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Fall 2020

REMOTE LEARNING A peek inside our remote classrooms last spring

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School news, alumnae news, and more

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WESTRIDGE WITHOUT WALLS Remote Learning Spring 2020


OUR NEWEST ALUMNAE News and photos of the Class of 2020


Fall 2020 /


Table of

contents 02 03

Class of 2020





ALUMNAE NEWS Reunion Weekend photos, events, campus visits, and more.


Photos from the March reunion

Head’s Note

Remote Learning


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Update


Alumnae Board

12 14

Alumnae Weekend In Memoriam


From the

HEAD OF SCHOOL Dear Westridge Alumnae, I write to you following Convocation, when I had the opportunity to speak to the school community at the start of the school year. It was the first online Convocation in the school’s history, yet not the first time that our school and our students have experienced a pandemic. Our archives reveal stories of resilience from the 1918 influenza outbreak, with students caring for ill family members while studying at home. This spring, we witnessed incredible resilience and creativity in our faculty and students as we rebuilt school online in one week. (See examples of learning in “Westridge Without Walls” on page 6.) We also experienced great loss with the passing of beloved Lower and Middle School Dean of Students Carol van Zalingen, who devoted herself to our students and their education. (See page 16 for a tribute to Carol.) This fall, Westridge faces two issues integral to our mission to educate all girls within our community — the pandemic and the reckoning that racism and racial inequity remain deeply rooted in our society and its institutions, including ours. And so, for the theme of my convocation remarks I turned to our school motto – We Strive to Rise (the English translation of Surgere Tentamus).


As a community and institution, we must strive to rise during the pandemic to provide our students with academic excellence and the social and emotional support for which they turn to Westridge. We must strive to uphold our core values, to work together and commit to helping others, within our community and beyond. And critically, we must examine who we are as an institution and make systemic changes needed to become an anti-racist school community. You, Westridge alumnae, have lifted your voices and led the charge to hold us accountable for making Westridge safe and equitable for all students and for this I thank you. You can learn more about our work and plans surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion on page 9. We will strive to rise for our alumnae and students of today and in decades to come. I hope this edition of Surgere finds you safe and healthy, and that you know the alumnae community is here for you. These are trying times on many levels, but when we come together, we not only survive, we thrive and help others to do so as well.

Elizabeth J. McGregor Head of School

Fall 2020 /



CLASS OF 2020 The 63 members of the Class of 2020 earned 450 acceptances to 156 different colleges and universities. They matriculated to 40 colleges in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and Ireland this fall. 03



38 37





14, 27

8 25




20, 22




18 28

1, 10, 23, 32


7 15 11 5, 9, 19, 26, 29, 30

35 33


1. Barnard College New York, NY 2. Boston University Boston, MA (2) 3. Brandeis University Waltham, MA 4. Brown University Providence, RI 5. California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA University of California at: 6. Berkeley Berkeley, CA 7. Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA (2) 8. University of Chicago Chicago, IL (3) 9. Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA (2) 10. Columbia University New York, NY 11. Cornell University Ithaca, NY 12. George Washington University Washington, DC (2) 13. Hamilton College Clinton, NY 14. Haverford College Haverford, PA 15. High Point University High Point, NC 16. Indiana University Bloomington, IN 17. Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 18. Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA 19. Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA (2) 20. Macalester College Saint Paul, MN 04

21. University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 22. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 23. New York University New York, NY (3) 24. Northeastern University Boston, MA (3) 25. Oberlin College Oberlin, OH 26. Pasadena City College Pasadena, CA 27. University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA (2) 28. Princeton University Princeton, NJ (3) 29. Scripps College Claremont, CA 30. University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA (7) 31. St. Olaf College Northfield, MN 32. The New School New York, NY 33. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland 34. Tufts University Medford, MA (3) 35. Tulane University New Orleans, LA (2) 36. Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY (2) 37. Washington State University Pullman, WA 38. University of Washington Seattle, WA 39. Wellesley College Wellesley, MA 40. Wesleyan University Middletown, CT

