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Annual Alumni Awards

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From the Winter 2014 Caller

Every year the Catlin Gabel alumni board recognizes former students for their life work and accomplishments. Through their unique contributions, these alumni embody the school philosophy “in qualities of character, intelligence, responsibility, and purpose.” The 2012–13 honorees were recognized during Alumni Weekend in September. 

Gretchen Corbett ’63

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

The Catlin Gabel alumni board honored Gretchen Corbett ’63 with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for significant accomplishments in business or professional life. Gretchen is a well-known actress who has appeared in prominent roles in theater, film, and television.
Gretchen’s theater background includes major roles on and off Broadway, in Shakespeare festivals, and in notable regional theaters across the nation. Her career has been punctuated by her work in many iconic roles including Jeri in Kojak, Jessica Conroy in Columbo, Arlene in Gunsmoke, Glynis in Hawaii Five-O, and Beth Davenport in The Rockford Files.
Locally, Gretchen has performed for Portland Center Stage, Portland Playhouse, Third Rail Rep, and Sojourn Theatre, receiving numerous lead actress awards. Gretchen is also an award-winning director for her work with Reasons to be Pretty and Anse and Bhule, and acted as resident director for the ASK Theatre in Los Angeles. Gretchen founded and ran the Haven Project, a local nonprofit focused on pairing underserved children with professional actors to create original theater, for 10 years.
During Gretchen’s acceptance speech she spoke of English and theater teacher “Mrs. Jo,” Vivian Johannes: “She expected you to come in with a burning appetite to work on some scene or play or monologue. And these were not plays of light fare—these were Euripedes and Ugo Betti and some odd playwright named Constant Connaught, who, I found out later in my adult years, was Vivian herself. . . . I was taught that my passion was not only appreciated, it was a requirement for my success.”

Wick Rowland ’62

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

The Catlin Gabel alumni board honored Wick Rowland ’62 with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award for extraordinary service to the community, state, nation, or the world.
Wick is a leader in public broadcasting and communications studies. Wick is longtime president and CEO emeritus of Colorado Public Television and has played many key roles in the development of public broadcasting and its stations and policies. He is also dean and professor emeritus of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Colorado–Boulder, and served as president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wick’s published works have focused on communications policy, public media, television violence debates, and the history of journalism and communication education. He received a BA in history from Stanford, an MA in communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from the Institute of Communication Research at the University of Illinois.
When asked to speak to Upper School students on life after Catlin Gabel and the path he took, Wick spoke of Manvel “Schauff” Schauffler’s enduring legacy and said, “After you graduate and over the years as you move on to other things, I hope you will remember this heritage and always celebrate it, just as those of us returning this weekend are doing.”

Amani Reed ’93

Distinguished Younger Alumni Award

The Catlin Gabel alumni board honored Amani Reed ’93 with the Distinguished Younger Alumni Award, for high achievement in a profession or social service before the age of 40.
Amani is a leader in independent schools and progressive curriculum development. After Catlin Gabel, Amani attended Howard University and the University of Portland. He began his career in education at Sewickley Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his former Catlin Gabel mentor Roy Parker hired him as Summerbridge director. Amani worked at the school for six years, teaching, coaching soccer, working in admissions, and serving as diversity director. He went on to serve as assistant middle school head at Lakeside School in Seattle.
After completing his master’s in educational leadership from the Teachers College at Columbia University, Amani was hired as middle school principal at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. In 2012 Amani was appointed head of the School at Columbia University, leading 500 students and 130 faculty and staff members. Most recently, Amani successfully led the school through a major facilities renovation.
In accepting the award, Amani said, “As I thought about today, I focused on the time I spent at Catlin Gabel, and how this school has influenced my life as an educator. Important lessons were learned here about perseverance and belonging. . . . I rely on the leadership lessons learned from mentors like Roy Parker and Jim Scott and Lark Palma, who helped me understand what it means to truly care. I think about the community that found such strength in itself to bring a class together, that truly survived it all, and I think about what I might have become had I not had the opportunity to come to Catlin.”

