Navigation bar

On Campus
Fall 2001


News and Events from Fall Term

Thomas Hassan Begins Work as Assistant Principal

Tom Hassan

On July 1, Thomas Hassan became assistant principal of the Academy. In naming Hassan to the post, Principal Ty Tingley noted, "In addition to his wealth of experience in education and his intimate knowledge of the workings of this institution, I believe one of Tom's best qualifications is that he knows Exonians from start to finish-and beyond. He has admitted them, taught some of them, placed them in colleges and universities, and visited them at alumni/ae events and on trips across this country."

During his 12 years at Exeter, he has served as dean of admissions and director of college counseling. In 1998-99 he did both jobs simultaneously and for his efforts earned the Class of 1964 Award. In both positions he has shown his skill as a leader and as an innovator. In his seven-year tenure as dean of admissions, applications to the Academy have risen to record levels, as have the numbers of new students of color on campus.

Hassan also teaches part time in the mathematics department. He is a member of the curriculum review committee, the diversity committee, and chairs the faculty admissions committee. In the past he has served on the dress code committee, the math curriculum committee and the advanced placement committee. Currently a day student adviser, Hassan has been an affiliate in both Kirtland and Williams Houses, and has done a stint as the adviser to the Exonian.
Susan Herney

Until this past spring he designed and taught a course on independent secondary education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before coming to the Academy, Hassan was the special assistant to Colin Campbell, the president of Wesleyan University, and when Campbell became head of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York, he asked Hassan to join him there in a similar capacity. Earlier, at Harvard University, where he received his master's and doctoral degrees in education, Hassan was assistant dean of freshmen and a financial aid/admissions officer. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, where he also worked in the admissions and alumni offices.

Associate Director of Admissions Susan Herney will serve as acting dean of admissions for the coming academic year while a national search is conducted. A member of the Academy's administration since 1972, Herney is a past dean of students as well as an associate director of capital giving.


Faculty Prizes

Each spring, the Academy honors members of the faculty with awards from various funds. The teachers recognized last June include:

Brown Family Faculty Fund
Mark S. Delaney, Instructor in English
Patricia W. Hindman, Instructor in Mathematics
Paul B. Langford, Chair, Department of Classical Languages
Robert S. Morris, Chair, Department of Health Education
R. Bruce Pruitt, Instructor in History
Christine Robinson, Instructor in English

Radford Faculty Fellowship Fund
Kathleen J. Brownback, Instructor in Religion, Former Dean of Students

George S. Heyer Jr. '48 Teaching Fund
Kathleen J. Brownback, Instructor in Religion, Former Dean of Students
Aldo J. Baggia, Instructor Emeritus in Modern Languages

Charles E. Ryberg Teaching Fund
Joan H. Zia, Instructor in Mathematics

Dormitory Adviser Award
Ralph G. Sneeden, Instructor in English

Class of 1964 Award
Elizabeth M. Dolan, Associate Director, College Office


Adeline Aquilino: "A Passionate Desire for Quality Education"

Many Exeter students first came to know history instructor Addie Aquilino (in red jacket) through her work as director of the Junior Studies Program.

On September 15 the Academy community came together in Phillips Church to celebrate the life of Adeline "Addie" Aquilino, who died on June 11 at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston from pancreatic cancer. She had been an instructor in history at the Academy since 1991. She was 49.

Addie once wrote that "a passionate desire for quality education is one of the distinguishing traits of a successful educator. If quality is demanded from students, then quality must be in evidence in the teacher." She brought considerable quality and passion to the classrooms of PEA, where her commitment to her students, to scholarship and to critical thinking was widely recognized among students and faculty.

She was an instructor in and head of the Junior Studies Program, an interdisciplinary course that introduces first-year students to the Academy. In this capacity, as well as in her history courses, she worked with all the four-year students who have recently passed through the Academy.

In addition to her classroom duties, she did dorm service in Hoyt Hall from 1991 to 1993, in Langdell Hall during 1993, and from 1994 to 2000 in Merrill Hall. She became dorm head in Wheelwright Hall in the fall of 2000.

