All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Haiti’

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!)