A fond farewell

Four longtime instructors retire with emeriti distinction

July 25, 2022

Viviana Santos (clockwise from top left), Ralph Sneeden, Peter Vorkink and Gordon Coole combined for 133 years of service to the Academy.

Exeter is blessed with some of the finest instructors in the world, many of whom have dedicated their professional lives to teaching “youth from every quarter” at the Academy. This year, four of our beloved instructors retire with the honorary distinction of emeriti.

This designation is awarded by the principal to those retiring faculty members who have met certain years-of-service criteria and is designed to encourage their continued involvement in the Academy’s academic life and intellectual community. We are thankful for their combined 133 years of devotion to the students and to their craft. Their presence in the classroom will be missed.


W. Cordon Coole
Associate Athletic Trainer, appointed in 1987

“Gordo has been a steady presence in the gym for both our students and coaches. He has a way of keeping things in perspective and kept all of us grounded. Whether in the role of trainer, dean, instructor, coach or colleague, Gordo would appear for anyone ready for his expertise or wisdom.” — Don Mills, instructor in Physical Education


Peter Vorkink

Instructor in Religion, appointed in 1972

“It is hard to imagine the Academy without Peter Vorkink, and certainly hard to imagine the Religion Department without him. Perhaps this is because of the hard and necessary questions he helped students ask themselves — questions about who they were becoming, who they wanted to become and what really matters to them. These are the signposts that guide a life, and he combined their weight and significance with a sense of humor that left the halls echoing with the sound of laughter coming from inside his classroom.” — Kathleen Brownback, instructor in Religion, emerita


Viviana Santos

Robert W. Kesler ’47 (Hon.) Distinguished Professor and Instructor in Modern Languages, appointed in 2001

“We will miss Viviana in our department meetings, where her ability to analyze situations was always appreciated and a good source for reflection and advice. Viviana’s teaching style made her very approachable to students. Her classroom was both a comfortable and intellectually challenging space. We will miss her.” — P. Fermín Pérez-Andreu, chair of the Department of Modern Languages


Ralph Sneeden

B. Rodney Marriott Chair in the Humanities and Instructor in English, appointed in 1995

“Mr. Sneeden is legendary, not because he rests upon a pedestal but because he steps back, creates space and trusts students to rise to a challenge. … In his classroom, every moment of learning is legendary because every moment I am in wonder.” — Otto Do ’22

This story first appeared in the summer 2022 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.