Summer 2013 Taft Bulletin

Page 1

Great Lit Crafting a Community

Alumni Weekend


Commencement Summer 2013

Summer 2013

in this issue


Globe-Trotting for Top Talent

Admissions officers seek and recruit the world’s best students By Jennifer A. Clement


Alumni Weekend

Fifty years of lacrosse and so much more Photography by Robert Falcetti


Optional Reading A list for lifelong learners By Linda Saarnijoki




123rd Commencement Remarks By Phil Schiller, Betsy Sednaoui ’13, Andrew Cadienhead ’13, Max Flath ’13 and Cassie Willson ’13

2 From the Editor 2 Taft Trivia 3 Letters 4 Alumni Spotlight 10 Around the Pond 19 Sport by Steve Palmer 22 Annual Fund Report 50 Tales of a Taftie: Yale Kneeland ’18 51 From the Archives: The Senior Fence

h Tom Moore ’43 pre-parade with granddaughter Ceilie Moore ’13 on Alumni Weekend in May. Robert Falcetti

from the EDITOR Before the start of every school year, faculty return for opening meetings and assemble for a group photo. The practice dates back to Mr. Taft. With more than 120 faculty these days, we are four or five layers deep, and tradition is for the most senior members to flank the headmaster in the front. The loyalty of Taft teachers means that it might take 20 years or more to make “the front row.” We knew the front row would be minus a legend this September, with the retirement of classics teacher Dick Cobb, but with the unexpected death of Ferdie Wandelt ’66 in July, we will feel an incredible void this fall.

Within hours of Ferdie’s passing, messages were being posted across social media about the enormous influence this man, this legend, had on their lives. And for four decades, with Joanna at his side, they welcomed scores of Tafties into their home and into their lives. As Headmaster Emeritus Lance Odden said, he transformed this school, and he changed lives. We invite you to share your memories of Ferdie and post your photographs of him at A memorial service will be held at Taft on Saturday, September 28, and a full tribute will appear in the fall issue of the Bulletin. Now especially, we want to hear your stories. —Julie Reiff


Taft Trivia

Martina Vaculikova/

What are the first four words of Taft’s original Alma Mater, written by John Knox Jessup ’24 and Richard Donovan? A set of etched Taft glassware (you know you want it) will be sent to the winner, whose name will be drawn from all correct entries received. Send your guess to Congratulations to Heminway Merriman ’67, who correctly identified 1960 as the first year that the Citation of Merit was awarded. You can see the full list of recipients here:


On the Cover v Jared Carson,

Sarah Cassady and David Berment at Taft’s 123rd Commencement.

Robert Falcetti

Great Lit Crafting a Community

Alumni Weekend

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Summer 2013 Volume 83, Number 4 Bulletin Staff Editor-In-Chief: Julie Reiff Managing Editor: Linda Beyus Design: Good Design, LLC Proofreader: Sue Khodarahmi Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor-In-Chief 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.



I really enjoyed our latest Bulletin—from the impressive female Taft admiral to the piece on J. Irwin Miller ’27. Speaking of Miller, in 1997 I read his commencement address in the Bulletin. It was the wisest speech I had ever read. I decided to mail it to 50 friends (this was prior to our current email abilities). So I took my Bulletin to a local copy shop and asked a clerk to make 50 copies. He asked me, “Do you have copyright permission from the author?” I quickly thought of Miller’s truths and wisdoms I was about to copy, but didn’t recall anything about a little white lie for the greater good, and so I replied, “Of course I do.” I got my copies. Before I mailed them off I called Mr. Miller in Columbus. I told him that while the ’97 graduates might not have been listening well to his words, a ’71 graduate had. I thanked him. And then told him the copy clerk story. He howled and said I did exactly the right thing. His 1997 address is still the wisest piece I’ve ever read. (Read it here: www.taftschool. org/alumni/bulletin/sum97/default.aspx.) —Stan Donnelly ’71

Small World

I just looked at the new Bulletin online and was intrigued by two coincidences. The article on J. Irwin Miller reminded me that there was an article in the Travel section of Sunday’s New York Times about Columbus, Indiana, and the architecture that Miller brought to the town, including his house by Eero Saarinen, the Swedish architect. I think I did a report on Saarinen for Sabra Johnson in Lower Mid Art class. The article by Jennifer Buttenheim Eremeeva ’84—I think she went to Columbia University (where I went to law school), as I discovered her blog several years ago from a Columbia LinkedIn group. Interesting how paths cross. —Jeffrey Boak ’71

Taft Dining

In reading the current issue of the Taft Bulletin, I was struck by the article on the food services and the apparent wide choices the students have with regard to eating. I have to admit my memory is hazy— not having thought about Taft’s food policies for over 60 years. I don’t remember how breakfast and lunch were served. We did have a milk and cracker break in mid morning. At dinner we had to wear a coat and tie. We were assigned to a given table for a period of time and then reassigned to another table. I believe there were about 12 per long table—six per side. Each table was headed by a master and his wife, if there was one. As you might guess, no one wanted to be assigned to Headmaster Paul Cruikshank’s table. He was a bit stodgy. The main dish was served by the master and passed along down the table. This prevented some student taking a very large portion of the main dish. Seconds were available towards the end of the meal after the master asked if anyone wanted some. The potatoes and veggies were helped individually. I don’t remember any meal choices being available. You ate dinner or went hungry. There wasn’t any way to get a hamburger, etc. You could always fill up on mashed potatoes and bread. Being a chowhound, I never had any problems eating. I also don’t remember any “off” dishes like liver being served. We had the regular run of desserts. I believe the waiters were fellow students who set up and cleared the tables plus getting refills of the various dishes. Waiting was also by roster. It was good as you didn’t have to wear a coat and tie and you ate in the kitchen, where you could hide an extra dessert. —Bob Murdoch ’47

Fenton Bio

I have always wanted to visit Columbus, Indiana, for the architecture and had no idea about J. Irwin Miller ’27 [“Tales of a Taftie,” Spring 2013] or that he went to Taft. I just loved reading Amy’s article. Biographer Scott Donaldson has published a book about my uncle, Charles Fenton ’37 (see page 9). Scott was a student of Charlie’s at Yale. I believe my dad, Dave Fenton ’48, has given a copy to the Taft library. Amazingly, it is just coming out in softcover. Honestly, we never expected to see that. Charlie’s story is a rich one, although his successes are balanced by failure and tragedy. The section about his time flying bombing missions over Germany is especially interesting, as well as his insights about entrenchment and the lack of diversity in academia in the 1950s (Yale and Duke) and his relationship with Hemingway. Our daughter, Elizabeth Shepherd ’05, wrote a nice little book about the Fenton men at Taft for her senior project using the Taft archives, and I know Scott looked at that when he was researching Charlie’s time at Taft. Charlie had the honor of living with Mr. Taft (retired) in his senior year. I believe a number of Taft grads from the late ’40s and early ’50s took Charlie’s tremendously popular freshman writing course at Yale. And of course, many of them had his father, Dan Fenton, for Latin and/or Greek, etc. —Debbie Fenton Shepherd

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 2013 3

alumni Spotlight

By Julie Reiff

v Award winning chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen ’86, owner of Story in Kansas City, Kansas. Crissy Dastrup

A Fresh Story Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen ’86 couldn’t have given his Kansas City restaurant a more telling name: Story. After living on the East Coast, where he grew up, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, in the ’90s, after earning a B.A. in English literature from Cornell, to attend a master of fine arts program in creative writing at Wichita State. His desire to write was replaced by a passion for food. 4 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

“The fact that my mother and grandmother had large vegetable gardens seems important in the transition from writing to cooking,” he says. “Freshness of ingredients, source of ingredients, has always been key to me.” He taught himself enough about cooking to land a kitchen job at a gourmet food store/café, where he met his wife, Susan. After several stints in

restaurants to refine his skills, he became chef de cuisine for two Kansas City restaurants. “I had a dream of opening [my own] simple little restaurant, and the dream never went away,” he says. Story opened in 2011, in Prairie Village, and has already won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. ThorneThomsen is Food & Wine magazine’s 2013 winner for the People’s Best New Chef, Midwest, and was also a 2013 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef, Midwest. There is, of course, a story behind the name “Story,” he explains, which revolves around themes that are a key part of his beliefs as a chef. “The name signifies that I’m inspired and motivated by ingredients. I try to source ingredients carefully, locally when I can, and I try to find the best, freshest and most interesting.” “Inevitably, the more time I spend looking for ingredients, the more I wind up knowing about where they’re grown, pastured or fished. My imagination goes to work on those details and produces a landscape or seascape, people at work in it—a ‘story’ of sorts about or behind a particular ingredient begins to shape itself in my mind. “The possibility of finding novelty in the familiar motivates me,” ThorneThomsen says. “It’s like reading a great novel or poem for a second or third time—you may find ideas you never noticed before, or maybe there’s a passage that never meant much to you but it now stands out.”

Esprit de Gaucho Through La Matera, brothers Brook Stroud ’06 and Alex Stroud ’09 create wearable items that take you to Argentina…without leaving home. After fly-fishing on a ranch in Patagonia, the brothers got the idea for their business in Buenos Aires, where they saw the same woven fabrics worn by gauchos, with their distinct geometrical patterns, being sold as belts in upscale boutiques, and were hooked. “We had a lot of friends asking Alex to bring belts back for them,” Brook says, after Alex returned for more ranch work. “Alex thought, instead, we should work on designing a line ourselves.” They decided to create “an exotic and less whimsical take on New England’s preppy

needlepoint belt standard,” he says. “We knew we needed the help of a couple savvy ‘Rhinos,’ so last summer friends Hank Wyman ’07 and Scott Hillman ’09 joined the team,” says Brook. “The esprit de gaucho was strong, and when Alex and Scott headed back for senior year of college, Hank stayed on to become sales director. The resulting line, launched in fall 2012, is La Matera—named for the spot on Argentine estancias (ranches), where gauchos gather after work to unwind. Their rugged-style belts and wallets represent “the grit and style of the Argentine countryside,” and as their website says, “Think the rough

n Brook Stroud ’06, left, and Alex Stroud ’09, owners of La Matera, sport their company’s belts made from traditional Argentine fabric.

and tough cowboy from that Cormac McCarthy novel you never read…but with cooler belts.” The Stroud brothers are proud to note that the belts are handcrafted in New England using beautiful woven fabrics imported from Argentina. [Note: Prince William was recently seen sporting a La Matera belt at his baby’s first press conference.]

Black Belt Baton

h Djong Victorin

Yu ’76, South Korean-based conductor and composer

Conductor and composer Djong Victorin Yu ’76 achieved a milestone in his career by leading, as guest conductor, the Armenian Philharmonic in Yerevan in the premiere of his edition of Bruckner’s Third Symphony to a standing ovation. “It took me more than 30 years of contemplation to create my edition of Bruckner’s Third (so-called ‘Wagner Symphony’),” Yu says. “This year celebrates the 200th birthday of Wagner, and this was my tribute to him through Bruckner’s own homage.” An active and admired conductor both in the West and the East for nearly three decades, Yu is a versatile musician who is as comfortable with symphonic and chamber music as with opera and oratorio. A cultural ambassador, maestro Yu was the first South Korean conductor to perform in Eastern Europe prior to the lifting of the Iron Curtain. In Korea, he has devoted his musical passion to rejuvenating provincial orchestras. Yu is also a composer, music historian and arranger, and in his leisure time he devotes his energy as a black

belt to various martial arts. Over many years, Yu regularly conducted London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, making 14 CDs that earned wide acclaim, and he reflects on shifts in the world of music. “The recording industry is in disarray due to rapid technological development and new media,” he says, “so we are, in a strange way, somewhat back in the 18th, 19th century, where concerts and the enjoyment of live music are the core of classical music.” Yu’s next ambition is to be the music director of a major orchestra, a logical evolution of his career as a conductor. “I would like to set an example and standard, leave a legacy and create a path for others who, like me, are enthralled by the sound, texture and aesthetic joy of making and hearing live music,” he says. “I am at the age, as are many classmates, where this is the last big project of my life, one that all my prior experiences prepared me for in different ways,” Yu says. “I want to give back at least a part of what I have been privileged to receive over a lifetime.”

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alumni Spotlight

Evan McGlinn

What Kind of People?

“Every one of us is a child of God and deserves a decent burial, no matter how horrible their crime,” said Reverend Fred Small ’70 in an interview on WBUR about the deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect. “It comes down to the question of what kind of people do we want to be? If we choose hatred and vengeance, we let the terrorists win—we become like them. If the Tsarnaev family seeks burial in Cambridge, they should not be turned away.” Small, senior pastor of First Parish in Cambridge (Massachusetts), Unitarian

Universalist, has the same conviction when he talks about climate change. He is co-chair of Religious Witness for the Earth, a national interfaith network dedicated to public witness on critical environmental issues. “Can we learn from the suffering that we are clearly going to endure over the next few decades, as the impacts of climate change accelerate? Will we react out of fear? Or love? Will we cultivate better relationships with each other and the natural systems of which we are a part or respond out of greed and self-protection?”