Dave Corkran

Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer Award

The Catlin Gabel alumni board honored retired 35-year Upper School history teacher Dave Corkran with the Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer Award for a Catlin Gabel community member who personifies volunteerism within the community. The awardee is selected by a committee of alumni and faculty-staff. Dave is a leader in many arenas in the Catlin Gabel community, continuing to dedicate his time as a committed volunteer.
Dave graduated from Middlebury College and received his MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Catlin Gabel faculty in 1968, and began coaching cross country and track in 1971. Ten years into retirement, Dave is still an enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer coach, and a vocal soccer fan. Coaches, players, and spectators often hear him imparting words of encouragement from the hill above Davis-Gant field.
In presenting the award, Len Carr ’75 said, “Dave has given generously and selflessly to the athletic program for 45 years. He has traveled thousands of miles across the state by school bus and has left his indelible mark on hundreds of athletes and students.” Dave has led 16 senior class environmental restoration trips to Mount Hood and 16 other senior trips around Oregon, and continues to go on freshman trips. He has been committed to the Elana Gold ’93 Memorial Environmental Restoration Project since its inception in 1991, leading Catlin Gabel students and alumni in more than 15,000 hours of volunteer work restoring degraded land and protecting sensitive riparian zones. In 2010 Dave accepted a Regional Forester’s Award from the Mt. Hood National Forest for the successful restoration work that has been done through the project.
Dave ended his acceptance speech noting, “The Colombian environmentalist and reformer Paolo Lugari says that if you are not dreaming you must be asleep. Thanks everyone, for helping me stay awake.”

Alumni Weekend 2013 Photo Gallery

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Alumni Lunch and Celebration of Leadership and Service

On Friday, September 27, alumni from the classses of 1933 – 1958 came to campus to have lunch in the new Creative Artst Center and to celebrate our school's history.

On Saturday, September 28, we presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to Gretchen Corbett '63, Willard "Wick" Rowland '62, and Amani Reed '93. We also honored retired teacher Dave Corkran, recipient of the Joey Day Pope '54 Volunteer Award.

Click on any photo to enlarge it, download it, or start a slide show.

Alumni News, Summer 2013

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From the Summer 2013 Caller

The 2012–13 school year has come to a close, giving the alumni relations office time to reflect on a busy and exciting past year. Owen Gabbert ’02, alumni association board president, formally inducted 76 graduating seniors into the Catlin Gabel Alumni Association at commencement in June. The class of 2013 joins over 4,000 Catlin Gabel alumni around the globe who continue to stay connected to one another and the school.

Congratulations, Class of 2013!

The alumni association celebrated the class of 2013 at the senior picnic before graduation. This tradition allows seniors to get to know alumni board members before the seniors are formally inducted into the alumni association. Debbie Ehrman Kaye ’73, Courtney Mersereau ’99, and Peter Bromka ’00 spoke to the seniors about what it means to be alumni of Catlin Gabel. Debbie noted, “Though I graduated 40 years ago, we have walked the same paths and even had some of the same teachers: Ron Sobel, Mr. D., Bob Kindley. . . . The most important thing we have in common is that we have all received an excellent education and learning skills to take with us into the world, and lifelong friendships.”

Alumni Association Year at a Glance

The alumni association sponsored 13 events during the 2012–13 academic year, connecting over 400 alumni across the country. Highlights include the annual young alumni mixer over Thanksgiving break with 100 alumni, the New York City mixer with 25 alumni (ranging in class years from 1975 to 2008), last fall’s reunions, and our recent Portland event. Blake Nieman-Davis ’88 hosted the Portland event at his clothing store, Blake, where 30 alumni enjoyed learning about Tuition on the Track from its 2013 co-leaders, Max Meyerhoff ’13 and Mira Hayward ’13.

Alumni Weekend 2013

Alumni Weekend is set for September 27–28. The alumni association is looking forward to seeing you back on campus for the weekend’s festivities. Reunion celebrations will take place for classes ending in 3 and 8. Our alumni award recipients this year are Gretchen Corbett ’63, for distinguished alumni achievement; Wick Rowland ’62, for distinguished alumni service; Amani Reed ’92, as a distinguished younger alumnus; and Dave Corkran, honored with the Joey Day Pope ’54 volunteer award.

Alumni Weekend Activities

Friday, September 27
• Reunion luncheon: honoring classes 1938–1958
• Homecoming: visit campus and support our varsity soccer teams
• Homecoming party: celebrate in the Barn with the entire Catlin Gabel community
Saturday, September 28
• Alumni soccer game: always fierce but friendly
• Celebration of leadership and service: annual alumni awards
• Reunions: for ’63, ’68, ’73, ’78, ’83, ’88, ’93, ’98, ’03, ’08

We look forward to seeing you on campus in the fall for Alumni Weekend!
Susie Greenebaum ’05, associate director of alumni relations,
Owen Gabbert ’02, alumni board president
Members of the class of 2005 at the NYC regional alumni event in May, L to R: Lizzy Cooke, Josey Bartlett, Susie Greenebaum, Ted Lane, Nina Yonezawa, Emily Taylor, Alec Bromka, Lindsay Mandel, Jimmy Coonan

Distinguished Alumni Awards

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From the Autumn 2012 Caller

Every year the alumni association recognizes former Catlin Gabel students for their life work and accomplishments. Through their unique contributions, these alumni embody the school philosophy “in qualities of character, intelligence, responsibility, and purpose.” The 2011–12 honorees were recognized during Alumni Weekend in October.

