KUA News

List of 10 news stories.

  • Pottery is the New Yoga!

    Pottery is the New Yoga. Here's to the Mind-Clearing Benefits of Clay!
    Do you practice mindfulness? Do you enjoy working with your hands? New studies are starting to prove the benefits of both. In a recent article in Vogue Magazine, Lauren Mechling connects the practice of working with clay to the mind-clearing benefits of Yoga. She has a point. At KUA, students enrolled in a ceramics class can appreciate a break during their rigorous academic day. Working their hands through a material that is sensitive to touch, malleable, and relaxing can have the same emotional benefits as other practices of mindfulness. Additionally, these students have a positive impact on the enviroment by walking away with their own cup, bowl, or plate, and lightening the load on our landfills.
    At Kimball Union, students have access to the arts through coursework, afternoon activities, and individual study. Our schedule allows students to explore the arts without sacrificing participation in athletics. For students who demonstrate a passion for the arts, the Art Scholar program allows qualified artists to balance a rigorous academic curriculum rooted in intensive artistic study.

    For more reasearch on Mindfulness and Ceramics, check out this article from the Gardiner Museum.
  • Convocation 2017

    Monday, September 4, 2017 marked the official beginning of the 205th academic year at Kimball Union Academy. The occasion was marked by the annual Convocation Ceremony, beginning with students and faculty circled around the quad. After opening remarks from Assistant Head of School David Weidman and an invocation from Rev. John Gregory-Davis P ’08, ’13, ’17, Co-All School Presidents Owen ’18 and Lindsay ’18 unrolled black and orange ribbons, uniting faculty and students.

    The school community processed into Flickinger Auditorium where Head of School Mike Schafer H ’13, P ’12, ’15, ’19 addressed the community at the start of his fifteenth year as Head of School. “I have been reflecting a great deal about the theme of the year: Passion,” remarked Schafer. “Passion is a driving force that can lead to positive change… It is in each of us [the faculty] - that is why we are here, and our job is to help you discover it in yourselves… This year, there will be challenges and change, laughter and joy, camaraderie, and friendships that will last a lifetime. if we approach them with heart as much as head and hand, we will arrive at Commencement with the greatest sense of enduring satisfaction and accomplishment.”

    After a brilliant piano performance of Rachmaninoff by Yiwen ’19, Schafer recognized the two 2017 Mikula Teaching Award recipients, Murray Dewdney P ’06, ’14 and Scribner Fauver P ’09,’12. Fauver’s thoughtful and humorous speech was peppered with movie quotes and pop culture references, describing how he arrived at his own passion: teaching at KUA. “Sometimes the wand chooses the wizard…” Fauver quoted Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter series. He continued, “In my heart of hearts, I was a teacher... It turns out, teaching makes my heart sing. If you find something that makes your heart sing, do that. If you can find a way to get paid for doing what you love, you win.”

    After a standing ovation in recognition of Mr. Fauver, Dalton Winslow P ’12, ’14 led a rousing rendition of Kimball Union’s Alma Mater. We broke bread together in an All-School formal dinner, while new students signed the matriculation book with Mr. Schafer, Owen, and Lindsey. As we embark on this educational journey, Mr. Schafer reminded us ”it is not how far we go, but how we go far together. That is my passionate charge.”
  • GAIL Conference 2017

    This summer Kimball Union Academy sent ten delegates to the annual GAIL Conference held in Pretoria, South Africa. GAIL, the Global Alliance for Innovative Learning, is a network of seven schools from countries around the world who have joined together to foster student exchanges, collaboration among classes, and faculty fellowships. KUA, a member since 2014, has sent delegates to conferences held in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, the coast of Scotland, and now in the highlands of South Africa.  
    The theme of this year’s conference was “Ubuntu,” which translates from Zulu to “I am because you are.” The workshops throughout the week asked students and faculty alike to examine the importance of intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Conference attendees prepared for a debate at the end of the week that required students to argue on various sides of evolutionary issues. The full slate of activities on the Prestige College campus included a scavenger hunt, leadership games, and cultural activities. One highlight was an off-campus day trip spent at the Cradle of Humankind, the location where the oldest fossils of hominids were found. The Kimball Union students blended into the diverse group of students and jumped right into the activities throughout the week. It was exciting to learn how to make fire, one of the earliest tools discovered by humans, and to participate in a drum circle.  
    From the conference, the KUA delegation drove to Kruger National Park, the largest game park in Africa. There they saw elephants, giraffes, impala, zebras, crocodiles, and even two rhinos. They also had the opportunity to feed and pet elephants at an elephant sanctuary. The group then traveled to Cape Town to hike Table Mountain, see African penguins in Simonstown, and visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners was imprisoned during Apartheid.  
    The students and faculty had an incredible time meeting students from all over the world and touring the unique country. Kimball Union will host the GAIL conference next year and is excited to invite the schools from India, Scotland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and China to visit our campus in Meriden.  
    For more information, please visit: gailschools.org
  • Girls' Leadership Camp at KUA

