Alumni Board Meeting – April 23-25, 2015

On Thursday evening, April 23, 2015, the Alumni Board convened its spring meeting with an informal reception, welcome, and brief review of the schedule. Following dinner, Mary Neagoy ’83, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and Tom Courtice, search consultant from AGB Search, engaged the members in a discussion of three questions:

  • What are the essential elements of Wooster than we need to preserve and perhaps elevate,
  • What are the opportunities and challenges for the College going forward, and
  • What are the attributes we seek in our next leader

This was one of a number of stakeholder discussions intended to inform the creation of a Prospectus that will be the primary vehicle for letting the world know about the search. The same questions are being asked in an email survey seeking input from the larger alumni body.  Although it would be premature to share specifics, I think it is safe to say that the Alumni Board left this conversation feeling very positive about both the direction and eventual outcome of the search process.

CAeZknsWsAAN1wm.jpg_largeFriday morning was given over to working on one of the Board’s primary focuses, the encouragement and extension of alumni engagement. Heidi McCormick ’86, director of alumni relations, reviewed a project undertaken for the College by students from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and then had the Board engage in an exercise to critique and refine several mission statements intended to define the direction and stimulate potential activities to pursue. Heidi also reviewed some of the findings and questions generated by a Peer Review of the College’s alumni relations operation done by CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education), the leading association of advancement professionals, which will serve as directional prompts in the Board’s activities going forward. Laurie Houck, vice president for development and alumni relations, was also in attendance and added her encouragement for the Board’s continued efforts. The morning ended with reports on and discussions of three ongoing initiatives in which the Board is engaged – “Show Me Your I.S.,” connecting alumni more purposefully with the activities of APEX (Advising, Planning , Experiential Learning), and a student-Board member pairing program.

Following lunchtime roundtable discussions of peer-to-peer fundraising led by Keith DiDonado, associate vice president for development, Board members were given the afternoon to involve themselves in the Senior Research Symposium, the unique and very impressive display of our students’ capstone achievements.  The Board reconvened for a reception with a group of faculty and staff, followed by an informal Coccia House pizza dinner and attendance at a concert by the Wooster Singers concert, the Black Arts Festival, or both!

issymposium_6MD6315Saturday morning began with a brief session with the Alumni Trustees, joined by Bill Longbrake, chair of the Board of Trustees, reporting and answering questions about the activities of the Trustees. This was followed by a time with President Grant Cornwell where he shared a couple of media pieces which put Wooster and our approach to liberal arts education in a very positive light – one from AAC&U’s Centennial video of exemplar programs where Wooster is the only residential liberal arts college featured  and  the other a clip of a researcher from Gallup which validate the approach Wooster has been taking for over 60 years – and responded to questions.

As you have heard, this will be President Grant Cornwell’s last semester at Wooster. He will leave the College better than it was when he joined by many metrics, including number of applications, diversity of students, marketing of the I.S. experience, strategic planning, and fundraising. He also brought many intangible positive qualities, one being the ability to tackle difficult but imperative topics such as inclusivity on campus. Although he will be missed, the upside is that the College is going to attract amazing presidential candidates due to its current dynamic and healthy position.  The Alumni Board presented him with an historical print of the University of Wooster and thanked him and his wife, Peg, for their many contributions.

The business meeting of the Alumni Board heard and acted on reports from our two standing committees – Nominating and Distinguished Alumni Award – and briefly discussed future meetings along with actions and activities to be to be undertaken prior to our fall meeting.

photoA final dinner at The Wooster Inn culminated the weekend and provided the opportunity to recognize the service of eight people leaving the Board after this meeting.  Margaux Day ’06, Susan Hartt ’70, Jamie Haskins ’85, Derek Longbrake ’96 and Courtney Young ’96 concluded three-year terms; Sandeep Bhatia ’89 and Ken Shafer ’75 completing six years as Alumni Trustees; and David Gilliss ’80 ending his term as past president. All of these dedicated people have made significant and memorable contributions to both the Alumni Association and the College.

It should also be noted that at several points in the weekend the Alumni Board joined with over 100 other alumni attending the Black Alumni Reunion.  This outstanding event, entitled Reflect Rejoice Renew, was coordinated by the Black Alumni Council and its president, Karl Penn ’90.

As president of the Alumni Association I plan to update you on our Alumni Board meetings. Until next time, know that it is my pleasure to serve as the president. If there is anything your Association can do for you, or if there is something we can do better, please reach out to me or one of the members of the Alumni Board.

