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We’re sad to share news of the passing of Honorary Trustee and devoted alumnus Peter Ward ’43, who died on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at the age of 93.
Mr. Ward actively served on the Board of Trustees for 50 years, acting as its chair from 1972 to 1978 and as an Honorary Trustee since being elected in 1980. He chaired the board during the school’s transition to coeducation and also helped establish a planned giving effort at the school.
“Peter was always a consummate gentleman,” former Chair of the Board of Trustees Francis ‘Skip’ Branin ’65 said. “He served St. George's for over six decades and his support of our School over the years has been truly inspirational. He will be greatly missed on the Hilltop.”
Having served as class agent, vice president of the alumni association, class correspondent, and chair of the Trustee Memorial Committee, Mr. Ward received the Howard B. Dean Award in 2004 for his devotion and service to SG.
Former Chair of the Board of Trustees Betsy Michel P’85, ’89, who served from 1989-1999, said all of the board chairs had a special camaraderie.
“We could share experiences, ask advice, talk through issues – all in a way that was different from conversations we might have with others,” she said. “Early on, Peter was there to help me through some of the personalities, the various constituencies, the history, the culture. Peter was a safe and understanding space for me – a wise friend.”
Mr. Ward, she noted, always kept informed about what was happening at school and the issues the board faced. “There was no more active emeritus trustee. I valued his counsel,” she said. “Even after I stepped down, we stayed in touch, and never ran out of conversation. We’ll miss him for sure, but I’d rather give him a cheer for a life well led – with thanks for his friendship and for all that he did over so many years to enhance life on the Hilltop.”
Mr. Ward is survived by his wife Audrey of 60 years and by their children, Peter, Susan, Pamelia and husband Paul, (grandsons Morgan and Brendan White), Douglas and wife Cecilia (and granddaughters Alexandra and Caitlin). He is also survived by his brother Larry and was predeceased by his brothers Philip ‘34 and Thomas.
After graduating SG, Mr. Ward left Princeton to join the Navy and was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1945, serving for a year on small ships to support seaplane operations in the Pacific theater until he was discharged as a Lt. (J.G.) in 1946.
Mr. Ward was recently featured in a Spring 2018 Bulletin article on the Class of 1943 and what it was like on the Hilltop during America’s entry into World War II.
Once he completed his service, Mr. Ward returned to school and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1947 and received his Bachelor of Laws degree from Penn Law School in 1949, where he served as Associate Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and, after coming to New York, President of the New York Alumni Society.
Mr. Ward went on to become a partner at New York City law firm Chadbourne & Parke for 35 years, which merged with Norton Rose Fulbright in 2017.
During his professional career in New York, he served on committees of the New York City and New York State Bar Associations and of the American Bar Association. He also served as a Director, Vice President, and member of the Executive Committee of the Legal Aid Society of New York and as a Director of the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.Peter Ward’s obituary can be found here.
Ninety-two members of the Class of 2018 received their diplomas from Head of School Alixe Callen on her first Prize Day, the 120th in St. George’s School history.
Matthew R. Toner, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, received the St. George’s Medal, the school’s highest award, given by the faculty to a member of the sixth form who through effort, character, athletics and scholarship, has best caught and expressed the ideal and spirit of St. George’s School. “Matt’s quiet fortitude and consistent devotion to excellence under pressure have distinguished him throughout his SG career,” said Dean of Academics Christopher Shaw. Also honored with the Samuel Powel Cup, “for excellence in athletics and for promoting the spirit of hard, clean play,” Toner “truly embodies what the Powel Cup stands for,” according to Coach John Mackay. “He's one of the toughest young men I've had the pleasure of working with. Having been a standout in hockey and lacrosse throughout his SG career, he had nothing to prove in coming out for football his senior year except that he wanted to experience it. He did that, and much more, as a leader on our team, someone who never quit and played a very physical game (it says something about his toughness, having played the three helmeted sports throughout high school) but always remained an outstanding sportsman,” Mackay added.
A four-year senior, Matt has defined “scholar-athlete” at St. George’s since the beginning of the third form. Continually honored with the Head’s Commendation for his academic performance, Toner won in 2017 the Harvard-Radcliffe Prize Book Award, “for the student of the Fifth Form whom the Head of School and the faculty deem most worthy in scholarship, effort and character.” Advisor Scott Stachelhaus noted, “I have always been able to count on Matt to do the right thing – not because it garners him attention or credit, but simply because it's the right thing to do. That's a really admirable way to approach life, and I have a huge amount of respect for Matt.” Toner has devoted himself over four years to multiple sports. He was named Most Valuable Player in the winter of 2018 for hockey and served as team captain for both hockey and lacrosse. Matt heads to Bryant University in the fall.
