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Heather Hage '02
Heather Hage ’02 went to law school not to work at a law firm but to understand the world through a lawyer’s eyes. “I saw legal education as an opportunity to continue the curiosity for interdisciplinary study and understanding that Hamilton helped me gain,” she says.

While a student at Albany Law School, she met the vice president for technology transfer at the State University of New York Research Foundation, who explained that “technology transfer” meant helping scientists, engineers, and other inventors turn ideas and innovations into life-changing products and services.

At that moment, Hage knew what she wanted to do. “I said, ‘Can I work for you? I think this is what I’m supposed to do with my life,’” she recalls.

She took an internship at the foundation and after law school accepted a full-time job, eventually rising to vice president of industry and external affairs. For 17 years, she worked at the intersection of science, technology, law, policy, business, and finance. “Every day was different: a new technology, a new really brilliant scientist or engineer who needed help, and a different way that you could add value, and a different way that I could continue my learning,” she says.

In May, Hage took on a new opportunity to learn and lead: she became president and CEO of the Griffiss Institute in Rome, N.Y. Griffiss is a nonprofit “talent and technology accelerator” for the U.S. Department of Defense and an international network of partners. Hage’s charge is to expand the technical and economic impact of the institute, research lab, and surrounding region — the Mohawk Valley, where she grew up. (Her father, J.K. Hage ’72, and brother, Gabe Hage ’12, also attended Hamilton.) She lives with her three children in what was once her grandparents’ home.

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“I had the blessing in my career of working with people all over the world, traveling all over the world, working with R&D programs and ecosystems everywhere,” she says, “and I never found a place that I loved more than the Mohawk Valley. I always wanted to come home.”

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