a PDF of the Spring 2014 Taft Bulletin

living green
Spring 2014
Spring 2014
in this issue
Carly Borken:
Connecting Life and
Learning for a
Greater Impact
By Debra Meyers
From the Green
Preserving Watertown’s
Historic District
By Jennifer Clement
What Everyone
Needs to Know
By Alex Prud’homme ’80
2 From the Editor
3 Taft Trivia
4 Alumni Spotlight
10 Around the Pond
40 Tales of a Taftie:
Deane Keller ’19
42 From the Archives:
Secret Societies
v Taft Chaplain Bob Ganung
leads Lion Dancers down Main
Hall in celebration of the Lunar
New Year. Peter Frew ’75
from the EDITOR
After 26 years, and approximately 100 issues, the time has come for me to turn over
the reins of Taft Bulletin. How many issues
I’ve put together depends on how you count
special issues like the Centennial and those
I started or finished as I embarked on a sabbatical year, but either way, it’s a lot of stories.
Of course I have my favorites, and feel
humbled by the accomplishments, courage and commitment of so many alumni.
Beyond the articles themselves, though, have
been the adventures, the hunt for the best
stories—the day I got to spend shadowing
Will Dana ’81 at Rolling Stone, or my private
tour of the Bronx Zoo’s gorilla exhibit with
its creator, John Gwynne ’67, Skyping with
Linda Zackin ’80 in Namibia, trips to Maine
and Vermont to interview our oldest alumni
and hear their stories of Mr. Taft and life in
the old Warren House.
Those who know me well know how
addicted I am to school history and trivia,
so I have been equally enthralled by finds in
the Taft archives, perusing back issues of the
magazine for the Bulletin’s 75th anniversary
issue (founded in 1923), or when a stack
of large-format negatives for the 1929 yearbook arrives in the mail. Just the thought
makes me giddy.
Above all, though, I have seen myself as a
reader’s advocate. What would YOU want to
read? How can we tell this story in a way that
will make you want to read it? What does this
story say about Taft? Will you feel inspired,
informed, connected?
But I hope at least once in this last quarter century you have read something in the
Bulletin that made you question my judgment, if not my sanity—what was that editor
thinking?! We proudly claim to graduate
lifelong learners at Taft, and I hope the magazine in some small way has been able to help
fulfill that goal. We tell students that to truly
learn, they need to go outside their comfort
zones. So, yes, every once in a while I tried
to make you a little bit uncomfortable, dear
reader. I hope you’ll forgive me.
So now it’s time to make myself a little
uncomfortable, to try something new. You’ve
inspired me to take a risk. I have another
story I’d like to tell—a slightly longer one,
completely fictitious (don’t worry, what happens in class notes stays in class notes), so
I am taking a leave of sorts. The good news
is that I’m the wife and mother of Tafties,
so not only will I continue to receive the
Bulletin, but I also still get to live on campus.
How sweet is that?
Please welcome Linda Beyus as the “new”
editor of Taft Bulletin. Linda is familiar to
class secretaries as the person who has edited
the Alumni Notes for the past 11 years, and
will continue to do so. A few of you may also
remember that she served as acting editor
during my sabbatical leave and as managing
editor this last year as I devoted more time to
the capital campaign. She, too, wants to hear
your stories!
—Julie Reiff
On the Cover
v Wold Family
Chair in
Studies and
Carly Borken at
the school’s new
chicken coop.
Robert Falcetti
living green
Taft on the Web
Spring 2014
Volume 84, Number 3
Julie Reiff
Managing Editor:
Linda Hedman Beyus
Design: Good Design LLC
Send alumni news to:
Linda Hedman Beyus
Alumni Office
The Taft School
Watertown, CT 06795-2100
[email protected]
Deadlines for Alumni Notes:
Summer–May 15
Fall–August 30
Winter–November 15
Spring–February 15
Send address corrections to:
Katey Geer
Alumni Records
The Taft School
Watertown, CT 06795-2100
[email protected]
Find a friend’s address or look
up back issues of the Bulletin
at www.taftalumni.com
Visit us on your phone with
our mobile-friendly site
Spring 2014
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afternoon’s game?
Visit www.taftsports.com
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800-995-8238 or 860-945-7736
Please recycle this Bulletin
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2 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855)
is published quarterly, in February,
May, August and November, by The
Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road,
Watertown, CT 06795-2100, and is
distributed free of charge to alumni,
parents, grandparents and friends of
the school. All rights reserved.
Then and Now
I look forward to receiving the Bulletin each
quarter and read it from cover to cover. Not
only does it bring back memories, but it also
updates me on news of the school and all
the wonderful changes that have been made
since 1948. I envy the students of recent
classes as to the facilities available to them.
Yes, in our day Taft was very progressive for
the time, but advances, especially in the later
years, are fantastic, starting with the admission of females in 1971.
When I attended Taft, the war was coming
to a close, but there was so much that had to
be done to rebuild the world. However, these
were also great times as we approached the
’50s. We were innocent compared to the young
people of today, but we were also ambitious.
I entered Taft in the 8th grade and
therefore spent five years there. I was head
monitor and received the Class of 1908
Medal. Unfortunately many of my classmates have passed away in the last few years,
but there are still enough of us alive to
share memories of our years at Taft. I must
say that those years were some of the best
of my life and still have good friends from
my days there. My wife and I have lived in
Switzerland since my retirement in 2008,
and we enjoy our chalet in the Swiss Alps.
—George Gershel ’48
Cuba and More
I receive many alumni publications from
various schools, and yours is the most
outstanding. It is great reading for me to
relive some of my high school experiences.
I remember setting up hockey boards and
flooding a field with fire hoses all night.
When I visited Hotchkiss with my sons’ Taft
team, they still had preserved the old short
white boards of the old rink (very easy to
check an opponent over those short boards)!
It is very special for me to hear about fellow trustees from my years on the Taft board.
I miss seeing Ferdie a lot; he stopped by
New Canaan from time to time—absolutely
We neglected to mention a key fact
in the winter Bulletin story “USA
Hockey,” that the women’s national
team game against the boys’ varsity
ended with a 1–1 tie in regulation,
with the women scoring in suddendeath overtime. Very exciting.
irreplaceable to all of us. Great article by
Eduardo Mestre ’66, too, although I don’t
agree with all of it. I was in Cuba for a few
months (at Guantanamo while in the Navy)
and went on my honeymoon there in 1958.
—John Burns P’84,’88,’93
War Time
It was moving to read the “From the Archives”
piece in the winter Taft Bulletin. The message
from Paul Cruikshank was so simple yet so
powerful—imagine what it was like to lead the
school at this time. Fifty-nine Taft graduates
paid the supreme price, a very large number
considering the size of the school at that time.
Thanks for including this in the magazine—a
critical part of the rich Taft history.
—Peter Ziesing P’07,’09,’12
Roof Runners
In the fall Bulletin, Andy Klemmer ’75 makes a
casual reference to having learned “roof climbing” at Taft. Knowing Andy as both a Taft
student and a Taft parent, I suspect that “roof
climbing” included running the peaks of CPT,
a not unusual occurrence in the early ’70s. In
my opinion, the most notorious of the roof
runners was the member of the Class of ’72
who has run for president of the U.S. on three
occasions: John Hagelin. How John was identified as a roof runner is an interesting story.
I’m sure that many students have wondered about exactly what goes on in those
faculty class committee meetings, where
they talk about every student. Usually, it’s
pretty uneventful, but at a meeting of the
Uppermiddle Committee (chaired by Selden
Edwards) in the 1970–71 school year, when
John’s name was read, a faculty member
raised his hand. He said that the previous
night he had caught him running the peaks of
CPT and told him that it was very dangerous,
and if he ever caught him again, he would
turn him in to the Dean’s Office. (It’s interesting to note that in the Student Handbook
of that year there is no rule about being out
on the roofs of the school.) At this point 19
other faculty volunteered the information
that they too had caught John up on the CPT
roof at one time or another and had delivered
the same warning. The story goes that he ran
the peaks while dressed in black with a black
cape flowing behind him.
John survived his roof-running experiences, but as I recall he spent most of the first
term of his senior year living in the infirmary,
having broken several bones in a motorcycle
accident over the summer. His photo in the
1972 Taft Annual has him on crutches. The
1972–73 Student Handbook contains the
following rule: “Students may not, under
any circumstances, be out on the roofs of
school buildings. Since the school cannot
take responsibility for such activity, students
who abuse this regulation may be asked to
withdraw from school.”
—Dick Cobb, faculty emeritus
Love it? Hate it?
Read it? Tell us!
We’d love to hear what you think
about the stories in this Bulletin.
We may edit your letters for length,
clarity and content, but please write!
Linda Hedman Beyus, managing editor
Taft Bulletin
110 Woodbury Road
Watertown, CT 06795-2100
or [email protected]
Taft Trivia
In what year did the Arts and Humanities Center rise
from the shells of the “old” and “new” gymnasiums by
the pond?
Send your guess to [email protected] The
winner, whose name will be chosen at random from all
correct entries received, will receive a stone coaster.
Congratulations to Matthew Petroff ’11, who
correctly named Global Service and Scholarship as
newest academic department at Taft.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 3
alumni Spotlight
By Linda Hedman Beyus
v Bergin O’Malley ’95 leads one of her
Sing and Play Together interactive shows
for children.
A Positive Note
“I find myself wanting to write more
about swimming like a fish and blowing bubbles than I do about politics or
romance, as I once did,” says songwriter/
performer Bergin O’Malley ’95.
Becoming a mother shifted her priorities and the way she wanted to live
and work, so she started Sing and Play
Together, a program of interactive music shows for children, in Stonington,
Connecticut, where she lives.
Graduating from Columbia with a degree in international relations, O’Malley
worked on reproductive health issues at
George Soros’s Open Society Institute,
ran field programs for Democratic candidates like Senator Hillary Clinton, and
ran a campaign to promote social enterprise for the Cabinet Office in London.
Then she got pregnant.
4 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
“My college friend, Melissa Haith,
and I were scheduled to perform at a folk
festival, but it felt strange to be singing
about exes and war and politics with this
burgeoning life inside me,” she says. “I
wanted to create something positive and
fun for my son-to-be, so we tried children’s music. As soon as we started, we
were hooked.”
The duo Bergin and Melissa released
their first album, Let’s Sing and Play
Together, in 2010, and another in 2012.
They’ve been performing Sing and Play
shows since then, and last fall, O’Malley
started weekly classes; she also performs for the community center’s
preschool program.
“One of the bonuses of spending
such focused time writing and performing my children’s music is that
it’s reinvigorated me to write non-kid
music,” she says. This year she plans to
release an album of new and old songs.
“I’ve been writing music since I was
very young. I won my first songwriting
competition at age nine, when I beat out
the school piano wiz for the gold,” says
O’Malley. Taft strengthened her love of
music. “I thought of the Choral Room as
my own personal sanctuary,” she says.
Wanting to work for a local,
established company—with adult
peers—O’Malley also does business
development at Cottrell Brewing. It
offers a crossover of skills in marketing,
design and consumer relations.
“It’s a great mix,” she says. “Sing and
Play allows me to connect with other
young families and children, and taps
into my mom brain and creativity. The
brewery is where I think and talk beer,
events, sales, bottling.”
The combination enables O’Malley to
have a few days with her two children. “It
takes a village, for sure, to raise a family,
and I am blessed to have help from a wonderful crew and family,” she says.