In his five years at First Parish, a church long associated with Harvard, Small and his congregation have been working to create a community committed to “visible and tangible social justice. The parish made an intentional decision to attract people of color to create a ‘beloved community’—Martin Luther King’s term—where no one culture is dominant and everyone learns from each other’s stories and traditions. People are hungry for a spiritual experience that is not dogmatic,” says Small. At Taft, Small excelled academically and athletically and held leadership roles in the Glee Club, Oriocos, the Papyrus and as a monitor. “At Yale,” he says with a laugh, “I couldn’t keep up that pace…I learned I had to find sources of meaning other than gaining the approval of others.” Small earned a J.D. and practiced environmental law, but turned to full-time singing and songwriting about peace and social justice for 16 years before earning a master of divinity at Harvard. He became a pastor in 1999. “I’ve always felt deeply privileged, and that it would be unconscionable to be given so many gifts and opportunities and then not use them in the service of others.” —Alison Gilchrist

Go Fish

n Marine biologist Tap Pryor ’49 in Maine, location of his latest aquaculture venture.

6 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

It’s a long way from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific to Brunswick, Maine, but marine biologist Tap Pryor ’49 has the skills to raise fish almost anywhere— including on land. After 48 years of doing innovative aquaculture and winning a U.N. Seed Award for sustainable development in a developing nation. Pryor is working on a U.S.-based project for raising fish commercially indoors with his partners as RAS Corporation.

“I came to Maine to recuperate from hip surgery in 2010 and stayed when friends here urged me to imagine an indoor aquafarm,” Pryor says. “Since Maine’s offshore fisheries have declined and coastal shellfish harvests are not expanding (and are often shut down by red tide and runoff pollution), on-land production has enormous appeal, if economically feasible.” His project for raising fish in indoor tanks is being done at the Center for

Deeply Rooted in Her Work Susie Tarnowicz ’03 makes paintings and drawings that are deeply rooted in her fascination with agricultural practice and her own work on farms. Following a unique path after graduating from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in painting, Tarnowicz went to Italy to pursue dairy farming and to learn traditional adobe restoration, brick making and housing construction. She continued farming in the Adirondacks on a draft horse-powered, 500-acre CSA farm, where she worked with beef and dairy cows, chickens and vegetable production. Later, in Vermont, while continuing to engage in agriculture and dairy production on a smaller scale, she began to paint again with a different perspective, “cultivating surfaces” using her intimate experience with the land. Now living and working on Slow Roots Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley, she says, “I feel blessed to have settled in a place where I am farming and art-making, both looking at the land and working with it as a surface. It has called me to think more about how a space, a place, a scape, a home, all collaborate and support on a spiritual, multifaceted, level, in touch with the land.” Writing daily has continued to supplement her artwork. At Essex Farm in the Adirondacks, “showing up at 4 a.m. to

harvest veggies in a headlamp, and seeing [co-owner and author] Kristin’s light on in the farmhouse...knowing she was there writing, working on her book, inspired me to try to do both,” says Tarnowicz. In fall 2012, she was a resident artist at Cow House Studios near Rathnure, County Wexford, Ireland. She exhibited that work in Dublin in March and will have another exhibit in Wexford this fall.

one or more byproducts, such as sandworms and oysters, with zero-waste aquaculture as a result, so it’s win-win.” For example, sandworms could be grown and sold for bait with wastewater from raising fish. “On-land and indoor fish farming is more common in Europe than the U.S.,” Pryor adds. “It is a bit tricky because capital costs and operating expenses are high.

n Susie Tarnowicz ’03, with art teacher Loueta Chickadauance, at her Mark Potter Gallery show on Alumni Weekend.

“We have been test-marketing black sea bass and California yellowtail, both favorites on the market, recently with rave reviews,” Pryor says. By mid-2014, they plan to expand to full-scale commercial production at another location in Maine, a former Navy waterfront site. Watch for their fish at a favorite restaurant or fish market, or sandworms to bait your hooks!

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Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR), in Franklin, a business incubator affiliated with the University of Maine. “Staff at CCAR shared our interest mixing different species beneficially, especially if the waste from fish can be used as a resource to feed or fertilize other trophic levels [where an organism fits in the food chain],” Pryor explains. “Done right, this allows the harvest of

n High Tunnel from the Field, 2013, oil on wood panel.

alumni Spotlight

Racing President William Howard Taft joined the Washington Nationals as the team’s fifth Racing President this spring. The Presidents Race, started in 2006, is a promotional event held at every Nationals home game at Nationals Park (and previously at RFK Stadium) during the fourth inning. The race features likenesses of five former U.S. presidents, four of whom are found on Mount Rushmore. The fifth, introduced this spring, is William Howard Taft. The presidents are dressed in period costumes and topped with giant foam caricature heads. Occasionally, they wear Nationals jerseys with the number on the jersey reflecting what number president they were (27 for Bill.) The only person in the history of the United States to serve as both president and chief justice of the Supreme Court, Taft also served as governor general of the Philippines and secretary of war. “He served the country at the highest level for 30 years,” his great-grandson John G. Taft ’72 told Fox News. John attended a Nationals game in April and was able to give “Bill” a Taft School sweatshirt and water bottle, to help with his training, along with a letter of encouragement from Headmaster

h John G. Taft ’72 with the “Big Chief”

Willy MacMullen ’78. Like his younger brother and Taft founder Horace, Bill was an avid golfer and big baseball fan. “Bill is the ultimate competitor,” says the Washington Nationals website. “Using his mighty stature, The ‘Big Chief ’ strikes fear in his racing opponents and often finds himself leading simply because the others worry about the repercussions of causing him to lose. The first president to throw out a first pitch at

a baseball game—on Opening Day 1910 at Griffith Stadium in D.C.—Bill also allegedly invented the seventh-inning stretch when he stood up to stretch at a game and fans followed suit.” You can follow the “Big Chief” on his twitter feed: @NatsBigChief27, or watch a clip of the Racing Presidents —Julie Reiff

New Trustees Six new members will join the school’s Board of Trustees this fall. Kate Genung Taylor ’94 of Wellesley, Massachusetts, was elected to a four-year term as Alumni Trustee. Jim and Sawnie McGee P’14,’16 of Riverside, Connecticut, come on board as new chairs of the Parents’ Committee. Icy Frantz P’15 also of Riverside, Connecticut, David Gillikin ’93 of Dallas, Texas, and Laura Whitman ’85 of New York will serve as new corporate trustees.

Icy Frantz P’15

8 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

David Gillikin ’93

Jim and Sawnie McGee P’14,’16

Kate Genung Taylor ’94

Laura Whitman ’85

In Print Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure Andreas Kluth ’88 The life of Hannibal, the general who crossed the Alps in 218 B.C.E., is the stuff of legend. The epic choices he made offer lessons about responding to our victories and our defeats that are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago. Hannibal and Me explores the truths behind triumph and disaster in our lives by examining the decisions made by Hannibal and others, including Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Ernest Shackleton and Paul Cézanne—men and women who learned from their mistakes. By showing why some people overcome failure and others succumb to it, and why some fall victim to success while others thrive on it, Hannibal and Me demonstrates how to recognize the seeds of success and the threats of failure. The result is an insightful guide to understanding behavior. Andreas Kluth has been writing for The Economist since 1997. He is currently the magazine’s Berlin Bureau chief, covering Germany. He has previously been based in California, Hong Kong and London. He is a graduate of Williams College and the London School of Economics.

Marijuanamerica: One Man’s Quest to Understand America’s Dysfunctional Love Affair with Weed Alfred Ryan Nerz ’92 A Yale-educated author, journalist and TV producer, Ryan Nerz is also a marijuana enthusiast who made it his mission to better understand America’s longstanding love-hate relationship with America’s favorite (sometimes) illegal drug. His cross-country investigation starts out sensibly enough: taking classes at a cannabis college and visiting the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary. But his journey takes an unexpected turn, as he finds himself embedded with one of the largest growers on the West Coast. “Marijuanamerica has it all,” says Davy Rothbart, author of My Heart Is an Idiot, “danger, suspense, nuts-and-bolts reportage, If you would like a copy of your work laugh-out-loud dialogue, gritty charadded to the Hulbert Taft Library’s acters, sociological dissection and Alumni Authors Collection and listed in hella deep thoughts. Nerz has talent to this column, please send a copy to: burn; this is participatory journalism at its finest.” Taft Bulletin The Taft School 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100

The Laboratory and Other Plays Shivani Tibrewala ’96 The Laboratory tells the story of a young woman in India who aspires to be a doctor—a distant dream, until her mother finds a solution and volunteers for a clinical drug trial. It’s a play about sacrifice and disillusionment—the price that love and progress sometimes demand. The play deals with the ethics of obtaining informed consent in a country where doctors are treated like gods. It has been read at the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Bioethics Conference and performed at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai. Shivani Tibrewala is artistic director of No License Yet Productions, an independent Mumbai-based theater company she founded in 2002. She has written, directed and produced more than 10 plays in India and abroad. She also writes for cinema and television. Published by Writers Workshop, an alternative imprint in Kolkata, India, the book’s covers are handcrafted from recycled sarees, so each one is unique.

Death of a Rebel: The Charlie Fenton Story By Scott Donaldson Charles Andrews Fenton ’37, son of classics teacher Dan Fenton, was a charismatic teacher, scholar and writer who took his own life at the peak of his career. He had written excellent books on Hemingway, had three other books in print and was working on a new version of his novel about World War II. He had earned Guggenheim and ACLS grants. Students flocked to his courses. He was widely regarded as the most popular professor at Duke. An individualist during the notoriously conformist 1950s, Fenton swam against the current, defying authority and openly inviting controversy. This made him an appealing figure to many of his students and colleagues, but it was a dangerous stance that did not sit well with his superiors. He struggled with bouts of depression, possibly triggered by trauma derived from his service as a tail gunner with the RAF bomber command in 1942. Scott Donaldson, a former student of Fenton’s at Yale, recounts his professor’s last days, with the assistance of family members, devoted students and even the woman Fenton fell in love with 50 years ago. They share an abiding sense of what might have been, and a deep regret for the uncounted students who would never get to know or learn from him.

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For the latest news on campus events, please visit , Former Joint Chief and retired Admiral Mike Mullen answers questions with students in the Woolworth Faculty Room after his Morning Meeting talk. Julie Reiff

around the Pond

By Julie Reiff

What Worries a Former Joint Chief Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Presidents Bush and Obama, says there are five things that keep him up at night. “First and foremost, it’s our national debt,” said Mullen. “We cannot be the country that we need to be, or are expected to be or want to be, if we don’t get control of our debt.” Mullen, who was sworn in as the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2007, is a native of Los Angeles and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968. Prior to becoming chairman, he served as the 28th chief of Naval operations. He retired in 2011. The second issue that most concerns him is the quality of K-12 teaching in the U.S. “If you ask me to pick a profession where we are most vulnerable as a 10 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

country,” he said, “and where you can make that biggest impact, that’s it.” Part of the problem is the political paralysis in Washington, he added, which ranks third on his list, followed by the issue of cyberwarfare. Finally, he worries about veterans’ affairs: “Veterans and their families, that’s the first check we ought to write,” he said. In a question and answer session with teachers and students in the Faculty Room, Mullen spoke about the importance of emphasizing diplomatic efforts versus military ones in terms of U.S. relations with the world right now. We are over-militarized, he said, adding that, in the end, it’s all about economies and standards of living—that’s universal. “To have someone of the prestige of Admiral Mullen come and directly engage our students is a phenomenal learning

opportunity,” said history teacher Greg Hawes ’85. “And just as impressive was the candor and directness with which he answered student questions.” “It’s so vital to get out of the Taft bubble and listen to someone who has been influencing international policy at the highest level,” agreed senior Elias Clough. Admiral Mullen’s visit was made possible through the Rear Admiral Raymond F. DuBois Fellowship in International Affairs, which offers Taft students the opportunity to learn more about international affairs through annual presentations by guest lecturers. You can listen to Admiral Mullen’s talk (May 14) and others from throughout the year at

Power of Poetry Poet Patricia Smith rocked the house with her powerful and emotional reading to just over 100 students, faculty and visitors who packed the Choral Room one evening in May. An artist recognized as a force in the fields of poetry, playwriting, fiction, performance and creative collaboration, Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” “Her selections ranged from all over her work,” said English Department Head Steve Palmer, who first heard her perform at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, “including a humorous, touching poem—to which she asked for student responses and criticism as she continues to work on it.” She silenced the crowd right from the start, says Palmer, by reciting her dedication poem to the first class of students she ever read to, a group of sixth graders in Florida, each of whom had lost a

relative or family member. She also read a piece (from her National Book Award Finalist collection, Blood Dazzler) about one of the pets left behind, chained to a tree in a backyard, just as Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. With four National Poetry Slam individual championships, Smith is the most successful slammer in the competition’s history. Her work is featured in Best American Poetry and Best American Essays. Her honors include the National Poetry Series, two Pushcart Prizes and a coveted MacDowell Fellowship. In 2012, she was featured on the cover of the 100th anniversary issue of Poetry. “Students lingered for over an hour afterward to talk about poetry, writing and some of the moving topics of her poems,” Palmer added, “and would have kept her there all night if she did not have to catch a train.” n National Book

Award finalist Patricia Smith

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Bill Bowers International mime sensation and Broadway performer Bill Bowers performed his award-winning solo play Beyond Words on campus in April. Beyond Words is about inclusion and diversity shown through a collection of stories, some in spoken word, some in mime, about the journey from boyhood to manhood. His visit was sponsored by the Taft Gender Committee as a follow-up to last year’s screening of Miss Representation, which focused primarily on the under-represented position of women in society. Bowers explored male gender roles. “The goal,” says Andi Orben, director of Community Health At Taft, “is for his performance to generate more conversation on campus about gender identity, as well as increase student awareness about the impact of gender roles on our society.”

