Dave Harley - Retiree Tributes - McDonogh School

Dave Harley

Up next is Dave Harley, who is sitting to my right in the same desk chair that he has sat upon every day since he arrived on campus in 1966 to teach math in the Middle School. After 47 years or 1/3 of the school’s history, Dave and “his chair” are retiring. During his time here, Mr. Harley has graced McDonogh with his keen and inquisitive intellect; his forays into coaching; his creation of foreign exchanges; and his love of ceremony and the absurd.

Mr. Harley is a scholar who seeks to broaden his own mind and those of his students and colleagues.  He studied medieval history, and he brought the love of philosophy, art, and Sir Gawain the Green Knight into his classroom. His students will always remember his essays about “Odie the Pig Boy” that introduced his final exams.

Outside of the classroom, he won the very first Cardboard Boat Race B.O.B Award (Best Overall Boat) 25 years ago; he established freshman “Bollard Day” when students decorate the posts along Shell Drive in historically silly costumes;

and he figures out the historically-accurate themes of the History Department’s “Faculty Poor Friday breakfasts”--convinced that the Historians throw a better breakfast than any other department.  

In high school, Mr. Harley went to Germany as an exchange student, and that grand adventure inspired a life-long love of travel and cultural exchange which inspired his creation of McDonogh’s exchange programs with Ukraine and Japan. The program with Seijo Gakuen Senior High School in Tokyo, where Mr. Harley is apparently considered a “rock star,” is now in its 26th year.

He is the consummate ambassador for McDonogh. With his hat, walking stick, and always-fabulous beard, Mr. Harley revels in the pomp and circumstance of all-things school related. Over the years, he has coached a variety of Middle and Upper School teams and has been a fixture at games and meets. Of course,  I would be remiss if I did not highlight that Mr. Harley is also the creator and grand marshal of our one-of-a-kind, double-self-enveloping spirit parade, which has become an annual tradition before the McDonogh vs. Gilman football game.

Mr. Harley and his wife, Diana, raised their sons, Matt and Chris, on campus. I know they are looking forward to spending more time with the boys and their families.

Mr. Harley, for the generations of students and colleagues whose lives and intellects you have touched, we thank you.  You are one of McDonogh’s giants, and your legacy will live on forever.