True Blue Leaders
An investment in time pays off in camaraderie
by Kate Morse Yeomans '95
The crowd gathered on the deck of the pontoon boat looked like everyday tourists--white ball caps and visors, pink, blue and white short-sleeved shirts and dark sunglasses. But draw closer and you would have heard a name mentioned with great affection in every conversation--UNH. The fall gathering of Florida's Southwest Coast alumni chapter on a trip to Don Pedro Island was just one of dozens of such gatherings across the country that give alumni a chance to reconnect, reminisce about their days in Durham, network and make new friends.
Events like these are made possible by the volunteer efforts of alumni, and if you're interested in learning exactly how it's done, three men who have led alumni chapters for years can tell you all about it. Each has been a member of their local alumni chapter for decades, some serving as an officer for nearly as long.
For many years, Tom Kirkbride '53 could be found every summer standing under blue and white balloons, serving as the human meeting spot for the Northern California's monthly picnics at the San Francisco Jazz Festival's free summer concerts. Kirkbride, who has served as president of the chapter for 50 years, has organized receptions for the football, volleyball and gymnastics teams when they came to California to compete; organized dinners at the elegant Stanford Faculty Club; and set up wine tasting in wineries near San Francisco and also at his home.
Kirkbride grew up in New England, often spending his summers in Durham at the home of his uncle, Tom Phillips, who was head of the chemistry department at UNH for 28 years. Following graduation, Kirkbride served in the U.S. Air Force, spending much of his time in Germany, where he met his wife, a San Francisco native. When he moved to California, he joined the local chapter and crossed paths with Earle Gilbert '52, a fellow staff member at The New Hampshire during college. They became chapter co-presidents in 1956.
While the chapter has tried to do some philanthropy, it remains a mostly social organization, offering a handful of gatherings throughout the year, where attendance varies from 10 to more than 100. They often hold luncheons or receptions for visiting UNH athletic teams. Last September, UNH alums in California had the pleasure of cheering on the UNH football team to an upset victory at UC Davis. In the past, they have met for wine tasting at the Grove Street Winery owned by Peter Paul '67 (see story on Page 30); it was such a success they'll repeat it in November. Kirkbride says many of the alums who attend have become good friends. The best part is the camaraderie, he says.
On the southwest coast of Florida, Charles Eager '53 is a dedicated chapter member who just stepped down this year after serving as president for four years. Eager moved to Florida in 1999 after living in Marblehead, Mass., for 35 years. In the late '90s, he initiated and helped create the UNH Sports Gallery, a series of photos of athletic teams from 1894 through 1979 now displayed on the walls of the Field House's main-level floor. Sports gallery committee members are currently working to display teams from 1980 to 1999.
The chapter gets together three or four times a year--as many as 120 members attend--and takes boat trips, meets for luncheons or hosts receptions for UNH athletic teams when they are in town, including the UNH club baseball team. Eager says the alumni chapter serves as a way for a self-described New Hampshire boy to nurture his strong affinity for UNH. "There's an immediate friendliness and warmth that's established as everyone congregates," he says. Eager and a group of friends get together weekly, and inevitably, the conversation turns to the latest goings-on at UNH.
"When you get involved in these alumni chapters, you have that feeling," he says. "Even down here, we still live and breathe New Hampshire and UNH."
On the East Coast, Carl Batchelder '51, '56G is stepping down as treasurer of the Washington, D.C., chapter. Batchelder says his love for the university started as a boy. He grew up in Durham, and it was always assumed that he would attend UNH, where he graduated in 1953 with a degree in American history and stayed on to earn a master's in the same subject.
Batchelder spent 30 years working as a personnel officer for the CIA, and attended every inauguration from 1957 to 1997. Now he's an active volunteer at the Kennedy Center and the Arena Stage. Once a week he works with a team of volunteers who decide where incoming White House mail should be sent; he got the position after serving on the volunteer mail response team for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's health reform committee. When he arrived in Washington 50 years ago, he joined the local chapter and was soon recruited to be its treasurer. "Once you take a job like that, you've got it for life," he says, laughing.
