Distinguished Alumni Award
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to an alumnus/a who, through actions, deeds, or words, exemplifies the true spirit of The Country School. In keeping with The Country School Mission, Distinguished Alumni Award recipients look beyond themselves to work cooperatively with others as they serve the common good. They embody our school's commitment to honoring creativity, intellectual curiosity, and wonder. As alumni/ae of our school, they face the future with confidence, carrying with them an education that lasts a lifetime.
Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Elizabeth Walbridge ’03, a teacher-turned-digital-media producer whose work at WGBH and PBS Kids marries education, technology, and innovation. One of her most recent projects was Molly of Denali, the new PBS Kids show lauded by outfits like NPR and The New York Times for raising the bar for inclusivity in children’s programming. In addition to WGBH/PBS Kids employees, the show turned to dozens of Alaska Native and First Nations writers, advisors, and voice actors to work on the series.
After graduating from Boston College with a BFA in Theatre and a BA in English, Elizabeth began her career as an English teacher at Phillips Academy Andover and then Choate Rosemary Hall, where she taught English and theater and also helped develop Choate’s design thinking and innovation initiative. Increasingly interested in innovation in education, Elizabeth decided to pursue graduate work, enrolling at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, where she received her MA in Technology, Innovation, and Education. Internships at the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Kennedy School led to the WGBH/PBS Kids position.
"All I've ever really wanted was to help people have experiences that will teach them new things," Elizabeth said when she accepted the Distinguished Alumni Award, talking to students about her love of “learning by doing.” Read more about Elizabeth and her visit to The Country School here.
The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Adrien Broom '94, a renowned fine art, commercial, and portrait photographer whose work has been shown in museums and galleries across the globe.
Adrien’s imaginative, fantastical, and complex works, which often involve painting and intricate set and/or costume design, have been featured in publications from Smithsonian Magazine to The New York Times. As Mila Pantovich wrote recently in the Huffington Post, "There are many different types of artists out there, from photographers and painters to sculptors and filmmakers, and some artists are talented enough that they excel at more than one medium. It's pretty darn amazing, though, when someone has so much creativity spilling from their minds that they do all of it, and that's exactly what Adrien Broom does."
During the award ceremony Adrien talked about her evolution as an artist and the philosophy that has guided her along the way. "It all just kind of started because I knew I wanted to create," she told students, adding that she was grateful to her Country School teachers for encouraging her creativity. "You can't get caught up in the details of everything being perfect – you just have to do it." For more about Adrien’s work and her visit to campus, click here.
The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Jonathan Pober '99, an astrophysicist whose work focuses on the origins of the universe. An Assistant Professor of Physics at Brown University, Jonathan is part of an international collaboration known as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, or HERA, through which scientists aim to look back more than 13.5 billion years to learn about the period when the universe first became bathed in light. Using a HERA radio telescope, the collaboration seeks to investigate a period of time when the first generations of galaxies formed, altering the cosmic landscape.
After graduating from The Country School, Jon went on to Loomis Chaffee and then Haverford College, where, as a pre-med student, he took a freshman seminar in Astrophysics and was mesmerized. He ended up majoring in Physics, Astronomy, and Philosophy, and then headed to University of Cambridge (UK) to receive his MPhil in Physics (Astronomy). From there, he went on to University of California - Berkeley for his MA and PhD in Astrophysics. He was a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown and the University of Washington. He also served as a graduate student instructor and researcher at UC Berkeley.
In addition to his work exploring the origins of the universe, Jon is interested in the different ways students learn. At Berkeley, he co-taught a course with a social scientist and a philosopher called "Sense & Sensibility & Science," aimed at teaching students from a range of academic interests how science can fit into societal decision making. Jon lives in Providence, R.I., with his family.
The 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Duncan MacLane '64 for his groundbreaking work in the field of naval architecture and for his leadership at The Country School. A renowned boat designer and world-class catamaran racer who has played a key role in several America's Cup campaigns, Duncan is also the moving force behind the David and Marcia MacLane Endowment for Scholarship at The Country School.
Along with his brother, Donald '63, Duncan grew up on The Country School campus, where his father, David T. MacLane, served as the school's first Headmaster. Duncan has described watching the school grow from a tiny group of a little more than a dozen students to a much larger school with a student body numbering more than 100. Likewise, he watched – and sometimes even helped – as 341 Opening Hill Road evolved from a tiny farmhouse and a small barn on a wooded lot to a true campus with classroom buildings, athletic fields, a library, and more.
Upon graduation in 1964, Duncan moved on to the Middlesex School and then to Swarthmore College, where he received his BA. Following in the footsteps of his father, Duncan went into teaching but an interest in sailing led him to change direction. He returned to school and received a second four-year degree in naval architecture from the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture. Duncan currently serves as naval architect and Vice President of Engineering at Express Marine in Camden, N.J. He also does consulting through MacLane Marine Designs, through which he has helped design several world-class racing catamarans and been involved in seven America's Cup entries.
