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Volunteers informed and fêted
Skidmore’s annual Leadership Council in April brought more than 120 of the most active alumni back to campus for a range of volunteer workshops, information exchanges, and celebrations. Among the highlights each year is the awards dinner, which recognizes regional clubs and individuals for their enterprise, dedication, and achievement. Along with senior (and new alumni board member) Neil Astmann ’00, who won the Carlucci Award, two young alumni were honored.
Peter Wan ’95 received the David H. Porter Award for Young Alumni Volunteerism. A double major in biology and music, Wan says he enjoyed pursuing diverse interests in an environment that encourages exploration and personal achievement. He successfully juggled test tubes and music scores to graduate with honors in both fields. “Skidmore prepares you to take on the world in more ways than one,” he says.
|Former president David Porter, back on campus for the occasion, greets Porter Award winner Peter Wan ’95.|
As an alumnus, says Wan, getting involved in volunteering was a way “to express my appreciation to Skidmore. My years there were fulfilling, and it remains a special place for me.” After graduation the enthusiastic Wan became co-president of the New York City alumni club. That group has won annual awards for generating the largest club gift to the alumni scholarship fund, and the 1998-99 award for best programming, providing a variety of high-quality, innovative events throughout the year. Wan’s club leadership for Skidmore also includes developing the first alumni-club Web site, publicizing club activities for city residents and visitors.
While he turned over the reins of the club in 1999, Wan still serves as class agent, volunteer for his class’s first reunion, and member of the alumni board’s nominating committee. All the while, he’s been building a career in the hectic world of high-stakes equity investments at Arbitrage Partners Inc. When he’s not trading, he does research and helps manage a hedge fund for the firm’s asset-management division. Specializing in researching the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and health-care industries, he’s found that his science education serves him well. And playing music continues to provide a welcome diversion. Says Wan, “Skidmore provided me with the foundation upon which I can choose from several options.”
Julianne Kelley ’91, recipient of the Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement, originally came to Skidmore to study the viola and explore other interests. Her studies exposed her to different kinds of music, and she decided to pursue a self-determined major in arts administration by combining classes in music and business. And it paid off: Kelley has turned her major into a successful career as a “music supervisor” for motion pictures. Music supervisors find and coordinate the musical accompaniment for movies—selecting appropriate pieces for each important moment, hiring composers, lining up bands to play original works, obtaining the rights to use recordings. “I want people to remember an image of a film from its music,” she says. The job, she estimates, is 30 percent creative and the rest business.
|Julianne Kelley ’91 accepts the Palamountain Award from Vincent Catalano ’83, chair of the alumni awards committee.|
After Skidmore Kelley moved to Los Angeles to work at Polygram Filmed Entertainment, assisting with musical selection for such pictures as The Portrait of a Lady, Sleepers, and Dead Man Walking. This led to positions at Trimark Pictures and Sony. She music-supervised Eve’s Bayou and Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss. When she met the director of Swingers through a mutual friend, Kelley was hired as a freelance music supervisor for the film, responsible for selecting and obtaining rights to the tunes.In creating the whole sound of that film, she is credited with such a fine job that Miramax released the soundtrack untouched —virtually unheard of in the music business. Swingers, says Kelley, “changed everything for me. It provided a springboard.”
Now on her own, Kelley was music supervisor for Columbia’s Go and is currently working on musical selections for Buying the Cow, to be released next fall. She says her Skidmore experience was invaluable to her professional achievement. “At Skidmore, I was exposed to all kinds of musical experiences, and in my job, I need to know all genres of music and every aspect of the music business.” —SG