One of her lasting contributions to the Academy was as chair of the Martin Luther King Day committee from 1996 to 1999. Overseeing an on-campus day of workshops, lectures and performances, she added greatly to this community's appreciation of diversity. In 1999, she was awarded the Rupert Radford '56 Faculty Fellowship Award for "distinguished and faithful service" to Phillips Exeter Academy.

She graduated from Marist College, and held two master's degrees: an M.S. from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. from Kent State University. Prior to coming to the Academy, Addie taught a wide range of history courses in public high schools in Annapolis, MD, Hudson, OH and Framingham, MA.

She is survived by her husband, John Wharton, who recently retired from the PEA art department; three stepchildren, David, Tom and Josh Wharton; and four siblings, Roe di Baisi, Mary Aquilino, Butch Aquilino and Anthony Aquilino.

A scholarship fund has been established in her name and gifts may be made to the fund in care of Bonnie Palmer, Director of Stewardship, Office of Alumni/ae Affairs and Development, Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833.

Condolences may be sent to John Wharton at 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833.


The House That Hammy Built

On May 19, during the class of 1951's 50th reunion weekend, the Admissions building was renamed in honor of the late H. Hamilton "Hammy" Bissell '29, Exeter's first director of scholarship students and beloved instructor, coach and administrator. On hand to mark the occasion were Bissell's two children, Nancy Bissell Goldcamp (front) and John W. "Jack" Bissell '58 (back row, center), as well as Principal Ty Tingley (left) and Byron Rose '59, chair of the Exeter Trustees and one of "Hammy Bissell's newsboys."



Table Talk with Chris Matlack  |  by Bill Ewing

When you ask Chris Matlack what excites him most about the new Phelps Science Center, you can almost see his mind begin to race: Where to begin? After all, there is much to be excited about in the magnificent, 72,000-square-foot science facility, which just opened for business at the start of the school year. From the 20 classrooms-labs, each with its own Harkness table and state-of-the-art wireless audio-visual system, to the spectacular breaching whale skeleton hanging in the rear atrium and 900-gallon tropical aquarium in the main lobby, the forethought and meticulous attention to detail that went into the facility are enough to make anyone's head spin.

"Part of our initial mission was to design a building that was open and accessible to the entire community," says Matlack, who has been teaching biology at the Academy for 13 years and is currently chair of the science department. "Our goal was to make science visible and welcoming, to engage and challenge anyone who walks through the doors. I think our building succeeds on all levels."

Yet, after its many special features are duly noted and accounted for, it's how the building was conceptualized and designed, and the central role played by the faculty in this process, that most excites Matlack. "The science faculty had ownership of the project from the very beginning because we were the ones who proposed a new or renovated space, and we were the ones who were asked by the trustees to come up with a solution," says Matlack. "The new building is a testament to what a teacher-designed space can look like."

The process, according to Matlack, started back in the early 1990s, when the science department was feeling particularly pinched by the physical limitations of the Thompson Science Building. The science faculty had grown in ranks (there are now 20 full-time instructors), student enrollments were up and virtually every available inch of Thompson was being put to use. "We had clearly outgrown the building," says Matlack. "We weren't able to set up our classrooms and labs the way we wanted to because we were sharing space with other teachers. Sometimes we would be in two or three different classrooms each day. The classrooms also weren't very conducive to Harkness discussions."

Academy trustees heard the science department's plea, and requested that they engage in a thorough review of their mission, curriculum and pedagogy before a new building would be considered. "We were asked to take a good look at how we were teaching science and how we would like to see it taught over the next 25 years and beyond," says Matlack. "The trustees also asked us to gather facts about how other schools teach science and then to design a space. Not an actual building, but the space we would need to fulfill our mission." Physics instructor Scott Saltman, the appointed science department liaison for the project, and the entire science faculty worked tirelessly over a two-year period to collect information and ideas. "It was a very positive and rewarding experience," says Matlack, "because everyone in the department shared the workload and everyone contributed total enthusiasm."

