Select Page

Cathy Fitzpatrick – UPPER SCHOOL DEAN’S OFFICE, 1992-2021

We know that comforting rhythm that emanates from her office, the steady, gentle beat that eases us along, and we sing the same refrain: Thank you, Cathy. Those words reverberate, day after day, year after year, for we in the Upper School enjoy a priceless gift: the calm that comes from the confidence that at our core, at our very center, lies a person of dedication, of knowledge, of kindness, and of soul.

Cathy, of course, often deflects the attention that such traits so rightly attract. Still, we notice. We notice the weekends cut short to finish a project, the emails written and rewritten to get the meaning just right, the attention to detail whether crafting a schedule or balancing a budget. With a deep sense of responsibility, she demands much of herself, not out of some compulsion for perfection but out of respect, even out of love, for this place and its people. She gives her best because she wants us to be our best. And she has the deep, experiential knowledge that allows us to do just that.

Time and again, we experience an event—Family Week- end, perhaps, or Prize Assembly—and we wonder how an event of such complexity can go so smoothly. We soon recognize the reason: Cathy. Indeed, there’s hardly a question that Cathy herself cannot answer, and at the moment when we think that we might have her stumped, she knows just whom to turn to—a colleague, no doubt, with whom she has nurtured a longstanding, trusting relationship. That knowledge and that network—they silently, invisibly propel the Upper School forward, returning us to that reassuring rhythm. Yes, we will miss all that Cathy knows— some of which, to be fair, Cathy, always discreet, will never, ever reveal. She is a vault.

Yet it is not what is in Cathy’s head that we value most but what is in her heart. With limitless patience, Cathy listens to every visitor and each caller, each believing that their crisis, real or imagined, is the one that demands her utmost attention. She brings them calm; she takes on their burden. Then, when emotion overflows—sorrow or fear, or the anger that such sadness and anxiety beget— Cathy offers compassion, a gentle kindness, a quiet space, to colleagues and strangers alike. More than we know, she holds us all, honoring our experience, sustaining us in times of uncertainty. She finds goodness in us, too, and she maintains, even in the hardest times, faith in the future. Cathy does this work, like all her work, with the greatest humility and with the greatest strength. Cathy’s resolve is unshakeable.

Now, as we celebrate Cathy and her much deserved and long overdue next adventure, we hold fast to all that Cathy has taught us. Cathy will soon depart Warren Hall; her gifts and goodness will long endure. And so once more we sing our beloved refrain for our beloved friend: Thank you, Cathy. —DAVID BALL

The Power of Imagination

At the heart of Milton’s mission is its commitment to nurturing every student’s curiosity about the world and the endless possibilities for growth and change. In this issue, we feature some of the thinkers, artists, and scientists among us who’ve never stopped imagining, bringing new ideas and perspectives into a complex world.