A. Steven Graff ’68
College of Wooster Alumni Association

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Fall 2013 Alumni Board Update

Greetings fellow alumni,

After another invigorating Alumni Board weekend, I have much to share with you. The three days I spent on campus were jam packed with presentations and updates from the College president and President of the Board of Trustees, and from a variety of staff members from numerous departments.

Importantly, 6 new alumni board members were welcomed into the fold, as well as a new alumni trustee member.

Our New Board Members are as follows:

These new members are terrific and have already made significant contributions to the alumni board. Be sure to thank them for their service the next time you see them. We do have fun on the Board, but when it comes time to work, we roll up our sleeves and get at it.

The Board generally has been focusing its efforts on two priorities:

First, we are looking to develop new ways to help our newest graduates find jobs in a difficult economy. We want to engage the entire alumni body of some 21,000 alumni and we will do that by concentrating our efforts to build and strengthen the Wooster Alumni Network.

Second, we are encouraging the continued growth of the The Wooster Fund. Our collective respect and affection for our College is not fully reflected in our percentage participation in The Wooster Fund. We want to change that by helping to develop a new culture of giving – both on campus and among the alumni.

Here’s an update on some of what was covered during the weekend:

tumblr_mwb8k57sLv1r3e43ko4_r1_1280We continue to focus our attention on the now year-old group of student-focused intentional advising program which the College calls “APEX.” APEX stands for Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning and consists generally of 5 different offices, all brought together as one. The offices, a significant study area and meeting space, are located on the lower level of the library. When you are back on campus, it is worth a look. Ask for a tour, one of the students at the desk will be happy to oblige.

Annie Partika '15 spent her summer working with Literary Lots in Cleveland, which transforms vacant lots in Cleveland into artistic settings of children's storybooks.

2013 APEX Fellow Annie Partika ’15 spent her summer working with Literary Lots in Cleveland, an organization that transforms vacant lots in Cleveland into artistic settings of children’s storybooks.

The Board discussed with APEX professionals the impressive growth experienced by APEX, including the many programs being created and overseen by the professional staff, as well as the students being helped by APEX. APEX fellowships offer structured and mentored support to students engaged in summer internships or vocational exploration programs. The generous gift given by the Andrew Family will propel APEX’s mission forward to help more students at Wooster. We are searching for ways to collaborate with APEX to allow more alumni to assist our newest grads as they transition into the working world. We want your help and we solicit your ideas. Please feel free to contact me or any of our alumni board members.

We also were delighted to participate in the sophomore dinner, coordinated by Lisa Kastor, Director of Career Planning and Landre McCloud in Alumni Relations. Every year, the alumni board has dinner with the sophomore class as a way to provide guidance to Wooster’s younger students during an integral time in their education. About 35 students were in attendance, and the topic of this dinner was focused on the students’ planned major and general career and life experience advice. Actually, we all just enjoyed talking with the sophomores. Their energy, enthusiasm for all the possibilities in front of them was refreshing.

We then received an update on The Wooster Fund and learned the great news about last year’s efforts and this year’s goal. The Wooster Fund is Wooster’s annual unrestricted fund and a portion of the fund goes directly to scholarship funds and other programs, which directly affect students. We also talked about integrated marketing, and how The Wooster Fund is improving their direct mail and web communications strategies so that these efforts function as one. I urge you to keep Wooster in mind as you prepare for your year-end tax planning. A gift made before December 31st provides a charitable giving tax deduction. You can make a secure gift online at You can also double your impact with a matching gift. To learn more about this program, visit Please show your interest in the College by making a gift to The Wooster Fund. I am grateful for your support. (And please know that each and every gift is important – give at the level that is best for you – that is what is best for the College).

The alumni board was both delighted and enthused to spend two days with Karl Penn ’90, the president of the Black Alumni Council (BAC). In the future, the alumni board and the BAC plan to work more closely together to the benefit of all alumni and to the benefit of the College.  There is much we can accomplish together and our two groups look forward to working together going forward.

Kara Morrow, left, and Sararh Van Oss '16, right, discuss final extended labels written by the student curators of "The Performative in African Art," November 14-December 6, 2013.

Kara Morrow, left, and Sararh Van Oss ’16, right, discuss final extended labels written by the student curators of “The Performative in African Art,” November 14-December 6, 2013.