    This summer, KUA hosted the Girls’ Leadership Camp. GLC, passion project of Dean of Community Life Brooklyn Raney, is a week-long summer camp for girls entering grades 6 through 9 from around the world with “the goal of empowering young women to be leaders.” KUA’s campus serves as the perfect backdrop for this camp with a plethora of nature, hiking, and camping opportunities in our own backyard.
    GLC has grown dramatically from its inaugural year in 2011, and now has former campers serving as counselors. Raney describes her inspiration to start a summer camp for young girls as a natural progression. “I was finishing up my graduate degree [at New York University] in Educational Theatre and my advisor, Christina Marin, asked me, ‘What do you want to do with this education?’ I told her I want to empower young women to be leaders.” When GLC became a reality a short time later, Raney reported back to her advisor and, to Raney’s surprise, Marin’s response was an eager, “When should I be there?”
    In addition to Raney and Marin, GLC’s staff includes co-founder, and acclaimed speaker and author, Shanterra McBride, additional Kimball Union-affiliated personnel, and a small army of former-campers turned counselors, almost entirely comprised of Kimball Union Alumni and students. Raney elaborates, “I knew creating an opportunity for young women would aid in strengthening our culture on campus. GLC dually serves its campers and our high school population by giving current students opportunities to engage in workshops, and to model positive leadership.”
    Aligning with GLC’s motto, I am who I am, campers explore big topics that range from communication to collaboration, girl dynamics to middle school, gossip to cliques. Raney explains, “A lot of girls are battling supposed-to-syndrome; they are struggling because society wants them to be something other than who they are… we teach them, if you can look in the mirror at the end the day and say I am who I am with confidence and conviction, then you’re doing okay.”
    The week is packed with activities designed to build confidence, trust, and, of course, leadership through overcoming obstacles. This year, in addition to lots of hiking, camping, and cooking for themselves on the trails, campers also traveled to Girls at Work in Manchester, New Hampshire, a program dedicated to helping girls discover their self-worth through building. While in Manchester, GLC campers built picnic tables from scratch, traveled to University of New Hampshire to participate in their ropes course, visited the first lady of New Hampshire, Valerie Sununu, to learn about community service, and created real-life social entrepreneurship projects that could generate a scholarship fund for GLC.  At the end of the week, each camper drafts a leadership creed in order to set goals for themselves for the upcoming school year. 
    In December, campers return to KUA to check in with each other, the staff, and meet new campers at GLC’s one-day Winter Boost, packed with fun activities that are designed to do what the name implies – give everyone a boost!  For more information, click here or follow GLC on Instagram @glc_iamwhoiam.
  • Spotlight on KUA’s Newest Dormitory

    Over Reunion Weekend, Kimball Union’s newest dormitory was dedicated in honor of the Kurth family. The Kurth House honors the memory of Wilfred Kurth’50, H’07, P’78 and his family. Wil served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Class Agent, and Alumni Council President. He was represented at the ceremony by his wife Margaret H’10 and family, most notably, daughter and past Trustee Jennifer Kurth Borislow ’78, son-in-law and current Trustee Mike Borislow, and granddaughters Jessica ’07 and Lauren ’10.
    Kurth House houses seventeen girls and is also home to two faculty residences. The dormitory portion was an addition to the 1813 house, which was acquired by the Academy in 2010. The addition retains a classic New England feel, and fits seamlessly into our historic village campus. You can see the construction of the dormitory portion by clicking here.
    During the dedication, Head of School Mike Schafer and Dean of Community Life Brook Raney reiterated the huge impact the Kurth and Borislow families have had on The Academy; a legacy which spans seven decades. Schafer credits Wil Kurth with accomplishing one of the The Academy’s “most challenging, yet most rewarding tasks” in “returning Kimball Union to its earliest founding days as a school for both boys and girls,” in 1974. Raney recalled a time when Jennifer was instrumental in strengthening the bond between KUA students and the Meriden community by sponsoring an initiative for students to introduce themselves to the employees of the Meriden Deli.  
    The Borislow and Kurth families have become as much a part of the DNA of Kimball Union as our signature black and orange colors.  And so, With a nod to the history of this historic village that has served as home to our transformational school, and with deep appreciation to the Kurth and Borislow families for their vision, dedication, and affection for Kimball Union,” remarked Schafer, “it is with great honor that we dedicate our newest student and faculty home as Kurth House.”
  • UPDATED: Memorial Service Information ** In Memory of Robert "Stretch" Gillam '56