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around the POND

Partnership for Greater Good

School receives Edward E. Ford Foundation Grant

The Taft School, in partnership with the city of Waterbury, Waterbury Public Schools and the Police Activities League (PAL), is launching the Center for Global Leadership and Service. Premised on the philosophy “think globally, act locally,” the center will allow students from Taft and Waterbury Public Schools to collaboratively explore global issues while developing leadership skills to address them. Funding from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, along with matching funds Taft raises, will enable the school to plan and develop three primary programs of the Center for Global Leadership and Service: Mentorship Programs, a Global Leadership Institute (GLI), and a Collaborative Service Learning Course. In its first phase, the center will coordinate three mentorships programs, building on existing outreach efforts at Taft: the Summer Enrichment tutoring with PAL, an afterschool program at a Waterbury elementary school that focuses on literacy, and a new sports and service program that will encourage athletes to run sports clinics in an off season 12 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

and create more opportunities for sports teams to serve together. The center will allow each of these programs to expand in size from their current enrollment. In September 2014, the center will launch the Global Leadership Institute. Students from Taft and Waterbury public high schools will apply to participate in a two-year program. Following an orientation, the 20 selected students will attend monthly talks by global leaders and scholars and participate in teambuilding and leadership development workshops in their first year. Students will participate in a service (internship) experience in the summer leading into their junior year, and by April of their junior year they must complete a culminating Global Leadership Project (GLP). Students will be expected to begin working on their GLP during the summer prior to their junior year. The project requires students to investigate a local, national or global problem for which they have a genuine concern and propose possible solutions in the form of a paper and a public presentation. The most successful GLI participants

may be asked back as facilitators for their senior year. In year three, Taft’s existing Service Learning course (“From Classroom to Community,” Winter 2009) will also grow. From a course that currently visits a Waterbury school once a week, Service Learning will expand into a joint course between Taft and Waterbury public schools and expand its focus into issues of science. Turning this into a truly collaborative venture will require new technology (for videoconferencing) and finessing two disparate school schedules. The center will also offer an online resource on global issues for faculty, and may offer a symposium on the topic in the near future. “I want the Center for Global Leadership to connect the dots of programs that already exist,” says Dean of Global and Diversity Education Jamella Lee, “to build on existing threads and bring them together in a meaningful way. This is more than about service; it’s about strengthening partnerships for the greater good.”

Teaching the Good Life What does it mean for something to be good? That’s one of the questions Dr. Howard Gardner asks. He spoke with students at Morning Meeting on April 12, and later with the full faculty in Laube Auditorium and over lunch. There are three Es of good work, he explained: Excellence, or knowing your stuff. Engagement, liking what you do. And Ethics, thinking about its implications. “Community is important in this,” said Gardner. “And we know that what happens in the secondary school years makes a big difference.” “Even among the extraordinary speakers we have had at Taft in recent years—decorated military leaders,

award-winning volunteers and service leaders, published authors, leading-edge scientists—Gardner’s visit is historic,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “Professor Gardner’s work in the areas of education and multiple intelligences has been revolutionary.” Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as adjunct professor of psychology at Harvard University and senior director of Harvard Project Zero. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship and has received honorary degrees from 29 colleges and universities around the

n The author of 28 books translated into 32 languages and several hundred articles, Howard Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences. For more on his recent work, visit the Peter Frew ’75

world. He was twice selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world.

NYBG Lecture

n Dr. Robert Naczi

Dr. Robert Naczi, curator of North American botany at the New York Botanical Garden, spoke this spring to post-A.P. Biology students and other interested students and faculty about his research on a group of imperiled native intertidal species along the

Hudson River Estuary, threats to their continued survival (including discussion of invasive plant species), and prospects for restoration. “When we have a healthy environment, we are healthy,” said Naczi. “Every species is inherently worthwhile. Many times we do not even begin to know how we can benefit from the environment and other species on the planet until we study them. Things we cannot even imagine right now, we will be reaping the benefits from them, as long as they are still present in the future. And that’s one of the things that motivates me for conservation of our natural resources.” Naczi is a plant systematist and a leading authority on the flora of the eastern United States, the sedge genus Carex (Cyperaceae) and the Western Hemisphere pitcher plants (Sarraceniaceae). He uses a multipronged approach in his research, utilizing field, herbarium and laboratory methods. His fieldwork has given

him firsthand knowledge of the flora of much of North America. He is writing a comprehensive account of the Northeast’s plants, New Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Also, he coauthored Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and Their Native Look-Alikes: An identification guide for the Mid-Atlantic (2008). He has published widely on Carex, the largest genus of flowering plants in North America (500 species) and in most temperate regions of the world (2,000 species worldwide). His work on pitcher plants aims to reveal fundamental aspects of their biology, which is still poorly known despite their popularity in horticulture. His visit was made possible by the Yerkes Family Botanical Art and Science Speakers Fund.

Watch excerpts from Dr. Naczi’s lecture: php?id_scientist=105

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Magnetic Results Taft did very well at this year’s Connecticut Science Olympiad. The A Team placed fifth overall and won a gold medal and four silver medals. The B Team also won silver. Hosted by the University of Connecticut, the event draws about 500 students from 22 high schools across the

state. The 33 teams, each with up to 15 students, vied for medals in 23 events. The contests ranged from building and launching a glider to solving a crime using forensic evidence. Team A took the gold (and Team B, silver) medal in the magnetic levitation

h Medalists at the Connecticut Science Olympiad.

vehicle event, in which teams build a motorized vehicle that moves down a maglev track (the track has magnets facing up, the vehicle has magnets facing down) in order to move a given distance as fast as possible. Taft also sent three teams to Trinity College to participate in the 20th annual FireFighting contest this spring. The contest attracts entries from all over the world. In the high school division, the robots must move autonomously through a maze, find a candle flame and extinguish it. “The Taft teams suffered some frustrating minor glitches,” said adviser Jim Mooney, “that prevented them from being as successful as they could have been.” Team Rhino did well enough, however, to make the finals, and theirs was chosen as the outstanding Connecticut robot in the high school division by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Wilder Onstage In Thornton Wilder’s 1942 comedy The Skin of Our Teeth, we meet the Antrobus family and their maid, Sabina, as they face the end of the world not once, but three different times. First an ice age, then a great flood and finally a world war threaten to destroy life as they know it. “Sometimes working on a play— the hours of rehearsal in a room with no windows to the outside—feels like an escape from reality,” said guest director Susan Aziz. “This production has been the opposite. Mr. Wilder wrote this script during a frightening time, and in learning his words we created a kind of laboratory for coping with some tragic events that have unfolded in our own time. The greatest message here: that

14 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

in spite of our failings, after every disaster, be it ice age, flood, devastating war, or some further catastrophe

that we inflict upon ourselves, the human race can and will find a way to start again.”

h Sebastian LaPointe ’14 and Vienna Kaylan ’15 as Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, watched by fortune teller Natasha Batten ’15 in The Skin of Our Teeth. Blake Joblin ’13

h Proposed house design in Greek Revival style. Trillium Architects


Walking Forward Into the Past At boarding school, a house is more than just a home. It’s also a place to host team dinners and advisee “feeds”—and for most faculty, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the classroom or athletic field. Roughly a third of the Taft faculty live in dormitory apartments, but after several years of late night check-ins and the occasional fire drill, most faculty (often with growing families) move into nearby campus housing. The school now owns about 35 homes in the neighborhood, most of them adjacent to the playing fields. Last summer the school renovated the Rectory building (next to Woodward Chapel) and this summer plans to build a green home designed by architect Elizabeth DiSalvo of Trillium Architects, a leader in the field of residential green building, thanks to a gift to support the school’s commitment to faculty housing and environmental stewardship. “This project perfectly embodies two key strategic priorities,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, “improved faculty housing and a commitment to environmental stewardship. We are so lucky that we received a generous grant from a Taft family to make this possible.” The school had originally hoped to

renovate the existing home on the site, but discovered numerous problems and began to consider the benefits of building a new home that could be at once historically sensitive to the neighborhood and a model of environmental sustainability. “What Taft is doing with the plan for this new home,” said DiSalvo, “is something I call ‘walking forward into the past.’ I got this term from a Native American in New Mexico. Basically, it means using the technological advances we have today to revive the intentions of the past. In housing, that means getting back to nature and building intelligently based on what nature tells us and gives us. Why not use the wisdom of the past to form our houses and then add the significant benefits of modern technology to make a house that can be close to net zero and last for generations to come. This is what Taft is doing with the house at 59 North Street.” Before proceeding, Taft consulted with the town historian, who discovered no architectural or historical significance to the existing house, and then, following all permitting requirements, presented the design to the Watertown Historic District Commission, which approved the new plan unanimously—although

Uppermiddler Adela Zhang is among a very small group from a pool of over 210,000 American Mathematics Competition participants who are invited to take part in the 2013 Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP). This year, 53 students were invited to MOSP, held on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The purpose of the three-week program is to broaden the participants’ view of mathematics and foster their excitement toward further study and prepare them for possible future participation in the International Mathematical Olympiad. Adela came to Taft as a Fudan Scholar from Shanghai, China, where she did extra practice in mathematical problem solving and competed in a variety of contests. the proposed removal of the home stirred some controversy. The school has worked hard to preserve the town’s historic character and has demonstrated that commitment through the preservation of the old town library (now Walker Hall), Christ Church (Woodward Chapel)—both of which are still used to host events that are open to the public—as well as the Rectory and another home on North Street that was renovated several years ago. The Academy Building and the Woodward Chapel Annex are both scheduled for renovations this summer. Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 15

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All-School Read This year’s all-school book is The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future by Dr. David Suzuki, awardwinning geneticist, university professor, broadcast journalist, environmental activist, writer and educator. The idea for the book came to Suzuki (pictured at left), then 77, four years ago when he began to wonder what he would say if he had one last lecture to give. Suzuki’s message is a simple one: We must learn to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us and learn to temper our obsession with economic growth to preserve the Earth for future generations. As a third-generation JapaneseCanadian, Suzuki’s early years were painful as he and his family were

uprooted and sent to live in an internment camp during World War II. Looking back, he realized that his experiences with racism and loneliness helped him discover his passion for science, nature and the wonders of the universe. He is the author of 52 books and host of the award-winning Canadian television program The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. He will visit campus on October 10 to give the Paley Lecture. For more information, visit In addition to The Legacy, students are asked to read a second book, selected from a list of books that faculty have sponsored and will lead discussions on in the fall: readinglist.aspx.

Earth Week The school invited children from the Waterbury Police Activity League (PAL) to a field day event in honor of Earth Day. Taft students led their guests in a variety of games on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Environmental stewardship director Carly Borken also arranged a Green Fair on Sunday, followed by a weeklong program to increase awareness about our impact on the planet. Students received a different color ribbon for each day they met their goal in reducing water, waste or energy use, consuming less or eating locally. , Rio Dennis ’14 and a new “PAL” on

Earth Day. Peter Frew ’75

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem reuse and recycle 150 years of American music. They hang a Georgia Sea Islands song on a New Orleans groove. They write lyrics for an Irish fiddle tune and underpin it with an Afro-Cuban cajon. Leonard Cohen gets clawhammer banjo; Springsteen gets bluegrass harmonies. They celebrate America’s past

and take it into the present. In addition to their one-hour Walker Hall concert in April as part of the Music for a While Series, they performed a special 30-minute children’s show beforehand. For information on upcoming events, visit

This year, Taft seniors chose to matriculate at the following schools in the highest number. Georgetown and Trinity tied for most popular with eight each. In total, the Class of 2013 will attend 94 different colleges and universities. Amherst College..............................................2 Bard College....................................................2 Boston College.................................................3 Bowdoin College..............................................2 Brown University.............................................2 Bryant University.............................................2 Colby College...................................................3 Colgate University...........................................2 Colorado College.............................................2 Connecticut College.........................................2 Cornell University............................................5 George Washington University........................3 Gettysburg College..........................................3 Hamilton College.............................................4 Hobart and William Smith Colleges.................2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology...........2 McGill University.............................................2 Middlebury College.........................................3 New York University........................................3 Northeastern University..................................2 Stanford University..........................................2 Swarthmore College........................................2 Trinity College..................................................8 Tufts University................................................3 University of Colorado at Boulder...................3 University of Michigan.....................................2 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill......3 University of Southern California....................5 University of St. Andrews................................2 University of Virginia.......................................3 Vanderbilt University.......................................2 Wesleyan University........................................4 Williams College..............................................2 Yale University.................................................2

WDG Photo/

College Bound

Powered by Wind Since 2010, Taft has been purchasing 100 percent of its electricity as green power, and has now been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Green Power Partner. The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. Taft procures all of its energy from green sources through renewable energy certificates, specifically for wind power. Taft also generates some of its own electricity through

photovoltaic solar panels on top of the athletic complex. Buying green power helps an organization reduce its environmental impact while also providing valuable benefits. According to the EPA, Taft’s green power use of more than 4.5 million kilowatt-hours is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 700 passenger vehicles per year, or the annual CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 500 average American homes. View Taft’s EPA Green Power profile: partners/thetaftschool.htm.