We enjoyed student presentations on their exhibition titled “The Performative in African Art” in the Ebert Art Center and were mesmerized by a new a capella group, Shades of Gold. They were fantastic! You can relive the magic by watching this video of the group performing in Ebert. We could not stop talking about the wonderful job done by both the student presenters and Shades of Gold. This is why we come back to campus!

coachcolapreteWe also snuck in a football game, which featured a fierce 4th quarter come-from-behind win against Ohio Wesleyan 28-27. They were down 27-7 at the half, and miraculously turned the game around. There is no quit in this team. With the win, the Fighting Scots finish the season with an overall record of 7-3; a five win improvement from last year and the largest one year improvement in NCAC history. In other football news, Coach Colaprete is up for Liberty Mutual’s Coach of the Year Award. Show your Wooster pride and recognize the team’s achievements by voting now!

We also had the pleasure of sharing a meal with two newly tenured faculty members Christa Craven, and Angela Bos – and heard from them about their research projects and scholarship. Angela Bos discussed her research on the effects of HDTV on Obama and McCain during the 2008 presidential debate.

We spent a great deal of time discussing Wooster, its mission, and how alumni can further the mission together with President Grant Cornwell, and Dave Gunning, President of the Board of Trustees. The conversation was informative and we agreed to continue the discussion so that the alumni board is used to its maximum potential to the benefit of the College and its alumni members.

Finally, we completed the process to select the next alumni board president, as well as select the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. Our alumni base is deep, accomplished and talented, and that allows the Alumni Board the luxury of having to make difficult choices to select DAA recipients. It is a good problem to have – one which Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles used to refer to as “deep depth.” We definitely have that among our alumni.

In brief, we accomplished a lot, and we all felt invigorated by the experience. On behalf of your entire alumni board, we thank you for the opportunity to serve you and our College. We wish for you a Happy Thanksgiving, and a safe and happy New Year to follow.

Always Wooster Proud!

David Gilliss (’80)
The College of Wooster Alumni Association


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Fall 2013 Board of Trustees Weekend

Greetings fellow alumni!

It’s a great time to be a Wooster Scot! I recently returned home following another productive Board of Trustees weekend, and I have inspiring news to share with you. The board meetings took place in early October, and, although our federal government may have been shut down, The College of Wooster was open for business. It is my pleasure to bring you the news that not only are we open for business – we are thriving!


APEX fellows with Professor John Ramsay, associate dean of experiential learning, Edie Andrew, Edward J. Andrew Jr. ’80, and Brandon Andrew ’11.

I begin with a very big thank you to the Andrew family for their incredible investment in APEX Fellowships. You have heard me talk about APEX and the College’s commitment to career planning and internships. If you haven’t, I urge you to learn about APEX. Edie Andrew, the Andrew Family Foundation, and the BARKLEE Foundation will provide $100,000 this year, and every year, to fund approximately 25-30 APEX Fellowships for Wooster students. They will fund the fellowships permanently by establishing the Edward J. Andrew Fellowship Endowment with a $2 million bequest from Edie’s estate.

The Edward J. Andrew Fellowships honor the memory of Edie’s husband of almost 56 years. Ed Andrew was a 1961 graduate of The College of Wooster, member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1982 until 2008, and trustee emeritus from 2008 until his death in 2013. This generous gift will assure continued success for a program which has already had a huge impact on students.


Ruth and Morris Williams with President Grant Cornwell

As you may have heard, Ruth Whitmore Williams ‘62, a member of Wooster’s Board of Trustees since 1994, and her husband, A. Morris Williams Jr., have made the largest single gift in the College’s history: a total of $15 million to support science education. Ten million dollars will help fund construction of a new, integrated science facility now in the planning stages. Another $3 million will endow scholarships for science majors, and $2 million will endow the Whitmore-Williams Professorship in computational biology or bioinformatics.

It is interesting that one way the news of this inspirational gift made its way through the Wooster community was through Facebook. Many parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends came together and shared their enthusiasm for the Williamses’ gift.   Please join with me in thanking Ruth and Morris Williams for their leadership and their generosity. Their gift will live on and will benefit Wooster students for decades to come. Well done!

