UNION COLLEGE. In service to their country: Alumni find challenges, rewards in today s military 6. Meet the new Chairman of the Board 3

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1 Union College A Magazine for Alumni and Friends Fall 2011 UNION Fall 2011 COLLEGE In service to their country: Alumni find challenges, rewards in today s military 6 Meet the new Chairman of the Board 3

2 Fiftieth ReUnion medals await recipients during ReUnion Weekend in May. For more details on the celebration, see p. 22. (Photo by Eric Seplowitz 96)

3 Fall 2011 Volume 104 Number On the Cover Union salutes its veterans and active duty service members. Vice President for College Relations Stephen A. Dare SENIOR DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS Jill Hungsberg EDITOR Charlie Casey 6 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Erin DeMuth Judd CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Christen Gowan Tina Lincer Phillip Wajda CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Matt Milless Eric Seplowitz 96 Mark McCarty Timothy Raab DESIGN AND PRODUCTION 2k Design U N I O N C O L L E G E (USPS ) is published quarterly by the Union College Office of Communications, Schenectady, N.Y The telephone is (518) Periodicals postage is paid at Schenectady, N.Y., and an additional mailing office. Postmaster: Send address changes to Office of Communications, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y Alumni who want to inform the College about changes of address should contact the Alumni Office at (518) or via at edu. The same phone number and address should be used to correspond about ReUnion, Homecoming, alumni club events, and other activities. 3 Meet Mark Walsh 76, Union s new chairman of the board Get to know Mark Walsh as he takes the reins from outgoing Board of Trustees Chairman Frank Messa 73. What are his priorities? Hear how Union changed him, and find out who he thinks is the best rock musician of all time. 6 In service to their country: Alumni find challenges, rewards in today s military Union graduates are among the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving the United States. In the pages that follow, these patriotic, highly trained, proud and hard-working alumni share their inspiring stories. 14 Understanding a killer: Mystery disease focus of alumna s research To the growing alarm of scientists like Kate Langwing 08, bats throughout the Northeast are being felled by white-nose syndrome. As a doctoral student at Boston University, she s working hard to unravel the mystery and save these winged mammals. 30 Departments 2 President s Message 16 Profiles 19 Across Campus 27 Bookshelf 28 focus 30 Campaign Trail 32 Alumni Clubs 33 The Classes 43 Unions 44 Arrivals 45 In Memoriam 48 Look Back Starting with this issue, Union College will be published in the spring, fall and winter. Also in the fall, alumni will receive the President s Report about achievements of the previous year.

4 president s message Stephen C. Ainlay, Ph.D. Gratitude This issue of the magazine reminds us that we have much for which we can be grateful. We can certainly be thankful for the remarkable alumni who have given so much through their military service. Union s record of military service is deep and the contributions of our graduates have been impressive. When Pulitzer Prize winning historian James McPherson spoke of Union s record at Founder s Day in 2009, he noted, It s a record of which this institution may be justly proud. The stories you will read in this issue make clear that our alumni continue to serve across the branches of the military with characteristic distinction. We are justly proud and salute them for their service. We are indeed grateful. You will read about other forms of service in this issue. Dr. Peter Jatlow 57 has made notable contributions in the area of clinical pathology. He and fellow Union alumni on the Yale University School of Medicine faculty have rendered distinguished service and advanced our understanding regarding a range of health issues. And through their work with McCord Hospital in South Africa, Gary and Lauren Cohen, both Class of 1978, have brought help and hope to HIV/AIDS patients. Their newly established Minerva Fellowship at McCord will enable a recent Union graduate to make a difference as well. Making a difference that is a hallmark of Union and the world is better for it. We are indeed grateful. We can also be grateful for the generosity of alumni and friends of the College who continue to make possible the education that helps shape the students who come to Union. The dedication of our newest building, the Peter Irving Wold Center, truly represented an important moment in our history. The new facility has already become a major hub of activity on our campus. The MacLean Family Atrium was filled with students presenting their research to fellow students, faculty, staff, and family members during the Steinmetz Symposium last spring. Over the course of the summer months, the building remained active as student-researchers worked with faculty mentors. The new cluster computer, donated by IBM, has now been installed and we expect it to offer more opportunities for Union to define new standards in computing at liberal arts colleges. The state-of-the-art facility will catapult the College forward in so many important ways. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many individuals, families, and foundations for making the building possible through their generosity. Again, we are indeed grateful. As we begin our year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Union Annual Fund, we know full well that all that we do at Union is made possible by people who believe in the College and who are convinced that their investment in Union pays dividends. Even in the face of a difficult economic environment, our supporters have increased their support of the College. This is remarkable but not surprising. It is yet one more way that they make a difference. And, we are indeed grateful. 2 Union College Fall 2011

5 A conversation with Mark Walsh 76, Union s new chairman of the board What is your top priority as the new chairman? First, I am honored to have this opportunity. Serving is a huge priority for me. Union is an extraordinary place with a bright, bright future. I want to thank Frank Messa 73 and Steve Ciesinski 70, (our two most recent chairs) for their leadership and commitment to the job. I have big shoes to fill and am lucky to follow these two. When President Stephen Ainlay came to Union, the Board led the creation of a Strategic Plan. Guided by new Vice Chair John Kelly 76, it is a blueprint for how we go forward. I invite you to read it at My job is to continue to execute this plan at the highest level, and to provide President Ainlay and his team with support to grow the school. Like any plan, though, it needs to be re-visited constantly. We plan to meet this fall to add new initiatives and review our progress. What is your assessment of the financial state of Union? The endowment? Our financial health is strong. However, Union was not immune to the recent market disruptions. Our endowment lost value, but we actually faired better than many of our peers because of prudent and savvy management from our Board s ranks. It is stable and recovering nicely. More important, we were able to tighten our cost structure and not take on any new debt, contrary to some of our peers. And, in an amazingly counter-cyclical way, we actually increased our Annual Fund and endowment giving by a huge amount during these tough times. We don t know of any institution that did that over the last three years. The Annual Fund is an important indicator of how our community feels about Union. We are deeply grateful for the support. The Administration deserves a huge amount of credit for navigating its way through these tough years. Union is a transparent institution. We show our financials in the annual President s Report. I encourage everyone to read it. What do you see as Union s strength(s) as a player in the regional/ national scene? The new Peter Irving Wold center is a perfect example of Union s strengths. A beacon for our unique pedagogy, it has come together with the support of the whole community. The knowledge economy we are working in requires individuals to think and work across disciplines. Union has always provided this kind of synthesis and with the Wold Center it, has stepped-up its commitment. Stephen Ainlay nails it on this question. He says that there has never been a better time for Union, and I agree. Union is a unique place and presents the dichotomies of higher education in their most productive and appealing form. We are: A liberal arts college, but with amazing historical and current leadership in sciences and technology; A small school with intimate educational and social experiences, but with big-school facilities, faculty expertise and ambition; A college in a beautiful semi-rural region, but with easy access to bustling urban areas and transportation hubs; A place with all the classic rah-rah college experiences, but with impressive global and aspirational breadth; An unpretentious school with a can-do attitude that has graduated a stupendous Mark Walsh 76 and daughter Melissa, Class of We actually increased our Annual Fund and endowment giving by a huge amount during these tough times. We don t know of any institution that did that over the last three years. Fall 2011 Union College 3

