Monthly Archive for: ‘December, 2013’

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Charlotte: Lunching and Learning with Prof. Chris Alexander


Lunching and learning was the order of the day at Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte on Tuesday.

The Charlotte Chapter of the Alumni Association hosted alumni, parents and friends of the college to hear a talk, “The Arab Spring After Three Years,” by Chris Alexander, the John and Ruth McGee Director of the Dean Rusk International Studies Program. As Professor of Political Science, his research and teaching focus on the Middle East and North Africa, and he has written extensively about politics in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. He also consults for U.S. government agencies that work in the region.

Clarifying meaningful perspectives in such a sprawling and evolving topic over a workday lunch is a tall order, but Alexander delivered with a potent mix of learned insight, blunt assessment and telling metaphor. A lively Q&A afterward stood testament to his audience’s engagement.

“The Arab Spring was not as revolutionary as we thought it was at the time. It was not organized and structured well enough to be revolutionary, and that’s why it succeeded in toppling only a very small number of rulers. In the aftermath, politics in the region have become more polarized between secularists and Islamists,” Alexander said, noting that while secularists had the passion of the moment, Islamists had the organization and experience of many decades. “This is going to be an evolution, not a revolution, as we look to support economic growth and a political landscape that involves more than one well-organized player.”

Box lunches by Something Classic Catering (Jill Sypult Marcus ’86) included the best pasta salad I’ve ever had, along with my choice of entrée, roast beef sandwich. Also, the chocolate chip cookies were outstanding.

Charlotte chapter president Jamie Kiser ’86 said the college is looking forward to more such opportunities to become a more regular participant in intellectual and cultural life in Charlotte. Count me in.




Update from Dan Keller ’12, Interim Director of Free Clinic of Our Towns


One of the personal perks of writing for Davidson is the opportunity for follow-up friendships with story subjects.

“Still life with bendy shoulder and dog (dearly departed),” photo Bill Giduz, 2010

Take Dan Keller ’12. During the time I was interviewing him a couple of months ago about his pre-med, post-grad, surgical internship in Germany with a Davidson parent—the kind of opportunity, I would suggest, that can only happen at a place like Davidson—it happened that I also needed a ride to the auto shop in Mooresville to pick up my 1967 Mercury Comet Caliente convertible, late of alumni cross-country road trip fame and currently undergoing a bit of midlife structural renovation, not unlike my own pending rotator cuff surgery, ouch.

Anyway, Dan was happy to conduct part of our interview rolling up I-77, and I was happy to take him to lunch the following week in appreciation for the lift. And voilà, a transgenerational alumni friendship. So, I was also happy to learn he’ll be with us for awhile yet before medical school, as interim director of the Free Clinic of Our Towns at Davidson’s Ada Jenkins Center. Listen:

A little background, the Free Clinic of Our Towns (FCOOT) at Ada Jenkins has been operating since 2003, serving uninsured patients in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and Troutman. The clinic is open one night a week, first come, first served. We have all types of volunteer providers—medical doctors (internal medicine, family practice, ER docs, psychiatrists), nurse practicioners, physician assistants, physical therapists, chiropractors and nurses.

Through our network connections and the generosity of local agencies/individuals, we are able to provide quality healthcare for free (or discounted rates, e.g., MRIs). Kay Newsom (who is an angel) has been the Medical Clinic Manager for the past seven years, and has announced her retirement, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Kay and I have worked together in a variety of capacities over the last couple years—I’ve been volunteering at the clinic since 2010, and we worked together frequently while I was at the N.C. Association of Free Clinics (NCAFC). Given my clinic background and familiarity with FCOOT in particular, she decided I should take her place.

My role is strictly interim—maybe 7 months?… with medical school hopefully starting next fall—but an interim role actually works quite nicely with the transition stage the clinic is in: it allows us to determine whether the future, long-term clinic manager needs to have a nursing background (like Kay), or just needs to be familiar with the free clinic world (like me). My specific responsibilities range from volunteer coordination (students and providers) to grant securement… but I’m likely to focus most of my efforts on quality improvement, since that’s what I trained in with NCAFC. The free clinic world is becoming increasingly outcome-driven, so tracking and reporting health data (blood pressures, blood sugar, etc) is necessary for staying relevant (and funded)….

Read “Dan Keller ’12 Says Yes to Medical School After German Surgical Internship.”