Senior Project Museum

h Jeff Kratky ’13 demonstrates how to make sushi at the Senior Project Museum night. Phil Dutton/ PhotoTrophies

Seniors had a burst of creativity this spring as they explored projects of their own design. Some unusual topics this year included a documentary on homeless LGBTQ youth and a study of game theory through poker, as well as sewing, cooking, pottery, woodworking, painting, drawing and singing—including a benefit concert for Newtown families. Oliver Salk ’13 also directed another film (he did one last year as an Independent Studies Project).

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 17

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Music for a Great Space Collegium Musicum and Cantus Excelsus performed in April at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. A reception in Cathedral House followed the concert, which featured music for choir, organ and brass. The concert was also presented at Woodward Chapel the Friday before. Peter Frew ’75

In the Gallery The Mark W. Potter Gallery hosted a joint show this spring, both rich in botanical themes. Heather Sandifer’s botanical illustrations combine her knowledge of art with herbarium preservation methods and the precision of nature printing. She studied botanical art and illustration with the New York Botanical Garden. Paintings and drawings by Susie Tarnowicz ’03 (see more on page 7) reflect the artist’s interest in the Vermont landscape as well as her observational work in the studio. For information on coming exhibits, visit

Faculty News REtired


• Dick Cobb


• • • • • • • • •

Rick Lansdale Alison Carlson Carl Carlson Dave Hinman ’87 Jennifer Zaccara Chris Torino Will Orben ’92 Andi Orben Dena Torino

• • • • • • • •


• Andrew McNeill

Shannon Tarrant Winnie Adrien Chris Chung John Dawson Moriah Peterson Kate Seethaler Emma McBurney Hannah O’Brien

• Theresa Albon, science fellow • Alison Almasian ’87, associate director of college counseling • Baptiste Bataille, modern language fellow • Shaavar Bernier, admissions • Kerry Bracco, English fellow • David Brundage, math fellow • Eileen Fenn ’98, English • Brianne Foley*, history, economics • Giselle Furlonge, classics • Sarah Koshi, director of student activities • Matthew McAuliffe, history, classics • Dylan Procida, math fellow • Scott Serafine, video arts • Gretchen Silverman, math, admissions • Tamara Sinclair ’05, admissions

• Sarah Surber, dance • Edie Traina*, associate dean of faculty, history • Mark Traina*, admissions, history


• Tom Antonucci, associate dean of students • Jeremy Clifford, math department head • Casey D’Annolfo, co-director of residential Life • Colin Farrar, uppermid class dean • Caitlin Hincker, lowermid class dean • Rob Madden ’03, co-director of athletics • Susan McCabe, senior class dean • Rachael Ryan, co-director of athletics • Linda Saarnijoki, dean of faculty • Sarah Sanborn, dean of students *returning faculty

18 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

For more on the spring season, please visit

spring SPORT wrap-up By steve Palmer

four boats qualified for the NEIRA Championships with varied rankings: 18th for the first boat, 14th for the 2nd boat, 6th for the 3rd boat and 7th for the 4th boat. In cold, windy and rainy weather, none of the boats qualified for the grand finals, but they demonstrated great tenacity and consistent improvement.

Boys’ Crew 33–8 h Matt Schimenti ’14

co-captained one of the strongest golf teams the school has seen in decades. Robert Falcetti

Girls’ Crew 20–24 With only five seniors to lead this young but very hardworking team, the girls were challenged with the hardest schedule the team has seen in years. Under the leadership of co-captains Erin Wilson ’13 and coxswain Rebecca Bendheim ’13, the team started off the season strong, finishing 2nd out of 4 teams in the first two races of the season. Midseason, the girls began to race a number of strong Massachusetts teams, including Groton, Deerfield, St. Marks and Winsor—all teams ranked in the top five in New England. Big wins included the 5th boat winning over Groton and the 4th boat over Deerfield. In the week prior to the New England Championships, the girls took on Gunnery, Berkshire, Canterbury and Rumsey at the Alumnae Cup, finishing 2nd in a tie-breaker. All

In their dual-meet races, Taft’s four varsity boats compiled an overall record of 33 wins versus 8 losses, including the first varsity boat’s win against Choate—the first ever. What followed was a series of great races for that crew of Alli Elkman ’13 (cox), Liam Carty ’14, co-captain Hayden Pascal ’13, Jack Torney ’15 and Robert Brown ’14, including a 5th place at the Founders Day Regatta and a first at the duPont Cup for the second year in a row. Four days later, Taft boats swept all five races against Gunnery, Canterbury and Berkshire to win the Smith Cup for the first time, ensuring that all four varsity boats qualified for New Englands. The first boat was seeded 4th out of 25 teams (their highest seed ever), and the other three were seeded in the top seven. Poised to medal in several of the races at New Englands, medical issues forced last-minute lineup changes in every boat. However, in the Petite Finals, with Aleksa Lambert ’14 at coxswain, the boat comprised of Carty, Mark Schiller ’13, Torney and Jared Carson ’13 came from behind in the last third of the race to win.

Girls’ Golf 13–1–1

New England & Founders League Runner-Up

The girls’ golf team exceeded the 100win mark in just seven seasons as a varsity team. This milestone was reached thanks to the leadership of captains Jackie Eleey ’14 and Legare Augenstein ’14. As Taft’s top player, Eleey received the Girls’ Golf Award and All Founders League honors, while Augenstein, in position #2, won the John Villano ’44 “Spirit of Taft” Golf Award and All Founders League honors. The team won matches against strong opponents, including Hotchkiss, Choate, Loomis, Ethel Walker and Miss Porter’s, before falling to Greenwich Academy at Round Hill Golf Club. Pen Naviroj ’15, position #3, and Alice Kim ’16, position #4, won many matches from the middle of the lineup, and seniors Morgan Manz ’13, position #5, and Nicole Lu ’13, position #6, also won matches, showing the team’s depth. Maddie Hawkins ’16 was an exhibition player. Jackie Eleey came in 3rd at the Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girls’ Golf Classic with a score of 78.

Boys’ Golf 15–2 One of the deepest and most talented golf teams ever at Taft, the 2013 squad posted a match scoring average for the season of 387.1 strokes, the lowest team stroke average in Coach Kenerson’s 26 years. That type of tight team play set up incredibly close wins over the Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 19

spring SPORT two strongest teams in New England, Brunswick (11–10) and Deerfield (389– 397). Co-captain Henry Wesson ’13 played consistent golf all season and was awarded the John Galeski Golf Award for his many contributions to Taft golf over his four-year career. At the season-ending Kingswood Invitational Tournament, Jack Porcelli ’14 posted Taft’s strongest individual round, a 74, despite being sick and barely making it to the first tee. The Rhinos would finish 4th out of 24 teams, just two strokes out of 2nd place.

Boys’ Lacrosse 13–5

n Two-time All Western New England selection and 2013 captain Chas South led the boys’ varsity squad to its best finish in over a decade. Robert Falcetti

The Rhinos finished tied for first with a 6–1 record in the Founders League and a 13–5 record, good for 3rd overall in Western New England. Taft’s big wins came over Exeter (10–7), Avon (6–5), Hotchkiss (6–4) and #24 nationally ranked Trinity-Pawling (7–6) to close out the year. UVA-bound captain Jeff Kratky ’13 was outstanding as the leading scorer, with 46 points on 34 goals and 12 assists, winning 65% of his faceoffs and collecting 135 ground balls. Cornell-bound captain James Tautkus ’13 finished his career in Taft’s All-time Top 10 for scoring with 114 points. Captain defenseman Chas South ’13 was

2013 SPRING AWARD WINNERS The Softball Award----------------------------------------Kathleen C. McLaughlin ’13 Cassandra L. Ruscz ’13 The Crew Award ----------------------------------------------- Benjamin M. Tweedy ’13 Rebecca S. Bendheim ’13 The Wandelt Lacrosse Award--------------------------------------Mary C. DuBois ’13 The Odden Lacrosse Award ---------------------------------------Jeffrey L. Kratky ’13 The George D. Gould Tennis Award ---------------------------- Jagger W. Riefler ’13 The Alrick H. Man, Jr. Award----------------------------------- Courtney A. Jones ’13 The Galeski Golf Award -------------------------------------------Henry F. Wesson ’13 The Seymour Willis Beardsley Track Award --------------------Sara E. Iannone ’13 Albert B. Nejmeh ’13 Elizabeth L. Shea ’13 The Stone Baseball Award------------------------------------------ Robert T. Kiska ’13 The Girls’ Golf Award---------------------------------------------- Jacquelyn I. Eleey ’14

20 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

runner-up for WNE defenseman of the year and earned a spot on the All-WNE team for the second straight year. Captain Oliver Sippel ’13 was the top defensive middie in WNE and added 86 ground balls, a goal and 7 assists on the season.

Girls’ Lacrosse 7–8 The girls’ varsity lacrosse team was led by two seniors and one captain this year; though gritty and talented, the teams’ youth proved a challenge throughout the season but an opportunity in the year ahead. Captain Mary DuBois served the team as a low attacker in every game of the season with a calm and confident leadership style. Her decision making, mental toughness and speed to win ground balls behind the net contributed to Taft’s success in games against Northfield Mount Hermon and Westminster. Midfielders Caroline Queally ’14 and Collins Grant ’14 were Founders League All Stars, and Queally and Rachael Alberti ’15 were NEPSWL All Stars for their efforts on both ends of the field. For 2014, Taft returns 16 players, including defensive stalwarts Gwen McGee ’14 and Lauren Drakeley ’15 and goalie Becky Dutton ’16.

Softball 10–5 Despite a tough schedule, the Rhinos had a strong season playing in many close games. Highlights included big wins over Northfield Mount Hermon (7–5) and Kingswood-Oxford (4–1). Senior captains Katie McLaughlin and Cassie Ruscz anchored a strong infield, while Madie Leidt ’16 had an impressive first season in centerfield. Although the season ended with a heartbreaking loss to Choate in extra innings, the team played its strongest game against Choate and demonstrated tremendous growth and skill. The team looks forward to having another strong season next year.

Baseball 11–8

Boys’ Tennis 14–4

The Rhinos went 6–1 during a strong, mid-season run and recorded big nonleague wins against Deerfield (6–5), Berkshire (6–4) and Hopkins (8–3). In the Tri-State league, Taft swept the two-game series versus Kent, TrinityPawling and Westminster. Senior pitcher Ryan Coon ’13 was masterful in the closing-weekend win over archrival Hotchkiss (6–2) and finished with a 1.99 ERA and three wins. Captain Rob Kiska ’13, outfielder Nick LaSpada ’13 (.434 avg.) and Kyle Considine ’13 had tremendous offensive seasons, while Robby Harbison ’13 led the team with 16 RBIs. Patch Robinson ’14 earned six wins on the mound as Taft’s most effective pitcher, filling in for the significant loss to injury of starter and captainelect Hadley Stone ’14.

Following a lean and green year, we had a very successful season. Joining senior captain and #1 Jagger Riefler (winner of the Alban Barker League Sportsmanship Award) and five other returners, the arrival of Raymond Kanyó from Budapest and Courtland Boyle from Bermuda bolstered the top of the lineup and gave the doubles nearly unstoppable strength. In 15 of 18 matches, Taft clinched the critical doubles point, thanks to big serving and aggressive volleying. Gathering momentum with early wins over Andover, Deerfield and Choate, the team was suddenly hobbled by health issues mid-season, and lost a heartbreaker to Hotchkiss 3–4 with Jamaican senior Eric Delapenha in the hospital. Our record earned Taft the first seed in the New England Championships, hosted on Taft’s beautiful courts, but the team fell short in the semis, again losing to the archrival Bearcats. The team will be hard-pressed to equal this season next year, but six veterans return, and the team should do well.

Girls’ Tennis 7–7 With the addition of seven newcomers, this year’s squad was a work in progress as they opened the season 0–3. Behind the leadership of co-captains Courtney Jones ’13, Taft’s top singles player, and Jacky Susskind ’13, the Rhinos quickly turned things around with four straight wins over Loomis (9–0), Westover (7– 0), Miss Porter’s (9–0) and Westminster (6–3). Other important wins came against Choate (6–3), Kent (6–3) and a down-to-the wire upset of Greenwich Academy (5–4) when Susskind won the final match at #4 singles. Taft’s 0–3 start turned into a 7th seed in the New England tournament, where they lost in the first round to #2 seed Andover. This was a spirited group of girls whose toughness and grit will not soon be forgotten. The competitive singles and doubles play of Shelby Meckstroth ’13, Jones and Susskind will be missed next year.

Girls’ Track 5–3 A strong senior class covered many of the events for this year’s girls’ team. Tess Kneisel ’13 established a new school record in the pole vault with a height of 8 ft. 9 in. during a mid-season meet at Berkshire. At the Founders League meet, captain and school record-holder Candice Dyce ’13 was the champion in both the long and triple jump, placed 3rd in the 200m, and anchored the 4x100m relay team of Leah McIntosh ’13, Krystal Egbuchulam ’14 and captain-elect Shana Joseph ’14 to a 3rd-place finish. McIntosh also placed 4th in the 100m hurdles and the triple jump. Captain Maggie O’Neil ’13, who led the throwers all season long, placed 2nd in the javelin with a seasonbest throw, 3rd in the discus and 4th in the shot put. Sara Iannone ’13, Taft’s leading distance runner for the past three years, placed 4th in the 800m and 5th in

h Senior Tess Kneisel placed 2nd in pole vault at New Englands. Robert Falcetti

the 1500m. At the New England meet, Dyce was the triple jump champion and surpassed 17 ft. in the long jump for the first time in her career, while Kneisel placed 2nd in the pole vault.

