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The Magazine of The Thacher School * Fall 2011

THACHER Tradition & Change The things we choose to carry with us as we meet the future.

CONTENTS 12 • Armchair Wandering

Thacher equestrians ride off into their futures, taking Thacher’s “other” riding program with them.

14 • Tradition & Change

What are Thacher’s most valued traditions? How have they changed over time and why? As we celebrate the centennials of two favorite campus structures, we weigh in with alumni and current students on the ways a community preserves what it values in the face of constant change.



01 • View From Olympus

28 • Gatherings

Renewing Thacher’s residential traditions.

03 • Up Front Tending trails and the connections they represent.

03 • Readers Respond We share your letters and e-mails.

14 FRONT COVER Tradition? Change? Sherman Day Thacher might be surprised to find girls and lawns at Thacher, but he would be glad to see a happy student (Sarah Van Son ‘15) using a break between classes to appreciate some Ojai sunshine. Photo: Tamar Levine.

04 • The Pergola An assemblage of noteworthy School and community intelligence.


Reunion 2011: Hundreds gather, Ozomatli plays, and a lone representative of CdeP 1931 makes the cross-country trip in his Prius.

32 • Class Notes, etc.

Alumni news, milestones, and reports from faculty, staff, and friends.

43 • In Memoriam

45 • The Best We Can Do These boots were made for giving: It’s easier than you think to join Thacher’s Boot Hill Association.



Beyond Housing: Renewing Thacher’s Residential Traditions designed by sherman day Thacher. his idea was that an adult faculty My LOve affair with dOrMitOries started when i was 14 years old member would live at the center room of each floor of the dorm. and and was introduced to the Moody house at Governor dummer academy the third floor was the gym, where the faculty taught the boys the fine (1763), the nation’s oldest boarding school. it was my first extended time skills of boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics! Over the years, of course, away from home. i had a roommate. fourteen of my classmates and i the school grew and the world changed. Not many faculty would accept lived in an old rambling New england house that was built in the 1700s. an assignment of living in one room at the center of a wing in a dorm. The venerable Moody house somehow accommodated our rambunctious behavior: sliding down the banister, piling up hundreds of cans (what was that about?), wrestling in the hallways, and of course, this being New england, full-on slap shot floor hockey. That dorm was where i learned how to study, how to get along with a roommate, how to interact positively, and then develop eventual deep affection and respect for our faculty housemaster. it was in those halls, around the campus, and on the playing fields where i learned to love the great thing that is a boarding school. friends resided around every corner; tremendous teachers—caring, smart, and fun, and demanding; life-changing sports and inspirational classes. The academy changed my life in every positive way, and i have been trying for decades to somehow repay my teachers for their gifts by helping others, students and faculty, along their way in these schools. from that formative freshman year, i went on to live in three successive “ye olde” New england dormitories, all hallowed and haunted, of course. These were followed closely with four more years of the institutional granite, brick, and even, i think, cinder block dorms at Middlebury. save for one dorm that seemed designed to kill the fun of group living by cutting everyone off from each other (just the opposite of our new dormitories), my love affair with dormitory living sharing hallways and bathrooms with boys on continued unabated: The camaraderie, the fun, the Although Thacher dorms reflect a range of designs and styles, they all have been engineered a 24-7 basis was too much to ask. so the Upper games, the work and study, the great and interesting to foster strong community connections and school became an all-student operation with a people steps from my door, made these years magical. to link the indoors with the outdoors. Pictured couple of faculty members living on the two floors Little surprise then that i should choose a career clockwise from top left are Lower School, the Hill, Upper School, and Los Padres. of the annex: not a perfect situation but a precurwhere dormitories have played such a crucial role in sor to today’s prefect system in which much of the creating community and building spirit. responsibility for the daily work of a dormitory falls to students. Prein the fall of 1986, Joy and i moved across the country into the fect-run dorms are today a hallmark of Thacher, and almost all Thacher first-floor apartment of the famed Upper school. This was the old Upstudents, whether they served as prefects or not, have come to respect per school. it had seen its better days as evidenced by the threadbare the important work done by students in leading students. carpets, creaking boards, carved walls, and smoky fireplaces. But That said, some of the most important work we have undertaken at even so, the Upper school of this late era was not being used as it was The Thacher School 1

Early Thacher dorm life: (top) a posse of Upper Schoolers gather in the original, pre-1911 dormitory (bottom).

Thacher in the last 20 years has been that of renovating our dorms or building new ones altogether—all with the purpose of ensuring that Thacher dormitories support a welcoming and healthy atmosphere where students can live side by side happily and harmoniously—and where faculty members interact with them naturally and easily. Beginning with the renovation of Upper school in 1994, and with the critical help of trustees, parents, alumni, and friends, we have over these last 15 years focused on making the Thacher dormitories—across the board—fabulous places for Thacher teens to live, work, and play. This does not mean we have made them fancy: you will all still recognize the four walls, beds, and desks. we just no longer confuse simplicity and rusticity with poor maintenance. we have given in to heating them, wimps that we are. we have not air-conditioned them, however, an otherwise sure sign of our decline and fall. But these new and renovated dorms (Middle school, Los Padres, Lower school, the hill) have ample air and light. They open to the outside and thereby 2 Fall 2011

welcome fresh air along with mountain and valley views. Our toads live in concert with the outdoors. The smells of sage, pepper, eucalyptus, orange, and, of course, horses, waft about. They help our students dash the nature-deficit disorder that has crept into their lives as urbanization and computer screens can otherwise dominate their lives. Our dorms have our kids living half outside. and we are all the better for it. so now we have just one dorm left to update: Casa. Casa, you say? “why change it? The girls love Casa.” a actually they love the freshman, “let’s be together” experience of Casa. what they don’t love (were they to stop and think about it—and we have no intention of asking them to do so!) are toilets that overflow, rusty showers, leaky roofs, crowded laundries, cracked doors, poor ventilation, and walkways exposing the girls to the road as they hustle to the showers. But these are kids and they don’t worry about these things, by and large. as adults, it is our job to worry. we need to replace the doors, floors, and roofs. we need to upgrade the fire and seismic systems; we need to create better space for the crowded common room. and so we will do this, and we will do this with your help. while all dorms everywhere require regular ongoing maintenance, Casa is the last Thacher dormitory that needs to be brought up to our new standard. Come back and look at the hill, LP, the Middle school, and new Lower s school. These places are fabulous. Great places to live and work. They are big reasons why parents and kids are choosing Thacher (acceptance rate of 17 percent, an application yield rate of 80 percent); and they are some of the reasons why they are staying here (lowest attrition of any boarding school in the country). They are built to offer both privacy and public space for students and faculty; they are designed to embrace kids and bring them together. (watch those Lower schoolers as they jump out from their rooms after study hall to play games in their quad, for example, or go hang in their common room, or run into the Meyers’ apartment for some cereal.) dormitories—when well designed—create community, assist friendships, and create the right conditions for peace of mind, dynamism, and happiness. These are good things. This project is the culmination of 20 years of work at Thacher to build upon our history and values to make us the best school in the world. it is a lofty ambition, but why not? if we are to work hard, then why not do, in Mr. Thacher’s tradition, “the best work in the world that we can, ’til the best we can do is all done.”

michael K. mulligan, Head of school



The magazine of The Thacher School Volume 5, issue 2 Fall 2011

Tending Trails

EdiTOR Christopher j. Land

what wOULd thaCher Be without its trails? we are blessed with miles of paths that link our campus to our surroundings, providing inviting access to hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness. Bearing names familiar to generations of Thacher students (Morgan Barnes, huntington, Phelps, McCaskey...), they carry extra-day trips to and from campus; they help novice riders get to know their horses and gradually develop their expertise; and they offer many of us brief and restorative breaks from our days to jog or hike. dormitories may come and go, but these trails remain. Or do they? The fact is, these trails are in a state of constant change, and without maintenance work they would rapidly become overgrown and impassable. some decay through heavy use; others fall out of favor and are soon overgrown and rutted or altogether obliterated by years of heavy rain. Others shift over time as the contours of the terrain change, or simply because a better path becomes evident. as seniors Joe Bell and will Kirkland (pictured above) well know, the maintenance work these trails require is demanding. The tools are heavy, the materials-gravel and rocks, mostly-are heavier, and must generally be lugged by human or beast. in this way, our trails bear some resemblance to our traditions. Both come and go, and even the ones that retain their names over time are not necessarily the same to every generation. They require conscious effort to maintain, and they are of immeasurable value to the school, largely because they connect us to one another and to the places we would go. it is in this spirit that we offer you this issue, hopeful that in reflecting upon our traditions, we also tend to them, recognizing the legacies of the past and the work required of us as we move into the future. — Christopher J. Land, Editor

ReADeRs ResPOND… AN iNViTATiON TO BALANCE At the New Year Banquet, School Chair Joe Bell ’12 offered some encouraging remarks to his peers about the fresh start ahead. While not exactly a letter to the editor, his words were a response to the last issue: at one point this summer i picked up Thacher’s bi-annual publication of the Thacher magazine. its title was Time on Task vs. Time Out and its focus was on taking the necessary time out of our lives enabling us to lead the most balanced and healthy lives possible. as i was reading the various sections of this magazine it was interesting and i thought quite ironic that the majority of the examples of Thacherites taking times out of their lives was a gap year. rarely were current students shown as exemplars of a

balanced lifestyle. and, as i thought about balance at Thacher, i realized that is a concept that i have struggled with and i am sure many of us can work on. sleep, exercise, staying on top of work, finding time for yourself, realizing we live in a glorious place—all of these things will allow each of us to be as happy as possible and allow us to get the most out of this wonderful community of vibrant people.

gRATiTUdE FOR A SABBATiCAL In the process of forgiving us for misspelling her first name, former science teacher Marcia Edwards wrote the following: Thank you for rekindling happy memories of my sabbatical year. it was truly a privilege to take time out to rekindle my spirit and to pursue adventures and interests that informed my teaching, and which continue to enrich my life. i am grateful to The Thacher school for having made this opportunity possible.

ASSOCiATE EdiTOR jane D. mcCarthy ALUmNi EdiTOR Suzie nixon bohnett CLASS NOTES EdiTOR Diane murphy ARCHiViST bonnie LaForge dESigN Charles Hess, design director Lisa Lewis, designer PHOTOgRAPHy ANd iLLUSTRATiON Doug ellis, Christopher Land, Tamar Levine, jane mcCarthy, Steven meckler, Aida Ohanjanian, brian Pidduck CdeP 1992, joy Sawyer-mulligan HEAd OF SCHOOL michael K. mulligan diRECTOR OF dEVELOPmENT brandon C. Doyle diRECTOR OF AdmiSSiON William P. mcmahon Thacher is published twice a year by The Thacher School, and is sent free of charge to alumni, parents, and friends of the School. every effort is made to ensure that contents are accurate and complete. if there is an omission or an error, please accept our apologies and notify us at the address below. Copyright © 2011 The Thacher School Third class postage is paid at the Oxnard Post Office. POSTmASTeR: Please send form 3579 to the following address. editor, Thacher magazine 5025 Thacher Road Ojai, CA 93032 805-640-3201 x264 Send Class notes to: 805-646-1956 (fax) Thacher is printed by Ventura Printing using an environmentally friendly waterless printing process, soy-based inks, and recycled paper.

Joe Bell ‘12

The Thacher School 3

The Pergola… Fall Family Weekend: Upper School centennial

Fall Family Weekend put a spotlight on Upper School in honor of that dormitory’s centennial. Singing from the illuminated porches, the boys of Upper School led all gathered in Domine. Families also were treated to a sneak peak at Six Degrees of Separation, the fall play (right); performances by dance (far right), and musical ensembles; and mini-classes on Saturday. Pausing between classes at right are the Chaos, (l to R) amanda, david CdeP 1984, david Jr. ‘14, and sister aime.

4 fall 2011

reneWing caSa


ne by one, over the last two decades, Thacher dormitories have been renovated and replaced as part of a comprehensive plan to raise student and faculty housing to the same high standard. The final stage of this project is the renewal of Casa, which currently houses freshman girls. “This is a much-loved dormitory,” says head of school Michael Mulligan, “however, what students appreciate is not the dorm itself but the freshman experience.” working with the existing footprint, the architects created a plan to maximize views, enhance community living, and link indoor and outdoor spaces. The down-to-the-studs renewal will result in a modern dormitory that exemplifies environmental stewardship while retaining the special character that has made this a beloved home to generations of Thacher students. the new Casa de Piedra will reinforce the values of community, study, reflection, and access to the outdoors. students living in Casa will remain connected to nature, each other, and resident dorm faculty, thereby fostering the relationships that are the foundation of a thacher education. now in the fundraising stage, the anticipated construction timeline calls for project completion by 2013. see page 22 for student and alumni reflections on life in Casa.

The young oaks that grew up alongside Casa (see photo page 23) are today an important part of this dorm, which is often celebrated for its “treehouse” ambiance. in planning this project, great pains have been taken to accommodate and protect these heritage oaks in particular, just one element of the general effort to preserve the special attributes of this favored dormitory.

The Thacher School 5

The Pergola…

John mUir trail


eniors Joe bell, Marshall Gifford, and will KirKland knew even before last year was half over that they wanted to do some serious backcountry hiking the summer before their final year at Thacher—all three are stalwarts of the outdoor Program—so they put together a plan to hike the John Muir trail. with planning help from Golden trout Manager and education director Cam spaulding CdeP 1992 and director of the outdoor Program brian Pidduck (also CdeP 1992), the three shouldered packs initially weighing 70 pounds and set out from yosemite, ultimately climbing Mt. whitney and returning to Golden trout. “what i appreciate the most about these guys,” comments brian Pidduck, “is that they came up with the idea on their own, put it together, and then had a great adventure. They didn’t do it to get a b-Camper or win the praises from others; they did it to relish in the beauty of alpine peaks, the solitude of cold mornings at a lakeside camp, and the mental challenge of pressing on despite soreness, fatigue, and even illness (as in their particular case!).”

The adventuresome trio (l to R: Will, Joe, and marshall) on the north side, below Pinchot Pass

along their 211-mile way—more of it in snow than they’d anticipated—one low point came the first day, when food poisoning ravaged the trio. “it was scary,” Joe admits. “i started out feeling completely invincible—we all did—and then, in a few hours, was the sickest i’ve ever been. it was a reality check, for sure.” as for high points, the boys list several: views from Thousand island lake and, in evolution valley, a dawn ascent of the highest mountain in the lower 48, a “sweet detour” to iva belle hot springs on fish Creek which included an “epic quest— futile, but fun—for what’s known as the King’s tub, the pure pleasure of “just walking,” “the challenge of map-reading,” the daily discipline of keeping a journal along the way. “on day nine,” Joe says, “i woke up an hour before will and Marshall and felt really powerfully a kind of transcendence, a timelessness. i think i’ll have that feeling my whole life—a sense of how amazing to be young and healthy and strong.” —Joy Sawyer-Mulligan

ten yearS oF toad Football


n the beGinninG, there were 28 boys, four coaches, and of course, horses. Thacher football never included cheerleaders— but it has had numerous color guards over the years, with horses’ hooves thundering around the fields and Thacher colors flying, or, simply, mounted fans, watching the game on their steeds. The program began in august 2002 with the innovation of pre-season. on september 21, 2002, Thacher football commenced its competition with a 48-30 victory over Peace in the valley, in which tyler Caldwell CdeP 2003 returned the first kickoff for a touchdown. since that first contest, the team has won 62 games and lost 25, reaching the playoffs each season, including three trips to the Cif eight-man semifinals. since the inception of a Condor league Championship in the sport in 2005, Thacher has won five of them. Graduates have gone on to compete at the college level at bowdoin, Colorado College, Mit, and sewanee. yet, the hallmarks of the program go beyond what can be noted on paper. from the start, success was measured not in wins and losses, but in hard work, smart play, and good sportsmanship. bill rexford, who taught history at Thacher and helped Jeff hooper coach that first team, writes, “ten years out, the memory that sticks with me is how easily it seemed to fit into the Thacher experience. The boys were able to compete so quickly due to their ability to take lessons from the classroom, horse Program, and all their other sports and apply them to this new endeavor.” Conner schryver, CdeP 2005, played on that first team and co-captained the 2004 team. he notes, “for a bunch of skinny prep kids, we hit hard and never quit regardless of the score. i think the same is still true 10 years later. Thacher teams may not always have the size or speed of other teams, but our determination, effort, and passion will beat theirs every time.” brenton sullivan, who quarterbacked that first team, adds, “from the first play of our

first game to the last snap of a hard-fought post-season run, the first-ever Thacher football team proved that the sport could be embraced by the community.” schryver seconds this: “adding a sport like football to Thacher created a new arena for our school. There is nothing quite like a Thacher sideline on saturday. nowhere else in the school, apart from, say, assembly or lunch, does the entire Thacher spectrum intermingle. There are pets, faculty children, students, students on horses, siblings, parents, teachers, alumni, staff, and board members. everyone is right there with the players, standing in the sun cheering together.” —Kara Hooper

The football program’s success at Thacher is no doubt related to its integration with School values of sportsmanship, cooperation, and hard work. The view probably doesn’t hurt.

