Anne Nelson Apgar '60 - Laying the Foundation for a Full and Fascinating Life

When talking with Anne Apgar, one wonders, “How does she do it all?” Anne has an impressive academic pedigree, is accomplished in multiple areas, has supported myriad philanthropic causes, traveled the world, renovated seven historic homes, and, while doing all of that, raised three children. At this point in her life, she is understandably most excited about her precious granddaughters: Emory and Arlyn.
With a tight schedule of preparing for a week of nanny duty (along with her husband, Sandy), she managed to make time to share the impact Calvert has made on her. “If you weren’t asking on behalf of Calvert, I would defer to next year!”

Anne attended Calvert from Sixth Age through Twelfth Age, now Sixth Grade, and her three younger siblings were Calvert graduates as well. Anne highlights three key aspects of what made Calvert the perfect school for her. The first is that she learned the geography of the United States and the world in detail. “There is nothing like it elsewhere. So many people just don’t know the names of the countries and states or where they are, let alone the names of their capitals. This knowledge has just been fundamental—especially with all of the traveling we continue to do.” The Apgars have been fortunate to travel extensively, including many trips to the Middle East. “We travel because of our interest in the world, different cultures, and new ideas.”

The second item she counts as a gift is her clear handwriting. She proudly holds up a sample and says with a smile, “I think you can probably tell that I went to Calvert.” There is no doubt.

The third, and most significant, is “Pride in work well done.” She recalls the monthly folder papers that her teachers reviewed and the fact that students made corrections until they got their work right. She remembers the feeling of receiving a bound copy at each year’s end. “Overall, the rigorous, structured curriculum was the most important aspect of my education. It helped shape the organized, detail-oriented person I am.”

“I distinctly recall shaking hands with Head Master Brown” (Edward W. Brown Sr.) every morning.” She also has vivid memories of the special lockers, the assemblies, and the class banners. She is happy to note that the favorite aspects of her Lower School are still in evidence today.
Anne went on to accrue an impressive array of academic and other achievements. She attended Wellesley College, where she majored in urban economics. It was during a summer internship at The Rouse Company following her freshman year that she met her husband of forty-seven years, Mahlon “Sandy” Apgar. The couple was married just before her graduation and spent a summer in New York City. Anne then went abroad to study at the London School of Economics, where she earned an MSc in economics, with a major in urban economics. Sandy transferred to London during her first semester, and they spent nine years living in England.

“I describe my professional life as a serial career; I moved opportunistically. My first job was with an English town planning firm, working on housing and transport policy. When we moved back here, Sandy started his own firm. Rather than hire several different people to do all the administrative and financial work he needed, I did it part-time while raising our family.” All the while, Anne found time to volunteer for a number of organizations, including her other alma mater, Roland Park Country School (RPCS), where she co-chaired their Centennial Capital Campaign.

When their older children were in college and their youngest son was in high school, Anne transitioned to become the Director of Capital Giving at RPCS. “I am someone who enjoys building relationships. I’ve always seen fundraising as offering people another way of making a connection with an institution. When you build a stronger tie with a volunteer or a donor, then you’re successful.”

Calvert is the fortunate beneficiary of one of the many Apgar Awards: Calvert’s Apgar Award for Excellence in Teaching. Anne explains, “Sandy and I established the Awards Program in 1982 to focus on the value of outstanding teaching and clear communications. Over the years, we have endowed awards at schools and other institutions where members of our family have attended or been active. Calvert’s Award, the only K-8 school in the Awards Program, honors one teacher each year.

When asked which teacher during her time at Calvert would have received the Apgar Award, she says without hesitation, “Miss Mounty,” who was the mother of classmate Anne Mountcastle Bainbridge. “Mrs. Mountcastle was enthusiastic and encouraging and made learning fun.” The two Annes remain best friends to this day.

The Apgars also are deeply committed to the urban experience. They moved from an 18th-century Georgian townhouse in London to a 19th-century Victorian townhouse in Georgetown (Washington, DC) before settling into a family home in Ruxton. While they lived the suburban life for twenty-three years, Anne says, “We always knew we would be urban again.” In total, the Apgars have spent twenty-five years living in urban environments. After a complete renovation, they moved to their 19th-century row house in Federal Hill in 2010. “It’s a new life. We love it.”

While Sandy has always been involved in each of their seven historic renovation projects, Anne has always taken the lead. “I would have been an engineer or an architect if I had not grown up at the time I did. Heading up these projects has been fun and a wonderful experience. We’ve always directed the architects’ designs and I’ve done most of the detailed drawings.”

Anne’s capabilities are her own, but we at Calvert are delighted that the School provided her with foundational skills that have served her well during her many diverse and exciting life experiences.
Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.