Philip Hult '88
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

The Catlin Gabel alumni board honored Philip Hult ’88 with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for his significant accomplishments in business and education. Philip is the co-CEO of EF Education First, a privately held international education organization founded by his father, Bertil Hult.
A 1993 graduate of Brown University, Philip holds a degree in international relations and comparative literature. After graduation from Brown, Philip joined EF, where he has focused primarily on emerging markets and digital learning. From 2001 to 2006 he worked in Hong Kong, where he led EF’s growth in China and expanded its academic products. Globally under Philip’s tenure, EF has started a private high school and built what is today the world’s largest graduate school of business: the Hult International Business School. Together with his brother, Philip oversees the strategy and operations of EF’s 16 business units, which specialize in language training, educational travel, academic degrees, and cultural exchange.
Recently, Philip has been instrumental in funding the Hult Prize, a $1 million prize to fund the next wave of social entrepreneurs through a business case competition that crowdsources ideas from top business schools around the world. The 2012 prize was announced by Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. 

Philip lives in London with his wife, Britt, and three children.  

Pippa Arend '90
Distinguished Alumni Service Award


The Distinguished Alumni Service Award was presented to Pippa Arend ’90, co-founder and development director of p:ear, a Portland nonprofit dedicated to building positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth for over 10 years.
Pippa is a 1995 graduate of Marlboro College with a BA in art history and choreography. After running a metal shop in Poland, Pippa returned to Portland and founded her own metal shop, Tornado Creations, where she designed, fabricated, and installed custom metal furniture. She also worked for Eric Peterson, and studied welding at the Pacific Northwest College of Art with Manuel Izquierdo.
In 2002, she co-founded p:ear, a mentor-based program for homeless youth, which strives to develop hope and trust through education, art, and recreation. p:ear’s ultimate goal is to affirm a sense of personal worth in homeless youth as they create more meaningful and healthier lives off the streets.
Pippa says that working at p:ear has been the single most challenging yet rewarding adventure of her life. She is thrilled to spread the word about the innovative ways p:ear interacts with post-risk youth by encouraging personal choice while giving youth the role models, guidance, and support they need to both struggle safely and succeed with affirmation. In 2011, p:ear’s program staff of five and 120 volunteers served 1,200 young people ages 15 to 24 for a collective total of 22,000 hours. Youth artwork, made independently or through workshops with guests, is displayed at the p:ear Gallery in Northwest Portland.
“As a creative and resourceful problem solver, Pippa has focused her life with unselfish dedication to establishing long-term solutions to the issues surrounding youth homelessness—ensuring that equity and access are embedded in p:ear’s mission.”  —Portland mayor Sam Adams  

Michael Mandiberg '96
Distinguished Younger Alumni Award

The alumni board was proud to honor Michael Mandiberg ’96 with the Distinguished Younger Alumni Award for his achievements as an interdisciplinary artist, designer,and scholar. A former senior fellow at Eyebeam, he is currently assistant professor of design and digital media at the College of Staten Island/CUNY.
Michael’s work spans web applications about environmental impact, to conceptual performances about subjectivity, to laser-cut lampshades for compact fluorescent light bulbs, to  investigations about how they overlap. He creates conceptual art projects, design objects, and publications that explore themes that include environmentalism, systems of exchange, pedagogy, software art, collaboration, Free Culture, and appropriation. He sold all of his possessions online on Shop Mandiberg, made perfect copies of copies on AfterSherrie, and created Firefox plugins that highlight the real environmental costs of a global economy on
Michael is co-author of Digital Foundations and Collaborative Futures. He has received residencies and commissions from Eyebeam,, and His work has been exhibited at the New Museum for Contemporary Art in New York City, Ars Electronica Center in Linz, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Transmediale Festival, Berlin. His work has been featured in such books as Tribe and Jana’s New Media Art, Blais and Ippolito’s At the Edge of Art, and Greene’s Internet Art.
Michael lives in, and rides his bicycle around, Brooklyn, New York. This past spring he was a panel participant at Catlin Gabel’s Esther Dayman Strong “Let Creativity Bloom” event.   


Joey Day Pope '54 Volunteer Award
Alix Meier Goodman '71


The Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer Award was established in 1992 to honor its namesake, an outstanding volunteer. This award is given each year to a Catlin Gabel community member who personifies volunteerism within our community.
Alix has deep roots at Catlin Gabel: both her father, Roger Meier ’43, and grandmother, Jane Seller Meier ’17, were alumni. She was an active parent with the Portland Public Schools when her eldest son, Andrew ’09, decided he wanted to attend Catlin Gabel’s Middle School. Her younger son, Reid ’11, followed. She says, “I happily rejoined this community of great families and lifelong learners.”
Her fundraising efforts on behalf of Catlin Gabel began way back in her sophomore year in high school, when she organized a Christmas tree sale, using trees harvested from Mrs. Henry Biddle’s Columbia River estate. This early fundraising experience was parlayed into a marketing and sales career with Bloomingdales in New York and Pendleton Woolen Mills in Portland. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards in New York, Portland, and Claremont.
Alix received an AB in art and French from Mt. Holyoke College in 1975, and brought savoir-faire to her leadership as a Catlin Gabel trustee, serving as board chair from 2007 to 2010. She continues her service as a trustee and is a tenacious campaign fundraising volunteer for the school’s $20 million Campaign for Arts and Minds.
Alix lives in Portland with her husband, Tom, a retired radiologist.  




