Suzanne Dressler Kellar '55
Alum, Former Faculty Member, and Generous Benefactor
When Suzanne Dressler Kellar ’55 first entertained the idea of attending Winchester Thurston School, she insisted on taking five subjects, not the standard four, and saw to it that science classes were a big part of each day.
Of course, that was in the 1950s and Suzanne had seen her two older sisters, Jane Dressler Page ’48 and Nita Dressler Argyres ’52, enjoy their WT education. But Suzanne was determined to make her time at WT her own. And then, as she would for the next half-century, Suzanne was committed to blazing her own trail and making an impact wherever she went. Fortunately for the WT community, this included many trips back home to Pittsburgh from her adopted Seattle over more than three decades.
Sadly, Suzanne passed away in June 2014. But in a visit to WT a few months prior, she made it clear that she wanted to share her passion for WT – and specifically her devotion to learning in the field of science – by arranging for a generous gift to the Celebrate WT Campaign from her estate. As she wished, WT has established the Suzanne Dressler Kellar ’55 Fund for Mathematics and Science Faculty; this fund will support teacher salaries in these disciplines.
“Suzanne was intelligent, thoughtful, and very interested in WT’s educational initiatives,” shared Gary J. Niels, Head of School. “She enjoyed making trips back to Pittsburgh and always included a visit to WT while in town. She loved the school and was committed to seeing WT and our students succeed.”
In April, Suzanne discussed her enthusiasm for WT’s future. “I came back for my 50thReunion,” she recalled, “and when I saw what was happening here, particularly in the science labs in the new building – with the newest technology and teaching incorporated – I was excited and wanted to pass something on to the school.” Suzanne credited much of her love of learning to her years at Winchester. She would go on to earn two master’s degrees – in education and public health – and work on public health projects. She also fondly recalled returning to WT to teach French and physiology, working in both the “old school” on Fifth Avenue, and the “new school” on Morewood Avenue.
“I tried to do what my teachers had done for me,” Suzanne said, “give my students a sense of purpose in class. I tried to send them out the door knowing something they didn’t know before. Teaching here, I wanted to make sure every student got something out of every day.”
Thanks to Suzanne’s generous gift to the Celebrate WT campaign, WT students will be getting quite a bit out of every day.