by Meg Kimmel
Listen to full interview.
When you arrived in 1979, it was still the early days of coeducation.
Who’s not going to like a two-to-one ratio? Seriously, it did not seem strange to me; you could feel some residual pushback from faculty, but never from fellow students. And as far as sports—we always had great facilities, everything we needed. Now, being in a dorm that was built for all boys was another thing—two bathrooms for 30 women!
You were a two-sport athlete here.
It was unusual back then for Davidson to recruit women athletes, but I came here largely to play field hockey, a sport that I loved. I joined the basketball team to help out in practice, but I sat on the bench at games. That was an interesting experience for an athlete—I learned a lot from it.
You majored in political science, right?
I loved the department— Lou Ortmayer was a terrific adviser, and I remember that he and Tom Kazee, who was here at that time, often came to our games.
Did you have the chance to go abroad?
I did a trimester in Mexico with Dr. [Alberto] Hernandez, one of my all-time favorite professors. It was one of those magical experiences— you just don’t know going in what you are going to get out of it.
And now, you’re a Davidson parent!
Yes, and I have to say a word of thanks to [Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid] Chris Gruber, who told me to stop talking about Davidson around [my son] Jackson when he was looking at colleges. That was the best advice I could have had. Jackson will be a junior. He’s a golfer—and he ended up falling in love with Davidson like I did when I visited. Of all the different hats I have worn at Davidson, being a parent is my favorite.
Has Davidson changed since you were a student?
There is a core sameness—that sense of honesty and trust. But some things have changed, and I think the catalyst has to do with technology. Jackson e-mailed his professor last summer about a course he wanted to take—you can get that kind of connection today.
Can you say something about serving on the presidential search committee?
In my eight years of trustee service, that was probably my highlight. It was such a great chance to get to know the college even better. Wow—we are so blessed at this school with our faculty and staff. It was a very affirming process. And it turned out well!
You voted to adopt The Davidson Trust.
That was a huge decision. When we voted, it was one of those moments in the room, when you can feel the energy. It was a great thing. And while the Trust is the right thing, the college has got to figure out a way to reach out to the middle-income students; that’s so important. But I think it will be addressed.
What do you find exciting in Davidson’s strategic plan?
The globalization piece is really central to a lot of students’ experience here. Creating a student body that is truly diverse, including middle-income families. And my heart is with athletics— being a Division I athletic program is one of Davidson’s selling points.
You’ve served as a trustee for almost eight years.
It’s been an honor, and I’ll miss it. I’ve come to really appreciate everything the faculty and staff here do to give our future leaders a chance to understand who they are, and how they can go about effecting change. Davidson is such a special place, for the right student. There’s none better.