Old Cranleighans and former members of Common Room gathered in Chapel on November 2 to celebrate the life of one of the School’s foremost headmasters, Marc van Hasselt, who died in June at the age of 93.
van Hasselt, who was Headmaster from 1970 to 1984, is credited with raising academic standards, widening the co-curriculum and modernising the boarding environment. In his time he oversaw several major building projects, including the conversion of the farm into the Sixth Form Centre, Loveday house and the new Common Room. He ran Cranleigh wisely and harmoniously, bringing the School to success and popularity during a difficult economic period.
He had previously enjoyed a distinguished military career, taking part in the D-Day landings, receiving a mention in Despatches at the end of WW2, and more recently receiving the Legion D’Honneur from the French government.
Former master Jonathan Leigh paid tribute to a headmaster who was ‘Ahead of his time and did much to make modern boarding meaningful.’ Former senior prefect, Alistair Chesser, eluding to van Hasselt’s lifelong love of sailing, said: “He was more of an Admiral than a Captain, steering the School and its crew and making it feel at ease with itself. He left the School a happier, healthier and richer place and it is fitting that the School is naming its next academic building in his honour.’
The van Hasselt Centre, which will house new classrooms, learning spaces and a library for humanities, will open in September 2018.