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Alumni Council Announces 2024 Award Recipients

Mercersburg Academy’s Alumni Council has announced the recipients of the 2024 awards, which are presented annually to members of the Mercersburg alumni community for their service, leadership, and distinction. This year’s honorees are Jonathan Trichter '89 and Diane Wynter ’74 (Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Achievement), Faculty Emeritus Thomas Rahauser '74, P ’05, ’07, ’12 (Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Service), Rebecca Lowe ’99 (Alumni Council Prize for Achievement), Jennifer Flanagan Bradley '99 (Alumni Council Prize for Service), and Lt. Kathleen Mills Barrios ’14 (Young Alumni Leadership Award).

The Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Achievement was established in 1997 to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professional or personal lives and, in doing so, have brought honor to Mercersburg.

Jonathan Trichter ’89 spent his early career in communications and politics. Along the way, he authored reports, articles, and op-eds; offered commentary for news networks; served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University; and founded a research institute at Pace University.

He was recruited to be an investment banker in public finance  by J.P. Morgan, and then became a principal founder of a restructuring firm that worked on major corporate turnarounds and public pension workouts throughout the U.S. In 2014, he worked for venture capital fund Lerer Hippeau Ventures, where he also managed a digital startup, serving as its president and top business executive during its successful portfolio, Series A, led by Discovery Communications.

In 2018, Trichter was the consensus candidate among Republicans in New York to be their nominee for state comptroller. He was the first Democrat to receive the GOP nomination to run statewide in New York since 1970. He was also the only candidate running as a Republican to win the endorsement of both The Daily News and The New York Post. His race was also the only statewide election in which The New York Times remained neutral as opposed to endorsing the Democratic candidate.

After his personal life was touched by autism, Trichter acquired a failing business that provides therapeutic services for children on the spectrum. He closed the purchase in September 2019, recruited talented therapists to the enterprise, and increased revenues such that it became profitable by December. Today, he employs 150 providers, administers a suite of best-in-class therapies for children with autism, and founded four special needs schools in New York, Connecticut, and Washington state. He also provides transportation services for special needs children.

In 2022, Trichter launched the Autism Transit Project, which allowed for hundreds of children on the spectrum, living in major cities across the U.S., to record their own take on subway service announcements that were broadcast throughout their local transit systems during Autism Acceptance Month. This initiative was widely covered and praised by dozens of major and regional media outlets, including Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, and NPR.

Also, in late 2020 during the pandemic, Trichter put together an investor group of high-profile New Yorkers and purchased the iconic New York City barbershop and salon, Astor Place Hairstylists, to save it from closing.

Trichter is a graduate of Emory University. He lives in New York City, NY, with his wife, Joey Bartolomeo.

Diane Wynter '74 was born in Jamaica and grew up in Manhattan, NY. She came to Mercersburg through the “A Better Chance” program. As a student, she served as a dorm prefect, sang with the Chorale, competed on the field hockey team, and is a member of the Marshall Society. She was the first Black female to graduate from Mercersburg Academy.

She worked in information technology as a software engineer for Verizon for 28 years and, most recently, served as an information technology contracts manager at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). 

Wynter received her bachelor of communications from Iona University, and her master of mass communications/media studies from The New School of Social Research. 

She is appreciated for her work on behalf of Mercersburg. She has served in a variety of roles, including as an advocate, a member of the event host committee, as an academic volunteer, and a member of the Black Alumni Association and Alumni Council.

The Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Service was established in 1975 to recognize alumni who have made outstanding contributions toward Mercersburg’s mission and continued excellence at the school, as reflected in its faculty, student body, facilities, and financial strength.

Faculty Emeritus Thomas Rahauser '74, P ’05, ’07, ’12 worked at Mercersburg for 43 years. After retiring from the position of dean of students in 2017, he continued to teach Spanish and was the assistant soccer coach until his retirement in 2021. 

He joined the Mercersburg faculty in 1978 as a Spanish teacher and soccer coach and served as head soccer coach from 1984-1996. He received the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies in 2020 and gave the Baccalaureate address to the Class of 2021. His wife, Susan, served as director of counseling services for many years. Upon their retirement, a grateful alum, who was inspired by the immense collective impact of the Rahauser family in the life of the school, dedicated the Rahauser Counseling Center to them.

During his senior year at Mercersburg, Rahauser captained the soccer, baseball, and basketball teams and was awarded the Headmaster’s Prize and the Yale University Aurelian Prize for the Class of 1974. 

Rahauser received a bachelor of Spanish degree from Franklin & Marshall College, where he was captain of the soccer team and spent his junior year of college at the Institute International in Madrid. He also earned a master's degree in Spanish from Penn State.

The Rahausers live in Asheville, NY. They have three children, all graduates of Mercersburg, Eric ’05, Tim ’07, and Laura ’12. Other family members who attended Mercersburg included his brothers, David ’67 and Charles ’70, his nephew, Chas ‘06, as well as his great uncle, the Honorable William Rahauser ’22.

The Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Achievement was established in 1997 to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professional or personal lives and, in doing so, have brought honor to Mercersburg. 

Rebecca Lowe ’99 is an NBC sports television anchor. She previously worked at the BBC, Setanta Sports UK, and ESPN UK.