Inspiration came from unlikely sources. Take the time science faculty members Rich Aaronian and Lew Hitzrot were driving to a Boston Celtics game and stopped for a bite at Kelly's Roast Beef in Saugus. They were so captivated by a large tropical aquarium in the restaurant's foyer that they decided it was just what the building needed. "They called me that night and asked, 'Hey, can we have one of these?' " says Matlack with a laugh. "We then proposed it to the department and administration, and the idea took."

Many discussions, planning sessions and fact-finding missions later, the nucleus of a new teaching facility was hatched. In the spring of 1996, trustees approved the department's proposal. That fall, nationally recognized Centerbrook Architects were chosen to design the final building and fund-raising efforts began in earnest. Thanks in large part to a generous $15 million commitment from the building's namesake, Stanford Phelps '52, fund raising was completed a short 17 months later and groundbreaking took place in October 1999.

Not surprisingly, two of the cornerstone concepts were that the building support intensive, hands-on experimentation and collaborative Harkness learning. "The movement in science everywhere is toward more experiential learning and that has been the case at Exeter for many years," says Matlack.

Matlack describes himself as a born biologist who spent his formative years working in pet stores and for a veterinarian while growing up in Westchester County, NY. He went on to earn a degree in wildlife management with a concentration in fisheries from the University of Vermont and a master's degree in biology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Between the two, he served for two years in the Peace Corps, working as a fisheries biologist in the Central African Republic, where he ran a hatchery and taught farmers how to incorporate fish farming into their agricultural fields. During his tenure at PEA, Matlack says he has seen science transformed from a traditional, lecture-based curriculum to one in which students learn by doing and discussing-either in the field or in the labs- acquiring knowledge primarily through investigation.

"When I first started, I stood and lectured from behind a fixed demonstration table in front of the class and only did labs during one extended period per week," says Matlack. "Now, we incorporate labwork into almost every class. We'll discuss something and then immediately go and look at it in the lab. For instance, if we are covering the bacteria, we'll have students grow bacteria and then investigate which antibiotics inhibit their growth. At the same time, we'll also do a reading on bacteria and discuss it as a group. The idea is to have students look at a subject in a variety of different ways. It may take a bit longer, but in the end, they will have done bacteria. The Phelps building facilitates this kind of learning experience in a way that simply wasn't possible before at Exeter."


Phelps Science Center Completed; Dedication set for October 27

Moving day saw physics technician Donna Hilton, Clyde Maxwell and science instructor and project manager Scott Saltman moving lab equipment from the Thompson Science Building into the Phelps Science Center. Each of the 20 classroom-labs has its own Harkness table.

Saturday, October 27 is the day set to celebrate the opening of the Elizabeth and Stanford N. Phelps '52 Science Center. The dedication ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the Academy Building Lawn and will feature an address by Chet Raymo, science columnist for the Boston Globe and a professor of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College. After a ribbon cutting, visitors can tour the building and take part in workshops with teachers and students. The new touch tank will be in operation and the skeleton of a humpback whale especially prepared for the atrium will be on display. Student guides will be on hand to explain the many unique features of this state-of-the-art structure. For more information about the event, go to


Exeter Olympians

Tiankai Liu '04 (left) and Adam D'Angelo '02 (right) competed, respectively, in the math and computing Olympiads.

The Salt Lake City Olympics are still several months away, but no matter: two PEA students have already competed at the Olympic level in competitions held last spring and summer for high-school mathematicians and computer programmers.

Adam D'Angelo '02 of Redding, CT, scored an impressive eighth-place finish in the 2001 USA Computing Olympiad, a five-hour test taken by hundreds of computer science students from around the country. He was one of just 15 students invited to participate in the USACO Training Camp at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in June.

In July, Tiankai Liu '04 of Saratoga, CA, captured a gold medal in the International Mathematics Olympiad, considered to be the world's premier math competition for secondary school students. In all, 473 students from 83 countries took part in the Olympiad, which was held in Washington, D.C. Liu-at 14, the youngest member of the U.S. team-earned a $5,000 scholarship for his efforts. Coach of the American team was PEA math instructor Zuming Feng.