The Thacher School 7

The Pergola… some mid-season lulls and earned a berth in the Division II playoffs. There the Toad offense came to life, notching 34 goals while allowing just 11, earning victories over Peninsula and Thousand Oaks before losing to a tough Loyola squad in the third semi-finals.

JV boyS lacroSSe


baSeball Record: 6-7 (5-5 League) Captains: Kyle Griffith ’11, Joe Bell ‘12 Highlights: After losing 11 players from last year’s team, this year’s goals revolved around a single word: improvement. Each day the boys worked hard—together and individually— to get better and better. The squad’s trajectory can be measured in its two games against Ojai Valley School. The initial contest was a lopsided loss, but the end of season match up resulted in a strong defensive outing and a 12-hit offensive bonanza. This victory solidified a CIF berth, though the Toads bowed in the first round.

VarSity boyS lacroSSe Record: 6-7 (3-2 League) Captains: Graham Abbey ’11, Will Callan ‘11 Highlights: The team kicked off its season by bringing home the championship of the Division II bracket from the Carmel Invitational Tournament. The team fought through

Record: 5-3 (3-1 League) Captains: Will Kirkland ’12, Marlon Miller ‘12 With just 14 boys on the team, this group enjoyed a season of positive energy and good sportsmanship as it split its competitions with Cate and won two against valley rival Ojai Valley School. Another memorable moment beyond the realm of competition—a rainy conditioning day that became an impromptu trip into Ojai for frozen yogurt.

Highlights: The team began the season with just five players who had ever played the sport before. By the end of the season, everyone could catch, throw, pass, and cradle with confidence. A 7-7 tie with Cate revealed how far the team came over the course of the season: down 6-5 with two minutes to play, the Toads came back twice to tie it up, topped off with a key save by goalie Sarah Ratsimbazafy ‘13 as the whistle blew.

FreShman boyS lacroSSe Record: 0-3 (League 0-3) Captains: Alex Yeagle ’14, Alex Zaldastani ‘14 Highlights: All players new or nearly new to the game meant that the team’s biggest challenges were basic: running, catching, throwing, ground balls. There was nothing easy about their learning curve: straight up. But the boys learned a lot and had some fun along the way.

girlS VarSity lacroSSe Record: 4-8 (League 1-3) Captains: Mackenzie Boss ’11, Hannah Norman ‘11 Highlights: This experienced, skilled, and fit group fought hard throughout the season, despite some injuries and game cancellations. The team avenged an early season loss to Dunn with a 15-4 victory on the road.

JV girlS lacroSSe Record: 0-4-1 (League 0-5-1) Captains: Lisea Lark ’12, Emily Jordan ’12, Paule Voevodsky ‘12

VarSity boyS tenniS Record: 2-6-1 (0-6 League) Captains: Jesse Garrett ’11, Chris Yih ’12, Jacob Nelson ‘13 Highlights: While this was a rebuilding year for a young team, the overall progress from the players was remarkable. Over the course of the season, the team beat St. Bonaventure and Villanova and tied Ventura High School. With many young, returning players, including two captains, the future looks bright for this group.

track and Field League Record: Boys—2nd in Condor League, Girls—2nd in Condor League Captains: Anouk Ackerman ’12, Jesse Gonzalez ‘11 Highlights: This was the smallest combined team in years, but that did not stop its members from improving personal times over the course of the season. Indeed, their respective 2nd place finishes are significant accomplishments given the teams’ size. Individual Champions in the League Championships were Anouk Ackerman ‘12 in the 1600M and 800M, and Scott Lee ‘11 in Shot Put, which qualified them for the CIF Prelims. Jesse Gonzalez had a tremendous day at the League Championships, qualifying for the CIF Prelims in three events, as well.

dance enSemble Seniors: Francesca Fataar, Valorie Denton-Moore, Steffi Star, Leeah Stickelmaier Spring Dance Ensemble learned three pieces and presented three performances. The first piece, “Boom, Boom,” was technically challenging and involved complex cello music by Zoe Keating that also challenged the dancers. The second piece, Nines, required fluidity and stamina to make connections. Variations With and Without Chairs was developed quickly with some input from the dancers in the last weeks of the term. The group also completed two master classes from guest artists Nanette Brodie and the UCSB Dance Company.

From the archiVeS 150... 100... 50... 25.... yeaRS aGO aT THaCHeR

TWin PeekS

A Backward Glance Through the Pages of CdeP Publications

150 November 6, 1861: Sherman Day Thacher born.

100 January 1911: In a letter to his dear friend and fellow school master, Horace Taft, Sherman Day Thacher writes, “I have sent plans for my schoolhouse [to you] and hope to have work begin soon…The plans for the dormitory are not yet completed, but I think we have some fine ideas for it.” The new Upper School building, which Mr. Thacher stipulated must be constructed of fireproof, or at least “slow-burning” material, had traces of mission arches and a floor plan like an H (Sherman Thacher and His School). El Archivero reports in 1912 that the new building is ”surely worthy of its inmates.”

50 September 1961: “William Forster CdeP 1962 announces that his recess baseball team should report to the Lower Field for batting practice and fielding try-outs,” reports El Archivero. Recess baseball, played on the Upper School lawn, was played during the “recess” period of the school day for years, and in the early days, Mr. Thacher insisted on pitching; the tradition ended in the 1980s. Current headmaster Michael Mulligan reports that it came to a conclusion when Mr. Wyman himself was hit in the nose by a line drive.

25 September 1986: Students reflect on the New Year’s Banquet. KT Parsons CdeP 1987 comments, “The dinner was good, but I did not like the lemon things,” while Erin Rosen CdeP 1988 adds, “School Chair Jim Jivonen’s speech was really inspiring.” Adam Geyer CdeP 1989 notes, “From a server’s point of view, I felt more a part of the celebration rather than just sitting back and watching” (from The Thacher Notes). The New Year’s Banquet, a tradition over 100 years old, remains the harbinger of the new school year today.

10 Fall 2001: The Indoor Committee, one of the oldest organizations in the School, alongside the Pack and Spur, organized lip synchs, Singled Out, Winter Ball, and a special Valentine’s dinner and dance where assigned couples came in costume (like Natalie Warren CdeP 2002 and Connor Schryver CdeP 2005, who portrayed Maid Marian and Robin Hood).

5 Fall 2006: The Thacher Masquers prepare to stage Peter Pan in the Milligan Center for the Winter Musical. This was the first production staged in the new facility.

Upper School (above) as envisioned by the architect, a. B. Benton, and (below) as it stands today, more than 100 years later.

The Thacher School 9

The Pergola… blUrb & SqUib exHiBiTiOn Manhattan’s Clifton benevento Gallery presented work by Zak Kitnick CdeP 2003. The show, which was open from september 1 to november 5, presented two related bodies of work that examine the boundaries between art, décor, and utility. in the Compendium series, Kitnick arranges decorative food posters into larger groupings and patterns. The second element of the show was a pair of wallbound sculptures comprising industrial shelving units built into one another to, as the exhibition news release explains, “foreclose the possibility of their function, forming a kind of amped-up organizational system no longer capable of use.” This from Artforum magazine: “The banal familiarity of shelves has been transposed into a lattice of crisscrossed geometries. The unfeeling anonymity of industrial parts— erected into rhythms both manic and meticulous, futile and precise—conjures a range of connotations, from girder bridges to something out of Kafka. even—or especially—judged on their own, these latter pieces merit a long look.”

BOOkS Willard Wyman, headmaster emeritus, has published a second novel. Blue Heaven marks the return of fenton Pardee, veteran guide and packer from wyman’s highly acclaimed first effort, High Country. Moving back in time, Blue Heaven chronicles Pardee’s early years, as he seeks to discover and preserve the old west. Problem Solving for Better Health: A Global Perspective was written by Barry h. Smith, M.D. CdeP 1961, Joyce J. fitzpatrick, and Pamela hoyt-hudson. barry is a professor of clinical surgery at weill Cornell Medical College. The book covers human potential and possibilities for change in a global environment where health issues have now reached crisis proportions. Through the dreyfus health foundation’s Problem solving for better health and related programs, this book presents innovative methodologies that promote grass-roots solutions to pressing health issues. a progress report and call to further action, the book speaks to such issues in 27 countries, including the United states.

10 fall 2011

Top: Zak kitnick’s arrangement of decorative food posters from his Compendium series.

Pictured left to right, Brittany Holden ‘13, Giovanna Grigsby-Rocca ‘12, ian muir ‘13, and Walker Conyngham ‘12 descending from elizabeth Pass to Bearpaw meadow in Sequoia national Park. “it was afternoon,” recalls mr. Pidduck (photo), “we were just two miles from camp. a long day with a ton of elevation gain ... and then loss. Fantastic wildflowers in the hanging meadows comprising the trail on either side of elizabeth Pass.”



Ur PUzzle this tiMe is based on a newly proposed dressage event for family weekend: the Curly-Q. a large square—arena 100m—on a side is set up on the field so that each corner corresponds to a point of the compass. a horse and rider are positioned at each corner. at the sound of the gun, each rider instantly trots in pursuit of the rider 90-degrees to his left. rider n, therefore, pursues the rider to the east while rider e is pursuing rider s, and so on. because each rider is chasing a moving target, his path is naturally curved. Given that the four riders are trotting at exactly equal speeds, the relevant questions are 1) where does this event end? and 2) how far has each rider traveled from start to finish?

SOlUTiOn TO THe PUZZle FROm THe SPRinG 2011 iSSUe A large tip-o-the-hat to Dean Witter CdeP 1964 who gave a correct and clever solution to the weighing problem posted in the last edition. His solution, that weights of 1, 3, 9, 27, and 81 grams should be used, is correct, and represents the fewest number of weights for which the conditions of the problem can be satisfied. What deserves mention, however, is his use of a modification of base-three arithmetic to motivate his answer. He substitutes the ordinary base-3 digits (0, 1, 2) with (-1, 0, 1) in order to model the idea that a weight can be used on either side of the balance scale: -1 for the right-hand pan and +1 for the left-hand pan. Readers interested in more details should write to Dean or to Kurt Meyer (

thacher 2.0: If the wait between magazine issues seems interminable and you are dying to know what is going on at Thacher, you have more ways of finding out than ever before. In addition to the news, media galleries, and calendars at, we’re doing more with blogging,

social networking, and digital media. To find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube, click the corresponding links on Thacher’s home page. We hope you’ll check us out and join the conversations.

armchair wanderinG…

The “Other” Riding Tradition Going Places with Thacher’s english riding Program By Georgi de Rham CdeP 2010


hacher’s Gymkhana Field at Four o’clock:

Brightly colored plaid shirts stand out against orange dust, accented by swishing black, white, and brown tails. Riders roll back, slide to stops, and maneuever their horses through gymkhana races or cow-working patterns. Spurs jingle and the straps of Western saddles slap against leather flaps. Occasionally, one sees a rider and horse of a different breed— an English rider, choosing to ride in a close-contact jumping saddle, donning britches and a helmet instead of a broad-brimmed hat and jeans. Amongst the plethora of skilled gymkhana riders, English riders can get lost in the shuffle of the Thacher Horse Program, but the English Riding Program is every bit as vibrant as Thacher’s

Western program, and similarly representative of the School’s ethos. The program has two important facets. The Equestrian Team— fondly referred to as the “Eq Team”—travels to interscholastic shows and competes nationally on a regular basis as part of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). In any given year, 10-15 students sign on to compete, and about eight become the main riders. A force in Zone 10, the Eq Team regularly wins the Zone finals and sends a team to compete in Nationals—the only sports team at Thacher to participate at a national level. For a school our size competing against hundreds of other schools nationwide, the record is pretty impressive: We’ve placed in the top 10 at Nationals four times, two of those in the top eight. There is also a lesson program, which teaches riders of any level and grade about jumping and riding a horse in the “hunt seat” or English style. Many Thacher students start their English riding careers in the lesson program and fall in love with the sport, continuing on to join the team, travel, and compete. English riding at Thacher emphasizes the School’s values of encouraging horsemanship, teamwork, self-confidence, and dedication. avery hellman CdeP 2011 notes that the program gave her “a greater understanding of horsemanship.” Her classmate, maryellen Funke CdeP 2011, sums it up in other words: The program showed her “how I didn’t need to take myself so seriously and how I could really just enjoy the sport without competing.” Both Avery and MaryEllen competed at National Finals while on the team, and as seniors shared captainship with a third rider, dallas Thayer CdeP 2011. Their comments highlight the depth and versatility of the program, which allows seasoned riders to continue competing while simultaneously making English riding accessible to those of all backgrounds and abilities. Avery, an accomplished rider before attending Thacher, found that

photos: sara schneider (left), ron scwane (this page bottom)

Kristin Sawyer CdeP 2010 (facing page) at an IEA event. Author Georgi de Rham (top) competes in her home arena. Coach Mahoney (far right) with her riders at IEA Nationals 2010; from left: Dallas Thayer CdeP 2011, Lucy Myers ‘12, Raquel Reisinger CdeP 2011, Paige Bowie ‘12, and Avery Hellman CdeP 2011.

“Thacher gave me a chance to experience the sport in a way that I would have been unable to otherwise.” At the other end of the spectrum, alexandria dotson CdeP 2007 had never ridden before coming to Thacher, and attests to trying the unfamiliar sport because “the saddle looked cool.” In her Thacher career, Alex represented Thacher at National Finals and was a forceful, passionate presence on the team when I joined my freshman year. Many riding lessons face a mélange of abilities, a phenomenon rarely seen in English riding programs, but not without its benefits. “Less experienced riders watch and learn from more accomplished riders,” comments Brigid mccarthy CdeP 2007, “who, in turn, gain confidence in their riding abilities as they reach new goals set for themselves and their horses.” And who is responsible for creating and maintaining such a multi-faceted, dynamic program, that’s unique to Thacher? elizabeth reynolds mahoney CdeP 1989, fondly known to students as “Mahone.” In addition to piloting the English riding program, she teaches studio art and photography, mothers three young sons, advises freshman boys, and competes in amateur triathlons. Beyond her energy and vivacity, Liz offers consistent coaching, opportunities to compete and participate in clinics, quality horses, increased funding for tack and equipment to the program, and, of course, a hefty dose of perspective and horsemanship. Without her, the program simply wouldn’t exist. No stranger to riding in a scholastic setting, Liz rode as a Thacher student and continued at Skidmore College, where she rode in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association with great success. She worked on “the circuit”—slang for the big-money horse industry—after her graduation in 1993, an experience that deeply contrasts with yet also complements her role as coach and leader at Thacher. She fondly remembers the culture shock during her first years at Thacher: “I was taken aback by the relative informality and freedom: Riders dressed informally and without their hair up? Horses not groomed within an inch of their lives? It took me a while to learn and embrace that.” It’s a long way from the circuit to the IEA competitions in which Thacher competes. “This is about learning to ride, of course, but also about kids building confidence and learning about themselves. Riding is a tool for that.” As Liz explains, the IEA events mesh especially well with Thacher’s riding program ethos and its emphasis on horsemanship. “A lot of people assume that we go to shows where only the kids who have their own horses and a lot of riding experience can do well,” she says, “but in these events you are riding a horse randomly assigned to you, and JV beginning riders have just as much ability to contribute to team points as do the most seasoned open varsity competitors. What other sport lets the beginner player carry the team as equally as the top

player? I love that!” Liz finds our program’s greatest strength in the different levels of riders coming together as a team. “The beginner kids emulate the more advanced riders and aspire to that level,” she says. “The advanced riders typically encourage the novice riders and become coaches to them. I’m not sure any other program has lessons like ours!” Clearly, Liz rises to the challenge gracefully. Brigid attests to her ability to create scintillating, challenging lessons, remembering how Liz “worked to strengthen the skills of more experienced riders, but also made it very welcoming and easy for new riders to try English.” Lauren Bosche CdeP 2010 notes fondly of her former coach, “She wasn’t just a trainer—she was a teacher to start with— but also a coach, and most of the time, she turned out to be my life coach… my admiration for her is just as great as it was during the years she guided me.” Alex CdeP 2007 claims that, “The Equestrian Team and the English Riding program under Ms. Mahoney don’t just train you to become an excellent hunter-jumper rider; they teach lessons in life.”  The program’s benefits transcend the Ojai hills, accompanying alumni into their future ventures in life and horsemanship. Many students ride on college teams, including Stanford, Skidmore, Cornell, Colorado College, Rutgers, and Georgetown, and serve in leadership roles, utilizing skills they learned at Thacher. Others choose to continue with horses in different contexts. Leandra Cooper CdeP 2009 plays polo and works with racehorses, while Leslie Sligh and Brigid McCarthy, both CdeP 2007, pursue dressage. But the tenets of horsemanship Liz instilled in her students remain a common theme, no matter the horse pursuit. Some lessons are practical, notes Lauren, currently navigating her first year on Skidmore’s team: “Being on the team at Thacher gave me a boost, as I have been part of a riding team before.” Others take away broader gains. Brigid says: “What I learned at Thacher undoubtedly helped me continue this love for horses and the sport of riding.” Even those students who choose not to continue riding still feel the benefits of the program. “Riding,” says Alex, “taught me responsibility, and pride in myself.” When I asked Liz about her favorite aspect of Thacher’s English program, she remarked how much she loves “seeing how horses change the lives of some kids so profoundly.” No surprise here. Since the early days of the School, we’ve known that horses make great teachers. However, we must first acknowledge the human teacher behind our Equestrian Team: Without Elizabeth Mahoney the English Riding Program would not make the impact it does at competitions across the country, on New England college campuses, and in the lives of alumni, whether they continue riding or not. The Thacher School 13

