The Dillingham Society

The Dillingham Society 

Founded in 2024 by the Board of Governors, the Louise Bulkley Dillingham Society honors those alumnae, living or deceased, whose Westover legacy extends 50 or more years. 

All eligible members are invited to an induction ceremony to sign the Dillingham Register during reunion weekend. The full Westover community is invited to attend the ceremony. 

The 2024 inaugural induction ceremony and tea will be held on Friday, June 7, 2024, hosted by Head of School Polly Fredlund.


Induction Ceremony

The induction ceremony is the official pronouncement of the Dillingham Society distinction and celebrates the pride of membership. During reunion weekend, members of the 50th reunion class (or their surviving spouse, friend, or partner on their behalf) and as yet uninducted alumnae who are from classes that graduated more than 50 years ago are formally inducted into the Dillingham Society during this special program held on campus. 

At the ceremony, each inductee signs the Dillingham Register and receives a commemorative lapel pin.

Those who have reached this milestone but are unable to attend the ceremony during reunion weekend may arrange to sign the Register if they visit the campus or attend an off-campus Westover event at which the Register is present.


The Louise Bulkley Dillingham Society was created by the Board of Governors in 2024 to celebrate alums whose Westover legacy extends 50 or more years. Named for Louise Bulkley Dillingham, the second Head of School (1932-1964), Miss D. was a fierce advocate for her students and transformed Westover into a formative college preparatory school.

Louise Bulkley Dillingham was a respected graduate and educator from Bryn Mawr College and, during her 32-year tenure as Headmistress, attracted many gifted teachers who taught for decades at the School. She was a visionary for Westover, and it is our pleasure to recognize her by naming the Society in her memory.


Quotes from Louise Bulkley Dillingham

“Earn the right to follow your heart by judging wisely.”

— Miss Dillingham in her Charge to the Class of 1964 at their graduation 


“Your light is burning brightly. Have confidence in it.”

— Louise B. Dillingham at the 1958 Lantern ceremony, whispered to “a struggling student.” 


“No young girl or boy is going to be truly educated, is going to have a healthy mind, if he or she had not had to exercise judgment, to make decisions, to try to form a permanent sense of values.”

— Louise B. Dillingham taken from “Healthy Mental Climates,” Alumnae Wick, April 1952


“Westover believes that to acquire an education is to learn a good way of life.”

— Louise B. Dillingham speaking in 1954 from “Westover School: Statement of Objectives” 


“You yourselves gain freedom from fear when you think of the honest, the pure, the good, the true, the lovely. You know that these things are worth thinking of, worth living for. You act for them and you have not time for fear. Neither the bomb shelter nor the ivory tower is necessary or even helpful. Your freedom from fear is your own inner possession, a part of wisdom.”

— Miss Dillingham in her Charge to the Class of 1963 at their graduation


“It’s as simple as this. If we profess democracy, we should practice it.”

— Miss Dillingham in a 1949 interview with reporter Don Ross from The New York Herald Tribune on her decision to extend admission to Westover to students of color


“Walk with purpose, girls.”

— One of Louise B. Dillingham’s frequent “sayings” to students

Quotes about Miss Dillingham

“… a woman among the best of women … shy, witty, non-conforming, strong.”

— Dr. Rebecca Love Drew ’34 in a letter to Adele Q. Ervin ’42


“She was always there for us. Her door was open, as was her heart.”

“She held the school very steady indeed.”

— Two members of the Class of 1945 in letters to Adele Q. Ervin ’42 recalling Miss Dillingham’s leadership of Westover during World War II


“Miss D. accepted people for who they were while challenging them to be the best that they could be.”

— Lee Lort Garrison, a former secretary of Miss Dillingham, in an interview with Laurie Lisle ’61


“We were always aware that she expected very high standards.”

— Elizabeth Fry, a teacher of Modern History at Westover from 1938 to 1943 taken from an undated manuscript about Miss Dillingham


“… there was Miss Dillingham, a tower of strength and everybody’s friend, ready to carry on with no interruption, ready also to start the changes and growth due to follow.”

— Helen LaMonte, recalling Dillingham following the death of Westover’s founder and first headmistress, Mary R. Hillard in an article in the Summer 1964 Westover Alumnae Magazine


“In no time she had investigated every nook and cranny from bell tower to underground passage … Long before the end of the year she knew us all and every department and we felt she could break the bank of Monte Carlo if she cared to, such confidence and devotion she roused in every one.”

— Helen LaMonte, assistant headmistress, recalling Dillingham’s first year at Westover in an article in the Summer 1964 Westover Alumnae Magazine


“She simply said she wanted to know why, with such a good mind, I did not seem to want to use it! I was floored. No one had ever suggested that I had a mind or that I should use it! Her kindly interest really turned my life around. I owe her not only the discovery of the world of ideas but the fact that I ended up going to Bryn Mawr College, then the hardest to get into …”

— Patricia Castles Acheson ’42, on meeting with Miss Dillingham in the headmistress’s sitting room at the end of the student’s sophomore year in a letter to Archivist Maria Randall Allen ’42


"I feel that Miss Dillingham was the epitome of humility, wisdom, intelligence, and integrity. During my three years at Westover, I felt secure knowing that Miss D was in her sitting room totally aware of all that was transpiring with students and faculty.  I appreciate that as new girls, she required that we memorize I Corinthians 13. We studied it in study hall and on a certain day, she heard each of us recite it from memory.  Miss D. was an inspiration for me.  I shall never forget her, and I will always be grateful for her influence on me during my Westover years."

--Nina Truslow McKee ‘59


“She was definitely the wise guide I unknowingly needed at the time, and I shall always be grateful to her generosity of spirit.”

— Sarita Van Vleck ’51 in a letter written to Maria Randall Allen in 1997


— “She taught us the importance of ethics, of high standards, of service to our fellow men and women. How much I valued her unassuming ways, and the message she gave me at the Lantern ceremony. She spoke of the Bright Light I was to carry into the world.” (Marion MacMillan ’50 in a 1997 letter to Archivist Maria Randall Allen ’42)


— “Her intense energy, the rapid, clipped pace of her conversation and that giant intellect, far beyond the grasp of a seventeen-year-old whose biggest concern was whether her socks matched. Miss D. was truly a giant among women and a profound and lasting influence in my life.” (Mary Maier Walker ’54 in a letter)


 “She was a powerful role model for all of us.”

—Anne Rindlaub Dow ’56 in a letter


“Miss Hillard made life romantic and exciting, and nowadays Miss Dillingham’s loyalty and justice make it secure.”

— Elizabeth Choate Spykman, Class of 1914, author of Westover, a history of the school written for its 50th anniversary in 1959


“She was an original, intelligent feminist role model long before any of us consciously looked to feminist role models.”

— Patricia Richardson Jamison ’48 in a letter about Miss Dillingham



Contact us:

To learn how you can sign the Register for questions about the Dillingham Society, or to add a quote to this page, please contact [email protected] or 203-577-4646.