Visiting Home Away From Home

Ojai weather, trail rides, beloved classmates, and a spectacular new dining hall—another Alumni Day for the books.
Toads spanning 58 classes1962 through 2019recently returned to campus for Alumni Day—a chance to connect with old friends, make new ones, and celebrate their connection to Thacher. The 12-hour day was packed. 

It started with brunch in the Michael Kent and Joy Sawyer Mulligan Hall. This was the first alumni meal in the new dining hall and graduates were impressed by the beautiful views, larger food selection, and the ability for everyone to fit into one room. “A lot of structures have changed, however, it still felt like the Thacher I know and love,” commented one alum. In her after dinner remarks, Head of School Blossom Beatty Pidduck 1992 described the building as a physical embodiment of the community we so value. With eight-person rather than ten-person tables to support intimate conversations, the dining room makes it possible to eat together like a family. A new larger and more efficient servery accommodates better traffic flow and a wider variety of healthy meal options. Of course soft serve ice cream is still on the menu.

In planning the event, the Alumni and Development staff wanted to give alums a window into the Thacher of today, including a sampling of current programs, priorities, and passions on campus. Student groups set up displays on the Pergola for a student organization fair, much like the one held at the beginning of the year to attract membership. It seemed to be a hit: Sarah O’Brien CdeP 1986 said, “It was great to have some new additions to the day like the student fair.”

Another popular event was the art session for children of alumni. The former dining hall, the Hills Building, was recently converted into classrooms and art studios. Two hours of open studio time gave families a chance to create together. And then, we had the old favorites—trapshooting, horseback riding, rock climbing, varsity vs alumni sporting events, interscholastic sports, and Open House at the Pidducks’.

The boys’ varsity basketball game was easily the most exciting event of the day. The Toads defeated the Cate Rams in triple overtime in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Voit Gym. To end the day, alumni joined current students at the home of the head of school for cookies, games, ping pong, quesadillas, chess, and chit chat. Katie Vining CdeP 1994 summed up the feeling that the day engendered when she said, “As always, it’s like a home away from home.”

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Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.