“On my son Emmett’s birthday, I was
putting him to bed, and said I was so
grateful to be his mom and that before
him I wasn’t a mommy, I was just Bergin.
He turned to me and said, ‘But Mommy,
you weren’t just Bergin, you were Bergin
and Melissa.’ He understands that music
is a huge part of who I am, so I’m lucky
to have my kids support too!”
For more see www.singandplaytogether.com
Locally Inspired
Gray McNally ’98 does what he wants to
do every day—he cooks, amazingly well.
The executive chef for Chicago’s Tortoise
Club, McNally’s passion for fine cuisine
took root early on. And, even better, in
his hometown.
“Growing up I was always interested
in food, and both of my parents were
great home cooks. Going out to eat was
always a treat, and I had a great respect
for the restaurants that provided remarkable experiences,” he says.
It wasn’t until he was faced with the
real-world job search after college that
McNally started thinking about becoming a chef as a career option. “I just knew
I loved to eat and took a leap of faith that
I could make a career out of it,” he says.
He went to culinary school, but he
says that his real training and development came from working in the best
restaurants with talented chefs and established systems.
McNally spent many years working
his way up the ranks in Chicago’s best
restaurants, including Spiaggia, BoKa
and Ria (in the former Elysian Hotel).
The Tortoise Club, with its classic
city-club atmosphere, brought McNally
on board when it opened two years ago.
A patron on the restaurant’s Facebook
page noted, “It’s like dining on the set of
Mad Men.”
“I work almost exclusively with local
farmers and artisans,” he says. “The best
part of my job is going to the Green City
Market before work, where hundreds of
Midwestern farmers come to show off
n Top-notch chef Gray McNally ’98 in the
kitchen at Chicago’s Tortoise Club.
their goods. This is where I pick up a lot
of the inspiration for my seasonally inspired menu.
“I decided that the most important
thing for me was to pursue a career that
I was passionate about,” he adds. “This
way, being successful coincides with doing exactly what I want to do every day.”
The Gift
A marble sculpture created by Fred X.
Brownstein ’64, The Gift, won the Pietro
and Alfrieda Montana Award for an
outstanding work either carved or cast
in the 80th Annual Exhibition of the
National Sculpture Society. The juried
show exhibited 48 works of art, first at
the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida
and then at Brookgreen Gardens in
Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
The sculpture was made on commission for collectors in Maryland,
and this was the first time The Gift was
publicly exhibited. “My work in private
collections is rarely shown in public
exhibitions, so this was an exception,”
Brownstein says.
“The owners allowed me freedom
to create it for them,” he says. “Most
of my marble sculptures are female
figures, and there is always some visual
poetry involved, so The Gift is both
typical and unique.”
“My experience living and working
in Italy from 1975 to 1991 is the foundation of all my work,” Brownstein says. He
apprenticed in a marble workshop with
Italian carvers for four years and worked
there for one year as a professional craftsman before opening his own studio in
Querceta, Italy. Brownstein also studied
figure drawing for four years with Signa.
Simi in Florence to learn more about the
human figure for his work as a sculptor.
Brownstein is a fellow member of the
National Sculpture Society and a professional member of the Stone Carvers
Guild. He moved to Vermont with his
family in 1991 and established his present studio in North Bennington.
v The Gift, a prize-winning marble sculpture created by Fred Brownstein ’64.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 5
alumni Spotlight
Juice Juggernaut
As social chair of Phi Kappa Psi at
George Washington University, Chris
Wirth ’08 decided that the “jungle juice”
served at college parties was in need of
While working part-time at the
Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C.,
Wirth enlisted the help of the hotel’s
cocktail consultant, Massimiliano Matté,
to develop juice blends that tasted better than the concoction of neutral spirits
(like Everclear) and frozen juice concentrate ubiquitous at college parties and that
could be mixed with club soda or spirits.
The feedback on what they came up
with was that the drinks were too good,
that these blends belonged on the menu
at a hotel bar. And with that reaction,
American Juice Company was born.
Wirth started the business during
his senior year of college and split his
time between running it and working
at a luxury residential real estate firm in
New York City after he graduated. He
quit the real estate gig when the shuffling
between his office, his apartment (for
client tastings) and AJC’s production
site in Long Island City, Queens, made it
impossible to maintain both jobs.
Last fall, fellow Taftie Ann
Samuelson ’08 year joined AJC (after
hearing about it at her class’s Fifth
Reunion) as director of operations, and
has helped grow the business into what
it is today: a far-reaching juice juggernaut that counts as clients Hornblower
Cruises, Danny Meyer’s North End
Grill, the Campbell Apartment and the
Marriott Marquis, one of the largest
hotels in Manhattan.
AJC uses 30 different ingredients,
including a variety of fresh fruits, spices
and homemade syrups, to make the
current nine blends, all of which have
Ben-and Jerry-like names inspired by
famous Americans: Chuck Blueberry,
Cornelius Vanillabilt and Harriet
Peacher Stowe, to name a few.
Wirth puts in very long days.
Production days can run as long as 15
hours. But his dedication is paying off.
Wirth and four other New York entrepreneurs under 30 were filmed not long ago
for the television pilot Driven to Succeed.
You don’t have to wait until the show
premieres to get a taste of AJC, though—
all the blends are available for purchase
at www.americanjuicecompany.com.
—Sam Dangremond ’05
h Chris Wirth ’08, left,
and the American Juice
Company team serve
cocktails using the
Herman Mangoville and
the James Guavafield
blends at the Museum
of Natural History’s
Soirée in the Park.
6 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Taft’s Highest
Alumni Honor
Taft has honored Will Miller ’74 with
the 2014 Horace D. Taft Alumni Medal.
The school’s highest alumni honor is
given annually to a person whose life
work best exemplifies Taft’s motto:
Not to be served but to serve. Miller has
led a widely encompassing and ongoing
life of service in philanthropy, the civic
sector and business.
The award will be presented to
him on Alumni Weekend before
his fellow alumni, peers and family.
“What he’s done is really
extraordinary,” says Rafe de la
Gueronniere ’70, chair of the selection committee. “Will stands out
among people who have dedicated their
lives to service.”
From Miller’s many roles a theme
emerges: a commitment to education,
human rights, community redevelopment, health care and the arts.
He is president of the Wallace
Foundation, one of the nation’s 50
largest independent, charitable foundations, whose primary goal is to expand
learning and enrichment opportunities
for children and to strengthen educational leadership.
“He is thoughtful, effective and
selfless,” de la Gueronniere says. “Will
serves for the right reasons, not for any
accolades, and doesn’t want credit for it.”
Having served as a Taft trustee for nearly
three decades, “with his institutional
memory, judgment and skill set, no one
ever felt he should leave the board,” adds
de la Gueronniere, who served on Taft’s
board with Miller for 15 of those years.
“Will was irreplaceable.”
Tapped for Taft’s board of trustees
right out of college, Miller soon became
the moving force behind the board’s
Long-Range Planning Committee, embarking on a journey that would remake
the campus over the next quarter century.
“Will grew up in Columbus, Indiana,
where he was surrounded by buildings
n Alumni Medal winner Will Miller ’74, with daughters Laura, Katherine and Emily,
and wife Lynne, enjoying a visit to Spain.
created by the most innovative architects in the world, including Eero
Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche and
Cesar Pelli,” explained John Vogelstein
’52, who preceded Miller as board chair.
“He applied his architectural sensibilities and took the lead in a program that
steadily remodeled and rebuilt the
school and its campus.”
Miller had a vision that would bring
the physical plant back in touch with
Horace Taft’s central buildings and at the
same time create facilities that would rival
those of the best independent schools.
He served on the board for a total of
28 years, with four as chair (2002–06).
He also served as chair of the board’s
Governance Committee and as a member
of the Executive Committee.
He has served on the boards of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation and Yale University, and
is a past board chair of Public Radio
Miller was a founding member of
the Community Education Coalition,
a regional partnership of school superintendents, community college
leaders, the business community and
others that focuses on education and
careers in advanced manufacturing,
health care and hospitality/tourism
for southeastern Indiana.
As director of the Cummins
Foundation, he helped support programs designed to promote education,
the environment and social justice,
along with community improvement. Miller served as chair of Irwin
Financial Foundation, whose work
supports hospitals, education, abuse
prevention, human services and community redevelopment.
Miller earned a B.A. from Yale
University in 1978 and an M.B.A. from
Stanford University in 1981. Following
in his father’s footsteps, Miller began
his business career at Cummins Inc.
J. Irwin Miller ’27, great-nephew of
the firm’s founder, led Cummins to
international prominence and was also
awarded the Citation of Merit award in
1961 for his life of service.
Miller served as president and CEO
of Irwin Management Company in
Columbus from 1983 to 1990, and
was chair and CEO of Irwin Financial
Corporation from 1990 to 2009. He
also spent two years as an associate at
Warburg Pincus, in New York City.
Miller is married to Lynne Maguire,
and they have three daughters:
Katherine, Laura and Emily. Katherine
and Emily are both at Yale.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 7
In Print
Due Diligence and the Business
Transaction: Getting a Deal Done
Jeffrey W. Berkman ’82
Due Diligence and the Business Transaction: Getting a
Deal Done is a practical guide for anyone buying or
selling a privately held business or entering into a
major agreement with another company.
When buying a business, Jeffrey Berkman advises,
it’s wise to conduct due diligence: the process of
investigating and verifying a firm’s finances, labor
record, exposure to environmental issues, store of
intellectual property, hard assets, ownership structure and more. The book also shows sellers how to
conduct due diligence on their own firms to arrive
at the right sales price and uncover issues that might
scare off buyers or investors.
Berkman is principal at the Berkman Law Firm, a
corporate/business law firm advising startups, emerging
and established companies, investors and business
ventures in a variety of industries. He writes about business law issues on his blog, www.mybizlawyerblog.com,
and is a lecturer for continuing legal education classes
and a presenter at seminars and business workshops.
Damage Control: A Memoir of Outlandish
Privilege, Loss and Redemption
Sergei Boissier ’83
Damage Control is a powerful memoir about a gay man
and his larger-than-life Cuban mother finding each
other and reconciling after years of estrangement.
When Sergei Boissier, a psychotherapist,
discovers that his mother is terminally ill, he leaves
his practice and life in Paris to be with her. In the
process of adopting a child himself, he hopes to
understand and make peace with her.
Alternating between his mother’s last months as
she battles cancer, and poignant, often hilarious (and
sometimes shocking) scenes from the author’s childhood, this is a tale of excess and of glamorous and
entitled lives deep in denial. Boissier’s memoir travels
from the mountain village of Gstaad, Switzerland, to
New York, Miami and Cuba.
Through his own experiences, coming out in the
early ’80s and his years as an activist and therapist,
Boissier describes helping his mother come to terms
with her guilt, regrets and fear of dying.
After a brief stint in publishing and later as a family
counselor, Boissier moved to Paris, where he lived and
worked for 10 years. He is the author of “Children with
AIDS in the Bronx,” published in Betrayal: A Report
on Violence Toward Children in Today’s World, as well
as several unpublished novels. He is a single parent,
raising his daughter, Yasmina.
