Taft with Students in Science Lab



Edward Taft ’69


As a third generation St. Marker and former board member, Ed Taft possesses a deep understanding and appreciation of the School’s commitment to kindle students’ passion for discovery. The path that led to his successful career at leading corporations like Xerox and Adobe can be traced back to afternoons at St. Mark’s spent tinkering with the School’s Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 computer—which, at the time, represented an unprecedented level of technological sophistication for an independent school. A generous, multimillion-dollar gift from Ed and his wife Pamela in the early stages of the campaign established the foundation for St. Mark’s School’s groundbreaking STEM Center. Opened in 2015, the Center features flexible, adaptable workspaces that allow for learning in multiple dimensions, and glass-walled classrooms that make STEM learning more accessible for students while also promoting collaboration among faculty members. “The new facility embodies the hands-on, student-centered orientation of our program,” explains Lindsey Lohwater, chair of the Science Department. “The space has inspired us to reshape our classes to be more active and collaborative; this is more conducive to delivering learning experiences that help students become informed citizen scientists.”

Ed sees his career in technology as directly linked to those early opportunities to explore his curiosity at St. Mark’s. “STEM skills enrich a student’s experience of the entire curriculum— not just in science and engineering,” he notes. “The success of the STEM Center demonstrates the School’s commitment to excellence in this critical area.”


The Crotty Family


Tom Crotty and his wife, Shari, P’15, understand the value of experiencing other cultures firsthand: Tom spent his middle school years in France, and Shari enjoyed a fulfilling career as a flight attendant. Ensuring that their own children—including Paige ’15— had the opportunity to travel internationally was a top priority. “We want our kids to be global citizens,” explains Tom, a former St. Mark’s board member. “There’s no substitute for the lessons learned by immersing yourself in another place and culture.”

In 2016, the Crottys decided to create similar opportunities for other St. Markers through the Crotty Family Endowed Global Citizenship Fund. The fund supports Lions Roam, an immersive travel experience that augments classroom study with international travel and cultural exchange to help students understand and appreciate cultures different from their own.

Lions Roam enables faculty members to develop rich courses that investigate the history, literature, art, and language of a country. At the culmination of the course, students and faculty embark on a two-week trip to the place they have studied, where they immerse themselves in the everyday life of local people and their community. Lions Roam destinations include Bhutan, Iceland, and Spain. “Traveling allows students to integrate what they’ve learned in the classroom with real world experiences,” notes Global Citizenship Director Dr. Laura Appell-Warren. Tom and Shari love the immersive nature of the travel experience. “The students are truly integrated into the communities in the countries they visit,” says Shari. “This gives them a unique perspective not only on the material they’ve been studying, but also on the people who live there.”

“St. Mark’s has always made sure to expose students to the world outside of Southborough,” remarks Paige, who is currently a student at James Madison University. “Lions Roam is a natural extension of that philosophy. I only wish it had been available when I was a student!”

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