The Outstanding Alumni Award honors alumni who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement and influence in their field and/or in their community activities.
George Roy Hill - Blake Class of 1939
In the years since his graduation in 1939 from The Blake School, George Roy Hill has played a leading role in the productions of film, drama, and television of the highest quality.
From his acting debut at Blake and his leadership of the Yale Dramat, he has been honored for outstanding contributions made throughout his career, including an Academy Award for "The Sting," a Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Award for his direction of "Look Homeward, Angel," and two Emmy nominations for "A Night to Remember."
The Blake School's Alumni Association is proud to add to these expressions of praise by recognizing George Roy Hill as the inaugural recipient of The Blake School Outstanding Alumni Award.
Suzanne Radley Hiatt - Northrop Class of 1954
Suzanne, following your graduation from Northrop in 1954 and Radcliffe College in 1958, you have received national recognition for your leadership role in the Episcopal Church as well as the American Women's Movement.
In 1974 you were a member of the Philadelphia Eleven, the first women to be ordained Episcopal priests in the United States. You were called "The Bishop" among the eleven women for your political organization skills and were instrumental in rallying the clerical hierarchy to support ordination of women.
Your encouragement to others to speak out about issues critical to our time include your book, "Women Priests: Yes or No" and your activism in support of welfare rights and the anti-war movement.
You have continued your pursuit of education receiving a Master's of Social Work from Boston College and a Bachelor's of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge where you now hold the rank of professor. For the quality and depth of your work since your graduation from Radcliffe, you were made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1984.
Suzanne, in 1954 your classmates at Northrop Collegiate School described you as "someone who accomplished what you set out to do and much more...." The Blake School would like to recognize your classmates' foresight and add its appreciation of your achievements.
F. Atherton Bean - Blake Class of 1926
The spirit of The Blake Schools is truly represented by its alumni, and by the impressive record of achievement they have attained over the school's eighty-six year history. It is demonstrated in the public ledgers of commerce, science, education, service and the arts. It is imprinted just as deeply in the private lives of relatives, friends, co-workers and citizens who have been touched by the people who have been educated at this school.
Seventy-six years of achievement provide the background against which we honor you today; early childhood in New Prague; education at Blake, Carleton, and Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar; leadership at International Multifoods; appointment to a Presidential Task Force and Commission; and significant recognition by a host of the Minnesota's finest institutions.
With vision, courage and determination, you championed the causes of the Mayo Foundation, The Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, Carleton College and Blake. Your significant achievements on behalf of these institutions reflect your caring and concern, and the acceptance of the responsibilities of trusteeship and stewardship. You epitomize the dynamic, constructive force which volunteers exert on our society.
Your inspiration has evoked in us the capacity to turn our dreams into realities.
Joan Argetsinger-Seitz - Northrop Class of 1958
"The job of a teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the ever-growing individua shall come to seize it with the excitement of constant discovery tempered by awe and wonder."
To a great degree this has been experienced in the life of this illustrious Cum Laude graduate of Northrop, Class of 1958, who has distinguished herself worldwide in the area of molecular biology through significant research and meaningful teaching.
Schooled in math and science Northrop by Marjorie Harrison and Sara Hill, our honoree continued her formal and informal academic training at Antioch, MIT, the University of Minnesota, Harvard and The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England not only earning degrees and honors along the way, but developing a love for cellular research and study equated by famed biologist Helena Curtis as being an "adventure for the mind and nourishment for the spirit."
Now a noted professor at Yale University, our esteemed scientific investigator has been named almost yearly to a prestigious academic society and honored, most recently by the President of the United States as a winner of the National Medal of Science and the Radcliffe Graduate Society with the Medal for Distinguished Achievement. A modern pioneer and role model for women in the sciences, she is also applauded for her advocacy for increased funding in basic scientific research.
We, as a school community, have unbounded pride in her accomplishments and are privileged to add to the many expressions of praise. May you always find new frontiers of research to be conquered, stimulation from students who think of things in novel ways and the satisfaction that comes with making significant contributions to the well-being of others.
Eva Seed Auchincloss - Northrop Class of 1951
"Sport is a powerful socializing factor in society. The games we play shape our future."
-Eva Seed Auchincloss
Through perception, commitment, and persuasion, this illustrious member of the Class of '51 has accelerated and enriched the opportunities for women and girls in athletics through her intense desire to see society support and promote female physical fitness and sports.
With vision, courage and determination, she transformed the Women's Sports Foundation from a small, fledgling organization into the national collective voice for women's sports that it is today.
Our esteemed honoree has actively spoken for the implementation and maintenance of Title IX provisions; developed comprehensive educational programs and a blueprint of action for woe's sports; created the Women's International Sports Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding achievements by women in sports; targeted sponsorship through American corporations for a Travel and Training Fund for aspiring female athletes; and campaigned tirelessly to expand the competitive opportunities for women internationally through the Olympics movement. Each epitomizes the dynamic, constructive force that determined advocacy by individuals can exert on society. All have been accomplished.
