This article originally appeared in the summer 2016 Harker Quarterly.
As the 2015-16 school year wound its way to a close, so too did the annual Keller Tours, led by Butch Keller, upper school head, and his wife, Jane Keller, an upper school math teacher.
The couple uses the tours, which occur throughout the year, as opportunities to visit with Harker alumni attending various colleges throughout the United States. The first Keller Tour occurred in spring 2009 when the couple headed to New York to attend a performance by The Harker School 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 began flooding in from other alumni to “come out and see us,” recalled Butch Keller.
Today, the tours serve as an opportunity not only to stay in touch with alumni, but also to visit with them while they are still in college, gaining invaluable feedback on how well Harker prepared them for university life.
In early September, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) junior Andy Perez ’13 traveled to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to play soccer against UCLA junior Michael Amick ’13 in a match between their respective schools’ teams. Before the game, the Harker Alumni Association sponsored a small gathering for Harker graduates and parents, held in UCLA’s Hall of Fame. About 15 Harker supporters attended, cheering on both teams in the game, which UCSB ultimately won.
Later in the year, over spring break, the Keller Tours headed south again, this time to visit the University of California, San Diego and UCSB, which included an oceanfront dinner with various alumni. It was there that Perez shared the exciting news that he had been named a captain of UCSB’s soccer team for next year.
The largest Keller Tours gathering this year was at the University of California, Berkeley, where they met with more than 30 students who shared stories from their first quarter. After spring break the Kellers continued their trek of the UCs by visiting the University of California, Santa Cruz for a campus tour with Nick Nguyen ’15 followed by dinner with him and Lydia Werthen ’13.
The final stop on the Keller Tours was the University of California, Davis. “We had a fantastic dinner with students of every grade,” recalled Jane Keller “from senior Ila Dwivedi ’12 to freshman Jeton Gutierrez-Bujari ’15. Sophomore Huck Vaughan ’14 shared stories of his summer bike trek from Santa Cruz to San Diego while Michael Chen ’13 talked about his rafting adventures. Andre Tran ’13 shared stories of club volleyball, while Dwivedi talked about her post-graduation plans to pursue a master’s at USC.”
“This year it was again evident that Harker alums enjoy reminiscing with one another … in their current college environment. The Keller Tours reconnect them in a special way,” said Butch Keller.