2013 Alumni & Homecoming Weekend Registration

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Online registration is open for alumni until September 13.

You may register for specific events on the following page.

Complete information below to the events you wish to attend.

Angel Foster '91 thanks school from Tunisia

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Listen to Angel's remarks

Dr. Angel Foster '91 received the Distinguished Younger Alumni Award for her leadership in the field of reproductive health. Angel, who was unable to attend the awards ceremony because she was in Tunisia, sent her remarks digitally.

The Distinguished Younger Alumni Award is granted to Catlin Gabel graduates or former students who have achieved much in the arena of professional accomplishments or social service before the age of 40.


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Nominations for Distinguished Alumni Awards

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The Catlin Gabel Alumni Board alumni awards program recognizes the achievements of a diverse group of Catlin Gabel alumni. Recipients are honored at Alumni Homecoming Weekend each year.
Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Granted to Catlin Gabel graduates or former students for significant accomplishments in business or professional life.
Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Granted to Catlin Gabel graduates or former students for extraordinary service to their community, state, nation, or the world.
Distinguished Younger Alumni Award
Granted to Catlin Gabel graduates or former students who have achieved much in the arena of professional accomplishments or social service before the age of 40.
Annual Alumni Awards: Nomination Form

Please list first and last name of alumnae/us

List class year

Alumni News Winter 2010

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We Are Catlin Gabel.
From the Winter 2010 Caller
More than 4,000 people are Catlin Gabel alumni. Alumni are defined as those who attended or graduated from Catlin Gabel or any of its predecessor schools—Miss Catlin’s School, Gabel Country Day, and Catlin-Hillside. Catlin Gabel alumni are active participants in their communities. As educators, entrepreneurs, professionals, parents, athletes, scientists, artists, and more, our alumni are extraordinary people who live and work around the globe and right here in Oregon.
The office of alumni and community relations and the Catlin Gabel alumni association work together to “promote the interest and mission of the school, to strengthen loyalty to Catlin Gabel, and to provide opportunities for fellowship among the membership.” Catlin Gabel alumni remain connected to the school and to each other through publications, e-newsletters, the school website, online networking groups, campus visits, the Gambol auction, and a series of special events. We host regional events around the nation, and annual campus events including Homecoming and Alumni Weekend.
Alumni Weekend is coming up soon, and alumni have been telling us how much they look forward to seeing their classmates. Class party planning is under way, and preparations for a community celebration party in the Barn on June 18 will start off the weekend festivities. We look forward to seeing you.
Our experiences at Catlin Gabel continue to nourish us long after our student years. As always, we welcome hearing your stories and reminiscing about your days at Catlin Gabel. Please call or drop by anytime.
Lauren Dully Hubbard ’91
alumni and community relations program director
503-297-1894 ext. 363
Lesley Sepetoski
alumni and community relations officer
503-297-1894 ext. 423

Please Join Us!

2010 Alumni Weekend

Friday, June 18
All are welcome to attend the community celebration party with a presentation of annual alumni awards and Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer of the Year award.
Saturday, June 19
Class reunion parties celebrating the classes of ’45, ’50, ’55, ’60, ’65, ’70, ’75, ’80, ’85, ’90, ’95, ’00, ’05

Call for Nominations for Joey Day Pope ’54 Volunteer of the Year Award

This award is given each year to a Catlin Gabel community member who personifies volunteerism within our community. The person should have longevity of service to the school, bring enthusiasm and commitment, act as an ambassador of Catlin Gabel, provide the gift of talent, and have qualities of character and responsibility. Nominations are open until April 1. Please send nominations to the office of alumni and community relations or call Lauren Dully Hubbard ’91 at 503-297-1894 ext. 363 for more information.

Past Recipients

2008 Nell & Bob ’73 Bonaparte
2007 Kim Carlson
2006 Sue Spooner
2005 Dale Yocum
2004 Betsy Miller
2003 Peg Watson
2002 Jim Reese
2001 Debbie Ehrman Kaye ’73
2000 David ’76 & Carolyn Cannard
1999 Carole Long
1998 Jane Howard Mersereau ’38 & Jean Poole Hittner ’43
1997 Leah Kemper & Jennifer Sammons
1996 Lois Seed
1995 Rummage Wednesday Club
1994 Sid Eaton
1993 Fletcher Chamberlin
1992 Joey Day Pope ’54





2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

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Charlotte Coe Murray '47 - Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, architect and historic preservationist, Vancouver, B.C.