Boys’ Track 7–3 This balanced team started the season with wins over Avon, Deerfield, TrinityPawling and Brunswick, then battled hard but came up short against league champion Loomis and powerful teams from Choate and Hotchkiss. David Berment ’13 was the Founders League champion in both the 200m and the long jump, and, in a tightly contested 200m final, he placed 2nd at the New England meet in a season-best time of 22.10. Tri-captain Shane Hardie ’13 defended his New England title in the high jump, winning again this year with a jump of 6 ft., and he placed in the top six in the 110m hurdles. Co-captain elect Troy Moo Penn ’14 placed 2nd at the league meet and 5th at the New England meet in the pole vault. Both relay teams—the 4x100m with Adam Parker ’13, Bulolo Jonga ’13, Berment and Chizi Wigwe ’14, and the 4x400m team of tri-captain John MacMullen ’14, Charlie Vallee ’13, Tommy Grant ’13 and fellow tri-captain Al Nejmeh ’13—ran well all season and placed in the top four in the league. Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 21

Annual Fund

2013 Class Agent Awards Snyder Award

Largest amount contributed by a reunion class Class of 1963: $188,034 (includes Annual Fund and capital) Class Agent & Gift Committee Chair: Rick Muhlhauser

Chairman of the Board Award

Highest percent participation from a class 50 years out or less Class of 1963: 57% Class Agent & Gift Committee Chair: Rick Muhlhauser

McCabe Award

Largest Annual Fund amount contributed by a non-reunion class Class of 1962: $98,538 Class Agent: Fred Nagle

Class of 1920 Award Greatest increase in dollars from a non-reunion class Class of 1949: increase of $35,189 Class Agents: Jim Baker and Buz Lydon

Romano Award

Greatest increase in participation from a non-reunion class less than 50 years out Class of 2005: 41% from 30% Class Agent: Cyrus McGoldrick

Young Alumni Dollars Award

Largest amount contributed from a class 10 years out or less Class of 2006: $7,873 Class Agent: Su Yeone Jeon

Young Alumni Participation Award Highest participation from a class 10 years out or less Class of 2012: 47% Class Agents: Eliza Davis and Will Dawson

Spencer Award

Largest number of gifts from classmates who have not given in the last five years (Two winners) Class of 1988: 10 new donors Class Agent: Darcy Bentley Frisch Class of 1993: 10 new donors Class Agent: Eric Hidy

Awards determined by gifts and pledges raised as of June 30, 2013.

We would like to express our appreciation

to all Taft families who contributed to the 2012–13 Taft Parents’ Fund. Contributions totaled $1,636,936 and participation reached 93 percent for the year. We also wish to express a special thanks to the Taft Parents’ Committee, which worked so hard to connect with parents about the importance of participation. The Parents’ Committee again reached 100 percent participation this year. This team will undoubtedly continue this success next year under the guidance of incoming chairs, Jim and Sawnie McGee. Sincerely,

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

2012–13 Parents’ Committee Maris and Don Pascal Jan and Eric Albert ’77 Michelle Andrews Sonia and John Batten Rachel and William Brannan Anne and Toby Brown Constance and Michael Carroll Lynn and Ed Cassady Sheilah and Tom Chatjaval Louisa and Edward Cheng Stasha and Mark Cohen Margaret and Anthony Colangelo Lilo and Tom Cunningham John Davidge III and Deborah Lott Laura Delaney-Taft and John Taft ’72 Jacqueline and Christian Erdman 22 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

Linn ’82 and Robert Feidelson ’82 Melissa and Trevor Fetter Libby and Terry Fitzgerald Icy and Scott Frantz Deborah S. Galant and Eric Tongue Danielle and David Ganek Colleen and Peter Grant Jean Marie and Douglas Jamieson Laurie and Britton Jones Tim Jones and Annie Cardelus Val and John Kratky Kathryn and John Kuhns Youngbum Kwon and Misook Yoon Catherine and Peter Lau Juliette and James Lee

Frederic Leopold and Celeste Ford Alice and Albert Ma Christiana and Ferdy Masucci Sawnie and Jim McGee Rose and Paul McGowan Wendy and John Motulsky ’74 Regina and Dennis Olmstead Nan and Tim O’Neill Ellen and Bill Oppenheim Madeleine and Frank Porcelli Lee and Michael Profenius Bridget and Doyle Queally Elizabeth and Frank Queally Staley and Carter Sednaoui Steve Shafran Karen and Rick Shea

Anne and Joe Sheehan Gigi and John Sheldon Chris and Jim Smith David Soward and Roxanne Fleming Claudia and Allen M. Sperry Mimi and Marc Tabah Christine and Kenneth Taylor-Butler Denise and John Trevenen Cissy and Curt Viebranz Beverly and Mark Wawer Rod Westmoreland Diane Blanchard Whiting Susan and John Wilson Elizabeth and John Woods

Annual Fund Raises Record $4.2 Million! “Our hardworking volunteers and staff members deserve our sincere thanks for their effort in this hard won achievement,” said Annual Fund Chair Dylan Simonds ’89, “but the highest praise goes to our community of donors. No matter how I try, I cannot adequately express my profound appreciation for your loyalty and generosity. Thank you!” The support Taft has seen from its alumni, parents, grandparents and friends has always been remarkable. “But this year,” Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 added, “the generosity has been inspiring, and I am thrilled. The work of this school is vitally important, and the widespread support from our Taft family is a powerful affirmation of all we do.”

Reasons to be proud: j

Annual Fund raises a record $4,207,972. j Alumni contribute at the highest level ever, raising $1,792,352. j Alumni participation reaches 41 percent— the highest level in 13 years. j Young alumni—Classes of 2000 to 2012— handily win the February Faceoff, a participation challenge between Taft and six peer schools. j Parents’ Fund raises a record $1,636,936 and solidifies its status as one of the strongest funds among the nation’s top secondary schools. j For 21 consecutive years, more than 90 percent of parents contribute to the fund—this year reaching 93 percent.

It’s very simple: tuition does NOT cover the full cost of educating a student today. At Taft, as at nearly every school everywhere, tuition alone does not completely cover the cost of a student’s education. These fundraising achievements reflect a broad and deep commitment to filling that revenue gap and empowering the school to provide the finest possible educational experience for its students. “Every dollar to the Annual Fund makes possible the great work that happens on our campus every day,” said MacMullen. “Without the Fund, we could not be the school we are.” “Records aside, we have a long way to go in securing Taft’s financial sustainability,” said Simonds. “While annual fundraising ensures that day-to-day programs meet the high standards we hold for our school, Taft is always striving to be better. To do that, the school needs an equally strong endowment.” Simonds added, “Taft boasts a rich philanthropic tradition, and we have much to be proud of in our school. Through the continued generosity of our community of donors, we will be an even stronger institution and have many more reasons to celebrate.”

Dylan Simonds ’89 Annual Fund Chair

Globe-Trotting for Top Talent Admissions officers seek and recruit the world’s best students

by Jennifer A. Clement


His mission: to find the most talented students on the planet and recruit them for Taft.

ithin days of welcoming students back to campus on September 8, Peter Frew ’75, director of admissions, will be packing his bag and heading to the airport. His mission: to find the most talented students on the planet and recruit them for Taft. One of nine full-time admissions officers who travel aggressively from September through January, Frew targets various cities throughout the U.S. and the world. One day he might be standing in a living room filled with 20 eighth grade students and their parents in Charleston, South Carolina. More often than not, he will be invited to gatherings like this by an alumnus, parent or past parent of a Taft student, someone with “local knowledge” who can help him identify the best and brightest students, from L.A. to Seattle, Caracas to Shanghai. Frew’s search also takes him to cities throughout the U.S. where, armed with his own experience as a Taft graduate, faculty member and coach, as well as with the school’s new iPad app, he will accompany colleagues from the Ten Schools Admission Organization (TSAO), which includes Choate, Deerfield, Exeter, Loomis and Hotchkiss. “We travel with a consortium of great schools, so part of our job is to help families identify what is unique about Taft,” Frew said. He noted the entire admissions process is conducted deliberately. In some ways, putting together each class is like concocting an elaborate soup. Every student selected for enrollment has an opportunity to add to the richness of life at Taft, through the diversity of his or her background, interests and talents. In past years, new students have included a world champion squash player from Egypt and the ranking scholar from in Hanoi, Vietnam. This fall, Taft welcomed Jennifer Jeon, an accomplished violinist who has played Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and garnered one million hits on YouTube, all before her 12th birthday. “One of the most profound and powerful aspects of a Taft education is the people you are surrounded by. There are kids at Taft from 38 states and 30 countries. That diversity plays a very important role in the education of a Taft student,” Frew said. “This is a unique school,” said Frew, “and not only because of our enviable physical plant and gorgeous campus. It’s an amazing place because of the students and the faculty—the people. The Portraits by Highpoint Pictures illustrations by bannosuke/

Diving into the Pool The Admissions Process, Month-by-Month kids who walk down the hall every day, greeting me on the way to class, practice or study hall, are bright, passionate, and they love being at Taft. They love being surrounded by other kids who also want to learn, study, write, perform and who want to go to school with classmates who are not exactly like themselves.” Competition among students seeking to enroll at Taft is fierce—and growing stronger all the time. Each year, the Admissions Office receives about 1,600 applications for just 170 spots. Ultimately, that means the school has to turn down the overwhelming majority of applicants, and there are more academically qualified students in the pool every year than Taft can accommodate. In addition to good grades on a transcript that reflects a challenging curriculum, the admissions officers look at standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, student essays and interviews. All are viewed as valuable and important to the process. Admitted candidates typically have As and Bs, a median SSAT of 83, 83rd percentile and an extracurricular talent or two. Leadership qualities and desire to serve others are particularly attractive. “This place is hard. It’s demanding, it’s challenging, it’s tiring. Kids go from the minute they wake up in the morning until they finish their homework at 10:30 p.m. or midnight. It takes a lot of energy, resilience and grit to get through here,” he said. “Some of our favorite students at Taft did not score very well on the SSAT but they had extraordinary personal qualities, magnetic qualities, determination and leadership skills that made them successful here,” Frew said, recalling that there have been times the admissions committee deliberated long and hard before admitting students who, after struggling

26 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

Late Spring/Early Summer The process of recruiting new students begins as admissions officers begins formulating their travel plans. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Alexandria, Atlanta, Palm Beach, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver and Chicago are on their itinerary. So are stops in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, India, China, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

September Through January Admissions officers travel to meet and interview prospective students. Nearly 1,800 families visit campus for tours and interviews.

January 15 Applications are due. The following week, Frew forecasts “a blizzard of paper,” as administrative assistants Joanna Wandelt, Eileen Blais and Caroline Murphy magically assemble the paperwork submitted by 1,600 applicants.

Mid-January The applicant pool is broken into categories: ninth grade boarding girls, ninth grade boarding boys, PGs and day students, etc. A committee of faculty readers from all departments completes an initial reading of all applications. Applications are then prepared for the admissions committee by the “pool sharks.” The job of the pool sharks is to read every single piece of paper in every folder for that group—interview notes, correspondence, essays, test scores, transcripts—and decide which students should be admitted, wait-listed or rejected.

“Every student selected for enrollment has an opportunity to add to the richness of life at Taft, through the diversity of his or her background, interests and talents.”

February Through Early March For five weeks, the admissions committee meets to reread every decision by the pool sharks. “Around the table, we argue, we debate, sometimes passionately,” Frew said. In the end, students who were initially rejected may make the waiting list and those who were wait-listed may get bumped up or down until the committee reaches its target number of accepted applicants. The final pool of accepted students is sent to Financial Aid Director Michael Hoffman and Assistant Director Will Richardson for financial review.

March 7 Each decision letter is signed, the decision is double-checked.

March 10 Decision letters are sent to the 1,600 applicants electronically and by mail.

Late March/Early April School hosts three revisit days for accepted students and their families.

