From the Alumni Board Winter 07-08

posted in
Send by email


Alumni Board president Brian Jones '88

In 1958, the population of the Portland metro area was 735,980. The cost of a first-class stamp was three cents. Kruschchev became premier of something called the Soviet Union the same month that Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army. Eisenhower ordered American troops into Lebanon, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Little Rock, Arkansas, had to move forward with integrating its school system. Capote published Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Kerouac published The Subterraneans and The Dharma Bums, and Hitchcock released Vertigo. And in June of 1958, fifteen seniors, all young women, were the very first to accept “Catlin Gabel” diplomas and the last to graduate on the Culpepper Terrace campus. They had braved College Board examinations, the “old girl vs. new girl” baseball game, and the Rummage contest, and reveled in the first fire of winter, a Timberline overnight, and senior skip day. Their yearbook included advertisements for Bermuda shorts, “made for every occasion,” and a flat from Nordstrom with a “new pointed toe that’s a winner.” Another ad advised them to “eat more fresh lemons.”

In short, nothing much has changed, and everything has changed. The 65 members of the class of 2008, almost equally male and female, had to suffer through SATs, spent days at the Expo Center during Rummage, and are no doubt already looking forward to senior skip day. Bermuda shorts are back; fresh lemons probably never went out. The Soviet Union is long gone; U.S. involvement in the Middle East is more intense than ever. It’s fun, when marking a milestone like Catlin Gabel’s 50th anniversary, to delve into “then vs. now,” for the sake of context: “That was then, this is now—look how much has (or hasn’t) changed.” But we won’t gloss over the real import of this anniversary, the fact that in spite of significant challenges (starting with the events that led up to the merger of Catlin-Hillside and Gabel, and the very merger itself), daunting obstacles, and the sheer procession of time, the people of Gabel, Catlin, all their predecessors and successors, have led us to what we find in Catlin Gabel today—a vital institution, alive in its present, anticipating its future, and very much attentive to its past. We are all honored to be part of this school.

This year, as alumni board president, I’m chairing the 50th anniversary committee. This incredibly vibrant group of alumni, parents, and former faculty is cooking up some serious fun for the anniversary and alumni weekend, May 2–4. There will be an amazing array of opportunities to walk, run, and maybe even square-dance down Memory Lane with former teachers, alumni, and current Catlin Gabel families and faculty. Many of the details are still top secret; for a sneak peek go to page 5 of the magazine. You’ll be receiving your invitation soon. Be there or, as Kerouac might have said, be square!

And for those of you who, like me, are reunion-year alumni, your class organizers are already at work planning your own reunion gathering for the evening of Friday, May 2. If you’d like to be part of the planning, or want to hear about details, please refer to your class year’s listing in the Class Notes section, or email the alumni office at

See you in May.

Brian Jones ’88, alumni board president

Distinguished Alumni Awards 2008

In honor of the 50th anniversary, we are proud to announce an expanded alumni awards program recognizing the achievements of a diverse group of Catlin Gabel alumni. This year, we invite you to submit nominations for the following categories:

Granted to Catlin Gabel graduates or former students for significant accomplishments in business or professional life.

Granted to Catlin Gabel graduates or former students for extraordinary service to their community, state, nation, or the world.

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.

Nominations are due to the alumni office on MARCH 17, 2008. Awards will be presented at a special evening gathering on Friday, May 30. Please call Lily Thayer Derrick, alumni director, at 503-297-1894 ext. 309 or email for more information.

Tell Us About Your School Experience

Whether you were a student, parent, or faculty-staff member during any period of the school’s life, tell us what it was like for you. Before the end of March, please send your thoughts to Joan Buell,, for the piece she is writing for the celebration of Catlin Gabel’s 50th anniversary. Specific events, memorable transitions, and important moments are all welcome.