Jordan Schnitzer '69 - Distinguished Alumni Service Award, president and CEO, Harsch Investment Properties, Portland; longtime civic leader and philanthropist

Phil Buchanan '88 - Distinguished Younger Alumni Award, president, Center for Effective Philanthropy, Cambridge, Mass

George Wolfe Ettelson ’42: 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Annually the alumni board selects from nominations an alumnus or alumna who demonstrates, through his or her contributions to the community, “qualities of character, intelligence, responsibility, and purpose” fostered at Catlin Gabel and its predecessor schools.

On June 9, the Catlin Gabel alumni board presented the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award to George Wolfe Ettelson ’42. His wife of 43 years, Helene, accepted the award on his behalf. George died in January 2007 at age 81 after a struggle with leukemia. The following article about George appeared in the spring 2007 issue of the Caller.

To those who knew George well he was, in the words of his lifelong friend and Gabel schoolmate Phillip Hawley ’43, “a special, special human being.”

“He was the finest person I ever knew,” Helene Ettelson says simply.

Those who did not know him so well, or even at all, often felt the same. As a Catlin Gabel student, a recipient of one of the three endowed scholarships George supported, wrote to George and Helene last year, “You’ve enabled me to reach my full potential, and for that, I cannot thank you enough.”

Helping others to reach their full potential was George’s passion. His legacy of fully engaged, hands-on philanthropy ultimately compelled the members of the alumni board to honor him with this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Helene says his impulse to give was born out of a profound sense of empathy: “It was important to George to serve communities with special needs and make a difference. He opened his heart to the needs of others and felt a deep connection with them.”

Giving also runs in the family. George’s grandfather, Adolphe Wolfe, provided the model by establishing a fund in memory of his son, Getz Wolfe, and supporting a variety of Portland nonprofits. George’s father, a prominent Portland physician, was also active in the community.

George’s daughter Diane Ettelson Lowenstein says that, in turn, George and Helene guided their children, Diane and her brother William, toward philanthropy as a practice: “Mom and Dad taught us that we have an obligation to give back to the community in a meaningful way and that doing so would be gratifying for us and make us more empathetic individuals, in addition to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. It was as though being an active, engaged member of the community was a way of life in the Ettelson household.”

The Ettelsons’ immediate community was the San Francisco Bay Area, where George settled after graduating from Yale and Harvard Business School, and serving in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. He became manager of the Macy’s store in Hillsdale and went on to a vital career in business before retiring as president of Dyno Industries, an office supply company.

In San Francisco, George served on a variety of corporate and nonprofit boards, including that of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Helene, whom he met in 1952 and married in 1964, volunteers at the Information Desk and Emergency Room of the California Pacific Medical Center, where she serves on the Guild Board.

Yet, as his daughter Diane points out, Portland – and Portland people – remained central to George’s thoughts throughout his 50 or so years in San Francisco.

“One truism with Dad is that ‘You can take the boy out of Oregon, but you can’t take Oregon out of the boy.’ Even though he left Portland at a relatively young age, he never forgot his roots and always maintained a true affinity for the community and organizations, such as Catlin, that influenced him so profoundly as a boy and prepared him for the rigors of Andover, Yale, Harvard Business School, and the Navy.”

In Portland, the Ettelsons support St. Vincent’s Hospital, Oregon Health and Science University, and Reed College. George served on the Catlin Gabel board and co-chaired the Endowment Committee with Nani Warren ’42. For him, education was an essential right and an important goal.

Diane says, “He used to tell me, ‘Get a good education. It’s the one thing no one can ever take away from you.’ My education is one of the greatest gifts he could ever give me.”

It is telling that the best birthday gift Helene could give George was to establish an endowed scholarship in his name at Catlin Gabel.

“I created [the George Ettelson Endowed Scholarship Fund] as a surprise for George’s 80th birthday in 2005,” Helene says. “The look on George’s face of joy and disbelief when Lark Palma announced this at an alumni gathering in San Francisco was pure delight! It gave him great pleasure.”

With the establishment of that fund, George became the first donor in Catlin Gabel history with three separate endowed scholarships to his credit. He and his sister Ruth established the Jean Ettelson Salz scholarship fund in memory of their sister, and then George endowed the Ruth Ettelson Wurzweiler scholarship in Ruth’s name when she died. Both Ruth and Jean had attended Miss Catlin’s. His aim with each of the funds was to expand access to Catlin Gabel for a more economically and socially diverse group of students. The funds exemplified his commitment to Catlin Gabel, Helene says. “He wanted to give something back to the school, and what better way that with a scholarship for a youngster who couldn’t afford it but was certainly qualified to attend Catlin Gabel.”