She has been honored almost yearly for her significant achievements, most recently by the National Jaycees, the State of California, The Women's Sports Foundation and the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports.
We, as a school community, have unbounded pride in her accomplishments, applaud her advocacy, and are privileged to add to the many expressions of praise. May you always find the motivation that comes from giving others a sporting chance, the joy that the discovery of participation brings, and the satisfaction that comes with making significant contributions to the mental and physical well being of others.
John F. Raynolds III - Blake Class of 1947
"Each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope."
From co-founding the U.S. Navy Seals to the presidency of Outward Bound, U.S.A, the world's largest and oldest non-profit adventure based educational organization, our esteemed honoree's very successful career path has been one which led him through the challenges of acquiring new skills to make whatever he took on better.
By personal example, writing, speaking and advising, he has championed the cause of volunteer service and commitment through board positions with the International Executive Service Corps and A Better Chance; co-authoring with his wife Eleanor, "Beyond Success..." and his recent position as spokesman for a group advising President Bush on implementing a national volunteer program. He epitomizes the dynamic, constructive force which volunteers exert on our society.
We, as a school community, have unbounded pride in his accomplishments, applaud hi s advocacy, and are privileged to add to the many expressions of praise. May you always find new frontiers to explore; more reasons to encourage citizens to "give back," feel the renewed energy that volunteer service provides and the satisfaction that comes from "working on the side of angels" in making significant contributions to the well-being of others. Your ripples have made a difference.
Thomas J. Davis and Alas S. Franken - Blake Class of 1970 and Blake Class of 1969
"Gramma said when you come on something good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out where no telling it will go. Which is right."
The beginning of Forrest Carter's The Education of Little Tree
Writers, performers, producers, television and movie actors - our esteemed honorees have been partners since their Upper School days performing together during morning chapel announcements. Sharpening their skills at such laughter emporiums as Dudley Riggs, Improvisation of New York City and The Comedy Store in Hollywood, this noted comedy duo became the youngest members of the original writing staff of Saturday Night Live. While Dan Aykroyd called them "the backbone" of the show, and the viewing audience became familiar with their political material, The Coneheads and Weekend Updates, to name just a few, the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded these creative talents with two Emmys, then a third for a Paul Simon special.
We, as a school community, have unbounded pride in their accomplishments and are privileged to add to the many expression of praise. May you always nurture creativity, find humor in the clash or powerful ideas, evoke passion in political satire, and feel the satisfaction that comes from making people laugh — for that simple human action spreads and improves everything.
Mary Case Warner - Northrop Class of 1927
"The influence you exert is through the responsible actions of your own life."
Through the painful discovery of personal experience, and a high sense of action, this illustrious member of the Northrop Class of '27 has been the guiding force in the battle to achieve, strengthen and enforce animal protection laws in the United States and abroad. Considered the godmother of frontline fighters battling dog syndicates, our distinguished honoree has used the impact of information to insure that wrongful acts can be stopped. As founder and president of the non-profit organization Action 81, she operates a nationwide network to prevent, monitor and expose the theft of companion animals for laboratory research.
This Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude graduate of Smith College has influenced state legislation as well as laws at the federal level through the passage of the Pet Theft Act of 1990; has testified before the National Academy of Science; been the subject of an ABC 20/20 segment concerned with dealer-laboratory connections and the theft of privately owned pets; and been awarded the Animal Humanitarian Award of 1990 by the Animal Protection Institute.
We, as a school community, have unbounded pride in her accomplishments, applaud her advocacy, and are privileged to add to the many national expression of praise. Your inspiration has evoked in each of us the realization that individuals can make a difference and the determination to make significant contributions through our own actions.
Marcia McNutt - Northrop Class of 1970
"...whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
-Sir Isaac Newton
As consistently as the words brilliant, successful, praise, ambitious, intellectual, innovative and thorough can be used to describe the recipient of this year's Blake School Outstanding Alumni Award, so too can she be described as humorous, kind, gracious, generous, patient, and forthright.
She graduated from Northrop Collegiate School as class valedictorian in 1970, winning prizes in French, mathematics, and science; three years later she earned her BA in physics and a Phi Beta Kappa key from Colorado College and in 1978 she earned her doctorate from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has also been certified as a demolitions expert by the Navy's SEAL training course in underwater demolition and explosives handling, she has been published both nationally and internationally and in 1988 she was the recipient of the Macelwane Award of the American Geophysical Union for significant contributions to geophysics by young scientists. She is currently a tenured associate professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the mother of three terrific daughters.
