This article was originally published in the summer 2013 Harker Quarterly.
Among the major highlights of the year for Butch Keller, upper school head, is visiting with Harker alumni at college campuses throughout the United States.
The trip, now affectionately called the Keller Tour, began in spring 2009 when he and his wife, Jane, an upper school math teacher, headed to New York to attend a performance by the Harker Orchestra at Lincoln Center. Several alumni living in the area heard the Kellers were in town and asked them to stop by. Soon after, requests were flooding in from other alumni to “come out and see us,” recalled Butch Keller.
Today, there are additional shorter visits in addition to the big East Coast trip. Keller uses the tour as an opportunity to not only stay in touch with alumni, but to visit with them while they are still in college, gaining invaluable feedback on how well Harker prepared them for university life.
This fall, the Kellers paid visits to alumni attending the University of California, Berkeley, Chapman University and Pepperdine University; in the winter they traveled to the Claremont Colleges; and the traditional spring break tour took them to Duke University, University of North Carolina, Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University.
“This was one of the best trips because I knew all the classes at each school,” said Butch Keller, explaining that when he initially started the tour there were alumni who had graduated prior to his becoming upper school head. “Catching up with students who had a direct relationship with us was incredibly rewarding.”
“I continue to be amazed at how excited everyone is to see each other. We also remain impressed by the appreciation the alums express for the visit,” added Jane Keller.
Trip highlights included bringing alumni from different colleges together for group dinners, updating them on Harker happenings and touring each campus. Next year the Kellers plan to visit the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as at least two other schools, as of yet unconfirmed.
After four years running the Keller Tour, Butch Keller said he is thrilled to be able to report that “our alumni are happy and having a lot of fun in college.”