These transformational gifts from the Andrew family, and from Ruth and Morris Williams, demonstrate the deep commitment and generous support of alumni, parents, and friends who have made a Wooster education possible for generations of Wooster students. I am always enthused and recharged when I get back to campus. I am also very proud of our alma mater and what it stands for. That pride was never more evident than during the trustees weekend when the Andrew family announced their gift to APEX and when Ruth and Morris Williams announced their gift to support the sciences at Wooster. Let’s continue that momentum. There is still more to be done.

On another front, the College’s enrollment efforts continue to show great results. For the first time in Wooster’s history, the admissions office received nearly 5,600 applications to enroll a class of 560 first-year students.

Wooster welcomes the class of 2017

Wooster welcomes the class of 2017

Class of 2017 Snapshot

  • 560 first-year students
  • 38 states and 29 countries
  • 1 in every 4 is multicultural (domestic student of color or international)
  • 20 different religious faiths
  • Nearly half in the top 10% of graduating class

US News and World Report

Wooster recently received notable recognition from US News and World Report. College presidents, provosts, and deans have again singled out The College of Wooster as one of America’s top liberal arts colleges “where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.” The presidents, provosts, and deans also recognized Wooster for its “outstanding” undergraduate research opportunities and its senior capstone program: the one-on-one, mentored undergraduate research experience known as I.S. This is the twelfth straight year that Wooster has been honored in both categories.

Wooster was also singled out in The 2014 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of 20 private and 21 public colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. that the editors deem a “best buy.” According to Fiske, “Wooster is renowned in academic circles…more intellectually serious than competitors such as Denison…[and] prides itself on turning better-than-average students into real scholars.” We can all be proud of these acknowledgments.



Fun times, many laughs and great memories had by the Lengyel Football Reunion.

I also had the pleasure of attending the Lengyel Reunion dinner, and met with many alumni and friends from the Jack Lengyel coaching years. Hats (or maybe “helmets”) off to Ron Maltarich ’71 for providing a lively and entertaining program during the dinner. On Saturday we sat through the rain and wind to watch Wooster gain more offensive yards than Wabash but ultimately lose 48-14. Read more for a full recap of the game.

That’s the news for now. In November, your Alumni Board will convene on campus to get caught up on the news and to plan its activities for the coming year. Join with us as we work to honor the tradition of excellence that is The College of Wooster. Maintaining and strengthening the institution takes a lot of hard work. We are blessed with a visionary college president and staff. Our faculty is as strong or stronger than it has ever been. Wooster is on a roll, and I want you to be a continuing part of this success. Reach out to your College. Support its mission. Get engaged!

Until next time, please know that it is my pleasure to serve as the president of the Alumni Association. I have one more year as president, and we have a lot to accomplish. I look forward to working with all of you. If there is anything your Association can do for you, or if there is something we can do better, please reach out to me or one of the members of the Alumni Board.

All the best to you,

David Gilliss (’80)
The College of Wooster Alumni Association

P.S.  Please remember to make a gift to The Wooster Fund. Each and every gift is important to our collective success. You can give online if you wish. You will also have my gratitude!

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Welcoming New Alumni Board Members

Dear Fellow Wooster Scots:

Each year, your Alumni Board is pleased to welcome into the fold 6 new alumni members and two new faculty representatives. Please join me in welcoming our new board members, who I have listed below. I have also provided you with a link to each new member’s LinkedIn page so you can get a snapshot of who each new member is, and in the case of our faculty reps, I have provided you with a link to the College’s website biographical information.

Special thanks to our hard-working Nominating Committee for their continuing thoughtful deliberations which assure us of talented and committed Board members. Our Nominating Committee is chaired by Ryan Burgess (’93) and Karen Lockwood (’72).

Our next Alumni Board meetings will take place in November. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions which the Board could address for you.
Our New Board Members (in alphabetical order):

Daniel R. George ‘04

David A. Lohr ‘01

Anne G. Longsworth ‘92

Jennifer E. Saliers ‘83

Emmanuel P. Sterling ‘07

Divya R. Thadani ‘99

Faculty Representatives

Alison H. Schmidt ‘75

James D. West

All the best,

David Gilliss (’80)
Always Wooster Proud!

