What do CLA grads do with their liberal arts degrees? Win Academy Awards with George Clooney! Advance science by way of neurobiology and forensic pathology. Advise the European Union on defense. Advise folks on their investments. Build houses. Become university presidents. Write books for children, books about werewolves.
What do you do? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1950s - 60s
Sandra McLeod Humphrey, B.A. '58, psychology, M.A. '63, counseling psychology, has retired from clinical psychology to write books about personal values for middle-grade children and young adults. She has received the National Character Education Center's Award for Exemplary Leadership in Ethics Education and the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature. Her latest book is They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women who Made a Difference.
Don Brown, B.A. '58, speech/communications, retired from National City Bank in 1996, but recently returned to managing investment portfolios as a solo practitioner. He previously served as president of C. H. Brown Company, a Minneapolis-based investment advisory firm. If his name sounds familiar, it may be from his 30 years' announcing for the Gopher Track Program; he'd been the captain of the U's track/cross-country team, and a three-time letter winner. He was recently elected to the St. Louis Park High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Richard Buys, B.A. '62, geography, M.S. '78 (Troy State University), is a senior advisory officer to the European Center for Defense, Security and Environment. In May, in Budapest, he delivered the keynote address at the European Defense Agency-sponsored conference, "Sustainable Energy for European Union Emergency Management," on "Energy in the Context of the Environment, Past and Present." Earlier this year he moderated a panel discussion on eco-defense at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. A former U.S. Air Force pilot, he served NATO for 10 years in roles related to aviation. He lives in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Robert Berdahl, Ph.D. '65, history, is interim president of the University of Oregon. He had been the president of the Association of American Universities, and was previously president of the University of Texas at Austin, and chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley.
Rodney A. Erickson, B.A. '68, M.A. '70, Ph.D. '73 (University of Washington), geography, is the new president of The Pennsylvania State University. He previously served as the Penn State's executive vice president and provost.
Edward Cleary, B.A. '74, political science, J.D. '77, was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Since 2002 he has been assistant chief judge for the Second Judicial District; for the previous 20 he'd practiced law concentrating on civil and criminal defense litigation, and was an assistant public defender for Ramsey County. He's the author of Beyond the Burning Cross: A Landmark Case of Race, Censorship, and the First Amendment, on R.A.V. v. St. Paul, the case he brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992.
Janis C. Amatuzio, B.S. '73, chemistry, B.A., Italian, M.D. '77, recently retired as county coroner and forensic pathologist for Anoka County, Minnesota. The author of Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living from a Forensic Pathologist, she is an advocate for the compassionate practice of forensic medicine.
Stephen Paulus, B.A. '71, M.A. '76, Ph.D. '78, music, premiered The Shoemaker, a new church opera based on a Tolstoy story, which he composed and for which English Professor Emeritus Michael Dennis Browne wrote the libretto. Philip Brunelle conducted, and Gary Gisselman directed both the Plymouth Congregational Church and St. Olaf College performances.
Amy Sabrina Myers, B.F.A., '79, studio art, created a tribute to the late Minnesota Governor Elmer L. Anderson: a series of painted and glazed earthenware medallions displayed at the Princeton, Minn., public library. The project was supported by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Myers' work is represented in collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Historical Society, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ceridian Corporation and US Bank, among others.
Download the commemorative booklet (PDF)
Top photo by Kelly MacWilliams
Jim Burke, B.A. '82, speech communication--as far as we know, he's CLA's first Academy Award-winner. The Descendants, which he produced, won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, and was nominated in four other categories--best picture, actor, director, and best editing. The film also won the Golden Globe's Best Drama award; in accepting, Burke called George Clooney "our quarterback" (see z.umn.edu/burkegolden). In 2011 Burke returned to campus to talk with students about his CLA experience and making movies. See z.umn.edu/burke.
E.J. (Jane) Westlake, B.A. '85, theater arts and business, received tenure at the University of Michigan in the Department of Theatre and Drama. This winter she will teach American drama at the University of Bucharest, Romania, as a Fulbright grantee.
Marie Zhuikov, B.A. '86, journalism, M.A. '05, health journalism, has published Eye of the Wolf, which she describes as "not your average werewolf story." The novel is set on Isle Royale in 1984, where the wolves are in danger of dying out; the main character is a U of M student.
Steven Chew, Ph.D. '86, psychology, was named 2011 U.S. Professor of the Year for Master's Universities and Colleges by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, in the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. He is the chair of the psychology department at Stamford College, Birmingham, Alabama.
Judy Chartrand, M.A. '86, Ph.D. '89, psychology, is a co-author of Now You're Thinking. A book about critical thinking for good decision-making, it is a slender volume that carries heavyweight endorsements from people like Daniel Pink, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Arne Carlson--all part of a campaign to give books to children from military families (12,000 provided last year). Read more at: z.umn.edu/marines.
Jeff Danberry, B.E.S. '86, was persuaded by his daughter to retire from retirement and join her in forming Danberry Building Corp., an architectural, design-and-build firm in Tonka Bay, Minnesota.
Michael Nordskog, B.A. '88, geography, won a Minnesota Book Award, a Midwest Book Award, and the David Stanley Gebhard Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians with The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition. An attorney, writer, and editor, he lives in Viroqua, Wisconsin.
Linda Wilbrecht, B.A. '95, cultural studies and comparative literature, Ph.D (The Rockefeller University), received a presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). An assistant professor of neurobiology, she runs her own lab at the Gallo Center at the University of California, San Francisco, where her group studies the effects of drug use on the development of neural circuits. She recently wrote us crediting Dr. Harvey Sarles, her cultural studies adviser, "[for helping] me develop an interest in how experience impacts how we behave and who we become. Twenty years later, I am still investigating that same issue, just now at a cellular and synaptic level. He helped me identify the question I wanted to answer and the tools to go out and obtain the technical skills to answer my question."
George Eaton, M.A. '90, history, has retired from active duty in the U.S. Army and is now an Army historian. He lives in Davenport, Iowa, and recently wrote us about his role in the School of Music's Britten Peace Project there (see story on page 4). He filled in for conductor Mark Russell Smith at the prerecital talk with his own talk on World War I, trench warfare, and the impact of the trench experience on Wilfred Owen and his poetry. He subsequently received an inquiry about giving the same talk when the Portland Symphony performs the work.
Patrick Mendis, Ph.D. '90, geography and applied economics, has published his sixth book, Commercial Providence: The Secret Destiny of the American Empire. An affiliate professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University and a senior fellow of the Osgood Center for International Studies, his many previous roles range from U.S. State Department diplomat to NATO military professor, to consulting economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, to U of M professor.
Toni (Antonia) Damico, B.A. '11, speech communication, who now lives in Denver, is the new face of Angela King Designs' Go Wild! Wear, a costume supplier for professional sports cheerleaders.
Tyrel Nelson, B.A. '03, journalism and Spanish studies, has published his third book, Those Darn Stripes, a collection of stories about his relationship with his father. He lives in Minneapolis.
Jacob Perkins and Aayush Chandan, both B.F.A. '11, acting, had roles in last winter's Much Ado About Nothing at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., and are featured in several of its upcoming productions.
Nicole (Fletcher) Meyer, B.A. '06, strategic communication and art, has launched a project she's calculated will take 27 years to complete: design a logo for each of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. Check out her website to see if there's one yet for your favorite pond: at branding10000lakes.com. Nicole's day job is as a graphic designer at Periscope, in Minneapolis.