Not only has this remarkable member of the Northrop Class of 1970 achieved professional excellence as an explorer, researcher and professor in the field of geophysics, she has managed to attain a certain isostasy, or equilibrium, in her life by balancing her professional role as an internationally recognized authority on tectonophysics with equally important roles as a mother and a friend.
We, as a school community, have unbounded pride in her accomplishments and are privileged to add to the many expressions of praise. Your passion to explore and discover, to illuminate the unknown, to unlock treasures of knowledge through elegant mathematical formulation and analysis, have served as an inspiration to young scientists and especially to young women. May you continue to explore new frontiers and cross new thresholds, raising the depths of the ocean to dazzling heights of knowledge; may you continue through your eloquence to clarify the infinitely complex and help us to understand what holds mountains up.
Alfred Moir - Blake Class of 1942
"Only through art can we get outside of ourselves and know another's view of the universe which is not the same as ours and see landscapes which would otherwise have remained unknown to us like the landscapes of the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing a single world, our own, we see it multiply until we have before us as many worlds as there are original artist."
A career dedicated to studying the history of art has brought our outstanding alumnus national and international recognition. He has learned to view the world through many perspectives and to appreciate the art of other eras. His love of travel has led him to explore other cultures on six continents.
After earning his doctoral degree in art history from Harvard University, and completing special graduate work in Rome, our honoree taught at Tulane University. In 1962, he began his thirty-year career and the University of California at Santa Barbara where, as a gifted teacher and administrator, his tenure included chairing the Department of Art and Art History for six years, directing the Education Abroad Program in Italy, and curating many exhibitions.
Our esteemed alumnus is an expert on the 16th century Italian artist, Caravaggio. His four books about this famous artist have been published in Italian and French as well as English. A prolific writer for national and international art journals, he also has served as editor for numerous art history books. Now a professor emeritus, he is completing a book on the Flemish artist, Anthony van Dyck, and continues his global travels.
We as a school community are proud to recognize his accomplishments and to express our appreciation of his achievements.
Marth "Patty" Bagley Clifford - Northrop Class of 1934
This extraordinary member of the Northrop Class of 1934 has spent more than 40 years contributing to her adopted community as a lifelong volunteer.
By using to the fullest her talents as an organizer, an advocate and a mediator, she has accomplished in local and state communities what few of us can imagine doing in two lifetimes. Her energy and devotion to creating positive change for physically and emotionally disabled people, and for others in need of an advocate, epitomizes the magnitude of impact which a volunteer can make in our society.
An honors graduate of Smith College, she was an active volunteer in the Minneapolis area before she and her family moved to the growing state of Arizona in 1949. Today, she is described as the "quintessential volunteer;" she has never lost interest in, nor her sense of commitment to, the organizations she worked with and built. She is unfailingly modest about her own work, but a sampling of her awards and honors gives voice to the true value of her contributions. She received both the Golden Heart and the Humanitarian Awards from the Human Services Department of the City of Phoenix; recipients are chosen by vote of low-income residents of South Phoenix. She also has received recognition from the National Foundation for the Blind and the Phoenix South Mental Health Center. In 1981, a building was named for her at the School for Deaf and Blind in Tucson, where she served as a board member for 24 years -- appointed by five successive governors.
We honor her tremendous commitment to the people of Arizona, and her continuous contributions of time, energy and wisdom, which truly have been forces for change in her community.
Charles Parks Ritchie - Blake Class of 1957
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
-Henry B. Adams
The influence of this teacher and explorer of life extends far beyond national borders. His former students and friends of many nations encircle the globe. For 30 years, his tremendous enthusiasm and intellect have been focused on the development of The Blake School and its community. His great devotion to and work for Blake have been complemented by his acts of service to the greater community.
This graduate of the Blake Class of 1957 continued his formal education at Dartmouth, in the U.S. Army, at Moscow, Yale and Indiana Universities. Since 1965, he has enlivened the halls and programs of his alma mater as an exceptional teacher of Russian and Social Studies, as Admissions Director and Counselor, as a hockey and soccer coach and as the founder and guiding light of Blake's International Program.
Thanks to his fascination with other cultures, his fluency in languages, and his ease of connecting with people of all ages, he has successfully brought back to his home community the best of many lands. As the leader of more than 20 student journeys to Europe and Asia, he has encouraged in young people a spirit of exploration and openness to other cultures.
As director of the International Program he has unlatched the door to a whole new world and challenged our self-satisfied American parochialism. He possesses an exceptional capacity to gain and sustain the interest and devotion of students. He is a recognized leader among the teachers of Russian in the Midwest and he has served for many years as Dean of the Russian Camp of the Concordia Language Villages.
