All in the Family: 70th Reunion Alumnus and Grandson in Class of 2021

Richard Marlin ‘51 and grandson Robert Magnus ‘21

When Richard Marlin ‘51 graduated from Poly 70 years ago as an 18-year-old headed for Yale, he probably wasn’t thinking that one day his grandson would come to Poly. But, this June 4, his grandson, Robert Magnus ‘21, will follow in his footsteps and receive his diploma at Poly’s 164th Commencement. This year also marks Richard’s 70th Alumni Reunion.

Richard Marlin ‘51
Richard Marlin ‘51 Polyglot yearbook photo

While Richard, as a member of the Class of 1951, looked forward to Poly’s first virtual Reunion, Robert was finishing his classes and getting ready for Senior Plan and a Graduation Party before Commencement. Richard has attended as many Poly reunions as he could over the years, is a great supporter of Poly, and stays in touch with several of his Class of 1951 classmates including Peter Malkin ‘51. Thinking ahead to Reunion, Richard said, “I continue to be grateful for the experience I had then.” That sentiment is echoed by his grandson, Robert, “Poly has meant a lot to both of us.”

Richard, who started Poly in Grade 9, grew up in Flatbush and took a public bus to school, while Robert lives in Manhattan and travels on the Poly bus. And while Richard ran track and played soccer, baseball, and JV football at Poly, Robert is well known for being part of Concert Choir, singing a cappella at Coffeehouse, and his memorable roles in Upper School plays and musicals such as Urinetown, The Laramie Project, and Grease.  “He has come to see me in every Poly production I have done,” said Robert, “even this year’s virtual productions of Love, Shakespeare and Songs for a New World.”

“Poly offers much more than any student could do,” Richard said, noting this is as true today as when he was a student.

Robert Magnus in Grease
Robert Magnus ‘21 as Teen Angel and Bella Fisher ’21 as Frenchy in 2020’s Upper School Musical, Grease.

Richard remembers English class with Dr. Kastendieck. “Dr. K. was legendary,” he recalls of the teacher, who moonlighted as a newspaper music critic, and gave students his extra tickets for concerts.

1951 Polyglot yearbook

“He told me about a lot of small things that made his Poly experience special to him,” Robert said of his grandfather. “He was on the football team until he had a bad injury; afterward he was a star on the soccer team.”  They shared another Poly experience. “His favorite classroom was Room 108,” Robert said, “because it was right above the band room and you can always hear them playing, which was something I would get to experience during my freshman and junior year history classes.” His grandfather also was Treasurer of the Oasis Society and, as Art Editor, drew the cover for the 1951 Polyglot yearbook. Robert has written for Polygon and was on the Polyglot sophomore and senior years.

Robert Magnus singing Valentines
Robert Magnus ’21 sings in annual Singing Valentines tradition.

One thing that has not changed at Poly, Richard said, is the quality of academics. “Poly was more important as a foundational experience, more than college,” Richard said. Asked if he had given any advice to Robert during his time at Poly, the grandfather said, “Robert is a very diligent student, more so than I was.”

After Yale, Richard went on to graduate from Yale Law School and began a long legal career at firms doing corporate and mergers & acquisitions work, which gradually shifted to estates and trusts, continuing to this day at McLaughlin & Stern.  And his hopes for his grandson? “I would like him to be happy with many friends and find a career that satisfies him.”

“The only advice he gave me was that I would love being here at Poly, and he was right,” Robert said. “Many aspects about Poly might have changed since he graduated 70 years ago, such as Poly becoming a co-ed school, several building expansions, a more relaxed dress code, but we both have and still bond over our experiences through Poly.”

We hope Richard and Robert continue to share many more good memories of their time at Poly.