Each year, George looked forward to meeting the recipients of his family’s scholarships in person or by letter. “It meant a lot to him to get those letters,” Helene says. In reading the letters, one gets the sense that George was deeply interested in the students as people; he wanted to know what they were studying, what their families were like, what their personal interests were.

Personal connection was vital to George. “He always remembered to call on our anniversary and on Roger’s birthday,” says Laura Meier, whose late husband Roger Meier ’43, a fellow Distinguished Alumni Award honoree, was a longtime friend of George’s (George was an usher in the Meiers’ wedding).

Catlin Gabel was vital to him as well. Phil Hawley describes a conversation he and George had last fall, in what would turn out to be their last visit together. “We began reminiscing, swapping stories,” Phil says, “and George spent a substantial amount of time talking about Gabel.”

According to Phil, Catlin Gabel was “one of the center points of George’s mind” throughout his life. This Alumni Weekend, George will be the center point of our minds, as he so often has been. We are proud and honored to be able to call him a Distinguished Alumnus of this school.

Alfred Aya ’43: 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Annually the alumni board selects from nominations an alumnus or alumna who demonstrates, through his or her contributions to the community, “qualities of character, intelligence, responsibility, and purpose” fostered at Catlin Gabel and its predecessor schools.

Alfred Aya ’43, a man of limitless curiosity and energy, has developed an emergency warning system able to save thousands of lives in the Cannon Beach area if a tsunami strikes the Oregon coast. The most remarkable thing about Alfred’s work is that this is his second career—one begun in his 60s after he intended to lead a quiet life of retirement by the sea. Recognizing how fully he has lived his life, and the intelligence with which he has translated his interests into meaningful realities, the Alumni Association will honor Alfred this June with the Distinguished Alumni Award. All alumni are invited to attend the dinner and celebration on June 9.

After graduating from Stanford University and serving in the Korean War, Alfred forged a long, successful career in Pacific Telephone’s corporate research department developing unique systems for analyzing operational data trends. When the Bell System was dismantled, he left Pacific Telephone, working first as a consultant and then retiring to Cannon Beach.

Simple acts can lead to bigger projects when a person as thoughtful as Alfred gets involved in study and questioning. He decided to overhaul his house, researched applicable local ordinances carefully, and as a result was appointed to the local planning commission for seven years. Concurrently, he became a director of the local fire district. He discovered that there was no system that could efficiently notify the community of an approaching tsunami. Watching two small children alone on the beach building sand castles, he resolved to remedy this potentially tragic lack of a proper warning system.

Alfred educated himself extensively about tsunamis at local libraries. He soon became known as the local expert on tsunamis—and since has come to be respected as a global expert.

He experienced firsthand the shortcomings of the coast’s emergency warning system in 1986, when a magnitude 8 Aleutian earthquake triggered a West Coast tsunami watch. Cannon Beach dispatched all its emergency personnel to warn the several thousands in and around town. This took 90 minutes—leaving no one to handle other emergencies. In response, Alfred developed the Cannon Beach Fire District’s community warning system (COWS), providing electronic siren and public address announcements and requiring only one person to operate it. Still in place today and satellite-linked to the emergency center in Alaska, it requires only 15 minutes to warn people in ocean hazard zones to evacuate. During monthly testing, the system broadcasts the sound of mooing (paying heed to its COWS name) instead of sirens, to avoid scaring the public. Alfred’s work promoting community preparedness for tsunamis earned him the 1994 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Public Service Award. He has also consulted about tsunami preparedness worldwide, been quoted in National Geographic, and appeared on Nightline after the tsunami in Asia.

Alfred has consistently exemplified the qualities that the Distinguished Alumni Award was created to honor, broadly described by Ruth Catlin in 1928. These include effective leadership, creative and resourceful problem solving, a sense of calling, a desire to serve the greater good, the ability to inspire and motivate others, and an enduring legacy. If you’re in Cannon Beach and hear some extremely loud mooing, send thanks to Alfred Aya for all he has done to make coastal communities around the world safer in the face of tsunamis.

Kate Rogers McCarthy ’35: 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Kate Rogers McCarthy ’35 has been an environmental warrior for more than 30 years. Her battlefield is the stressed slopes of Mt. Hood, where she has spent a good part of her life researching, photographing, and documenting errors in U.S. Forest Service processes and disclosure, and the sidestepping of environmental laws and regulations. During her 70th reunion this summer—and on her 88th birthday—she will be honored with the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award for exemplifying the philosophy her aunt Ruth Catlin wrote in 1928.

After graduating from Catlin School, Kate earned a B.A. in biology at Reed College. Her environmental pursuits led to many accomplishments, including founding the Friends of Mt Hood and the Hood River Valley Residents' Committee, and service on the Columbia Gorge Commission and on the board of Friends of the Columbia River Gorge and the Oregon Environmental Council. Over the years Kate traveled and testified tirelessly in support of more sensitive land use and protection of the fragile Mt. Hood ecosystem.

