AlumnaeMay 21, 2021

updated May 27, 2021

A former trustee looks back

Former Trustee Judy Hill Kittredge ’49 recently sat down with Board of Trustees President Nancy Gustafson Ault ’73

On April 18 of this year, Former Trustee Judy Hill Kittredge ’49 sat down with Board of Trustees President Nancy Gustafson Ault ’73, to talk about Judy’s experience as a student at Miss Hall’s and her role as a Trustee. They were joined by Judy's daughter, Judy Kittredge Anderson ’88, who helped facilitate the Zoom logistics.

The conversation ranged from serving as a Trustee during challenging times, to the welcoming MHS community, to Judy’s longevity as a volunteer. Judy is one of the few to have known every Head of School except Mira Hall, herself.

Tell me about your journey to Miss Hall’s.

In 1945, I entered Miss Hall’s as a day student from the Pittsfield Public Schools. My academic preparation wasn’t that great, so to read the Odyssey in Latin as a freshman was a challenge.  I ended up really liking Latin and won a prize my sophomore year.  My father nearly fell off the chair!

Coming to Miss Hall’s was a big change for me — but a good one.  I met girls from all over the place, many of them more sophisticated than I was.  And they remained lifelong friends.

What are your favorite memories of your time as a MHS student?

Late in my junior year, my parents moved to Providence, Rhode Island and I became a boarding student.  I loved getting to know the girls in all four classes so well.  I liked sports, especially field hockey, tennis and skiing.  I didn’t run very fast on the field, so they made me the goalie.  I was proud to be a member of the Cum Laude society and the Student Council.  I loved Miss Margaret Hall, even though she was strict.

Clearly you are a fan of single sex education, having also enrolled your daughter at MHS.  Why is single sex education important from your point of view?

I think it’s important in high school for girls to be themselves, and hold leadership positions without competing with boys.  I went on to Smith College and our children all attended single sex high schools, including Caroline ‘77 and Judy ‘88.

Did you enjoy your time on the Miss Hall’s Board of Trustees (1983–1991)? You were on the Board when the School went from the Hall School to become Miss Hall’s once again.  What was that like?

It was a busy time!  I spent a lot of time at the school working with many people who, like me, were very devoted to Miss Hall’s:  Don Oakes, Dan Lee, Jim Ervin, Ben Groves and Carter White.  I think all of us were very happy when we became Miss Hall’s School again.  And then we got Bob Bussey, who the Board decided to hire even though he was in his early thirties.  And it worked out very well.

Two accomplishments I remember: Ben Groves asked me to help facilitate the sale of the Weston home to Miss Hall’s and that worked out well.  A more complicated challenge was negotiating the change in Heads of School from Dan Lee to Trudy Hall.

Former Trustee Judy Hill Kittredge ’49 (left) talking with Board of Trustees President Nancy Gustafson Ault ’73

Even though we aren’t in the same reunion cycle, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with you at every single reunion I’ve ever attended, and have witnessed you leading the snake dance many a time!  What does it feel like to be one of the most recognizable MHS alums of all time?

I have lived to almost 90, and I have been close to the school since the 1950’s.  When I was working at Harvard, I didn’t have a car and took the bus to Pittsfield to come to Alumnae Council meetings.  When John and I were married, I came back to Dalton and became much more involved with the school.  My employment and major volunteer efforts have all been in the education world. I have come to every reunion.  In 2019, four of us were together to celebrate our 70th reunion.

Miss Hall’s is obviously imprinted on your heart and vice versa.  And you are part of a larger legacy at Miss Hall’s.  John was a member of the Crane Family — Win, Jr. was the first Board Chair and helped Mira rebuild after the fire.  Then Win, III took over and was Board Chair until 1950.  Did that legacy impart a certain responsibility for you?

Many members of the Crane and Kittredge families have been students at Miss Hall’s, starting with Ethel Eaton in 1902 through Lily in 2011.  John’s first wife, Martha Jane Furey Kittredge was President of the School and her father Rankin Furey was President of the Board.  John felt very close to the school.  It’s quite a legacy.

Starting with your time as a student through to your continuous volunteer involvement to the present day, you have almost seen it all!  What are your thoughts on how MHS has evolved over time?  What are the biggest changes you see?  What has stayed the same?

I entered the school 76 years ago, I have known and worked with many Heads of School, and I have known every Head except for Mira Hall.  In the 1940’s, it was a traditional school with mostly upper middle class girls.  The changes have been very good — it’s great to see the diversity there today.  I have been very impressed with Julia Heaton.  Some traditions, like reunion, have lasted the test of time.  And I have always felt the school is a welcoming community. There was a time during the 70’s when we worried that the school would close and the finances were not strong.  And it’s really good to see the school doing better.