How do we begin to thank and honor the hundreds of Hawken alumni, faculty and staff who served our nation over the past 105 years? This was the challenge taken on by Brinton Lincoln ’94 and his planning committee of fellow veterans who, after several years of planning, recently accepted a final design for a memorial that will recognize the nearly 430 Hawken veterans who proudly served our country and pay special tribute to 14 who died while in the line of service.
The committee offered a design challenge to Upper School students and faculty in the winter of 2019. From that challenge came a design by Hawken’s Director of Visual Arts Denise Buckley that evolved over ensuing months into a working model to be constructed on the Upper School campus.
The Veterans Memorial will allow students, faculty, alumni, and guests to pay tribute to and reflect on the immense sacrifice made by our veterans. A new stone walkway - the Pathway of Honor- will traverse from the current walkway by the White House to the new memorial located near the flagpole. The memorial will consist of a semi-circle stone wall, several feet high, surrounding a 30-foot flagpole and will be approximately 42 feet in diameter. The stone wall will replicate the fabulous stone walls original to the Circle W Farm and seen throughout Gates Mills. Ornamental metal benches, designed by Ms. Buckley to look like nests and fabricated by blacksmith Ken Roby ’81, flank the interior facing of the wall. Near the entrance to the memorial there is a cluster of 14 sculpted hawks cast in bronze sitting atop poles of differing heights. The sculpted hawks, also designed by Ms. Buckley, are to honor our fallen veterans. Each of our fallen veterans have a commemorative name plate fastened to the interior of the memorial wall.
The memorial design and landscaping was done by Heidi O’Neill of O’Neill Landscape Design.
On the second floor of Stirn Hall, in Shiverick Commons, a fifteenth hawk directs people’s attention to the outside memorial. The names of all known veterans flank the new Pathway of Honor.
Members of the planning committee included Randy Rizor ’70, Martin Schulz ’82, Lindsay Nelson Lehtinen ’97, F. David Coleman ’69, Lauren Pacini ’59, Sarah Dorenkott Pearson ’06, and Peter Scott.
Members of Hawken’s Alpha Company, the student-led club that engages in activities with members of our armed forces, were involved in the planning discussions. The co-leaders for 2020-2021 were Heather Arslanian ’21, Katie Gretter ‘21, Lindsay Milbourn ’21, and Lauren Wiertel ’21; the club’s advisor is faculty member Julie Agar.
A special dedication was held on Thursday, September 23, 2021.