Spring 2011 - Department | Editor’s Note
One extraordinary day in particular was February 18, when I met someone for the first time. He may be new to me, but he is in no way new to ‘Iolani School. He is The Reverend William Reeves, who was a religion teacher and later a senior administrator at ‘Iolani in the turbulent 1960s. He was hired by The Reverend Burton Allan MacLean, headmaster back then.
Reeves lives in Virginia and was in Honolulu to visit his son and daughter-in-law. Reeves had a large part in and delivered the homily at the funeral service on January 22 for MacLean. He was kind enough to e-mail me remembrances, articles and details which he gathered from MacLean’s family members, colleagues and friends as well as ‘Iolani alumni so that we could compile a much deserved tribute to a beloved and revered ‘Iolani forefather in this issue of the Bulletin.
I am always touched when ‘Iolani plays such a significant part in people’s lives. Like gravity, ‘Iolani grounds us and draws us back to aspects of life that are truly important—from things we can’t see or touch like character, moral conduct, hopes and dreams—to more tangible things such as family, friends, and mentors.
Alumni are not the only ones with roots at ‘Iolani. Teachers and staff remain connected long after destiny calls them away from our school. After all, working at ‘Iolani is not just a job. It’s a calling. People come to ‘Iolani for a reason, then as years and lifetimes pass by, those reasons become more clear.
Like gravity, ‘Iolani grounds us and draws us back to aspects of life that are truly important—from things we can’t see or touch like character, moral conduct, hopes and dreams—to more tangible things such as family, friends, and mentors.
Reeves first met MacLean in 1952 at Yale. It was Reeves’ freshman year of college. It was the second decade of MacLean’s career. MacLean was a chaplain at Yale and on the Yale-China board. He selected Reeves and another student to help restart a program with the New Asia College in Hong Kong.
Then in 1963, nearly ten years after their first meeting, ‘Iolani was headed by MacLean who recruited Reeves to lead the school's religion department. One year later, MacLean promoted Reeves to the dual role of Director of Admissions and College Counselor.
“Many students and faculty were given first and second chances in education because of Burt’s belief in them,” Reeves said.
In 1970, MacLean left ‘Iolani to serve as president of the American School of Paris. That year, Reeves also left to become headmaster of Chatham Hall, an independent girls school in Virginia.
Like other longtime faculty families, the Reeves and MacLeans remained close even though they no longer shared an employer. When you teach side-by-side and reside in faculty housing, your professional life and personal life are one and the same.
Like Reeves, others mentored at ‘Iolani by MacLean went on to become heads of schools elsewhere in the world. Dedicated past ‘Iolani educators Gerrit Keator, Keith MacPherson, Bob Haarlow, Joseph Pynchon, Edward Romary, Joseph Yelas and others have taken what they learned to inspire still more.
Some remained in key leadership roles right here including The Reverend David P. Coon, Charlie Proctor, William Lee '53 and Dan Feldhaus. It was MacLean who promoted the late Eddie Hamada ’46 to athletic director in 1963.
‘Iolani past and present: The Reverend William Reeves and The Reverend Daniel Leatherman in St. Alban’s Chapel.
Students graduate. Alumni may or may not return to the islands. Teachers eventually retire. Yet we are sometimes called back in unforeseen ways.
Two weeks before MacLean died at the age of 94 at his home in Pomfrett, Connecticut, Reeves visited his former boss.
He was later asked by the MacLean children to speak at the service. It was a privilege and honor for him, he says.
Certain bonds transcend time. Strolling down memory lane reminds me of how extraordinary 'Iolani remains.