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Harpur at 60 celebration culminates with ‘Bold Ideas. Brilliant Careers.’
November 9, 2010Tweet
Harpur College will cap its 60th anniversary celebration with a “Bold Ideas. Brilliant Careers” panel discussion on Sunday, Nov. 14, at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
The event will feature 10 prominent alumni discussing how their Harpur education enabled to them to have successful careers and satisfying lives. The conversation, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., will be moderated by Owen Pell ’80, who served as counsel to the U.S. delegation at the 2009 Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets.
“Bold Ideas. Brilliant Careers” will also include addresses from Interim President C. Peter Magrath, Harpur College Dean Donald Nieman and Alumni Association President Anthony Kendall. A “Harpur at 60” video will be shown, while a continental breakfast prior to the discussion and a champagne brunch after the talk will give alumni and other guests opportunities to catch up.
“The liberal arts education that students get at Harpur is one that prepares them not just for success, but distinction in a variety of careers,” Nieman said. “We thought that in celebrating Harpur’s 60th anniversary, it would be good to bring together a representative group of alumni who could showcase where the liberal arts have taken them and to reflect on important themes that the liberal arts touch: how we create, how we relate, how we remember.
“It’s the bold ideas of the liberal arts taken into brilliant careers.”
Besides Pell, the panelists are:
• Andrew Bergman ’65, history: screenwriter, director and playwright whose credits include Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws and Honeymoon in Vegas.
• Ann M. DeLaney ’67, political science: founding partner of DeLaney and DeLaney LLC, she wrote Politics for Dummies, a guide to running for office. She also is executive director of the Julian Center, the largest domestic violence shelter in Indiana.
• Ravi M. Gupta ’05, science and public policy and philosophy: has served as special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and to the chief strategist on the Obama for America campaign.
• Joel Kellman ’63, political science: co-founder of GGV Capital and the Silicon Valley-based Fenwick & West.
• Marc Lawrence ’81, English: director, producer and screenwriter who has worked on TV’s Family Ties and wrote and directed movies such as Two Weeks Notice and Did You Hear About the Morgans?
• Steven Luckert ’80, MA ’83, PhD ’93, history: curator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Permanent Exhibition.
• Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD ’91, psychology: research scientist at the University of Southern California and director of the Institute for Creative Technologies VRPSYCH Lab.
• Ruben Santiago-Hudson ’78, theatre: Tony Award-winning actor, writer and director who now can be seen on the ABC drama Castle.
• Madeleine Smithberg ’81, art history: co-producer and executive producer of The Daily Show for seven years and founder of Mad Cow Productions.
“One measure of your success as an institution is your graduates,” Nieman said. “What did you equip them with? How did they use it in the world? I think the reason this (event) is so important to us is that these are graduates who have taken a liberal arts education into the worlds of investment, law, politics, writing, directing.”
The Harpur at 60 events have been almost two years in the making and Nieman credited Lee Nesslage, Harpur director of constituent relations, as the “guiding force” behind the celebration. Nesslage worked with Tom Kowalik, director of Continuing Education and Outreach, to address focus groups and develop an online survey for alumni suggestions.
“They were looking for things online and told us to hold events at Homecoming and in New York City,” Nesslage said. “We tried to take that and respond it to the best we could.”
The celebration has featured a tea at Colonial Hall in Endicott, liberal arts discussions at Homecoming and “60 Perspectives – Harpur at 60,” an online site offering interviews with students, faculty and alumni (go to http://www2.binghamton.edu/harpur/perspectives/).
“A big feature of what we’ve done is the website we created with dozens of interviews and features about Harpur College’s past and present,” Nieman said. “I think we’ve captured the essence of the vibrant, dynamic liberal arts education that Harpur was founded to offer in 1950, and that we are still offering today.”
Both Nesslage and Nieman noted the enthusiasm of the Harpur at 60 participants, whether it has been interviews with all of Harpur’s living deans or talks with early and recent graduates.
“It’s gratifying to hear from people who say they got a first-rate liberal arts education here and believe it is absolutely essential to what they have gone on to do,” Nieman said. “That’s been the most gratifying thing for me.”