On November 9, The Frederick Gunn School hosted a special program, “Live Like Abigail,” a Gunn Alumnae Trustees Panel Discussion. The live webinar was presented by the Alumni & Development Office and moderated by Wanji Walcott P’19, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and General Counsel of Pinterest. Panelists included:
- Sarah Scheel Cook ’82, who graduated in the second class of four-year girls from Gunn, and is the Director of Technical Service at Summit Hill Foods, the manufacturers of The Better Than Bouillon and Louisiana Hot Sauce brands;
Missy Cuello-Remley ’87, the school’s first female Head Prefect, who is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Programming for the New England Innovation Academy, and a former Deputy Assistant Public Defender for the State of Connecticut;
Krystalynn Schlegel ’96, who has a Long Term Care Certification and Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations from the American College and heads the California-based, family-run boutique insurance firm, MG Schlegel & Associates, with her father, Michael, and is a member and Past President of the Marin County Estate Planning Council and several other nonprofits.
Rebecca Weisberg ’90, who previously worked in private banking for Credit Suisse, and at Seaport Securities Corporation for 17 years, and currently works at Morgan Stanley in private wealth management.
“Frederick and Abigail Gunn’s legacy has inspired generations of students to be curious and thoughtful, to be active members of their communities, to stand up for what they believe in, and to find a sense of wonder and renewal in the outdoors,” Walcott said. “Since the school’s relaunch, we have heard a lot about Mr. Gunn and his lasting legacy. But, tonight, we want to celebrate female leadership – and in a meaningful way, pay tribute to the School’s co-founder Abigail Gunn.”
Born in Washington, Connecticut, in 1820, Abigail Irene Brinsmade was the daughter of General Daniel B. Brinsmade and Mary Gold Brinsmade. She married Frederick Gunn in 1848 and two years later, they moved into a two-story farmhouse facing Green Hill Road (Route 47), on the site of the current Gunn House, and started their school. Revered by early alumni as “the Mother of the Gunnery,” she was described “as potent an influence in the school as its Master,” Mr. Gunn. Following her death in 1908, it was said that Mrs. Gunn “won the love and reverence of their pupils by the never-failing sympathy, the infinite patience, the motherly love she gave them.”
The title for the webinar was inspired by the school’s Live Like Fred community weekends, which are held two or three times each year and encourage current students to spend time outdoors and connect with nature in the spirit of Mr. Gunn. “We decided to name this webinar ‘Live Like Abigail,’ because our female trustees are a living testament to the influence women have historically had on the Gunn community,” Walcott said.
She noted the four Alumni Trustees on the panel have served on the Board anywhere from a few months to 11 years. During the live webinar, the panelists were asked to reflect on their own experiences as Gunn students, and speak about why they joined the Board of Trustees, their hopes for the future of the school, why alumnae engagement matters, and what it means to them to “live like Abigail.”