April 10 Deadline for accepted students to matriculate.

initially, “impacted the school so positively and led their peers so well and were ultimately very successful academically.” Those who have some type of talent to add to their academic ability definitely have an edge. Frew calls it “that extra punch—if you can act and sing and dance as well as do physics or write well, that makes you an attractive candidate.” Part of the admissions process means meeting the expectations, and demands, of various program directors, thus the title of casting director. “That’s one of the challenges of being admissions director,” Frew said. “We have a jazz band: I need saxophone players. We have a chamber orchestra: I need cellists and bassoonists. We also have a football team, robotics team and crew.” With only 170 openings and a huge variety of extracurricular offerings at Taft, every student contributes. More than 10 percent of the student body is involved in drama. The Collegium Musicum performs around the world. Each term, roughly 100 students contribute volunteer work in the community. All of those diverse interests are weighed in the decision-making process. Legacy matters, too, says Frew. “We have always been loyal to sons and daughters, grandchildren of Taft graduates, and 28 percent of our students have relatives (siblings, uncles or aunts,

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 27

Each year, the Admissions Office receives about

1,600 applications for just 170 spots.

etc.) who’ve also attended the school. There was a time when any legacy candidate who could be successful academically was admitted. As Taft has gotten stronger and stronger and more and more popular, the competitive nature of the applicant pool has inevitably meant that we can no longer admit every legacy who is capable academically.” For example, each year Taft has about 35 beds available for ninth grade girls, but receives 400 applications for those spots. “So the competition for those 35 beds is really stiff, especially when you consider that some of those beds are committed to international students and some to talented students from programs like PREP 9 in New York, A Better Chance and the Wight Foundation,” Frew said, listing organizations that are dedicated to opening the door to a prestigious boarding school education for students who might not otherwise have that opportunity. “What begins as 35 quickly diminishes.” Of the 170 students enrolled this fall, 22 are legacy students and 35 are siblings of Taft students, which in itself does not guarantee admission. “I sometimes am in the position of delivering painful news to Taft graduates who have dreamed of having their son or daughter follow in their footsteps. But when I do that, it’s because I have to look out for that student’s well-being,” Frew said. “We want students to be challenged,

28 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

but if we look at the application and the assessment tools we use and Taft projects to be overwhelming, then my job is to steer the child to a better fit. The right school for one student is not necessarily the right school for another.” Financial considerations also play a role, and the request for financial aid is on the rise. “The importance of our endowment [and annual fund] is that it generates a financial aid budget of $7 million annually, which enables us to bring almost 37 percent of our student body to Taft on some form of financial aid,” Frew said. j j j

Those lucky enough to be counted among the overall student body of 585, including 480 boarding and 105 day students, have the opportunity to experience the facilities and curriculum of a big school and the spirit of a close-knit community. “I frequently equate Taft to a beehive. You cluster 585 students plus 120 faculty in a very small space here, all compressed, you’re constantly bumping into people. The buzz is palpable. If you like solitude and hours of solo contemplation, this is not a good school for you. You encounter people every minute of your life here. You’re constantly being engaged by faculty in a dialogue. If you ask students what Taft is like, everyone will talk about the sense of family,” Frew said. j

Reformulating the Admissions Team


ntil recently, Taft’s admissions committee consisted largely of part-time admissions officers who also managed to teach, coach and live in the dorm. It was an attractive model in that it enabled admissions officers to speak from personal experience about every aspect of student life at Taft. For instance, Jack Kenerson ’82 can talk about what it is like in a history classroom. Dana Bertuglia, who teaches chemistry and forensic science, can explain what happens in science labs. Rob Madden ’03, co-director of athletics and head coach for girls’ varsity soccer, can explain the role of a dorm parent, and Tyler Whitley ’04, a former threesport varsity captain who now coaches football and JV boys’ basketball, can talk about being a studentathlete and coach. “There are also a number of us who are Taft graduates, which gives us the advantage of being able to speak from a student’s perspective,” Frew said. “On the other hand, it’s very hard to schedule close to 2,000 interviews with a team comprised of triple threats, because we were all pulled in so many different directions.” That is why, beginning this September, Taft will begin the admissions season with a team that includes nine full-time and five part-time admissions officers. “What that facilitates is the ability to travel,” Frew said, estimating that the team interviews 1,800 students while on campus or traveling—and as many as 35 in one day.

Admissions Team 2013–14

Peter A. Frew ’75 Director of Admissions Suzanne Campbell Associate Director of Admissions Kisha Watts Associate Director of Admissions, Director of Multicultural Recruitment Michael Hoffman ’97 Director of Financial Aid Will Richardson Assistant Director of Financial Aid Shavar Bernier Jack Kenerson ’82 Rob Madden ’03 Danny Murphy Ginger O’Shea Gretchen Silverman Tamara Sinclair ’05 Mark Traina Tyler Whitley ’04

Support Staff Eileen Blais Gail Blomberg Peggy Byrnes Caroline Murphy Joanna Wandelt Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 29

Optional Reading A List for Lifelong Learners

Dudarev Mikhail/


hen you were in school, I hope reading seemed like fun—as long as you weren’t being told what you had to read, right? The books we were required to read somehow never seemed quite as enthralling as the books we found on our own or that were recommended by friends. I remember when I fell into the world of The Lord of the Rings and when I explored the Harvard Classics on my parents’ bookshelf and discovered Henry Fielding and Jane Austen. It was my summer reading that instilled in me a love for literature that gradually edged me away from history and into the English classroom. Now out of school, finally away from teachers’ prescriptions of what we should be reading, we can choose any book we want to read—classic or junk or romantic adventure tale—the world of books is wide open. But there’s so much to choose from and so little time! How do we know that a book will be good, will be worth our time, will fill us with pleasure, will entertain and enlighten and thrill us? We called on a few seasoned Taft teachers, across the disciplines, to share the titles of books they love, or those they believe everyone should read—some on the syllabus, some not. We’re readers here at Taft. Surely you remember that. We love to read because we love to learn and probably always will—for life. Every book on the list will stimulate your thinking and enlarge your understanding of the great world around us. As Milton wrote: “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” So browse their recommendations, or the complete list below. Find a book that interests you or a familiar name whose opinion you have always valued, and dig in. The best part? None of it is required!

—Linda Saarnijoki Dean of Faculty

Jon Bernon

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

An exploration of the factors that contribute to the extraordinary performance of highly successful people in a variety of occupations.

Tom Cesarz

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

Frankl survived four Nazi death camps. If you think your life is hard, this book will change your perspective.

Jeremy Clifford

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

A fascinating discussion of the way people make decisions by a Nobel Prize winner. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

A classic science fiction series that explores the power and limitations of social science and the future of humanity.

100 Books We Recommend 1776 by David McCullough Jack Kenerson ’82

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold Laura Monti ’89

A Death in the Family by James Agee Bruce Fifer

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf Rachael Ryan

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Susan McCabe

A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance by William Manchester Jack Kenerson ’82

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Karen May

Jen Kenerson & Steve Palmer

Almost any book of poetry

The Bible

Karla Palmer

Bruce Fifer

Adventures of Hucklebery Finn by Mark Twain

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Willy MacMullen ’78

Karen May

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 31

Rusty Davis

How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich

A psychologist at Cornell University, Gilovich will change the way you think about your reasoning ability in this short but provocative book. We all make conclusions based on biased, filtered, incomplete and confusing information, and these conclusions are sometimes firmly believed even though they are dead wrong.

Blaire Farrar

Personal Politics by Sara Evans

Iwona Grodzka/

The American feminist movement of the 1960s and ’70s was propelled by the concurrent fight for civil rights, but I was shocked and dismayed to learn that women were often marginalized by their male counterparts within the civil rights movement. Evans brings her extensive research alive with a personal narrative and interviews of the period’s most pivotal figures.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The Moral Animal by Robert Wright

The main character’s strong sense of justice, as well as her search for self amidst tragic romance and confining societal norms, make Jane a protagonist that a high school student can readily identify with. It is possibly my favorite book of all time.

What if evolution explains human morality, including not only our basic concepts of right and wrong, but also less obvious virtues like altruism and fidelity? Read this book and you’ll never see human behavior in the same light.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

An exploration of what can happen when man plays god—clearly a question society struggles with today as it navigates the waters of cloning and genetic research. As a writer, I appreciated Shelley’s commentary on the relationship between artist and art, as one’s creations never do approximate the ideal in the artist’s imagination, and, once let loose in the world, take on a wholly separate existence from their maker—one that can never be fully controlled.

A sociological explanation for why things happen—and how little things make a difference.

Colin Farrar The Black Swan

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Elegantly summarizing recent mathematical theory and explaining his arguments with pithy anecdotes, Taleb explains how the world is far less predictable than we think, what this means for foreign affairs, finance and national security, and what we can do about it.

The Bigend Trilogy: Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History by William Gibson

Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer

Jim Mooney

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G.B. Edwards

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Leavitt

This book helps you cast aside prejudices and consider the world with fresh, offbeat, critical thinking. The Second World War by Winston Churchill

Other works about the greatest event in human history have surpassed Churchill’s account when it comes to research, but none of them surpasses the Last Lion as a master storyteller.

Bruce Fifer The Bible

[King James or Revised Standard]

I grew up reading it, not in an evangelical way, but for its great stories. It led to a life of wanting to bring those universal stories alive in a sacred setting and fostered a genuine love of the English language.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Jim Mooney

Jen Kenerson

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Disraeli by Andre Maurois

Baba Frew

Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry Bob Ganung

Candide by Voltaire

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Rachael Ryan

Karla Palmer

Bruce Fifer

Blaire Farrar

Jim Lehner

Colin Farrar

Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood Greg Hawes ’85

32 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

Encounters With The Archdruid by John McPhee

Ethics for the New Millennium by H.H. the Dalai Lama Bob Ganung

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan Rachael Ryan

Optional Reading

Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer

The iconic prayer book of the Episcopal/Anglican Church written in 1552. Setting aside its religious impact, the sheer beauty of Cranmer’s use of the English language has had a major influence on my life. A Death in the Family by James Agee

A very powerful and beautifully written book about a close-knit family and their courage when faced with loss. The prologue has been set to music by Samuel Barber (Knoxville: Summer of 1915) and has remained my “go to” piece to reconnect and get centered. Hiroshima by John Hersey

As I grew up in the 1950s, the era of “duck and cover,” this book had an obvious and huge impact on me then and continuing to this day. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This story brought home to me the reality of segregation in the 1960s, and the importance of family and doing the right thing. The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton

An amazing autobiography about his spiritual journey. There is no question that this book helped shape my direction in life—particularly when I read it in the 1970s!

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Baba Frew

Jack Kenerson ’82

by C.S. Lewis

An account by a great historian of the Age of the American Revolution and how the American dream of independence became reality.

I received the complete set when I was 8 and was a goner from then on. I still remember the magic of being swept away to another world, staying up late at night to read them with a flashlight under my blanket. I have been captivated by literature ever since.

Greg Hawes ’85

Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood

This admittedly massive tome is essential to understanding what made the American Revolution truly revolutionary. Wood explores how America changed from an experiment in self-governance to a nation ready to grow into a great power. Freedom From Fear by David Kennedy

Kennedy explores the fundamental changes wrought by the twin trials of the Great Depression and the Second World War. The Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Blaire Farrar

Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Leavitt Colin Farrar

Jeremy Clifford

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand Al Reiff ’80

Freedom From Fear by David Kennedy Greg Hawes ’85

A World Lit By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance by William Manchester

Manchester provides a great read of Europe in the midst of transition, including interesting anecdotes about men and women who lived through this violent, creative period. Characters from Lucrezia Borgia to Ferdinand Magellan make this a terrific read for historian and non-historian. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

More than a World War II book, the story of Louis Zamperini’s life holds lessons for all of us. I’m not sure I could survive all that Zamperini faced, but given what he did survive, we can all make the best of our days!

A shorter read that traces how the Central Banks of England, France, Germany and the U.S. precipitated the crisis of the Great Depression.

Ginger O’Shea

The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov

l776 by David McCullough

The Chronicles of Narnia

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind

Willy MacMullen ’78

Susan McCabe

Helena Fifer

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

John Magee

Steve Palmer

Willy MacMullen ’78

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Helena Fifer

How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich

John Magee

Hiroshima by John Hersey

Rusty Davis

Bruce Fifer

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 33

Jen Kenerson

Willy MacMullen ’’78

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, this is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

With this collection of short stories, Hemingway completely upends the American voice, and almost every writer of the 20th century was dealing with the legacy of his work. “Big Two-Hearted River” has been described by many as the greatest short story every penned.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Jim Lehner

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

by G.B. Edwards

This novel is so lush, so beautiful, so tragic and so essentially American that it falls easily into the “must read” category. If this nation is based on the idea that we can re-create ourselves, this novel gives an answer that is equal parts illuminating and dark.

A fictional memoir of a man who lives his entire life from the turn of the 20th century until near 1970 on an island in the English Channel. My mother was from England, so this novel also allowed me to know just a little bit what her childhood was like. I turn to this book to remind me of its lessons about the human experience under difficult circumstances.

Yen Liu

Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (translated by Moss Roberts)

This book is very famous in China and read over and over again by the Chinese. Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Written in 2005, this is an important biography of this influential leader.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The American themes of individuality and conformity, the nature of slavery, race relations, the frontier—they are all there. And add the extraordinary boldness of the work—the choice of the narrator, the use of vernacular, the realist depiction of violence and racism, the darkness of the humor—and you have a simply astonishing, troubling, complicated and provocative work.

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Willy MacMullen ’78

John Magee

Steve Palmer

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

L’Assommoir by Emile Zola

Blaire Farrar

WT Miller

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin

Journey Through Genius by William Dunham

Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac

Ted Heavenrich

34 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

by John Steinbeck

It’s easy to forget that the Depression was the single most important event in the century: nothing else, not even the two world wars, affected lives more profoundly, altered geography and demographics more significantly, and changed social policy more radically. This is the one novel that does justice to the poverty, suffering, displacement, hope and courage that marked the 1930s.

John Magee

Light in August or Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Perhaps the greatest American author, Faulkner stated on the occasion of receiving the Nobel Prize: I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice that have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Light in August or Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

John Magee

Tom Cesarz

The Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Greg Hawes ’85

Yen Liu

Andrew McNeill

The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Ted Heavenrich

Helena Fifer

Julie Reiff

WT Miller

The Grapes of Wrath

Optional Reading

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy

What happened to Aristotle and Sophocles’ vision of tragedy? Hundreds of years later, the genre has evolved and man has stayed the same.