8 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Pan Am: An Aviation Legend
Barnaby Conrad III ’70
After Pan American’s first commercial flight, from
Key West to Havana, in 1927, its visionary founder,
Juan Trippe, teamed up with heroic aviator Charles
Lindbergh to pioneer routes into the Caribbean and
South America. Enlisting early aircraft builders Sikorsky,
Martin and Boeing, Pan Am developed planes that
finally conquered the vast Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
During its first 40 years, the company was responsible for virtually every innovation in commercial
aviation, from safety and performance features in its
aircraft to jet travel at affordable fares.
Although Pan American World Airways stopped
flying in 1991, its photographic history still stirs air
travelers’ imaginations. With more than 250 illustrations and vivid text, Barnaby Conrad honors not only
Pan Am’s golden era of the 1930s and ’40s, but also
depicts its iconic style of the ’50s and ’60s jet age.
This newly reissued book recounts the great friendship between Trippe and Lindberg, the secret wartime
mission Franklin Roosevelt made aboard a Pan Am
Clipper and the courageous acts of pilots who bravely
flew across the Pacific in 1935.
Conrad is the son of the late author Barnaby
Conrad ’40, who was also an amateur bullfighter.
After graduating from Yale, he worked as a journalist
and magazine editor. In 1982, he moved to Paris and
became an adventure travel writer. He has authored
more than 11 nonfiction books and hundreds of
magazine articles. Conrad has also taught at the Santa
Barbara Writers Conference for many years.
The Yard: Building a Community
Carrie Hitchcock ’75
From concrete desert to green oasis, photojournalist
Carrie Hitchcock ’75 tells the story of The Yard, a
community-led, self-built housing development in
inner-city Bristol, England. Hitchcock is one of a
group of people who built houses in the St. Werburghs
district, and in The Yard, she tells the story of how a
piece of concrete-covered industrial land became a
thriving community.
More than simply a record of the project, the book
aims to inform others who want to study or create
similar developments. It includes practical tips and
resources, and gives insight into the person or family
who created each house.
The book explores ideas of community, selfdetermination and the creative potential of resistance.
The Yard is a visually rich and inspiring book about
innovation and adaptive reuse, and strengthened by
Hitchcock’s creative photos.
Linens: For Every Room and Occasion
Jane Scott Offutt Hodges ’87
(Paul Costello, photographer, and
Charlotte Moss, Foreword)
Street Design: The Secret to
Great Cities and Towns
John Massengale ’69 and Victor Dover
(Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales)
Offering both visual inspiration and practical information, Jane Scott Offutt Hodges’ Linens: For Every Room
and Occasion is a beautifully created guide to living and
entertaining with fine textiles. She shows how linens
are uniquely adaptable to the way we live and decorate,
and can put a personal stamp on a home.
Images of beautiful linen-filled rooms adorn this
book, detailing interpretations of appliqué, embroidery, quilting, prints, monograms and borders. Linens
offers the author’s advice and insight on use and care,
as well as contributions from leading decorators and
home stylists. It opens up the possibilities for decorating and a fresh look at entertaining, and focuses on
the relevance of linens for today’s lifestyle.
Credited with reviving the art of couture linens for
everyday use, Hodges’ contributions have made her a
favorite of house and home magazines. As the founder
and owner of Leontine Linens, she has spent the past
two decades studying, collecting and innovating the
world of fine linens.
John Massengale and Victor Dover know how to fix
America’s neighborhoods, cities and towns to make
them walkable again. It begins with great streets
where people want to be, streets that are comfortable
and safe, and where they can get out of their cars to
bike and walk.
In Street Design, these two accomplished architects
and urban designers share insights on how good street
design can increase happiness, unlock economic value,
improve our health and lower our carbon footprints. It
is ideal reading for anyone who wants to create streets
that are not just routes to someplace else, but places
that are destinations in themselves.
This is an essential handbook for urban designers,
civic leaders, architects, city planners, engineers, developers, landscape architects and community activists. It
includes examples of more than 150 excellent historic
streets, retrofitted streets and new streets, and explains
how they were designed.
Massengale is an architect and urban designer
in New York City. He is a board member of the
Congress for the New Urbanism. With Robert A.M.
Stern, he co-authored New York 1900: Metropolitan
Architecture and Urbanism 1890–1915 and The AngloAmerican Suburb.
Multiple-Choice & ConstructedResponse Questions in Preparation
for the AP Chemistry Examination
David Hostage, Patsy Mueller
and Arden Zipp
Produced in response to the newly revised curriculum framework and examination format developed
by the College Board, the sixth edition is an entirely
new book. Its chapters feature a clear and concise
review of the covered topics, and each chapter ends
with at least 25 multiple-choice questions in the new
exam format. Also included are separate student
answer keys for these questions.
Designed to augment the question book is
the Student’s Solutions Manual to Accompany
Multiple-Choice & Constructed-Response Questions in
Preparation for the AP Chemistry Examination, which
provides a step-by-step solution and discussion of
common incorrect responses.
David Hostage has taught chemistry at Taft since
1984 and has been head of the Science Department
for two different terms, and he has served on the AP
Chemistry Test Development Committee for the
College Board.
The Blockbuster Book of Brain Expanding,
Creativity Enhancing, Writing Exercises
Philip Theibert ’71
“Guaranteed to make you a great writer, an innovative
thinker and a creative force in any walk of life,” Philip
Theibert promises in his latest book. He has published
extensively and teaches writing at various universities, as
well as conducting creativity and writing seminars. This
book is the result of more than 20 years of picking and
choosing the best writing exercises to boost creativity
and move one toward becoming a published author.
“An exercise a day will help build a writing portfolio, along with building the creative
side of your brain,” Theibert says. This
book is not just for someone who
If you would like a copy of your work
wants to be a writer—it is for those
added to the Hulbert Taft Library’s
Alumni Authors Collection and listed
who want to improve their thinking,
in this column, please send a copy to:
creativity and communication skills.
Theibert has been a corporate
Taft Bulletin
speechwriter, copywriter, technical
The Taft School
writer, reporter, editor and author. He
110 Woodbury Road
has also developed writing courses for
Watertown, CT 06795-2100
Fortune 500 companies.
For more information,
visit www.taftschool.org/news
, The Dance Ensemble
performs Ya Dig?,
choreographed by guest
choreographer and former
Rockette Lauren Gaul, one
of the highlights of the
Winter Dance Concert in
February. Olivia Paige ’15
around the Pond
By Julie Reiff
Dance Concert
The Dance Ensemble presented the annual Winter Concert in February in Bingham
Auditorium. The diverse program featured 27 dancers and six very different
pieces from various genres of dance.
Directed by Sarah Surber and assisted
by Amanda Benedict, the program displayed the versatility, talent and spirit of
Taft dancers.
“They were challenged with six very
demanding dances,” says Surber, “spanning the dance genres of ballet, modern,
jazz and cultural, and they certainly rose
to the task.”
10 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Dance Director Surber choreographed
three pieces for the evening, including
the fan favorite Les Parisiennes, a ballet
choreographed to the music of Edith Piaf
and using café chairs to set the scene.
Guest choreographer Patti Buchanan
of Westover School contributed a stark
and somber piece to the program,
Losing Your Todays, about relationships
between society and the homeless, and
guest choreographer Lauren Gaul, a
former Rockette, added a fun and quirky
jazz piece set to “Little Green Bag” by
George Baker.
Closing out the evening was a piece
by Surber, The Same in Any Language,
which displayed the youth, vibrancy
and individuality of the 16 dancers on
stage and was described by one student
in the audience as “charming, playful
and carefree.”
Beautifully crafted costumes were
designed and built for each dance by
resident costume designer Susan Becker
Aziz, and the striking lighting design was
thanks to guest lighting designer Dewey
Strang. Overall, the evening was sophisticated, diverse and enjoyable.
Remembering Zoë
It is a rare and tragic day when a school
loses one of its own, a current student.
As students prepared to return to
campus from winter break, news of the
sudden and unexpected death of Zoë
Klimley ’15 began to filter across social
media. On that Tuesday morning, second semester began with a gathering
in Bingham to remember her.
Zoë came to Taft in the fall of
2011. An Honor Roll student, she
served as a monitor for her dorm
and was elected co-chair of her class
committee. After her mid year, she
was elected captain of the girls’ crew
team. Zoë was radiant every day and
in everything she did. Her enthusiasm
was infectious and her smile dazzling.
In addition to the remembrance
at Taft and a candlelight vigil by the
pond later that week, many students
and faculty traveled to Bronxville,
New York, to attend the family’s memorial service for her.
“Zoë was all we hope for in a Taft
student,” said Headmaster Willy
MacMullen ’78 at the service in
Bingham. “She embodied the best
of what this school can be, what we
all might strive to become. She was a
young woman of incredible kindness
and curiosity who wanted to befriend
anyone she met, regardless of race
or background. She was a leader of
strength, integrity and compassion,
in the dorm, rowing and class committee. She was resilient and strong,
and challenged herself to be her best
in everything she did, from classes
to crew. She wanted to serve—her
school, church and community—to
make things better. We each carry a
piece of her heart. We are all better for
knowing her.”
The Zoë B. Klimley ’15 Memorial
Scholarship Fund has been created in
her memory. To date, 105 donors have
contributed $125,000, enough that a
recipient will be named among this
spring’s newly admitted students.
Twelfth Night
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, or What You
Will, set not on a Greek Isle but rather
at an exclusive seaside golf course? Of
course! The Illyria Country Club, in fact.
“St. Andrews golf course in Scotland,
the Old Course, was established in 1552.
Twelfth Night was first performed in
1602,” explains director David Kievit.
“I’m just saying it is possible.”
Shakespeare’s script was left mostly
intact, he adds. A few words were changed,
so the challenges become about playing
golf rather than dueling with swords—different kinds of irons. A steward becomes a
golf pro; a servant serves as caddy.
The tale is about identical twins
lost at sea, each one thinking the other
has drowned, and the madcap adventure that ensues when they are mistaken
for each other. Think Globe Theatre
meets Caddyshack.
This story about love—unreturned
love, misdirected love, self-love, secret
love, love of the idea of love—is as appropriate at Valentine’s Day as it is for the
Twelfth Day of Christmas, adds Kievit.
As the bard so perfectly noted, “If
music be the food of love, play on!”
v Sebastian LaPointe ’14 as Orsino in the win-
ter production of Twelfth Night, or Two Days
at the Illyria Country Club, with Bella Ordway
’15 as Cesario/Viola and Camila Papadopoulo
’16 as Olivia. Peter Frew ’75
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 11
around the POND
Sonnets and Soliloquies
February was Shakespeare month
at Taft. Lowermids competed in the
third annual Macbeth Recitation
Contest, followed a week later by
the Mid English Sonnet Recitations.
Students also put on a production of
Twelfth Night for Parents’ Weekend
(see page 11).
For the Macbeth Recitations, finalists performed in Laube Auditorium,
reciting a speech from “the Scottish
play” in an attempt to bring that speech
to dramatic life. A representative was
selected from each section of Lowermid
English, and the eight finalists then
went head-to-head in front of the entire
ninth grade. The champions this year
are Eugenie Greef, first; Tise Ben-Eka,
second, and George Shepherd, third.
“The recitations are an excellent
opportunity for students to find value
in expression beyond the written
word,” says English teacher Caitlin
Hincker. “Finding ways to successfully communicate the poetry of
Shakespeare to a modern audience
connects to so many of our goals as an
English department here at Taft. Not
only do students have to understand
what they are saying, but they also
need to understand what is motivating
these characters in the context of the
larger play. They are often stretched
outside of their comfort zone and
must take a leap of
faith to perform for
their peers. It is a wonderfully memorable and
rewarding experience for
us all. To see students excel in
this way is awesome.”