Summer 2019 / Surgere

Car-mencement! Graduation in the Time of COVID-19

On June 5, the Class of 2020 celebrated their graduation by crossing Frank Field like so many alumnae before them. But instead of sitting on the traditional risers, this year’s class of 63 graduates drove across Frank Field in their cars in a safe, socially distant, commencement parade. Photos of the graduates lined Madeline Court and the traditional Pomp and Circumstance march played while the soon-to-be alumnae and their families drove through campus and onto the field where Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor and Board of Trustees Chair Richard Fung awaited to confer diplomas (from across a six-foot table). This unusual celebration, lovingly dubbed “car-mencement,” was preceded by an online ceremony, which featured remarks from commencement speaker Krista Kokjohn Poehler ’93, assistant dean at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. “Car-mencement” was the culmination of a semester filled with senior traditions that took on a virtual spin this year. Zoom became home to the many beloved endof-year traditions including Chalk Day, Prom, Senior Skits, Senior Tea, and Vespers.

Seniors received several care packages from the school, which included congratulatory yard signs, confetti sticks, and chalk markers to decorate their cars for the car parade.

I was so happy that there was still a chance for my class to celebrate our graduation in a big way. Doing something in-person gave me a sense of normalcy and closure for the year!” - ABBY YUHAN ’20

(pictured on the cover)



WITHOUT WALLS Remote Learning Spring 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, our faculty, staff, and technology team shifted our entire school to remote learning in a single week. Despite working under emergency conditions, our innovative teachers and resilient students rallied together and turned the challenge of distance into new opportunities for engaging learning. Read on to learn about a few of them.

6th Grade Celebration The Class of 2026 celebrated their transition from Lower to Middle School in a very special online ceremony on May 28. Families and friends gathered on screen to celebrate the dedication and resilience of this fun, kind, and hard-working class!

STEAMWork Studio 3D Prints Masks and Face Shields for LA Hospitals When campus went quiet in March, the STEAMWork Design Studio came to life to 3D print more than 600 masks and face shields for healthcare workers at USC Keck Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (That’s over 800 hours of printing!) Studio Coordinator David Prince led the effort working with CRASH Space, a local Maker community that crowdsourced the printing of thousands of masks for healthcare workers. While all the STEAMWork printers ran non-stop, Mr. Prince also put three Westridge Makerbots to work in his laundry room, and senior Jay Hee Kim and sophomore Giulia W. used their home 3D printers to make even more personal protective equipment!

8th Grade Recognition Our 8th Grade Recognition took place over Zoom on June 2 to celebrate the Class of 2024. We cheered for each student and their loved ones conferred certificates that were mailed to them before the ceremony.


Fall 2020 /


Wax Museum Tradition Could Not Be Stopped! The World Women of Character and Courage Wax Museum moved online this year (wwocc2020.weebly.com), but the heart of the event remained intact as students brought to life the stories of dozens of inspirational women. Each member of the Class of 2026 portrayed a different trendsetting woman who made a significant contribution to her community – from Toni Morrison and Gloria Steinem to Elizabeth Blackwell and Nelly Bly.

Students included family pictures in their quarantine time capsules.

Students Become Historians of the Pandemic A key tenet of our history department is teaching students to think like historians, not merely to read history passively. As such, it was only natural that in this historic time, teachers created projects that would allow students to become historians of their own experience in this global pandemic. In Gigi Bizar’s Cultural Studies class, 7th graders created quarantine time capsules containing mementos, family pictures, news articles, collages, video essays, and journal entries to memorialize this time in our nation’s history through the lens of their personal experiences. In Jennifer Golub-Marcus’s World Views classes, 9th graders processed the pandemic by creating podcasts. From the toilet paper crisis to how families are connecting, students tackled issues that spoke to them personally during this historic time.

Freshman Created Online Gallery Exhibit of Student Work Fiona H. ’23 curated a virtual art exhibition for her fellow 9th-grade (now sophomore) artists to showcase works produced during shelter-in-place. The virtual gallery, which featured original art by 21 then-9th grade students, opened with a Zoom reception on May 24. To take the virtual tour, visit bit.ly/2023ArtExhibit.

8th Grade Play A Wrinkle in Time Produced as a Radio Play The Theatre Department was especially creative this spring. When it became clear that the 8th grade play, A Wrinkle in Time, could not be performed live it was adapted as a radio play, complete with music and sound effects! The final 30-minute play premiered on a website (created by the Upper School theatre production class), which set the stage with background information about the show and a peek at the original set, costume, and light designs. To access the recording, visit westridgewrinkle.weebly.com (password: Tigers).