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Tradition and Change: From the Past and Into the Future As Thacher celebrates the centennial of two landmark campus structures, we reflect upon our favorite traditions and the role these traditions play in our community as it changes over time. By Christopher J. Land


radiTion is in The air this year at Thacher. Upper School and Old Main, the academic building that includes Study Hall, turned 100 this year. These buildings, rising as they did from the ashes of some of Sherman Day Thacher’s first buildings, are emblematic of the continuous process of institutional rebirth in which today’s innovation becomes tomorrow’s tradition. This year we also celebrate the relatively new tradition of football at Thacher. A decade ago, the introduction of football was a heresy to some. We play soccer here, they said, perhaps forgetful of yet another generation of the old guard who might have rejoined, no, we play baseball at Thacher. The fact is, today we play all three, and football has quickly taken its place as one of Thacher’s favorite spectator sports, gathering students, parents, and faculty (not to mention faculty children and dogs) to mingle on the sidelines, cheer for the team, and catch up with one another. Plans now underway to renew the Casa dormitory reflect a thoughtful effort to balance tradition with progress: how to preserve an ambiance that has endeared this dorm to class after class of residents while also meeting the needs of the present and future (starting with basics like dependable plumbing and a watertight roof). It is apt that the title


Photos by Tamar Levine

of this article, “from the past and into the future,” comes from the song Greg Haggard wrote for the Casa de Piedra dormitory. Like most school songs, the Casa song is a celebration and an archive of tradition. And tradition is also on our minds as Thacher looks deeper into its future. Still mostly behind the scenes, a strategic planning process (you’ll be hearing more about it in upcoming issues of this publication) is in the early stages of aligning Thacher’s purpose with the needs of the coming years, mapping the route from our past and into our future. The working title of this aptly named effort is “The Road to the Future.” Set within that strong traditional framework are the many lesser, but very important communal habits that form the texture of the Thacher experience—from daily observances to annual celebrations. Our website lists some of these for the benefit of prospective families; several of these traditions date back to the 19th century, some of newer coinage: Assembly, Big Gymkhana, Holidays, the Silver Dollar Club, Extra-Day Trips, Formal Dinner, Domine, and The Banquet Song. And these are only a sampling of the traditions in force today. Sometimes traditions can seem stultifying, root binding, as one of the editors of The Thacher Notes, our student newspaper, recognized:

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“Change at Thacher is difficult, to say the least. Our culture is steeped in tradition and therefore susceptible to the inherent stasis of tradition. Nevertheless, changes for the better and changes for the worse have passed and will pass.”

“Change at Thacher is difficult, to say the least. Our culture is steeped in tradition and therefore susceptible to the inherent stasis of tradition. Nevertheless, changes for the better and changes for the worse have passed and will pass.” We do well to remember that all traditions begin as innovations; they come and they go, often for very good reasons. On the other side of the coin, despite the presence of these strong traditions, we know that traditions are not indestructible. The ones that persist do so largely because they have been deliberately tended and passed along. Thus, it should come as no surprise that some Thacher traditions have fallen by the wayside over the years, or changed so much as to be unrecognizable. Students and faculty no longer routinely get out the songbooks for singing after dinner. Most current students have not heard of a Bronco Pin. The shacks on Beetleville Hill no longer host the School’s weekend social life and the Rough-House is long gone. Our athletic teams compete on turf instead of dirt. The list goes on. The reasons for these changes are manifold and complex, involving reason and emotion, or sometimes simply entropy and neglect. The point is that as the world changes, communities change, and with them their traditions. Jim Griffith CdeP 1953, a folklorist whose interview appears on the following pages, understands the transience of traditions and likens them to baggage, something you carry with you from the past into the future. Traditions require work to carry, so a community will ask what baggage is worth lugging along, and what can be left behind. Which means traditions can be controversial. And why not? There is a lot at stake in our traditions, for they form the core of every generation’s experience of Thacher. In his recent Fall Family Weekend address, Head of School Michael K. Mulligan speculated about how Sherman Day Thacher might react to a visit to campus today: “He would be outraged that 16 fall 2011

school and does the work of a thorough school; students are not all in bed by 9 pm. He would but from the first moment you feel you are in decry that most students do not head into the the surroundings of a large, even jolly, al fresco Sespe backcountry on horse trips most weekhome....” And here’s where Thacher’s nontradiends. He would lament that the School does tional elements really come into focus for Hale: not gather for poetry at each Assembly, and “The daily touch with the vigorous powers of stories (Dickens, in particular) each night before bed.” And what would Mr. Thacher make of Nature which a boy gets in the Ojai seems to me of more value in the present and in the fua coeducational Thacher? Or the well cared for ture to him than Greek grammar. It is, however, landscaping that includes mature trees, native interesting to see that these open-air boys who plants, and, yes, even lawns? can take their own horses to water and make No matter how attached he might have them drink when they get them there, pass been to some of the traditions that have lost currency, Mr. Thacher of all people would have their Yale and Harvard examinations as well as understood well the instinct to break with the the rest of us.” So here was a new kind of school, one that past. He was aware that in coming to Califordidn’t even appear to be a school, but which ably nia, he was shaking off some of the confinefunctioned as a school. And how was that work ments of the East. measured? By passing muster with the most traLike so many others who moved West and ditional of Eastern educational institutions. As built upon their dreams, Mr. Thacher was a result of this favorable publicity, which linked deliberately shedding the constraints of the novel methods to traditional goals, in the folEast. As he wrote to his good friend Horace lowing year the School arrived, as Mr. Thacher Taft, who was starting a school of his own in put it, “at the dignity of a waiting list.” the East, “Here I may do as I please and it’s noFast forward to the present day, and you’ll body’s business. There I am always conscious of find that many of the traditions Thacher most my clothes and never feel capable of success in actively maintains are still those involving the presence of a butler, or a New Yorker....” horses and the outdoors, outgrowths of our Both Mssrs. Thacher and Taft saw themmarkedly nontraditional origins. Here, as with selves as educational reformers, bucking tradithe relatively new tradition of UnProm, there tion and breaking with the conservative ideas seems to be a healthy skepticism toward tradiof established boarding schools. Thus, in those tion encoded into the Thacher DNA. early years Casa de Piedra bore little resemOld or new, central to our values or not, blance to the traditional boarding schools of traditions play a special role here, where every the East. Somehow, this new approach caught four years brings a complete turnover in the the attention of families seeking to educate largest segment of the community. They bind their boys for life and for admission to top together the generations. In the following Eastern schools. One of the turning points in pages, you’ll hear a range of voices weighing the growth of Mr. Thacher’s young school involved a piece published in 1900 in The Outlook, in on the idea of tradition at Thacher and some of the specific traditions they value. It’s an influential national magazine of the time. a valuable ongoing exercise, because being Edward Hale, a leading Boston clergyman and mindful of traditions and their implications friend of Thacher’s who had visited the ranch, is critical to the effective stewardship of this agreed to write something. historic School. “One does not really like to call it a school, so different is it from most school establishments,” wrote Hale. “You find there what is a thorough

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photo/illustration credit here

Tradition in Community: Interviewing the Folklorist on Thacher WhaT do foLkLorisTs do? “i’ve been trying to figure that out for 45 years,” says Jim Griffith CdeP 1953, author of several books on southern arizona and northern Mexico folk art and religious art traditions. “folklorists do different things,” he adds wryly, “but it all involves folklore, which is informal patterned traditional communication within groups.” Jim’s work brought him to the attention of the national endowment for the arts, which honored him this year with a national heritage fellowship—he was one of nine.

at some dinners they still sing Domine [ed.note: they do!]—have been hung onto because they are viewed as binding traditions that serve a function. In this case it seems to have a function of tying Thacher together. Now, the old songbook had an interesting function, because in the late 1950s I could go to a party attended by people who had graduated in the 30s and 40s and we all knew the same songs. That doesn’t exist anymore. Traditions are functional, and they’re baggage, and they’re either baggage that is worth toting along with you, or they are baggage that is simply heavy, or they are baggage that are in the way or somehow detracting from what you are trying to do. So traditions aren’t necessarily good or bad; they need to be looked at.

Thacher: When you train your folklorist’s perspective on The Thacher School and its traditions, what do you see? Jim Griffith: Tradition is neither, to my way of thinking, inevitably a must to preserve, nor a set of chains to shake off. It can be either. Thacher is in many ways a very traditional place. However, over time, the School has had a bunch of traditions that for one reason or another they discarded. And some of that was absolutely inevitable. Thursday evening singing went away after the Dining Room was soundproofed. And also after people started spilling over from the Dining Room into the Parlor. Tuesday evening singing was where people would gather around a piano in the Parlor—and this was not optional; it was just something that happened Tuesday evenings and it stopped when the Parlor became part of the Dining Room and the School reached a certain size. These singing traditions also declined because the Thacher songbook was viewed as increasingly out of step with the times, some might say “politically incorrect.” As the student body got more diverse, certain songs that had been around for a long time stood out as racist or anti-Semitic. So, the Thacher songbooks serve as fascinating documents of this process of tradition being subjected to change. Here is a school dedicated to pretty high principles and in our official songbook there are these songs that seemed to denigrate large groups of people, or songs that honored heavy drinking. The songs didn’t cut it the way they did in the 40s and 50s; the whole culture in many ways had changed.

the School, architectural configurations, and changing opinions about the songs themselves. JG: You can think of traditions as baggage that you are going to take with you into the future, baggage that will help you cope with the future, and that is certainly one way to look at traditional culture. When you look at it that way, you can see that there were aspects of the T: To the extent that we are all stewards of Thacher singing traditions that weren’t going Thacher’s culture and traditions—some of us to help. Similarly, there was, I gather, a point perhaps more so than others—it seems like at which a decision was made among faculty or there is a certain kind of mindfulness that is administration that Lower Schoolers were no required as one sorts through one’s luggage longer called “Smuts.” There is an example of a and decides what can be discarded and what tradition that has been dropped because of a needs to be carried into the future. conscious decision. JG: Well, that’s the highly practical end of I think there are other examples of tradiit. Of course there is also a sentimental end tions—the singing, for example—that were of it, which can come forth in statements like, dropped simply because it wasn’t practical. “Oh, girls at Thacher!” or “That’s not the way we Other kinds of group singing—I suspect that used to do it!” These kinds of statements always bear the implication that we had it rough or that our experience was somehow more authentic. Who would have dreamt in the late 50s, early 60s, when the Thacher pool up on the hill, which doubled as the reservoir and was knee deep in algae, would ever be replaced by a real swimming pool with chlorinated water where it wasn’t as much fun to play touch football in the shallow end because there wasn’t the challenge of keeping your feet on the slippery bottom? This more sentimental, “those were the days” perspective also plays a role in which traditions are maintained and which fall away. Traditions—like the communities they bind together—are living, changing things.

T: That’s very interesting. In the case of singing at Thacher you’re suggesting that the tradition changed—evolved, perhaps, or declined, depending on your perspective—due to factors that included things like the growth of

T: So perspective and sentiment seem to play a big role in helping us decide between the traditions we choose to maintain and those we abandon. Perhaps here it’s important for you to disclose your connection to the School. As I un-

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Photo of Jim Griffith: Steven meckler

derstand it a lot of your family went to Thacher. JG: I think there have been seven or eight of us: my father, an uncle, two cousins, elder brother, son and daughter; eight if you include me. But I can’t talk much about the way things had been before I got there because, strangely enough, I wasn’t there before I got there. I heard stories, but what I had deeply imprinted on me was the Thacher experience—the way of life— and each group has its own experience within the larger Thacher thing. And I could spend a lot of time dumping about football: “Come on, we don’t play football; we play soccer. And we don’t play on grass. They’ll mistake us for Cate!” But we do play on grass for I think pretty good reasons, though some of those reasons might start disappearing if the water shortage gets any worse. And Thacher is in pretty safe hands because of the strong sense of continuity. The School really does view itself as being something that exists in very good ways through time. T: So what kinds of marks do you give Thacher these days for the stewardship of its traditions? JG: I haven’t spent enough time there, but reading and talking to people it sounds as though the things that are important are being maintained, the changes that are inevitable are taking place, quite often as cautiously and slowly as possible, and the change that seems simply for change’s sake doesn’t seem to be

taking place that much. When I read the literature and any serious change is being proposed, I always see a discussion of both sides and a pretty intelligent discussion of both sides—a good deal more sophisticated than “we’ve always done it this way” on one side and “what’s the point of all this old crap” on the other. Of course I miss the Thacher that I went to, but the whole school was less than a 100 kids; it was smaller; the times were very different; and it was much more socioeconomically monolithic. T: I’m struck by what you said about the loss of the songbook as a simple tool for binding together generations of alumni. Has anything replaced the songbook in that way? JG: There are other kinds of mechanisms that bind the generations of Thacher together. Extra-Day Trip stories is one. Stories about camping and horses. They are not as immediate maybe as the songbook, but I think it is nice to bind generations of Thacher together. Thacher is still, I think, strong enough—the culture is still strong enough, the specifically Thacher language is still strong enough—that I don’t think there is too much chance of the alumni not cohering. And, of course, for sentimental reasons, the School works very hard to ensure that it has an enthusiastic, in-touch, and loyal alumni group, because that is one of the keys to the School’s survival.

The singing Tradition In his preface to the 2001 edition of the Thacher Songbook, Music Director Greg Haggard writes that “a songbook should be a living thing that resonates with the time as well as reflects the times before.” The history of singing at Thacher, as Jim Griffith points out, offers a rich illustration of the way that traditions change through time, often in response to local and global events. For example, the 1938 edition of the Thacher Songbook included six German songs, starting with Deutschland Uber Alles; that song was absent from the edition Barbara Griggs put out in 1947. So the songbook changes: It is now in its eighth edition with a new one in the offing. And Tuesday and Thursday night singing has been replaced by other forms of group singing, often at banquets and coffee houses, in common rooms, and on camping trips. Nevertheless, many Thacher students today would agree with F. Barreda Sherman CdeP 1911, who wrote that “singing at Thacher was one of the things that meant most to me.” Each time a group breaks out a Thacher songbook, whether around a dining table or a campfire, they fulfill the hope expressed in Mr. Haggard’s preface that “group singing will not be a relic from the past that is just an old remembered tradition.”

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Student and Alumni Perspectives on Thacher Traditions a TradiTion of ToGeTherness The traditions that I have taken away from Thacher all center around being together and sharing each other’s company. Whether that togetherness stems from evening meals where the whole school would sit together and dine at the same time (something we still do every night at our house) or spending time just shooting the breeze and talking about whatever comes to mind.  It brings forward the notion that people are worth listening to for what they have to say and are, in most cases, a lot more interesting than all the mixed media we have at our disposal these days. —Josh Rosenblatt CdeP 1976 My favoriTe ParTs The giant frame of my horse supporting me, I canter through the dusty arena, or go on a trail ride with my group, the valleys unfolding beneath me. Or maybe, like today, I can roll off of the saddle and enjoy a moment where the world is blurry and confused, and the next where everything is clear and I stand upon my own feet. I run through the orchard. My friend is be-

side me, chatting as we flow through the mess of leaves and dirt roads. The trees enclose us into a tiny world, full of ripe pomegranates and jumpy bunnies. 9:30-10 p.m.: Our entire dorm sprints to the swings, the knoll, the Commons. It doesn’t matter. Study Hall is purged from us, the moon encouraging our exhilaration of being freed from homework and the tiny confines of our rooms. —Adam Silberberg ’15 The horse ProGraM Thacher has many worthy traditions, and in my opinion the Horse Program is the most important and enduring of them all. Over the years much has been said in support of the program and its importance to the School.  It is what makes Thacher unique and in a class by itself.  The Horse Program is an important teacher in its own right and, as such, has taught every student valuable lessons during the student’s time of participation in the program. For many alumni, recalling their experiences in the Horse Program always brings to mind the name of Jesse Kahle. Jesse directed the program for 24 years (1948-1972) and

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TRADITIONS IN ACTION: At Gymkhana 2011, Jamie Rush ‘14 (above) celebrates the grab that won him admission to The Silver Dollar Club. Jeffrey Rhee ‘14 (facing page, top) performs the traditional sophomore role of setting the table for Formal Dinner. Each year, members of the graduating class burn their names into the Mulligans’ tabletop (facing page, bottom).

continued to assist the program and students for many years after his official retirement. Jesse was a teacher, an inspiration, and, above all, a good friend to well over 1,200 students during his years at Thacher. All who came in contact with him benefitted from his knowledge, experience, patience, and honorable and common sense approach to life. Jesse’s years at Thacher made him a “tradition” for all who knew him. Both of the above traditions not only influenced my life at Thacher, but also followed me in life after Thacher.  When I left the School I knew I wanted to work outdoors rather than behind a desk, thus I chose agriculture and horses as a career. I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been able to spend nine of those years at Thacher as Director of the Horse Program. Once again I was able to associate with my two favorite Thacher traditions. —Bruce Oxley CdeP 1954

True WesT My favorite Thacher tradition is Big Gymkhana because it is a day where you really get the true feeling of the Wild West. —Lilly Haggard ’12 headinG for The hiLLs It’s that time again, the lists are made, the plans set, the cars fueled That time again, the first steps slow, the solid weight on body, the sensation of feats not yet accomplished Time again, the mountains call, the rogue clouds threaten thunder, the green spires rise from earth and rock Again, the goal realized, the bar raised. —Alex Duncan ’13 invoCaveriMus Number one! Domine.  I know it may sound corny but that song really makes me feel like I am at home when I sing it, wherever I am.  And, I even saw Noah Wyle CdeP 1989 sing it in one of his acting works. It’s a song that we have sung for ages and it connects us all.  It’s sort of like a secret password between all Toads. 