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Alumni Weekend Recap

Greetings Fellow Alumni,

I was lucky enough to get back to our favorite college campus during the weekend of June 6 -9 – Alumni Weekend. The College really showed off its stuff as more than 1,000 alums returned to their alma mater to spend time with good friends. Although this was not my reunion year (Class of ’80), as president, I enjoyed attending many different class events, and I especially enjoyed the chance to spend time with many alums from a wide array of class years. I attended several marvelous class dinners, and I even managed the time to attend a cocktail party or two. I was most pleased (and honored) to be able to attend a dinner at Grant and Peg Cornwell’s house, as they hosted this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients (more on that later). In short, if you have not been back to campus in a while, you need to see what Wooster has done. Call your old classmates and plan to attend next year’s reunion. You do not need to wait until your reunion year to come back. You are always welcome to come home to Wooster!


dougholeDuring the 129th Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association, Colonel Douglas R. Hole ’63 was recognized as the recipient of the The John D. McKee Outstanding Volunteer Award for his service to The College of Wooster. The award honors “John D.” and his belief that Wooster alumni are the best any College can ask for. John D. McKee was the first Secretary of Wooster’s Alumni Association, Editor of the Alumni Magazine, Business Manager of the College and Director of Alumni Relations.

Doug’s service to the College has included representing the College at countless college fairs, serving as Alumni Board member, actively participating as member of his reunion committee, and hosting alumni events with his wife Donna. They are also loyal donors to The Wooster Fund.

The presentation of the class cups is one of the great traditions of Alumni Weekend. This year, class cups were awarded to the class with the highest attendance, and the class with the highest number of donors. The cup for the highest number of alumni in attendance was awarded to the class of 1963, with 110 members present at Alumni Weekend. The cup for the largest number of donors to The Wooster Fund was awarded to the class of 1978, with 130 donors.

Each year, the 25th reunion class makes a special outreach effort with a gift to The Wooster Fund. On behalf of the class of 1988, Andy Heath presented the College with a gift of $66,418.50. The class quadrupled its annual gift to The Wooster Fund and more than doubled its donor count.

50threunionClarence “Reggie” Williams and class president George Browne presented the class of 1963 50th Anniversary Fund gift to the College. Williams and George Browne announced that during the five years leading up to their reunion, they had raised more than $5 million for their alma mater. Of that total, $268,000 will be used to endow a Class of 1963 Scholarship Fund, and $104,000 will endow a new student summer research fund. There also were a number of major gifts for the Scot Center, several other scholarship funds, and significant individual increases in gifts to The Wooster Fund during that period. Read the news release for more information.

Later in the day, the Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to three alumni whose service to their profession exemplifies the value of a Wooster education. Pictured below are this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients (from left to right):


  • James T. Clarke ’59, Retired International Executive Partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • Dr. Diane Jorkasky ’73, Highly regarded clinician-scientist and researcher in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Kenneth C. Fischer ’66, President of the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan.

If you missed Alumni Weekend, be sure to check out the Alumni Weekend 2013 Photo Gallery, and hear what other alumni had to say about the weekend on Twitter by reading the Alumni Weekend story.

The Wooster Network

One of my goals as the president of the Alumni Association is to build upon the foundation of my predecessors and strengthen the Wooster Network. Your Alumni Board has made it a priority to work closely with the College, and especially with the professionals in APEX, to make sure that our newest graduates, as well as those in transition or in search of new opportunities, know that they can reach out to the 25,000 alumni across the globe for support, for contacts, and for advice as they seek out the job that is best suited for them.

I give special thanks to all those who have volunteered to connect with APEX fellows during their internships. Two of our APEX fellows are already sharing the impact of the Wooster connection. Read the Spot the Scot blog to hear how our alumni have supported APEX fellows during their internships.

With your help, we will continue to develop the Wooster Network – to the benefit of all of us and to the benefit of the College we all love and support. In that regard, remember that the College’s fiscal year ends on June 30th.  Please make sure that your name is counted among those who have made a gift to The Wooster Fund. You will find an easy and secure link to The Wooster Fund here:

Thank you all for your support of the College. Please feel free to share your stories of the College with me. Please remember to send in your stories to the Wooster Magazine so your classmates can stay in touch with you, and please do make a gift to The Wooster Fund.

Best wishes for a safe and fulfilling summer,

David Gilliss (’80)
Alumni Association
College of Wooster

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Commencement Remarks to the Graduating Class of 2013

As Alumni Association President I had the recent pleasure of speaking at the College’s 143rd Commencement Ceremony. Below are my remarks as presented to the graduating class of 2013.

Good morning, and welcome to the graduating class of 2013! My name is David Gilliss, I am a member of the Class of 1980, and I am President of the Alumni Association.

