Empowering Teachers: a Tribute to Bill Wharton

Empowering Teachers: a Tribute to Bill Wharton


Make a Gift to the Hughes/Wharton Fund for Teachers

In June of 2021, after twenty-one years as Headmaster and thirty-six at the school, Bill Wharton will conclude his time at Commonwealth. 

Bill was a teacher for twenty yearsfifteen of them at Commonwealthbefore he became Headmaster in 2000. As a young teacher, Bill learned from, among many others, Headmaster and teacher Charlie and Polly Chatfield, English teacher Kate Bluestein, and the first teacher Charles Merrill hired, John Hughes. A lifelong learner and forever a student at heart, Bill established the John Hughes Fund for Professional Development in 2001. The Fund provides summer and sabbatical grants for faculty to refresh existing or create new classes, to attend conferences and workshops, and to pursue their intellectual passions. The Hughes program reflects our trust in giving teachers the freedom to shape their own growth, confident that the enthusiasm generated by the creation of a course, the study of a topic, or even the pursuit of a serious avocation will keep their teaching fresh and engaging.” Bill Wharton

Capturing the strength and caliber of our teachers in a single gesture proves nearly impossible. In establishing the John Hughes Fund for Professional Development, Bill codified the school’s support for its teachers’ independent exploration. The Hughes Fund and all it inspires constitute a major, lasting part of Bill’s legacy.

Since its establishment in 2001, over $500,000 has been granted through the Hughes program. Each year, the Fund has been replenished through annual giving. In honor of Bill’s tenure and commitment to Commonwealth, we are endowing and renaming this the Hughes/Wharton Fund for Teachers. We invite you to join us in recognizing Bill’s extraordinary service and commitment to faculty by making a gift to this endowed fund.

Alumnus Matt Kraning '04 generously pledged to match all gifts to the Hughes/Wharton Fund at a rate of 2:1, up to $500,000. As of June 1, we have raised over $840,000 for the Fund, thus endowing more than 84% of the program. Thank you to everyone who has generously given in honor of Bill and in support of our teachers.

To learn more about opportunities to support Commonwealth and to honor Bill Wharton, please contact Alisha Elliott '01, Director of Advancement.