I also really like The Banquet Song. The one that starts “May old Casa Piedra not fade from our hearts til our hearts cease their restless tattooooooo.” I seriously love that song as well. The lyrics really speak to the spirit that Thacher represents.  I think I focus on the school songs because of my love of music and my belief that music is one universal language.  I still remember these songs like the back of my hand, and the traditions of singing them at banquets, at memorial services, and the like really speak to my heart and remind me of the unity and peace that can actually exist in the world.  I came from Watts and the inner city of Los Angeles to Thacher and I seriously thought I had literally died and gone to heaven.  These songs remind me that heaven can be a place on Earth. —Mel Larkins CdeP 1999 PaTTon’s CaBin One Thacher tradition I’ve always been fond of is the freshman winter horse camping trip to Patton’s Cabin. It’s prime real estate that we take the horses to, the famous cabin and grazing pasture settled just a little way from the Sespe Creek. We can relish the feeling of letting the horses run free, free to eat and play while we enjoy what is available to us. The first time, and now on every visit, I was entranced by the view. Looking from the front door out toward the ridge, past the horses, one sees a shady, lush background of green that magnificently complements the dirty and sunny air of the foreground. Past the supply shed

to the right is where the sun sets; my memory has it as a brilliant orb of mellow whiteness between two peaks. Even at the outhouse up on the hill behind, removed from it all, is a scene of serene calmness. It is the calmness that endears me most to this place, the tranquility of being separate from the hustle of the rest of Thacher life and being with those—human and equine—that one shares it with. And now I find myself wondering when I’ll be there again. —Paul Cresanta ’13 fondness for forMaL Formal Dinner is most definitely my favorite Thacher tradition. Although I used to dread it, I have learned to love those 40 minutes, connecting to my peers, helping others serve, and the general camaraderie that comes with it. Formal Dinner memories, good and bad, will always be near to my heart. —Hailey Everett ’12 ridinG TradiTions I think that one of the most important traditions is the freshman riding. I also think that Formal Dinner is really important because it enables those who would otherwise not interact with people outside their friend groups to get to know people in other grades. The Silver Dollar Club is also important because it’s something that you have to work toward, and is one way to be remembered through Thacher history. —Cayce Cover ’12

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Reliving and Renewing: Continuing the Legacy of Casa The Casa de Piedra dorMiTory, which generally goes by its first name, “Casa,” is currently the first Thacher home for ninth-grade girls. however, it has also been home to boys and juniors and seniors over the years. Completed in 1964, Casa offers many advantages: rustic yet cozy single rooms, simple gathering spaces, and an ideal location nestled in a grove of heritage oaks close to the barns, fields, and the newly built Lower school dorm housing freshman boys. as we prepare to renew Casa—our last step in a decade-long process of updating all dormitories—we look to preserve the footprint, and the cherished elements of the onestory Pierpont building and its surroundings, including the memories of current students and alumni through the past four-plus decades. our MeMories… My freshman year, I was in the last room facing forward on the north side of Casa, next to Hart Woodson and across from Bill Dampier, the senior prefect. Most memories from Casa that year include fog as it seemed I was forever getting up early to slog up to the barns to feed my horse Beethoven. —Josh Rosenblatt CdeP 1979 I was a dorm resident assistant as a senior in Casa de Piedra.  I have several distinct memories from that year: 1. The wafting of horse manure fumes through the dorm every morning, especially strong with the Santa Ana winds; 2. The telltale deck vibrations of the smuts (freshman) trying to sneak out of their rooms after nightly check-in; 3. The intensely fought school-wide ping pong championships played on the ping pong table in our common room; 4. The gorgeous sunsets over the Ojai Valley visible several nights a week from the back deck. —Mike Frank CdeP 1974 I was in Casa my freshman year. One of the prefects, Rex Sterns, brought his car, an MGBGT Special, to campus which he later featured in one of his movie shorts. Some of his classmates (I believe Josh Rosenblatt was one of the miscreants), decided to give Rex’s car a certain “showroom” feel. Carefully, they managed to shoehorn the car through the double doors into the common room leaving it there for all to marvel. Once discovered, no one could believe how they had managed to get it in there. Needless to say, Rex, king of drama that he was, was not amused. Their secret was revealed as they gently 22 fall 2011

retracted the speedster back through the entry while the fireplace belched smoke back into the room as it always did. —Russell H. Bennett CdeP 1979 My best story about Casa would have to be the great “David Shor Inferno.” There is absolutely no reason why that dorm survived.  He fed wood into the fireplace until everything was glowing.  At first, it was just fun to put glass bottles in there and watch them melt.  Even better when they melted shut over the necks and then exploded.  The physics teachers would have been proud, as we then got it hot enough to watch many different materials melt, then sublimate.  When we got to the point when no one could even stand in the common room, someone, probably Adam Clammer or Cal Wheaton, noticed a jet of flame coming out of the chimney.  Honestly, a six-foot jet of flame.  That’s some good construction.  Hope the new dorm is not just pretty: better be tough, too. —Francis Kendrick CdeP 1988 I lived in Casa de Piedra my freshman and senior years, in adjacent rooms, when the dorm was new.  I did a lot of drawing, building, and constructing in those days, and in attempting to figure out how to wire some electronics I managed to blow the circuits for the whole dorm.  In the somewhat turbulent times of 1969-1970, the dorm was all seniors and had something of an aura of iniquity and a reputation to match.  By senior year most people had stereo systems, so the evening hour before dinner sounded like Woodstock with all the bands playing simultaneously—we singed the air with pounding bass notes and overlapping guitar riffs from Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Grateful Dead, Buffalo

Springfield, Love, Steve Miller, and other musicians of the day that lent a loud cacophony to the otherwise quiet late afternoons. —Thayer Hopkins CdeP 1970 I was a prefect in the Casa Dorm my senior year, my roommate Mark Granger was a prefect there also in 1977. My memories of life in the dorm were blasting our stereo at full volume from the end room (only the good stuff: Neil Young, Bob Marley, and Allman Brothers), disturbing Fred Lamb’s tennis team practices, and holding our freshman dorm residents over the balcony by their ankles until they shared their care packages from home with us! (Of course, only the deserving freshmen, like Weston Richardson CdeP 1980, received this special treatment.) —Frederick Burrows CdeP 1977 All the boys in the class of 2010 lived in Casa due to the Lower School reconstruction! When we first moved in, we could just sense something feminine about the place. By the time we left in June, there was nothing about Casa that was feminine anymore. —Tae Soo Kim “TK” CdeP 2010 What comes to mind when I think of Casa? Blasting Hey Juliet while in the shower; lists of people who dated around the dorm; holes, so you can communicate at night; running around in your bra and underwear before formal; love, friendship, bonding. AYAYAYAY VIVA LA CASA! —Stella Frank ’15 CASA THEN AND NOW: On the back porch (top left) with Elizabeth Wycoff (in the chair) and Sarah Thompson, both CdeP 1991. A cozy interior from this year (top right) stands in contrast to the stark landscaping of Casa back in the day.

Watch: CURRENT CASA RESIDENTS SINGING VIVa La caSa! On our new Youtube channel:

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One Century of Spirited Tradition: The Ghost of Upper School of aLL The Lore and LeGend that surround Thacher’s oldest dormitory, the upper school Ghost stands out as a notable traditional tale. anyone who was on campus in 2008 for the celebration of Marvin shagam’s first half-century at Thacher heard a memorable recounting of that story by Michael kong CdeP 1983. The edition below has been slightly abridged; the complete audio, including Michael’s spot-on Marvin imitation, is at here, we join Michael in the evening of his first day at Thacher, as he and his classmates await the arrival of Marvin shagam, who has called them together somewhat mysteriously for a 9 o’clock meeting.


eT’s faCe iT, the Upper School back then was actually a very creepy place to live. Even 29 years ago when I was a student, it was already impossibly old and decrepit, with its creaking stairs and bad water pressure, its drafty windows and lurking spiders—and the worst part of all, its long and seemingly endless tragic history. First, there’s the famous story and cautionary tale from generations ago of the boy who tried to get from his room into his neighbor’s by removing a board in between the two closets that separated the rooms, ended up falling through an unseen gap in the floor and getting stuck between the walls where he suffered a fatal injury to his neck. Next, there was the even more horrible incident of the boy who climbed up one of the fireplace chimneys on the second floor, determined to make it all the way to the roof, got stuck, lost consciousness, and died of smoke inhalation that evening when all of the prefects gathered around that same fireplace in an emergency meeting to try to determine where the missing boy had gone. And then, of course, the two notorious fires—the first in 1910 in which nine boys lost their lives and the second in the mid-70s that claimed another six. Now, none of these stories that I had been told were in the least bit true, of course—not even the ones about the two fires (although the fires did occur, there were no deaths or injuries), but I had been told them nonetheless. And when I asked my brother Tom, he confirmed them—of course—and I think that he may have thrown in a few suicides as well just for good measure. To a young boy with an impressionable mind, the dorm was certainly old and creepy enough to bring them fully to life in my imagination because it was just the kind of place where those sorts of things would happen. So there we all were at about 9 o’clock in the 24 fall 2011

evening on our first night at the Upper School, sitting around on the edge of the firewood boxes out in the hallway waiting for Marvin to arrive for this special meeting that he had called. There were no other faculty members, no sophomores, and even the prefects had been excused. It was just us new freshmen. Finally, in walks Marvin wearing, well, exactly what he’s wearing tonight: comfortable tweed jacket, driving cap, and a light scarf around his neck, despite the 80 degree, late-summer weather. At the moment Marvin entered the hall and called us to order, he was the picture of the teacher that he would be for me for the rest of my Thacher days and beyond: kind, sincere, softspoken, and infinitely welcoming. He welcomed us each again, one by one, with a hug and kind word and a smile. And then, very suddenly, once we were all seated and paying attention, he became quiet and solemn and very intense. Marvin has a certain intensity that is uniquely his

own—an expression that anyone who knows him well enough to be at this dinner tonight is acquainted with, and that intensity is accompanied by a certain look that can really only be described as a stare. This stare is probably his defining expression. I personally got that stare many, many times during my time at Thacher. It is a listening stare that says “even though you’re only 14 years old, everything you are saying is very important to me and I am listening with every molecule of my being.” And sometimes the same stare says, “don’t even think about lying to me, because I will know it before you even open your mouth.” That was the expression that suddenly overcame Marvin’s face, and that night it said, “now I am going to tell you something of the very gravest importance.” [In Marvin’s voice] “The reason I’ve asked you all to join me this evening is to inform you of a certain legend that accompanies this dormitory and to dispel any falsehoods or other rumors that the older boys may try to scare you with. And that legend has to do with what is known as The Upper School Ghost.” Oh, terrific. That’s just great. That’s just what I needed on my first night sleeping away from home. I wonder which hideous apparition will be visiting me tonight? Perhaps I would awaken to find the boy who had fallen through the floor boards standing at the foot of my bed, his head still bent off to the side at a right angle. Or perhaps I should expect the 15 charcoaled students whom I believed to have perished in the two fires to crowd into my room for a midnight soiree? Of course, the irony of Marvin’s introductory remark cannot be lost on anyone here this evening, because even though I had—and have—no doubt as to his sincerity about wanting to protect us from being scared by the upper classmen, no one—and I mean no one—tells a scarier ghost story than Marvin Shagam. [In Marvin’s voice] “The Upper School Ghost first appeared here in this dormitory in 1971 to a student named Tom Thacher, who was distantly related to Sherman Thacher. You see, in those days, foolishly, I now admit, I would sometimes gather with some of the boys and engage in séances to try to make contact with the spirit world.” And on he went with his story as we shrunk into each other sitting along the edge of that

firewood box, watching Marvin morph into Vincent Price. Slowly, calmly, hideously, he related the various appearances of the ghost over the years: the eerie, flashing lights that sometimes floated up to the dormitory at night; the shadowy, faceless man who disappeared like smoke when a student’s shoe, hurled in terror, passed right through him. And so many more eye-popping accounts. [In Marvin’s voice] “One night, while he slept in his room, Tom Thacher began to feel a difficulty breathing, as if there were a pressure on his chest. Too terrified to open his eyes and confront what he feared might be the ghost, he continued in his pretend slumber, his heart racing, as the pressure grew greater still and he sank yet deeper into his mattress. Finally, he couldn’t stand it any more and he opened his eyes! And at that moment the pressure released and he sprang back up from his mattress! He lay there very still—his heart pounding, his face bloodless, his eyes searching the empty room in the dark, listening only to the sound of his own heavy and rapid breathing. Relieved, he began to relax, believing the incident now to have been a kind of waking dream, a nightmare conjured up from his own too-active imagination.” Whew. “But then,” Marvin suddenly continued, “as he studied the shadows on his ceiling more carefully, he thought he might have seen something move…. Wait, what’s this? From among the dark shapes and shadows cast about the ceiling, yes, a great dark form was hovering there! Yes! Right there above his very bed, hovering there! Tom Thacher clenched the sheets between his fists and froze in terror as the shadow moved along the wall, and then quietly slipped through the window and out into the moonlit night.” I recall that I went to bed still wearing my bathrobe that night, and that I lay for some time on my cot staring up at the shadows on my own ceiling and eventually must have fallen asleep, although I don’t remember how. I do remember clearly, however, that when morning came I found myself awakened by my prefect, Jim Rubinstein, who found me sleeping in the woodbox out in the well-lit hallway, a log of wood for my pillow. —Michael Kong CdeP 1983

A BRIEF UPPER SCHOOL HISTORY LESSON The dormitory we now call Upper School was completed in 1911 as part of the effort to replace the original Main School Building (also sometimes called Upper School) that was lost to fire on November 22, 1910. The fire began when the flue of a heating stove located in the Annex (see building at right rear in bottom photo) became so hot it ignited nearby woodwork. According to one account, the flames were caused by drawings (work from Mr. William L. Thacher’s Caesar Latin Class) that had been hung too near the flue. Students and teachers waged a futile battle with the blaze before saving what they could and watching the buildings burn. Also lost in the fire was the original RoughHouse. The destroyed Main building would be replaced by two, both designed by Los Angeles architect A. B. Benton. The new academic building (which includes Study Hall and is called Old Main) was built on the site of the burned Main Building, with Upper School (pictured in the two photos at left) going up next door.

The Thacher School 25

00 fall 2011

“You can think of traditions as baggage that you are going to take with you into the future, baggage that will help you cope with the future...” — Jim Griffith CdeP 1953

The Thacher School 01


NothiNg he Could Not do


n early June, reeves Morrisson CdeP 1931 drove the 3,000 miles from his home in Connecticut to The Thacher School, and back again. He made the trip alone in his Toyota Prius in order to attend his 80th class reunion. One of two surviving members of his class, reeves was the only one present at reunion, but he was quickly embraced by other attendees, faculty, and staff who were thrilled with his presence on campus. reeves’ connection with Thacher started back in 1927 with another cross-country trip, this one from Chicago to California by train. He arrived on campus a “very sickly boy” who was “always dying of something.” By the time he left he had grown six inches, gained 50 pounds, and has “never been sick since.” More importantly, reeves says he left Thacher full of confidence: “I had the feeling that there was nothing I could not do if I tried, and it was OK to do that.” This historic visit to Thacher was documented in a short film made by lauren Cerre CdeP 2001 (with some able assistance from her husband and Thacher classmate, Tyler Manson).

WatCh: A ThAcher reunion STory: reeveS MorriSSon cdeP 1931 on our new Youtube channel:

28 FALL 2011

head of School Michael Mulligan acknowledges Reeves Morrison at the Reunion Banquet.

In HIS 60TH reunIOn toast to his class during the formal banquet rich Wilson CdeP 1951 included this poem entitled “God, Give us Men!” This poem, written by Josiah Gilbert Holland, was read by Sherman Day Thacher at the end of the 1930-31 school year, the year of reeves Morrisson’s graduation.

