175th Anniversary / Alumni Day

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May 18, 2013

Alumni return to celebrate Pennington's 175th

On Saturday, May 18, alumni from across the United States and around the world returned to campus to celebrate the School’s 175 years of excellence in education. It was a full day of festivities for alumni and current families, highlighted by a keynote address by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. Governor Kean’s address was followed by a symposium led by notable alumni speakers, including former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz '47 and Emmy-winning playwright William Mastrosimone '66.

After an introduction by Head of School Stephanie G. Townsend, Governor Kean, who is also the former president of Drew University, spoke to the audience about the value of education as exemplified by The Pennington School. He pointed out that his own training was as a teacher of history and “that was all that I ever wanted to be.” In his inspiring talk, he made frequent references to the School’s long history of excellence in education, as well as to many current events at the School.

After his address, Governor Kean answered questions from students about politics, education, and one of his former students: Pennington’s own dean of students, Chad Bridges '96, who studied state politics in a course Kean taught at Drew. Bridges was instrumental in arranging Kean’s coming to Pennington on Saturday. Kean was presented with special gifts from middle school students and from Penny Townsend.

Other speakers in the morning were all alumni of the School. They were Robert H. Beckett '52, president and CEO, Tribo Surface Engineering; John S. Biddiscombe '63, former director of athletics, Wesleyan University; Rudy Boschwitz '47, former United States senator from Minnesota; Anthony C. Glazer '87, managing partner, Choice Films and Choice Theatricals; Mary F. Lazar '75, director, Neuropsychology Assessment Center, Widener University; Georgia A. Manukas '85, coordinating television producer and director; William Mastrosimone '66, playwright, screenwriter, television producer; Andrea Picariello '05, recent Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia; Kristi A. Sorbello Frank '90, senior director, Zoetis; Adam Toltzis '06, associate producer, LeftField Pictures; Bruce C. Wood '67, associate general counsel and director of workers compensation, American Insurance Association; and Babak Yektafar '79, founder and editor in chief, Washington Prism.

Following the morning symposium, an all-School luncheon was held under an enormous white tent on historic O’Hanlon Green. Board of Trustees Chair Peter J. Tucci '79, presented the Order of the Tower, the School’s highest award, to two distinguished alumni: John Biddiscombe '63, and Georgia Manukas '85. Biddiscombe is the former director of athletics at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and an active member of NCAA governance. Manukas, a Robbinsville native, is a producer and director of television programs for various networks including National Geographic, A & E, and PBS. Both were also symposium speakers during the morning events.

Alumni from all over the country returned to join current students and their families in the celebration on campus, which combined the anniversary with the annual Alumni Day. A moving memorial service for members of the School community began the day at Pennington Methodist Church. The Silva Gallery of Art brimmed with work by current students during a special reception right after lunch. The afternoon brought traditional student-versus-alumni games in soccer, lacrosse, softball, baseball and water polo as well as a Shakespearian performance by members of the senior class, a music jam involving alumni and students, and a tribute to this year’s swim team and new School record holders. There was also a special reception just for alumni. The day’s events culminated in a barbecue with music back under the tent, and a special laser light show.