Students Team Up for Minecraft Architecture Projects David Prince kept students in his 3D Design class working together during remote learning with architectural projects using Minecraft! Students paired up to build digital renderings that were inspired by a designer or architect they had researched, including Kathryn Andrews, Eileen Gray, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Students Use Math to Save Teacher from Online Escape Room Kenzie Brownsmith’s 6th grade math students used their math skills solving puzzles to find a path through a math-themed room to rescue Mx. Brownsmith from the online escape room “Mathlandia.” Students received the last known video message from Mx. Brownsmith and their baby Riley before they were (as the story goes) trapped inside an old computer that lured them in with the promise of a utopian Mathlandia. Happily, the students prevailed and Mx. Brownsmith (and baby Riley) were released from the game in time for lunch.

Westridge eSports Bring Students Together During Social Distancing Six Upper School students formed the first eSports team in Westridge history this spring. eSports (competitive video game play) is part of the California Interscholastic Federation as well as official high school athletic departments in nine states. The team was founded by Jaydn I. ’22 under the guidance of coach Joe Jacko, who is also the head eSports coach at USC.

Speech & Debate Team Scores Big and Competes in First Online National Tournament The Westridge Speech & Debate team had an extremely successful spring 2020 season, despite unprecedented changes in the competition format. Before tournaments moved online at the end of March, the team qualified students to both the State Championship and the Grand Nationals. While the State Championship was canceled, 10 students were able to showcase their skills and strengths to the country in the first-ever online Grand Nationals competition in June!

Earth Club Makes History as First Lower School Student Club The Lower School made history in April with its first-ever student club meeting. In Earth Club, students tackled plastic pollution. They shared articles and worked together to write letters to big companies including Coca-Cola and Tide about the negative environmental impact of their plastic use and suggesting ways to cut down.


Photo courtesy of the Westridge Speech & Debate team.

Fall 2020 /

Alumnae Voices Lead Calls for Change


Anti-Racism at Westridge


t Westridge’s August 26 Convocation ceremony, Head of School Elizabeth McGregor’s opening remarks focused on the need to address racial injustice and inequity in our school. “Though Westridge was founded upon a vision for gender equity, it is well documented today that women’s movements across the decades of U.S. history have often left women of color behind, and I fear that we have too. It is with great sadness that I acknowledge that racial inequity exists today at Westridge. This summer I had conversations with many Black/African American alumnae, and other community members of color, who told me of painful bias, prejudice, and racial trauma they experienced at Westridge. While difficult to hear, I was humbled by their courage to step forward.” Calls from alumnae this summer sparked deep institutional reflection which led to a series of listening sessions, including those with Black/African American alumnae, faculty and staff, families and students. These will continue. With this as a foundation, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives outlined in the 2020-2025 strategic plan were expedited and expanded, and a greater emphasis placed on anti-racism and anti-bias education. Plans for this year include: Diversity of student, faculty, and staff populations. We will conduct an independent review of hiring practices and a fall training on eliminating bias in hiring. In admissions, we are reviewing current processes and working to expand our networks and community outreach to help increase enrollment of students of color on campus. Alumnae groups. Affinity communities around race and ethnicity, particularly underrepresented groups including Black/African American, Asian American, and Latinx, are being formed to create opportunities for alumnae to engage with one another and mentor students.

Faculty anti-racist training. All employees completed professional development centered on issues of equity and bias and nearly 40 joined a White Fragility book discussion series. October’s professional development day will be devoted to anti-racist training and ongoing learning circles are being formed. DEI Oversight Committee. This new committee will be in place by the end of October. Comprising representatives from across the constituencies of the school, including alumnae, trustees, current students, parents, and other volunteers, it will serve to ensure accountability. Student & parent education. This summer the school hosted anti-racist education sessions for students and parents and a Community Read of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum. Student assemblies on microaggressions are planned for October, antiracist information has been added to the Lower School Council program and to Middle School Human Development classes, and additional programs are under development. Curriculum review. As part of a school-wide DEI audit, the Lower School initiated a DEI curriculum review over the course of the past year, identifying where there are gaps and biases. Similar work is being conducted in the Middle and Upper School, with the goal of completing a comprehensive review grades 4-12 by the end of the 2020-2021 school year. DEI staff position. As we assess our needs and priorities, we will develop a new, in-house position to guide our work and serve as a contact and resource for constituents. This list is not comprehensive, and updates will be provided as plans evolve. If you wish to get involved in alumnae activities or programs on anti-racism at Westridge, please contact the Alumnae Affairs Office at alumnae@westridge.org.

