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connections

Interconnections Alumni recall metamorphic moments
Extented Family Awards and shows highlight big weekend
Electrifying Alumni club enjoys a history lesson

 

Extended Family

The joint force of family weekend and alumni-volunteer weekend brought 2,000 guests to campus in October. Celebration Weekend was packed with workshops, tours, and performances, as well as honors for three alumni in particular.

Periclean Alumni Scholar Award. Jean Bidlack ’75 is an expert on how opiates work on brain chemistry and the immune system—for example, in drug abuse and AIDS. The president of the Society for Neuroimmune Pharmacology, she is a medical-school professor at the University of Rochester (where she earned her master’s and PhD after graduating from Skidmore) and also holds
a visiting appointment at Harvard. She has led dozens of research projects with funding from the National Institutes of Health; her innovative lab work has led to two patents.

“Skidmore gave me the opportunity to work with faculty on a one-to-one basis,” she told the audience of newly inducted student Pericleans. “That kind of personal interest from faculty is really important at this stage of your careers.” Add in some “hard work, and you’ll have doors open to you.” But don’t forget, she said, to thank the people who helped you, and she promptly named her Skidmore professors Roy Meyers, Eleanor Samworth, and Charlotte Fahey.

Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement. Josh Chambers ’98 is co-founder of the Fovea Floods avant-garde theater company. A Filene Music Scholar with interests in folklore and psychology, he especially credits the theater department with giving him both guidance and freedom to construct his own artistic vision. That vision became the guiding aesthetic of Fovea Floods, which began as a student troupe in 1995 and moved to New York City in 2000.
As writer, director, and/or composer, Chambers has shaped dozens of productions around the country. In 2002 he directed Not in Our Name’s An Evening of Conscience, with performers from Edward Asner and Danny Glover to Tony Kushner and Andre Gregory. In 2000 Backstage magazine named Chambers one of the young writers shaping the New York stage world.
And he’s got plenty of Skidmore help: of Fovea Floods’ eighteen members, sixteen are fellow alumni. Chambers says, “This ongoing collaboration largely reflects the scholastic environment that it grew out of—an environment that cultivates and nurtures innovation and imagination.”

Porter Award for Young Alumni Service. Keirnan Conroy Klosek ’95 believes in multi-tasking. A business major and art minor, she was a varsity swimmer and managing editor for the Skidmore News. After graduation, she worked in communications and advertising in New York City and Boston, earned an MBA, and then went into photography. Now, working from her Boston home, she’s a freelance photographer, mom, and Skidmore volunteer. Co-chair of Boston’s alumni club and a former alumni-board member, she’s also her class president, secretary, and reunion co-chair (reprising many of her volunteer roles as a New York City alum). —MM, SR