6 I was at a gathering in New York and a person said, Union is the best-kept secret in higher education. Then and there, I pledged to myself that I would try to help change that. I wanted Union to be the best-known thing in higher education. number of leaders in many fields; and A school where the faculty is tightly aligned with the undergraduate experience, but are also globally recognized leaders in research and pedagogy. This is our time. You ve started, owned, operated and sold a number of successful businesses. How will you use this entrepreneurial approach in your leadership role at Union? I ve been lucky to have been in on the ground floor of a number of transformational businesses as they hit their growth spurt HBO in the early 1980s; America Online in the early 1990s; VerticalNet in the late 90s to 2002 during the tech-bubble. Besides that, I have been able to invest in a number of start-ups and other fast-growth entities over the last decade and served on their boards. I have seen a lot of things go right in these situations, and I have seen a lot of things go wrong. As trite as it may sound, the common thread among all the successes and failures has been people. At HBO we had an inspirational programming visionary named Michael Fuchs 67 (a Union grad) who truly redefined television. We knew we were part of a disruptive moment in entertainment, and the enthusiasm was contagious. At AOL, I worked with Steve Case, who redefined how people interacted and learned. We had a feeling we were on a mission to change the world. In my most successful venture investments the founders/growers have been people who were believers. They would not take no for an answer, they knew their product was right for the time, and they committed themselves to building a great organization. One of my favorite examples is BlackBoard, where I invested early and served on their board. I ll bet virtually everyone reading this has interacted with that software in some fashion over the last 10 years. When I met the founders, there were only 20 employees and a tiny amount of revenue. Still, we all knew we were on a journey to build a big, profitable, sustainable enterprise that would offer quality products and services to the higher-ed community. When I joined the Union board, I had to recalibrate one element of my entrepreneurial nature time-frame. Academia works at a different pace than high-growth tech companies, as it should. The process of educating talented young men and women is a blend of innovation and tradition. Traditions change at a deliberate pace, and I often have to remind myself that our actions at Union will be judged in the short term, but also in Our Fourth Century, to misquote the words in the Nott Memorial. Again, it boils down to people. The best organizations have zeal in their day-to-day behavior. We have that at Union. As an investor and board member of high-growth start-ups, I tried to stay out of the way of the motivated entrepreneurs, and support them when times got tough. I hope to do the same thing at Union with this administration and leadership. What s inspired you to become more involved with your alma mater and its future over the years? I had kept in close contact with my friends from Union over the years, but had not stayed directly connected with the College. I was at a gathering in New York and a person said Union is the best-kept secret in higher education. Then and there, I pledged to myself that I would try to help change that. I wanted Union to be the best-known institution in higher education. Since then, I have become increasingly involved. Each time I agree to help, serve on a committee, find a new president you name it I have been more and more impressed with the talent and commitment of the men and women at Union who give, care, and produce. Tell us about your time as a student. Do any particular experiences standout as the most formative or memorable? I participated in practically every single facet of the Union experience. I was a varsity athlete (lacrosse) playing for our newly minted National Hall of Fame member, Coach Bruce Allison. I was a member of the Union Glee Club, singing under the baton of a true legend, Hugh Wilson. I acted in a number of stage productions under the direction of the incredible Barry Smith (then in the Nott Memorial s theater-in-the-round). I was an officer of my fraternity, the Kappa Alpha Society, the first chapter of the first fraternity 4 Union College Fall 2011

7 in America. I was a guest DJ on WRUC many times, was on the social committee, worked as a night guard for Union Security, etc. etc. etc. I was an American Studies major. I joked at the time that it was the last bastion of the undecided. But it has served me well. What did you write your thesis on? I wrote my thesis on the Black Panther Party. In 1976 they were still a great force in the American political, racial, institutional and educational experience. They were migrating from an in your face agent of change to a more mainstream social-service organization. I have been fascinated with the breadth and depth of the thesis topics that emerged from the Class of It is clear that professors and students still really engage in the process and the result is a rich output of original research. Tell us about one of Union s most recent grads, your daughter, Melissa. How does her experience compare to yours. Melissa chose Union for the same reasons all our students choose Union. She wanted a close community on a beautiful campus, a serious learning environment with room for exploration and a college with great school spirit and a rich history with opportunities for cross-cultural experiences. She looked closely at our peer schools (14 of them!) and chose Union. Melissa was an interdisciplinary major, (political science and sociology) and her thesis was on the origins, impact and implementation of Title IX. During her junior year, she went with five other Union students to the West Indies to teach and study. Her work in the classroom and her term abroad inspired her to apply to Teach for America where she is now. Union celebrated 40 years of co-education this year, so the school is visibly different from when I went here in the mid 1970s. What has been great about these past four years for my wife, Polly, and me has been getting to know wonderful families and future lawyers, doctors, engineers, bankers, teachers, change agents, etc. Throughout graduation weekend, we heard over and over again from the Class of 2011 and their parents how proud they are of Union. It s great to be the parent of a recent Union grad. I encourage all Union alumni to put our campus on the college tour and to have your kids talk to recent alumni. You will be impressed. Do you have a favorite Union hero? Did you know that in the last 35 years Union has produced a Nobel Prize winner (the late Baruch Blumberg 46), an Olympic gold medalist (Nikki Stone 95), an Oscar nominee (screenwriter and director Phil Alden Robinson 71 for Field of Dreams) and an Emmy winner (Eileen Landress 83, producer of The Sopranos). As for my Union hero: Charles Proteus Steinmetz. He was a visionary. Want proof? The electric car. What have you read lately? I am a big John le Carre and William Gibson fan. So, political/spy thrillers and science fiction. It is high quality escapism. I read a lot of other fiction, usually in those genres, though I branch out to some historical fiction as well (1890 s London, etc.). I am a huge consumer of the Blogosphere, as it calls itself. I read a wide variety of issue/political/economic sites regularly. I am very, very engaged in the political process in Washington at the national, state and local level. I serve on a number of boards of political/issue/think-tank organizations, some tilted to one party, some non-partisan. I often appear on television networks to comment on issues and races, so I need to be up on all issue-oriented news and commentary. When you re not working, what do you like to do? Polly and I enjoy family and friends, and I have been lucky enough to be able to combine a lot of things I love to do with my work. I love software and interactive devices, so I invest in companies and get to play and work with them at the same time. I love politics, and get to meet with politicians and policy wonks through my board work. I love lacrosse, and I have the time to coach it down here in D.C. at the high school level, and watch my son and daughter play in high school and college. I love the education field, and through my connection to Union and other schools and companies, I get to play and work there at the same time. What is the best rock band of all time? Best rock band of last decade? I was lucky to see a lot of legends live during my concert days: Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Lenny Kravitz, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton, and many more (some, like Bonnie Raitt, Randy Newman and Taj Mahal at Union!). Greatest rock musician of all time, hands down, Jimi Hendrix. Greatest rock band of all time, hands down, The Who. Greatest single performance I attended, hands down, Bruce Springsteen, Madison Square Garden, Absolutely electric. Last decade? Ouch. Stretching a bit, but I was honored to work with Chuck D from Public Enemy a few years ago on a company we started together, and I love his stuff. I like the Black Eyed Peas. Other than that, ask Melissa what she plays for me. As a Washington-area sports fan, do you follow the Orioles or Nationals? Oh, come on. I am from Baltimore. God gives you one baseball team in your life. To this day, I remember seeing the field for the first time when my father took me to my first Oriole game. Speaking of the Orioles, it was my pleasure to hand Frank Messa a signed Cal Ripken jersey when we honored him as outgoing chair. I dubbed him the Iron Man of Union College, and the Cal jersey cements that title. Fall 2011 Union College 5