I urge everyone in our community to read the posts on the @BlackatWestridge Instagram account. I am grateful to the alumnae who provided testimonies of their experiences of racism at Westridge and urged reform. Your courage will forever change Westridge. We must and will build an anti-racist school so that BIPOC students feel safe, supported, and valued. - Elizabeth J. McGregor, Head of School



From the ALUMNAE BOARD CHAIR Dear Westridge Alumnae, Current times make me value connections to people and causes bigger than I in new ways, and that holds especially true with Westridge. Whether we are together online or in person in the months to come, maintaining engagement with Westridge is key to a meaningful alumnae experience. As Alumnae Board chair, I hope to shed light on how to enhance your involvement, from near or far.

Teri’s senior class photo

My alumnae connection to Westridge came late. If any of my classmates had told me I would one day join the Alumnae Board, I would have said, “Not likely.” And I would have eaten my words. In the five years leading to our 50th reunion, I not only reconnected with classmates, but also forged new friendships and gained a deeper understanding of the lifelong impact of our education and shared experiences at Westridge. Our 50th reunion was a celebration of friendship and five years of work toward establishing an endowed scholarship fund at Westridge. The Class of 1969 reached our goal, and the Forever Fund Endowment to support financial aid was born. It has more than tripled since we presented our $100,000 check to Westridge in 2019. With a new goal to raise $1 million by 2024, our fundraising outreach has grown to involve other classes and alumnae who strongly believe in paying forward the gift of the remarkable education they too received. There are many ways to re-engage with Westridge today. We value your voices and ideas and have appreciated alumnae engagement from across the generations this summer to help make Westridge a more equitable and inclusive academic home for all students, regardless of race or ethnicity. To that end, this year we are forming alumnae affinity groups. Look for information in the Alumnae Newsletter as these come together. We want to hear your thoughts on how to make your alumnae engagement meaningful. I encourage you to reach out to me, to Alumnae Board members, or to Lisa Vandergriff, director of alumnae affairs to share your ideas. This is a pivotal time for alumnae engagement. Now is the time to move beyond talking about our beliefs. It is time to join Westridge in helping to prepare future alumnae for a changing world. Together, we can be agents of change for Westridge.

Westridge congratulates VICTORIA WILLIAMS ’02 for being honored amongst the Pasadena Black Pages top 50 Pasadenans. Victoria, a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University (B.A. 2005) and Woodbury University (Master of Arts, Leadership, 2015), is also a May 2020 graduate of the 2020 Leadership Pasadena cohort. She was previously recognized with the 2002 Mary Huggins Gamble YWCA Pasadena Award; 2009 Outstanding Junior Businesswoman award by Senator Carol Liu and former Assemblymember (current Senator) Anthony Portantino; Rising Star Alumni Award from Mount St. Mary’s University, and the Pasadena City College Classified Senate Leadership Award. ALYSON KIL ’06 was promoted to the Field Grade Officer rank of Major on May 17. She is the Chief Medical Officer and Public Health Emergency Officer at Pine Bluff Arsenal, currently managing the COVID-19 crisis on the Army installation. She will move on to her next assignment as Deputy Chief of Occupational Health at Ft. Hood, Texas. MICHELLE KO ’14 was saluted by Congresswoman Judy Chu for being a Fulbright Scholar this past year. Michele studied human development and regenerative biology and English at Harvard and taught English in Taiwan through the Fulbright Program. She has conducted research on opioid receptors at City of Hope and on muscle satellite cell function with the Amgen Scholars Program in Tokyo. While at Harvard, Michele served as executive director of arts at CityStep, a Cambridge youth performing arts organization.


Teri Wilde ’69


Class notes will run in the Winter edition of Surgere Magazine. Please send your news, updates, and/or photos to alumnae@westridge.org by November 13.

