Don & Britta McNemar

2004 McKeen Award

January 16th, 2004

Don and Britta McNemar joined the Phillips Academy community in 1981 when Don the thirteenth Headmaster.  The merger of Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy had occurred only eigth years earlier and these was still much work to be done to help the school become truly coeducational.

Don’s vision for Andover was for a school with a sense of close community, an atmosphere of inclusion and a genuine appreciation of differences.  He was extremely sensitive to community issues and strove to do whatever he could to foster a sense of equality and respect among the diverse groups represented on campus.  Among the many changes accomplished during Don’s tenure were the completion of the 1986 coeducation study, the establishment of a day care center on campus open to faculty and staff children, the sponsorship of a Headmaster’s Symposium on Gender Issues, the search for a remedy for the problem of high female faculty attrition, and the establishment of the Office of Community Affairs, and Multicultural Development.

Britta was described by Don as his “partner in leading Andover”.  They had a shared vision for the school and Britta helped turn their deeply held beliefs into reality.  The frequently made joint speaking appearances and visited with alumni/alumnae and parent groups, both nationally and internationally.  Britta brought her many talents along with her warmth and generosity of spirit to everything she did, including her work as a College Counselor, Academic Advisory, Director of the Summer Opportunities Program, and International Student Coordinator.  Britta’s commitment to the education extended beyond PA when she became the first woman and first graduate of Connecticut College to become Head of the college’s Board of Trustees.