The Mid Sonnet Recitations, an
annual event with even deeper roots,
was equally competitive. This year’s
winners were Harry Wang, first with
Sonnet 130; Ai Bui, second with
Sonnet 29; and Maggie Luddy, third
with Sonnet 25.
You can watch the performers online at
The works featured in the East/West
exhibition encouraged the viewer to
ponder the human condition in a global
environment where technology has broken through barriers of culture, countries
and continents, narrowing perceived
gaps between countries and continents,
near and far, outsider and insider, the
individual and the collective.
The artists—from Asia, Europe
and the United States—address universal issues of identity, nationality,
consumerism, politics and individuality
with works that have been previously
exhibited in museum shows and
galleries around the world.
“This fantastic sampling of modern
works employs the visual language of
painting, photography and sculpture
by an internationally acclaimed selection of contemporary artists, to evoke a
dialogue about the flattening world we
currently inhabit,” says Mark W. Potter
Gallery Director Loueta Chickadaunce.
Like several of the artists featured
in East/West, Japanese artist Takashi
Murakami’s work is influenced by
American pop art and its godfather,
Andy Warhol. The exhibition was anchored by the oldest pieces, black and
white images from The Americans by
Swiss photographer Robert Frank.
Also represented were Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming, Americans Scott Hug,
Barbara Kruger and Richard Prince,
and Scotsman Douglas Gordon. The
works were loaned to the Mark W. Potter
Gallery by a private family foundation,
and were on display from January 10 to
February 16. The connecting force between the
pieces presented in East/West is perhaps
best summed up by one of the most illustrious American artists working today,
Jeff Koons, whose iconic sculpture New
Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers carries
on the Dada tradition of the ready-made
by placing these existing consumer products, literally, on a pedestal. Says Koons:
“Art is about profundity. It’s about connecting to everything that it means to be
alive, but you have to act.”
v Students began referring to the Mark W.
Potter Gallery as MoMA North during the
East/West exhibit this winter. Peter Frew ’75
What Makes a Tomato a Tomato
By combining genomic, molecular,
morphologic and phylogenetic techniques, Dr. Amy Litt evaluates how
evolutionary changes in the genetic
structure and function of plants have
produced the diversity we see growing
all around us.
Her talk at Taft, “What Makes a
Tomato a Tomato: Twenty Years of Plant
Research,” helped students understand
how the study of genetics can help answer scientific questions.
As director of plant genomics and
Cullman Curator at the New York
Botanical Garden, Litt studies the evolution of fleshy fruit from dry fruit, the
role of epigenetic modification in the
domestication of tomato, the complex
relationships between plant and soil microbial diversity in the deciduous forests
of the Northeast, and ethnobotanical,
chemical and the genomic analyses of
the high-antioxidant blueberries found
in the Andes.
Litt is also interested in the phylogeny
and floral morphology of vochysiaceae,
a tropical family known for its beautiful
and unusual flowers.
The New York Botanical Garden
Seminar Series at Taft features unique
lectures by NYBG scientists, and is
made possible by a grant from the
Yerkes Family Botanical Art and Science
Speakers Fund. NYBG’s Kate E. Tode
n Plant geneticist Dr. Amy Litt presented the
latest talk in the New York Botanical Garden
Seminar Series.
Curator of Botany, Dr. Charles M. Peters,
brought his expertise in tropical ecology
to the Taft community on April 4.
v The girls’ golf team bonded and baked
cookies for the Taft grounds crew in
March. Ginger O’Shea
Service Through Sports
Under the umbrella of the newly
formed Center for Global Leadership
and Service, student athletes are finding new ways to put the school motto
into practice. The Service Through
Sports initiative, led by faculty member Ginger O’Shea, helps teams find
ways to reach out to the greater community and fill a need.
The Center is premised on the
philosophy of “servant leadership,”
explains director Jamella Lee. “We are
giving student athletes an opportunity
to be servant leaders as they mentor
younger students in the community,
help serve seniors and support important social causes.
In January, student athletes organized clinics for local elementary
students through the MLK Young
Heroes Program in golf, skating, rock
climbing, volleyball, basketball and
squash. Students from Waterbury’s
Police Activity League also came to
watch a girls’ varsity basketball game.
Local senior citizens were invited
to the matinee performance of the
winter play, Twelfth Night (see page 11),
and were welcomed by members of
the boys’ JV squash team, who served
as their hosts.
The girls’ varsity golf team got
into the action early, baking cookies
in memory of Katie Fisher ’04
(www.katiefisherday.org) in March
to thank the school’s Grounds Crew
for their herculean efforts last winter.
They will continue their tradition this
spring, with the boys’ golf team, of
helping send children affected by domestic violence to camp this summer.
O’Shea is also helping student
organize a memorial run for Zoë
Klimley ’15 in May (see page 11).
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 13
around the POND
Gold Keys
n Sameness and Persistence, one of SoYoung
Park’s two Gold Key winners.
Senior SoYoung Park was recognized
by the Connecticut Scholastic Art and
Writing Awards with two Gold Keys and
an Honorable Mention!
The Scholastic awards recognize
student achievement in the visual and
literary arts in 28 categories, including
poetry, graphic design, fashion, science fiction and video game design.
Each work of art and writing is blindly
adjudicated, first locally through more
than 100 affiliates, and then nationally by panels of judges comprised of
renowned artists, authors, educators
and industry experts. Works are judged
on originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice. In
the past six years, students have submitted more than a million original
Model United Nations
Taft’s Model United Nations delegation made a strong
showing at the Harvard Model U.N. competition this
year. Representing the country of Luxembourg, Taft
faced some fierce competitors.
“We are proud to say our delegates representing the
European Union won the Outstanding Delegates award
on their committee. Rozalie Czesana ’14 in particular
was simply phenomenal—her scholarly acumen, diplomatic leadership and negotiation skills distinguished her
on the European Union,” says teacher Jamella Lee.
“This was my third time at HMUN, and it was the
best one,” says Rozalie. “Representing Luxembourg
in the European Union committee was a great experience, especially since we discussed reforming the
European Neighborhood Policy, specifically the very
current issue of the possible ascension of the Ukraine
into the E.U. While my committee was extremely
competitive—we spent more than 20 hours fiercely
debating, note-passing, block-building, resolutionwriting and finally voting—I also met many new
people from around the world.”
There were more than 3,000 delegates from over 200
schools at the Harvard conference. Taft’s Model U.N.
class, new this year, prepared next for the Cornell Model
United Nations conference in April.
14 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
h Rozalie
Czesana ’14
presenting at
the Harvard
Model United
works of art and writing.
Founded in 1923, the Scholastic
Art and Writing Awards is the nation’s
longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student
achievement in the visual and literary
arts. It has an impressive legacy and
a noteworthy roster of past winners,
including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath,
Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Joyce
Carol Oates and many others.
SoYoung’s work was displayed at the
Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art
Awards Exhibition from January 12 to
31 at the Silpe Gallery at the University
of Hartford. As a Gold Key winner for
Connecticut, her pieces will now be
judged at the national competition.
Results are announced in mid-March.
h Judy Carmichael
h Eugene Friesen
h Andrew Armstrong
The Cello/Piano Project, Eugene
Friesen and Tim Ray, followed in
February, performing contemporary
jazz, Brazilian classics and American
folk tunes. As featured players with
the likes of Paul Winter, Lyle Lovett,
Bonnie Raitt and others, both Friesen
and Ray have cultivated unique styles
of accompanying and soloing.
The Music for a While series
wrapped up the term with an “Evening
of Piano Trios,” with Andrew Armstrong
(piano), Amy Schwartz Moretti (violin)
and Edward Arron (cello). The program included works by Beethoven,
Handel, Rachmaninoff and Brahms.
It was a wild winter of concerts,
beginning with the fabulous Grammynominated Judy Carmichael. One
of the world’s leading interpreters of
stride piano and swing, she performed
with celebrated tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and Chris Flory to a
packed Walker Hall.
v Lowermid Jennifer Jeon,
left, was selected to perform
with the Connecticut All-State
Music Festival at The Bushnell
this spring, after serving as
concertmaster for the Regional
Orchestra in January. She has
been featured on many pieces
with Taft’s Chamber Orchestra
this year, both on and off
campus, on tour in Lisbon
over March break and in local
theaters. She was first violin
in the pit orchestra for Guys
and Dolls at Taft and played
the fiddler for Fiddler on the
Roof at Torrington’s Warner
Theater last fall.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 15
around the POND
New Faculty Chairs Announced
Donald Oscarson ’47
Master Chair
Rusty Davis
Holcombe T. Green Chair
of English
Pam MacMullen
Parish Family Chair
Laura Monti ’89
Littlejohn Family Chair
Rachael Ryan
Bradford C. Laube ’51
Senior Master Chair
Jon Willson ’82
Asia Trip
Rink Energy
n At the start of their Asian swing in February, Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 and his
wife, Pam, and Director of Development Chris Latham enjoyed dinner in Hong Kong with
Danny and Louise Chiang (parents of Ian ’17), Jackie Chow ’95 and her parents, Charles
and Pat Chow, Helen Chen and former trustee Lady Ivy Kwok Wu (June ’88, Carol ’89,
Thomas ’90). They continued on to Beijing and Seoul on their nine-day journey.
n Taft alumni and parents gather for the school’s first official event with the headmaster
in Seoul, South Korea.
16 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Hockey rinks are known energy
hogs, but since 2009, Taft’s rink
management has improved the
efficiency of operations of both
rinks by 21 percent. In 2008, Mays
Rink alone was consuming close
to 10,000 kWh a week. Mays
now operates in such a way that
it consumes closer to 7,500 kWh
a week. This is due to improved
automated systems, staff operations (shout-out to Rink Manager
Pete Montesano for his efforts),
reduced lighting when not in
use—and, in the case of this past
winter, just good, cold outside
For more on the
winter season,
please visit
winter SPORT wrap-up
By steve Palmer
h John Cannon ’15
helps lead the varsity
squash team to a final
ranking of #7 in the
U.S. and #3 in New
England. Peter Frew ’75
Boys’ Squash 12–7
3rd at New England
A very young team, Taft featured two
freshmen in its top seven but went
toe-to-toe with the best squash teams
in the nation. The Rhinos opened
the season in Philadelphia by defeating U.S. #4-ranked Haverford. The
season also included victories against
strong rivals such as Choate (7–0), Rye
Country Day (6–1) and Westminster
(5–2). Riding a wave of confidence,
Taft traveled back to Philadelphia to
finish 7th at the U.S. Squash National
Championships. However, the highlight
of the season came at the New England
Championships, as the Rhinos did not
appear sharp following four tough 3–4
losses in February. Yet, with great team
balance, Taft fought its way onto the podium, finishing 3rd. Finishing in the top
three in their draw were Kyle Salvatore
’17 (3rd at #5), and captains-elect Coley
Cannon ’15 (2nd at #5), Brandon
Salvatore ’15 (3rd at #6) and John
Cannon ’15 (3rd at #7). Senior captains
Braden Chiulli and Jake Lord will play
next year at Tufts and Trinity, respectively.
