2022 Marks the 50th Anniversary of Taft Coeducation!

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This year we celebrated and honored the voices of the Women of Taft: students, faculty, and staff whose journeys have made Taft a better school and whose potential will continue to shape it for years to come; alumnae who impact their communities, transform the places where they work, and create a better world.

Both virtual and in-person programs celebrating this defining milestone were offered this past year.

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Celebratory Events


Taking It Back to the '70s, when it all started.

Took place on Tuesday, March 8 at 7 pm EST
Virtual event

The Taft community joined some of Taft’s female trailblazers as they recalled our first years of coeducation, how they shaped the school for the past five decades. The event was moderated by Dean of Faculty Edie Traina, and the conversation included:

  • Faculty Emeritae Patsy Odden, Linda Saarnijoki, and Gail Wynne
  • Alumnae Leslie Herrlinger Lanahan ’73, Sally Childs Walsh ’75, Karen L. Stevenson ’75 and Merrill W. Weyerhaeuser ’78

Watch the Recording

Women at Taft: A Celebratory Concert

Alex Forbes '76

When Taft opened its doors to women 50 years ago, the range of experiences and perspectives reflected in our community grew exponentially. So did the range of talents. We all enjoyed the musical talents of Taft alumnae in this virtual concert, featuring:

  • Caroline M. Hitchcock '75
  • Alex E. Forbes '76
  • Vanessa H. Holroyd '90
  • Kate D. Schutt '93
  • Bergin M. O'Malley '95
  • Mia E. Borders '05
  • Meghan J. Spangenberg '20
  • Lila F. du Pont '21

Watch the Concert

Women of Taft: Celebrating Taft's 50th Anniversary of Coeducation

Art Exhibit
Mark W. Potter Gallery
March 28 - May 15, 2022
Featuring the works of Taft alumnae:

  • Amy Wynne '84
  • Tamara English '85
  • Jessica Wynne '90
  • Kendall Ayoub-Nichols '92
  • Margeaux Walter '01
  • ann haeyoung '04
  • Arden Klemmer '05
  • Faculty Emerita Gail Wynne

View Photos of the Exhibit 

View Photos of the Opening Reception

Celebrating 50 years of Girls' Lacrossse: The Wandelt-McCarthy Girls' Lacrosse Fund

When Taft became coed 50 years ago, Melissa McCarthy Meager ’74 helped establish the Taft Girls' Lax program, and recruited then Director of Admissions Ferdie Wandelt to be its first coach. She visited practice on Friday, May 13, watched the game on Saturday, May 14, and announced the creation and endowment of The Wandelt-McCarthy Girls’ Lacrosse Fund on Alumni Day.

View Photos of the Event  


Alumni Weekend

May 13-14, 2022

The most festive of weekend of the year! The 50th Anniversary of Coeducation was celebrated on campus!

Alumni Weekend Schedule

View the Weekend Photos Galleries 

Women of Taft

But to Serve

Julissa Mota '22

Julissa Mota '22 is a passionate learner. Over the summer she became a passionate teacher, guiding young students in Central America.

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In the Education Business

Blake DiMarco Herrera ’00

Blake DiMarco Herrera has helped run schools for underserved children ever since leaving an earlier corporate career. She’s now product manager of school services at Bezos Academy, a nonprofit is opening tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools nationwide that will serve low-income and middle-class families, including families who earn too much to qualify for Head Start.

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The Lure & Logistics of Producing Documentaries

Hilary Klotz Steinman ’86

Hilary Klotz Steinman has been producing documentary films for more than 20 years, with subjects as varied as contraception and the environmental toll of the digital revolution. Her most recent release is The Codebreaker, the story of the untold hero of cryptology, Elizebeth Smith Friedman. Along with overseeing her production company, Napatree Films, Steinman is the senior vice president/executive producer of the documentary division of Engel Entertainment.

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Working (Very) Remotely

Bianca Perren ’93

As a paleoecologist for the famed British Antarctic Survey, Bianca Perren’s fieldwork routinely involves visiting some of the most inhospitable locations on earth. She establishes ecological records through a process called “lake coring,” or drilling holes into the muddy bottom of lakes, retrieving samples from below the surface to gather an environmental record.

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News Sense for Uncertain Times

Susie Banikarim '93

If ever there was a crucible for journalism, Susie Banikarim ’93, as executive VP and head of global newsgathering at Vice News, met this one head-on—a year consumed by a pandemic, protests, and a presidential election. The public health crisis sent media executives like Banikarim scrambling to reimagine the newsroom, coverage, and work-life balance.

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The Art of Layering and Texturing

Eliza Geddes '97

Over the years, artist Eliza Geddes ’97 has explored several mediums—welding, mixed media sculpture—but ultimately chose to pursue painting as a career. Her paintings begin with a focus on color combinations, and she chooses to work with house paint over oils or acrylics. Geddes’ work has been displayed at exhibitions across the U.S. and in London, and is in three permanent collections in New York.