Captured me in that it brought history alive. When I visited Russia later in life and wandered the Kremlin museum, I felt as if I were stepping back into that time.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Disraeli by Andres Maurois

What happened to Aristotle, Sophocles and Shakespeare’s vision of tragedy? Hundreds of years later, the genre has evolved and man has stayed the same.

A marvelous glimpse into the political world of Victorian England. Disraeli and Gladstone are presented in larger than life fashion. Painless history for a person who normally goes for novels!

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Second to Peter’s denial of Christ or Hal’s denial of Falstaff might be Pip’s denial of Joe Gargery. Dickens has a grasp of the human condition that gives the lie to the characterization of popular fiction as trivial.

Susan McCabe

Karen May

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind

A great insight into issues that may be present in the lives of many scholarship students. by Betty Smith

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Has proven to be the harbinger of environmental alarm. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Really piqued my interest as a young adult when I believed that with focus and willpower the world offered endless possibilities; however, with age I am not quite so naive. Nevertheless, I believe it was a driving force in believing I could accomplish anything I put my mind to.

Family, community, education, class differences, dealing with and overcoming setbacks: there are so many lessons to learn while reading this beautifully written story.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

The Moral Animal by Robert Wright

Linda Saarnijoki

Colin Farrar

Oedipus Rex and Antigone by Sophocles

Andrew McNeill

A citizen in a democracy is pretty well equipped to improve the greater good if he/she reads: The Republic by Plato The Prince by Machiavelli Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes On Liberty by J.S. Mill

Laura Monti ’89

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson and A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Both give one the sense that our actions can have consequences far beyond what we anticipate and that the long view is both difficult to achieve and vital to our continued existence.

Jim Mooney

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Clarke looks at man in the context of the larger universe and speculates on a possible future.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott Helena Fifer

Steve Palmer

Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White

My Antonia by Willa Cather Helena Fifer

Helena Fifer

Moonstone and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire Blaire Farrar

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Personal Politics by Sara Evans

Loueta Chickadaunce

Jon Bernon

Blaire Farrar

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durell

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Pierre et Jean by Guy de Maupassant

Helena Fifer

Andrew McNeill

Bob Ganung

WT Miller

Helena Fifer

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 35

Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History: The Bigend Trilogy of William Gibson

The author of Neuromancer wrote these books with more conventional characters but continues to comment on the relation between technology and human creativity.

Karla Palmer

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

I’m totally serious: most everything I’ve come to understand about small boys and their grown-up versions comes from Calvin. I’d call it essential bedside reading were it not 22 pounds of book.

And pretty much any book of poetry. To me, reading poetry is a more personal experience than a novel. Years ago, when I lived alone, I’d read it aloud. I have a bundle of all-time favorite poems, among them: Andrew Marvel, “To His Coy Mistress” Alfred Tennyson, “Ulysses” Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son” Richard Wilbur, “The Writer” Donald Hall, “Names of Horses” Jane Kenyon, “Otherwise”

Steve Palmer

Foundations of Western Literature: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and


Sophocles’ tragedies carry the most meaning in the fewest words. Exciting action, great characters and powerful final moments. Great American Novel: Toni Morrison’s


I could have put Hawthorne, Faulkner or Hemingway here, but Beloved is as emotionally powerful and thematically central to American literature as any of the “great” American novels.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Linda Saarnijoki

The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson, M.D.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne John Magee

Bob Ganung

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli Andrew McNeill & Rachael Ryan

Republic by Plato

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir Rachael Ryan

Andrew McNeill

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

Julie Reiff

Julie Reiff

Momaday’s novel reads like a memoir/ poem at times and is a seminal work among the rich vein of Native American literature, a genre that is often relegated to a few college courses in our educational system. African Literature: Chinua Achebe’s

Things Fall Apart

It is hard to cover an entire continent with one choice, but I’d start with Achebe’s story about the clash of cultures when the first European missionaries arrive among the Ibo people in what is now Nigeria. American Poetry: Walt Whitman’s

Leaves of Grass American poetry does not start and end with Whitman, but if I had to choose one work, from all genres, to capture the essence of American literature, I’d choose this—an uplifting, spirited, philosophical and exciting collection. Natural World and Philosophy: Henry D. Thoreau’s Walden

I don’t know why Thoreau seems to continue to lose space on high school shelves with each passing year. I think it is the central American work in terms of shaping our relationship to the land and leading a meaningful life.

The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Bruce Fifer

Ted Heavenrich

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz

WT Miller

The Second World War by Winston Churchill Colin Farrar

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Rachael Ryan

36 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

Native American Literature: N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn

Steve Palmer

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson Karen May & Laura Monti ’89

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Steve Palmer

Optional Reading

Modern American Culture: Alex Kotlowitz’s

There Are No Children Here

Kotlowitz has some great books and has done as much as any writer to shed light on the great flaws of our society in a direct, readable and moving way. This book covers a year in the lives of two young boys growing up on Chicago’s West Side.

John Piacenza

Two New Sciences Galileo Gallilei, (translated by Stillman Drake)

This translation of Galileo is great. It contains an excellent introduction by Drake, and it shows Galileo’s writing style at its best—his method of presenting his ideas (and the debate about them) by using a dialogue between characters that he invents.

Al Reiff ’80

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Her classic work that displays her view of the crucial role of individualism in society. The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Although much of what Friedman celebrates is now pervasive in our everyday lives, his work illustrates how truly lifechanging the information revolution has become.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Excellent political commentary that applies to many political situations throughout history. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

One of the first feminist treatises and a must read for any woman interested in the topic. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

The seminal American feminist work that ushered in the third wave of feminism. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Has been the driving credo in my life: That you have to a have a room of your own. Too obvious? For me I knew after reading this book that I always needed to have something that was my own, and I also needed to be able to support myself. It is OK to be dependent on others, but you also need to be able to maintain your own independence when needed. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Such an amazing story, who can resist romance like this?

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell Colin Farrar

Yen Liu

John Piacenza

Bruce Fifer

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

John Piacenza

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Two New Sciences by Galileo Gallilei (translated by Stillman Drake)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Prince by Machiavelli

Jeremy Clifford

Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (translated by Moss Roberts)

Linda Saarnijoki

Rachael Ryan

Besides being a very funny social comedy and a wonderful romance, Austen’s bestknown novel gives us a picture of 19th century life, particularly for women, and gives us, as well, one of the great, strong women of literature in Elizabeth Bennet. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Long one of my favorite books to read in the heat of summer because the descriptions of winter effectively chill my bones, Helprin’s optimistic novel celebrates the innate goodness of mankind and presents a vision of the past and future in a rollicking story that sustains my faith that it is in human relationships that our hope lies.

Jon Willson ’82

The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

A highly biased and selective but still scholarly examination of why and how the U.S. came to have the public education system—if it can even be called a system—that it does. A good place to start for anyone who wonders why our public schools have proven largely and stubbornly unreformable for decades. j

Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman Al Reiff ’80

Jon Willson ’82

Walden by Henry D. Thoreau Steve Palmer

Jack Kenerson ’82

Loueta Chickadaunce

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 37


ot only was the Class of ’63 back on campus for its 50th Reunion, but five decades of Taft lacrosse players returned to celebrate as well. The rain held off long enough for the annual alumni parade as well as the game, but a soggy afternoon made for a cozy atmosphere under the tent for the Headmaster’s Supper on Saturday night. For a second year, younger alumni gathered at The Heritage for a combined four-class party that was tons of fun. The Class of ’93 arranged for a retro dinner at The Jig, which had everyone asking, “Why didn’t our class think of that?”

[Photography by Robert Falcetti]

—Julie Reiff



1. Pat Kerney ’95

and Scott Zoellner ’83 celebrate after the alumni lacrosse game.

2. Cindy Thebaud ’81

marches with Waleed Hadeed ’63, who traveled from Kuwait to attend his 50th Reunion.

3. John Watling ’53 leads his class.

4. John Frechette

3 4

’98 goes “Back to Class” with Loueta Chickadaunce in the Tremaine Art Studio.

5. Carolyn Starrett ’98

and Dan Chak ’98 at the Headmaster’s Supper on Saturday.

6. 1993 alums at their 20th: Nikki Mayhew Greene, Margaret Fitzgerald Wagner, Amanda Costanzo McGovern and Mukta Dhumale.

7. Ginny Folsom

Umiker ’73, Brad Joblin ’73 and Linda Tilghman Murphy ’75 at the 40th Reunion dinner.





8. Beth Kessenich


’08, faculty member Rachael Ryan and Hannah Baker ’03 at the Headmaster’s Supper on Saturday.

9. Shelly and Drum Bell ’63, Rafe de la Gueronniere ’70 with Deb Avis and Biff Barnard ’63.


10. Michael Wu ’73. 11. Cindy Thebaud


’81 has a laugh with Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78.


Rear Admiral (Select) Cindy Thebaud ’81 with members of the Class of ’63 who also served in the Navy.



Cynthia and Bob Barker ’63 leaving Service of Remembrance.


Former Headmaster Lance Odden during the Alumni lacrosse game.

15. Shanika Audige ’08


at reunion after-party.



1988 golfers Doug Freedman, Kingman Gordon, Dan Pearl and Colin Aymond.




adia Zahran, Glenton Davis, Georgina Harding-Edgar (from London) and Kendra Pettis enjoy their 10th Reunion.


Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 41


harlie Yonkers ’58 and daughter Kate ’88 both celebrate reunions

42 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013


Faculty emeritus Barc Johnson ’53 enjoys the Old Guard Dinner.


At 45th Reunion dinner, Laura Sklaver, Mac Whiteman ’68 with friend Caryn Wagner and Gary Sklaver ’68.




Kendra Pettis ’06, Daquan Mickens ’08, Shanika Audige ’08, John Riggins ’08 and Phil Camille ’08.


Jol Everett, faculty emeritus, at 50 Years of Lacrosse celebration.


21 23


50th Anniversary Alumni Lacrosse game: front row, from left, Duke Sullivan ’83, Tucker Cavanaugh ’86, Jake Odden ’86, John Utley ’90, Greg Seitz ’86, Andrew King ’86, George Utley ’74, Tyler Letarte ’09, John Long ’88 and Luis Mendoza; back row, from left, Willy MacMullen ’78, Rob Madden ’03, Teddy Barber ’06, Whit Brighton ’06, Casey D’Annolfo, Rob Peterson ’80, Henry Millson ’09, Jon Stevenson ’97, Dave Jenkins ’97, Colin Aymond ’88, Doug Freedman ’88, Pat Kerney ’95, Augie Masucci ’12, Cooper Del Zotto ’12, Kevin Mulvey ’12, Scott Zoellner ’83, Lance Odden, Jol Everett and Andrew Everett ’88.


Ted Pratt ’43 with Sally Waugh and Tom Moore ’43 at Old Guard Dinner cocktails.


At Class Agents’ and Secretaries’ Breakfast, Glenton Davis ’03 and Max Jacobs ’08.



25 28


Marisa Ryan ’03, Ashley Ciaburri ’03 and Helen Goblirsch ’03 at the gallery reception for classmate Susie Tarnowicz.


1978 classmates Liz Bermingham Blanchard, Lowell Thomas, Chip Bristol and Lisanne Burk Gourley with Emily ’13, daughter of Liz.

28. Collegium Revisited


in Woodward Chapel.

perspective 123rd Commencement


Highpoint Pictures

by Phil Schiller


commencement speaker




is the reward.”

It’s a simple thought. And not a new one either. Ancient philosophers knew it, as did explorers. You may travel the world in search of your goal, all the while the real treasure is the experiences you have, the friends you make, and the knowledge you gain along the way. There is another saying that we at Apple like as well. Alan Kay, a computer scientist who once worked there, said, “Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” Who doesn’t want to be smarter, right? All it takes is changing your angle of view. Sailors and explorers knew this as well. In order to navigate treacherous waters, they would climb the rigging to stand atop the masts and see more of the world. If you climb high enough, you can even see the curvature of the earth in the ocean’s horizon. You can’t see any that from the deck; you have to take a risk and climb. With technology today, you don’t have to travel far to find adventure. In the palm of your hand is a smartphone that has more performance than the sum total of all the computing power that every parent assembled here today had access to when

we graduated high school. I hope this doesn’t sound like an ad, but you carry in your pocket access to most every book, textbook, manual, newspaper and magazine, most every song, album, TV show, news broadcast, sports event and movie produced. You hold the power of a high-performance computer, high-resolution camera and high-definition camcorder, ready to do what ever you dream up. The trick isn’t to figure out what it can do, but what you will choose to do with it. If you have ever wondered why Taft believes so deeply in educating the whole student, you only have to consider it from Apple’s perspective on what it takes to innovate and you will understand the tremendous importance of educating the entire person. We know that when you mash different perspectives together, great things can happen. Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 45

1 Class speaker Cassie Willson also celebrated her birthday that day. 2 Mary DuBois and father Ray DuBois ’66. Mary received the Sherman Cawley Award in English and the Bourne Medal in History. 3 Commencement Speaker Phil Schiller congratulates his son Mark.

photography by Robert Falcetti



4 Classics teacher Dick Cobb presents Jack Simonds with the Latin Award. 5 Valedictorian Isaac Morrier. 6 Photography teacher Yee-Fun Yin presents Kaiima Griffith with the Thomas Sabin Chase Award in Art.