Girls’ Squash 14–4
Founders League Champions
3rd at New England
One of the strongest teams in school history, Taft won the Founders League for
the sixth year in a row. Along the way, the
Rhinos defeated league rivals Hotchkiss
(7–0) and Westminster (5–2), along
with New England powers Nobles (5–2),
Exeter (6–1) and Andover (6–1). In their
5th-place finish at the National Squash
Team Championships, Taft had to overcome talented teams from Lawrenceville
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 17
winter SPORT
h SueAnn Yong ’14
finished the season
at 15–3 and placed
4th in New Englands.
Peter Frew ’75
(5–2) and Episcopal (5–2). The only
losses on the season came at the hands
of the top two teams in the nation—
Greenwich Academy and Deerfield.
Perhaps even better than their national
team showing, Taft placed 3rd at the New
England Championships, with five players
fighting their way into the top four spots:
Sue Ann Yong ’14 (4th at #1), Maddie
Chiulli ’17 (4th at #4), Elle Carroll ’16
(4th at #5), Bella Jones ’15 (2nd at #6)
and Isabel Stack ’14 (3rd at #7). Taft will
miss the play and spirit of its three talented tri-captains: Harvard-bound Yong,
who has played exceptional squash in the
top spot for Taft; and Maggie O’Neill ’14
and Stack, who had great seasons in the
#2 and #7 spots respectively.
Boys’ Hockey 11–12–2
The Rhinos skated into the New
England “Martin/Earl” Large School
Tournament as a #7 seed after finishing the regular season with record of
11–11–2. Facing #2 Phillips Andover
on their home ice in the first round,
18 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Taft played a great game only to fall to
the “Big Blue” by a score of 3–2 on a
power-play goal in the waning minutes
of regulation. To earn that 7th seed, Taft
notched impressive regular-season wins
over Berkshire (4–3), Deerfield (3–2)
and Hotchkiss twice (5–2 and 8–2).
Captain Cole Maier ’14 was selected All
Founders League and won the Coach’s
Award for his steady, physical play, while
fellow captain Easton Miller ’14, a highly
skilled forward, was awarded the Ainger
Hockey Trophy. All Founders League
forward Ross Colton ’15 led the team
in scoring, totaling 25 goals and 18 assists for 43 points, and Marcus Mollica
’15 tallied 11 goals and 26 assists for 37
points. Trevor McGee ’15, Dan Quirk
’15 and T.J. Schultz ’15 were selected as
the 2014–15 team captains.
Girls’ Hockey 3–16–2
Taft competed in every game in a season
that included nine one-goal losses. As
a mark of the team’s competitiveness,
the Rhinos were leading eventual New
England champion Westminster 4–1
late in the third period, only to lose
the heartbreaker 4–5 on an overtime
penalty shot. Several of the team’s best
efforts were ties, including a fierce 1–1
tie against Division II New England
champion Gunnery, and an exciting 1–1
night game against Kent. The final game
against Hotchkiss was representative of
the season: down 2–0, Taft outworked
their rivals to tie the game with three
seconds left in regulation and dominated OT before losing 2–3 in the final
minute. Throughout the season, Taft
was led by a hardworking, dedicated
group of five seniors and one postgraduate. Caroline Queally ’14 and assistant
captain Sierra Hannough ’14 contributed greatly on the wing, while assistant
captain Rachel Muskin ’14, a Founders
League All Star, generated numerous
scoring opportunities and was a key
defensive player. Katherine Roznik ’14,
also a Founders League All-Star, was
the team’s leading scorer for the second
straight year and served as an anchor to
the defense. Captain Audrey Quirk ’14,
the Patsy K. Odden Award winner, has
been at the heart of Taft’s defense for
several seasons, while Ange Noss ’14
outskated opponents throughout the
season and was Taft’s most relentless
and effective forward.
Wrestling 11–7
Despite looking at what was supposed
to be a rebuilding year, the Rhinos
produced a strong winning record
behind great leadership from captains
Carl Sangree ’14, Nicky Ganek ’15 and
Parker Fiske ’14. A thrilling 42–30
win over Canterbury in the first match
set the tone for the season. Other key
wins came over Salisbury (38–28)
and Williston (54–27). Ganek, along
with returning starters Reid Shafran
’15, Stephen Mesh ’15 and Locke
McGee ’16, all placed in the top four
of their weight classes at the Western
New England League Tournament.
h Tri-captain
Carl Sangree ’14
dominates his Avon
opponent. Phil
Newcomers Chico D’Iorio ’16, Robby
Galbraith ’15 and Michael Hennessy ’17
added crucial victories throughout the
season. With only two seniors graduating, the future looks very bright.
At the Class B New England
Championships, Taft placed a solid 4th
out of 14 teams in the boys’ combined
scores behind an impressive 1st-place
finish in both the GS and slalom by Eli
Cooper ’15. Cooper defended his titles
from 2013 convincingly, winning the GS
by two seconds and the slalom by four.
Also placing well in the GS was Michael
Wasserstein ’17, 8th out of the 68 skiers. The girls’ team finished 3rd out of
14 teams, with Sarah Reilly ’14 skiing
very well for 2nd in the slalom and 5th
in the GS out of 62 skiers. If not for the
huge early-season injury loss of captain
Karlea Peterson ’14, Taft might have
had the chance to win the New England
title. Like Cooper, Reilly has been right
at the top of New England skiing for the
past few seasons. At the final Berkshire
League Slalom Championships, Cooper
won the slalom again, but in a much
tighter race, by 3/100ths of a second.
Captains-elect Lauren Drakeley ’15 and
Madison Haskins ’15 were both important versatile players and will lead next
year’s team.
Girls’ Basketball 10–12
Boys’ Basketball 8–15
The team took a while to find its rhythm,
posting three wins in the first 12 games,
but riding their defensive style, Taft
turned things around. In their 7–3 record over the last 10 games, the Rhinos
avenged earlier losses by defeating strong
teams from Kent (54–36), Choate (48–
36) and Hotchkiss (41–38). Central
to Taft’s fine defense were Founders
League All-Star Rylie Mainville ’14, who
controlled things inside and finished
averaging over nine rebounds per game,
and captain Dominique Moise ’14, the
team’s most tenacious player. New uppermid Hannah Friend ’15 led the team
in scoring, averaging over 20 points a
game and setting a new single-season
school record with 442 points—a season
that deservedly earned her designation as a Class A New England All Star.
It was a season of close and exciting
games, with Taft fighting until the end
of each contest. Senior captains Hadley
Stone ’14 and Shawn Strickland ’14 led
the team both physically and mentally
with spirited play and exceptional leadership. Stone averaged 8.9 rebounds per
game, while Strickland was the team’s
high scorer in all but four games, enjoying his best moment and a season-high
30 points in front of an electric home
crowd in the night victory against Avon
(73–71). Throughout the season, Taft
would face taller opponents, but forwards
Quinn O’Malley ’14 and Sam Barrett ’15
were fearless on the boards, and David
Gagas ’15 contributed at both ends of the
court, including a clutch 3-pointer with
just 20 seconds left in a thrilling victory
over Loomis Chaffee (62–59).
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 19
For Borken
and for Taft,
living, learning
and the world
around us are
deeply and
Connecting life and learning for a greater impact
By Debra Meyers
Photography by Robert Falcetti
In 1998, just over 5,000 students took
the nation’s first Advanced Placement Environmental Science
exam. Among them: a young woman at Groton School who
not only found confidence and inspiration through her study
of the physical and biological world around her, but a lasting
and meaningful connection between learning and life. Today
Carly Borken shares that inspiration with the Taft community
while teaching students the value of that connection.
“I educate Taft students about environmental issues
knowing that many of them are going to move into jobs in
economics or business,” explains Borken, Taft’s Wold Family
Chair and director of environmental studies and stewardship.
“They will be making real-world business decisions in those
positions. I want to help them understand the environmental
implications and context of those decisions—I am priming our
kids to make a much bigger impact on environmental justice
than if I were to do it all by myself.”
Borken learned early about the impact one person can
make. As a high school student, she was invited to do field
research with her environmental studies teacher, Mr. Black.
As a concerned citizen and representative of the Groton
Conservation Trust, Black was leading an environmental impact study on 300 acres of land that was for sale and destined
for development. Borken and Mr. Black walked the land near
Groton’s northeastern Massachusetts campus every weekend,
setting traps for salamanders and other wetlands organisms.
Their hope: to stop development by finding a threatened or
endangered species living on the 300-acre parcel.
“I just loved that work,” Borken says. “It was so exciting to
go out and do species counts.”
One weekend, Borken’s mother was visiting campus. Mr.
Black suggested that Borken take her into the field and show
her the work they had been doing. It was on that day, with her
mother by her side, that Borken discovered a small population
of the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species.
“Our discovery helped stop development on about 175 of
the 300 acres,” notes Borken. “I was fortunate enough to be
involved in a project that actually had an impact, and I thought,
This is what I want to do.”
Borken quickly threw herself into the
world of biology, zoology, ecology and environmental science. At Mr. Black’s suggestion, she spent time studying at
the University of Hawaii, a geographic treasure trove of diverse biomes and ecosystems.
“I met professors there who were looking for research assistants; I took every job that I could. All of the work was
biology applied to environmental issues,” recalls Borken, who
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 21
ultimately spent time studying to the University of Hawaii to
complete her undergraduate studies, and stayed on to begin
her career in environmental education and stewardship.
“I was this white girl from the mainland who was really excited about learning. But I had to do a lot of work to build trust—to
prove that I was being respectful and that I wanted to learn the
science, because preserving the culture was an important piece
of that science. If you just want to know the science to know
the science in Hawaii, you are simply self-indulgent,” she says.
Borken immersed herself in Hawaiian life, volunteering with
local environmental advocacy groups, and in Hawaiian culture,
embracing local arts and traditions, including hula dancing. She
taught high school science during the academic year and worked
with the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps in the summer,
where she offered students the opportunity to do hands-on field
work, just as she had done with Mr. Black. Borken’s students
climbed mountains researching the impact of invasive plants on
native plants, pulled algae off reefs while snorkeling and conducted albatross counts during their mating season.
“I wanted to be as ingrained and involved with the culture
and environment as I could be, while connecting young people
to it on the same deep level,” she says.
So many of Borken’s experiences were
built around research—not just her academic and professional
experiences, but pieces of her childhood. The daughter and
granddaughter of prep school faculty, Borken and her family
spent their summers in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, home of the
renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Surrounded
by scientists, Borken learned not just the importance of research,
but the importance of conducting her own research. It is that
understanding that ultimately brought her back to the mainland.
22 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Borken began applying to graduate schools and for jobs
to support her graduate education. Remarkably, the call from
Taft came at almost the same moment as the acceptance letter
from Duke. Borken accepted the position at Taft and, a year
later, enrolled in Duke’s elite online Master of Environmental
Management (MEM) program, reserved for just 12 students
each year.
“I learned so much from the program, but I also learned so
much from my peers,” Borken says. “There was the environmental manager from Harley-Davidson, one of the treasurers
from Google, people in government and people who do
green building installations. I was the youngest and the only
high school teacher.”
Borken’s MEM thesis, Green Collar Job Training in Urban
Environmental Justice Communities, included a study of
Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit organization working
to address economic and environmental issues through a
combination of green job training, community greening programs and social enterprise.
“I started to look at how it is that we have environmentally
unjust communities,” Borken explains. “Even in Hawaii, the
poor live near dumps and power plants but the rich do not.
