Celebrating Peter Bachmann
Virtual Retirement Celebration for Peter Bachmann
Sunday, June 28, 2020
4:00 p.m. PT (Pacific Time)
Featuring remarks from
David J. Codiga, Kristina M. Leslie, Katy Thompson ’05, Rob Lewis, videos, and special surprises!
Watch the full ceremony here:
Scroll down for more!
Celebrating a Life at Prep
In the summer of 1980, newlyweds Peter and Molly Bachmann planned to drive from North Carolina, where they were married, all the way to Flintridge Preparatory School. It was a honeymoon that celebrated their love of travel and literature. They anticipated that during their short stay in California, Molly would channel her English degree and her interests in food, wine, and travel into a career, while Peter, with his MA from the University of Virginia, would spend a couple of years teaching history at Prep.
Instead, Peter made history at Prep, becoming the school’s 10th headmaster and leading Prep’s remarkable growth into a school beloved regionally and recognized nationally.
Peter spent his first 10 years at Prep as a teacher, dean, and assistant head, while Molly thrived at Arrow Tours. They had their son Rob in 1985 and their lives became even more tightly interwoven with the school. Molly joined the non-profit executive search firm Morris & Berger first as a research associate and later as a senior associate and eventually as vice president. Peter took over teaching Great Books, co-created the American Identity course, and oversaw the operations of the high school.
In 1991, after a national search, Prep’s Board of Trustees unanimously nominated Peter to succeed Edor Anderson Jr. as headmaster. Peter had ambitious goals for Prep, including ones less tangible than the buildings he would construct to house the new curriculum he foresaw. He emphasized civility, growth, enthusiasm, and empathy, citing the school’s roots in rigor with humanity.
Over the next three decades, he grew the endowment 30-fold, built new facilities, hired and supported faculty, and steered the school through national and financial upheavals. Peter’s vision enabled generations of students to be both academically and emotionally prepared for life in college and in the greater world. Faculty, students, and parents joined forces, committing to liberal arts, human development, leadership, and lifelong learning.
Peter’s mighty memory for students’ class years, colleges, and majors was on display at every campus event, every reunion, and many alumni weddings. He found time to serve on boards and publish two books. He and Molly grew particularly close to Rob’s Class of 2003, seeing those individuals through the eyes of parents, mentors, advisers, and friends. As he led Prep, Peter also kept teaching, infusing his classes with the characteristic warmth and humor he showed as the newest faculty member in the fall of 1980.
Throughout the past 40 years, Peter and Molly have become beloved friends and mentors, colleagues and leaders, to generations of students, faculty, families, and alumni. Peter has taught scores of faculty children, just as Rob was taught by Peter’s friends and colleagues. Peter’s students from the 1980s now send their own children to Prep.
The Bachmanns embraced Prep as a place of warmth and as a place to grow. In turn, they nurtured those qualities in the school and its community. For Rob, it’s been the extended multi-generational family he’s always known, even from New York, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Noa. For Molly, and especially Peter, Prep has also been the ultimate challenge and the deepest reward. Peter will be missed, but his influence as a scholar, his commitment as a visionary leader, and his enthusiasm for all things Prep have made a unique, indelible mark on our school.
Peter Bachmann and Prep Timeline
Peter Bachmann born in Evanston, IL
Graduates from Thacher School
Graduates from UC Berkeley with AB in History
Receives MA in History from the University of Virginia ; Marries Molly Griffin
Joins faculty at Flintridge Prep as History teacher
Wins Distinguished Teaching Award from Presidential Scholar Program
Yearbook dedicated to Peter Bachmann
Rob Bachmann born
Begins teaching Great Books
- Named Dean of Students
- Promoted to Assistant Headmaster
Wins 1987 Class Award
Peer Counseling Program launched
Selected by unanimous decision as 10th headmaster of Flintridge Prep
Endowment stands at $1 million
Vision Statement adopted
Honor Code adopted
Randall Performing Arts Center opens
Elected president of Board of California Association of Independent Schools
Chandramohan Library opens; Prep celebrates 75th anniversary
Prep wins award for Human Development program from Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education
Publishes first book, Standing on Shoulders
Campus renovation program begins
Mission Statement revised
Publishes second book, Advancing Confidently
Campus renovation program completed
Prep faculty salaries rank highest in southern California
Professional and Campus Milestones
- Announces retirement.
- Atrium project completed.
- Bachmann Collaboration Building groundbreaking
Endowment reaches $31,700,000, a 30-fold increase over 1991
- $2,635,000 was awarded in financial aid in 2018-2019
- Gifts to Enrich, Inspire, Ignite Campaign exceed $38 million
- Retires after 40 years at Flintridge Prep
- Bachmann Collaboration Building opens