First and foremost, he is a teacher. He also is an explorer of countries and cultures, a mentor, a leader, a husband, a father, a folk/bluegrass musician, and an outdoorsman. He is known by all as a man of insight and integrity. At Blake, his alma mater and the home of his life's work, he is also known as the life of the party, and an extraordinary player of life.
Patricia Donovan Baker - Northrop Class of 1949
"One thing I know. The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
Until the day when we, too, learn to combine our passions and our skills in service, we cannot fully appreciate the character of the woman we honor today. We may, however, work to emulate her example, and perhaps know as well the satisfaction of a life of productive service.
A person of diverse interests and abilities, she has brought them all "home" through her guidance and governance in organizations, which support the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. In turn, she has been strengthened and rejuvenated by the people and the possibilities of the place she has called home for more than 60 years.
Her involvement in the Minneapolis community is rooted in childhood, and after graduating from Northrop Collegiate School in 1949, and a short break for college, she returned to this area to settle, raise her family, and begin her life's work in the community. She has contributed to a multitude of organizations, ranging from the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library to the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus, and from the Environmental Trust Fund to the Women's Christian Association. A most visible activity has been her 15 years of dedicated service as a Minneapolis Park Board commissioner. Elected to this post in 1982, 1986 and 1990, she is currently Board President, a position she held in 1986 and 1987, as well. This work has offered her the opportunity for "creativity, resourcefulness and positive leadership," attributes she extended also into six years of work and leadership on the Alumni Board of The Blake School, the alma mater she shares with her three children.
Her self-confidence, vision of what the future can be, and concern for the welfare of others gives us a concrete example of words and beliefs in action. She has made a lifelong habit of service, and worked tirelessly to keep her city a place in which people thrive. With humor, compassion, her signature resolve and a laugh to remember, she has maintained equanimity in the face of trouble, a balanced view instead of partisanship, and stability in a time when impermanence is the rule, and busy people struggle to make time for volunteerism.
She is compassionate, and she is tough; like a willow, she is both resilient and rooted. She is praised as a self-starter, a committed, positive and forward-thinking community activist. Those who know her through her work see her as an energetic friend of the city, an astute politician, and a person who truly lives her sense of responsibility to the community.
Whitney MacMillan - Blake Class of 1947
"Much may be made of a Scotsman if he be caught young."
-Samuel Johnson, 1772
Two centuries and an ocean away, Dr. Johnson's wry assessment rings true for this original member of the Blake Class of 1947. The promise of his early years was fulfilled in the myriad accomplishments of his 44-year business career at one of America's leading corporations.
By his retirement in 1995 from Cargill, Inc., this enterprising American of Scottish heritage had led his family's already successful grain and commodities business to a position as the world's largest, most profitable privately-owned corporation. The innovations, competitive drive, and foresighted efficiencies the company developed under his leadership began a process of transformation still felt today in Cargill's more than 900 subsidiaries in 66 countries.
He was the first student in Blake history to earn four varsity letters in one year, the result of talent and an "unslacking stubborn streak." In 1951, after graduating from Yale, he joined Cargill, Inc., the company begun in 1875 by his great-grandfather, as a general trainee. As chairman and CEO from 1977-95, he raised standards and encouraged a pragmatic but risk-taking management environment that resulted in a five-fold increase in revenue over 18 years. He fostered a commitment to diversification and encouraged the company to take the "long view" as it expanded into an increasingly competitive global market. He also worked to promote economic development in countries where Cargill does business. His professional viewpoint is widely sought; he has served as a director of many corporate boards and on the U.S.-Russia and U.S.-Japan Business Councils, was chair of CARE International and the Institute for East-West Security Studies, and advises colleges and universities on public policy, economics, natural resources and food safety issues.
His years of anticipating and responding wisely to change, and the loyalty he inspired and demonstrated by "living the business" paid off in a thriving organization, which looks confidently to the future. Whether we know him as a facilitator of ideas, a rancher, a friend, a husband, a father of Northrop and Blake alumni, or as a former Blake trustee and long-time ally of our school, we take great pride in his accomplishments and are honored that he is an alumnus.
David Ellwood - Blake Class of 1971
You see things; and you say, "Why?"
But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
-George Bernard Shaw, 1921
Which of us, when faced by a problem of the size and gravity of societal poverty, might not simply shake our head, or ponder guiltily the vagaries of fate? The alumnus we honor today has confronted the complex and thorny issues of poverty and welfare reform in the United States, and worked to create system-wide policy changes to help poor people support themselves.