How do you educate people in environmentally unjust communities to seek out jobs that are green? In the South Bronx,
how do you get people away from doing waste management
and into doing more solar panel installations?”
The answer, Borken believes, lies in the
creation of tangible opportunities for hands-on, experiential
learning—in actively connecting individual actions with community and environmental impact. And it is this belief that
drives Borken’s work at Taft. Now in her second year as the
“I educate Taft students about environmental issues knowing that
many of them are going to move into jobs in economics or business.
. . . I am priming our kids to make a much bigger impact on
environmental justice than if I were to do it all by myself.”
Tilapia, like those raised
in Taft’s aquaculture lab
and studied by Borken
and daughter Sadie, serve
as a natural biological
control for most aquatic
plant problems.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 23
Wold Family Chair and director of environmental studies and
stewardship, Borken has established a number of high-visibility, student-driven environmental programs on campus.
“Borken has become a wonderful leader at Taft,” notes
Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “She has a passion for environmental issues, and she is a scientist, someone who models
what it means to ask tough questions and demand good data.
She has helped Taft establish itself as a nationally leading
school in our environmental curricular and cocurricular work.
She has served as a remarkable catalyst, and she has inspired
the entire campus.” ”
One of Borken’s first initiatives was the introduction of a new
leadership opportunity for Taft students. “EcoMons” are the
school’s environmental student leaders, educators and liaisons on
campus. They meet weekly to plan events to raise environmental
awareness, consider solutions for environmental concerns on
campus and review the success of Taft’s environmental programs.
“I applied to be an EcoMon because I wanted to improve
the community’s awareness about being greener,” explains
Natalie Whiting ’14. “I think it adds perspective to the Taft
community about elements of the world that need to be
viewed as pressing issues.”
EcoMons also play a critical role in Taft’s participation
in the annual Green Cup Recycling and Green Cup Energy
Challenges, and are on the front lines in Taft’s efforts to reduce
its carbon footprint through constant evaluation of the school’s
energy and material consumption, waste stream, efficient
technology opportunities and sustainable behavior. Like the
traditional monitors on campus, EcoMons must apply for
these leadership posts.
“There are 15 EcoMon positions. Last year, when I first
introduced the program, 12 students applied, so I accepted
24 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
them all,” Borken said. “This year 30 students applied for the
15 spots. Though I hated writing the rejection letters, it was
gratifying to see that this new program has grown quickly and
is clearly a valued position on campus.”
Taft has also embraced sustainable
living and learning through a new program that mirrors the
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)
green certification rating system and borrows from a program at the University of South Carolina. A LEED Green
Associate, Borken is trained in the application of LEED accreditation principles and built Taft’s new Green Rhino Room
Certification program around them. The certification process
begins with a formal training session and continues with participants pledging to engage in specific “green behaviors,” from
recycling plastic bags and batteries to using smart power strips
and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Room audits confirm
that pledges are fulfilled and determine the final green rating.
In less than one year, 45 rooms and five faculty offices have
earned green certifications. The program reflects both Borken’s
innovative thinking and detailed project execution.
“Borken is a font of both good ideas and hard work,” notes
Jim Lehner, head of Taft’s Science Department. “She is there at
the beginning, the middle and, most importantly, the end to ensure that the effort is completed with gusto and imagination.”
Perhaps the most hands-on initiative Borken introduced
to the Taft community is the farm program. Each term, eight
students sign on as an alternative to sports. Participants travel
to Washington’s Waldingfield Farm three times each week,
where they are work under the direction of Borken’s husband,
Jed. Depending on the season, their work may include planting, harvesting, mechanical work on tractors or breaking
“I wanted to be as ingrained and involved with the
culture and environment as I could be,
while connecting young people to it on the same deep level.”
Borken and
Sebastian Cheng ’14
tend Taft’s chickens
at the solar-powered coop.
“It is very special for me to be involved in a community
that is so important to my family,
at a school where the rowing community feels like family.”
Coach Borken with
her rowers at the
Head of the Charles
Regatta last fall.
Borken is the only female
coach in her dynastic
rowing family, and has a
record of wins at Taft that
ensures her place in the
annals of Taft rowing.
26 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
down and storing equipment. Maddie Haight ’14 participated
in the farm program last fall.
“I was able to work with a small group of people and learn
valuable skills from farmers who are incredibly passionate,”
Maddie says. “I saw how committed they are to producing food
that is not only good for you but also good for the environment.”
On the days students don’t travel to Washington, they care
for Taft’s chickens.
“We got the chickens as part of a summer school class on
environmental science and farming,” Borken explains. “The
summer school students built the first chicken coops and welcomed the first chicks. They were too young to lay eggs during
the fall term, but this spring we will incorporate an egg-sharing
CSA program. We will also get seven more chicks.”
In Hawaii, Borken sought to be ingrained and
involved in every aspect of the culture and community. The
same is true at Taft. In addition leading Taft’s environmental programs, Borken teaches classes, coaches crew and soccer, and lives
in the dorms. And while every aspect of Taft life is important to
Borken, coaching crew holds a very special place in her heart.
“Borken comes from a family that Rowing News called the
“first family” of high school rowing in the United States,” notes
fellow Taft crew coach Will Shotwell. “She brings generations
of experience and acumen to her jobs as head coach of the girls’
crew team and director for the crew program as a whole. She
is rigorous and demanding, holding her rowers to the highest
athletic and personal standards. Yet she is a compassionate and
caring coach who understands from personal experience how
rowing fits into the bigger picture of a student’s life at Taft. ”
The granddaughter of a 40-year coaching veteran at St.
Andrew’s School in Delaware and niece to three other New
England coaches, Borken made her mark first as a rower in
prep school and again in college. She is the only female coach
in her dynastic rowing family, and has a record of wins at Taft
that ensures her place in the annals of Taft rowing.
“It is very special for me to be involved in a community
that is so important to my family, at a school where the rowing
community feels like family,” Borken says. “Our team spends so
many hours a week together, really more than any other team.
The sense of community is strong and very, very special.”
To say that what Borken Borken brings
to the Taft community reflects the totality of her life experience would sound sweeping and grand. It would also be true.
Her passion for teaching and her dedication to environmental
stewardship engender a practical and fundamental understanding that drives living and learning at Taft: Taft’s business
office purchases green energy, the school has lowered its
utility use in each of the past three years, and, this summer,
construction of a green faculty home will be complete. Taft
has EcoMons and farm students, Green Rhino rooms and a
growing and competitive crew program. Borken established
Taft’s first oceanography course and takes her students to
Woods Hole, her childhood haven, every year. She brought
Sustainable South Bronx founder Majora Carter to Taft as
part of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, and
brings the spirit of Mr. Black and the lessons of the Hawaii
Conservation Corps to campus by creating opportunities
for students to grow and explore, then empowering them to
do just that. For Borken and for Taft, living, learning and the
world around us are deeply and inextricably intertwined. j
Debra Meyers is director of alumni relations at Taft.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 27
Walker Hall, the former Watertown Library,
was acquired in 2002.
28 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Historic District
By Jennifer Clement
Photographs by Yee-Fun Yin
On February 28, snow was banked high around the gray granite exterior of
Walker Hall, but the light from the tall stained glass windows cast an inviting
glow as students, faculty and a few community members arrived for an evening
performance by acclaimed pianist Andrew Armstrong.
Bruce Fifer, head of the Arts Department, stood just inside the arched entry,
greeting families and couples warmly as they shed puffy coats and long, thick scarves
to take their seats beneath the paneled, vaulted ceiling of the historic hall.
Although the building began its life as the town library, the acoustics here are
perfect for chamber music, especially cello, which seems to reverberate against
the wood, Fifer notes. Indeed, as the audience fell silent, music filled the space
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 29
aft intervened,
and one school saved another.
as Armstrong, accompanied by Edward Arron on cello and Amy Schwartz on
violin, moved through a gorgeous program that included works by Beethoven,
Rachmaninoff and Brahms.
“This is just such a treat, this space and this community. I just said to Bruce, I
forgot how great this piano was,” Armstrong says, referring to the Hamburg Steinway
grand piano, which was donated about 10 years ago when Taft acquired Walker Hall.
At the time, the building was being utilized as a Lutheran Church, but the apse,
where the Steinway now takes center stage, is original to the structure. “Everybody
who comes here love it,” Fifer says.
The winter concert, part of the Music for a While series, is just one example of
how the Taft School is breathing new life into historic buildings on and around the
Green. Walker Hall and Woodward Chapel, where Fifer will conduct Music for a
Great Space in April (two days before Collegium performs the same work at the
Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York), are among Taft’s oldest and most
historic structures. Both are also gems in the town’s historic district, which Taft has
helped to maintain and preserve for many years.
Saving the Academy
Christ Church on the Green,
now Woodward Chapel,
still hosts Episcopal services
every Sunday as well as Taft’s
optional Choral Vespers on
Sunday afternoons.
30 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
The historic district bordering Taft School was established by town ordinance in
January 1997. The district is comprised of approximately 113 buildings, including
homes linked to the town’s prosperous early industrialists, one public school building, several structures that house town offices and three churches.
The district was born out of a neighborhood effort to save the Academy
Building on the Green from demolition in 1992. Local residents rallied around
the historic structure, which was built in 1846 as a private academy and served
as the town’s first high school, first library, as a parish hall and community building utilized by the American Red Cross and scout groups, among others. In a
1996 report, the Historic District Study Committee described the Academy
Building as “one of the most important structures in Town, both architecturally
and historically.”
By the early 1990s, however, the building had been shuttered and there was
talk of tearing it down, says M. Heminway Merriman 2d ’67, who has a photo of
Watertown Historic Commission members picketing on the Green, carrying signs
that said “Save the Academy.”
“Developers were talking,” says Merriman, who hails from one of Watertown’s
founding families and grew up in the historic district. The fear was that the
Academy Building would be razed to carve out space for one or more new houses
overlooking the Green, or to create additional parking space for the church.
“I think everybody got scared,” he says.
he district was born out
of a neighborhood effort to save
the Academy Building on the
Green from demolition in 1992.
Local residents rallied around the
historic structure, which was built
in 1846 as a private academy.
The historic Academy
Building now serves as the
school’s Business Office.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 31
That is until Taft intervened, and
one school saved another.
In July 2009, Taft acquired the
Academy Building, Christ Church,
the rectory and the Green from the
Missionary Society of the Diocese of
Connecticut, with the help of a generous donation from the David, Helen
and Marian Woodward Foundation.
The Foundation was established in
1975 by Marian Woodward Ottley, in
memory of her parents, with a mission
“to make this a better world for those
who come after us.”
“All of the pieces fell together so
Taft was able to purchase the property
through the Woodward Foundation,”
says Merriman, who sits on the foundation’s Board of Trustees.
“When the Christ Church property
came on the market, we had talked in
general about purchasing the property,”
recalls Gil Thornfeldt, Taft’s chief financial officer and business manager.
“We were looking for people to step up
with donations. Then it was a matter of
deciding what to do with the property.”
Under Taft’s ownership, the
Academy Building, Christ Church (now
Woodward Chapel) and the former rectory have been carefully renovated and
brought into compliance with current
building codes.
“You want to be a good neighbor.
You want to preserve as much of the
history as you can, and we renovated
these buildings with the intent of preserving as much of the architecture as
we could,” Thornfeldt says.