God, Give us Men! God give us men a time like this demands Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; Men whom the lust of office does not kill; Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor; men who will not lie; Men who can stand before a demagogue And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking! Tall men, sun crowned, who live above the fog In public duty, and in private thinking; For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds, Their large professions and their little deeds, Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps, Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

raul Pacheco ‘86 (top, in the center) with his band, ozomatli; Sarah Lavender Smith ‘86 and Terry Twichell at the podium; Toad progeny enjoy some gym time; Matt Brewer ‘01, erin hafkenschiel donnelly ‘01, Addie hearst ‘01, Lee Wittlinger ‘01, ryan donnelly, and Jonathan Tucker ‘01.

ReuNioN RouNduP


PHOTOS: SHeila MclaugHlin

He “June GlOOM” experienced throughout reunion Weekend certainly did not put a damper on the festive atmosphere created on campus by hundreds of alumni and their family members and friends. It began with a Thursday night barbecue at Diamond Hitch Camp to recognize the “remembrance ride” organized by David Pinkham in honor of the 50th reunion of CdeP 1961. From there, the energy and excitement swelled to include dinner parties for every class on Friday evening, live music and dancing, horseback riding, trap shooting, soccer, softball, tennis, and a variety of alumni-led seminars on Saturday. riding and outdoor activities continued on Sunday before the weekend came to a close at the Outdoor Chapel, an opportunity to remember all who left us too soon, while enjoying the view of the Ojai Valley. We are grateful for all the alumni who helped make this a wonderful weekend of nonstop activities through contributing their time and talents, including: sarah Lavender smith CdeP 1986, who promoted the Reunion Match Program for several months preceding reunion Weekend, and encouraged all reunion-year alumni to attend and get involved; Barry smith CdeP 1961, Deloria Many grey horses Lane CdeP 2001, Dan Klein CdeP 1986, Don Osborne CdeP 1976, and george French CdeP 1946, who skillfully contributed towards expanding our knowledge and experiences through Saturday seminars; raul Pacheco CdeP 1986, who recruited his Grammy award-winning band, Ozomatli, to perform with him on Saturday night; Mark holman CdeP 1986 and Marc Murray CdeP 1981, who shared the podium during the Sunday morning Memorial Service at the Outdoor Chapel, thoughtfully sharing insights, song, and scripture; Carol McConnel CdeP 1981, who served as emcee for the Saturday evening banquet, skillfully facilitating the various toasts and speeches made throughout. and a special thank you to all who shared entertaining and thoughtprovoking toasts on behalf of their classes during our formal Saturday evening banquet: reeves Morrisson CdeP 1931

Jack Look CdeP 1966

Morgan Ward CdeP 1991

George French CdeP 1946

Malcolm Plant CdeP 1971

Jim White and dick Wilson CdeP 1951

Josh rosenblatt CdeP 1976

Mandy Sonenshine Wynn CdeP 1996

John Wheaton CdeP 1956

Alex calhoun CdeP 1981

clem Work CdeP 1961

Steve Kong CdeP 1986

Addie hearst CdeP 2001 Martha Gregory CdeP 2006

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CdeP 1931: 80th Reunion Reeves Morrisson

30 FALL 2011

CdeP 1946: 65th Reunion George French

CdeP 1951: 60th Reunion Dick Wilson, Jim White

CdeP 1956: 55th Reunion

CdeP 1971: 40th Reunion

CdeP 1976: 35th Reunion

CdeP 1991: 20th Reunion

CdeP 1996: 15th Reunion

CdeP 1961: 50th Reunion

CdeP 1966: 45th Reunion

CdeP 1981: 30th Reunion

CdeP 1986: 25th Reunion

CdeP 1970: 40th Reunion

CdeP 2001: 10th Reunion

CdeP 2006: 5th Reunion MATch FAceS WiTh nAMeS:

For larger, downloadable versions of these images and captions that identify each class member, visit

class notes…









In November, REID DENNIS received the prestigious Stanley Hiller, Jr., Intrepid Pioneer Award from the Hiller Aviation Museum, in celebration of pushing the limits of what a private pilot can accomplish in the aviation field and for adventurous leadership in business and community affairs. TONY ARNOLD is hoping to release his latest self-published book, Nows, Thens, and Other Times, before this year’s end. The new book is, in part, an anthology of his column in the California Waterfowl Association journal, which has been running since the early 1990s, and hitherto unpublished articles dealing with hunting experiences in Burma, Afghanistan, and other overseas posts, during his 26-year service with the CIA. CHARLTON LEWIS writes, “I and my companion Roxane Witke enjoyed a dinner in New York last April with SID LIEBES and his wife Linda. Linda and Roxane were Stanford classmates so we have a special friendship.  In September, Roxane and I saw Pat and BUD LESTER, who passed through New York and invited us for dinner. Everyone comes to New York eventually; so when others from ‘48 come through, do let me know.” J.B. TURNER shares, “I have just returned from a trip to China and found the 60th hat here waiting for me. I took the 55th hat with me to China and met several people (three) who knew of Thacher.” J.B. was very impressed with what he saw in China, especially a dam he visited. Though he is sorry he

missed his classmates at Reunion Weekend and hopes to make it to the 65th. “Best to my class and regards to the rest.”

*1952 1953

JOHN MCLAREN discloses that, “Just four days before my 77th birthday, I had a new civic experience: testifying before the Portland City Council in support of a proposed bikeway that would run through my neighborhood. I’ve been bicycling a long time and, with the help of the new bikeway, which was approved, I hope to carry on for at least a few more years.” LEE FOLLETT shares with classmates that, “Loma and JIM GRIFFITH called on their way to the Bay Area from Tucson and we arranged a quick last-minute lunch several days after the service for JOE DIGIORGIO. Jim continues to blaze paths and garner awards. He has been awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA. On October 15, Jim was also honored at the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival (which he founded). What gets me is that he’s written four books since he retired! We had a two-Pete invasion recently as the PETER FARRANDS and the PETE VOEVODSKYS arrived in the Bay Area. Thankfully, the JIM FUNSTENS and the CHARLES STEPHENSONS had a good dinner with the Farrands, and the Petes got together for lunch. So who needs a class rep/social coordinator?” JIM FUNSTEN writes, “Good food and good fun at Absinthe (n.b. the Stephensons’ favorite restaurant).” A huge bash was thrown in October for JIM GRIFFITH by his organization, Tucson Meet Yourself, to celebrate his being named an NEA Cultural Heritage Fellow (see page 18). You can read more about it at www.tucsonmeetyour-

In the tradItIon of... DOUG SMITH CdeP 1945 Sometime in 1944-45, Dick Dennes and i set off to climb Hines Peak. Dick recorded the outing in a letter to his parents. The other day Dick and i were on the phone together and i asked him if he would mind if i shared this letter with you. Although my own recollection of the outing is dim, he still seems to recall it vividly. i do recall that my horse, Whiz-bang, had far better footing coming down the hill in the dark than Dick did. in fact, he (Dick) made better progress when he held on to Whiz-bang’s tail and let the horse take the lead. The following are excerpts of Dick’s letter (which can be read in its entirety at fall2011): The next day, Sunday, everyone was supposed to leave school most of the day…As soon as we got in back of Topa Topa we ran into deep banks of ice cold snow so we had to tie up the horse. We were now about three miles from Hinze [sic] Peak….Every foot of the 1000’ climb was over snow. Two-and-a-half hours later we reached the top. I have never had a more beautiful view…. By the time we started down from the ridge the sun had set and it was dark. I stumbled the most miserable eight miles imaginable....At 9:30 we arrived at school. All the Chinese had left the kitchen so Mr. Thacher waited on us. Mr. Lowery came down and talked with us for awhile about judgment but he wasn’t really angry….Doug and I and two Upper Uppers are the only ones to have climbed Hines Peak. 32 FALL 2011

Doug Smith ‘45 and Dick Dennes ‘45

Photos (L to R): Klaus Shubert ‘56 with his wife on a hiking tour of the Alps; Christopher Henze ’59 and family emerging from Georgetown U. hospital with new grandson, Luca.

How to Submit Digital PHotoS • Shoot using your camera’s best photo setting. • Files should be 200k or larger. • Save photos as JPEG files. • Identify every person in the photo, state time and place, and suggest a caption. We can accept good, old-fashioned prints as well. Unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or images from magazines or newspapers. Jim is a folklorist, and the fellowship recognizes his artistic excellence and contribution to our country’s arts heritage. CHARLIE STEPHENSON adds, “We did have fun; and dedicated the French fries to you [LEE FOLLETT]. We toasted Joe. Pete plans to drive down to see Adelle. Jim discussed aquatic events at Lake Funsten. Farrands and Funstens told about their respective ‘great’ trips to South Africa and environs. Pete counted over 100 species, including birds, plus a black mamba who took a fancy to Teresinha.”


1956 1958

two ways to submit photos: 1. e-mail digital files as attachments to 2. Mail prints or digital discs to: The Thacher School Alumni office 5025 Thacher Road. Ojai, CA 93023

MIKE HEARN and his wife, Anna, RICK JORDAN and his wife, Denali, and Linda and I. On our final night, Linda and I had dinner with HARRY MILLER at his lovely home with a fabulous view of San Francisco Bay.”



CHRISTOPHER M. HENZE shares that, “In the small world department, reconnecting with GEORGE CLYDE and his wife, Sheri, over dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley in June, I learned that Sheri had written a play, Deuterium, about German physicist Werner Heisenberg and his possible role in de-

DAN CROTTY writes, “I continue my long association with a local Ventura County irrigation-water supplier and follow the major issues concerning water supplies in Ventura County and, especially, Southern California. Fortunately, Lake Casitas is full and Thacher will get its supply.” BRUCE OXLEY and his wife, Carol, are enjoying life in central Oregon. Bruce rides the many mountain trails on a regular basis. “We would love to see any Thacherites, if traveling in our area.”


KLAUS SHUBERT wished he had made it to his 55th reunion but he is doing well in Germany and enjoyed a hiking tour of the Alps with his wife. PETER MCDONALD shares, “I and my wife, Jill, visited HASIM ERIM and his wife, Cigdem, in Istanbul in late September. We had a wonderful dinner with them and some mutual friends. The following day, they hosted us on a tour of Topkapi Palace and lunch overlooking the Bosphorus. Hasim is in good health despite having had some heart problems a few years ago. Apparently, KIRK MACDONALD also visited earlier this year. We put a great deal of pressure on him to attend our 55th.” Peter has also been speaking publicly about protecting Oregon farmland from urban growth. The Oregonian says he “lives at the cutting edge of the region’s attempt to designate urban and rural reserves...” Peter was also featured on the BBC Newshour as part of its focus on U.S. trade with Asia. He told the BBC that business has never been better since he began exporting hazelnuts to China. WILL STRONG writes, “In late May, my wife, Linda, and I flew out to San Francisco to attend the wedding of the daughter of our friends. The bride chose the San Francisco Zoo as the venue for the event. So with elephants in attendance on one side of us and giraffes in attendance on the other side, it was a fine affair. Another night was spent with TOMMY RUSSELL (oops, that’s Dr. Thomas), and his wife, Nona, providing chauffeur service over the Golden Gate (Tommy recently retired as head of the American College of Surgeons), we made our way out to Belvedere to the very attractive home of BILL WHEELER. Bill and his most charming wife, Ingrid, generously hosted a small group for drinks at their home and dinner down the hill at the San Francisco Yacht Club, including The Wheelers, the Russells,

In the tradItIon of... NICHOLAS CUNNINGHAM, MD CdeP 1946 ThOuGh hAvInG GROwn uP on an upstate farm, when i arrived at Casa de Piedra from new York in 1944, I’d never been on a horse. Pow Wow was also new to Thacher. For me, Pow wow was elegant, huge, and intimidating. nevertheless, he was friendly, gentle, and seemed tolerant of my awkward handling. Approached from any angle, he was 100 percent calm and accepting. I first found out about his hard mouth on the way to the “Pop Stand.” He loved to run and in the company of tom Simons, also new to Thacher (and later my Harvard roommate), on texas, we got into a race. Pow Wow easily sped past texas, who was old and bored. But when i tried to slow him down, he paid me no mind. I pulled and pulled: no response. Finally, I gave a desperate, violent jerk on the reins and he just sat down. Over I went across his bow, landing in the dirt several yards in front of the suddenly stationary horse. mr. Beck, our reigning Thacher horse guru, explained to me later that Pow Wow was a cow pony, well trained and experienced in stopping suddenly, preparing himself for the steer on the other end of a taut rope secured to the saddle pommel. Pow Wow had taught me to prepare accordingly, or so it seemed. There’s more! You can read Nicholas’s entire story at magazine/fall2011. The Thacher ThAcher School SchooL 01 33

class notes…


In the tradItIon of...

hausted but exhilarated. They had hiked the final hours by flashlight. In all, they hiked 15 miles over 16 hours and ascended 4000 vertical feet. According to camp staff, Liam at age 10 is the youngest hiker to reach the summit of Mt. Langley from Golden Trout. Bravo to the hikers, and a big salute to Cam and Nick and the rest of the staff at Golden Trout for making our time at the camp a mountain-top experience.” For more complete details, search for “Liam Roche” on PRENTISS “ARNIE” MOORE shares a memory from his time at Thacher: “We all know how wise Jesse Kahle was, and the first horse he gave me in 1959 was Pinto Chief, a registered Morgan. It had been years since I had ridden extensively, and he was a patient old fellow. Little did I know at the time, exactly how old. In doing some spring cleaning last week, I found a drawer that rarely gets opened and I immediately recognized a shoebox holding old letters and papers, dating as far back as 1960. Mixed in among family member and teenage girlfriend letters addressed to me at Thacher, or Avalon, or home, I found Pinto Chief’s registration papers from the American Morgan Horse Club. He was foaled in 1942! Jesse gave me a 17-year-old horse! Sadly, he didn’t last long. I was Pinto Chief’s last rider. He died while turned out for the winter break. I remember vividly Jesse calling me at home, informing me gently that the horse had died. I’d be getting a new horse upon my return.”

JOHN VAN NORTWICK CdeP 1951 SEEInG BROOks cRAWFORDs’ news in the last issue brought to mind a camping trip we took in the summer of 1951. This was not a trip into the Sespe or to the Channel Islands; it was to the wild rivers and lakes of wisconsin by canoe. i think Brooks and i became friends because opposites attract. He was everything at Thacher that i was not. Later in life, i may have caught up a bit, but that is not important to this story. We used to hike up twin Peaks, usually during school dance weekends, because neither of us had dates. on one of those trips, he became interested in hearing about canoe trips i took when i was at camp near Rhinelander, wisc., some years earlier. This led to a grand plan to head to illinois and Wisconsin that summer. We borrowed camping supplies from the School, and i arranged the loan of a canoe from Camp Dearhorn. we hitched a ride east with Mr. Merritt, a Thacher teacher who lived near my dad in Geneva, Ill. After a few days in Geneva, my dad took us to Rhinelander where we picked up the canoe, then to Eagle River where we launched into a large calm flowage where Brooks could learn canoeing. He had never been in one before. After two days of practice, we figured we were ready to attempt the wolf River, the fastest falling river in the state. we were a little optimistic. You can read the rest of John’s Summer of ’51 Wolf River adventure at www.

veloping a Nazi A-bomb. Capturing Heisenberg was a prime objective of the little known, top-secret, and ultimately successful Alsos Mission, operating at times behind enemy lines in WW II. As a member of the Alsos team, Peter’s and my uncle, Carlo Henze, was awarded the Legion of Merit for his role in gathering intelligence about German capabilities in chemical and biological weaponry. In Bethesda, MD, our daughter, Sabrina, and her husband just presented us with our first grandchild, a boy named Luca. Gorgeous Indian summer here, which must be a good omen for a life just beginning. Best wishes to all, (Grandpa) Chris.”