8 In service to their country: Alumni find challenges, rewards in today s military By Charlie Casey 6 Union College Fall 2011

9 They are patriotic, dedicated, brave, hard-working, highly trained, confident and proud. They are Union alumni serving in the modern military during an uneasy era marked by acts of terrorism, uprisings in the Middle East and wars on multiple fronts. They have a front-row seat on world events and a conviction that their work makes a difference for others. Many credit an experience at Union a class, a professor, an organization, a team for pushing them toward military service or for making them better in service to their country. All share an intense camaraderie with colleagues in whom they entrust their lives. Herewith, we salute some of the alumni who are serving their country and we proudly share their inspiring stories. Over the past year, we have collected dozens of responses from alumni in the modern military. More profiles of veteran-alumni can be found at the magazine web site: Navy Commander Linda Seymour 96 was eating breakfast in the ward room of the USS Carl Vinson on May 1, She was about to start a second long day as a member of a visiting propulsion plant examination team when she caught the news on CNN: Osama Bin Laden was dead. Several hours later, the ship s captain announced that the super carrier would be recovering a high interest aircraft. Nothing too unusual, Seymour thought, until she noticed the 100,000-ton nuclear-powered vessel was dead in the water in middle of the Arabian Sea. Seymour, with 15 years of Navy experience, knew the routine for burial at sea. But she continued her work, waiting until the end of the day to confirm her suspicion that Bin Laden s body had been buried at sea from the Vinson. Like all but a handful of the 5,500 sailors aboard, she got the news from CNN. Linda Seymour loves endurance sports. She is an accomplished distance runner who, as a track and cross country athlete at Union, preferred the longer races of 5 and 10K. She has run a number of marathons and recently rode a 200-mile day on her bike. All of which may help explain how she mustered the stamina to turn a five-year stint in a male-dominated Navy into a Navy Commander Linda Seymour 96 two-decade career, rising steadily to the rank of commander. In 1998, she earned her designation as a surface warfare officer. She attended Nuclear Power School in 1999 and received her certification as Naval Nuclear Engineer in In 2003, during a stint as a ROTC trainer at Cornell, she earned a master s in English literature, not a typical degree for a Navy officer. In 2009, she began an 18-month assignment as speechwriter for Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The job, she said, appealed to my engineering and detailed sensibility but also to my Fall 2011 Union College 7

10 The USS Momsen, a guided-missile destroyer where Navy Commander Linda Seymour 96 served as operations officer Aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, where Navy Commander Linda Seymour 96 served as main propulsion assistant creative side. It also required her to draw on what she learned from her Union professors among them, Jim McCord, Hugh Jenkins, Adrian Frazier and Bonney MacDonald who taught me how to think critically and to read and dissect texts and the world around me, she said. She wrote the chairman s speech for the 2009 retirement of Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, as he was named U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. She reviewed a draft of President Obama s speech on troop levels in Afghanistan. She also wrote the chairman s less dramatic material ranging from personal letters to thank elderly veterans or praise Eagle scouts always mindful that every piece of correspondence means something to somebody. She enjoyed the research to get personal information about people and then craft material in Mullen s style. When she finished the assignment, Mullen presented her with an autographed Louisville Slugger. At Union, she was an English major who took a number of courses in physics and math. She credits her math and science background for her success in the Navy s Nuclear Power School, but adds, Union s broad yet liberal arts-based foundation helped me learn how to think and enjoy how all facets of my studies, from anthropology to classics to physics, inter-relate. Now, she is about to reach the pinnacle of surface warfare officer service: command of the USS Russell, a guidedmissile destroyer based in Pearl Harbor. I see it as the best way I can directly impact the most young sailors and junior officers and execute the mission of the U.S. Navy, she said. Surreal 9-11 Flight Greg Clark 87 describes his experience on September 11 with one word: surreal. That morning, the Air Force pilot was in Lima, Peru, looking forward to a rest day after bringing Secretary of State Colin Powell and other Brig. Gen. Mike Dana 82, right, thanks two Afghan soldiers for their service at a checkpoint in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where his unit had just completed a road improvement project. To Dana s left is his Afghan interpreter. Michael Dana 82 Brig. Gen., U.S. Marines Dana, a political science major at Union, is in a 29-year career with the Marines and now deployed in Afghanistan. He credits Profs. James Underwood and Joseph Board who gave superb lectures and were always receptive to contrarian viewpoints. A member of Union s football team all four years, he recalled coach Joe Wirth as a tremendous coach, leader and mentor. The most rewarding aspect of his service, he said, is working with the finest young men and women this nation has to offer. Marines are selfless, hard-working and goal-oriented. That has made the last 29 years extremely rewarding and enjoyable. He also met his wife through his military service, in San Diego 20 years ago. It was the most important event of my life, he said. 8 Union College Fall 2011