Naya Ramtahal won the Phelps Montgomery Frissell Prize, selected for the senior “who, in the opinion of the faculty, has made the best use of her or his talents.” Arriving on the Hilltop from Bronx, New York, Naya quickly emerged as multitalented in the performing arts. She appeared in every musical over four years. As a third former, Naya played Consuela in “West Side Story” in 2015, and went on to play Addaperle in “The Wiz” (2016), Quirrell in “A Very Potter Musical” (2017) and most recently Ms. Fleming in “Heathers” (2018). A member of the Snapdragons and the St. George’s Orchestra, Ramtahal debuted her first formal orchestral composition, as “Velvet Dress” was performed for the first time last Thursday at Baccalaureate by the 24-piece SG Pops. She also prevailed this spring as the lead actor, Dorine, the saucy maid, in Molière’s 1664 comedy “Tartuffe, ou L’imposteur.” In addition to the Frissell Prize, Naya also won the 2018 Woods Dramatic Prize, “for the student whose abilities and efforts have contributed most to the theater at St. George's.” Naya also won the 2018 Chinese Prize although she only began her study as a freshman in 2014-15. The prize is “awarded to a student who has demonstrated consistently high performance in the study of Mandarin Chinese and shown a genuine interest in the Chinese language and culture while at St. George’s.” Naya Ramtahal will attend Occidental College in the fall.
The Jefferys Prize went to Sophie Coolidge, awarded “in memory of Cham Jefferys to the sixth former who, in the opinion of the faculty, has done the most to enhance the moral and intellectual climate of the school.” Sophie has participated in and led the Community Outreach Club throughout her four-year SG career. It was Sophie who saw “color runs” on Instagram years ago and proposed the idea to the club as a fun way to raise money. The Dragon Dash 5K Fun Run with Color was born and raised money from sponsors of runners who brave a serial gauntlet of colored powder hurled by volunteers. This April, with support from Sophie, the Community Outreach Club, and Student Activities Director Mary O’Connor, the Fun Run raised thousands of dollars to benefit the pediatric unit of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Also a regular recipient of the Head’s Commendation, Coolidge has participated in the school’s signature programs, including the Curie Institute’s internship in cancer research in Paris, and the first year of the SG Innovation Internships in San Francisco. Notably, Sophie’s mother, Alix Horne Coolidge ’85, last October named Sophie as “her role model” in an online news article published by the school. Sophie will attend Davidson College in the fall.
Abigail Turner was honored with the Pullins Family Cup, “awarded to a girl of the sixth form whose steady devotion to the high ideals of good sportsmanship has been an inspiration to her fellow students.” Turner is a four-year senior and a tri-varsity athlete and a tri-season team captain in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse. Abigail will join the class of 2022 at Colorado College.
Awarded to the female senior athlete for “athletic excellence,” and for “promoting the spirit of hard, clean play,” the Louise Elliot Cup went to Hannah Drechsel. Hannah is also a tri-varsity athlete in soccer, hockey and lacrosse, co-captaining all three teams. She was named Most Valuable Player for soccer in 2016 and for lacrosse in 2017, All ISL in 2017, and won the Dean Scholarship last year. Hannah will play for St. Lawrence University in the coming four years.
John Kirkpatrick won the Thayer Cup, “awarded to a boy of the sixth form whose steady devotion to the high ideals of good sportsmanship has been an inspiration to his fellow students.” John is a varsity cross-country runner, swimmer and sailor. In addition to serving on the Honor Board this year, as editor-in-chief of the Red & White student paper, and in three varsity sports, John maintained a very strong and successful commitment to his studies all year. He will sail next year at Stanford University.
Michaela Sullivan and Stephen Thompson shared the George D. Donnelly Athletic Award, given to “a girl and boy who, in the opinion of the Head of School and the Athletic Director, possess a passion for athletics and demonstrate the dedication and sportsmanship to succeed in a variety of athletic endeavors.” Coach Molly Dullea said about Michaela, that “the reason the girls’ team played so well in postseason was because they were ‘playing for Michaela’.” Sullivan sank her 1000th point this winter, captained the team to a 15-10 season, and will play at Middlebury next year. In both football and baseball, Stephen Thompson is “a positive teammate and a hard- working athlete” according to Athletic Director Rachel Horn. She added, “His coaches have been impressed by his maturity and focus. He expects the same from his teammates, and by leading them to be the best they can be, he raises the level of play.” Thompson is headed to the University of Pittsburgh.
