All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Class of 1985’

Alumni Mailbag: History, Health, and Haiti

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UPDATE 2/24/10: Bill Mebane ’51 reports that son William IV ’80, Superintendent, Aquaculture Engineering Divison, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass. has been to Haiti six times with his work in sustainable aquaculture.

UPDATE 2/24/10: Hayes Woollen, M.D. ’86 has just returned from Haiti where he was part of a medical team, and  sends this picture of Wildcat spirit at work… and a little play:


A rainy Monday midafternoon on Main Street in Davidson. If I do one more minute of Microsoft Excel tutorial, I’ll scream. Instead, let’s check in with the old alumni mailbag. Today’s randomization conceit: The top item and the bottom item from my hard-copy stack, and every fifth item from the middle toward the chronologically-challenged bottom of the e-mailbag folder, until time for my four o’clock staff meeting.

Monday, Monday: Gray skies, gray asphalt, and only an hour til staff meeting.

ITEM: From a Davidson Update article “Secret Formula Revealed! How to Become a College President,” dated January, 1972, we learn that at least 43  alumni had served as college presidents at that time. Many of them were Greatest Generation graduates helping make the American Century even greater at colleges ranging from Charleston College and Union Seminary in Nanking, China, to Columbia Seminary and University of Houston, to Davidson and Washington & Lee. Did you know that rascal Henry Louis Smith 1881 served the presidency of both the latter institutions, in that order, in a, ahem, lateral move that I must remember to research a bit more. Hmph. In any case, we know we can add three more Davidson alumni to the list since 1972: John W. Kuykendall ’59, Bobby Vagt ’69, and Thomas W. Ross ’72. Got leadership and service? Yes, we do.

ITEM: A Greenville (S.C.) News story about Bill Pierce ’71, chairman of Furman’s Department of Health and Exercise Science. Fit runner Bill is three pounds lighter now than he was in college, says the article, forwarded by kindness of Richard Burts, Jr., Davidson’s dean of students in the 60s and later registrar until 1985 (as in, “The Great Class of…”). Good one, Dr. Burts, thanks! Bill co-authored a book you may have heard of, Run Less, Run Faster, and has been interviewed in the national press about the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST).

ITEM: Lew Zirkle, M.D. ’62 continues his humanitarian work, currently in Haiti, with the Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) he founded. Joe Markee, M.D. ’61 wrote in response to Peter Wagner’s alumni newsletter: “Hi Peter: it brings good memories to look at Davidson, especially from where I am now, in the middle of  PAP.  I am on a disaster response team throuigh Medical Teams International (MTI) out of Portland OR.  We came in 3 days after the earthquake and will be here another 5 weeks ( we have a project in northern Haiti).  I occasionally run into Davidson people down here. Please pray for the people here; they have much courage and are good examples for our lives. regards. Joe Markee”

Many other Davidson alumni from all walks of life have written about their direct experiences resulting from the quake. I can’t pretend to cover them all here, but folks, know that we are proud of the way you and so many others are rising to the most basic, and in this case huge, human challenge of helping our neighbors. Please leave a comment, send a class note, or pick up the phone and let us know how you are doing!

For now, time for staff meeting. Agenda ITEM: To learn the latest progress and outlook on The Davidson Trust from Dean of Admission Chris Gruber.

Breaking News: HAITI

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On my first viewing of NBC Nightly News video linked below, I did not notice that my erstwhile First Little hallmate was wearing a Davidson ballcap.

NBC Nightly News featured Greg Murphy, M.D. '85 on Feb. 8, 2010

I’m glad that an alert source, Wendy Roberts in President Tom Ross’s office, tipped me to this, not just for the screenshot here, but for the impetus to view the clip several times looking for it. As I did, the enormity of the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Haiti—as well as of the compassionate response of Greg and many like him—hit me again. And again. Words fail me, here, Greg, but our Davidson hats are off to you, and all who are holding out a hand to help.