Fall 2020 /


Alumnae Board



Westridge is pleased to announce the Alumnae Board for the 2020-2021 school year, led by Alumnae Board Chair Teri Wilde ’69. Members include Dana Icaza Banta ’01, Eliza Diop ’10, Mickey Edwards ’86, Veronica Escobedo ’08, Alicia Henry ’01, Karen Huante ’79, Ann Hazeltine Hyde ’66, Emily Miller Karlekar ’95, Julia Tyson La Grua ’71, Shahbano Nawaz ’98, Cassandra Nufable ’12, Monica Oller ’91, Nicole Rabaudi ’90, Marianne Van Vorst Ryan ’79, Katie Rothenberg Wei ’94, Melissa Wu ’94, and Jessica Yang ’10.


is a professional speaker and financial consultant who shared her skills with Westridge seniors last spring by advising on their Community Action Project (CAP) presentations. A graduate of Oberlin College with a double B.A. in political science and Africana studies, Ellie’s interests include public policy, community relations, and youth development, and she enjoys cooking, outdoor activities, and live music.


attended Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School and is an attorney for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. In addition to serving as an officer for the California Lawyer’s Association, State and Local Tax Committee, Veronica has a sharp understanding of the student loan

ALUMNAE READERS BOOK CLUB Now accessible to alumnae near and far via Zoom! Please join the Alumnae Readers Book Club to discuss selections for 2020-2021, including: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15: Finding Dorothy: A Novel, Elizabeth Letts Extra credit: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank Baum

forgiveness program and has offered to share her knowledge with alumnae. She enjoys trying new restaurants, running, and Dodger games.


is a public servant and change agent committed to providing leadership and mentorship for young women. She lives in Washington DC and works for the Chair of the DC Council. At UC Davis she studied African American studies and Spanish and is an alumna of American University’s Women and Politics Institute WeLead fellowship. She enjoys travel, the arts, and serving as an ambassador for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


mental health specialist and a special education

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11 Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13 In-Flight Entertainment: Stories, Helen Simpson WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10 How to be both: A novel, Ali Smith WEDNESDAY, MAY 19 Lessons in French: A Novel, Hilary Reyl ’85

For further information, contact Barbara Davis Reynolds ’72 at bwdr@pacbell.net or the Westridge Alumnae Office at alumnae@westridge.org.

interventionist. With a B.F.A. from California College of the Arts, she began her career in TV production, later pursuing an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pacific Oaks College. She volunteers for Centro de Niños, The American Cancer Society, and serves on Sequoyah School’s Diversity Committee. She is interested in researching family history, social justice work, camping, and travel.

JESSICA YANG ’10, a graduate of Cornell University and University of Pennsylvania Law School, began her career as a Price Waterhouse Coopers auditor and is now a real estate attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Jessica is an alumni admissions interviewer for Cornell University and volunteers at the Public Counsel All Saints Church Walk-in Legal Clinic. She enjoys badminton, swimming, and managing an Instagram account with 20,000+ followers.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me: A Memoir, Deirdre Bair

Meetings will take place from 7-8:30 pm (Pacific) online until it’s safe to gather again at Westridge in the Leslie Clarke Gray ’62 Alumnae Living Room, Pitcairn House. No matter where you are in the book, you’re always welcome at the book club meetings.


Alumnae 2020

Animation Producer Jinko Gotoh ’75 (pictured above) receives the 2020 Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor. Lauren Yang ’10 (pictured middle) receiving the newly established 2020 Distinguished Young Alumna Award. Jeanne Thiel Kelley ’81 with faculty member Juanita Jimenez (pictured right).

Please visit www.westridge.org/ distinguished-alumnae to nominate alumnae for the Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumnae Award or the Distinguished Young Alumnae Award by November 20.


Class of 1975 reunion attendees include: Louise Van Voorst, Jil Chamberlin, Alisa Boruck Dodge, Libby Maynard, Kate Wheeler Rock, Pam Schachter, Helen Mayer, Patrice Pedro, and Jinko Gotoh.