11 Greg Clark 89 at the controls of the C-32, the Air Force Two plane in which he flew VIPs including First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush officials to meetings aimed at building relations between Peru and Colombia. When a terrorist attack was obvious, he got a call from one of Powell s aides: We re on our way to the plane. Are you guys ready? Just after the second plane hit the World Trade Center, Clark had the Boeing 757 topped off with fuel, gathered his 30 crew and passengers and took off for a seven-hour flight back to Washington. But like other flights that day, getting home would take a while. After 11 hours, much of it circling the mid-atlantic while controllers cleared air space, they were joined by F16 fighter escorts for their approach to Andrews Air Force Base. With the sun setting in a deep azure sky, Powell was on the flight deck looking over Clark s shoulder as plumes of smoke rose from the crippled Pentagon. Clark had been considering leaving the Air Force. He decided the next day to stay on for another eight years. In his 22 years of service, Lt. Col. Gregory Clark, now retired, has flown virtually every kind of VIP airplane in the Air Force inventory and landed in more than 120 countries. He is a rated instructor pilot in the DC-10 and Boeing 757, 767, 737. As a command pilot in the 1st Greg Clark 89 on deployment in Afghanistan Airlift Squadron at Andrews known as Air Force Two, he has flown Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Al Gore; First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush; and Secretaries of State Colin Powell, Madeline Albright and Condoleezza Rice. He has flown numerous generals and Joint Chiefs of Staff pretty much everyone but the president, who flies on Air Force One. Among his assignments with the Air Force, he was director of operations for the 76th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, responsible for VIP airlift in Europe. During this last tour he flew NATO generals to Afghanistan and Iraq until David Vandigrifft 90 Lt., U.S. Navy From 1990 to 1995, Vandigrifft served aboard the submarine USS Chicago in the Pacific Fleet. An electrical engineering major who went on to the Navy s Nuclear Power School, Vandigrifft credits his experience as a member of Beta Theta Pi. I learned that it s not names of organizations or affiliations that matter it s the people nearest to you, he said. The same translated to submarine service. Once onboard, the prime motivation to work hard is simple: nobody wants to make life any harder than it already is for their shipmates. Of Union, he recalls, [it] was a tough academic school with a struggling football program; therefore tenacity and teamwork were important in order to succeed. I was fortunate to have great friends and teammates who helped me academically and on the football field. College football helped prepare me to lead men in combat in Desert Storm, Somalia, Iraq and now, Afghanistan. Kevin F. Frederick 80 Col., U.S. Marines Among his assignments over a 32-year career with the Marines, Col. Frederick has been Squadron Director of Safety with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit enforcing the Desert Storm ceasefire in the Arabian Gulf (1991); Marine Corps Senior Liaison Officer to Multinational Corps Iraq in Baghdad (2005); and Chief of Staff for NATO Regional Command Southwest in Helmand Province, Afghanistan ( ). Besides his Union degree in political science, he studied Naval Flight Training at the the Amphibious Warfare School at Air and Command Staff College. He holds an M.S. in management from Troy State University and an M.S. in Strategic Studies from Marine Corps University. A member of Union s football and baseball teams, he credits Athletic Director Dick Sakala and football coach Tom Cahill for their excellent lessons in leadership. He was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity. Of Union, he says, Small classes and quality professors helped me develop my critical thinking and writing skills. Fall 2011 Union College 9

12 Drew Moyer 06 Lt., U.S. Navy s Civil Engineer Corps Moyer serves in Kenya as the officer in charge of a Maritime Civil Affairs Team, partnered with military, local government and other organizations throughout the Coast Province of Kenya to address challenges to security and stability. The most rewarding aspect of civil affairs, he said, is working daily with people who are dedicated to their fellow citizens and their country, and developing lasting relationships with those people. Moyer credits his success to Union engineering s emphasis on teamwork. You can succeed by yourself, but you will go further and faster if you re willing to share the work, and the credit, he said. deciding to retire in 2009 to spend more time with his wife, Mina (Martin) 89 (see sidebar, page 13) and their three children. For the last two years, he has been teaching physics at River Hill High School in Clarksville, Md. At Union, he was an electrical engineering major who was active in Sigma Chi and WRUC. He was on the football team that went to the Stagg Bowl in He was a founding member of the revived Union crew program, and after graduation joined a Union team at the renowned Henley Regatta in England. Game Theory James Bascom II 96, a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, has made a career out of predicting the moves of his opponent, a skill he honed as a political science major with an interest in game theory. During his five deployments in the last 14 years, he headed an interagency group that developed a security plan for the trial of Saddam James Bascom II 96 joins Marcia Bernicat, U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, at a graduation ceremony in Senegal where he was deputy director of the Trans-Sahara Security Symposium, which taught civil military relations and counter terrorism to West African colonels and generals. Hussein. It was extremely important that Saddam remain safe while undergoing his trial by the emerging Iraqi justice system, he said. The work involved anticipating every possible way in which insurgents could disrupt the trial or harm the defendant. I would commend Professor Alan Taylor and the two game theory courses I took in the Mathematics Department. I wrote my political science thesis on the practical utility of game theory. As a military intelligence officer, I spent my career Charles S. Waters 09 with father and fellow Army Ranger Col. Sumner H. Waters at Fort Benning, Ga. Charles S. Waters 09 2nd Lt., U.S. Army Water is assigned to Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., and awaiting his next assignment. He recently graduated from the Army s Ranger School in Fort Benning, Ga., a grueling 60-day course that tests infantry skills, fitness and the ability to perform with little food or sleep. The course starts with 450 candidates and ends with 70 graduates. I was always interested in attending Ranger School from all the stories my father (Col. Sumner H. Waters) told me when he was at Army Ranger School in It is the toughest leadership school in the world and he was awarded the coveted Ranger tab, so I was determined to earn it too. You learn a great deal about yourself and others and most importantly you learn how to lead others when you are pushed to the absolute limit and held there, Waters said. 10 Union College Fall 2011