Since his graduation from the Blake School in 1971, he has developed his intellectual gifts and a strong affinity for public service into a career as a teacher, an author and a nationally respected expert on poverty and welfare reform. This summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University completed both his bachelor's and doctorate degrees in economics, because he relished how the field addresses systemic issues. He combined economic expertise with personal empathy, a common-sense Minnesota ethos and hands-on research skills to formulate a series of ideas about the causes of poverty and the design of a support system in the U.S. to replace welfare. The gist of his comprehensive plan, expressed fully in his ground-breaking 1988 book, "Poor Support," and in later work, is "If you work, you shouldn't be poor," and "One parent shouldn't be expected to do the work of two."
His precept of mutual responsibility is represented in what he writes and teaches, and in how he works. He has collaborated with other economists and policy planners to produce some of his many articles and books, and he serves on a number of advisory and research boards. In 1993, he was asked to work directly toward the formulation, analysis and change of welfare policy, as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 1995, he returned to Harvard, where he is Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. His ongoing work is to clarify, to his students, his readers and to all of us, how and why people are bound by poverty, and how wisely implemented systemic changes can help poor people become self-supporting and self-respecting citizens.
Sarah Pillsbury - Northrop Class of 1969
"Hold each moment sacred. Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each its true and due fulfillment."
-Thomas Mann, 1939
Out of Orono and Hollywood comes a movie producer and philanthropist who focuses on "human stories on a human scale." Her work in films has explored such topics as the race to identify the AIDS virus, love between two people with Down Syndrome, surrogate parenting, women's self-discovery and the intricacies of group dynamics.
Her movie production successes include the recent release of the DreamWorks film, "The Love Letter." She and her business partner have produced eight feature films: "Desperately Seeking Susan," "River's Edge," "Eight Men Out," "Immediate Family," "Love Field," "How to Make an American Quilt," and "The Joyriders." They also have produced four television films, including the Emmy Award-winning HBO film, "And the Band Played On." Her film career was launched in 1974 when she was associate producer for the documentary, "The California Reich," which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 1979, she co-produced the Academy Award-winning short film, "Board and Care."
As a means of supporting progressive organizations and to help alleviate serious problems in Los Angeles' inner city, she co-founded the Liberty Hill Foundation in 1976. In the 23 years since, the foundation has given away more than seven million dollars to grassroots community groups such as the Korean Immigrant Workers Association, the Bus Riders Union and welfare rights organizations. Her social consciousness extends through both her work and volunteerism. Focusing on smaller-scale, moderate-budget films, she strives to limit movie costs. As she noted, "People are starving in this world; people are homeless. In my mind, it's literally sinful to spend an outrageous amount of money (on a film)."
An extremely outgoing and spontaneous woman, she is a non-linear thinker who produces a constant flow of creative ideas. Despite her more public successes, her private priorities still are her love and care for her family and for humanity.
Sallie Sheldon - Northrop Class of 1969
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
from "The Scientist Speculates," 1962
An unquenchable thirst to discover the relationship and mutual impact between plant and animal life prompted the alumna we honor today to study nearly every organism imaginable. Her research of life forms has taken her to the northern Arctic to study the massive polar bear and to the bottom of lakes and ponds to discover a tiny insect that can chew highly invasive Eurasian water milfoil into a state of submission.
An extraordinary teacher, she is currently on the faculty of Middlebury College and has also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Vermont, Cornell University, the University of Santa Clara, Michigan Technological University and Kent State University. In 1993 she became the first woman to chair the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division at Middlebury College. A strong believer that "research is teaching," she works side-by-side with her undergraduate students to give them hands-on experience with the ecosystem.
She is an eclectic and focused researcher who has conducted extensive research on polar bears, moose, aquatic plants, hermit crabs, fish and invertebrates. Everything in the environment interests her and the respect she has for the biological world motivates her. In the early 1990s, she discovered the Euhrychiopsis lecontei weevil, a tiny water beetle that eats Eurasian water milfoil. Now, the weevil is being mass-produced and four states are introducing it into their lakes and ponds.
She is a wonderful and dynamic speaker who makes a personal and professional effort to talk to high school and alumni groups with the goal of encouraging young women to pursue their interest in science. A multi-faceted person, she also enjoys music, dance and cooking.
The woman we honor has opened our eyes to the world around us and helped us understand its interactive and symbiotic organisms.
Wallace Corliss Dayton - Blake Class of 1939
"My life has been the poem I would have writ, But I could not both live and utter it."
-Henry David Thoreau, 1854
Like Thoreau's, the life of the alumnus we honor today has been composed, word by word and layer by layer, as a paean to the "Heaven which is under our feet as well as over our heads." Before the first Earth Day, and long before "reduce, recycle and reuse" became a catch phrase of concerned citizens, he left an established business career at the Dayton Company to devote his life to maintaining, reviving and preserving the natural environment, for us and future generations.
