Giving Back Because You Believe In It

Marnie Linen Dawson Carr ’55: The 1995 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni/ae award; the second recipient since the award’s inception

By Susan Kelly, Director of Alumni and Development


Marnie Linen Dawson Carr ’55 described the reasons why she included GCDS in her will: her education was immensely important to her and her Country Day experience established a base from which she successfully continued her studies. That base enabled her to become a strong, confident, capable woman. Her story follows.

Vivid memories of her first day of school in 1944 came to Marnie’s mind as she recalled experiences that cumulatively contributed to her deep love of The Greenwich Country Day School. It was as a four-year-old that she started her journey entering Barbara Tarrant’s class, greeted with a warm smile and nature. These were the early years of co-education at GCDS. John R. Webster had completed his first year as headmaster and was beginning his second. Highly unusual in its day was the academic and athletic rigor that was expected of the girls, equal to that of the boys, resulting in self-confident young women. Parents did not volunteer at school. They were on campus for special events only.

In the third grade, Marnie’s teacher was the creative Thomas Green, who taught his students to memorize Shakepeare’s Macbeth, which Marnie says she can recite a great deal of to this day. While studying ancient history, a male classmate of Marnie’s emerged dressed as a soldier from the Trojan Horse Mr. Green had built. His teaching created lasting images. From the third grade through ninth, compositions were written weekly, and sometimes the most intriguing of topics were to be tackled such as in Mr. Coates’s eighth grade when the assignment was to write an essay taking one side of the question: Is man master of his destiny or is fate the master of the man?

Plays were performed: Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, and Pirates of Penzance. The girls field hockey team in Marnie’s Upper School years was not only undefeated but un-scored upon—the competitive spirit dominated!

A sense of excellence in all aspects of academics, athletics, and extra-curricular activities reigned, and 1955 was the first class to graduate both boys and girls.

Marnie has taken her Country Day platform and applied her vast capabilities in many areas as a volunteer, a board member, and a leader. Post-Vietnam, Marnie was compelled by refugee work. Recognizing that people were fleeing from Haiti, Cuba, Russia, and China and that various religious organizations had tremendous success in protecting people, Marnie joined the charge. Working closely with the Lutheran Church, Anglican Communion, the National Council of Churches, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department, Marnie has been able to make a meaningful impact on the lives of many refugees. She identifies several areas of her life of which she is particularly proud: her two children (one of whom is a current parent at GCDS, Robert “Alec” Dawson); her four grandchildren, two of whom are here (Katherine ’15 and William ’17); her refugee work; her work with the United Nations and the Anglican Communion and creating a thriving business from the Direct Marketing Business she inherited when her first husband passed away.

The Greenwich Country Day School is very grateful to Marnie for making the school a beneficiary of her estate plans.