Laura B. Whitman ’85

Photo of Laura B. Whitman ’85Senior spring term—isn’t that likely your fondest semester memory at Taft? I remember balmy afternoons with friends, sitting around the Pond talking about legendary pranks like boarding school historians. College was thrillingly close at hand, but we were still cocooned those last few cozy weeks.

Around the time my son was born, I was thinking about this and a particular memory stuck with me. My English teacher, Robin Blackburn, piled a bunch of us into a van one weekend, and we went to see vanguard shows of Van Gogh at The Met and Primitivism at MoMA. I was so taken with this experience that I immediately registered for Art 101 when I got to Williams College, and that experience made me change from being pre-med to an art history major. Fast-forward 30 years and I have had a successful career as an art dealer, specializing in Chinese paintings and calligraphy.

So when my son was born, it was also the logical time to tackle the chore of reorganizing my will. Taft really set me up for who I am, and I wanted to remember that in some way. I was in my 30s and was not sure how my career would pan out, but I decided to plan a gift ten times my Annual Fund donation—a sort of bookmark gift. All it took was a few lines and a signature, and it was added to my will. Doing this made me a member of the Horace Dutton Taft Legacy Society, which was a pleasant surprise. In addition to a snazzy lapel pin, I am invited to an annual holiday lunch and have more chances to meet with faculty, students, and board members throughout the year—which I really enjoy.

I would like to ask more Tafties to join the Legacy Society. Taft has all the best of what a midsize boarding school can provide, and we are all proud to have been a part of that and have benefited from it. But what Taft needs to build, to match its peer schools, is strength in the endowment. Our headmaster and the board have identified this as a major priority in being able to successfully serve the wide-ranging mission of the school in the future. We don’t need a swimming pool, but we do need depth in the endowment! Anyone can participate in the Legacy Society with a gift. You don’t need to have stock options or a farm to give away per se. It’s easy to accomplish, and I hope more alumni will join me in the Legacy Society.

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