Titus Award Recognizes Leadership of Former Head of School
Mercersburg Academy announced and presented the inaugural Katherine M. Titus Award for Leadership to its first student recipients during the school’s annual Moving Up ceremony on May 23 in the Irvine Memorial Chapel. The award recognizes the leadership of Titus, who served as Mercersburg’s head of school from 2016 to 2021.
Held each May, Mercersburg’s Moving Up ceremony features the “promotion” of each academic class to its new place in the school and includes speeches by the president of each class. This year, Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25 presented the new Titus Award to Zareena Sorho ’23 and Zarreen Sorho ’23, twin sisters from New York City who will enter their senior years at Mercersburg in the fall.
Titus was in attendance for the presentation, having come to campus for the unveiling of her official school portrait, which will hang in Traylor Hall among those of other former heads.
Established in 2021, the Titus Award recognizes and celebrates the lasting legacy of Titus’ leadership as Mercersburg’s first female head of school and seventh overall. The award provides a nominal cash gift to a student entering the 12th grade who embodies the everyday leadership traits that Titus exemplified: “lofty ideals (contributing fully to the community through imagination, gratitude, and love), great faith (in self, others, and the future), noble integrity (demonstrated strength of character when no one and everyone is looking), and a ceaseless devotion to a mighty task.” The remaining portion from the fund will be used to support need-based financial aid each year.
Emeriti faculty members Debbie Rutherford P ’03, ’06, ’06 and Frank Rutherford ’70, P ’03, ’06, ’06 were inspired to launch the initial support for the award fund. Frank Rutherford is a Mercersburg graduate who returned to the school in 1976 and taught science for 43 years. Debbie Rutherford first came to the school as a Spanish teacher in 1977. She was named assistant head of the school in 1991 and became Mercersburg’s first associate head of school in 1997. She retired after 42 years at the school, having worked closely with Titus her final three years.
“Love is an action, and Katie Titus exemplifies taking action, always with love, kindness, and generosity,” the Rutherfords said. “Last May, when we heard that Katie was leaving Mercersburg, we decided to follow in Katie’s footsteps—to reach for hope, resilience, and optimism—and, for us, that was to establish the Titus Leadership Award and Scholarship Fund in her honor to remind the school of her legacy of embracing the whole school community and encouraging all to work together.”
“This award is a fitting and inspiring acknowledgement of Katie’s five years at Mercersburg Academy,” said Board of Regents President Emeritus David Frantz ’60. “During her tenure, Katie dealt effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to a full range of other issues, always with a clear view of moving the school forward. Her vision, integrity, and commitment to the highest ideals and betterment of Mercersburg helped guide the school through these extraordinary circumstances. It is certainly appropriate that the award named in Katie’s honor go to a student, as Katie focused tirelessly on the student experience as the central mission of Mercersburg.”
Those interested in contributing to the Titus Leadership Award Fund can do so by contacting Interim Chief Advancement Officer Carolyn Yeager P ’20, ’21 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-328-6219.