The faculty and Head of School chose two fifth-formers to be honored with the Harvard-Radcliffe Book Award Prize this year. Spencer Dellenbaugh and Peyton Mulhern, both day students, brought different interests but a common commitment to making the most of their opportunities at SG. The prize goes to a member of the fifth form deemed “most worthy in scholarship, effort and character.” Peyton is a tri-varsity athlete who was elected one of five school prefects for the coming year. Spencer is an avid and award-winning competitor in local and national robotics competitions and will serve as a member of the Honor Board as a senior.
Matt Richards won the Allen Prize, awarded by the faculty “to a member of the fourth form who during the year, in the opinion of the faculty, has maintained a high standard in all departments of the life of the school.” Matt played on the football, hockey and lacrosse varsity teams, and was most often spotted in the evenings buried in his books in the Academic Center’s glass Staples Conference Room, given his four honors-level courses.
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve broken ground on our two new artificial turf athletic fields!
Construction began earlier this month north of Auchincloss Dormitory and Memorial Schoolhouse with the fields expected to be ready for play this fall when students arrive on campus after summer vacation.
In addition to the turf fields, the existing baseball field at Elliott Field will be reconstructed in the northwest corner of campus and will be ready for play in spring 2019.
To view the project’s progress, check out our photo gallery on Flickr.
Editor’s note: Please submit your own well-wishes or words of appreciation for Mr. Evans on our tribute page.
Veteran biology teacher Tom Evans, an instructor who sparked a passion for science in generations of students, a competitive yet compassionate coach, and a dedicated lifelong learner, will retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year, capping an illustrious 31-year tenure on the Hilltop.
With his passion for science, his experience as a high-level athlete and his calm, encouraging demeanor, Mr. Evans seems born to have become a teacher. Since his arrival on the Hilltop in 1987, he has taught all levels of biology and microbiology; served as director of the summer school, chair of the science department, an advisor and dorm parent; and coached varsity swimming and soccer, as well as cross country and golf. He has been the holder of the Vincent Astor ’10 Teaching Chair in Science, to promote and honor excellence in teaching, since 1991.
“The first day of school next fall is going to be very different for me,” said Tom’s fellow biology teacher Holly Williams about his retirement. “For 27 years Tom has been in the science building (old and new) teaching next door to me. He has been there to help me learn the ropes as a new teacher, to collaborate with on laboratory experiments, to bounce ideas off of, to teach me about topics in HIV and microbiology, to share frustrations, to chat about biological research —but mostly to be a friend.”
Other colleagues added their appreciation for Mr. Evans as a mentor and guide.
“Tom has served as a standard for great teaching ever since I started here,” said chemistry teacher Scott Stachelhaus, who arrived at St. George’s in 2011. “He is someone I looked up to as a young teacher, and he is still someone I look up to today.”
English teacher Jeff Simpson, a longtime colleague of Evans who coached the cross-country team with him, said he’s always admired Mr. Evans’ “remarkable ability to inspire his students and athletes through a combination of very high standards and genuine care for their progress and welfare.”
Mr. Simpson said he witnessed many students strive to meet Mr. Evans’ “tough Old School requirements” because he created a culture of mutual respect. “[Tom] brings excitement, curiosity, and first-rate expertise to whatever he undertakes,” he said. “Only Tom could inspire kids to embrace ‘pain is fun’ as a cheery team motto.”
In fact, legions of former athletes, many of whom may not have even known their true potential, upped their skill level and confidence under Mr. Evans’ guidance. During his tenure as head coach the varsity swim team, the 2008-09 season was the most successful in SG history. With 46 swimmers, the largest SG swim squad ever, the teams finished undefeated, 17-0 in coed, boys and girls dual meet competitions — and both the girls’ and boys’ teams won their first-ever ISL Invitational meet titles, besting teams from Milton and Thayer. In a story in the 2012 Summer Bulletin, Halsey Huth ’12, a co-captain of the boys’ varsity swim team for the 2011-12 season, said “Coach Evans is one of the best coaches I have had at St. George’s. Because of him, the swim team is a group of some of the closest students on campus.”
In the science classroom, students have been inspired by Mr. Evans’ contagious love of discovery, often while peering through one of the solar-powered microscopes he outfitted his latest lab with. Third-form honors biology student Brady Lyons said she has always been excited to go to Mr. Evans’ class. “I appreciate how he can make a class informational, but at the same time entertaining and engaging,” she said.