Her career began in 2002 working as a production assistant at TalkSPORT Radio in London, before winning BBC Television's “Talent Search” for a football reporter. While there, she contributed to all football programs across the BBC as well as the broadcaster’s 24-hour rolling news channel and their radio networks.

While at the BBC, highlights include working as the England team reporter during the 2005 Women's European Championship and reporting from the 2004 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia. She also performed the role of pitch-side reporter at the FA Women's Cup Final in 2003, 2004, and 2005, which was shown live on BBC One. Lowe also reported from the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

In 2007, she joined Setanta Sports as a football presenter and reporter. She co-hosted Setanta's coverage of the Football Conference as well as reporting on the Premier League and co-presenting “Football Matters,” Setanta's Monday night football discussion and review show.

In 2009, she joined ESPN's UK sports channel to co-host its Premier League football coverage. At ESPN, she became the first woman in the UK to host the FA Cup Final, presenting a seven-hour broadcast pitch-side from the 2012 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool. She was also there for ESPN when the Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane during an FA Cup quarter-final in March 2012. Lowe co-hosted ESPN’s coverage in the United States of both the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.

In 2013, NBC Sports hired Lowe to serve as the lead studio host for its coverage of the Premier League in the United States. In December 2013, she was named Newcomer of the Year by Sports Illustrated during the annual Media Awards.

Lowe is also the daytime host at NBC for all coverage of both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. She has fronted Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020, and Beijing2022. She also co-hosts the Kentucky Derby every year live on NBC from Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY.

Lowe graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in drama from the University of East Anglia in2002. She lives with her husband, Paul Buckle, in El Dorado Hills, CA. She has one child and two stepchildren.

The Alumni Council Prize for Service was established in 2016 to recognize alumni within 25 years after graduation who have made outstanding contributions toward Mercersburg’s mission and continued excellence at the school, as reflected in its faculty, student body, facilities, and financial strength.

Jennifer Flanagan Bradley '99 has worked at Mercersburg Academy for 17 years in a variety of positions, contributing to the school’s admission and fundraising successes. Her knowledge of the school runs deep, not only through her own experiences but also through her family legacy, which includes her brothers, Mike ’01, Matt ’04, Tom ’10, and William ’10; her father, Pete ’70, and uncles Thomas ’68, Tim ’69, Bill ’76, Stephen ’74, David ’81, and Patrick ’84; as well as grandparents, great-grandparents, and a slew of cousins. 

In her current role as leadership gift officer, Bradley is part of the leadership giving team and is responsible for soliciting major gifts in support of the Academy. The role fits her well as her relationships with alumni span generations. During fiscal year 2022-2023, she was instrumental in helping to raise $4.1 million for the Annual Fund.

After graduating from St. Lawrence University with a bachelor’s degree in English writing, Bradley worked for a stint as a paralegal for the law firms Cullen and Dykman LLP and Savin, Bermant, and Gould LLP in New York, NY.

She returned to Mercersburg as assistant director of alumni and parent programs in 2006. Her successive roles at the school have included associate director of admission/international admission coordinator (2008-2012), director of the Mercersburg Annual Fund (2012-2017), director of reunions (2017-2020), and director of alumni and parent relations (2020-2022).

Highlights of her Mercersburg career include raising $35 million for the Annual Fund during Mercersburg’s Daring to Lead $300 million campaign; leading and supporting the volunteer groups of the Alumni Council and the parent White Key Executive Council, as well as managing and training 300+ volunteers; managing a comprehensive reunion program that contributed more than $9 million in new gifts and commitments between fiscal years 2018 and 2019; and traveling domestically and internationally to promote Mercersburg and engage with prospective families.

She and her husband, Tom, live in Mercersburg with their sons, Beau and Trey. 

The Young Alumni Leadership Award was established in 2016 to recognize alumni within 15 years after graduation whose achievements have demonstrated excellence in their profession and service to their community, the public, humanity, or Mercersburg, embodying the values, spirit, and pride of the school.

Lt. Kathleen Mills Barrios ’14 has completed three deployments and traveled around the world while serving with the U.S. Navy.

After being selected as a candidate for the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation program, she chose to attend Mercersburg Academy where she demonstrated leadership skills on the cross-country and lacrosse teams.

She continued to strengthen her leadership skills at the Naval Academy, where she also competed on the women’s lacrosse team and dedicated her spare time to train and mentor her company of midshipmen.

Barrios received a bachelor of quantitative economics from the Naval Academy and was later commissioned as a surface warfare officer aboard the USS Essex (LHD2) out of San Diego, CA, and the USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) out of Norfolk, VA. 

During three deployments, her leadership abilities have been evident. She established “Battle Sisters,” a group founded on empowerment and mentorship, with an emphasis on helping its members become better leaders. She also developed and sustained a bi-weekly newsletter that highlights the work of sailors around the ship, while also empowering junior sailors as photographers and columnists, bolstering camaraderie and esprit de corps.

To acknowledge her extraordinary leadership in the Navy, Barrios was awarded The Admiral Zumwalt Award for Visionary Leadership in January 2023. The award honors those who most clearly exemplify the extraordinary qualities, vision, and incisiveness of the nineteenth Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.

Kathleen lives with her husband, Garrett, in Norfolk, VA.