Fall 2020 /


Class of 1970 reunion attendees include (seated, from left): Nancy Davis, Laurie Westenberger Sturley, Cecilia Wahlin Oster, Marcie McCullough, Jane Moorman, Tedda Oldknow, Tracy Metz Middle row: L. Kassana Holden, Christy Shonnard Hedges, Brooke Larsen Garlock, Candace Caldwell Smith Back row: Cinty Howes Kepner, Laurie Mirman, Tracy Gamble Hirrel, Lynn Morgan Cutter, Janet Ellis Calvo, Eliza Linley, Laurie Barlow, Nan Engle Carroll, Hope Tschopik Schneider Above top: Madrigals members Sophia C. ’22, Mia McKinney ’20, Phoebe J. ’21, and Kat M. ’21 perform during the luncheon under the direction of Paul Stephenson. Above: Members of the Madeline Society present for coffee (and tea, of course) in Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor’s office include (seated in front, from left): Isabel Travis Pulvers ’59, Teri Wilde ’60, and Amanda Nyce McIntyre ’55. Middle: Laurie Stanford Turner ’80 and Pamela Carter Bryant ’80. Back: Jenifer Paul Bode ’55, Maryanne Van Vorst Ryan ’79, Cheri Colby Langdell ’61, Hope Tschopik Schneider ’70, Susie Straubel Champion ’55, Sigrid Burton ’69, and Carole Fortin Conger ’60.

Lauren Gibbs ’02 with faculty member Katie Rothenberg Wei ’94, Emily Ko Wang ’93, and Roxanne Wu ’94

for all Westridge alumnae & with reunions for classes ending in “6” or “1” Westridge is following city and county guidelines for large scale gatherings, and if permitted to do so, we will welcome you back to campus March 12-13.


Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor with guest speaker and LA Times Cooking Editor Genevieve Ko ’96, and Maral Tavitian ’13, who served as a moderator.

contact Lisa Vandergriff, director of alumnae affairs at lvandergriff@westridge.org or call 626.799.1053, ext. 244.



KATHARINE (KATIE) NEVINS SCHWARZENBACH ’39 Katherine died peacefully in her sleep on July 13 in Claremont, CA. Following Westridge, Katie, as she was known to her large family and circle of friends, attended UC Berkeley. She married fellow Pasadenan Edward Washburn and lived in Washington D.C. for a year before raising four children back in Pasadena. In 1958 she married Chris Schwarzenbach, which brought four more children to their household, before Katie and Chris added twins to the mix! Katie was active in the Pasadena Garden Club and served as president of the Pasadena Art Alliance. In 1979 Katie moved to New York City, where she was a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She spent summers in Islesboro, Maine, and moved there in 1995, staying active with golf, tennis,


sailing, and gardening. She returned to Pasadena in 2006, and after moving to Claremont in 2010, quickly became known at her Mount San Antonio Gardens residence for her quick wit, intellectual curiosity, and interests in art and theater. While at Westridge, Katie was senior class President and played basketball; these commonalities were highlighted during the 2019 Alumnae Weekend Luncheon when the 2019 Senior Class President Olivia Neil recognized Katie on her 80th reunion. She is survived by her six children, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and by her sister Dorothy McCay Scully ’54 and step-sister Priscilla Dunn Flynn ’47. She was preceded in death by her brother, Richard Nevins, and sisters Ann Nevins Schneider ’41, Louisa Nevins Miller ’44, and Sabra McCay Clark ’48.

VIRGINIA PRETTYMAN BERTRANDO ’40 Westridge recently learned of Virginia’s passing in Santa Barbara, CA on October 2, 2017. According to her son, Michael, Virginia was featured in the 2016 book Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt, about the women “computers” at JPL in the 1950s and beyond.

JEAN BAKER WATKINS ’42 Jean passed away at age 96 on July 4 in Napa, CA. Following Westridge, she attended Smith College in Massachusetts, where she met and later married Wilbur Lewis Watkins. They lived in Weston, MA until moving to Atherton, CA in 1952. Jean was a devoted mother and grandmother, sharing her

Fall 2020 / Surgere

love for animals with her children, and volunteering to rehabilitate crows for Wildlife Rescue. She liked to travel, garden and cook, was an avid reader, and active member of the San Francisco World Affairs Council. Jean is survived by her four children, two grandchildren, and sister-in-law.