Science With a Porpoise

Radhika Jagannathan '01 (left), Diana Gentry '01 (center) and Stephanie Tang '01 (right) researched in depth cetacean anatomy, evolution, taxonomy and behavior for their senior project last spring. The three students-all members of the PEA group Women Interested in Science and Engineering-also painstakingly prepared and articulated the bones of a white-beaked dolphin, with help from science instructor Townley Chisholm (at rear) and welder Gerry Hill of the facilities management department.


Harkness Teaching in Tbilis: New Academy in Republic of Georgia takes a Page from Exeter's Book

Instructors from the American Academy in Tbilisi studied Western teaching methodologies at the Exeter Summer School. Shown here are (front row, left to right) Manana Mgeladze, Ketevan Topadze, Irma Chelidz, Tamar Mamulashvili; (back row) Giorgi Zedginidze and PEA adviser Werner Brandes.

Just as Exeter students were sitting down at Harkness tables earlier this month to begin the new school year, a group of students were gathering around their own Harkness tables on the other side of the globe, in the Republic of Georgia. Modeling itself on PEA-even employing eight authentic Harkness tables and a mission to teach "kindness and enlightenment" that closely resembles Exeter's own "goodness and knowledge"-the American Academy in Tbilisi is a new private coeducational school whose goal is to help bring Georgia into the 21st century by better preparing students to participate in the global community. The school opened with 50 Georgian ninth-grade students this fall and will add a new class of 50 each year for the next four years.

"Today in Georgia, education is a shattered remnant of the Soviet system, a system relying on lecture, recitation and examination," says the Academy's principal, Donald Thomas, who taught in American secondary schools for over 30 years, including two at Exeter (1962-1964). According to Thomas, Georgia has undergone considerable change since gaining nationhood in 1991, but is still suffering from the corruption and inefficiency inherited from the Soviet system. Teachers are underpaid, curriculum and textbooks are out of date and access to new technology is very limited. "We want to bring highly trained and well-paid teachers to a facility that is designed for interactive learning in small classes, supported by sophisticated technology and laboratories," says Thomas.

To introduce teachers to Western teaching methodologies, the American Academy in Tbilisi has forged a partnership with the Exeter Summer School program, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Simmons College. Over the past two summers, 10 Georgian teachers have served as interns in the Exeter Summer School, observing Harkness teaching in action, co-leading classes and participating in all aspects of campus life. "These interns have very impressive resumes and we are lucky to have them as part of the summer school program," says Hobart Hardej, former director of the Exeter Summer School. "They add a lot to the cultural fabric of the campus during the summer-there is a lot of interest in their part of the world right now." From PEA, these teachers have moved on to a one-year master's program at either the Harvard Graduate School of Education or Simmons College, where they work toward developing a curriculum they can implement back home.

"There is a lot of 'brain drain' in Georgia," says science intern Tamar Mamulashvili. "Many Georgian families are sending their children away to American and British secondary schools so they can get a better education and then get into a Western university. This new school will provide a similar education, but will also help future generations maintain a strong connection to Georgian culture and values. We want to maintain our traditions and also become an active member of modern society."

Where in the World Is Peter Vorkink?

Instructor in religion and inveterate world traveler Peter Vorkink planted the PEA "flag"(actually an Exeter Bookstore bag) during a trip last July to Cambodia's Angkor Wat.

PEA Concert Choir Releases 'Cantemus!'

Cantemus!, the Concert Choir's fourth compact disc recording, features an ambitious program of 20th-century music recorded during the choir's 2000 tour of California.

"Dziedot dzimu, dziedot augu"—"I was born to sing, so I sing." So begins the Latvian folk song that opens the PEA Concert Choir's latest recording, Cantemus! The elemental power of song resonates throughout the 14 very diverse selections on the CD, ranging from such African-American spirituals as "Rock-a My Soul" and "My Lord What a Mornin'" to the album's centerpiece, Robert Convery's The Unknown Region, a setting of the Walt Whitman poem for choir, organ and string quartet.