Kate’s connections to the school run deep: she attended the Catlin School from 1st through 12th grade, and alumni in her family include her sister Betty Walker ’38 and granddaughter Abigail McCarthy ’94. Her son, Stephen McCarthy, is a past board member.

The alumni board is happy to honor Kate, whose life and work display those qualities the Distinguished Alumni Award was created to recognize: effective leadership, creative and resourceful problem solving, a sense of calling, a desire to serve the greater good, the ability to inspire and motivate others, and an enduring legacy. Her efforts in conservation have already made a difference, and you’ll still find her today fighting the good fight there among the trees and rocks of Mount Hood.

Spencer Ehrman '35: 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Gabel School alumnus Spencer Ehrman '35 died peacefully in April 2004 after a short illness. Spencer had a long and important relationship with Catlin Gabel. We are pleased that he learned of his Distinguished Alumni Award before his death.

When Spencer Ehrman became chair of the Gabel Country Day School’s board, he didn’t imagine that he would soon preside over its merger with the Catlin-Hillside School to become Catlin Gabel.

In February 1957, as chair of the Gabel Country Day School’s board, Spencer delivered a persuasive speech to Gabel parents about the proposed merger with Catlin. Both schools were in dire financial straits, and he had headed the committee charged with exploring a unification of the two. The governance structures of the schools differed— while Catlin’s board would make the decision, all Gabel parents had a vote. His key points covered the schools’ similar cultures and traditions, prospective economies of scale, impending property issues, and fundraising challenges in the Portland community. Facing a rebellion among parents (some were outraged that merger news had first come in the paper, and upset about how the administrative positions would be allocated among the schools’ current staff), he meticulously countered every objection, and the merger won by a single vote.

The School is a four-generation family tradition for Spencer. His father graduated from Gabel’s predecessor, the Portland Academy, in 1907. He started at Gabel in 1926, eventually skipping three grades and becoming its first high school graduate in 1935. Too young to go to college, Spencer spent a year at Lincoln High School in Portland, and a year at Andover Academy in Massachusetts before attending Yale University, thus graduating from three different high schools. Spencer’s sister, Alayne, graduated in 1940 from Miss Catlin’s School. His children, Spencer, Jr. ’68, Debbie ’73, and Susan ’75 were “lifers” at Catlin Gabel. Two of his grandchildren, Mason Kaye ’04 and Rob Kaye ’07 are current students.

Spencer’s first wife, the late Pat Ehrman, led many volunteer efforts at Catlin Gabel, chairing the Rummage Sale twice in the 1960s and serving on the board of trustees. The school’s annual citizenship award honoring seniors bears her name. For many years Spencer played a key role in the Rummage Sale, serving as its unofficial “financial advisor” and money-counter.

Beyond the profound mark he and his family have made on Catlin Gabel, Spencer Ehrman’s career included decades of community service and business expertise. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the U.S. Navy as a communications officer. Aboard the U.S.S. San Diego he became the first American ashore in Tokyo Bay at the end of World War II. He served as a principal in Mason, Ehrman & Company, and later Schuss Wholesale and S.E. Rykoff, all businesses involved in wholesale or institutional food distribution. He was known for his ability to solve complex problems and bring diverse philosophies together.

Throughout his long career he has continued to serve the community. As president of the Deschutes Club for 14 years, he brokered successful cooperation between the club, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, the Bureau of Land Management, the River Guides Association, local cattlemen, and the State of Oregon, preserving the lower Deschutes River for multiple conservation-based uses. He also served on the boards of numerous other local organizations where he contributed his hard work, winning personality, and sound judgment.

A lifelong Portlander, Spencer’s passions include reading, fly fishing, and bridge. Recently, he generously supported our School’s diversity program, serving on the board’s Diversity Committee and underwriting the 1999 Symposium on Race and Class.

As Karen Atiyeh (Gabel ’43) said in nominating Spencer for the Distinguished Alumni Award, “He has continued his commitment to the growth of Portland and the State of Oregon with dedication and enthusiasm in the fields of business, education, civic and cultural activities, and environmental leadership.” Spencer will be fondly remembered for his many contributions to the School, the city of Portland, and the state of Oregon.

