By Kathleen Truelove
Among Al Berkeley's many accomplishments, the one he is proudest of is putting a live cow on top of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. (He mentions this amazing feat only at his wife's prodding.) Perhaps this bovine obsession came from his early life on his grandparents' farm near Roanoke, VA, where he was born.
The eldest of four children, Al spent most of his childhood in Charlotte, NC, until, like his father and great-grandfather, he went off to Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, at age 13. He received a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he joined the Air Force.
When his service was over, Al joined Alex. Brown & Sons, where he ran the tech group. After 24 years, he took a leave of absence to become president, then vice chairman, of the NASDAQ stock exchange. His seven years there led to an interest in cyber security and to service under three presidents on the President's National Infrastructure Advisory Council.
Al has served as a trustee on a number of boards, including Johns Hopkins University, Episcopal High School, and the Nature Conservancy, and as a member of the Public Affairs Advisory Group for the National Science Foundation. He is currently a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Al is definitely not retired, but he enjoys trout fishing in the Poconos. He continues to pursue his interest in cryptography, where his work led to a patent.
The Berkeleys have three daughters and four grandchildren. One daughter, Helen, is head of the English department at Friends School of Baltimore.
Muriel Van Dusen met her future husband, Al, at a high school graduation party, when he introduced himself as Strother Randolph. Muriel knew Strother and challenged the impersonator, who sheepishly admitted his real identity. The rest is history; she married him as she graduated from Radcliffe College with a degree in social relations. Al was then in the Air Force, and the only job opportunity for Muriel at McGuire Air Force Base was teaching. To her surprise, she loved it and continued teaching at Roland Park Public School when she, Al, and their first daughter, Cary, moved to Baltimore in 1973.
Then, after spending several years in Philadelphia, the family again moved back to Baltimore, where Muriel earned a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in social relations, which combines sociology, social psychology, and social anthropology. She returned to Roland Park Elementary Middle School, this time teaching struggling sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from many different backgrounds. She realized that early reading was essential to children's success in school.
Making some tweaks to a program called Direct Instruction, she was the founding president of the Baltimore Curriculum Project, which runs conversion charter schools. These schools were neighborhood public schools before converting to charter status, and they continue to serve their neighborhoods. One of the first such schools was City Springs in East Baltimore. The reading program worked, but the children's behavior was a problem. Using methods from the International Institute for Restorative Practices, the children were taught ways to deal with their behavioral issues.
Born in Manhattan, Muriel grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Unlike her husband, she is definitely retired, but she continues to serve on the board of the Open Society Institute Baltimore. She enjoys reading and walking and her four grandchildren.