Cantemus! was recorded during the choir's spring 2000 tour of California. Under the direction of Stephen Kushner, director of choral music at the Academy since 1987, the 36-member choir performed in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Palo Alto and San Francisco. They were accompanied by the PEA string quartet, coached by instructor of music Rohan Smith, and by adjunct instructors Thomas Handel on organ and Randy Armstrong on bass. The recording was engineered by Kushner and instructor Robert Squires.

Like the Concert Choir's three previous compact disc recordings, Cantemus! is available from the Exeter Bookstore, Phillips Exeter Academy, 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833; telephone (603) 777-3500; website Cost is $15.


A Good Time Was Haddock by All

The day dawned warm, clear and calm; perfect weather for a fishing trip, and the PEA crew took full advantage of it. Principal Ty Tingley (below, left) joined members of the facilities management staff and a sprinkling of other old and new salts as they embarked from Rye Harbor for Jefferies Ledge and a day of haddock fishing. They came back with a few tales and a lot of fish. "It was an incredible catch," says Al Spinale, clerk of the works in facilities management, who plans the unofficial Academy fishing trips, angling for haddock in the spring and cod in the fall. Wayne Loosigian (far right), director of the annual fund, won the prize for the biggest fish, hauling in a 10 and 1/2-pound specimen.


Seeing Stars

David W. Grainger '45 (center, with Principal Ty Tingley) got a guided tour of a new addition to the Grainger Observatory from the people who built it-members of the PEA facilities management department. The addition houses a new robotic telescope, given by the Grainger Foundation, which can be programmed to photograph the stars during the night when teachers and students are asleep. Also on hand for the tour were the foundation's president, Lee Flory, and vice president, John Chapman, as well as Rear Admiral William Hayden.


Coming Together to Fight Cancer
Relay for Lifers included (front row) Cheryl Sanborn, Karen De Roo, Lauren Alfonso; (back row) Barbara Bolduc, Jessica Wentworth, Jef Fellows, Ron Crickard, Dirk De Roo, Judy Johnston.
Phelps Stadium was alive with music, dance, food and positive energy for two straight days in early June as more than 500 individuals, including 105 cancer survivors, participated in the 8th Annual Seacoast Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society. "The energy level was high and all the relay teams enjoyed a fun and poignant event," says Cheryl Sanborn, a human resources administrator at the Academy, as well as a relay participant and member of the event-planning committee. In addition to cosponsoring the event, PEA also sponsored five teams featuring a total of 74 individuals; a NH-record-breaking total of over $106,000 was raised toward cancer research.


Exeter in the News

Exeter Academy and its alumni, faculty, students and staff appear in the press on regular basis. From local papers to national television, mainstream magazines and even digital publications, Exeter maintains a high profile in the mass media. Listed here are some recent press notices.

The Exeter Humanities Institute, one of the three highly successful professional development conferences for secondary-school teachers offered by the Academy during the summer, was featured in an article entitled, "How to Encourage Talking in Class--With Class," in the Christian Science Monitor on July 31, 2001.

The Exeter Math Institute, a traveling professional development program for high school math instructors that celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer, was the subject of articles in the both the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Review-Journal on June 23; the Memphis Commercial Appeal on July 29; and the New Jersey Star Ledger in August.

Stephanie Nguyen '01, who was awarded a prestigious Young Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of America this past spring, was the focus of lengthy feature articles in both the Boston Globe on June 11 and the Boston Herald on July 18. Nguyen was also profiled on a number of Boston area television stations.

Faculty member Dr. Christopher Thurber, co-author of The Summer Camp Handbook (Perspective Publishing, 2000), was cited in a number of camp-related articles this past spring in such national publications as the Christian Science Monitor, Woman's Day and Target the Family.

