Interconnections Alumni recall metamorphic moments
Extented Family Awards and shows highlight big weekend
Electrifying Alumni club enjoys a history lesson
Beverly Harrison Miller '67,
Alumni Association President
“A transformative experience.” This phrase comes up again and again in discussions of the hallmarks of a Skidmore education—an experience that remakes us over our four years as students, and beyond.
In my sophomore year, I was failing a logic course. I went to Professor Warren Hockenos, and his advice was not to drop the course but to get a tutor. I could do it, he assured me. By the end of the semester, I was able to do any logic problem put in front of me. This was the first time I had ever taken responsibility for a problem, and during that semester I made a huge leap to maturity.
Stories of life change from a few other alumni board members:
Kim West ’79, associate professor of clinical education and director of master’s programs at the University of Southern California, recalls, “I set out to be a high-school history teacher. But my leadership roles in freshman orientation and residential life led to a last-minute change in plans during the spring of my senior year—and twenty-five years later I still work in student services in higher education. The opportunities Skidmore gave me, the wise counsel of a dean, and a nudge in a different direction resulted in my finding my niche.”
Angel Perez ’98, associate dean of admissions and student life at Claremont McKenna College, says, “The opening sentence of my graduate-school application essay was ‘Higher education saved my life.’ I attended poor academic schools in New York City and was exposed only to folks who looked like me, shared similar experiences, and were in the same racial and socioeconomic reality. At Skidmore I met people who had grown up with different opportunities and expectations, and I was able to give fellow students a unique perspective into a world they did not even know existed. We learned from each other and created life-long friendships. My involvement with the Skidmore alumni board and club activities is a small token of my appreciation for an institution that served as a catalyst for wonderful transformative experiences that were yet to come in my life.”
Scott Martin ’79, executive vice president for intellectual property at Paramount Studios, says, “I decided that I wanted to spend my junior year in France, not as an American in a study-abroad program but in a French university, living with a French family and speaking only French. I approached Professors Mary Ellen Fisher and Lynn Gelber with this idea. They pointed out that my French was crappy and suggested I study with people who could understand what I was saying; but when they realized how determined I was, they helped me work out a French-immersion program and I enrolled at the political science institute of the Université de Paris. It was a difficult and sometimes miserable year, but also one of the best of my life. Mary Ellen and Lynn’s willingness to help me pursue my plans led to a transformative experience in terms of self-confidence, knowledge, and adventures. I came back for my senior year a very different person (whose French was still crappy).”
Jo Leach Lewis ’58 quips, “Skidmore transformed me from an airhead into a scholar. I transferred from a university where my priority was purely social and Greek. When I got to Skidmore, it was a revelation to me that learning was fun.”
Rob Resnick ’88, US Army major, comments, “My experiences at Skidmore allowed me to explore and strengthen my values. Although I never planned on a military career, I was always committed to public service in some form. Combining my liberal arts education with a law degree led to a career as a judge advocate. When I established the first independent court system in Iraq, the media asked me how I knew what to do and what training I had. My answer came quickly to mind: My Skidmore education, where I learned about government and, equally important, I learned confidence and leadership.”