Last fall, the Academy Building
A historic house on
Woodbury Road serves
as a faculty home.
32 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
reopened as the home of the Taft School Business Office. From his office on the
second floor, Thornfeldt notes that replacement windows were installed throughout the building but the historic 12-over-12 design was retained and the original
leaded glass was repurposed as interior windows for a second-floor conference
room. Cathedral ceilings were also created upstairs, bringing a single frieze window, once visible only from the attic, into view.
The former Christ Church Rectory, built in 1846, is now Taft faculty housing
known as the Morris House. It includes a family residence on the first and second
floors and a third-floor apartment. “When we finished it, we invited all the neighbors in,” Thornfeldt says.
Extended Stewardship
Taft’s stewardship extends to nearly two dozen additional homes in the historic
district that serve as faculty housing. In all, the school owns or rents housing for
125 faculty (including dormitory apartments). Thornfeldt says an inventory of
all Taft faculty housing was conducted and the school has been renovating those
properties over the last eight or nine years, installing updated heating systems,
kitchens and bathrooms.
“Obviously, we comply with the historic district when it comes to replacing windows or anything that has historic significance,” Thornfeldt says.
The school’s properties include the Eli Curtis house, a large, elegant Greek
Revival facing the Green that Tafties will recall as the former headmaster’s residence.
In the Historic District Study Commission’s report, the home is attributed to Eli
Curtis, a local Merino sheep farmer who made his fortune selling Panama hats.
“There are so many properties that have been preserved going down North Street.
There are many properties that probably would have been gone many years ago,”
Watertown Historical Society President Jeffrey Grenier says of Taft’s efforts.
Among several good examples of Colonial and Greek Revival architecture in the
district, Taft owns two Colonial Revival homes on Woodbury Road built around
1900 for the Scovill family of Scovill Manufacturing, one of three large brass mills
in Waterbury. One house is believed to have served as the family’s main residence,
and the other as a garage with a chauffeur’s apartment above. The committee’s
report noted the Scovills owned four adjoining buildings around the corner on
Guernesytown Road.
Additional Taft buildings include the Bronson House on Woodbury Road, a small
Queen Anne house built in 1885; a 1924 Arts and Crafts bungalow built by Fred
Holbrook, a Taft employee; and of course, Walker Hall and Woodward Chapel.
All of these properties, and in fact all of the buildings in the town’s historic district,
were named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
ou want to be a good
neighbor. You want to preserve as
much of the history as you can, and
we renovated these buildings with
the intent of preserving as much of
the architecture as we could.”
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 33
Intellectual, Spiritual and Musical Reflection
According to the historical society’s records, Walker Hall was built in 1884 as a town
library with funds donated by two brothers, John and Benjamin DeForest of Watertown.
The Richardsonian Romanesque-style building was designed by Waterbury architect
R.W. Hill, who also designed Thomaston Opera House. Built of Quincy granite, it served
as the town library until 1958 and then as the home of Our Savior Lutheran Church before Taft acquired it in 2002 as a space for intellectual, spiritual and musical reflection.
The building is named for Harry Walker ’40, who made the purchase possible
through his generous support. At the time of its acquisition, Headmaster Willy
MacMullen ’78 dubbed it “a community gathering place unlike any spot on campus.”
“Thank God Taft took that over,” Merriman says. “It’s a gorgeous building.”
Another gem in the historic district, Woodward Chapel, was built in 1924.
Historical society records indicate it was the fourth Episcopal Church building
erected in Watertown—the first was built by 1765; the second in 1794 on the
Green; the third in 1854 on the present site and, when that structure was deemed
unsafe, a new one was built on the same site. It was constructed of granite from
nearby Roxbury and designed to resemble an English country church by Boston architects Francis R. Allen and Charles Collens, who also designed Riverside Church
and the Cloisters museum in New York City.
In 1924, Christ Church was completed in time for Easter services, with pews and
stained glass windows that were repurposed from the 1854 structure. Many alumni
will remember attending required chapel services there. In 1966, four new stained
glass windows were installed along with needlepoint cushions handmade by parishioners, and a new organ, historical society records show. The organ is scheduled to be
refurbished by Taft this summer through the generous support of private donors.
“Thank God those three buildings are now saved by Taft,” says the historical society’s Grenier. “I’m afraid to think of what would have happened. Water was leaking
into the sanctuary of the church. They literally had lost so many of their members
that the diocese could no longer afford the maintenance.”
Today, Woodward Chapel is still utilized for Episcopal services on Sunday, and it
has been a nice addition to Taft, which as a non-denominational school has never had
its own chapel, Thornfeldt says. The three-story chapel annex, which dates to 1960
and formerly housed church school classrooms and offices, has been fully renovated
and opened last fall as the new Taft Alumni and Development Office.
In its 1996 report, the Historic District Study Committee noted that as an “assemblage of buildings,” the area that comprises the historic district has remained “virtually
unchanged” for nearly a century. At its heart is the Green. “This tree-lined greensward is
an essential open space within the district and must be preserved,” the committee wrote.
Through its continued preservation efforts, Taft is honoring that wish. j
34 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Jennifer Clement is a freelance writer
who has lived and worked in
Litchfield County for nearly 20 years.
Yee-Fun Yin has taught photography at
Taft since 2007. Connecticut has been
his home for more than 30 years.
He currently lives in Woodbury and is a
member of PhotoArts Collective,
the Council of the Arts in New Haven,
the Westport Arts Center and the
Washington Arts Association.
Originally the church rectory, this classic Greek Revival home now
houses a faculty family as well as a third-floor apartment.
he area that comprises the historic district has remained
“virtually unchanged” for nearly a century. At its heart is the Green.
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 35
Taking on one of today’s most
contentious environmental issues,
Alex Prud’homme explains the
basics of hydraulic fracturing,
considers the economic and
political benefits, and explores
concerns about health dangers and
damage to the environment. Stepping
back from the impassioned debate,
Prud’homme offers an incisive
introduction to hydrofracking.
Here is an excerpt from his book.
What Everyone Needs to Know
By Alex Prud’homme ’80
Why I Wrote This Book
I was first confronted by the intense emotions around hydrofracking at a public meeting in New York City in November
2009. It was a cold, blustery night in downtown Manhattan,
but over a thousand people streamed into a high school auditorium to learn about the potential benefits and hazards of
extracting natural gas from in and around the city’s upstate watershed. I was there to research my book, The Ripple Effect: The
Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century, and was curious
to know what impact hydrofracking might have on the quality
and quantity of the drinking water supplied to over nine million people every day.
The debate that night centered on the Marcellus Shale,
which is a 95,000-square-mile swath of gas-rich rock that underlies parts of five states: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
West Virginia, and eastern Ohio. The stakes in play there—financial, environmental, political, and social—are enormous.
The Marcellus deposit is thought to be the single largest
energy deposit in the United States, and the second-largest
gas deposit in the world (after the South Pars/North Dome
gasfield, shared by Qatar and Iran). The Marcellus is estimated
to contain at least 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which is
enough to power all American homes for 50 years.
Shale is a dense layer of sedimentary rock that lies a mile or
more underground in deposits sprinkled across the country
(and, indeed, around the world). Natural gas or oil trapped in
ground, and air, and that these costs outweigh its benefits.
It was against this backdrop that I attended the meeting in
New York City in 2009. The large auditorium was packed to
standing-room only that night. Roughly a quarter of the crowd
supported hydrofracking; another quarter had not made up
their minds; and the remaining half were opposed. Some attendees wore suits or high heels, some came in camouflage
and blue jeans, others were dressed up as mountains, fish, or
rivers. Red-faced politicians stirred the crowd with fiery rhetoric; state regulators and energy executives kept a low profile;
journalists swirled around the auditorium; and citizens asked
pointed questions.
When gas companies began to explore rural upstate New
York in the early 2000s, many residents leased their property
for modest fees. Some were paid as little as $3 per acre plus a
12.5 percent royalty; by 2007 lease prices averaged about $25
an acre, plus royalties of 12.5 percent; by 2009, prices had skyrocketed to $6,000 an acre, plus royalties of 20 percent. The
region was mired in an economic slump, and many residents
and businesses were pushing then-governor David Paterson to
open state-owned land to hydrofracking to generate jobs and
revenue. But Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, cautioned that fracking “is not a risk that I think we should run.”
Since that night in 2009, the two sides have only become
more polarized. In New York State, for example, the public
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has
unlocked enormous quantities of shale oil and
gas and set off an environmentalist backlash.
shale formations is known as “shale gas” or “shale oil,” and is
chemically identical to gas and oil taken from traditional wells.
Geologists have known about shale reserves for years, but until
recently they have been too difficult to access. In the last decade, however, industry and government groups have pushed a
technology called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which has
unlocked enormous quantities of shale oil and gas and set off
an environmentalist backlash.
Hydrofracking has created jobs, spurred industry, lowered
carbon emissions, and provided an economic boon to many
communities across the country. (While there is great interest in
the technology worldwide, hydrofracking has been commercialized only in North America thus far.) Yet, while the temptations
of “fracked” energy are great, critics say that it pollutes the water,
remains almost evenly split on the issue, with 39 percent in
favor of hydrofracking and 43 percent opposed to it, according
to a 2013 Siena poll. The Wall Street Journal opines, “fracking
could be the difference between economic life and death” for
New York. But celebrity opponents, like Yoko Ono and the
actor Mark Ruffalo (who lives in upstate New York), shoot
back, “You can’t say that we have climate change and we have
to fight it, and then...say we’re going to move forward with
hydrofracking….You can’t have both.” And “Fracktivists” note
that if fracking fluids—some of which are toxic or carcinogenic (as is benzene)—pollute the city’s carefully protected
watershed, New York will be forced by EPA regulations to
build a $10 billion filtration plant that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year to operate.
v previous page: A fracking rig sits in a farmer’s field in Colorado. ©www.iStock.com/LonnyG
38 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
Current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has no
easy answers. Hydrofracking advocates, such as the Joint
Landowners Coalition of New York, have pressured state
legislators to approve the process for nearly five years, and
complain that Cuomo is stalling. But opposition groups
threaten to label Cuomo—who is said to have presidential
ambitions—a traitor and sellout if he allows hydrofracking.
Cuomo was given a momentary reprieve in early 2013. The
day before state regulators were set to issue an environmental
impact statement, the state Department of Health requested
more time to review three new studies. The state assembly
imposed a two-year moratorium on new hydrofracked wells to
await results of the studies.
“bridge fuel” to tide us over until renewable energy sources—
such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower—have been
To put it bluntly, hydrofracking is neither all good nor all bad.
Rather, it is a timely and important subject rendered in shades of
gray. And it is one that is worth talking about and, indeed, arguing over. My aim in writing this book is to help spur a healthy,
informed dialogue about an energy supply that we still have
much to learn about and that is changing the world we live in. j
Reprinted from Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs to Know
by Alex Prud’homme with permission from Oxford University
Press, Inc. Copyright © Alex Prud’homme 2014.
Hydrofracking has created jobs, spurred industry,
lowered carbon emissions, and provided an economic
boon to many communities across the country....
critics say that it pollutes the water, ground, and
air, and that these costs outweigh its benefits.
The argument in New York mirrors the national dispute
over hydrofracking and foreshadows a worldwide debate as
shale gas and oil become increasingly important to the global
energy equation.
