Lawrenceville’s Bicentennial Weekend kicked off on Thursday, October 7, 2010, with the official dedication of Carter House, the newest girls’ dormitory and the fifth House to rise on the Crescent. The Crescent Houses are meant to mirror the Circle Houses, five dormitories for Third and Fourth Form boys, which are emblematic of Lawrenceville’s unique House System.
The spirit of the House tradition was invoked from the outset during the dedication ceremony held on the Carter House lawn late Thursday afternoon. “May friendships be forged that last a lifetime …” said School Chaplain Sue Anne Steffey Morrow in her invocation. Head Master Liz Duffy H’43 followed with, “It is my honor and privilege to formally dedicate Carter House and welcome the Carter Family.” Tom Carter ’70, his wife Jeanie, and three of the four Carter children, daughters Katherine ’01, Molly ’05 and Georgia, were present for the dedication.
Ms. Duffy also recognized other donors who contributed to the construction of Carter House in her remarks, including Judith Corrente and Wim Kooyker P’98 ’01, J. Simpson Dean, Jr. ’46, Paul Balser ’60, Jeremy Mario ’88 and Henry Hamman ’55, a member of the Carter family. She offered special thanks to the contractors, architects and engineers who helped to make Carter House a reality.
“The House System has been a significant feature of a Lawrenceville education since the Circle was completed in 1887, and today is another milestone in House history,” Ms. Duffy continued. “It is very appropriate that there be a Carter House on campus…Tom is one of 15 members of the Carter family to attend Lawrenceville. The Carters could almost fill a House themselves,” she said to chuckles from the assembled guests. “We are thrilled to have a permanent legacy of the Carters’ association with the School.”
“I’m usually not at a loss for words in public speaking situations,” began Tom Carter when his turn came, “but this is a grand occasion to stand before this House after growing up hearing my father and grandfather talk about Lawrenceville.” Tom called attention to his father’s former roommate, George A. “Arky” Vaughn III ’45, who was among the guests, along with trustees, School administrators, members of the Campaign Steering Committee, and the Carter House girls and their housemasters.
“We’ve been fortunate to participate in giving to this House,” Tom said humbly, “but we’re not the real givers – we’re the recipients. The real givers are the people who live and work here.” He cited head masters, coaches, legendary faculty, housemasters who served in loco parentis for his daughters, and the current administration. The crowd cheered as he listed the names of some of Lawrenceville’s most beloved masters.
“Wow,” exclaimed Reuwai Mount Hanewald ’90, housemaster of the new Carter House, as she took the podium. “This is exciting. As one of the first girls on campus, I know how special this moment is. We originally had an 11:3 ratio of boys to girls, and with Carter House we’re close to equal. I want to say thank you to the Carter Family.” A similar message of gratitude was expressed by Annelies Paine, House president, on behalf of all the “Carter girls.” “Words cannot express how grateful we are for this beautiful House,” she said.
Reuwai went on to explain the elements in the House flag, acknowledging Vanessa Gieske, wife of assistant housemaster Hardy Gieske, for its design. The flag’s double Cs represent Carter, the Crescent and the Roman numeral 200, and its hummingbird, which migrates between the Carter Family’s native Texas and New Jersey, links them together.
Then Kelly Barnes ’13 handed the flag to Tom Carter to make the dedication official, and the audience burst into spontaneous applause as he placed it in its holder outside the House. Chanel Williams ’12 presented Tom with a copy of the flag to take home.
Head Master Duffy closed the ceremony by inviting the attendees inside the House for tours by the Carter girls. Guests were treated to a décor both warm and welcoming, with sherbet colors of lime green, raspberry and blueberry tamed by traditional wainscoting and creamy yellow walls. No wonder one of the girls commented, “I love the friendly environment. For me, the house is first and foremost a home.”
Originally published on October 8, 2010.