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2024 West Alumni Award Recipient: Thomas Theodore Loder ’76

A highlight of GFS Alumni Weekend every year is the presentation of the Susan Quillen West ’49 and David A. West ’49 Alumni Award. This award, established by the Wests’ children in 1999, is given to Germantown Friends School alumni who, over the course of several decades, have demonstrated extraordinary dedication and service to the school. GFS will honor Thomas (Tom) Theodore Loder ’76 with the 2024 West Alumni Award on Saturday, May 18, at 11:15 a.m. during the All-Alumni Gathering in the Meetinghouse, following Meeting for Worship. 

“We lost our dear friends David and Susan West within months of one another this past year, and we will miss them dearly as we gather for this occasion,” says Hannah Caldwell Henderson, Chief Advancement Officer at GFS. “One way we honor their extraordinary legacy is to continue to recognize alumni, like Tom, who are demonstrating care and stewardship of the school they believed in so deeply. This year is especially meaningful because it is the 25th anniversary of the creation of the award, and because David would have celebrated his 75th reunion this year.”  

For Tom, GFS was a nurturing environment full of devoted and creative role models, thoughtful inquiry, and idealistic striving. As a student, he spent equal time immersed in academics and athletics.  

“GFS is where I had my mind opened and inspired by so many teachers, going back to seventh grade,” he says. “I also loved the committed and shared passion of my coaches Dave Felsen, Harry Gratwick, and Allen Clayton.” 

Throughout the decades, Tom has continued to serve the GFS community in myriad ways. 

Since the early 90s, he’s been a class agent for the Class of ’76 and has committed his energies to class reunion organizing and fundraising for the Community Basketball and Enrichment Program. He is currently a member of the GFS Picture This Campaign Committee, a 45-year member of the Blue & White Society, and a longtime supporter of the Community Scholars Program. Tom and his wife Amina (who is also deeply involved at GFS) are the proud parents of two GFS graduates, Aaron Loder ’18 and Danny Loder ’20.  

Professionally, Tom is a trial lawyer at Duane Morris LLP law firm, specializing in the areas of unfair competition, trade secrets, and human resources.

Tom’s community involvement stretches beyond the walls of GFS; he notes that the GFS value of embracing the city has “influenced and played out over and over in my life.” 

His dedication to service includes 22 years on the Duane Morris Diversity and Inclusion Committee; 12 years on Christ Church History Preservation Trust board (six of those serving as chair); and 13 years as a Trust board member, plus five years and counting as chair, at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. Tom is also a board member with the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, and a busy mentor working with Philadelphia youth.

“I am a grateful inheritor of the GFS tradition of commitment, principled presence, and engagement in the community,” he notes.

There is so much happening at GFS Alumni Weekend this year, including tours, class photos, mini-courses, a special tribute exhibition of work by the late Alden Mellor (Denny) Heck '63—and more. See the full schedule and register to join us on campus for this wonderful community gathering.