A Blake School "lifer" like his four brothers, he graduated from Blake in 1939, graduated from Amherst College in 1943, then served in the Navy during World War II. In those years and since, his wide-ranging interests, ability to make meaningful personal connections, and keen perception of what is important have guided his life, and made an extraordinary difference to the lives of his fellow citizens. His love of the natural world encompasses everything from the simple wildflowers he and his wife Mary Lee have photographed, to the wild spaces of the United States, which he has worked so ardently to preserve.
Since 1968, through his leadership roles in more than 20 national and local environmental organizations, he has created a permanent, positive influence on the successful operation of conservation organizations, as well as on much of our country's now-protected wild spaces and species. As a personal mentor to many leaders in the conservation field, he has helped guide fledgling groups from a "fringe" movement to successful, established organizations.
A loyal supporter of graduate level environmental education, he has been instrumental in the founding and ongoing support of the Special Projects Fund of the Big Game Club, a crucial source of grant funding for science graduate students at the University of Minnesota. Those graduates now do important national work in the conservation movement, government, and education.
Over the years, he has been a trustee of, among others, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society, Conservation Fund, Hennepin Parks Foundation, Yellowstone Library Association, World Wildlife Fund and the Bell Museum of Natural History. The balance of the 'poem of his life' must include stories of his faithful volunteer work for Northrop Collegiate School, YMCA, Guthrie Theater and Westminster Presbyterian Church. He also has been a vibrantly interested and interesting father and grandfather, a most supportive husband and a great friend.
Anne Sivertsen Conner - Northrop Class of 1950
“Good works are links that form a chain of love.”
The memory of the alumna we honor today lives on through the many lives she touched through her tireless and selfless acts of giving. She looked beyond the many personal trials and tragedies in her own life, always seeking to help others she deemed more needy than herself.
Throughout her life, she consistently gave to others. From 1957 until the early 1990s, she was a dedicated stay at home mother, did part-time emergency room nursing work and developed her creativity as a seamstress and artist. In 1992, she renewed her nursing credentials and began a six-year career with Health Care for the Homeless in St. Paul.
She cared deeply for all her clients, seeking to help them whenever and wherever they needed her – on the street, under bridges and in the shelters no matter what time of the day, night or weekends. She took on the worst cases, those that no one else wanted.
She held a master’s degree in public health nursing and was recognized by Health Care for the Homeless as their most highly-educated nurse. She followed through on each of her cases and provided her clients with long-term care. Many homeless people specifically sought out her assistance. Her care was a stabilizing influence, leading people to seek to make other major improvements in the lives.
While graciously serving the needs of others, she faced many personal challenges. In 1978, she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. During the surgery to remove it, another aneurysm was found. Approximately six years into her career at Health Care for the Homeless, she developed lymphoma. She refused to quit working and successful fought off the disease. She put her sewing and design skills to use and created a unique line of hats for herself and others going through chemotherapy treatments. In October of 2000, she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, which took her life just three months later.
In her last years of service, she was part of a project design team to create a program that is a true reflection of her life’s passions. The program, “Drop in Group Medical Appointment for the High-Risk, High-Need Patients, ”was initiated by Allina Health Systems and seeks to meet the medical, housing, financial, jobs and transportation needs of its clients. She would be pleased to know that the program became a reality in January 2002 and is very successful.
The life of the inspiring woman we honor today was a gift that she generously and willingly shared in devotion to helping others live fuller and more productive lives.
Raymond Plank - Blake Class of 1940
"Fifty years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, how much you had in your bank account, or what your clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because you were important in the life of a child."
Raymond Plank’s influence has been felt throughout the nation and around the world, with holdings in Texas, Montana, Egypt and elsewhere. However, one of his proudest accomplishments is The Fund for Teachers, which first tested its wings here in Minnesota.
As Ray Plank states, “Growing up in the Midwest, the most important influence in my life other than my father was a man named Noah Foss. He was a Latin teacher, a towering figure who inspired, challenged and motivated countless young men at the small country day school that I attended in the 1930s. But for Foss, who gave me the focus and self-respect I needed, I wouldn’t have received an honors score on my college entrance exams. And, almost certainly, I never would have gone to Yale.”
After graduating from Yale University in 1944 and serving with the U.S. Army Air Corps World War II, Plank returned to his hometown of Minneapolis and with two partners formed a small business advisory service. Recognizing investors’ interests in the field of oil and gas exploration and production, Plank formed Apache Corporation in 1954. Under Plank’s leadership, Apache has evolved into an international oil and gas exploration and production corporation which funds its drilling with internally generated cash flow. Apache has grown to be one of the nation’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies.
An active leader in civic, educational and business affairs, Raymond Plank has chaired or served on a multitude of organizations. His involvement has ranged from the board of trustees of the Washington, D.C.-based Committee for Economic Development, a trustee of Carleton College where Apache established the Raymond Plank Chair in Incentive Economics, and founder of the Plank Institute at The Blake School in Minneapolis.
