Scott Butler’s Pace affiliation began in 1968, in Pre-First. A Pace Lifer, he also became a Pace parent in 2005, when his daughters JENNIFER SMITH ’12 and AMY BUTLER ’18 enrolled. When Scott’s youngest daughter, EMILY BUTLER ’21, graduates in May, Scott will take on another role—that of “former” Pace parent. But he plans to stay engaged (and hopes to be a Pace grandparent one day).
Scott’s Pace memories—still fresh in his mind—range from playing Crazy Eights in the Senior Cellar to school science projects gone wrong. He recalls, “Another student and I built a wind tunnel—sort of an aquarium with glass on all sides. The experiment involved balsa wood model airplane wings and a hairdryer for the wind source. Another student’s ‘bright’ idea was to set off a smoke bomb inside it to show the airflow over and under the wings—which filled the whole classroom with smoke," he recalls. "The teacher was there immediately with the fire extinguisher. While we were in shock, thankfully there was no fire, just smoke everywhere. Of course, this would never happen in a classroom today,” he laughs.
Scott’s experiences as a Pace parent have deepened his affection for Pace. “I loved going to the events—the Fall Fair, Phlotilla, Light One Candle, the Auction, Dad’s Day—all the plays and musicals.” he says. “There are so many great Pace traditions. Any time there was a gathering, our family was there. I don’t think I missed one.”
Scott feels the sense of community and belonging the school offers families is an aspect that hasn’t changed over time. “To me, it's always felt like home,” he says. “When I was a student, enrollment was about 600, and now it’s a little over a thousand, but it’s still a place where everybody knows your name.”
Scott believes Pace must evolve and grow both its facilities and resources “like any building that stands the test of time. If you have a decades-old home, it needs to be kept up to date,” he explains. “Plus, the bandwidth of education has changed so much—when I was a student and needed to do research, I used the library’s Dewey Decimal System or Encyclopedia Britannica. Today, it’s all about technology.”
Scott feels drawn to both phases of the Accelerate Pace capital campaign. “In order to keep the Pace education leading edge, its buildings must be leading edge. The boundaries of education should not be limited by outdated facilities.”
He adds, “I'm supporting Accelerate Pace not only because of the strong place it holds in my heart, but because I believe it’s important to do so as an alumnus. Pace provides an innovative, globally focused education, and its facilities need to match.”