In Memoriam, 1925-2004Cornelius Holland Bull III, teacher, school headmaster, and founder of the Center for Interim Programs, died peacefully on March 16, 2004 at his home in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
During an active life spent in the U.S. and overseas, Mr. Bull gained a reputation as a dynamic headmaster, and, after he left the arena of formal education, as a passionate proponent of alternative education, the virtues of which he expounded on in many media interviews and in the speeches he was invited to deliver at schools all over the U.S.
After graduating from Lawrenceville School in 1944, he served for two years in the U.S. Navy during WWII and then went on to take his B.A. from Princeton University in 1948, followed by an M.A. in 1960 from the University of Virginia. Between degrees, he returned to Lawrenceville School to serve as a history teacher, housemaster, and wrestling coach.
Convinced that his future lay in school administration rather than teaching, he moved to Istanbul, Turkey in 1960 to become the headmaster of Robert Academy, a post he held for six years. After his departure from Turkey, he went on to direct Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona and then, in the 1970s, the American International School in Vienna, Austria and St. Mary's Hall in San Antonio, Texas. In the early 1980s, Mr. Bull served as the Director of Development for the Salzburg Seminars in Salzburg, Austria and Sterling Institute in Craftsbury Common, Vermont.
In 1980 Mr. Bull founded the Center for Interim Programs, a service designed to assist high school students in making a more effective and meaningful transition to college, and college students who were reassessing their goals. Prior to the advent of the Internet, he put together a comprehensive database of unique programs upon which he drew while counseling his clients about taking interim time and "following their bliss" for a period of one to two years. True to his nature, he rejected the idea of retirement and ran this program for the last twenty-three years of his life. He placed thousands of young people in apprenticeships, volunteer positions, and cultural study programs, while continuing to campaign for alternative education during visits to U.S schools and in many interviews for T.V., radio, magazines, and newspapers.
In her memoir-in-progress, Mimi writes of her husband Cornelius: "His great talent with his students, his faculty, his family, was that he believed in the best we could do and left us to it. He gave us support if we asked. Since we aimed to please, we rarely asked. It is a rare gift to believe in someone and let go. When his students succeeded, he was there with notes of praise and encouragement. Years later, his greying former students showed me dog-eared folded papers tucked in a wallet – a quick note from Neil dashed off to a 14-year old for some little victory, something recognized and praised at a critical moment - and kept."