1960s: The Pioneers: Robert Dalton ’61

Riordan Archives
Robert Dalton in 2017.

Aidan Murtagh '20 and Zachary Phillips '20, The Crusader Staff

Another notable alumnus and life-long Crusader occupied room 204 for more than 36 years. Robert Dalton was an English teacher, who also taught French, German, and World History. He retired in 2018 after his 40th year of teaching.

In recent years, Dalton taught the Honors and Advanced Placement English Courses for sophomores and juniors. Although his classes gained a reputation for being challenging, students loved the energy and insight Dalton brought to class.

John Gill ’20 says, “I remember Mr. Dalton making jokes in class and always adding an extra history lesson into the novels that we read… World Literature Honors was perhaps the best class and I had the most fun in it out of all the classes that I’ve taken.”

In his time at Riordan, Dalton worked as a student during the daytime hours, and after school, he worked a myriad of jobs, including paper routes, restaurant cleaning, and butcher’s assistant.

After his time at Riordan, Dalton attended San Francisco State University.

Dalton recalls, “Although it took a while for me to fully grasp the fact, Riordan provided me with an excellent education, which made it possible for me to succeed at San Francisco State College (I was the first person in my family to attend college). Also, it was at Riordan that I first felt the desire to become a teacher, perhaps because I encountered so many excellent educators while a student there.”

A while after graduating from college, Dalton ended up back at Riordan as a teacher, starting in 1978. He taught a variety of different subjects, ranging from World History to English to even French and German. Then, in more recent years, he began to teach alongside his daughter, Mary Dalton.

He states, “Another unforgettable moment for me during my many years at Riordan occurred around the year 2011. At that time, my daughter began working at ARHS, first as a substitute, then as a part-time instructor in the English Department, and finally as a full-time, tenured member of the faculty. When I began teaching at Riordan, she was so young I would carry her around on my shoulders! Now she occupies the classroom where I taught for over 36 years and is the chair of the English Department. Amazing!”

Although Dalton may not be teaching anymore, his legacy lives on through his daughter. Dalton is another example of a great Crusader.

As both a student and teacher, he left his mark on the school in a way that will never be forgotten. Truly, he is a beacon of pride, purpose, and performance.