In the meantime, my own position on hydrofracking
continues to evolve. In 2009, informed by my research into
water-related issues, I was opposed to hydrofracking. There is
little question that the process is inherently risky: it uses huge
volumes of water and has set off local “water wars” in arid states
such as Colorado, Texas, and California. Moreover, shale wells
can pollute the air and groundwater. Once hydrofracked, each
well generates millions of gallons of toxic wastewater, which
includes secret chemical mixtures and naturally occurring
radioactive elements that are difficult to clean and sequester.
As hydrofracking technology spreads around the world, these
challenges will become exponentially more difficult. Yet the
technology, practice, and oversight of hydrofracking have advanced since 2009, and it has become difficult to ignore the
benefits of shale fuels. The scientific consensus holds that natural gas burns more cleanly than coal or oil, and thus reduces
greenhouse gases; the economic consensus holds that hydrofracking creates jobs, revenue, and new supplies of energy; and
the political consensus holds that natural gas is an effective
How hydrofracking is done. © 2011 Analysis Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Image by StudioSayers. n
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 39
tales of a TAFTIE
By Julie Reiff
Deane Keller, Class of 1919
Monuments Man
n Yale art professor
Deane Keller ’19 in his
5th Army uniform
What successful Taftie,
no longer living, would
you like to see profiled
in this space? Send
your suggestions to
[email protected]
40 Taft Bulletin SPRING 2014
As a “fine arts officer” in World War II, Yale art professor
Deane Keller ’19 helped to rescue Italian masterworks
from the ravages of war. While the recent George
Clooney film Monuments Men focuses on a group of
Harvard experts working in France and Germany, Keller
and a fellow Yalie were tasked with saving as much of the
culture of Italy as they could.
By 1943, when the Americans bombed Rome for a
second time, Keller desperately wanted to do his part.
“The riches of thousands of years of civilization—some
of mankind’s greatest creative achievements—lay directly in the war’s path. Italy would soon become a combat
zone,” writes Robert Edsel in his book, Saving Italy. “And
here he was, an expert on Italy and its cultural treasures,
stuck in a classroom lecturing.”
Keller had been turned down by the Marines for
poor eyesight. Now, his friend Theodore Sizer, director
of the Yale University Art Gallery, recruited him for the
Army’s newly formed art protection unit—known later
as “monuments men.” Fluent in Italian and familiar with
much of the region from his three years in Italy as the
recipient of the American Academy in Rome’s Prix de
Rome, Keller was the perfect man for the job.
The Monuments Men were a group of men and
women from 13 countries. Most had expertise as museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists,
architects and archivists. Their task was to save as much
of the culture of Europe as they could during combat.
In November 1943, Keller, 42, boarded a liberty ship
bound for North Africa, where he would spend two
months at the Army’s School of Military Government.
As captain, U.S. 5th Army, Monuments, Fine Arts, and
Archives (MFAA) Officer, he would be the 5th Army’s
first responder in terms of cultural monuments.
Shortly after the Allies landed in early 1944, Keller
was sent to MFAA headquarters in Naples. He didn’t
feel much like a soldier at first, but traveling around
southern Italy inspecting monuments relieved the tedium of writing reports. The devastation, though, was
He wrote letters home to his wife filled with
drawings to communicate with his 3-year-old son
(Deane ’58)—a sketch of his jeep, or an illustration of
himself sewing on his 5th Army patch.
As the Americans moved north through Italy, forcing
the Germans out, Keller followed, checking on the state
of cultural and artistic treasures in each town, sometimes
only hours after a town was liberated.
Americans wondered why, with so many dead and
wounded, that anyone would care so much for buildings
or works of art, but the Italians were grateful. Keller’s
presence and interest in their villages helped ease the
wounds the Allied bombs had caused. The ancient hillside town of Itria, for example, had tumbled down the
cliff and splintered into a heap. Keller could not even
identify its famous Monastery of San Martino; it was
simply gone.
Arguably Keller’s most valiant effort was at the ancient cemetery of Camposanto in Pisa, with its walls of
medieval frescoes. Before World War II, Pisa was best
known not for the leaning tower but for Camposanto.
Badly damaged by American artillery and six weeks
of battle, the frescoes now lay in millions of fragments. Keller saw that the situation was dire—a single
rainstorm could wash the remains away—so he called
for assistance. A man who had been working largely
alone now supervised a group of army engineers, 84
Italian military personnel, and fresco specialists from
Rome and Florence. They built a temporary shelter and
began the tedious process of collecting every speck of
plaster, saved for a day when restoration could begin.
Two days after the German surrender in May 1945,
Keller received a report from his counterpart in the 8th
Army that the missing Florentine works of art, which
the Nazis had transported north, could be found at
Campo Tures and San Leonardo. Before he could head
there, however, Keller needed to assess the damage in
Milan. “Leonardo’s Last Supper is in peril, “ he wrote in
a letter to his wife, “and we won’t know for some time
what it looks like.” A few days later he added ominously,
“It may be in ruins.”
His stay in Milan turned into a week, but by May 14
he made his first visit to the repositories. The responsibility of returning the works to Florence now fell to
him. While others celebrated the find, Keller focused
on logistics—moving hundreds of uncrated paintings
on roads and railways that were bombed to pieces. “The
war is not over for me,” he wrote his wife.
In the documentary film Rape of Europa, there is
archival footage of Keller loading 13 fully packed freight
cars and then later accompanying trucks on their triumphant return to Florence. The value of that shipment
was estimated, in 1945, at $500 million. It contained the
riches of the Uffizi Museum and the Pitti Palace.
Thousands crowded Florence’s Piazza della Signoria,
clapping and weeping with bells ringing. Keller allowed
himself three martinis when the job was done. He sent
his son a sketch of his team unloading a 10-ton crate of
sculpture by Michelangelo and Donatello at the Bargello
Museum. There are photos of Keller chipping away the
protective masonry from one of the Michelangelos.
Keller returned to Yale and became a full professor.
As Yale’s unofficial portraitist of the faculty, he painted
nearly 200 commissions from the university and another
dozen or so at Taft.
After his death, the family donated his wartime papers to Yale. The collection includes letters, photographs
and extensive records of Allied attempts to protect
Italian art objects during the war, and documents
Keller’s activities and the fate of specific monuments
and collections.
For his efforts during the war, he was recognized
with the U.S. Legion of Merit, the Member of the British
Empire medal, the Crown of Italy Partisan Medal, the
Medal of the Opera from Pisa, and the Order of St.
John the Lateran from the Vatican. He died in 1992
in Hamden, Connecticut. In 2000, he was buried at
CampoSanto in Pisa, in recognition of his extraordinary
wartime efforts in Italy, with honors from the United
States, Italy, and the Roman Catholic Church.
“The life of one American boy is worth infinitely
more to me than any monument I know,” wrote Keller,
but that never stopped him from risking his own. For
him, the monuments were something worth fighting for.
Saving Italy: The race
to rescue a nation’s
treasures from the Nazis
by Robert M. Edsel
Deane Keller Papers,
Manuscripts and Archives,
Yale University Library
Roach, Catherine.
“Collateral Damage.”
Yale Alumni Magazine
(reprinted in Taft Bulletin,
fall 2003)
Morrison, Jim.
“The True Story of the
Monuments Men.”
7 Feb. 2014.
Web 21 Feb. 2014
Rape of Europa, Dirs.
Richard Berge, Bonni
Cohen, Nicole Newnham,
2007. film
“The Monuments Men:
Deane Keller 1901–1992.”
Monuments Men
Web 24 Feb. 2014
v Keller with the
statue of Cosimo de’
Medici from Florence
Taft Bulletin spring 2014 41
from the
v The dapper White
Caps members outside Taft’s Warren
House, where CPT
Hall is now, in 1894.
, The Alpha Phi,
or Alpha Pi, insignia
from an 1894
Taft Annual.
Secret Societies
From the school’s earliest days, Taft boys were casting about for
traditions they could adopt. They had a sense that the young
school, like them, was bound for a bright and distinguished future.
Knowing that Yale was likely in their futures was part of
what it was to be a Taftie. That New Haven was a hive of
fraternities in the 1890s was not lost on Taft’s aspiring upperclassmen. After all, as Yale undergrads, Horace Taft and his
brother, President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, had
been members of the secret society Skull & Bones, co-founded
by their father, Alphonso Taft, in 1832.
Taft’s first secret society, Alpha Phi, had formed shortly before
the school’s move from Pelham Manor to Watertown in 1893.
(The group’s name may have actually been Alpha Pi, given the
insignia in the Taft Annuals of the time; see the illustration above.)
A couple of other societies sprang up soon after. Years later, in
1920, one member of that society, alumnus Abram D. Gillette,
Class of 1895, wrote a cautionary letter to the Taft Papyrus, airing
42 Taft Bulletin Spring 2014
what would seem to be classified tales of inter-society intrigue,
heartbreak, betrayal and maturation:
“Alpha Phi had a monopoly for a while, but soon a flaw appeared
in the sworn friendships. Two of the members resigned; shortly
afterwards, during the first year in Watertown, they formed Lion’s
Head (though the name was never spoken). Its membership was
drawn from all of those who had failed election into Alpha Phi, so
the two societies took in the two upper classes almost entirely.
“Things began to get interesting from this time on, and the arena
of school activities was given over to political gladiators from each
society, who vied by hook and by crook to get all the school offices,
and if the supply ran out, and one crowd seemed to have more than
another, new organizations were formed to offset the advantage.”
In 1895, a third society sprang into life: the White Caps.
“Things went along quietly enough until after Christmas vacation,” writes Gillette. “Gathering in solemn conclave, we were
told that one of the two former members who had left us to form
n Members of the
Lion’s Head society
at Taft, 1895.
v The Lion’s Head
insignia from an
1894 Taft Annual.
vacation,” writes Gillette. “Gathering in solemn conclave, we were
told that one of the two former members who had left us to form
Lion’s Head had divulged our secrets to one of his fellow members. We were appalled.”
“This was the beginning of the end,” Gillette continues.
“Internal factions sprang up within the societies themselves;
personal ambitions clashed….The White Caps survived another
year or so. The societies could not survive long; they did not
deserve to survive. They did their share of harm and died—that
is their epitaph.”
Shortly thereafter, the school developed the Club System. It began with the Junior Taft Athletic Association, also called the Reds
and the Blues, which was formed “to stimulate interest amongst the
younger boys in athletics,” and in lasting cameraderie. Intramural
teams were formed from the boys not on the varsity squads.
In 1922, the school took a step toward Horace Taft’s credo
of educating “the whole boy,” instituting a three-club system
called the Triangle Club. It organized the lower school into three
groups: the Cayugas, the Mohawks and the Senecas. As well as
competing athletically, these teams vied for points in academics,
conduct, debating, glee club singing and writing competitions.
In this new system, “the good student, the singer, the debater,
the writer and the boy who will keep off bounds, each has an
equal chance with the star athlete to contribute points to his
club,” stated the New Boy Book.
By 1940, the renamed Alphas, Betas and Gammas comprised
the entire student body. The New Boy Books of the 1960s called
the club system the “focal point of student life at Taft.”
By 1970, though, students were disinclined to participate in
any kind of “system” at all. Since then, extracurricular clubs and
interest and service groups have multiplied, with an emphasis on
inclusivity and community.
—Alison Gilchrist, The Leslie D. Manning Archives
Taft Bulletin Spring 2014 43
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