34 FALL 2011


GENE KIRKHAM writes, “Katrina, Liam (age 10), and I had a wonderful experience at Golden Trout this summer. The highlight was the ascent to the top of Mt. Langley (14,023 feet) by Katrina and Liam. The summit team included Peggy Spaulding, the mother of alumnus CAM SPAULDING ‘92 and the former wife of alumnus ART SPAULDING ‘66, and was led by NICK TRANMER ‘92. The intrepid climbers left camp by first light and reached the summit at 4:30 that afternoon. They arrived back in camp at 10:15 pm, ex-



DICK LIVERMORE writes, “I am engaged to Cynthia Snorf and will be married at Grace Cathedral next April. We just returned from hiking the High Sierra Camps and Half Dome at Yosemite. We also recently had a nice dinner in San Francisco with classmate ARCHIE LOOK and his lovely wife, Sophie. More news: While performing a wedding in Corvallis, Mont., I met BILL BUCKLIN ‘48 and his wife, Linda, who were just finishing a long stay at their fishing camp in Montana.” WOODY HALSEY writes, “I am spending the first year (and maybe more, we’ll see how this one goes!) of retirement in Avignon, cooking, reading, learning to ride a bike in a city, and helping my 9-year-old twins learn French, while my wife keeps up with her weekly columns on doctoring for the New York Times and starts her second book. I feel at home in part because I have lived in France before (including six years in Brittany in the 80s) and in part because the hills near here are so reminiscent of Ojai. Come visit and see for yourself!” TED RHODES shares,“ I am currently working on a fundraising campaign in Carpinteria to reopen the historic Franklin Trail that, when completed, will reconnect Carpinteria Valley with its backcountry. ARCHIE LOOK ‘64 and his wife, Sophie, (spending part of this past summer in Carpinteria, getting a break from the earthquake aftermath in Japan) accompanied me up on the trail and checked out the “P-line” (preliminary line) of the new trail under construction. I also continue to


Photos (L to R): Liam, son of Gene Kirkham ‘63, at the top of Mt. Langley; Ted Rhodes ‘65 on the San Juan River; Justin Faggioli ‘69, Marshall Milligan ‘69, Daniel Gregory ‘69, Ross Anderson ‘69, Sandy Donnell, Gretchen Milligan and Mary Gregory on the Island of Brac in Croatia; On Top of Mt. Tuolomne. Back Row, L-R: Melzer, Nicholls, Bosche; Front Row, L-R: Poetsch, Plant, Newton, Todd, Scott, Melzer, Volkmann; Bryan Beckham ’74 on fall EDT.

play harmonica and percussion in a local Latin Rhythm & Blues band that recently played a gig at the Big Buddha Lounge in Oak View, near Ojai, and will be playing again, shortly, at this year’s annual Avocado Festival in Carpinteria.” Ted also went on a river trip, down the San Juan River, led by DICK RHODES ’59 and accompanied by ROBIN MARKS ’63, BRUCE PETERS, and other family and friends. WILLIAM “TERRY” ROBERTSON writes, “After eight years on the faculty at Empire College of Law, I became dean of the school last January. I guess even a blind pig can find a truffle! I love working with the students and the faculty. I’m too old to still be working but my horses need hay and Heidi and I haven’t visited all of the wine country restaurants yet. Come visit us! Our guest bedroom is reserved for the Class of ’65.”


PETER DRAGGE shared this summer that he and his wife are living the “good life” at their rental in Montecito while making daily trips to Ojai to oversee a massive remodel of their home there. “Our daughter Jenny is due for grandchild number two in August. We’re hoping for a boy so we can name him Grand. (Their last name is Kenyon!)” JUSTIN FAGGIOLI shares, “In late August, PETER GOODRICH arrived in the Bay Area, staying with Sandra Donnell and me, with Mary and DAN GREGORY. It gave an excuse for a mini-reunion one night that included Esther and JIM MUNGER, the Gregorys, and the Faggiolis. MARSHALL MILLIGAN drove down from Tahoe to join in a day of wine tasting in the Napa Valley. It was a great chance to catch up with Peter and spend time together. In September, a group of CdeP ‘69ers celebrated their 60th years with a trip to Croatia. ROSS ANDERSON, Gretchen and MARSHALL MILLIGAN, Mary and DAN GREGORY, and Sandy Donnell and I met in Split. After a few days, we ferried to the island of Brac, where we stayed in a gorgeous house right on the water. After a week of swimming, boating, and touring Brac and neighboring islands, the Gregorys departed (sigh) while the rest drove to Dubrovnik for a few days

with side trips to Bosnia and Montenegro. It was a wonderful trip for all. Glad to do it while we can remember it!” PETER GOODRICH writes, “I participated in the building of 30 houses in Kandal Province, Cambodia, in July for the third year in a row with the group. After completion, I spent a week visiting Upper Upper classmate SOMYOS NIMMANAHAEMINDA ‘MUI’ in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, before trekking in Myanmar. From Thailand, I then visited Sandy Donnell and JUSTIN FAGGIOLI, Mary and DAN GREGORY and their daughter ELIZA GREGORY ‘99, MARSHALL MILLIGAN, and Ester and JIM MUNGER in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as JAMES NEWTON HOWARD, LuAnne and STEWART ABERCROMBIE, and Darian and PETER DRAGGE in southern California. All are doing well. Mui would like more of his classmates to visit him in Chiang Mai!”



MALCOLM PLANT , STEVE SCOTT, BILL VOLKMANN, JOHN BOSCHE ‘72, and TURNER NEWTON ‘72 continued a 25-year tradition (started by ANDY HERR ‘73, who couldn’t make it this year) of taking a rafting or camping trip together. They, along with six others, spent five days in the Yosemite backcountry in and around May Lake, Mt. Hoffman, and Mt. Tuolomne in mid-September.


*1972 1974

BRYON BROWN attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, in 1972-76 and received a BA in political science and minored in US history.


BRYAN BECKHAM joined daughter, ANNIE BECKHAM ‘14, on her EDT horsepack trip into the Sisquoc with five other students and Rene Duykaerts (horse camping director) and Rene’s wife, Debbie. “Great times and memories including a moonlight ride to our next camp to beat the 100+ degree heat.”

In the tradItIon of...

photo/illustration credit here

J. BROOKS CRAWFORD CdeP 1951 I RECAll ThAT OnE OF ThE FIRST school assemblies of every year included: 1. The wonderful poem by oliver Wendell Holmes, The Chambered Nautilus, which was a great metaphor for growing during one’s life. 2. The discussion about rattlesnake bites and how to treat them. we were each issued a razor blade with which we were supposed to make a cut at each fang penetration and then suck out the venom with our mouths. This technique was, in retrospect, all wrong. (much more damage could be created by cutting crucial nerves or tendons when this technique was used on a bite near the wrist or hand.) We did encounter rattlesnakes on our camping trips and one snake came into the algebra classroom and was waiting—for math instruction!—when the students arrived for class. The ThAcher SchooL 35

class notes…

*1977 1978

In the tradItIon of...


STEWART WALTON CdeP 1964 “hEY, lOOk AT ThIS TOAD. i’m going to take a picture of it and put it in the yearbook. The Thacher toads. What do you think? it’s better than the Cowboys.” i’m both proud and embarrassed to say, that was the beginning of Thacher toads. We were lying on the little bit of lawn in front of the Administration offices, on a spring day in 1964, waiting for something that i can’t remember now. in fact, no one else even remembers the event (i asked around a couple of years ago), and i don’t recall who exactly was there with me. i think the group was all seniors, but i really don’t remember. i do recall that it was an unusually laidback group, and a warm day, but that lawn was definitely not a favorite place to hang out, so our minds were probably on whatever it was that brought us there. The toad’s appearance was such a fleeting event that, except for the photo in the yearbook, it would have been completely unremarkable. We actually harassed the poor animal quite a bit, putting him on a rock, on a wall, on the grass, and making him jump, but in the end he went his way, and we went ours. it didn’t seem worth remembering. I didn’t expect the name to stick. It was just a way of poking fun at ourselves, and it was funny. A pensive toad on the lawn against a clear sky. nothing to do with sports. Perfect. We had no idea of what that casual photo shoot with a hapless toad would turn into. You can read the entire version of Stewart’s story at www.thacher. org/magazine/fall2011.

36 FALL 2011


1983 1984


HARRY HANSON and his wife, Ann Hollingsworth, enjoyed their time fly-fishing together on the Nature Conservancy’s McCloud River Preserve during Harry’s participation as a director in the recent Trout and Salmon Foundation annual meeting in Shasta City, Calif. MICHAEL R. BLATT is pleased to share that he and his partner, Alice Fung, are the recipients of a 2011 Honor Award from the Pasadena Foothill Chapter of the AIA for their work on the Sequoyah School. ABHI MANERIKAR writes, “I have moved to Stavanger, Norway, with my family, and invite anyone in the area to drop me a line and come by for a visit.” KENT ARNOLD is “doing engineering work in a remote corner of Afghanistan, while Doreen holds down the fort at her brain health clinic in Virginia. Both young ones have launched into their college years; John is starting off in Japanese and psychology, while Kathy majors in Chinese. We enjoy getting together with DR. CHRIS AUSTIN and family, just across the Potomac River from us. Best to all.” ROB FRANKEL married Kymberlee Tabit in a small ceremony at Carmel on October 8 with SAM MOORE as Rob’s best man. The honeymooners flew to Kona for a short retreat. Rob is practicing as an emergency medicine physician assistant in Bakersfield and part-time as a surgical physician assistant in Mammoth Lakes. They live in beautiful Chalfant Valley, near Bishop, and enjoy watching the sunrise over the eastern Sierras and set over the White Mountains. They have three dogs. Rob is looking forward to participating in a leg of the sailing canoe Hokulea’s worldwide voyage as medical officer sometime in 2012 or 2013. “Aloha!” THOMAS G. O’BRIEN JR sends his news: “Just moved to Santa Barbara! If any alumni are in the area, give me a call.” MARY EVERETT BOURKE shares, “Big news for me is that I accepted the director of development position at the Bay School of San Francisco in the Presidio, after having worked in the Development Office at Branson in Marin for five-plus years. Daughter Hannah is at the University of Montana in Missoula; Sarah just started at UCSB; and son Liam is a sophomore at Redwood High School playing varsity soccer and lacrosse. I was so sorry to miss our 30th reunion in June. I hope to visit Thacher when I’m nearby in SB.” PETER COLE shares, “My wife and daughter appeared on See ‘Jarka and Charlotte Cole.’ I appear on which is a website dedicated to presenting alternative models of survival in a post-post-world. My personal website is Enjoy!” REBECCA BOWMAN is “Enjoying my new life as the owner of Sorella Staging, and love being back in Calif. Yes, I miss singing professionally, but I like the challenge of owning my

photo/illustration credit here


Photos (L to R): Ann Hollingsworth and Harry Hanson ’75, at the McCloud River Preserve; Patricia Leydecker (mom), Mark Leydecker ‘79, Criss Leydecker Troast ‘81, and Byron Leydecker (father) at Parents Weekend 1977; Jackie and Will Thacher at Cottonwood Lake 1; Marc Ganzi ‘89 with the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine at the The Foundation Polo Challenge in Santa Barbara; Jennifer Kritz ‘94, husband Sam Ditzion, and 1-year-old son Noah at the New England gathering.

MIlestones MarrIaGes

own business, especially such a creative and flexible one. After all, one cannot be expected to wear sequins and spandex forever. Not to mention, it’s the first time in my life I’ve had weekends and nights free! Check out what we do at Would love to connect with any Thacher alums in the San Francisco area!”


*1987 1991

*1992 1994

MORGAN SMITH spun off from his law practice to start a new business. His Oakland-based firm, Cogent Legal, creates litigation graphics and provides consultation to help attorneys present their case at mediation or trial. Morgan is happy to report he recruited three Toads to help with his startup. First, STEPHANIA SERENA designed his logo. His wife, SARAH LAVENDER SMITH ‘86, joined the business to handle marketing. And, thanks to alumni networking, he met ANNA REESER ‘07 and was delighted to bring her on board as an associate in design and communications. “It’s great to have the firm’s roots planted in Ojai.”


TOM THACHER writes, “Our family spent a great week up at Golden Trout with RANDY SMITH and his family. Kids had a great time hiking, fishing, and enjoying the great outdoors. CAM SPAULDING ‘92 and crew did a fantastic job making a great experience for everyone.”


RUKMINI SICHITIU CALLIMACHI has been named Chief of Bureau for the Associated Press in West Africa. Rocky will oversee two dozen countries in West Africa from AP’s bureau in Dakar, Senegal. ELIZABETH BURLESON shares, “For what it’s worth, consider watching my interview by Reuters/Bloomberg on fracking for natural gas (and impacts on drinking water).” Search for “Elizabeth Burleson” on NICHOLAS MAST submits this news: “Getting married and building a medical practice. Trying to find time to get outdoors more. Best wishes to CdeP!” JANE CASAMAJOR writes, “Staying in Boston much to my surprise. Moved to Roslindale, a lovely suburb, and started a new job with Boston University as the Production Manager of the Boston University Theatre Complex. I was very excited to see CARSON CAMPE and JENNIFER KRITZ as well as Mully at a gathering this fall.” FREDERIKA HOWE TOLL writes, “We are settling into our new home here in Darwin, Australia. Quite a change to arrive from snowy Utah to the tropical Northern Territory. NATE TOLL is working for Energy Resources of Australia. I am busy trying to keep up with Adelaide (5 years) and Josephine (3 years).” JENNIFER KRITZ reunited with classmates CARSON CAMPE and JANE CASAMAJOR at the New England Thacher gathering at the beautiful home of Mac Bell (parent of School Chair JOE BELL ‘12) in Gloucester, Mass. Jen met Carson’s wife, Vashti, and three adorable kids, Benjamin, Amalia, and Samuel, and heard about Jane’s exciting work in theater


photo/illustration credit here




ROB FRAnkEl ’79 married kymberlee tabit on october 8. They had a small ceremony at Carmel, California, with SAM MOORE ‘79 as Rob’s best man. JESSICA S. MuRRAY ’95 and Sam Cosio got married at sunset at Thacher’s Outdoor Chapel on the hottest day in August. “we were surrounded by 45 of our closest friends, including fellow toads TAnYA kEllAM ’95 and ChRIS TSAI ‘95.” (photo 1) n. ThOMAS BEATTY, JR ’99 married his fiancé, Rebecca, in October. SETh kuRlInSkI ’00 and laura Griffith were married on August 21, 2010. luCY MIllIGAn ’00 married Andrew wahl on July 10, 2010, in Santa Barbara. Toads in attendance were Lucy’s father, MARShAll MIllIGAn ‘69, lucy’s sister/Maid of honor, ClAIRE MIllIGAn ’02, and bridesmaid, DEvOn TARASEvIC DIEBEl ’00, as well as AMAnDA hARTnACk ’98, PETER hARTnACk ’00, JOhn MIllIGAn ’69, MIChAEl MIllIGAn ’62, kIM MIllIGAn ’87, nATE FAGGIOlI ’00, ClAIRE FAGGIOlI ’02, DAvID GAl ’02, DAnA GAl ’05, DAn GREGORY ’69, ROBERT GREThER ’99, TED GREThER ’01, MARGAuX llOYD ’00, MARISA BInDER ’00, STEPhAnIE huBBARD MCGIRT ’02, DERICk PERRY ’83, and MOllY TwIChEll PERRY ’85. “we were having way too much fun to get a ‘Thacher picture,’ but I’ve attached one of us anyway!” (photo2) CARISSA RIDGEwAY ’00 has married Dwight tudor. DEvOn TARASEvIC ’00 married James Diebel at San Francisco City hall on July 6, with luCY MIllIGAn ’00 as a witness. (photo 3) SARA ThAChER ’00 and JOnAThAn lE PlASTRIER ’00 were married on July 30, at the Outdoor Chapel after spending the morning with their guests in The Thacher School kitchen preparing a collaborative feast. Faculty and alumni in attendance were Marvin h. Shagam, Peter Robinson, Roger klausler, ERIC MORRIll ’98, CASEY MullER ’98, FElICITY hOwE ARnOlD ’00, JuSTIn ARnOlD ’00, TODD MEYER ’00, DARREn BEChTEl ’00, and AnwAR whITE ’00. (photo 4)

The Thacher School 01

HoPE FoR tHE bESt PlaN FoR tHE iNEVitablE

class notes…

management at the Boston University. “The Thacher gathering ended with Carson, Thacher’s own Michael Mulligan, and a host of other alumni jumping into the brisk Atlantic waters!” (Jen, her husband Sam Ditzion, and 1 year-old son Noah are still living in and loving life in downtown Boston.) ELIZABETH STORY HIERONYMUS reports, “Our family has moved again! After nine months in Austin, TX (and some fun visits with AMANDA O’SHEA), we moved to Cary, NC, part of the Research Triangle area. My husband, Zach is working with geriatric patients and I am exploring the area with Mia, who just turned 4 in September. We’re frequenting the Y, lots of parks (now that the weather has cooled), the libraries and museums, many swimming pools (during the hot summer), gymnastics and art lessons, and a preschool co-op.


CHRISTIAN C. JANSS writes, “Greetings! Writing to announce the arrival of Calvin James Janss! This brings the grand total to three, yes, three kids. Lila just started kindergarten (blowing my mind) and Ollie is an unstoppable force. I just attended the LA gathering and met many wonderful alumni and parents. Let’s try to make it to the SB one in November; it would be great to see people again. As for me, I’m in my second year at AFI for Cinematography. It’s enjoyable but hectic with kids. I’m beginning prep on my thesis film, shooting in

Join the Boot Hill association, Thacher’s legacy giving society. For planning tools, calculators, and to learn more, visit

Feb, ‘Pyro & Klepto,’ a love story between a pyromaniac and a kleptomaniac. :) It will be a major challenge, but I’m excited about the story. Please check out the website and ‘like’ us on Facebook. Love to all! Christian.” JASON HUI writes, “About six months ago, I started making custom flashlights after making myself unemployable by getting an MBA. A little random I know...but I can’t see in the dark, can you? Think ‘Rolex’ meets ‘that light on top of the Luxor in Vegas.’ These things are no joke. Just ask EMILY WILSON, MAX STEPANIAN, and CHRISTIAN JANSS. They have seen the light. Ahem.”




MICHELE WEBER HUNT shares, “I visited Thacher last summer with my husband, Brian, and our three children (Rachel, 6; Aaron, 3; and David, 1). We ran into Mr. Mulligan, fresh off a Sunday morning trail ride. We had the pleasure of visiting with my fellow CdeP 96ers JOANNA FARRER MACKIE and LINDSAY MEDIGOVICH HUMPHREY this summer as well. And we are finding Plano, Texas, to be a great place to raise our family, especially with grandparents nearby.”



recently received her

In the tradItIon of... ERIC ANDERSON CdeP 1988 In EARlY SEPTEMBER, ERIC ORGAnIzED and chaperoned an eDt with Thacher students. Afterwards, he sent the following report: here I just want to give you a brief rundown on the Sespe Trout Survey Trip. we had a spectacular time! Saturday, we hiked to Bear Creek where everyone got in the water and saw some fish (one in the 11-inch range—quite large when viewed underwater). in our optimism, we went to sleep in the open only to be gently awakened by heavy mist, giving us time to get our tarps and tents up before a solid rainstorm. After a cold snorkel survey in the morning on Bear Creek (water in the 11-12 degree C. range) that left the students’ lips a little blue, we hiked to a camp near Willett Hot Springs. We endured several hours of rain while soaking in the tub there—not bad! it cleared up that night long enough for us to enjoy the electric blue of the full moon casting shadows under the alders. I’m not sure I can describe how beneficial this week in the Sespe was for my soul. Thank you so much for entrusting us with your students and giving us the opportunity to share the Sespe with them. Though the rain and cold kept us from spending as much time snorkeling as we wanted, we did collect some data and gained some experience that will make the process more efficient in future years. i hope that we can make a regular spring occurrence of this eDt and start to build up a nice baseline of data year after year. it was so nice for me to be back at the School and interacting with the students. There were many smiles during the week! For Eric’s entire report, see 38 FALL 2011

Eric Anderson ’88 Spring EDT Sespe trip; after five days everyone was still smiling!

Photos (L to R): Mulligan with Michele Weber Hunt and her children; Jennifer Silverman Rowland ‘98 received her MD.; N. Thomas Beatty ‘99 with his wife, Rebecca Fishman


photo/illustration credit here




N. THOMAS BEATTY JR. writes, “Howdy all. So I’m getting hitched next month to a very nice lady named Rebecca. She’s a photographer ( Woohoo! Otherwise, I’m writing poop jokes for a living (really). Also making an indie movie this spring! Yeah! If any of you have struck it super rich and want to be a producer on a movie at Sundance (cause my movie is definitely getting into Sundance, babies!) shoot me an e-mail. It’s cheap! Healthy and happy. Hope you are, too!” SARAH BRUSS GABRIELSON sends her greetings: “Hi Class of 1999! I moved this summer to Portland, Maine, with my husband, Jeremy, and two sons (Neil, 5, and Ezra, 3) to go back to school full-time in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Southern Maine. We are all enjoying city life and I look forward to becoming a Registered Nurse in a few years. We are healthy and happy and welcome you for a visit!” COVENTRY BURKE BERG shares, “Just wanted to add to the next issue of Thacher magazine that my husband, Davis Collins Berg, and I are living in DC and expecting our first little one at the end of December.” CLINTON LOWE played the role of the prime suspect on the NBC show Prime Suspect. TANIA AL-AWAR is keeping busy editing your class notes while working for Thacher Communications as an extention of her graphic design business. KELSEY MCCARTY conveys, “Living in Boston and staying busy! Finished up business school at MIT last June and now working as an operations manager at Mass General Hospital. Also still trying to keep up with the Thacher camping philosophy—explored Patagonia last year and hiked the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu earlier this summer; much needed respites from the daily urban grind. As always, I think about and miss my Thacher classmates all the time! Hope everyone is doing well!!” MOLLIE GARDNER writes, “I’m getting married July 7, 2012! I also have a new job at a renewable energy company that generates clean electricity from excess water pressure in water pipes. I am currently on a business trip in Salt Lake City, staying with KATIE RUSSELL. Katie is now in her third year of surgical residency at the University of Utah.” FELICITY HOWE ARNOLD and JUSTIN ARNOLD tell us, “We loved our visit to Ojai this summer. We were able to catch up with lots of fellow Toads, faculty, and parents of alumni. We were delighted to introduce Arlo to the valley and give him his first tour of campus. Of course the real treat was celebrating Jon and Sara’s union. One more wonderful memory at Thacher.” LUCY MILLIGAN WAHL writes, “In 2010, I graduated from the UCLA Anderson School of Management with my MBA and married Andrew Wahl on July 10 in Santa Barbara. We had so many Thacher family friends at the wedding. We spent the first few months of 2011 in London, on a temporary assignment for Drew’s job, and are now back in San Francisco, where I am job hunting and attempting to



CElESTE ThOMAS ‘00 married Jon Travis. Celeste writes, “After a great deal of planning, Jon and I got married this past June on a farm in Petaluma. All the effort definitely paid off, and we successfully created a very personal celebration that really felt like ‘us.’ we exchanged vows in the pasture (on the same grass that the cows we had for dinner that night grazed on), under a steel arch that Jon had constructed in his spare time. i knew we had captured everyone in the intensity of the ceremony when people were both crying with joy and laughing at the same time. Besides our vows, the highlight of the night was definitely when my dad grabbed his horn to play with the band. The dance floor was packed!” (photo 6) ERIn hAFkEnSChIEl ‘01 was married in Sonoma on October 1, 2011. AnDREA BlACk ‘01 and ADDIE hEARST ‘01 were co-maids of Honor and JOnAThAn TuCkER ‘01 gave the reading. Shannon muller says, “It was one of those all-weekend events and was really fun! lots of Toads there!” JOSE ESTRADA ‘02 married natalie niffenegger on September 10, 2011, in Sonoma, California. “we had a large number of CdeP 2002 classmates in attendance.” Groomsmen included BOBBY kEllOGG ‘02, ROBERT BROwnEll ‘02, DAvID GAl ’02, and nICk hORTOn ’02. lAuRA SlATTERY ‘02 and husband, Russ, “tied the knot” in late August in Port Townsend, washington. (photo 7)




DICk lIvERMORE ‘64 is engaged to Cynthia Snorf and will be married at Grace Cathedral next April. AnnIE JACk ‘95 and Travis Riddell became engaged in July 2011. They live in Jackson hole, wyoming, where Annie is the principal of a nonprofit consultancy and travis is a pediatrician. Annie shares, “we have the pleasure of regularly seeing familiar Thacher faces in the Jackson area, including Michael and Joy Mulligan, the Carney family, and RAMSEY PAlMER ‘95.” (photo 8) SARAh ShAIkh ’03 and Sebastian Paulsson will be wed in India in December 2012. (photo 9) TAnIA Al-AwAR ‘99 and MOllIE GARDnER ’99 will both be getting married on July 7, 2012.

class notes…




40 FALL 2011




PETER FRYKMAN writes, “The company I founded, Driptech, was recently honored as a 2012 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.” To see a video of Peter describing the company, search for “Peter Frykman” on


AMANDA GRUMMAN sent this message: “Thacher taught me how to ride a horse 13 years ago and I am fairly certain no one imagined I would make it through my first semester. Some of the brave faculty who took on my fear and doubt are still there, and I believe they’d fall into that category of thinking, even over a decade later. Since then, I earned national competition experience and a bachelor’s in equine business management from Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, N.Y. This year, I entered my sixth year as a professional trainer and I am so happy to join Freeway Farms at Middle Ranch in Lake View Terrace, Calif., as the assistant trainer. The opportunity to spend my days riding amazing horses and teaching grateful clients of all ages is nothing short of a pleasure. I am so lucky and I thank Thacher for introducing me to the sport and never losing faith in me.” LAURA SLATTERY says she has “big news! Russ and I are married! We tied the knot in late August in Port Townsend, Wash., and we are now getting ready to move to D.R.C., Africa, in November! We’re so happy and very excited about the adventure of living in Africa!”

HUGH GORDON writes, “I will enter the Keck Medical School at USC as a candidate for a combined masters in computer science and MD degrees to complete in 2014.” An exhibit of ZAK KITNICK’S amazing art was at the Clifton Benevento gallery in New York from September to November. You can see some of Zak’s work at EMERY MITCHEM went rowing on the Snake River in Hells Canyon with WILL JOHNSON, JOHN BABBOTT, and DAVE BABBOTT ‘01. SARAH TAPSCOTT had the pleasure of toasting the engagement of SARAH SHAIKH and Sebastian Paulsson on August 13 in New York City. The couple will be wed in India in December 2012.


GRAHAM DOUDS shares, “I’m in Hong Kong doing a semester exchange at City University of Hong Kong School of Law. I am loving it here, although it is a bit hot and humid. Classes are engaging and, of course, China is very dear to my heart and its seems hard for me to stay away for too long. I have been spending time with CALVIN G. LIEU as he lives and works here. Also, I had an incredible dinner and cocktails with JENNIE TUCKER as she was in town working for a wine auction company. It was great to see her in action. I return to San Francisco in December for my last 1.5 years of law school. And then, as usual, who knows?” REI JACKLER submitted the following note to Thacher’s faculty, which will also be interesting to schoolmates: “I wanted to send this to my teachers from Thacher, but didn’t know the best way to do I’ll write it here! After working as a tutor in a charter high school in Roxbury, Mass., I have just started the Stanford Teacher Education Program this week to train to become a secondary social sciences/history teacher. It goes without saying that my educational experience at Thacher has inspired me to pursue a secondary teacher career. I realized I wanted to be a history teacher the moment I stepped down from the podium after my senior thesis project on atomic bomb cinema, and I haven’t looked back. I can’t write an extensive list, but I particularly cherish my memories of Dr. J’s lively American history class discussions; Mr. Hooper’s excellent Mexican-history class that used extensive primary source materials (I hope you still teach history sometimes, Mr. Hooper!); pondering the philosophy of knowledge with Mr. Wales; writing and critiquing poetry with Mr. Robinson (I’m writing a novel now, Mr. Robinson!); having a whole class devoted to reading about growing up with Mr. Perry; and learning biology over eggs and English muffins at Ms. McCarren’s dining room table (talk about dedicated relationship building).” REDGIE COLLINS graduated from George Washington University in May. Congratulations, Redgie! BROOKE WHARTON shares, “I am living in Vienna, Austria, for at least the next year (though am also negotiating for time off for our reunion next summer). My work time is pretty flexible so, if

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train our newly adopted dog, a 1-year-old black lab/basset hound mix named Chester.” ELLA MOENCH writes, “North and I are still living in Venice Beach and working for the Crossroads School. I love being a middle school science teacher and the beginning of the new school year. We had an incredible summer of travel in the Pacific Northwest including mountaineering in the North Cascades and my first 10K race. Hope to get back to Thacher this year. Always great to reconnect with people.” CLAY PELL has been named a White House Fellow for the 2011-12 year. Clay has served as admiral’s aide, appellate government counsel, and adjunct faculty for the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, and he is a JAG and Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard. DEVON TARASEVIC writes, “I married James Diebel at San Francisco City Hall on July 6. LUCY MILLIGAN WAHL was one of our witnesses at the ceremony. After honeymooning in Bora Bora, we had a number of low-key celebrations throughout the summer with our friends in the City and our families in the Midwest. We bought a house in Noe Valley in March and we are enjoying that and our new vizsla puppy, Milo. James owns his own tech company, and I am still working at Yelp and enjoying being a member of the Junior League of San Francisco.”

Photos (L to R): Ella Moench ’00 early in the morning on the way up Mt. Shuksan, Wash.; Amanda Grumman ’02 with Peaches and Cream; Will Johnson ’03 on a rowing trip with Emery Mitchem ‘03; Cameron Kemp ‘09 with an elephant at Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu; Wade King Sr., father of Wade King, Jr. ’10 and Jacqueline King ’13, on the Thacher Dads Bike trip.

any of you find yourselves in Europe any time soon, I might be able to rendezvous wherever you are. Or, if you come to Vienna, I can definitely show you around. See you all next summer, I hope!” ALEXANDRIA DOTSON writes, “After graduating in May, I began preparing for my year-long research adventure around the world. I have won my college’s prestigious William M. Bristol Fellowship which is awarded to only one graduating senior to pursue a self-designed project that must be conducted outside of the United States for one year. My project is on the import and export of Indian hair and the effects it is having on the global Black community. I left the U.S. August 1, and won’t be home until August 1, 2012. I’m super bummed I won’t make it to the 5th-year reunion, but I’ll definitely be there in spirit! I am currently in Chennai, India, and, come October 31, I leave for Durban, South Africa, and will stay there for three months. From there, I’ll travel to Accra, Ghana, and stay for two months; Salvador, Brazil, for three months; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for two months. I have started a blog that documents my travels and the information I gain in each country ( Just recently, I had the pleasure of grabbing dinner with CAMERON KEMP ‘09 in Chennai, so if anyone happens to be in any of these countries, let me know, and maybe we can hang out!”


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CHRIS GORDON will begin a two-year training program in investment banking at Stern Agee in San Francisco starting January, 2012. DREW CONNICK got the lead role in a USC theatre production of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen in October. CAMERON KEMP lets us know that he is “currently in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, studying abroad for a semester from a program out of Davidson College. It is a focused program on ecology and the environment where I am getting first-hand exposure to contemporary development problems, deforestation, pollution, and biodiversity decline, as well as a heavy dose of culture shock on a daily basis. I have stayed at Madras Christian College for the past five weeks, but the group is about to start a several-month adventure across India, staying in places like the Andaman Islands, Pondicherry, the Western Ghats, Goa, Delhi, Agra, and Varansi. I actually even got to see ALEX DOTSON ‘07 for dinner one night at an American diner in Chennai. It was nice to have a little reunion on the other side of the world. Coming home in December will be bittersweet, but it is always nice to see the (Ojai) Valley again.”







MARk hORwITz ’85 and his wife, Jennifer, announce the birth of their second son, nicholas Alexander, born June 16, 2011, in Thousand Oaks, California. (photo 1) lAuRA vAn wInklE JAMES ‘93 shares, “we welcomed our daughter, Penelope James, on June 10. She is doing well and is already keeping her older brothers on their toes.” (photo 2) SARA ROBBOY MunDAY ’94 shares, “Ben and I were delighted to welcome our daughter, zoe Sofia Munday, on April 12, 2011. She’s a happy and relaxed addition to the family and loves her big brother, max. i hope to bring them both to Thacher soon!” (photo 3) ChRISTIAn C. JAnSS ’95 announces the arrival of Calvin James Janss, born July 22. he is “a happy & lively baby boy.” AuRIGA BORk MARTIn ’96 and her husband, edward, announce the birth of their daughter, marea O’Cinidi Martin, born April 19, 2011, at home in Martinborough, new zealand. (photo 4) ChRISTOPhER w. lABBE ’97 and his wife, tiffanie, announce the birth of their son, Dillon Bennett huson labbe, born August 9, 2011. “he weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces. He is healthy, happy, sporting two dimples and a cowboy’s appetite.” (photo 5) JAMES C. MERSOn ’97 and his wife, Bahar, announce the birth of their son, Cameron James Merson, born on October 7, 2010. (photo 6) PETER MunzIG ‘99 and his wife, Margaret, welcomed Chandler Eliza Munzig to their family on July 26. Sister Abigail says, “She is so cute! I am going to teach my baby sister to pick up toys. And then she will pick up my toys.” JEDIDIAh hARRIS ’07 and his wife, Chiquta, welcomed their first child, nylah Dior Symone harris, on September 28, 2011. Joy Sawyer Mulligan shares, “Jeddy sends his love to all who knew him pre-papahood.”


PATRICK TEAGUE shares his news: “I’ve been elected as a senator serving on student government, as well as being elected payload team lead for the Rensselaer Rocket Society.” 6

The Thacher School 01

faculty, staff & frIends…

New faculty (L to R): Rich Harris, Kim Bastian, Bob St. George, Sil Benkovic, Nick Van Sant, Joel Ballantyne. Below: Newlyweds Dana Cesnik and Brandon Doyle with their dog-of-honor, Daisy.

and Drew ’14—is the new office manager. She holds a master’s degree in international business. VICKIE EDWARDS is a new fulltime nurse for Thacher. She hails from Pennsylvania and has two children, ages 11 and 9.

NEw to ouR CommuNity ROBERT ST. GEORGE, who taught and coached at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia for the past 18 years, now teaches history, advises sophomore boys, and coaches girls’ soccer and boys’ lacrosse. He and his wife, Lucia, live on campus with their four children: Edward, Andrew ‘15, Annika, and Christina. While Molly Perry is on sabbatical, NICK VAN SANT is teaching Spanish, advising sophomore boys, and serving as an assistant coach for JV boys’ lacrosse and soccer. Before coming to Thacher, Nick taught at The Loomis Chaffee School and studied in Argentina as a Fulbright scholar. Thacher’s English Department welcomes JOEL BALLANTYNE, a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Maryland, who has taught in private schools in Maryland and Florida. Beyond teaching, Joel advises freshman boys, coaches JV soccer and varsity track. Joel’s wife, SIL BENKOVIC, also teaches English. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. Joel and Sil live on campus with their daughter, Abby, and their dog, Mango. Two new faces arrived in Thacher’s Admission Office this fall. KIM BASTIAN is the new Director of Financial Aid. Prior to Thacher, she worked for nine years in the admissions and financial aid office at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols in Cambridge, Mass., where she also served as a student advisor. Kim is a native New Englander (Cape Cod), and she graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. She recently completed her master’s degree in education from Tufts University. She is advising sophomore girls on The Hill. Thacher’s new Associate Director of Admission is RICHARD HARRIS III, who most recently worked as the program director for Breakthrough Silicon Valley. Rich earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and mass communications at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as a Morehead Scholar. He then earned a master’s in communications at Stanford University. Beyond his admission work, Rich is the assistant coach for the Varsity Boys’ Soccer Team and he advises junior boys in Upper School. He and his wife, Ebele Okobi-Harris, live in the Hendrickson Road House with their 1-year-old daughter Anuli. There are some new faces in the Health Center, as well. A former, frequent volunteer on campus, SUZANNE COMBS—mother of Emily CdeP 2010, Mac ’12, 42 FALL 2011

otHER NEwS Science teacher HEATHER GRANT received her master of science in science education from Montana State University, Bozeman, over the summer. Spanish teacher and former Dean of Faculty MOLLY TWICHELL PERRY CDEP 1985 is on sabbatical this year. Her plans include spending a month at the African Leadership Academy. English teacher JAKE JACOBSEN led another Kenya safari this summer. Along this time were Will ‘12, Laura ‘15, and their mother Lisa Kirkland, and Emma Patterson ’12. They visited the Maasai Mara Reserve, climbed Mt. Kenya, walked the Galana River country of Tsavo East, and visited the coast at Malindi. History teacher MIKE MCGOWAN took a group of 10 Thacher freshmen to Cuba this past summer. Highlights of the trip were playing baseball with students in the University of Havana stadium, and encounters with Cuban teenagers, when the kids could discuss and compare their lives and experiences growing up. Mathematics teacher GALLIA VICKERY and science teacher PETER SAWYER graded AP Calculus and AP Biology exams, respectively, in Kansas City this summer. Meanwhile, Spanish and history teacher JEFF HOOPER graded AP Spanish exams while music teacher GREG HAGGARD read AP Music Theory exams in Cincinnati. Science teacher CHRIS VYHNAL spent a week each in Cambridge and Oxford with the Oxbridge Teachers’ Programs, focused on science and philosophy and the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Director of Development BRANDON DOYLE married Dana Cesnik on July 30, at Hartley Botanica in Somis, Calif., with Michael K. Mulligan as officiant. FoRmER FaCulty aND StaFF Former French teacher SUSIE CALDWELL RINEHART returned to campus on the eve of this fall’s EDT’s to give an inspirational talk: “Six Things to do Before Breakfast.” Susie is the new Director of Where there be Dragons, based in Colorado.

In MeMorIaM… frederIc cunnInGhaM, Jr. cdeP 1939 Frederic “Ty” Cunningham, Jr., passed away on September 28, 2011, in haverford, Pennsylvania, at the age of 90. ty arrived at Thacher as a new Lower Upper and became, in just two years, a highly respected member of his class. in the yearbook, El Archivero, he was noted chiefly for his mental agility and knack of baffling the members of the faculty with the incomprehensibility of his observations in class. Wherever ty went at Thacher, he was greeted with such cries as “hooray for the Bag,” to which he soberly replied, after a moment’s deliberation, “hooray.” he was chairman of the El Archivero Board, captain of the intramural soccer team, and a member of the Pack and Saddle Club, Glee Club, Cabinet, orchestra, ‘notes’ Board, Committee of Ten, and Outdoor Committee. Ty was also active in dramatics and reached the level of A Camper. Cunningham graduated from harvard with a BA in 1945, quickly followed by earning an MA in 1947 and a PhD in 1953. he spent his career teaching mathematics at unh, Bryn Mawr, and wesleyan, retiring in 1992, though he continued to teach part-time for years after. Ty is survived by his wife, Caroline, and three daughters, Sara, Mary, and Constance. Brother nick Cunningham CdeP 1946 shares: At Thacher, to which Ty was sent because of asthma and to which he was followed by his two younger brothers, Larry ’42 and yours truly, he was for some reason known as “The Bag,” at least by his best friends: Herb Lyttle ’40, Kent “Pop” Arnold ’39, and Murray Smitheram ’40. He was the brains of the family, having graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard, where he got his doctorate in math, and taught at Bryn Mawr College, where he rose to be chair of the department.... Most importantly, he was the family godfather, putting nieces and nephews through college; the devoted husband to Caroline, a professor of musicology who survives him; the father to three talented women, and the grandfather to a girl who just got top honours at Oxford and a boy who is at Princeton. A quiet, mostly agnostic man, his spirit lives on in the family for whom he worked so hard but also so quietly.

Jefferson d. roBInson III cdeP 1941 Jefferson Davis Robinson III passed away in August 23, 2011, in Granville, ohio. He was 88 years old. Jeff came to Thacher as a lower lower from his birthplace, Toledo, Ohio. he left Thacher in 1940 and was a graduate of the kent School in Connecticut. Following graduation, he served in the u.S. Army 96th Infantry Division during world war II, earning a Bronze Star and Purple heart in the Pacific Theater. Jeff fought in the battles of leyte Gulf and Okinawa, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for attempting to save the life of a fellow soldier. in 1946, he enrolled at kenyon College in Ohio as a transfer student from williams College. After his junior year, Jeff transferred once again to the university of Toledo, graduating in 1949 with a degree in business administration. Jeff married Annie kilbourne Jeffrey on September 11, 1948, in worthington, Ohio. he worked for the Federal Glass Co. in Columbus from 1951 to 1966, rising to the rank of divisional sales manager before launching a career in real estate. Joining the Danberry Real Estate Company in Toledo, Jeff became vice president and managing broker before retiring in 1978. he was also very active with the Boys Club of Toledo. In 2002, Jeff returned to Thacher to show his daughter and extended family his boyhood school. Jefferson is survived by his wife, Annie; sons, Jefferson

D. Robinson Iv and the Rev. Canon Mark k.J. Robinson; daughter, Christine “Trina” Secor; eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

roBert e. BrIGhaM, Jr. cdeP 1951 Robert Evans Brigham, Jr. passed away on May 17, 2011, in Thousand Oaks, California, at the age of 77. Bob Brigham came to Thacher in 1948 and contributed his athletic talents in numerous ways during his three-year tenure. He was on the track, soccer, and tennis teams and, as an Upper Upper, he was captain of the soccer and rifle teams and also chairman of the gun board. One of Bob’s major accomplishments while attending Thacher was breaking the record for the mile. According to the 1951 El Archivero, Bob seemed to be fairly reserved upon arrival to Thacher. That impression lasted only a short while as, during his second term, he derived immense joy from dropping heavy laundry bags on prefects. From that point on, “Brig” was anything but inconspicuous. From Thacher, Bob commenced to Stanford, and then on to earn his BA from California State University. He is survived by his wife, Dorothea (Dottie) Brigham, and son, ernie Brigham.

WIllIaM K. Potter cdeP 1952 william kay Potter passed away in Big Oak Flat, California, on July 21, 2010, two days before his 76th birthday. Bill arrived at Thacher in 1950. As an upper upper, he made a concerted effort to exceed the winning horseback riding record that his classmate, Bill hamilton ’52, had set in the prior year with 3,000 miles. Two years later, Bill achieved his goal, winning the award with 3,100 miles. As an upper upper, he also received commendations, per El Archivero, for excellence in photography. After Thacher, Bill attended Cornell university and the university of California, Berkeley. He had two careers, retiring as a safety engineer from Shell Oil Company in Emeryville, California, while also owning a sporting goods retail store and sports bar in Groveland called Bill’s Garrotte Sportsman and the Garrotte Saloon. Bill was predeceased by his wife, Marguerite (Peggy) Yarnall Potter, and is survived by his son, James (Jim) l. Potter II, and daughter, virginia (Ginny) Potter Williams. Ed Emery ’52 writes: As a homesick and somewhat challenged kid from Chicago, I found Bill to be a real friend. We rode quite a few trails together. One was from Thacher to Santa Barbara, to his mom and dad’s house. Neither one of our horses (his was named Penny and mine, Midnight) seemed particularly interested in swimming in the ocean the way we did the Sespe. On another trip, we watched two Pacific coast deer fighting it out in a creek and I cherished one of Bill’s photos of this for years. We shared a fondness for Dixieland played by the Firehouse Five— which probably annoyed the rest of the dormitory—we liked it loud.” The ThAcher SchooL 43

In MeMorIaM… FRIENDS OF THACHER MarIa anaya maria Anaya, wife of Thacher maintenance employee Daniel Anaya and mother of four children, died in August.

alBert hastorf

Joe r. dI GIorGIo cdeP 1953 Joseph Rosario Di Giorgio passed away in Grants Pass, Oregon, on June 15, 2011, at the age of 75. Joe arrived at Thacher from his home on Di Giorgio Road in Di Giorgio, Calif., with a strong interest in water, however, the swimming team was the only team he failed to make, as he was a staunch lover of almost any kind of athletics. As an upper upper, Joe was on the first soccer team, the all-league tennis team, and the “B” basketball team, while serving as the manager of the “A” basketball team. In addition, he was a member of the lettermen’s Club, dramatics, Glee Club, Gun Board, and the green gymkhana team. In the 1953 El Archivero, special mention was made of his great love of music, “Di Giorgio style.” nicknamed “Jo-Jo the Dog-voiced Boy,” he could be heard from afar screeching one of many italian numbers, such as Pagliacci, to the heavens. Following his graduation from Thacher, Joe attended Stanford, earning a BA in sociology in 1957. he worked as a certified financial planner with his own firm in Foster City, Calif. Joe is survived by his wife, Adelle, who worked with him as a human resources consultant for Di Giorgio Consulting. lee Follett ’53 writes: We all enjoyed hearing from Joe and I remember so many laughs and all the back-and-forth teasing. He was a great class rep/class unifier because he truly loved his mates and the School. He would make lengthy and upbeat phone calls to his classmates and was popular with the ’53 wives; they all loved him. John Carver ’53 shares: Joe had a small service with about 30 people. Only three of us there actually knew Joe. Peter Farrand ’53 was ill and did not attend nor could Bill Nigh ’53. I put our 50th reunion cap in the coffin. It was a nice service. On the way up and back, the three of us shared many tales about Joe. lock de Forest ’53 shares: As far as memories of Joe at Thacher are concerned, I recall the following: 1) At a soccer match against Caltech in LA, I was goal keeper and Joe was one of the halfbacks. I was way out of position and a Caltech forward fired an almost certain goal except that Joe had covered my error and headed the ball out of danger. 2) On a Smut-year Extra-Day Trip with Tom Lombard ’53, Joe and I and several others (and Charlie Beck as our teacher) ended up on the other side of Pine Mountain on a beautiful trout stream called Bird Bath. Joe found a fine pond in the stream with trout visible and shouted out to us “GO AWAY—ALL MINE!” I’m afraid we all kidded Joe over this incident for the remainder of the trip. Joe was a great guy with lots of laughs and we will miss him greatly.

44 FALL 2011 2009

Albert hastorf, a devoted member and vice President of Thacher’s Board of trustees in the 1990s, died September 26, 2011 at age 90. Since 1961, Al served as professor emeritus of psychology, former provost, and former dean of the School of humanities & Sciences at Stanford University. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, with whom he endowed the hastorf Family Fund and the Albert and Barbara hastorf Teaching Fund at Stanford.

MIssy Peterson Mary-louise “Missy” Orrick Peterson—mother of laurel CdeP 2002 and william CdeP 2008, and wife of Dr. Alan P. Peterson—died on September 14, 2011, of pancreatic cancer; she was 62. Born in San Francisco to Marion naffziger and the hon. william h. Orrick, Jr., CdeP 1932, she studied at vassar College, before transferring to the university of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a degree in drama in 1970. After they wed in 1973, she and Alan moved to washington state, finally settling in walla walla. Missy devoted much of her time to serving her community, and in 2005 helped start the “Books for Babes” program, which provides books to every local newborn, in hopes of fostering literacy and providing a basis for a lifelong love of learning. The school district recognized missy’s individual commitment with a Community leadership Award. In addition to her aforementioned family, she is also survived by her brother, William H. orrick iii, sister and former Thacher trustee marion orrick Livermore, and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews. A memorial service was held in the Chapel of Grace at Grace Cathedral on December 5, 2011.

JosePhIne yelder Dr. Josephine E. Yelder, mother of George CdeP 1976 and former Thacher Trustee Paul CdeP 1977, died March 25, 2011, in los Angeles. As Paul wrote:  “My mother was one of the School’s biggest advocates. not only did she send both of her sons to the School, but she also convinced several of her friends and former students to do the same.” Raised in kansas, she graduated from uClA as a sociology major before earning master’s and doctorate degrees at uSC. She became a professor of sociology at Pepperdine University, and chaired the Sociology Division, and served on many school and community boards.


Jim lipman ’52 shares: I think of Bill, at Thacher, as being primarily someone who liked to ride his horse out on the trails.... Bill took his camera with him almost everywhere he rode his horse. It was a Leica IIIf, a very fine camera indeed. But I also remember, I think after his ride that included Chief and Nordhoff Peaks, that he complained that the shutter in the camera froze on him during the ride, as the temperature was so cold!

the best we can do… Leaving a Legacy to thacher: the Boot hiLL association Founded in 1971, the Boot Hill Association is Thacher’s legacy society for those who have directed bequests and deferred gifts to the School. The history of this giving society combines the best of Western gallows humor with Thacher’s tradition of caring for the greater good.

THE ORIGINS: The Boot Hill Association was founded by two Thacher trustees, John R. Metcalf CdeP 1933 and Robert E. Hunter CdeP 1940, who recognized that estate planning tended to be an unnecessarily gloomy topic of conversation.

THACHER’S BOOT HILL TODAY: Based on the traditions of the old West, the Boot Hill Association is designed to bring into membership those who have loved the life and traditions of The Thacher School. Members recognize this fact by providing for the future of the School through bequests of any amount. These planned gifts may include naming the School as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, donating real estate, or participation in one of several life income vehicles.

WHY THE NAME?: Aiming to “employ the old frontier custom of making a joke out of everything that is unpleasant,” Metcalf and Hunter borrowed their name from the storied graveyards of the West, where, as legend has it, cowboys were often unceremoniously buried with their boots on. SETTING AN IRREVERENT TONE: The announcement of this new giving society included a few epitaphs from the celebrated Boot Hill at Dodge City, Kansas. For example, one cattle rustler’s cause of death was stated briefly: “Too Many Irons in the Fire.” Then there was George Johnson, who innocently bought a stolen horse, but was discovered riding it and promptly hanged; his headboard reads, “Hanged By Mistake.” Some are poetic: “Here Lies Lester Moore, Four Slugs from a .44, No Less, No More.” Most were no-nonsense: “He was a good man, boys, but he’s gone now, so let’s bury him and get on with the horseshoeing!”

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To learn more about how you can leave a legacy to Thacher, visit giving or contact Karleanne Rogers at Phone number: 805-640-5962

THOSE BOOTS WERE MAdE FOR GIvING MEMBERSHIP FACTS: Charter members numbered 27, the number of those supposedly buried at Boot Hill, Dodge City. There are 385 Boot Hill members: 292 living and 93 deceased. The youngest Boot Hill Associate is 25; the oldest is 93. LARGEST BOOT HILL GIFT: What began with tongue-in-cheek humor has paid serious dividends for the School. In 2007, a $10 million bequest by Owen Jameson CdeP 1930 helped increase the portion of students benefitting from financial aid from 22 percent to over 30 percent. Boot Hill founders and past trustees Robert Hunter (left) and John Metcalf.

Robert Marble CdeP 1966 donated a pair of silvered cowboy boots (see photo) to the School. Then-Headmaster Newton Chase penned the following verses in gratitude: Come blow your horn in raucous toot In honor of the silver boot. There ain’t a man on old Boot Hill Who lies in state so cold and still, Who ever wore such pirate loot. We send our thanks to Marble Bob For arranging such a job, That sparkles, shines, and blinds the eyes Of all who glance at such a prize. wSo, for the future have no fear. With boots like these upon one’s bier, To the nether regions one can’t fall. You get the biggest cloud of all Along with thanks and rousing cheer.

The Thacher School 5025 Thacher Road Ojai, CA 93023


ALUMNI DAY IS COMING UP! SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2012 • Interact with current students and faculty over brunch and dinner. • Join a community dialogue or career or college panel. • Spend a few hours on the trails, at the barns, and trap shooting. • Play soccer and basketball. • Take a tour of campus. • Create new memories with old classmates! Register for activities and meals at


Thacher Magazine: Fall 2011  
Thacher Magazine: Fall 2011  

Tradition & Change: The things we choose to carry with us as we meet the future.