught at Taft for over 40 years. In the recent rebuilding of our dining facilities, the glass panels were carefully saved and are now incorporated in the windows of Laube Dining Hall and the East Dining Hall. They carry on the school’s tradition of art glass begun in 1930 with the windows of the Choral and Faculty rooms in Charles Phelps Taft Hall, and continued in 1978 with the fused glass panels by local artist Priscilla Porter (cousin to Leslie “Beezer” Manning after whom the archives are named) hanging in the library windows.

The athletic panels in the lower dining room, now in Laube, were a gift from the Class of 1960. Potter also designed the stained glass depicting different extracurricular activities and school clubs that are now part of the East Dining Hall. All of the Potter designs were executed by the J. and R. Lamb Company, one of the oldest and foremost stained glass studios in the country. Several members of the Lamb family attended Taft. In some of his pieces, Potter paid tribute to a few of Taft’s revered coaches and athletes. The name Fitch on the tennis racquet refers to Headmaster Paul Cruikshank’s wife Edith née Fitch, whose father was of

the famous Abercrombie & Fitch sporting goods store, and the chevron—or sergeant’s stripes—on the can of balls is a nod to then varsity tennis coach Len Sargent. The track sprinter sports a German T, acknowledging longtime coach John Small, who taught German. “Patrick” on the golf ball is a nod to Livingston Carroll ’37, who coached golf and was known as Pat. In the football window, 24 is the number Bob Poole ’50 wore as a Yale football star. Longtime basketball coach Jim Logan is remembered with initials on the opponent’s bib. —Alison Gilchrist, Leslie D. Manning Archives Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2012 47

Taft Bulletin

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

The Taft School 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 860-945-7777

Change Service Requested

Coming Events Friday & Saturday, October 19–20 Fall Parents’ Weekend

Wednesday, October 31 Grandparents’ Day

Saturday, November 10 Taft-Hotchkiss Day

For more events, visit

Wednesday, December 5 Holiday Party, New York, NY

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