(Campus note: Word in the Chambers hallway is that President Ross is off to the College Bookstore to pick you out another Davidson hat, too, just so you’ll always have a backup!)

Reunion Weekend: April 23-25, 2010

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Calling all Davidson alumni to mark your calendars! If your class is reuning, you’ve likely already heard from lovely and talented Reunion Coordinator Liz Clegg ’08 and/or the somewhat less lovely but no less talented Alumni Director Peter Wagner ’92. They and the fab class reps who are making it all happen have us covered, not only on the alumni pages (keep an eye out there for registration information) but also with every app the WWW can dream up. Why, my very own reuning Class of 1985 has a Facebook group, where people are posting pictures like this little triptych of grins from 1982:

Yours truly (in blue jeans) and sophomore roomie Alec MacBeth ’85 after an invigorating climb up the trusty red maple outside our 1st Little window. [UPDATE: It's a sugar maple. National Arboretum botanical tag says so. But it turns red in the fall. Or maybe it was yellow. I don't recall. Anyway.]

Funny story: Soon after I came back to work at alma mater in 2001, I decided to climb ye olde maple for ye olde tyme’s sake. So one day after work, I did so, only to realize all too late that I was peeping right into the windows of what was now a girls’ dorm. Oopsy! Sometimes nostalgia is a good thing, other times not so much….

I have been variously ambivalent on the topic of Looking Back since graduation, feeling slightly uncomfy at my fifth reunion, thoroughly enjoying my 20th, and now looking forward with glee to my 25th. It’s all about the present, and the past is just the reference point, right? In any case, as they say, being in the present beats the alternative. So, go ahead, drag a load of your own college memories, hazy or razor-sharp, to the present and see what they mean. The first step is to get in touch with a long-lost classmate or two. Make sure you’re registered at Alenda Links, Davidson’s very own online community, with up-to-date contact information on fellow alumni, class notes, events calendar, and more. You really orta.

On deck: Alumni Mailbag, a sampler of jots, tittles and links. Next Daybook.

Welcome to “Daybook,” All Davidson Gentlepersons

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Welcome to Daybook Davidson, a new blog where I’ll file reports on the college and its people, both on campus and off. Dog Dodger and I will be looking for fly-on-the-wall (and squirrel-in-the-tree) observations about the everyday news of the place as it unfolds, on brick sidewalks and marbly steps, Chambers offices and classrooms, Nisbet Fitness Center and Union Cafe, Internet and mailbag, Duke Family Performance Hall in coat and tie and cross-country trails in sweatpants. Name your spot in the comments section, and we’ll go there for you!

I likely will not go Down the Hill much. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

My beloved, old-school Wildcat T-shirt is more frayed around the edges than when it was young and fresh. So, too, am I.

Here’s the nutshell on me: I graduated under the oaks of Chambers Lawn with a French degree on a gorgeous spring morning in 1985, then soon enough got on as a reporter at the Winston-Salem Journal, quit that job in 1989 to travel cross-country in an old Mercury ragtop, the precursor to my summer 2009 Road Trip in the same car, this time under the aegis of alma mater. In the 90s, I worked at an ad agency, did a stint in a French commune outside Paris, got another newspaper gig in Charlotte, then poof, here I was at Davidson as a staff writer in 2001, now happily squatting in my modest lakeside condo near campus with Dodger the dog and livin’ the life—”Squirrel!”

Blog categories and publication schedule are evolving, but count on a couple of posts a week coming to you live from my desk in beautiful downtown Davidson, USA,  in the Julia Johnston House on Main Street, site of a swell student party one night in 1985 (I think) and now the office home to the fine folks of College Communications who bring you the Big Picture. I hope you’ll enjoy Daybook Davidson’s little verbal and visual snapshots along the way, so crank up the ol’ RSS feed and come along, won’t you?

On deck: Chambers Dome? You won’t believe your eyes. Next Daybook.