Chapter get-togethers draw 50 or 60 people. In January, the chapter holds an ice-skating party at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gardens rink. In the past they often met for luncheons at Mount Vernon. This year's gathering--which was oversubscribed within two days--was at the home of Euripides Evriviades '76, Cyprus ambassador to the United States.
All three alums speak with pride about the enjoyment they have gotten from socializing with fellow alums old and new. They look forward to helping younger alums take on chapter leadership roles.
"What better way to maintain friendships and create new ones," asks Eager, "than by using the established bonds created during our time in Durham?"
Pick a Winner
Nominations underway for awards, board positions
Suggest an alum for the upcoming Alumni Association board of directors' election, or for University System of New Hampshire trustee, by filling out a nomination form by Jan. 31. The responsibilities of these positions can be found on the web site below.
Or, let us know of a classmate who deserves one of the Alumni Association's awards, including the Pettee Medal, Meritorious Service Award, Profile of Service Award or Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award. The deadline is Feb. 28.
Send nominations by e-mailing email@example.com with the alum's name and class year, if known; writing to the Elliott Alumni Center, 9 Edgewood Road, Durham, NH 03824; or calling (603) 862-2040 or (800) 895-1195. Or, fill out a form online at www. alumni.unh.edu/aboutus/alumni/board.html (for board directors or trustee) and www.alumni.unh.edu/aboutus/alumni/awards2.html (for alumni awards).
In the Spotlight
Alumni pass on tips for success
by Rachel M. Collins '81
Even now, Tara Lally '06 looks nervous when she remembers the day she was interviewed for a spot in the master's of physician assistant studies program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
"I was so scared," she says. "Half the people there had been working in health care for 10 years."
But thanks to her mentor from UNH's year-long pilot Pathways program, the nutritional sciences and psychology major knew what to expect.
Larry Paoletti '84G, '88G, a researcher with the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a research faculty member at Harvard Medical School, had practiced interviewing with Lally, lobbing real-life questions at her. While talking to Lally, he also learned that she wanted to continue her education right away, but she didn't have the required 2,000 hours of patient contact. Paoletti--whose wife is a physician--walked over to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, which adjoins the laboratory where he works in Boston and found out that program didn't require the 2,000 hours, prompting Lally to apply.
"Whenever you give advice, it's a two-way street," Paoletti said. "If it's not taken as useful, then you're wasting your time. If it's taken, well, I think there can be some good things that come out of it."
Lally took his advice, including his post-interview reminder to keep her name recognition high by sending thank you notes to her interviewers that same afternoon. Paoletti, unbeknownst to Lally, sent an e-mail to the interviewers recommending Lally as a perfect fit for their program.
Four days later, Lally, who already has her Emergency Medical Technician's license, was accepted. "It worked out perfectly," Lally says. "I was so grateful for all of his guidance."
Last year was the trial run of UNH's first mentoring program, a joint effort of UNH's Career Center, the Alumni Association and the UNH deans and faculty members, who recommended the students. The goal is to help the student, but it's a mutually beneficial relationship, says Richard Ashooh '86, a University System of New Hampshire trustee and former alumni board member who spearheaded the creation of the volunteer program. "From the UNH perspective, what better way to take a proactive role in improving the prestige of the university--helping graduates become successful. Their success becomes our success."
Just two years since the idea was conceived, 20 students have gone through the program. One mentor, John Stech '93G, advised his mentee, Cara Hayward '08, long distance from Detroit, where he worked for DaimlerChrysler. Now CEO and managing director of DaimlerChrysler Egypt, he plans to participate again with a student who has been accepted into this year's program, which has doubled in size.
"Cara and I proved it could be done from 700 miles, then why not 4,000?" he asked in an e-mail to Bethany Cooper '94, manager of employer relations and recruiting at the University Advising and Career Center.
"When I was sitting here wondering what I was going to do with my life, I would have killed for this kind of opportunity," Ashooh says. "It shouldn't be an accident or luck that these kinds of relationships happen, we should encourage them."
To volunteer for the next Pathways program, visit www.unh.edu/uacc/unhpathways.html.
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