ETHEL STRATTON (BUNNY) GOULD ’45 Bunny grew up in Eagle Rock, CA and passed away at her home in Pasadena of age and stroke-related complications on December 23 at the age of 92. After graduating from Westridge, she attended Vassar College, graduating in 1949. She was married to Roy W. Gould, Caltech Simon Ramo Professor, for 67 years and they had two children, Diana and Robert. Bob passed away in 2014. Bunny had many interests including music, dancing, art, architecture, mathematics, and travel. While at Vassar, she frequently traveled to NYC where she studied dance with Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham. After attending Vassar, she worked for North American Aviation as a mathematician and computer programmer in the very early days of digital computers and later as a mathematician for Electro Data Corporation in Pasadena. As a Westridge alumna Bunny coedited the alumnae newsletter during the early 80’s and was an active member of the Class of 1945. She was also a founding member of the Westridge Madeline Society. Bunny is survived by her husband Roy, her daughter Diana Gould, and two grandchildren.



Deborah passed away peacefully in her home in South Pasadena on October 24, 2016. Deborah and her twin sister were born in Massachusetts. After the death of their father, they moved to Los Angeles. Deborah worked and later owned Butcher-Fisher Insurance Agency in South Pasadena where she lived for over 60 years. She was a well-known antique doll expert and avid bridge player. “Happiness is a game, and I play to win.” Deborah is survived by her daughters, Natalia and Victoria, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and her twin sister Norma Morse Elliott ’47.

Diana passed away April 7 in Pasadena. She was a Rose Princess in the 1952 Rose Parade and attained her bachelor’s in architecture in 1965 from USC. Diana redesigned the landscaping of many homes in Pasadena. Her diverse creativity in life included gardening, cooking, making art, good food and drink, and enjoying her family and friends. A celebration of Diana’s life will be held in the near future.

DOROTHY RUEBEL DAVIS ’48 Dorothy’s son, Malcolm, notified Westridge that his mother passed away on June 20, 2019. While a student at Westridge, Dorothy served as an officer of the Welfare Association as head of Thanksgiving donations. She went on to attend Pomona College and Central Washington State. Her husband Charles survives her.

SUZANNE ELY BYRNE ’49 Suzanne’s daughter, Brindan, notified Westridge that her mother passed away on March 31, 2014 at the age of 81. Suzanne, of Hilo, HI, was a retired teacher, survived by her husband, son, two daughters, her brother, six grandchildren, and two greatgrandchildren.

CYNTHIA HOLYOKE HARRIS ’50 Cynthia’s daughter, Thea, contacted Westridge to say that her mother passed away on June 10. “She had such fond memories of her days at Westridge, and I know she attended a number of alumnae events over the years,” wrote Thea.

JOAN IRVINE SMITH ’51 Joan passed away December 19, 2019 at home at age 86. Joan grew up in Beverly Hills and Pasadena and what is now Irvine, CA. While a student at Westridge, she served as editor-in-chief of Inlook and played on the varsity volleyball team. In 2001 she received the Westridge Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award. In honor of the occasion, Joan presented the Westridge library collection with books on California history published by the Irvine Museum. Joan was also featured in a Surgere issue “Stewarding the Land: Westridge Women Making a Difference.” Joan was a philanthropist, environmentalist, social and corporate activist, horsewoman, art collector, and chronicler of the history of Southern California, and hosted several Westridge alumnae gatherings at The Irvine Museum.

MARY ELLIS VAN METER SANFORD ’53 Mary died April 9 in Denver, Colorado after being in poor health. She attended Westridge for fourth through ninth grades. Her mother, Mary Josephine Bishop, graduated from Westridge in 1926. Mary is survived by her husband, Herb Sanford, to whom she was married for 64 years, four children, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.




Ann passed away peacefully in Reno, Nevada on April 15. After graduating from Westridge, she earned a B.A. and M.F.A. from USC and began her career in advertising through the media sector of Young & Rubicam in Los Angeles. She supervised a roster of high-profile businesses and was later recruited by Gannett Corporation to serve as V.P. of Western Business Development. In 1987, Ann married her longtime companion Konstantine “Konnie” Kulesha at the home of her parents in Pasadena. They moved to Reno in 1993 and built their dream home. She continued her work in advertising and public relations as an account executive, and in her spare time enjoyed travel, hosting dinner parties, and Rummikub. Ann was a proud member of the Madeline Society and supporter of Westridge’s future. She is survived by her stepdaughter Alexandra Kulesha and step-granddaughters, sister Carol Horton Hawkins ’64, nieces and nephews, and many dear friends.