David Lawrence '58: 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Dr. Lawrence was named CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in 1991 and Chairman of the Board in 1992. Prior to assuming his current role, Dr. Lawrence served KFHP/KFH as vice chairman and chief operating officer (1990-91); senior vice president and regional manager for Northern California (1988-89); vice president and regional manager in Colorado (1985-88). He also was vice president and area medical director for Northwest Permanente in Portland (1981-85). Dr. Lawrence also served as health officer and director of Human Services in Multnomah County, Oregon; on the faculty of Department of Health Services and Director of MEDEX in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington; as advisor to the Ministry of Health of Chile; and as Peace Corps Physician in the Dominican Republic and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Lawrence is a graduate of Amherst College (BA), the University of Kentucky (MD), and the University of Washington (MPH). He is Board Certified in General Preventive Medicine (Johns Hopkins and University of Washington). He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha (Medical Honorary Society) and the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences). He currently serves on the Boards of Agilent Technologies, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Raffles Medical Group of Singapore, The Rockefeller Foundation, RAND Health Advisory Board, the Bay Area Council, and the Hospital Research and Educational Trust (AHA). He previously served as chair of the International Federation of Health Funds and the University of California's President's Board on Research and Economic Development.

Dr. Lawrence is nationally known for his advocacy for improvements in the American health care delivery system. He served as member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Quality of Health Care in America that produced the landmark report on patient safety, "To Err is Human," and the blueprint for improving America's health care system, "The Quality Chasm."

Dr. Lawrence has been active in San Francisco Bay Area community affairs, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Bay Area and chair of the annual campaign for the United Way in Alameda County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Lawrence has been recognized as the Outstanding Alumnus of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington (1980); and The Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Medicine, University of Kentucky (1995). He was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of the University of Kentucky (1995); and has received honorary degrees from Amherst College (Doctor of Science, 1994), and Colgate University (Doctor of Letters, 1995).

Given Kaiser Permanente's vast influence on American medicine, Dr. Lawrence's successful stewardship of his organization constitutes a contribution not only to Kaiser Permanente's 8.4 million members nationwide, but to all Americans. He is to be commended for the positive impact that Kaiser Permanente has had on the quality and affordability of health care in the United States.

David Bragdon ’77: 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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The Alumni Board awarded David Bragdon ’77 the Catlin Gabel Distinguished Alumni Award on June 15, 2002, during Alumni Weekend fesitivies.

David spent eight years in international marketing with Nike, Lasco Shipping, and Evergreen Airlines and five years as the marketing manager for the Port of Portland.

David was first elected to Portland’s Metro Council in 1998. Initially, he supplemented his modest income as a part-time Metro Councilor, by driving a taxi, which added to his long-standing interest in transportation issues in Portland. David has been twice chosen as the Council’s presiding officer. Currently, he is a candidate for the new position of Metro Council President.

(The Metro Council’s responsibilities include maintaining greater Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary, managing solid waste disposal for the 24-city area, developing public transportation policy, establishing wildlife protection plans, and managing the Oregon Zoo and the Convention Center.)

David has long been an activist for public policy that affects the quality of life in Portland. In eighth grade, he wrote the city’s first Bus Riders’ Guide. In a discussion of urban growth, David recently remarked, "Numbers don’t really tell you what it is like to live somewhere. There’s huge density in Paris. There’s low density in Houston. Which is a better place to live?"

The Oregonian columnist Jonathon Nicholas characterized David as "one of a handful of authentically bright stars on Oregon’s political horizon."

Barbara Farrow Walker ’53: 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Over the course of thirty years, Barbara Farrow Walker ’53 has transformed Portland’s livability. In addition to founding the 40 Mile Loop Land Trust for a system of trails encircling Portland, she was a leader in the creation of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and the Eastside Esplanade.

Roger Meier '43: 2000 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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In addition to his renown as an art connoisseur and community advocate, Roger Meier '43 is widely recognized as the architect of Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System. Under Roger's leadership, the system assets grew from $400 million to $7 billion in 14 years, generating a profound financial benefit for Oregonians.

Nancy Neighbor Russell ’49: 1999 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Nancy Neighbor Russell ’49 drafted the legislation and secured bipartisan support for an unprecedented federal law creating the first national scenic area. She co-founded the Friends of the Columbia Gorge to ensure the dictates of this new law. Nancy died September 19, 2008.

Phyllis Cantrell Reynolds ’47: 1998 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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In addition to being a clinical psychologist, potter, printmaker, and photographer, Phyllis Cantrell Reynolds ’47 has been a tireless advocate for the importance of trees in urban areas, especially in Portland. She is on the Board of the Japanese Garden and has been actively involved in horticulture at the Portland Garden Club, Reed College, Catlin Gabel School, and Hoyt Arboretum. She co-wrote, with Elizabeth Fitzgibbon Dimon ’49, Trees of Greater Portland (Timber Press), a field guide of the best trees in the Portland area and where to view them.

Marian Wood Kolisch '37: 1997 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient

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Artist Marian Wood Kolish ’37, studied photography with Ansel Adams in the 1970s and has since developed a substantial portfolio of portraits of “cultural visionaries,” Oregonians who have had an impact on the history and cultural life of our state. Her work has been displayed at the Portland Art Museum and in the Governor’s ceremonial office.