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Retiring Senior Master Teacher Mark Nelson to Serve as 2024 Commencement Speaker

The Hill School is pleased to announce that Mark K. Nelson P’10 ’13, Philip Rogers Mallory '04 Senior Master Teacher of Science and Head Coach of Girls' Water Polo, will deliver the Commencement address during the School’s 173rd Commencement Exercises which will take place on Saturday, May 25, 2024. After 44 years of service to the School, Mr. Nelson will retire at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year.

A Bowdoin College graduate, Mr. Nelson arrived at The Hill in the fall of 1980 for what initially was a one-year teaching and coaching internship. Fast forward to today, Mr. Nelson has become one of the most respected and beloved faculty members in Hill’s history, impacting the lives of thousands of Hill students, athletes, and colleagues. As the School’s most tenured faculty member, Mr. Nelson has been the proud bearer of the Commencement ceremonial mace and leader of the faculty procession for the last 11 years.

During his time at Hill, Mr. Nelson has primarily taught biology and served as chair of the science department from 2005 to 2009.  He spent 24 years as head boys’ water polo coach and became head girls’ water polo coach in 2018, after serving as an assistant with that program from 2008 to 2017; he also served as an assistant girls’ ice hockey coach from 2007-2017. In November 2023, Coach Nelson was inducted into The Hill School Athletics Hall of Fame for his coaching achievements and distinction as one of the most winningest coaches in School history. He accumulated a career record of 334 wins, 243 losses, and four ties, leading the program to four Eastern Prep Championship titles, and producing 18 All-Americans.

Mark and his wife, Ellen O. Nelson, Senior Master Teacher of the Arts, served as dorm parents in Middle School dormitory from 1980 to 1983 and in Foster Dormitory from 1983 to 1992. They are the proud parents of two Hill graduates, Marie ’10 and Tom ’13. Mark and Ellen will continue to reside on campus as Ellen remains on the Arts Department faculty.

Serving as this year’s Baccalaureate speaker will be Associate Head of School Sylvia Rodríguez Vargas, Ph.D., who will depart The Hill at the conclusion of the academic year to become the head of school at The TASIS School in Dorato, Puerto Rico. Dr. Vargas joined The Hill faculty as Associate Head in the fall of 2019 and served as Interim Head of School last year from December through June.

The Baccalaureate service will take place at 9 a.m., followed by the Commencement ceremony on the Quadrangle, beginning at approximately 10:30 a.m. At the conclusion of the ceremony, members of the Class of 2024 will head to the Dell Pond for their traditional jump in the Dell.

We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the Class of 2024 with family and friends. A livestream of the ceremony will be available via The Hill’s website.