The Episcopal School of Dallas announced an anonymous gift to endow and name the outdoor education program in honor of Peter Lutken and Eddie Eason.
Lutken retired in 2014 after teaching at ESD for 26 years, and Eason will enter his 43rd year at the Episcopal school this fall.
“This gift reinforces a school priority to add significantly to the school’s endowment for the purpose of investing further in people and programs,” ESD chief advancement officer Dennis Stokes said. “Knowing the school’s priorities, our donor thoughtfully suggested a gift calling attention to an offering unique to ESD while recognizing dedication to the craft of teaching and mentoring.”
Eason stepped down as director of outdoor education in June and will remain on staff in a reduced capacity to preserve ESD’s culture for onboarding new faculty and staff and to assist with alumni parent engagement for the school’s 50th anniversary in the 2024-2025 school year.
Eason and Lutken have more than 68 years of combined service at ESD.
“Endowing a program and naming it to honor Peter Lutken and Eddie Eason hits the mark on each account of our priorities,” Stokes said.
The program has been an integral part of ESD by emphasizing the importance of outdoor education in each student’s development. It began at the school’s founding in 1974 when Father Swann, two teachers, and 11 students traveled to Galveston to learn about the world around them.
A quarry amplifies the program on the school’s main campus, class wilderness trips and excursions, and ESD’s Wolf Run Outdoor Education Center, a 112-acre ranch near Anna, Texas.
ESD 2006 graduate Davis Felder will assume the director of outdoor education role in the fall of 2023. He has learned from Lutken and Eason.
“I am honored to follow in the footsteps of two great ESD educators,” Felder said. “I have fond memories sitting with Mr. Lutken at the quarry and exploring Wolf Run and pioneers with just a block of cheese and bread for lunch.”
“Working alongside Eddie has been a true joy in my career,” Felder continued. “As a mentor, his institutional knowledge of ESD has been very helpful as we continue the traditions of this school through the outdoor program. I look forward to continuing to offer experiences and challenges to ESD students outside the classroom.”
Outdoor education offers benefits that positively impact students’ well-being and academic achievements.
“Learning skills that allow young men and women to succeed outdoors at a young age provides a foundation to become mature, cooperative, and positive humans who appreciate their peers and environment,” Felder said. “As classroom education becomes entwined with technology and social connection grows more digital, it is more important than ever to offer simple opportunities to disconnect and help students be present and cultivate genuine relationships.”
The Lutken Eason Outdoor Education Program Endowment will allow future students to have access to nature experiences for years to come.