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Three Gifts

Bruce Dennis and Cynthia Gardstein

By Cynthia Gardstein ’66 IV Ac, Trustee

I learned a great deal when I was a Packer student many decades ago, but I’d also like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two since. Namely, the importance of three things: innovation, inspiration, and aspiration. Bruce Dennis brought these three gifts to Packer, fostering them throughout our School community.

During his tenure as Head of School, Bruce continuously demonstrated his interest in innovations in teaching and learning — not just to be different, but rather, to keep Packer and its programs vibrant, dynamic, and reflective of our times. He also knew the importance of adapting new ideas so that they complemented the School’s existing strengths. What a gift!

I have observed Bruce serving as an inspiration to all — motivating faculty, parents, students, and trustees. He achieved this in countless ways, often with his (mostly) spot-on sense of humor, and always with honesty, trustworthiness, and vision. His leadership was unwavering, and that has inspired great confidence in those around him, time and time again. What a gift!

Aspirations, ambitions, targets — whatever word you use, Bruce urged faculty, staff, and administrators to aim high, which in turn helped our students achieve more. He aspired to his own excellence and nurtured it in others. Bruce never deemed a goal too idealistic or ambitious to pursue. What a gift!

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Packer. Certainly, there have been many changes since I first walked through those wonderful doors on Joralemon Street. Some aspects of Packer may seem unrecognizable to my fellow alums, but the foundation and values we love have remained firm. I am frequently on campus, and I can say first hand that the School remains committed to striking that careful balance between rigorous academics and personal relationships, a balance that has defined Packer for generations.

When Bruce came to Packer in 2004, he promised to help bring Packer “from good to great.” With these three gifts — and many others, of course — he did just that. Packer has never been stronger than it is today. So, thank you, Bruce. What a gift indeed.