Karen died on May 27. She was born in Pasadena and graduated from both Westridge and Brown University. She spent the next 30 years helping to pave the way for women to the executive suites in the New York publishing world. Karen retired to Santa Barbara in 1999. She was active in volunteer work for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the Santa Barbara Women’s Fund and devoted herself to caring for her parents. She was a founding member of the Westridge Madeline Society and a Westridge Forever Fund Ambassador. Karen is survived by her sister, Palmer Robinson ’68, brother-law Steve Hopp, two nephews, and a host of devoted friends on both coasts.

CAROL VAN ZALINGEN Carol passed away April 14 of complications related to COVID-19. Ms. V., as she was known to students, joined Westridge in 2008 as the 8th grade English teacher and in 2015 transitioned to the role of dean of Lower and Middle School student support. This latter role combined her exquisite talent as an educator and her seemingly bottomless capacity for empathy and caring. In the


LEE MATTHEW ’64 Lee died on March 9 losing a longterm battle with leukemia. While at Westridge, she served on the Inlook staff as photography editor and played on

classroom she was known to connect in a very special way with each of her students. Her colleagues describe her as “a safe space for students and adults.” She was known as gentle and wise, always reaching out to help others in a supportive and non-judgmental manner. And Carol was a master at helping girls progress along a path to being independent learners and finding and following a positive personal narrative. She was also a gifted Young Adult novelist with a passion for writing intelligent young heroines coming into their own; her two books Chiron’s Descent and the sequel Crossing Charon can be read on Swoonreads.com. Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor said “Ms. V. (Carol) created a safe space for one and all. She always took time to help students and adults in need. She saw us for who we are and encouraged us to believe believe in our essential goodness. Ms. V. made those new to our community feel included and welcome.”

the tennis team. Classmate Britt Gordon Ascher and Lee were the only two Westridge students to go to Wellesley College after graduating. Lee, being a year ahead, was only 16 at the time. Britt said, “Lee was one of the most brilliant women I’ve ever known.” Lee went on to get a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne, and lived a rich, creative life with a background in philosophy, economics, and worked as a financial advisor. She is survived by her partner Karen Patrick and sister Catherine Mathew Ellis ’61.

FACULTY NAOMI WASSERBURG Naomi died on June 2 at Villa Gardens in Pasadena. She taught Biology at Westridge, retiring in 1989. Her husband, Gerald J. Wasserburg, John D. MacArthur Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Emeritus, died in June of 2016.

Many who knew Carol shared stories and tributes on an online memorial site that was set up for our community at www.forevermissed.com/carol-vanzalingen. One former student had this to say about Carol: “Not only did she teach me the nuts and bolts of English grammar... she also taught me to be kind. I remember at the end of 8th grade that she had all of us write one nice thing about each of our classmates, which she compiled into ‘nice lists’ for each of us to take home and read over whenever we needed a boost... the exercise... was instrumental in teaching me how to be a better person and how to see the good in everyone.” - Sheridan Marsh ’16 Carol’s memory will be honored in the Lower School playground, a nod to her belief in the importance of play in life and learning.


THE BENEFITS OF GIVING WISELY Did you know there are creative ways to support Westridge School? Ways in which Westridge, you, and your loved ones all benefit at the same time? If you are uncertain about making a contribution to Westridge during this challenging time, we can help!

Such giving techniques are called “planned gifts� because with thoughtful planning, your gift can benefit both you and Westridge. FOR EXAMPLE: Y  ou can make a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime by naming Westridge in your will or trust. You can give stock and realize larger tax savings. Planned gifts are recognized in the Madeline Society. We encourage you to become a member of the Madeline Society, which honors the generosity of all those who provide for Westridge School in their estate plans or other deferred giving arrangement.

If you would like information about making a gift that will benefit the school in the future, please contact Lisa Vandergriff, director of alumnae affairs, at 626.799.1053, ext. 244, or lvandergriff@westridge.org

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Our beloved ceramics teacher Juanita Jimenez will be retiring at the end of this school year after 50 years at Westridge. We will be celebrating Juanita in spring 2021. Look out for more details!

Profile for Westridge School

Fall 2020 Surgere Magazine  

Fall 2020 Surgere Magazine