Portrait of a Graduate

Hero Treatment

In the spring of 2001, new Head of School Willy MacMullen ’78 announced the formation of the Faculty Forum. The 10-member committee, with input from the entire Taft faculty, would explore the academic life of the school; they would examine what and how we teach— and to what end—all to answer the question, “What do we want Taft graduates to know and be able to do?” The result of their multi-year effort is the Taft School Portrait of a Graduate. The Portrait helps shape curriculum and define creative opportunities for reflective learning. It is a living document, one that will change and evolve as we prepare our graduates to find their place in the global community.


A Taft education prepares its students in a community devoted to creating lifelong learners, thoughtful citizens, and caring people. More particularly, Taft graduates have exhibited that they:

  • Two new Taft graduates at CommencementAct with honor and integrity, and value both the Taft Honor Code and the school's fundamental conviction that honesty and personal responsibility are the cornerstones of character and of community.
  • Serve others unselfishly, reflecting and acting upon the school's motto in both formal and informal contexts: Non ut sibi ministretur sed ut ministret.
  • Consider a range of perspectives in order to develop a moral worldview that helps create a compassionate, inclusive, and socially just community.
  • Respect each individual by authentically, actively, and empathetically engaging with diversity.
  • Make informed choices in living healthy and balanced lives.
  • Apply the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind of all disciplines to framing questions and solving problems in the pursuit of understanding. Moreover, they see even the most formidable challenges as opportunities for growth.
  • Possess intellectual curiosity and resourcefulness, and actively engage in the process of learning.
  • Work cooperatively and collaboratively; they are willing to subdue their individual needs and desires in order to contribute to the collective efforts of people united in a common purpose.
  • Work and think independently. They are self-reliant, disciplined, and courageous about taking risks in their thinking.
  • Express themselves clearly, purposefully, and creatively in their speaking and writing, as well as other forms that they find effective and rewarding.
  • Appreciate the arts and have explored their own capacity for creation in all of their endeavors. They apply imagination and inventiveness in the creative process.
  • Apply appropriate technologies to the process of learning and understand the possibilities and limitations of various technological innovations.
  • Reflect regularly upon their learning and themselves as learners, leading to greater awareness of themselves as individuals and of their places in the world in which they live.