Contact: Ms. Tutt Stapp-McKiernan, Communications Associate for Wakefield School
(working from home) 540-987-9061
Wakefield’s Middle and Upper School building now bears the name of one of the school’s most devoted, beloved, and respected community members.
The Plains, VA, September 8, 2022—In an announcement timed to coincide with both the opening of school and the launching of Wakefield School’s year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, Head of School Ashley Harper unveiled on the first day of school a portrait of Lieutenant General John Fairfield, USAF Ret., commemorating the naming of the campus’s Middle and Upper School building in his honor.
The announcement came at the new school year’s first All-School Assembly and was part of a festive surprise celebration for the General, who had been invited as the assembly’s keynote speaker but who had no idea he and his wife Donna were also the event’s honorees. The festivities featured the posting of the colors by a JROTC Color Guard commanded by Wakefield senior Kate Laing, remarks from Mrs. Harper and others, and the presence of many invited guests, including alumni, alumni parents, former faculty, and Trustees past and present, there to honor General and Mrs. Fairfield’s 20-plus years of devoted service to Wakefield School.
Among the alumni guests were several in uniform, former students inspired by Fairfield’s example to choose military careers—though he has equally ardent admirers among students, faculty, and alumni who have chosen aviation, engineering, art, biology, theater, photography, or education as their passion. When Mrs. Harper asked for each student, faculty and staff member, and parent who had “had the privilege of being read to, championed, mentored, or encouraged by General or Mrs. Fairfield” to please stand, the entire gymnasium full of people rose to their feet.
Fairfield served a storied 34-year-long career in the US Air Force, during which he logged over 4,000 flight hours and 180 combat missions during the Vietnam War, as well as holding command positions in the Strategic Air Command and at the Pentagon, at times commanding more than 85,000 personnel worldwide.
In addition to his 18 years as a Trustee and Trustee Emeritus of Wakefield’s Board, and his role with Mrs. Fairfield as grandparents of a Wakefield alumna and “lifer,” General Fairfield has, according to Mrs. Harper, “chaperoned over 15 Senior beach weeks, joined countless Senior kayak trips, co-taught Dr. Daryanani’s leadership class, read weekly to the Junior Kindergarten classes, including virtually during the pandemic, and served literally thousands of hours helping on campus…The servant leadership demonstrated by John and Donna Fairfield goes farther than one can begin to describe.”