  • KUA Pork Project Awarded Best Waste Reduction Program

    Since 2010, students have had the opportunity to participate in Farm Team, an initiative that, “Takes what was once a waste problem and turns it into an economic and social opportunity,” remarks Blaine Kopp, Chair of Environmental Studies and Director of the KUA Farm program. Kopp describes the aim of the program as twofold; to find ways of repurposing the schools waste into a useful resource that saves the school money while reducing our impact on the environment; and to connect our community with where its food comes from.

    For several years now, in addition to the recycling bin located adjacent to the dish room in Doe Dining Hall, there have been two more receptacles labeled ‘Waste’ and ‘Pig Food.’ That’s right, the Kimball Union Farm Team, in addition to vegetables and chickens, raises pigs on a small farm behind Miller Bicentennial Hall. Farm Team members collect the uneaten food scraps from Doe, weigh them, and use them to feed the pigs. The pigs are raised for slaughter and contribute to the food the community consumes in the dining hall throughout the year.

    “With all of the program there is a tie-in.” continues Kopp “The meat birds we raised were an exercise for the Environmental Science classes, the data Farm Team kids collect from things like weighing slop are used by the Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship class to calculate our carbon footprint and the profits of the program. Last year we avoided over 15 tons of atmospheric Co2 emission. The program ran ‘in the black’ by $3500 in avoiding waste-disposal fees, cost of waste-disposal materials like trash bags, and avoided food costs.”

    This year, the Kimball Union Farm Team Pork Project was nominated for the Green Up New England Challenge, sponsored by Project Green Schools, a non-profit with the mission, “to develop the next generation of environmental leaders through hands-on, project-based, solutions-based learning, community service, and action.” The Green Up Challenge invited students across New England to compete in judged categories including; Energy Reduction, Waste Reduction and Water Reduction. The results were announced in April at a Boston Bruins game and the KUA Pork Project won Best Waste Reduction Program!

    When asked what’s next for the Farm Team, Kopp quickly remarks, “Before summer, we plan to put in a patch of winter squash and/or pumpkins,” before more broadly commenting, “What we would like to do now that we have years of experience and budget figures is write up a white paper that would make it easy for another school to duplicate our program.”

    Thank you, Dr. Kopp, for your continued sustainability efforts and congratulations to the entire KUA Farm Team. 
  • Inspiration in New York City

    In mid-April, five members of the class of 2017, along with faculty members Lyn Lord and Dan Weintraub (Donald P. Herzig History Department Chair), and Trustee Chris Yoshida ’96, attended the annual Kairos Society Global Summit in New York City.

    The Kairos Society is an organization founded in 2009 by Ankur Jain, a former Wharton Economics student who saw great success in the app development industry. Kairos aims to guide and advise young entrepreneurs who seek to solve global issues like clean water, global warming, and rising energy prices. Some examples of Karios-assisted companies include; Owlet, developers of the Smart Sock baby monitor and Digital Genius, integrators of artificial intelligence into the customer service industry.

    Yoshida, a senior advisor to the Kairos Society, comments, “Young graduates today should explore broader horizons than banking and finance. There’s so much more you can do than sit at a regulated desk in a regulated entity. You can make a difference!”

    The Kairos Global Summit is a two-day event. “The first day we were at the top of the World Trade Center,” described All School Co-President, Matt ’17. “That was a time for young entrepreneurs to connect with investors. There were 10 or 15 different panels of industry leaders: The President of Verizon, the CTO of Amazon.com, the CEO of FourSqaure. They each answered the question, ‘what is the one area where young entrepreneurs should focus their efforts?’ Many spoke about Climate Change or water pollution, which stood out to me.”

    Each year, Kairos selects 50 college students that show entrepreneurial promise to join their fellowship. The resources provided by the fellowship include mentorship, lessons on how to pitch their ideas, and introductions to potential angel investors. On the second day of the summit, the Kairos Fellows participate in “a business fair on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,” explains Matt. “We got to go around and speak with the different companies. We tried to hit all 50.”