13 designing and rehearsing games in an effort to understand and predict what enemy forces would do in opposition to U.S. missions. His other deployments include civil affairs officer on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai in Egypt, and principal intelligence officer for a group responsible for the international zone in Baghdad. In 2008, he was redeployed to Iraq as information operations planner for the 18th Airborne Corps. In 2010 he was information operations planner for the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trans-Sahara, serving in Ghana, Senegal and Germany. Bascom also found value in his Union extracurriculars: Managing the Dutch Pipers and creating a Bridge Club were excellent developmental opportunities for me, but just being in an environment where I was surrounded by exceptional talent was edifying. Dr. David Sachar 92 Lt. Col., U.S. Army (ret.) Accepted to the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., he completed his internship and residency training in internal medicine at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. Sachar was stationed for 10 months at the Army s 121st General Hospital in Yongsan, Korea, then to the Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, N.C., rising to chief of gastroenterology and the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2005, serving as battalion surgeon for the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He was awarded a Bronze Star and the Combat Medic Badge after his convoy came under attack in Wardak Province. In 2008, he was deployed to Iraq as field surgeon for the 581st and 601st Area Support Medical Companies in Tikrit. In June 2010, he completed active duty and resigned his commission. He is a gastroenterologist in Charlotte, N.C. Wayne Tunick 80 Capt., U.S. Navy (ret.) During his nearly 27-year career, Tunick has served as helicopter pilot and commanding officer of two squadrons, and has been deployed around the world chasing Soviet ships and drug runners. My most important event was crashing a helicopter with a mechanical malfunction and getting my crew out alive, he said. From that day forward, I was the most cautious pilot that ever lived. My education at Union got me the degree to get a commission. My experience playing football and in Delta Upsilon taught me how to deal with adversity and lead people. Serving in the Navy was the best choice I ever made. I m proud of all the DU s who served as well, especially Brig. Gen. Mike Dana and Col. Kevin Frederick (both USMC) who recently served together in Afghanistan. He met his wife, Rose, at Union. They are celebrating their 29th anniversary this year. The couple has four children. Kevin P. Dwyer 07 1st Lt., U.S. Marine Corps Dwyer is on his second overseas deployment, serving as executive officer of Fox Battery Battalion Landing Team in Africa. He was previously with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit throughout the Southern Pacific. I have thoroughly enjoyed working in conjunction with foreign militaries in their host nations, not only learning about the way they conduct their training, but also learning about their culture, he said. A political science major, he credits his classes in political science and anthropology for helping him to appreciate that different cultures and people value things that we as Americans and westerners may not. Prof. Robert Hislope demanded an analytical approach to positions and opinions and always fostered healthy debate in his classes. He taught me the importance of viewing an argument from all sides and understanding the opposition s opinion. Dr. Arnold Brender 77 Col., U.S. Army (ret.) A 20-year veteran, Brender did two tours in Iraq between 2004 and He joined the California National Guard in 1987 and became a flight surgeon in My deployments were as a flight surgeon for General Aviation and Med Evac, he recalls. I saw everything from minor clinic wounds, multiple illnesses, usual and unusual. We dealt with lots of trauma and limb destruction. We flew all over Iraq but never had a problem we didn t walk away from. His friend, Col. Paul Kelly, lost his life in January 2007, a month after Brender left Iraq. Arnold Brender 77 on a Med Evac mission in Iraq in Fall 2011 Union College 11

14 John Balzano 88 Col., U.S. Air Force Over a 23-year career, Balzano s deployments have included Oman and Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield and Desert Storm (1990 to 1991); San Vito Air Station, Italy, in support of NATO operations in Bosnia (1992 to 1993); Iraq as Deputy Commander, Gulf Region South District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Camp Adder (2006); and Iraq as Bases, Facilities, & Environmental Division Chief, Engineering Directorate, HQ U.S. Forces Iraq, Camp Victory (2010 to 2011). After assignment at the Pentagon he will be moving to a new post at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. The experience of constructing two expeditionary air bases had a lot to do with my decision to make the Air Force a career, he said. My more recent experience of guiding the drawdown of U.S. bases in Iraq was perhaps the most challenging job of my career and has in a sense brought me full circle in my connection to Iraq. Of Union, he says, My degree in mechanical engineering led to my assignment as a facilities engineer in the Air Force. Perhaps more significantly the broad range of classes I took outside of engineering enhanced my capabilities as a manager and leader and gave me a perspective beyond the technical aspects of my job. He credits professors William Aubrey, Richard Shanebrook and Frank Milillo, who prepared me for those early years in the Air Force as a mechanical design engineer. John Balzano 88 at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad. Built by Saddam Hussein, the palace is now headquarters for U.S. Forces Iraq in the complex known as Camp Victory. Marine Major Mark Reid 96 near Souda Bay, Greece en route to the Suez Canal Mark Reid 96 Major, U.S. Marines Reid is executive officer, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines. In 15 years with the infantry, Reid remembers incredible locations (Panama Canal, Straits of Megellan, Afghanistan, Cape Town), incredible people (his first gunnery sergeant and other mentors, the Marine who married the mother of the girl he d been dating) and challenging times (Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan and Quantico, Va.). In every billet I ve held and almost everywhere I ve gone I ve experienced something great, something frustrating, and something inspiring. An anthropology major, he credits the challenge and encouragement of his mentor, Prof. Steve Leavitt. Anthropology in general was a great major, he said. It taught me how to conduct research, it improved my writing ability, and it conditioned me to keep an open mind to digest as much information as possible before coming to a reasoned conclusion. Out of the classroom, Reid was active in Chi Psi fraternity, a member of the hockey team his freshman year, and a coach for the women s ice hockey team his junior and senior years. A liberal arts degree is somewhat like serving in the infantry: you have to know a little bit about everything and be willing to consider unconventional options, he said. I strongly encourage Union graduates to consider service overseas in some capacity military, State Department or USAID. I found that serving others and your country is a rewarding experience, and that challenging yourself by serving in difficult physical and political environments (e.g., Djibouti, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, Ivory Coast) increased my appreciation of how fortunate we are as Americans and informed my experiences later in life. 12 Union College Fall 2011

15 Joseph Clearfield 93 Lt. Col., U.S. Marines Clearfield was featured in the magazine s Winter 2010 issue after he commanded the rescue of the Magellan Star from Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen. He earned his Union degree in history and is also a graduate of Command and Staff College, Amphibious Warfare School and a number of Marine certifications courses. After deployments in Haiti, Iraq, and Liberia, he most recently was a commanding officer in the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducting exercises in Indonesia, Maldives, Kuwait and Jordan. His decorations include two Bronze Stars with Combat V Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars, and the Combat Action Ribbon with one star. In 1996, he won the Tarawa Award for outstanding platoon commander in 2nd Marine Division. (To read more, see union.edu/news/magazine/ Winter_2011/profiles.pdf) Lt. Col. Joseph Clearfield, center, aboard the Magellan Star. Kevin Cortes 94 Major, U.S. Marines Cortes, with 16 years of service, is pilot of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and executive officer of a unit with 17 aircraft and 300 Marines that specializes in inserting Marines into areas of operation. He holds a Union degree in applied mathematics with a minor in physics and a masters in management and leadership from Webster University. Among his mentors, Seyfollah Maleki of physics was the most down-to-earth professor. He told me there s nothing in life hard work can t accomplish. Union taught me to be disciplined, to study without supervision. There is a time to work and a time to relax. Search Major Kevin Cortes on YouTube to see him in a Marine recruiting video. Mina (Martin) Clark 89 Capt., U.S. Air Force (ret.) A mechanical engineering major at Union, she served a total of six years at Columbus (Miss.) Air Force Base and March Air Force Base east of Los Angeles in posts including mechanical engineer, chief of requirements and logistics, chief of engineering design, chief of engineering flight, chief of environmental compliance and member of a Base Engineer Emergency Force. She recalls Frank Milillo, her advisor and materials science professor. He told me to do the hardest things first and to ask for help. This was not only great advice for college, but life. She also recalls then-new electrical engineering Prof. Cherrice Traver: There were only about three women in my ME classes and she was a good role model. Union helped me communicate and be better organized with my time, she said. I learned to ask what? and what next? A common problem among engineers is a lack of ability to communicate. I got a very well-rounded education and balancing two or three days a week at RPI on top of a 10-week trimester with three engineering classes forced me to learn good efficiency and organizational skills. Of her experiences in the service a few stand out: commanding an honor guard for funeral services. I felt we were performing a duty that, while not easy, gave dignity and respect to those who had served. On the job for two weeks at March AFB, her department received 21 notices of violation for environmental compliance. We fixed the problems and I learned a great deal. Clark met her husband, Greg 87, her element leader, when they were both ROTC cadets training at RPI. Married 22 years, they have three children. Our USAF adventures took us through six moves, including four years at United States Armed Forces in Europe, before Greg retired in 2009 and we moved back to Maryland. She earned a professional master of engineering degree from the University of Maryland. She is division manager for Greenhorn & O Mara, a Washington engineering firm. Fall 2011 Union College 13

16 Understanding a killer: Mystery disease focus of alumna s research By Erin DeMuth Judd When a Sigma Delta Tau sister was bitten by a bat she found in the house radiator a few years back, the ensuing pandemonium was something straight out of a comically-bad horror film. There was this mad bat fear, Kate Langwig 08 recalled with amusement. Everybody in the house panicked and wanted rabies shots. They were convinced they were being bitten in their sleep. 14 Union College Fall 2011 Bats, though, are really no laughing matter. The winged mammals are dying at rates shocking to self-described bathuggers like Langwig at rates that should startle even ardent bat-haters. According to an August 2010 Science study co-authored by Langwig, the little brown myotis, one of several species at risk, could vanish from eastern North American in just 16 years if nothing changes. But the disease that s killing Photograph by Alan Hicks, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation these creatures is baffling scientists around the world. No one knows exactly how or why white-nose syndrome is felling bats from Canada to Virginia, but Langwig is determined to find answers. In March, she won a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship to further her work on white-nose syndrome at Boston University, where she s a doctoral student. White-nose syndrome (WNS) White-nose syndrome first appeared in February 2006 in a non-commercial section of the famous Howe Caverns, just 45 minutes west of Schenectady. Scientists believe it s possible a tourist unknowingly brought the sickness into the area from Europe. They think this because a newly described fungus associated with the disease a fungus that grows in white puffs on the noses and skin of ill bats appears to be European in origin. This fungus has never been documented before, and we have several reports from European researchers about a fungus there that resembles the one here genetically and morphologically, Langwig said. So we have this fungus that we think is the same as that on European bats, but there s been no mortality there. Reasons for this aren t completely clear, but American bat behavior likely makes them more susceptible. Unlike the European animals, bats on this side of the pond tend to form large colonies and cluster together, especially during certain times of the year. Right now, mass mortality occurs during the winter, when bats are hibernating together, said Langwig, who studied neuroscience at Union. The fungus is cold-growing, so it only appears on them during this time. It s unclear how or if the fungus causes death directly, but affected bats seem to be depleting fat stores prematurely, she continued. They re also flying around cave entrances as early as January and February, emerging months before they can survive. And emerging during the day, which is abnormal. We don t yet know why they re going out, it may be they re looking for food or they re thirsty. Whatever the reason, it s fatal. Over 1 million bats have died so far, with all six species of hibernating bats in New York affected, in addition to another three that live further south. The little brown myotis, previously the most common bat in eastern North America, has been hardest hit. Langwig s August 2010 Science study predicts that even if WNS abates, the regional population is expected to collapse from an estimated 6.5 million individuals (pre-wns) to fewer than 65,000 in less than 20 years. The little brown (and other similar species) would be unable to recover quickly, even if infection rates decline, in part because of breeding habits. Bats are social and they form maternity colonies each spring, relying on the warmth of each other to help raise young, Langwig explained. Females give birth to one pup each year, depending on the species, and they re very long-lived the little brown myotis can live over 30 years. With slow reproduction and the massive loss of bats needed to make a successful maternity colony, what happens during the winter could have

17 serious consequences beyond that one season. What s being done? Langwig, like many scientists, is involved in research she hopes will lead to greater understanding of WNS, and consequently, help bats recover. She s focusing her work on disease-susceptibility across species and transmission across landscapes. Not all species are declining equally, which could be really good news. If we figure out what s unique about the behavior and immune systems of less-affected bats, we could help those that are declining more rapidly, Langwig said. I m also investigating transmission studying sociality, roost humidity and temperature, and broader ecologic factors to see what impact these have. I felt these were critical questions we have to answer before we can act, she continued. It s very hard to manage populations when you don t understand the basics of the disease. I m hoping my research will identify factors that will allow for targeted disease management to ameliorate the consequences of white-nose syndrome. And ameliorating these consequences is important. Bats are incredible bug-eaters and their absence could make summer outings decidedly more itchy, and agriculture decidedly more pesticidedependent. An article in the April 2011 edition of Science, co-authored by Thomas Kunz (Langwig s mentor at BU), estimated that a single colony of 150 big brown bats in Indiana eats 1.3 million insects each year. A single little brown myotis can consume 4 to 8 grams each night during the active season. When extrapolated to the 1 million bats killed by WNS, that s metric tons of insects no longer being eaten each year. Monetarily, the article estimated the economic value of bats to agricultural pest suppression at roughly $22.9 billion a year. This is an important lesson in the fragility of our ecosystems, Langwig said. The Indiana bat, listed as an endangered species in 1968, was rebounding and flourishing in the North East before WNS. Even when we think we re doing well, we need to be careful. Langwig first learned this at Union, on a caving trip with associate biology professor Kathleen LoGiudice. We went to this cave about a mile from where I grew up and the bats were just gone, their numbers down from 1,000 to 30, recalled Langwig, who is from Schoharie, N.Y. It brought to bear a serious wildlife issue in my own backyard. Bats have fascinated me since that trip, she continued. I know lots of people don t share my interest, and hate bats, but their dislike only makes me want to help bats more. It only makes me want to teach people how wonderful and important they are. Photograph by Alan Hicks, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Left: Northern long-eared myotis infected with white-nose syndrome Below: Little brown myotis with white-nose syndrome Fall 2011 Union College 15

18 profiles Dr. Peter I. Jatlow 57 A pioneering career in clinical pathology A clinical pathologist who conducted pioneering studies on the clinical pharmacology of cocaine in humans. A past leader of Yale University School of Medicine. An emeritus professor still very much engaged in researching drugs of abuse. Dr. Peter I. Jatlow 57 is all of this, and a humble man besides. He credits his colleagues, education and employers with his success starting with that fateful job in Alaska. If it weren t for Alaska, he might not be a clinical pathologist (a physician who helps diagnose and manage disease through laboratory testing). At 75, an age by which most people have developed a serious passion for golf, he might not be studying the metabolism of alcohol in humans. I was a pathology research fellow at Yale committed to spending two years in the U.S. Public Health Service, when the Alaska Native Medical Center requested me in 1966, Jatlow said. Lung disease was prevalent amongst Alaskan natives then, and knowing that the chief of pathology at Yale was a lung expert, they correctly assumed I was knowledgeable in that area too. At the time, he was leaning toward surgical pathology rather than clinical pathology. But the position he was being offered, as chief of pathology in Alaska, required expertise in the latter as well. I consequently undertook training in clinical pathology, and it was one of best decisions I ever made. I liked the immediacy of laboratory testing, which kept me involved in a day-to-day way with patient outcomes, Jatlow said. I was nervous about going, as I had two young children one only six weeks old. But they insisted, even inviting me up for a visit and feeding me moose steak. He enjoyed Alaska so much he was tempted to stay, but in July 1968 he returned to Yale. During the next two decades, Jatlow s research focused on the clinical pharmacology and toxicology of drugs of abuse. His research on cocaine included studies on coca leaf chewing in the highlands of Peru, and the consequences of concurrent cocaine and alcohol abuse. While he taught and conducted this work, Jatlow rose through the ranks to become chief of laboratory medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and chairman of the department of laboratory medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in He held these posts for 22-and-a-half years, during which time extramural grant dollars increased from half a million to $6 million for the department. He also received numerous awards for his research and teaching, and was instrumental in recruiting top-notch faculty. His tenure saw the addition of a National Institute of Health training program to ensure continued growth of young physician-scientists as well. After stepping down in 2006, Jatlow assumed he would retire in a few years. Colleagues encouraged him to do otherwise, however, and so he applied for a research grant which he got. We re investigating alcohol metabolites, which might be useful in better understanding alcohol use and facilitate treatments for alcoholism, Jatlow said. While I fully expected to retire at 71, I really enjoy remaining intellectually active and productive. I suspect my wife does too, he added, laughing. Having me occupied allows her better flexibility to pursue her many leadership activities in our community. As important as his work is, though, Jatlow considers his biggest achievement to be the development of young physicianscientists within his department. It s one of the best things you can do multiplying your contributions through the students you teach and the young faculty that you nurture, he said. It s the faculty who really deserve credit for increasing grant dollars when I was chair. Much credit indirectly belongs to Union too. My Union education was really a highlight of my life. I learned to function independently, to create my own goals and be responsible for my own mistakes and accomplishments, Jatlow said. And the writing skills I acquired as copy editor for the Concordiensis have been an invaluable asset throughout my career. Union, it turns out, is also something he has in common with several colleagues at Yale. There are at least six other full-time faculty here. I suspect that Union graduates are probably more highly represented on the Yale senior medical school faculty than any other institution of comparable size. Jatlow said. Their accomplishments are extensive and easily equal or exceed my own. Other Yale Medical School faculty include: Gustave Davis 59, clinical professor of pathology; Fred Kantor 52, Paul B. Beeson Professor of Internal Medicine; Bruce McClennan 63, professor and former chair of diagnostic radiology; Patrick O Connor 78, professor and section chief of general medicine; Peter Schwartz 62, John Slade Ely Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Robert Sherwin 63, Long Professor of Internal Medicine and section chief of endocrinology. 16 Union College Fall 2011

19 Marcia Kenny Keegan 80 ESPN and back again Some things are just difficult to resist. Like gourmet chocolate, you just can t get enough. You could say ESPN has been like gourmet chocolate for Marcia Kenny Keegan. She got her first real job at the network after graduating from Union in 1980, left a few years later, went back to school and did something else for two decades until that seemingly inescapable sports world drew her back. After a couple of short-term jobs, I took a temporary secretarial position at ESPN in 1982 because it was available and helped pay the bills, said Keegan, now the company s vice president of production. ESPN was just a few years old then. It was one network and two buildings instead of the multiple domestic and international networks it is now. But it was fast-growing and there was so much opportunity I was hired full-time and went through a series of quick promotions, Keegan said. I loved it for a while, but I was working nights, weekends and holidays while making very little money. So she decided to shift gears and do something totally different. ESPN was still operating in the red then, so I decided I would pursue a law degree something that had been in the back of my mind since Union, Keegan said. I figured it was now or never, so I went for it. She entered Cornell University in 1986, and by 1989, she got her first gig as a lawyer with the firm of Wiggin and Dana in Hartford, Conn. There, she gravitated toward employment law. But, perhaps naturally (given her legal interests and areas of expertise), she just couldn t escape ESPN. During my law career, I served as outside counsel for ESPN, advising and representing the company on a wide spectrum of employment issues, Keegan said. I very much enjoyed that work. ESPN was growing by leaps and bounds and I was fascinated by it. She also enjoyed reconnecting with old friends she d met at ESPN in the 80s, many of whom had become senior executives there. These relationships proved helpful when Keegan looked at her law career and decided it might be time for a change. My firm was very, very good to me when I was having children and trying to raise a family, but as a result, I had gone off the partnership track, she explained. I often say my resume at the time had mommy track stamped all over it. I either wanted to commit to the law or find something else I was passionate about. As it turns out, she found ESPN again. Having worked with the company s human resources department a lot as a lawyer, she immediately applied when a position opened up. The department vice president, a former employment attorney himself, hired her as senior director of human resources in She held the position until 2007, when she moved into her current role as vice president of production. The job has been an excellent fit for Keegan, whose initial background at ESPN in the 80s was production. She oversees about 500 hours of programming produced by outside vendors that airs on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. She also has responsibility for shows that include Mike and Mike, First Take, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, Jim Rome is Burning, Outside the Lines, SportsNation, Winners Bracket, Homecoming and First and Ten. In addition, Keegan has oversight of ESPN s strategy for migrating studio brands to new platforms, like incorporating the SportsCenter brand within local ESPN.com sites. It s a lot to be accountable for, but she has a very supportive boss one who gave her the opportunity to work in production when he saw her getting restless in human resources. She also learned a few skills early on that have been invaluable as she s transitioned from sports broadcasting to law and back. Union gave me the tools to constantly learn and the inquisitiveness to want to do new things, said Keegan, who studied political science. Professor Byron Nichols really helped me learn how to think, to approach challenges analytically. I m a strong believer that a liberal arts degree will always give you an edge in the working world, that it s an enormous help in making any job into a satisfying and successful career. Co-workers are also important to satisfaction, and to success. Without hers, Keegan knows she wouldn t be as happy as she is. I consider myself a sports fan, but it wasn t sports so much that drove me back to ESPN, it was the environment, she said. I ve had jobs where people spent most of the day complaining that s never going to happen here. The people I work for and with love their jobs, are creative, smart and funny. They re the best. And perhaps the best of the best, though he no longer works there, is her husband. I met my husband at ESPN in 1984; we ve been married 24 years. Meeting him was my most memorable ESPN moment, though an experience in New York City four years ago is a close second, Keegan said. The conference room was nothing fancy, but it had all these Wide World of Sports pictures on the wall. And that s when it hit me. I put sports on the same network my family and I watched as a kid. It made me wish my father, who had died recently, was alive so I could tell him where I ve been. It s a moment I remember vividly. Fall 2011 Union College 17

20 profiles Jake Wolff 04 A real game-changer for name-changing For Jake Wolff 04 and Josh Gelb, a little incongruity has proved both fruitful and amusing. Josh and I are both recently married and neither one of us had much to do with planning our weddings. We left that to our beautiful wives, Wolff said, laughing. It s pretty ironic, then, that we now own and operate a business catering to newlyweds. In June, the pair launched a website called Hitchswitch.com. It s a one-stop shop for name-changing, a process that s a guaranteed headache for many recently married people. This all started in law school at Fordham University when a friend asked us if we knew how to change a name, said Wolff, who graduated from Fordham with Gelb in We went to the library, researched everything that needed to be changed, found all the forms online and assisted our friend. Before we knew it, she d recommended us to a friend, who recommended us to someone else, he added. It wasn t long before we were full-time students helping newlyweds change their names. At this point, in 2009, they offered their services and expertise for free, asking only that clients make donations to charities of their choice. Some did. Some didn t. And as more people started knocking on their door, Gelb and Wolff began to see an entrepreneurial opportunity. Approximately 4 million couples wed in the United States annually, and of those, about 80 percent change their name, Gelb said. As the calls kept coming, we realized there was a real chance here to turn our side project into a business and donate to charity each time a client paid for our help. So on June 1 of this year, after being incorporated in 2010, Hitchswitch was officially launched. It charges a flat fee of $39.99 to supply newlyweds with everything they need to change their names. A portion of the proceeds go to ovarian and breast cancer research. We provide clients with all necessary forms, both governmental and non-governmental Social Security, DMV, voter registration, credit card and bank information, IRS forms and so on, Gelb said. All they have to do is fill out a simple, quick form on our site and then, in three to five business days, we ll mail them a personalized packet with the paperwork and instructions. With the packet in hand, clients simply complete the forms and mail or deliver them to the appropriate agency office. Hitchswitch even provides envelopes, already stamped and addressed, and indicates where signatures are needed. As an all-inclusive service, it s saved a lot of people a lot of time. Until we started our business, we had no idea that changing your name was so difficult. For example, some forms require the use of black ink, and if the applicant mistakenly uses blue, the form will be returned unprocessed, Wolff said. Before clients came to us, they said they d spend as many as 30 hours locating and completing paperwork. Now it takes them minutes with Hitchswitch. Since 2009, when Wolff and Gelb helped that first friend, they ve assisted numerous brides solely through wordof-mouth referrals. And the first day Hitchswitch.com was available, they received orders that had them working through the day and night. As the business continues to grow, Wolff s found himself calling on lessons learned at Union from time to time. Today, in our Hitchswitch office, we Jake Wolff 04 and Josh Gelb. have a monthly calendar on which staff members write various goals, said Wolff, who majored in political science. This was something I started at Union when I was writing my thesis a requirement that taught me how to manage time and showed me that having clearly written goals keeps you on task. Especially at a start-up company, where things move at such a fast pace and change regularly, never losing track of your overall goal and purpose is very important. His membership on Union s Conduct Committee has also been particularly useful, as it prepared him for law school by teaching him how to ask hard and uncomfortable questions of his peers. Being part of the committee that evaluated student misconduct, I learned how to evaluate all sides of an issue, Wolff said. It s a skill that undoubtedly trained me for my career as an attorney. Until Hitchswitch was launched, Wolff worked at Riverbay Corporation in Bronx, N.Y. Gelb, who earned his undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College in 2006, is an attorney for Manhattan Children s Center in New York City. As they move forward in their careers, the duo hopes to someday make Hitchswitch available internationally. Until then, they plan to launch Ditch-switch. com in the near future to assist those who are recently divorced. At Hitchswitch, Wolff said, we seek to the change the newlywed world one name at a time. 18 Union College Fall 2011

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