We choose to sit at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. It is not enough to just make cool gadgets. To make something great we must consider how it will be used and how it will enhance people’s lives. We bring together engineers, computer scientists, designers, economists, musicians, mathematicians and artists to invent the future. Let me tell you a story of an ancient technology mash-up to illustrate this point. Once merchant ships did not stray far from the continental shelf—it was too easy to get lost at sea without a reliable method of nautical navigation. A system of pinpointing latitude and longitude took centuries to develop. Latitude, the position parallel to the equator, was the easier to figure out. Mariners discovered that by measuring the altitude of stars such as Polaris, the North Star, above the horizon you can derive a ship’s latitude. Longitude, the slices from the North Pole to the South Pole, was much more difficult. After many decades the solution was invented by John Harrison, a British carpenter and part-time clockmaker. He created a seagoing chronometer—that’s a fancy name for a very accurate clock—to precisely 46 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

measure the time difference, and thus longitudinal distance, between the start of a journey and your new destination. It’s exactly like the time zones with which we all are familiar today. In 1779, Captain James Cook was the first to use these new inventions to circumnavigate the globe and forever change the nature of sea travel. It could only have happened by bringing together people with diverse expertise in naval engineering, astronomy and horology, that is, the study of time. You are now further along on your own journey, and with each step it becomes more yours to navigate. The choice of how much risk to take in order to gain new perspectives and learn more about the world around you, is yours. You can take the easy path and stick to ideas, subjects and relationships that are comfortable to you. Or, you can take advantage of the great technologies and opportunity before you, more than any generation has ever had access to, and expose yourself to that which is different, that which challenges your own perspective. If there is one thing my work has taught me, it is that to do something great, something really great, you have to embrace difference.





And at Taft, you have come to understand how the choices you make must consider the importance of honor, integrity, respect and, above all, service to others. Phil Schiller is senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc.

truly unique. They inspire us, support us, guide us, and more often than not keep us in line. I’m truly grateful for their passion for being here. I could stand up here for as long as the entire ceremony would take talking about my classmates here. There is no other way to say it. I cannot imagine being any more proud to be a part of this graduating class.

Betsy Sednaoui head monitor

I have used this last week to reflect on every aspect of Taft that has shaped my experience in some way or another. I first thought about my advisers—my first one, whom I had for my first three years here, and my second one, who took me in this year because my first one went on sabbatical. Both people have made an indescribable impact on me, and it would be impossible to graduate from Taft without thanking them for everything they have taught and given me. The list did not stop there, however. I began to lose track of the number of teachers that I will remember forever. The faculty members here are

Andrew Cadienhead head monitor

When I first came to Taft freshman year, my mom told me that high school would be some of the most fun years of my life and that I’d better enjoy it because it would fly by, and she was absolutely right—which I’ve noticed that her being right seems to be a recurring trend in my life. Although Taft may be the definition of a struggle, it’s also a definition of opportunity, friendship and triumph. It’s moments like the one we’re living right now that truly allow us to see the beauty and sentimental value behind this place. Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 47

7 Maggie Alisberg and family. 8 Angelina Sophonpanich with her friend Victoria from Malaysia. 9 Head monitors Betsy Sednaoui and Andrew Cadienhead with the class stone. 10 Lily Tyson receives the Harry W. Walker ’40 Non Ut Sibi Award from Baba Frew.




11 Yen Liu presents the Chinese Prize to Alexa Colangelo and Megan Teeking. 12 Alex McClellan, Jillian Wipfler, Andrew Cadienhead and Sophie Snook. 13 Willy and Pam MacMullen with Edward and Louisa Cheng and their daughter Claudia.

I remember asking my mom one day while I was home on break when she was going to take me back home. And at the time it just came out and I thought it was real weird because I was already home. I realize now that Taft is definitely a home for most of us. And to be honest, the thought of leaving this home behind is terrifying. But part of going to Taft is leaving Taft. In a way, I still think that we could spend more time here. There’s still so much we could learn and more friendships that we could make. But leaving is imperative in order for all of us to start the next chapter in our lives.

Cassie Willson class speaker

Taft gives you the freedom to fail and the opportunity to succeed. Everyone has a unique Taft experience, but we also go through it together. Taft molds you into a human being, no matter if you’ve been here for a year or four years or 17 years. I’m a faculty kid, also known as a fac brat or 17-year senior. Taft has been my home since I was one year old. 48 Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013

But I don’t want us to look at these four years as having been a transitional phase on the way to adulthood. At least for today, I want us to appreciate how far we’ve come. This class is exceptionally talented, ambitious and supportive of one another. I am beyond proud to be graduating with all of you because our bond as a class is so strong. We’ve carved a place for ourselves in Taft’s history, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish as we move forward. Of course, we all have a lot to learn and we don’t have it all figured out, but at least we’re ready to give the old college try. And seniors, I hope that when we come back for our 25th reunion, pulling up the Main Circle in our carbon neutral hovercrafts and strolling through the hallways wearing our silver jumpsuits, we will remember the moments that made Taft great for us.

Max Flath class speaker

When I came to Taft, things were a little different for me. I hadn’t lived in the United States since I was 5. I had just been living in Kuwait for three years



and was now being shipped off to Taft to follow in my brothers’ footsteps and receive a good old American education. Taft is an experience with which we are afforded communal purpose, singular integrity and opportunity for high scholarship. Taft is the quintessential education, a provision of intellectual, moral and social instruction. I know what Taft looks like. I know what Taft feels like, and I have some sort of half grip on what Taft really is. So I’ve come to identify three things that I think make Taft, Taft. Number one. One of the most common elements of a Taft experience is the increasing proclivity for calling Taft home, because Taft is home. This community is the strongest community I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Students wave and smile in passing. We share a common identity as Tafties. I hate Hotchkiss, you hate Hotchkiss. I’m a Taftie and by God, you’re a Taftie, too. There is a resounding notion that no matter our differences, we are one. We are all Tafties, and this is our home. Number two. Every single one of us brings something to the table, something distinctive, something



different. You would be extremely hard-pressed to find a Taftie who is not extraordinarily talented in one way or another, who does not possess a unique perspective on the world, who could not teach you something new and fascinating. Every Taftie has potential and carries the promise of achievement and excellence in his or her own field. We are an eclectic bunch of accomplished young men and women, and we wear it well. Number three. Taft believes in tradition. Lincoln’s Golden Beak, Headmaster’s Holidays and this lovely ceremony all stand as time-honored traditions of the Taft School. Founded in 1890, Taft’s 123-year history goes unforgotten by students and faculty alike as we must honor what has come before us in order to ably go forward and accept what must come after us. Tafties believe in tradition. And so here we are. We stand at the brink of a bygone era. Another Taft class to be handed diplomas and conferred upon them the moniker of alumnus or alumna. After four years of rigor and exhaustion, we are given a gift—the gift of graduation, a Taft diploma in our left hand and the headmaster’s firm grip in our right. j Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 49

14 Aurelian Award winner Gaby Fabre, right. 15 Rubbing a returned Lincoln’s nose for good luck after graduation. (He had been held for ransom all week). 16 Teresa Mugica and Ryder Smith show off their new diplomas. 17 Class speaker Max Flath.

tales of a TAFTIE

By Laura Monti ’89

Dr. Yale Kneeland, Class of 1918 The sleuth of the common cold

SOURCES: A. R. Dochez, K. C. Mills, and Yale Kneeland, Jr. 1936. Studies on the common cold VI. Cultivation of the virus in tissue medium. Journal of Experimental Medicine 63(4): 559–579. N.P. Christy. 1995. Faculty remembered: Virginia Kneeland Frantz. Physicians and Surgeons Journal 15:2. N.P. Christy. 1972 Memorial: Yale Kneeland, Jr. MD. Transactions of the America Clinical and Climatological Association 83: xxix-xl. Y. Kneeland, Jr. Filterable viruses in upper respiratory infection. 1937. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 77: 467-471.

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

A brilliant physician, scientist and teacher, Yale Kneeland is perhaps best known for definitively demonstrating that the common cold is caused by a virus, but he was equally well remembered by his colleagues for his compassion, humor and talent as an educator. Kneeland attended college at Yale University, a fitting place for a man whose first name was Yale and whose nickname was Eli. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1922, he was convinced by his older sister—a surgeon, researcher and teacher at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons—to abandon his studies of literature and to instead pursue medicine. He began as a student at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduated to the faculty there and remained as a professor and professor emeritus until his death 48 years later. Kneeland was briefly absent from Columbia during World War II. A colonel in the Army, he served as a senior consultant on infectious disease in the European Theater. He received two bronze stars for his work caring for the wounded and controlling the spread of typhus among the civilian populations of North Africa and Italy. As a researcher, Kneeland authored or coauthored more than 40 papers chiefly relating to the causes of upper-respiratory infections. In the 1930s, along with two colleagues, he performed a thorough investigation into the etiology of the common cold. Studies done as early as 1914 previously suggested a virus as the cause of the common cold; however, failure to duplicate those early results meant that, during the 1920s, there was little

belief in such claims. Kneeland and his group used exemplary experimental procedures to rule out bacteria as a causative agent and then irrefutably identified a virus as responsible for the common cold. They were also able to improve methods for preserving and cultivating the virus in the lab. Kneeland was at the heart of investigations into the causes of atypical primary pneumonia and was very active in research into the efficacy of antibiotics in treating a variety of ailments. It is interesting to note the manner in which Dr. Kneeland’s group investigated the etiology of upper-respiratory tract infections: they deliberately infected human volunteers with “nasopharyngeal secretions,” commonly known as mucous, from patients with symptoms of the flu or a common cold, and then studied the course of the disease. Dr. Kneeland embodied the well-rounded academic. As a professor of medicine, his students found him an encouraging and courteous instructor. He was so well loved by his pupils, in fact, that the College of Physicians and Surgeons yearbook was dedicated to him a record four times. He maintained a continued interest in literature and was the first physician to be elected president of the Century Association, a New York-based group comprised mainly of authors and artists. Other honors bestowed upon him during the course of his life included a trusteeship at the American University of Beirut and an honorary membership to a Senior Common Room at Oxford University, a rare honor for an American. j Laura Monti teaches biology at Taft.

from the ARCHIVES

n 1929 team captains: Raymond Burnes, baseball; Carter Treadwell, football; Seymour Beardsley, track.

v Horace Taft, far left, perches with students on the fence soon after the school moved to Watertown, ca. 1893 (Howard Davis 1895, at right)

The Senior Fence For a long time, photographs of the Senior Class, athletic teams and captains were taken at the long white fence that ran in front of the campus along Woodbury Road. The fence first became a special place when the Senior Class of 1895 gave it honorary status. In 1895, Mr. Taft’s School was only five years old. The editors of the Papyrus were determined to establish a tradition. Sounding a bit wistful as many of these soon-to-be Yale men looked back at their years in Watertown, the paper put out this call for a Senior Class custom:

n The 1894–95 editorial staff of the Papyrus

One of the pleasant pictures of English school life which Thomas Hughes sets before us in “Tom Brown at Rugby” is when the fellows gather with their chairs and tables in the long summer evenings, sing their songs, and drink their beer while they listen to speeches from the older boys. …we all know how the “Fence” accords the Yale graduate one of the most treasured recollections of his college days, and how the fellows gather around it with their pipes and while the hours away as the years draw to a close. We have no school customs at all as yet, and though we have appealed to the Class of ’95 time and again …we make this plea from the very bottom of our hearts: that before the year is over, some fitting ceremony be chosen at which the graduating class shall intermingle with the school on an equal basis with each and every fellow, and then bid its farewell as a class to the comrades of our school-boy life. …What we desire to propose is: that after the baseball games the fellows gather round the fence and sing under the leadership of the Glee Club, and that a day or so before school breaks up the Senior Class hands its part of the fence over to the upper middlers, and then…after the songs and ceremonies are over with, the whole school shall

partake of refreshments of a mild nature. There is some formality attendant even upon the discharge of a convict from the penitentiary, and surely we, who should have every cause to look back upon our life here with pleasure, and yet with a feeling of regret that it has passed by, should do something more than merely packing our belongings and boarding the first out-bound train. In practice, the gentlemanly handover was a friendly skirmish, or rush, whereby the upper middlers would take the fence by force. Later, usually during an intermission in the Senior Dance on Commencement Eve, the classes would adjourn to the fence and give cheers and short speeches as the president of the graduating class would officially hand the fence over to the rising seniors. This was followed by a call for speeches, or “fence orations,” from the headmaster and senior faculty members. We have yet to find one of these in the archives. The fence was replaced by the current hedge in the 1980s. —Alison Gilchrist, The Leslie D. Manning Archives

Taft Bulletin SUMMER 2013 51

Taft Bulletin

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

Change Service Requested

Frederick H. Wandelt III ’66 1948–2013 We are deeply saddened to report the death of Ferdie Wandelt on July 25. There will be a memorial service at Taft on Saturday, September 28, and a full tribute to his inspiring 42-year career at Taft will appear in the fall issue of the Bulletin. We invite you to share your recollections and photographs at alumni/ferdie

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