On October 18, 2019, the front lawn of campus was decorated with mother nature's fall landscape as well as the faces and memories of all that Chatham Hall holds dear. On this occasion, we celebrated the Investiture of our Rector and 17th Head of School, Rachel Avery Connell.
Accompanied by a processional of Episcopal clergy, students with flags representing our international community, student leaders, faculty, and the Board of Trustees, Rector Connell took her place as the school's leader into a new decade and era for Chatham Hall. As per tradition, she was invested by the Rev. Canon Roy Hoffman and the Very Rev. Dr. Susan Grimm, who represented the Southern Virginia Diocese of the Episcopal Church.
Our keynote address was from Dr. Jennifer Jenkins, a lifelong friend and colleague of Rector Connell. She is currently the VP and Chief Sustainability Officer of Enviva, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, a renewable alternative to coal. A nationally-and internationally-recognized expert in methods for measuring and monitoring forest carbon cycling, Dr. Jenkins is a co-recipient, with former Vice President Al Gore and other members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
With her inspirational response, Rector Connell reminded her audience to treat life with a beginner's sensibility and noted what she's observed thus far at Chatham Hall. "I see adults that celebrate these girls, that lift them every day whether it is through a class assignment, tending to our grounds, a play rehearsal, a dance practice, cleaning our dorms or coaching a game. I see our alumnae eager to lift students through their generosity to this school. Most of all, I see a school that knows girls and is committed to always being better at what it does."
An all girls boarding and day school in Southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, as well as project based learning. Our athletic teams regularly compete at the State level and our exceptional riding program is nationally recognized. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.