After his father passed away in late 2011, Duncan decided to add another mission to his list of accomplishments. As a means of honoring his parents and their commitment to education, he and his wife, JoAnn, established the David and Marcia MacLane Endowment for Scholarship. To date, the scholarship has provided assistance to countless students who otherwise would not have been able to attend The Country School.
The 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Katie Hartsoe '02, a costume designer for television and theater. Katie is currently the Assistant Costume Designer on the popular television show The Blacklist. She has also worked as a shopper or production assistant on a host of other television shows, including The Leftovers (HBO), The Intern (WB film), Smash, 30 Rock, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and for various theatrical organizations, including Shakespeare in the Park, The Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, Second Stage, Playwright's Horizons, and Lincoln Center, as well as for several off-Broadway and off-off Broadway theater companies.
Katie, who was active in theater at The Country School, starring in multiple TCS musical productions, is a graduate of New York University, where she double majored in Drama and French, and Choate Rosemary Hall, where she enjoyed performing on stage and doing costume design. Over the years, she has returned to The Country School to assist with costumes during various school productions. For more about Katie and her inspiring speech to students during the Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony, click here.
The 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Stephen Davis '70, P '10, a global leader in the field of corporate governance. Also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, Steve has been a thoughtful and generous contributor to both his community and the larger world since his years at The Country School.
Currently, Steve serves as associate director of the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors and as a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution. He has authored or co-authored several books, including The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda, which was named by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Australian Financial Review as one of the best business books of 2006. His 1987 book, Apartheid's Rebels: Inside South Africa's Hidden War, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Previously, Steve served as executive director of the Yale School of Management's Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance and was a lecturer on the SOM faculty. He has also served on the U.S. SEC's Investor Advisory Committee, was co-organizer of the World Forum on Governance in Prague, and was a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Long Term Investing and the Contributing Committee of Development Partners International. In addition, he serves as President of consultant Davis Global Advisors and founder-editor of the Global Proxy Watch newsletter. Steve and his wife, Clo, are the parents of Gabriel '10. Read more about Steve and the speech he delivered during the Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony here.
The 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Marietta Lee ’83 P ’12, ’14, a businesswoman, engineer, lawyer, former television journalist, public servant, and community volunteer. After graduating from TCS, where she earned both the Math Prize and the Athletic Award, Marietta attended Choate Rosemary Hall, Georgetown (BA), and Catholic University (JD). She then enjoyed a successful career in television journalism, working for Court-TV, CBS News, and KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas, before leaving to join the family business, The Lee Company, started by her grandfather, Leighton Lee II, more than 60 years ago. While working there, she studied for and received another degree, this one in engineering.
In addition to her position as Vice President and Corporate Secretary at The Lee Company, Marietta also serves as police commissioner for the town of Madison. She has served on the Board of Directors at the Scranton Library, The Valley Shore YMCA, and The Shoreline Foundation. She founded the non-profit Madison Fireworks Organization to raise money for the town's annual Independence Day fireworks display. She is also mom to TCS alumnus Cashen Keeler ’12, a student at the Taft School, and Maggie, a member of the class of 2014. Click here to read more about Marietta.
The 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Tandy Beal '60, an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, and director. Tandy has worked on four continents and created more than 100 works, both for her own company – Tandy Beal & Company – and for other companies, including the Moscow Circus, Frank Zappa, Pickle Family Circus, the Baltimore Opera, Bobby McFerrin, and the Oakland Ballet. She was the choreographer for Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas as well as for corporate events for the San Francisco 49ers, Oracle, Pixar, Lucas Films, MCI and more. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award at the Hopkins School in 1999. To read more about Tandy and her myriad awards and accomplishments, visit www.tandybeal.com.
To read about her visit to TCS, click here.
Edward (Ted) London '77 received the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award. A scholar on issues relating to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), Ted focuses his research on combining business strategies with poverty alleviation. To this end, he has developed a framework to assist BoP ventures evaluate the impact of their initiatives. Ted teaches an MBA course at the University of Michigan and serves as director of the Base of the Pyramid Initiative at the William Davidson Institute. He is also an author and lectures widely about his specialty.
After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and an MBA from Claremont Graduate University, Ted joined the Peace Corps in Malawi. He later received his PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His experience includes co-managing a regional business program in Malawi and serving as a general manager for an Indonesian joint venture headed by McCormick Spices. He lives with his family in Michigan. To read about Ted's visit to The Country School, click here.
The 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Jade (Jessica) Walker ’93, the founder and co-director of Mill Creek Urban Farm in West Philadelphia, PA. Mill Creek Urban Farm is dedicated to improving local access to fresh produce, building a healthy community and environment, and promoting a just and sustainable food system. Jade attended the Hopkins School and the University of Vermont, where she majored in English and Environmental Science. For an update on Jade's activities, click here.