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In Memoriam: Bruce Dennis, Former Head of Packer

Bruce Dennis, Packer’s Ninth Head of School, passed away on Monday, Monday, August 15, 2022. He was 73 years old.  

Bruce served with unwavering dedication as Head of School at Packer from 2004 until his retirement in 2019. Bruce was nothing less than a force of nature. He will be remembered as much for his vision and formidable legacy of accomplishments at Packer as for his energy, compassion, generous sense of humor, and his warm accessibility to students, colleagues, and the entire Packer community. During his 15-year tenure, Bruce led Packer through two successful strategic plans, expanded our academic and cocurricular programs, doubled the endowment, renovated existing spaces, and expanded campus beyond Joralemon Street for the first time in school history to create the Early Learning Center. 

Bruce was a teacher at heart: he loved his freshman grammar seminar and mentoring seniors on their college essays. Whether applauding at a student production, chatting and laughing with colleagues and parents, cheering on the basketball team, or challenging students to a midday ping pong game, Bruce loved Packer and celebrated it every day, and he always acted with purpose and heart. 


Upon the occasion of Bruce’s departure from Packer, former Board Chair Ronan Harty reflected: “Leadership embodies many things, but I think it’s the ability to connect with people, the ability to speak plainly and truthfully—and that people trust what you’re saying. Those are qualities that [Bruce] displayed from the first time that I saw him.”

Bruce was a legendary mentor, and a number of his colleagues have continued on to become heads of school themselves. His seasoned insight and level-headedness in times of crisis inspired those who worked alongside him. Former Assistant Head of School Noah Reinhardt remarked of Bruce’s leadership: “Even in the most strained times, when the path forward is least clear, Bruce does an extraordinary job of rallying people around a common vision and moving forward with clarity and purpose.” 

We mourn along with everyone in the Packer community who knew and cared for Bruce.

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