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Arts on view
Join the Friends of the Presidents!
Established in 1966, the Friends of the Presidents Society recognizes the colleges most generous donors, who set an example of leadership in annual giving (the gift level for membership is $2,000, with a sliding scale of lower levels for the most recent classes). Meet a Skidmore legacy grad who knows how to make connections.
William Ladd 83 believes in relying on ones natural strengths, which, in his case, are boundless energy and a deeply resonant voice. Over the years Ladd built his career as an actor and producer around these assets. Currently a screenwriter in Atlanta, Ga., he has five screenplays and a television pilot making the studio circuit in Los Angeles.
Some of his talents emerged at Skidmore, where he majored in theater and acquired, he says, an excellent preparation for the professional world. WSPN radio offered a creative venue too: he conceived and hosted a movie-review show and an entertainment news segment.
Recently, Ladd received a letter from alumni board member Vincent Catalano 83. Although the classmates hadnt crossed paths in nineteen years, Ladd recalls, it was as if no time at all had passed. Catalano urged him to consider serving as chair of their twentieth reunion. Not only did Ladd accept, but he promised to shake things up a little by personally inviting classmates to attend a redefined reunion that would be a really great party.
Making about twenty calls a night over two months, Ladd phoned or e-mailed all 538 members of his class. It turned out to be the best present I could have given myself, he says. I spent more than thirty hours talking with people who shared four years at a unique place during a pivotal time in our lives.
Ladd acknowledges that grads from the early 80s are frequently mislabeled as disengaged, but the problem, he points out, may have to do with the decline of the personal touch in communications. He credits his grandmother, Helen Filene Ladd 22, for passing along the understanding that one-on-one connections can change peoples lives. Since her death in 1983, Ladd has assumed her place at Skidmores annual Filene Music Scholarship spring auditions and fall recitals with the same vigorous presence that was her hallmark.
Granny taught me a simple but important life lesson, he concludes. If someone is going to take even five minutes out of their day for you, the very least you can do is thank them personally. MM