When current Head of the Science Department Bob Wein came to interview for a job at St. George in 1999, he said Mr. Evans’ “openness, his obvious love of the kids and his thorough knowledge of microbiology” impressed him. “After coming to the Hilltop, it was clear to me that Tom's mixture of joy and the highest academic expectations are something I can only aspire to emulate,” he added. “He has impacted so many future scientists, and genuinely helped make the St. George's Science Department what it is today.”
Dean of Faculty Beezie Bickford said that when she first came to St. George’s in the fall of 1990, she heard about a teacher everyone called “The Rock.” “He was a really popular biology teacher, head varsity coach of swimming and soccer, dorm parent, advisor, family man — and he did it all with energy, curiosity, and good humor,” she said. “Now 28 years later, I am even more in awe of Tom. He's maintained a passion for teaching, he has an amazing range of interests, and he's still quick with a smile. That old nickname speaks to his deep commitment to education and students of all ages that runs deep and steady.”
Cory Cramer ’00 is an English teacher at St. George’s now, but in 1996-97 he was a third former in Mr. Evans’ biology class. “I remember vividly his lecture on cat anatomy in preparation for our dissection project,” Mr. Cramer said. “He peppered the lecture with anecdotes from his time working in a morgue. Though I'm now firmly on the humanities path, I still think of Mr. Evans' class as a moment when I might have turned, because his passion for biology was, for our time together, my own.”
The grandson of the 1917 Norwegian women’s national swim champion, Mr. Evans discovered his own skills at swimming at an early age. “My first memory of ‘wow’ was 1959,” he said in a St. George’s Bulletin story in 2012. “I was 9 years old and I won a trophy at a YMCA meet. I loved that trophy. It was a big trophy. I thought, ‘Wow, this is really cool. I want more of these.’” He later went on to become a three-time All-American swimmer, captain of the swim team and starting goalkeeper for the soccer team at North Carolina State University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology and microbiology.
He has always been known around campus as a man of many talents and interests. An excellent golfer, he even builds his own clubs. And he can often be seen with his favorite camera in tow capturing the beauty of the campus, including an iconic shot of the moon behind the chapel tower.
In recent years, Mr. Evans has found great reward in creating a specialized curriculum for the study of the AIDS virus and in serving as a mobility volunteer at Newport Hospital, where he and sometimes one of his students would go to help patients take their first steps following surgery.
Recently, Mr. Evans reflected on his decision to retire. “It has truly been an honor to have been part of the St. George’s community for over 30 years, almost half of my life,” he said. “The Hilltop has been a wonderful supportive home for Linda and our children.”
He said he has always admired St. George’s teachers for their talents, dedication and enthusiasm. “But most of all I have been truly blessed to have been able to serve so many SG students who have inspired me and truly taught me what a humble and honorable gift it is to be a teacher,” he said. “It is frightening to think about my last class as a teacher at St. George’s. I cannot imagine not having a class to teach. Teaching has been like oxygen for me.”
Mr. Evans, a Wilmington, Delaware, native, says he will return to his hometown this summer to be closer to family and friends. His son Thomas, who graduated from St. George’s in 2009 lives in New York and his daughter Kaitlyn, who graduated in 2006, now lives in Washington, D.C.
“I plan to look for volunteering positions at local hospitals and schools, possible part-time teaching positions, I hope to continue my love of photography, and maybe even find time to play a few rounds of golf,” he said. “But I will miss the work and friendship on the Hilltop and the magic of the sunrises over Second Beach.”
Head of School Alixe Callen announced today (March 2, 2018) that alumnus Mervan Osborne, a member of the St. George’s Class of 1986, has been appointed Associate Head of School for Student Life. He will begin his tenure on July 1.
Mr. Osborne is a founding faculty member and Head of School at Boston’s Beacon Academy. The school offers motivated students in and around Boston a challenging yearlong academic program in between eighth and ninth grades in preparation for application to New England independent high schools. For 11 years prior to Beacon, Mr. Osborne taught English and drama courses; led diversity initiatives; and coached football, basketball, and baseball at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has also served as a resident tutor for A Better Chance in Massachusetts and was a member of Teach for America’s Founding Corps in Compton, California. From 2011-2015, he was a member of the Cambridge School Committee.
In addition, Mr. Osborne has a passion for filmmaking and for many years taught film and video production classes to middle school students in the summer. He holds a master of fine arts degree in film production from Boston University, completed graduate coursework in education at Lesley University and holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Trinity College.
