Roy Plaut ’52
Co-founder, Atlanta International School
After graduation, I served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Upon discharge, I began working for a paper company, which in 1957, became part of Kimberly- Clark (K-C).
Of all the roads I have taken, the one that took me to Medellin, Colombia, to start up a business for K-C in 1970 was the most fortunate of all: there, I met Olga, whom I married in 1972.
In 1978, we moved from New York to France to head up K-C’s companies there. Our headquarters were relocated to Roswell, Ga., in 1982. Olga and I moved to Atlanta with our young daughters, Victoria and Veronica.
We spoke English and Spanish at home, but for both girls, French was their first language because they had attended French schools during our years in Paris. We found, to our surprise, that there were no international schools in Atlanta — which at the time was billing itself as “The Next International City” — thus, no opportunities for the children to maintain and grow their language skills. Partly for that reason, in 1983 Olga conceived the idea of starting a bilingual school culminating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma and she enlisted my help. K-C contributed seed money, we hired a headmaster, rented space in a deserted Quonset Hut behind a church, hired six teachers, and began classes with 51 kindergarteners and first-graders on Sept. 3, 1985. I served as chairman for the first nine years — the most interesting, creative, and rewarding job I have held.
After working for K-C in various capacities for most of 41 years, I retired in 1995 as president of its specialty product business.
Last year, Atlanta International School (AIS) celebrated its 25th anniversary. It now has more than 1,000 students, occupies a 10-acre campus in Atlanta, and is known as one of the most innovative international schools in the world. I serve as chairman emeritus and Olga is trustee emerita; we both still work on behalf of the school. Fortunately, there’s time for other civic activities and lots of golf, often with Colgate classmates.
I have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. At age 80, I look back on the “Road Taken,” and I am grateful every single day.
The spirit of alumni sporting their Colgate gear is seen here, there, and everywhere around the globe. Where was your latest spotting? On a Machu Picchu trek? At a mini-reunion in Pocatello? An election polling site in Houston? We’re collecting photos of Colgate sightings around the world. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Armstrong ’81 and her daughter joined up with Ken Sands ’81 and his extended family on a trek to Machu Picchu. During the trip, Sands celebrated his 52nd birthday, on August 20, 2011. Said Armstrong, “It was a fantastic experience made all the more fun by doing it with great friends!”
On August 13, 2011, alumni of the Colgate Commons Club held a mini-reunion at the home of Donna and Julian Padowicz ’54 in Stamford, Conn. Top (L to R): Jerry Berkson ’58, Bill Chamberlain ’51, Norm Newman ’53, Bud Freeman ’55; bottom (L to R): Bruce Smith ’58, Julian Padowicz ’54. The three men in the back row are wearing white shirts with the Commons Club logo.
My picture of Colgate
In 1971, the student campus tour guide, walking backward in front of our group, waxed enthusiastic as he described the five-year-old Dana Arts Center building as “like exploring a cave!” I loved its angled walls and corridors that twisted and turned. Climbing the main stairway, we played hide-and-seek with the soaring atrium, its huge clerestory pouring light over us from high above. We could look down and see others walking eagerly to their rehearsal, gallery, or studio.
As a music major, I was in Dana nearly every day of my college career, and came to love its uniqueness and bold architectural statement. So, I was thrilled when I recently learned that Professor Bob McVaugh had found early presentation sketches by the building’s architect, Paul Rudolph, and he wanted me to create a computer model from the sketches. The model became part of the exhibition, An Architect’s Vision: Paul Rudolph and Colgate’s Creative Arts Center in the Picker Art Gallery, which McVaugh curated this past fall. In the model, I was able to bring to life the spectacular facility that could have been, with its dedicated concert hall, theater with full flyspace, galleries, and art studios.
— architect Bruce Ward ’75
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