    Matt’s major lesson from the Kairos Global Summit; “I learned the importance of being able to relate to people in a short period of time. It’s really important to be able to communicate your ideas and who you are quickly and fully.”

    Thank you, Chris, for providing this incredible opportunity, and Matt, for sharing your experience.
  • Hayes Auditorium Receives a Facelift

    In 1964 a new auditorium was opened as a part of the Fitch Science and Math Center. For several decades, the space was the premier venue on campus for All School Meeting, performances, concerts, and more. As the years went on, the student population increased beyond the capacity of Hayes and with the addition of the Flickinger Arts Center Auditorium in 1989, the Fitch Auditorium became a secondary venue. In 1991, the space underwent a renovation and was named Hayes Auditorium in honor of then Trustee, Jack Hayes ’67. Without regular technology upgrades, Hayes Auditorium has since fallen out of mainstream use.

    Prompted by a donation of new auditorium seating by Dartmouth College, Hayes Auditorium is currently undergoing a thorough renovation, which will reestablish the venue as a premier location for film screenings, small performances, guest lectures, panel discussions, and faculty meetings. “Hayes will be a completely user-friendly space where anyone can walk in, turn on the lights, and use the technology. It will have all of the A/V needed to support a 21st century classroom, and will also be a space where large groups of people can gather to watch current events on TV” remarks Chief Operating Officer Hunter Ulf P’05, ’09.

    The new space will be equipped with a high definition projector, 7.1 surround sound speakers, theatrical lighting and sound, as well as Smart classroom technology. Additionally, the space is being reworked to extend the stage and to incorporate a new 165-seat audience layout.

    The renovation will be completed by June 17, and all are invited to attend the re-dedication of Hayes Auditorium to Jack, in what would have been his 50th reunion year.

    Please join us at Reunion to share your memories of All School Meeting or the Fall Play in Hayes Auditorium, and to create new memories on the Hilltop. 
  • Alumni Share Their Voices

    Throughout the school year, we’ve hosted speakers, participated in forums, and had meaningful classroom experiences centered around our 2016-17 All School Read, Between the World and Me, by Ta Nehisi Coates. Recently, Dean of Multicultural Education at Governors Academy, and KUA alumnus, Jadi Taveras ’03, led a workshop as part of the Voices of KUA series.

    The day was divided into two sessions. During the first half of the day, students were broken into smaller groups with two faculty facilitators. Within these groups, students were encouraged to speak honestly and openly, be respectful of others, listen to multiple perspectives without judgment, and also find comfort in the silent moments (including a ban on all cell phones). The groups discussed their stances on different ‘hot-button’ issues and spoke about how they individually identify in the world.

    “With teachers facilitating a group discussion, we did an exercise called ‘the spectrum,’ where they would say two words, usually the polar opposites, and you would stand closer to the one you identified most with,” explained Jadon ’18. He continued, “It was good to see the varying opinions at KUA. It gave me a platform to speak on what I believe in and the confidence to stand up for those beliefs in a public setting.”

    During the second part of the workshop, the entire community convened in Flickinger Auditorium where a panel of Alumni spoke about their experiences at KUA, and how those experiences changed their world-view beyond The Hilltop. In addition to Jadi, the panel included Don Lowery ’73, Alda Farlow ’94, Nikki Williams ’02, and Bryant Harris ’04. What ensued was an open conversation, moderated by Taveras, about how it felt to attend KUA as a student of color; how the experience prepared each panelist for the future, and myriad examples of engaging, humorous, and personal tales about the KUA that each individual experienced as a student.

    “They were talking a lot about how their background heritage has shaped their identity. They shared how KUA had the power to shape their assimilation to the different situations they found themselves in,” explained Gavin ’18. “Some of their experiences were contradictory, but they all had their own understanding of their role as Black or Latino people at KUA, which historically has been very white.” Gavin concludes, “It was a good time for reflection and helps us to think about how the school has changed, and how people with different backgrounds come to find the school.”

    Thank you, Jadi, for facilitating such an important community conversation, and to all of our alumni panelists for returning to The Hilltop.


Kimball Union Academy  |  Meriden, New Hampshire 03770   p: 603-469-2000  |   f: 603-469-2040  |   info@kua.org
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the oldest private boarding high schools in New Hampshire and the country. KUA offers the best of the traditional New England Boarding School experience to a diverse group of day and boarding students from across the country and around the world. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy