Princeton Day School has learned that Wes McCaughan h'61, beloved and long-serving teacher and admissions director, died at his home on April 15. Mr. McCaughan began his career at Princeton Country Day School in 1955 teaching English, ancient history, and coaching the baseball team. When Princeton Day School was established in 1965 through the merger of Princeton Country Day and Miss Fine's School, he became the Director of Admissions for eight years before again resuming his teaching career until he retired in 1987. His career spanned 32 years at PCD and PDS, and he had close ties with the School throughout his retirement. In 2001, he was made an honorary member of the PCD class of 1961.
Many of Mr. McCaughan's former students were devoted to him and one student, Kathleen Gorman Colket '69, recently shared her reflections of him. "In 1965, I fell in love with history, because of Mr. McCaughan. In 9th grade, I was in his first class of female students during PDS's inaugural year when classes were segregated by gender. He must have experienced culture shock teaching a group of chatty girls after teaching boys for so long, but he gamely waded into the wilderness and seemed to enjoy it.... Mr. McCaughan had (to me) a wonderful way of teaching to which I had never been exposed. During his class, he asked each student a question in turn on a rolling alphabetical basis--there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide in his classroom. If you were lucky, you got a question you could answer. If not, you had a chance to redeem yourself at the next question; but coming to class unprepared was not an option..... I have loved history ever since. I believe I am the only graduate in the class of 1969 who took a history class every year in high school. Then, I went on to Wellesley, where I majored in history. I will never know what I my college major would have been if not for my class with Mr.McCaughan, but I can say with certainty that Mr. McCaughan was the most influential teacher in my life, not to mention the most fun. Thanks, Mr. McCaughan, from me and from all the other students you have inspired over the years."
Mr. McCaughan is survived by three daughters, Wendy Jolley, Carey Hoover, and Marny McCaughan, as well as seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A celebration of Mr. McCaughan's life will be held on Saturday, May 5, at 3:00 p.m. at the Princeton Cemetery, followed by a reception at Princeton Day School. All are welcome.