The Boston Herald ran a piece entitled, "Phillips Exeter Students Embrace Global Causes," in its March 11 Learning supplement. The piece focused on PEA's chapter of Students for a Free Tibet, which sponsored a variety of awareness-raising activities on campus this past winter, and a group of students who created a website to assist in collecting donations for the India Disaster Relief Fund in response to earthquakes that devastated parts of that country.



Exoniana: Do You Remember?

Do you know any history regarding the mystery photo? Have you ever received one of these? The first person who sends (via U.S. mail only) the correct answer(s) will win a superb prize. Answers and/or reminiscences will be published in the next issue. Mail to Exoniana, c/o The Bulletin, Phillips Exeter Academy, Communications Office, 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH 03833.

Answer to the Last Issue:
Roaring Exonians correctly identified Exeter's mascot-a lion rampant. The original lion icon was taken from a bookplate featuring the Phillips Family Crest, designed for John Phillips by Nathaniel Hurd in 1775. The traditional heraldic meaning of the lion is "King of Beasts," because of the animal's heroic qualities, including strength, courage and generosity as well as power and royalty. The noble posture of our lion is to be erect on the left hind leg with the forepaws raised, the right above the left, and head in profile-a rampant position. The Exeter lion is sometimes mistaken for a griffin (griffon or gryphon), a mythological animal with the head and (sometimes) the wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.

For further details of the history of the Academy lion rampant, visit the library archives from our home page at

And The Winner Is:
Huyen-Lam Nguyen-Bull '94 of Missoula, MT, who received an engraved Phillips Exeter Academy stainless steel travel mug for being the first person to mail in the correct answer. "I can't begin to tell you how long I have waited for Exeter to settle this dispute in an official manner. I have waged my own personal crusade to spread the word that the Exeter mascot is a LION. Hasn't anybody ever looked at the label on Lowenbrau beers? Anybody who pretends to know anything about mythical creatures knows that a griffin is half eagle, half lion. Moreover, a griffin is not just either half of either creature slapped together-it is, more precisely, the top half of an eagle and the bottom half of a lion. Now, please, please, vindicate me."

High Tech
Of course I knew the figure was a lion rampant, but I decided to see what the web revealed. A quick search on for 'lion rampant' and 'exeter' turned up the Academy's library archives website, which answers all your questions.

Paul VerNooy'82
Hockessin, DE

Neither A Lion Nor Griffin
In response to the gryphon vs. lion question in the summer edition of the Bulletin, I am sending a vote for neither. I remember this highly impassioned debate during my time there and I am an adamant advocate for the pendragon. The pendragon can be found on one of the Scottish flags on a yellow field with red bordering. The Exeter pendragon is slightly adapted in length and a few other details, but there is no denying what it is. The pendragon is a chief or leader. It makes perfect sense that the Exeter mascot would symbolize what Phillips Exeter Academy is-the leader.

Amanda Ovington '95
Kittery, ME

It's Perfectly Clear
The Academy mascot is a lion, not a griffin. A griffin is a mythological beast with the body of a lion but the head and wings of an eagle. Since our mascot clearly possesses the head of a lion and no wings at all, it cannot be a griffin. Neither is it simply a lion, but what is known as a lion rampant, which is (according to The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language, 1987 edition), a lion used in heraldry, posed "on the hind legs with forepaws menacingly or aggressively outstretched and the head in profile." This seems to me to describe our mascot perfectly.

Emma Wynn Sloan '01
Stroudsburg, PA

Thank you, Mr. Weatherspoon
The Academy mascot is a lion, not a griffin. Mr. Weatherspoon took special care to enlighten us to the fact one day during my religion class prep year. For some reason that day, he took us into the Assembly Hall to explain the emblem of the school and the question came up. A griffin is a mythical monster that has the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. Our mascot, however, has neither a beak nor a pair of wings. All thanks to Mr. Weatherspoon for correcting us that day.

Stephanie Tang '01
Tucson, AZ

Thank you for taking time to share your memories.
— Alice Ann Gray



Home | On Campus | Exonians in Review | From Every Quarter | Finis Origine Pendet
About the Bulletin | Comments and Suggestions | Index