He also founded and helps endow the Fund for Teachers, an initiative designed to promote educational and life-broadening experience for elementary and secondary schoolteachers. Ray Plank wanted to reward the “teachers who each day inspire, challenge and shape young lives in countless ways. Teachers who want a chance to enhance their skills, stimulate their minds, and bring that new-found excitement back into the classroom.”
Plank was selected CEO of the Year on three occasions by The Wall Street Transcript and was listed among Hart Publications’ 100 Most Influential People of the Petroleum Century. Ask any of the grateful teachers who have benefited from Ray Plank’s generosity and you will agree that his influence has extended far beyond the boardroom and corporate headquarters. He wanted to make teachers smile. Mission accomplished, Mr. Plank.
Angus '52 and Margaret '63 Wurtele
The Blake School is fortunate to have many outstanding alumni. Among them is the married pair of Angus '52 and Margaret '63 Wurtele. The two are active leaders in the Twin Cities community having compiled an impressive list of accomplishments and maintaining a strong connection to The Blake School. While at Blake, Angus played football, hockey and baseball and also participated in Torch, Union and drama. He was captain of the Blake hockey team and won the Dartmouth Trophy. Angus attended Yale University, where he played on the varsity hockey team. Upon graduation in 1956, he served for three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Angus earned his MBA from Stanford University in 1961 and went on to a successful career with Valspar (formerly Minnesota Paints) which was co-founded in 1870 by his great-uncle. Angus served as CEO of Valspar from 1965 to 1995. He was named Executive of the Year in 1996 by Corporate Report Minnesota. His directorships have included the Bemis Company, The Bush Foundation, Walker Art Center, American Express Funds, Reliastar, Norwest Bank, the Donaldson Company and Stanford University Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.
Margaret was active at Northrop with Thespians, The Spectator and the choir. She was elected President of the Northrop League, the student council. Margaret graduated magna cum laude from Smith College in 1967 and spent two years in the Peace Corps. She was membership and public relations director of Walker Art Center, director of development of the St. Paul United Arts Fund, managing director of the Dayton Hudson Foundation (now Target Corporation Foundation). Always a literature devotee, Margaret co-founded the independent publisher Hungry Mind Press (now known as Ruminator Books Press).
Margaret is a former board chair of the Guthrie Theater and Minnesota's Episcopal House of Prayer. She is currently chairing the Guthrie's $85MM campaign. She published Taking Root: a Spiritual Memoir in 1998. After her only biological son, Philip Otis (TBS 1991), died in 1995, another memoir Touching the Edge: A Mother's Spiritual Path From Loss to Life was published in 2003. Angus and Margaret also spearheaded a practical , yet inspired memorial to Philip at Blake. The Philip Otis Courtyard and the Philip Otis Environmental Authors Program both provide meaningful tributes to Philip while serving hundreds of other Blake students.
Angus served as trustee of Blake School from 1970 to 1974. Margaret served as trustee of Northrop and The Blake School (1971-75, 1985-93) and Chair of the Board of Trustees from 1990-1992. The Wurteles have further demonstrated their loyalty to their alma maters by contributing a leadership gift to the school's Centennial Campaign, setting the pace for the successful $50MM campaign.
The Wurteles currently divide their time between Minneapolis and Terra Valentine, the vineyard and winery they founded in California’s Napa Valley. They also spend time with their sons, Andrew and Chris Wurtele, their daughter, Heidi, her husband Caley, and their two-year-old granddaughter, Keelan.
Stephen "Steve" Adams - Blake Class of 1955
As a student at Blake, Stephen "Steve" Adams '55 held a number of leadership positions, including class president and vice president of both the Athletic Association and the Blake Union. In addition, he played hockey, baseball and was captain of Blake's football team. Adams was awarded the Harvard Book prize his junior year for being "the best all-around boy of the junior class." He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale in 1959 and an M.B.A. from Stanford in 1962. He began his career in banking and soft drink bottling. He is now chairman of the board of Affinity Group Inc., Adams Out Door Advertising, LLC, Freedom Roads, LLC and Affinity Bank. The Adams Family Foundation, founded by Adams and his wife, Denise, has made grants to a variety of educational institutions including Yale University, Stanford University, Westmont College, the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and The Blake School. This year Adams was selected to receive the Arbuckle Award from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, given to an alumnus for his or her outstanding achievement. Both Steve and Denise sit on the Yale School of Music Board of Visitors where their foundation gave a $10 million gift to the Yale School of Music, the largest single contribution in the school's 108-year history.
