MUS instructor in French, ambassador for la culture française, purveyor of French baked goods, superlative host – guests at the Alumni Executive Board’s 15th portrait unveiling October 24 heard about the fascinating life and times of this year’s honoree, Dr. Reginald Dalle.
Bill Taylor, the Ruth McCaughan Morrison Chair of Science and founder, with Dalle’s help, of the MUS in Europe program, described his friend as a “hard-working, charismatic, and proud French immigrant who had earned a Ph.D. in French Literature here in the United States, and … luckily for us, would land on the shores of Memphis University School and become one of the school’s most respected and beloved teachers.”
After reading a quote in French by Marcel Proust, Preston Battle ’07 translated: “’Let us be grateful for the people who give us joy for they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ I honor one of the most important gardeners in my life and in the lives of generations of MUS alumni,” Battle said.
French instructor for 30 years, from 1981-2011, Dr. Dalle also coached junior varsity soccer, advised the French Club, and chaperoned trips to Latin tournaments, Model U.N., and Youth Legislature. He served as the chairman of the Foreign Language Department from 1992-2009 and received the 1999 Distinguished Teaching Award. Along the way, he founded and managed La Baguette Bakery in Memphis.
Perhaps his most enduring school legacy began in the summer of 1999, when he opened his family home in France’s Loire Valley for MUS in Europe. Chateau de la Giraudière served as home base for many trips thereafter, and Dalle was a gracious and unforgettable host.
Guests at the unveiling recreated a Dalle family tradition marking celebrations – often led by Dalle during MUS in Europe trips. As music played, they waved napkins in the air and joyfully paraded around the room.