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Rhinos Read: The Revisioners

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton '00 and Bonnie Blackburn Penhollow '84

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Working Remotely

Sara Sutton '92

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Lifesaving Public Health

Liz Temkin ’83

As an epidemiologist with Israel’s National Center for Infection Control and Antibiotic Resistance, Dr. Liz Temkin ’83 focuses on how to control the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, how to limit unnecessary antibiotic use, and how to respond to the fact that few new antibiotics are in development.

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Drawn to Service

Fiona McFarland ’04

A desire to serve, which first took hold during her time at Taft, has gone on to drive many of Fiona McFarland’s life decisions, including her most recent ambition: being elected to the Florida State House.After graduating from the United States Naval Academy McFarland spent eight years on active duty, including six and a half years at sea.

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Partnering for Clean Water

Ellie O’Neill ’11

Based on their view that water scarcity is a pressing issue of our time, Ellie O’Neill ’11 and Jack Hartpence cofounded Powwater, a social business that sells reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and wine tumblers and reinvests profits into sustainable clean drinking water systems across the globe.

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Sea Change

Irina Prentice ’94

Read about the work of Irina Prentice ’94, who is part of a team at Encounter Edu, a London-based education agency using innovative teaching methods, such as live-stream learning, to help students in classrooms around the world learn about pressing environmental issues.

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Growing Future Leaders

Stacey Rudnick '85

In her role as director of the Center of Leadership and Ethics at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, Stacey Rudnick gives MBA students the tools to become the “effective, thoughtful, moral leaders that businesses so desperately need,” she says

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Madame President Aspirations

Liz Osterhus Fleuette ’84

Liz Osterhus Fleuette ’84 was inspired to start Ms President US when her daughter, Maggie, at age 5 announced that she wanted to be the first female president during a visit to the National Constitution Center. Through the nonpartisan, nonprofit, community-based program and its mentors, girls learn about public speaking, diplomacy and listening skills, local/state/federal government, and women’s history.

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Alexandra Dickson ’99

For actor and improviser Alexandra Dickson ’99, who performs and teaches at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, it all began in an introductory acting class during her mid year at Taft. After studying acting at the Circle in the Square Theatre School and taking workshops at Chicago’s The Second City, she now appears weekly with The Stepfathers.

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Helping Uprooted Families

Donna Eldridge ’76

For Bay Area-based Donna Eldridge ’76, delivering furniture to a family of Afghan refugees in her truck is just another day. But for these uprooted families who have landed in the U.S. with nothing, her services are invaluable, and, ultimately, life-altering. Read about her Non ut sibi-inspired service work.

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Onscreen and Onstage

Eliza Clark '03

Based in Los Angeles, Eliza Clark '03 is both an accomplished playwright and the showrunner/executive producer of TNT's popular drama Animal Kingdom. On any given day, Clark is in the writers' room, the editing suite, on set, or in production meetings.

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Called to Nursing

Torie Snyder Pearce ’04

Torie Snyder Pearce ’04 has always been inspired by Taft’s motto, Not to be served but to serve. A strong resonance with Non ut sibi helped persuade her to become a pediatric nurse, and to cofound Urgent Care for Kids, an urgent care company specializing in pediatrics in Texas.

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Teaching Evolution

Shannon Lenz Guidotti

Science Department Head

Shannon's evolution as a scientist, teacher, and thought leader has been shaped by deeply personal experiences and driven by unparalleled passion.

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From On the Ice to On Air

AJ Mleczko ’93

Former Olympic gold medalist AJ Mleczko had her fifth assignment as NBC’s women’s hockey analyst at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics for her post-playing broadcasting career, which started in 2006. In May 2018, she also became the first female broadcaster to call an NHL playoff game from the booth.

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A Business in Bloom

Evelyn Barata Lee ’75

Evelyn Barata Lee transformed her Southport, Connecticut, property into Butternut Gardens, a fresh-cut flower garden that produces about 45,000 beautiful flowers every year. Since 2011, her business has grown to include a small retail cottage, wholesale accounts, weddings and events, workshops and presentations, and a flower delivery subscription service for local customers.

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Fashion into the Future

Vanessa LeFebvre Robinson ’95

Vanessa LeFebvre Robinson is leading the women’s merchandising team at Stitch Fix, one of the most successful and exciting fashion/technology companies in the world. Starting at her mother’s clothing store before she went to UPenn, then moving on to a position as a buyer at Lord & Taylor, along with other prominent retailers, she is now at the forefront of fashion selection using technology.

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Take Care of Your Friends

Leslie Herrlinger Lanahan ’73

Leslie Herrlinger Lanahan ’73, whose son, Lynn Gordon “Gordie” Bailey Jr., died of an alcohol poisoning at the University of Colorado after a fraternity initiation ceremony in September 2004, has made it her and her family’s mission to bring awareness about alcohol poisoning and hazing in order to save lives.

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