Gloria

Gloria Acklin taught at WT as a Middle School English Teacher and as the Upper School Speech Teacher from 1970–1991, and was a most beloved faculty member, colleague, and friend to thousands. She was elegant, warm, wise, and extraordinary in every measure, just like her daughters, WT alumnae Gloria Acklin Kreps ’77 and Board Trustee Deb Acklin ’80. WT is fortunate to be able to continue building on her life’s work.


 

“If it had not been for Mrs. Acklin, I would not be the thinker, writer, or speaker that I am today. Mrs. Acklin challenged me to use my voice…She showed me how very fun it was to think and plan and organize my thoughts. How interesting everything suddenly became. Every day, I use the planning, process, and voice that I learned in Mrs. Acklin’s classes. When I read to my children, I hear the inflection and expression that she taught. When they read to us, I hear that, too. It is the best legacy of those years with Mrs. Acklin.”

—Annie Hanna Engel ’89

 

“Gloria Acklin is a force of nature. Forty plus years later, she still figures prominently in my mind with every use and misuse of a semicolon. There were two grades for each essay – one for content, and one for grammar. No amount of style could save you from the automatic C or D that would result from one misused bit of punctuation. Grammar was important. As was teaching us confidence. I remember her telling us a story about some poor fellow beginning his request for a date with her by saying he didn’t deserve her. ‘You’re right,’ she answered. That was not the future Mr. Acklin. You would never dare to daydream in her classes. The standards were high, but then so was her dedication. And I said ‘is’ a force of nature, rather than ‘was,’ because her influence and spirit will remain with us.”

—Abby Morrison ’82

 

“Teachers, like my seventh grade English teacher Gloria Acklin, lay the foundation upon which students built goals. She cared about each of her students and taught us to have faith in our abilities and strengths.  Mrs. Acklin changed the world one student at a time.”

—Constance ‘Connie’ Murray ’78

 

“Mrs. Acklin will always be known as a WT ‘Favorite.’ She was my homeroom teacher, debate teacher, and travel chaperone. She encouraged her students to expand their horizons, always be prepared, and think beyond the here and now. She understood ‘empathy’ and ‘compassion’ and encouraged us to project ourselves not only with confidence and intelligence, but to project empathy and compassion upon those with whom we interact. Above all, she modeled for us that no matter what role we play in life, always be your best. I forever remember her, Mr. Acklin, and Ms. Carpenter as our willing chaperones as we embarked on a walking tour around the city of Athens. A wonderful experience with truly wonderful people that I have carried and will carry with me all of my life.”

—Julie Tarasevich Dever ’85

 

“ ‘He had the eye of a vulture…a pale blue eye with a film over it,’ Mrs. Gloria Acklin read dramatically from Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell Tale Heart to a rapt eighth grade class in a shade-drawn classroom on Halloween. She certainly knew how to grab our attention, and she taught us effectively to begin each of our essays and speeches with attention grabbers. To this day when I speak in public, I heed Mrs. Acklin’s invaluable advice of thoroughly knowing my material and having with me only one notecard with the main topics on it so that without distraction I can directly and intimately engage my audience.

Gloria Acklin was one of a kind. She was the most inspiring teacher I encountered in my entire education (and that includes college and medical school)! Whether teaching English, speech, or theater, she infused her classes with drama, humor, and stories about her family. She was a master raconteur and a teacher who was able to bring literature to life. She animated difficult Shakespearean passages and explained the drama of the French Revolution to teenage girls in A Tale of Two Cities. ‘Writing is thinking,’ she always said and encouraged us to write with brevity to make our ideas stronger. I attribute my ability to write coherently and thoughtfully today to the lessons that Mrs. Acklin taught.

Mrs. Acklin also let us know that teachers are real people. She always talked lovingly about her husband, Jim, and her family. She understood how to make each of us girls feel that there was something special about her and that each one of us had a contribution to make. Gloria Acklin was the quintessential teacher, and her legacy will live on in students like me who remember what she taught even after all these years!”

—Kerry Bron ’84, Trustee