About Us
The Hill School Celebrates the Dedication of the Class of 1971 Garden

On Friday, June 10, 2022, the Class of 1971 and other distinguished guests gathered for a special ceremony to formally dedicate the former Headmaster’s Garden in honor of the Class of 1971 and to recognize several classmates for their efforts in spearheading the project.

The event not only honored the Class of 1971 for their generosity in transforming the Garden; it also paid tribute to Beatrix Farrand, the pioneering female landscape architect who designed the original Garden plan and who served as one of the main inspirations for the redesign.

The ceremony included remarks shared by Head of School Zack Lehman P’16 ’18; planning committee members Richard McElhiney ’71 and Rich Pickard ’71; a special recognition and gift presentation honoring Class Secretary and 50th Reunion Committee Chair Doug Schutte ’71; and a ribbon cutting.

While the class set out to raise the full $600,000 cost of the project, they actually exceeded their goal by raising $619,440, with the additional funds set to bolster the newly re-named, but previously endowed, Class of 1971 Beatrix Farrand Scholarship honoring Farrand’s outstanding accomplishments and life’s work and history of the Garden.

Mr. Lehman offered his gratitude to members of the class who made leadership gifts in support of the project as well as individuals who served on the planning committee whose efforts made this project a reality for The Hill community, including Barry McCarthy, Tony McCormick, Andy Soussloff, Tim Marks, Bill Stein, David Hillman, Keith Geeslin, Rich Pickard, Doug Schutte, Sandy Groff, Tim Marks, Andy Soussloff, Richard McElhiney, Rich Pickard, and John Hale. In addition, he thanked Hill School Senior Director of Campus Operations Collin Wood, New Castle Landscaping, and Farrand experts Kate Kerin and Lyndon Miller for sharing their expertise and talents throughout this project.

Mr. Lehman also shared his gratitude for the new connections the School made through the restoration project and that acknowledgment of the Class of 1971 Garden and the legacy of Beatrix Farrand will continue, noting that the School is working closely with UC-Berkeley, home of Farrand’s archives, to replicate some of Farrand’s archival materials so that Hill’s faculty and students may access and study her work in Ryan Library. There are also plans to integrate the study of Farrand and architectural design into the School’s H Term curriculum. In addition, partnerships with regional gardens like Chanticleer in Wayne, Pa. are being explored for opportunities to collaborate on programs, internships, and a possible lecture series.

The Evolution of the Class of 1971 Garden

In the fall of 2020, the Class of 1971 50th Reunion Gift Committee, led by Class Secretary Doug Schutte, decided to take on the renovation and restoration of the original Headmaster’s Garden as their 50th Reunion Class Project. Through the years, especially during Reunion Weekend celebrations, the Garden had become a special gathering place and “homebase” for the class; the project also provided the opportunity to honor the distinguished Beatrix Farrand.

The Class developed a plan with The Hill and local landscape design firm, New Castle Landscaping, to formally restore and modernize the Garden. Careful review of Farrand’s original blueprints from 1920 was conducted by the gift committee, New Castle, and Farrand experts, Kate Kerin and Lyndon Miller, in order to install as many of Farrand’s original plantings as possible, given soil and climate change over the last 100 years.

Back in 1920, Farrand, founding member -- and the only female member -- of the American Society of Landscape Architects, who designed and executed the construction of gardens for Yale, Princeton, the White House as well as numerous private gardens, was commissioned by The Hill School to create a garden to honor the then newly appointed Head of School, Dr. Boyd Edwards, and his family. That same year also marked the School’s transfer of ownership from the founding Meigs’ family to a non-profit organization led by the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association.

The plan to develop the garden, including the commissioning of Farrand, was initiated by Helen Corning Warden, founder of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and wife of Clarence A. Warden, Class of 1896, The Hill School’s first Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In addition to honoring the newly installed Head of School, Mrs. Warden wanted to commemorate the Class of 1922, the graduating class year of their son, Clarence Warden, Jr. At the time, Farrand was the Warden’s personal landscape architect, and had designed several gardens at their private residence in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

The garden, known as “The Headmaster’s Garden” until 2021, took nearly three years to construct and was completed in May 1922, with a dedication ceremony held after Commencement exercises that year.