Peter Gillette - Blake Class of 1952
In 1970, Peter Gillette '52 earned the prestigious title of Minneapolis' Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Minneapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce. He currently sits on the boards of Hormel Food Corporation, Marine Corps University Foundation, and Lakewood Cemetery. His former board associations include Norwest Corporation, Target Corporation, Citizens League, Minnesota Orchestral Association, Minneapolis United Way, Walker Art Center, and the Minnesota Business Partnership. He is a former trustee of Princeton University and Macalester College and was an executive fellow of the Graduate School of Busines s at the University of St.Thomas. Gillette has been an active leader in the Walker Art Center's and the Minneapolis Orchestra's fund-raising efforts and also successfully led the 1982 United Way campaign. In 1997, Gillette received Piper Jaffray's James Snow Award for extraordinary contributions to the community.
At Blake, Gillette participated in the student council, publications, football, basketball, baseball (captain), Union, glee club and dramatics. He was awarded the Harvard Book Prize his junior year and received the Harvard and Yale Trophies upon graduation. Gillette was a trustee of Northrop, Blake and the merged schools and continued his service to the School as chair of the Leadership Gift Committee during the Centennial Campaign. In 1993, Gillette and his sister, Anne Gillette Briggin '54, established the Gillette Family Fund, which provides financial aid to scholarship students. The siblings were both scholarship students themselves.
Gillette is a former president, CEO and, later, corporate vice chairman of Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis, now Wells Fargo. He is currently a senior advisor to US Trust-MN. Gillette and his wife, Scotty, have three daughters — all Blake alumnae — and five grandchildren.
Mary Lee Dayton - Northrop Class of 1943
Mary Lee Dayton's impressive and lengthy history of volunteer activities only begins to allude to her deeply rooted commitment and dedication to a politically active life. After graduating from Northrop Collegiate School in 1943, where she was senior class president and participated in field hockey, glee club and drama, Dayton traveled east to Vassar College. A 1946 Vassar alumna, Dayton soon found herself back at Northrop as a kindergarten teacher where her commitment to politics, women's rights, and volunteerism began to bloom.
During the 1950s, she mentored girls as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and carried that commitment into the 1960s and 1970s by serving on the board of trustees of the Minneapolis YWCA. In recognition of Dayton's dedication to the YWCA and her good work on behalf of the organization, she was awarded YWCA's Woman of the Year Award in 1974. Other organizations that have benefited from Dayton's leadership and able fund-raising skills include Women's Foundation of Minnesota, Macalester College, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, United Way and WomenVenture.
Dayton currently serves on the boards of the Mississippi River Fund and the Sister Kenny Foundation. She continues to be active with the YWCA, Planned Parenthood and Westminster Presbyterian Church. When not volunteering, Dayton is a dedicated mother of four (all Northrop alumnae) and grandmother of nine.
Just as her late husband, Wallace C. Dayton '39, was named the Outstanding Alumni of the Year in 2000 for his commitment and work as an environmental activist, The Blake School community is proud to present Mary Lee Dayton with this award in recognition of her good work on behalf of the greater community.
Shepard Harder - Blake Class of 1968
In 2008 we are proud to honor Shepard Harder '68 for a lifetime's work in non-profit and non-governmental organizations helping children around the globe. Harder's tireless devotion to his chosen mission has led him to work in North Africa, the Middle East, Switzerland and the United States.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1973, Harder entered the Peace Corps where he spent two years in Fez, Morocco. He became fluent in Arabic, teaching students whose aspirations included teaching and other vocations in north central Morocco.
Harder earned a master of arts in teaching degree from Stanford University in 1977. He then joined the America Mideast Educational Training Services organization in Wash., D.C., where he served as a project coordinator administering scholarship programs in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Gaza.
In 1981, he joined Save the Children Federation, Inc. As the assistant regional director to the Middle East/North Africa sector, Harder helped implement the foundation's programs devoted to health and nutrition, small-scale enterprise, agriculture, appropriate technology, education and training. In this capacity, he also served as field office director in Tunisia on an interim basis.
Harder returned to the United States in 1984, where he served as an executive officer in service to the president of the Save the Children Federation. He authored white papers and wrote reports for the president, and worked as a special assistant in the inter-governmental, governmental and NGO communities. Harder earned Save the Children's Distinguished Service Award in Management in 1986.
In 1987, Harder returned to school, this time to Harvard, where he earned a master's in public administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. After furthering his expertise in public administration and international development, he returned to the Save the Children community as executive officer of the Save the Children Alliance in Geneva where he worked closely with United Nations and NGO bodies. He returned to the United States with his wife, Kate, (Katherine Callahan) and later became director of external relations and development with the Christian Children's Fund (CCF). Today, he serves as the administrator of ChildFund International, the confederation of 12 CCF organizations around the world.
Harder's gift to humanity is the selfless and tireless energy he has devoted to ensuring that efforts to help children around the globe are both effective and efficient. We honor him for being one of the thoughtful people who are changing the world for the better each and every day.