Page 4 - Menlo Magazine Summer 2019
P. 4

From the
Head of School
As I move about this amazing campus, I often find myself wondering what former Head of School Norm Colb must have thought when he first set foot here in 1993. Stent Family Hall, then known as Douglass Hall, had been damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and was encircled by construction fencing. The other buildings on campus were rustic and increasingly unfit for students. Then in 1994, the School began its separation from the College but continued to share the gymnasium and cafeteria and used Florence Moore Auditorium as a performance hall. Norm has shared that it was clear that one of the critical steps that he needed to take as the new leader of Menlo School was to construct a campus that would serve the program he envisioned and the future students who would arrive on this campus.
Over the last 26 years, with the help of three major capital campaigns, all under Norm Colb’s watchful eye, the trustees and leadership of Menlo School have completely rebuilt the campus into the one that exists today and serves its students and their program of study in ways he could only have dreamed of on his first day on campus. Over the course of those three campaigns,
we restored what is now Stent Hall and built the Middle School, the Upper
School, the Athletic Center, the Creative Arts and Design
Center, and Whitaker Lab. Each of these facilities is
studied by visitors from other schools almost weekly as they embody what it means to create structures to serve the program.
With this magazine, we are excited to announce the fourth major capital campaign in Menlo’s proud history: the Menlo Centennial Campaign. Named to mark its origins during the centennial year of the School, this campaign has set out to achieve many goals. First and foremost of those is to complete the main campus. With the generous help of early campaign leaders, we have been fortunate in the last four years to build the Dining Commons (which included remodeling the Student Center and Library); refurbish critical areas for our athletic teams including Gates Pool, the Silver Family Baseball Field, the Wunderlich Tennis Courts, and the Cartan Field Track; and recently break ground on the Spieker Center for the Performing Arts, to be completed in the fall of 2020. Completing the main campus finishes the physical work envisioned by Norm Colb and the incredible group of trustees he led during his 20 years at Menlo.
But physical buildings, while able to nurture program and culture, do not make a school. I sometimes hear from alumni who feel that they have lost connection with Menlo because it no longer looks the same as it did when they attended the School 10, 20, or 50 years ago. My response is always the same: yes, there is no denying that Menlo has a different physical plant than it
did when you were in school. But great schools are not defined by their buildings but by the people and relationships that are

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