Ms. Callen said Mr. Osborne quickly rose to the top of a strong pool of more than 70 applicants. “Our search committee, comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, and students, immediately recognized Mervan’s myriad strengths,” she wrote in a letter to the community. “From the start, he impressed us with his deep experience as a school leader, his commitment to his students, and his love for St. George's.
Ms. Callen also noted that Mr. Osborne’s references “spoke extensively about his ability to foster a positive school culture and to connect with and mentor students;” his positive interactions with faculty, parents and trustees; and his “warm, authentic, deep-thinking nature.”
Sixth-former Tilly Peck ’18, who served along with two other students on the search committee, said, “Mr. Osborne has a real and unparalleled way of connecting with people, especially students. He’s really on the students’ team.”
“I think Mr. Osborne’s ability to form relationships and empathize with the people of St. George’s will be a huge asset, and he’ll do great things on the Hilltop,” she added.
Mr. Osborne said he’s excited to take on his new role. “I’m thrilled to be returning to the Hilltop — a place that was absolutely transformative for me,” he said.
Mr. Osborne, his wife, Lucy Darragh, and their sons Moses, 5, and Atticus, 2, will move to campus this summer.
“Lucy and I are excited to introduce our children to the remarkable St. George’s community,” Mr. Osborne added, “and are eager to call it home for years to come.”
In this space we will keep a running log of important and interesting moments in the tenure our 12th Head of School, Alixe Callen, as she navigates her first year at St. George’s. To read more of our coverage on Ms. Callen's arrival, view this article from our magazine and this Q&A on the Head of School's page on our website.
May 28, 2018
May 16, 2018
Ms. Callen completed a year of welcome receptions, traveling coast to coast to meet SG alumni and parents. A photo gallery of her visits around the country can be viewed here.
April 20, 2018
Ms. Callen opened SG's A Weekend for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by welcoming attendees before the keynote speaker.
April 6, 2018
Head of School Alixe Callen gave a chapel talk to prospective students and their families during Revisit Weekend. Watch the video here.
Feb. 15, 2018
Ms. Callen sent a letter to the community to give an update on school culture and community engagement initiatives.
Feb. 6, 2018
Ms. Callen delivered a chapel speech marking the start of Black History Month. The speech can be read here.
Dec. 6, 2017
Ms. Callen sent a letter to the community to give an update on her first year of headship and what she has learned so far.
Nov. 20, 2017
Meet Alixe Callen in this video sent to our community.
Nov. 1, 2017
Head of School Alixe Callen delivers this chapel talk: "Kindness Matters."
Oct. 24, 2017
Board Chair Leslie Heaney introduces Head of School Alixe Callen at the alumni reception in New York. Ms. Callen addresses those gathered. View the video here.
Oct. 10, 2017
Ms. Callen reflects on her first month of the academic year — and the positive and supportive community she's found here on the Hilltop — in this letter to the community.
Sept. 14, 2017
The annual Honor Chapel takes place, during which community members pledge to adhere to the school's Honor Code. Alixe makes this address.
In the evening, Alixe greets local parents and alumni at a reception at Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth, R.I. Watch a video of her remarks here. View photos of the event here.
Sept. 7, 2017
The community celebrates the opening of the academic year under the leadership of Head of School Alixe Callen during our Convocation service in the chapel on Thursday, Sept. 7. In her address, Ms. Callen tells students she hopes they will allow themselves to be less than perfect — and to be emboldened by the understanding and encouraging community around them. "I want emotion," she said. "I want you to ask questions, tell us your worries, be open to risks, and trust that this incredible community will support you." Watch the video of Ms. Callen's entire address on our Vimeo channel.
Sept. 5, 2017
Ms. Callen welcomes our 123 new families to the Hilltop and makes this address in the chapel on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Aug. 23, 2017
On Aug. 23, 2017, the Newport Daily News publishes this profile of Alixe, in which she outlines her core values and approach to leadership at a new school.
Aug. 4, 2017
On Aug. 4, 2017, Alixe meets members of the greater St. George’s community on Martha’s Vineyard. Photos are on our Flickr.com page.
July 11, 2017
Ms. Callen’s first letter to the community is sent on July 11, 2017.
July 1, 2017
Ms. Callen arrives on campus and her tenure begins.
Dec. 9, 2016
Ms. Alixe Callen is announced as the first female head of St. George’s on Dec. 9, 2016. Watch the video on our Vimeo channel.
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