Alumni Play Major Roles in Haitian Relief

The Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti has unfolded as one of the worst human disasters of modern times. In the weeks and months that followed, Hamiltonians — alumni, parents and those on the Hill — responded with generosity and commitment as rescue, aid and rebuilding efforts took shape.

According to the United Nations, at least 250,000 people died in the quake and its aftermath, with 300,000 injured and one million left homeless. The 7.0 quake, centered near the capital of Port-au-Prince, severely damaged basic services and infrastructure in a nation already regarded as the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

Among alumni involved with relief efforts:

Tom Succop ’58 serves on the board of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley north of Port-au-Prince. Overwhelmed by thousands of patients in the weeks following the quake, the hospital of fewer than 100 beds eventually hosted specialized surgical teams who arrived from the United States and Canada to treat the injured, but the task of long-term care remains daunting.

Dan Florea P’11 chairs the board of International Relief & Development, which chose the Leogane district — at the quake’s epicenter — as one of its primary development sites. IRD has focused its efforts on both immediate humanitarian relief and longer-term sanitation and infrastructure repairs.

Kate Carter ’92 serves as programs coordinator for AmeriCares, which has long provided humanitarian aid to Haiti and now plays a key role in airlifting medical supplies and equipment — including antibiotics, anesthesia and nutritional supplements — to the stricken nation.

Erin Maria Norton ’98 is assistant director of emergency service for the American Red Cross, which has worked around the clock since immediately after the disaster providing more emergency-response teams than any other single-country disaster in Red Cross history.

At least two alumni are reaching out through their work at UNICEF — Brian Meyers ’00, director of development and emergency fundraising, and Maria Choi ’03, marketing manager. Among UNICEF’s efforts is a massive immunization program for children.

Andrea Coron Richardson ’02 is senior program officer at the American Jewish World Service, which put an early focus on aiding parts of the crisis zone not otherwise targeted for large-scale relief, such as poor and rural areas outside Port-au-Prince.

Aaron Crosman ’01 serves as Web director for the American Friends Service Committee. Among other service projects in Haiti, AFSC has provided meals for quake victims.

Nikki Barrett ’08 works with Save the Children, which in the immediate aftermath of the disaster faced one of the most daunting tasks on the ground: registering children at hospitals and in camps in order to find and reunite families. Save the Children reached and assisted nearly 300,000 victims in the month following the quake.

Tori Schacht ’08 is a development associate at the Salvation Army, named by the U.N. as the lead agency responsible for the well-being of an estimated 20,000 earthquake survivors. Among its tasks: registering families so that supplies can be efficiently distributed, providing shelter that meets U.N. standards and establishing clean water sources, medical services and other basic needs.

GOLD Summit Digs into Digital

Blake Darcy '78
Blake Darcy '78, CEO of Formula Investing, gives the keynote address at the GOLD Summit Kick-Off
Blake Darcy '78, CEO of Formula Investing, gives the keynote address at the GOLD Summit Kick-Off

Interviewing for a job? Maybe you should ask the interviewer a couple of questions of your own, Shelly Palmer P’11,’13 suggests. “What keeps you up at night? What is your biggest problem?”

A candidate who can offer digital solutions will be particularly valuable to an organization, Palmer told Hamilton’s GOLD Summit in April, part of the College's annual Volunteer Weekend. And those solutions, said the author of Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy, must be imaginative as well as technical: “We are in a culture where technique can be mistaken for creativity.”

It was a theme that would be woven among Volunteer Weekend activities as alumni, students and parents gathered on the Hill to talk and learn about the value of smart networking and the role of social media in building careers. Blake Darcy ’78, CEO of online money management firm Formula Investing, spoke about building a personal brand and the nuances involved in communicating with alumni of various ages. Other sessions focused on using digital media in professional development; on job searches and leadership; and on the value of the liberal arts in pursuing and changing careers.

In a professional world that is evolving into “only data points,” Palmer said, liberal arts graduates have the ability to “synthesize and offer solutions, add opinion and context to data.”

Alumni, Students Wrestle Health Care

A group of public policy majors took on a daunting topic this spring in a debate over health care policy and how President Obama’s reforms might be improved. And they got a little help from three alumni who served as outside experts and offered critiques of the 14 students’ proposals: Jim Connolly ’74, president of Ellis Hospital in Schenectady; James Millar ’90, vice president for medical centers at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals; and Anthony Carello ’09, a graduate student in law and public policy at Syracuse University.

The students, divided into two teams, offered such proposals as a universal Citizens’ Health Benefit Package; affordability caps and cost-sharing; additional taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and unhealthy foods; and tort reform.

The alumni experts found a lot to like but issued some challenges as well: dealing with tobacco and alcohol lobbies, distinguishing between for-profit and nonprofit insurance companies, and — most fundamentally — whether health care is a right or a privilege. The session was moderated by Associate Professor of Government Gary Wyckoff, who also assembled the expert panel.

Kirkland Literary Anthology Lost Orchard Seeks Submissions

Jo Pitkin ’78
Jo Pitkin ’78

Kirkland College alumnae, faculty, administration and staff are invited to submit original creative work for a new anthology, Lost Orchard: Prose and Poetry from the Kirkland College Community.

Lost Orchard was conceived by Jo Pitkin K’78 following the acclaimed “Kirkland Voices” reading during the 2007 Reunion Weekend. “In the 1970s, Kirkland was one of only a handful of colleges offering a bachelor of arts in creative writing,” notes Pitkin, a poet and education writer. “My hope is that Lost Orchard will both offer a satisfying sample from our talented writers and foster an appreciation for Kirkland’s pioneering role in the development of this academic discipline.”

Please submit one to three poems, short stories, flash fiction, novel excerpts, one-act plays or creative nonfiction essays, accompanied by a 100-word biography, to Jo Pitkin at kirkland@bestweb.net. The deadline is June 30.

Previously published material may be submitted, along with publication information. Submission of current work along with pieces created at Kirkland and/or published in Wintersetl, Watermark, Dessert at the Plaza or Red Weather is encouraged.

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