This issue of Among Friends commemorates Larry Van Meter’s 17-year tenure as Head of Moorestown Friends School. Under his leadership MFS has flourished in multiple ways. Enrollment has grown to over 700. Hartman Hall and the Greenleaf Mansion have been added to the campus. The academic program now includes Chinese, Coding for Lower School and fifth grade, and expanded offerings in religion and Quakerism, as well as a required leadership class (taught by Larry!). These are outward signs of Larry’s attention to all aspects of the school’s life and his commitment to making MFS a nationally recognized institution where the “Twin Pillars” of academic rigor and Quaker values work together to produce graduates with “Tough Minds and Tender Hearts.”
I have had the privilege of knowing Larry and his family since their arrival in Moorestown in 2001. As a 1968 graduate of MFS, his connection to the school has spanned a lifetime. As an MFS employee for 19 years and a School Committee member for 4 years, I have experienced firsthand Larry’s impact on the community. Both a creative thinker and a deliberate decision maker, Larry has helped the school move forward with an emphasis on concrete actions based on strong philosophical principles. The school lives its mission because Larry inspires students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to embrace a school culture that is progressive, thoughtful, and mission-based. Although we will miss his daily presence in the life of the school, the legacy he leaves provides a strong foundation for our next Head of School, Julia de la Torre.
Larry’s wife Margaret and his sons Matty and Luke, both MFS graduates, have lived on campus and, in Margaret’s case, worked in several roles at the school. They have been an integral part of Larry’s success. The Van Meters exemplify a partnership that is reflected in Larry’s collegial approach to the MFS family as a whole.
In recognition of Larry’s outstanding service to MFS, the School Committee has undertaken a fundraising campaign to support The Van Meter Camden Scholars Endowment. Since Larry has worked tirelessly to endow this critical program, this campaign is especially fitting. I encourage every member of the MFS community to contribute to this important effort. In addition the School Committee has resolved that the Greenleaf Mansion shall be known as Van Meter Hall. The acquisition and ongoing renovation of this historic building would not have happened without Larry’s leadership.
Please enjoy this issue of Among Friends as we celebrate Larry’s outstanding tenure as Head of School and his enduring legacy.
Barbara Rose Caldwell
School Committee Clerk