Mr. Zaeder ’83 “Owes Everything to Andover”

It would be an understatement to say that Instructor in Art Thayer Zaeder ’83 has had a unique relationship with PA. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Zaeder has had the pleasure of enjoying Andover from the perspective of a faculty child, student, teaching fellow and currently, a faculty member. Mr. Zaeder’s vast and extensive history with the school began back in 1977 when his father, Rev. Philip Zaeder, became an English teacher. Throughout Philip’s career at Andover he served as the Protestant Chaplain, and near the end of his tenure, the Dean of Faculty. Mr. Zaeder’s mother, Sylvia Thayer, was also a teacher at Andover, and additionally served as Abbot Cluster Dean. When Mr. Zaeder graduated from Andover, he had taken the full range of art courses the school had to offer. It was at PA that Mr. Zaeder discovered his passion for visual arts, with a specific focus on ceramics. Mr. Zaeder said, “Clay is a fabulously forgiving material on one hand, and incredibly hard and durable on another,” explaining his love for the medium. After graduating from PA, Mr. Zaeder attended Wesleyan University for two years before transferring to what was then the Philadelphia College of the Arts, now The University of Arts at Philadelphia. When asked about this switch, Mr. Zaeder said, “While Wesleyan was a great visual arts school, I wanted to focus more on my passions. I wanted to try a year at a visual arts school.” It was at The University of Arts at Philadelphia that Mr. Zaeder received his B.F.A. He later went on to receive his M.F.A. from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Zaeder returned to PA in the fall of 1987 as a teaching fellow in the visual arts, and acted as dorm counselor in the now extinct Will Hall. He also met his wife Eva Holm-Andersen, a biology teaching fellow, and dorm counselor in Paul Revere. Mr. Zaeder says that serving as a teaching fellow “confirmed what I loved to do,” and a return to Andover was only imminent. After a short leave of absence that enabled Mr. Zaeder to intensely pursue his love of art on his own, he returned to Andover once more as a faculty member. Mr. Zaeder now teaches sections of Art 200, 250, and essentially runs the ceramics department. He serves as a house counselor in Bishop Hall, where he is famous among residents for his grilled cheese sandwiches at munches, and coaches the cycling team. Mr. Zaeder said that his love for PA definitely stems from his history with this school: “I owe my everything to Andover, teaching here is basically my life’s calling.” When asked why he loved teaching, Mr. Zaeder responded, “Well, sometimes I hate it, but most of the time I find it enjoyable to watch the creative process. Specifically with drawing, you see a lot of kids come in with highly negative attitudes and it’s fun to see that attitude change.” The Zaeders certainly rank as a historic “Andover Family,” and Mr. Zaeder is still contributing to that reputation. Mr. Zaeder also has two children; Eliot and Sylvia who are being brought up bilingually, and it is certainly possible that they will continue the family’s long and fruitful relationship with the Academy.