I majored in Political Science while I was here on campus —

and I am passionate about Wooster.

I had the pleasure of following my brother Ed to Wooster. Ed was in the Class of 1977. I met my wife of now 28 years, Karen Wilson, Class of 1981, here at the College. My nephew, Tim– Class of 2010, is also a graduate of Wooster, and as you all know, my daughter, Lauren, and my nephew, Tom, are in this stellar class of some 400 graduates.

I am also President of the Alumni Board, which is the representative body of 25 members which constitutes the governing body of the Alumni Association.

Our mission is to develop and strengthen the Wooster network, among other duties of the Association, to the benefit of the alumni and of the College.

I arrived on campus this weekend on Friday – my prepared remarks were all ready to go. But, as always happens to me when I return to campus, and it will to you as well, I was newly inspired—mostly by you all, the graduating seniors.

I was inspired by the awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon. I was inspired by spending time with students on Saturday night, and I was inspired by the Baccalaureate on Sunday morning. So I tossed my planned remarks and now have just five points I want to make.

My first point is about you, the Wooster students. In typical Wooster fashion, the talent level of this class is amazing. The breadth and depth of experience and knowledge is remarkable. You see that in the incredible I.S. projects, and you see that in the awards ceremony of Saturday afternoon. Being a Political Science major, I loved hearing about the student studying the effects of gravity on straight lines – you will recall that Newton studied the effects of gravity on spherical objects. Apparently, this student’s research was much harder than that conducted by Newton (my being a Political Science major – I will just have to take their word for that!), and it just goes to show you that the level of undergraduate research being conducted on this campus is unparalleled.

The second point is the Wooster education you have received. You now have the educational base of knowledge and a world-class education to prepare you for a global economy. You have learned how to be a critical thinker and a problem-solver. You know how to write and how to communicate an idea.

You are ready! Take on the next challenge.

Third, is the Wooster network. What is the Wooster network? It is a group of some 25,000 alumni from all around the world. Those alums have been where you are sitting now and those alums are people who can now help you to get where you want to be. On a smaller scale, the Wooster network is the eight recent grads whom I met in Washington, D.C. I recently had dinner with them and talked with them about how they want to get the many alums in Washington organized to help new grads and recent grads network both socially and professionally. It is also the Wooster grad and now entrepreneur who looks to hire Wooster grads. He prefers them because they are smart, disciplined, hard-working, and good writers and communicators.

It is also the seven people – all classmates of mine from Wooster  — with whom I am in daily contact. They are spread out over four states and in three different countries. They look out for Wooster graduates. They do what they can to connect them with others.

It is also the countless other groups of Wooster grads out there – wanting to help the newest members of the graduating class.

And lastly, and importantly, it is the College – through APEX and through the alumni office — who will be looking out for you. For you parents out there, APEX is the College’s commitment to Wooster students for advising, planning, and experiential learning.

Ryan Ozar of APEX said this about the Wooster network: “The Tartan is currency, and it goes far.” I want you to remember that, the Tartan is currency.

Fourth, the networking generation. You are the Networking Generation. You have used Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other networks. You network intuitively. You already have the experience in networking. Join with your College and the Alumni Association and use the Wooster network to your advantage.

And fifth and finally, your success. All of us want you to succeed, and we want you to find that job, or school, or position that is right for you. You will receive e-mails and letters from the association. Choose to engage! Participate every year in The Wooster Fund. Know that participation is more important than the amount contributed. Join with us to make our Wooster network even stronger than it is today – to the benefit of all of us, and most especially, to the benefit of all of you, the newest graduates of The College of Wooster.

And this idea from a student on Saturday night – there was so much to do in Wooster that she did not get a chance to do as a student. She is planning to return for homecoming and reunion weekends. Do it. You will be welcomed back. Come home, to Wooster!

The hard work is over – for now. Let’s get the network kick-started. Let’s put those 25,000 to work. Congratulations to the Class of 2013!

David Gilliss (’80)
College of Wooster Alumni Association

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Spring Alumni Board Update

Greetings fellow alumni,

_MPD0911The College is never more beautiful than it is in the spring, and for that reason, I was even more pleased to be on campus for the spring meeting of your Alumni Board. I worked with the Alumni Office to coordinate our time back on campus with the Senior Research Symposium. For those of you who have not been back to Wooster for a few years, you need to get back next year at this time to experience a celebration of Wooster at its finest – a time when the talents of Wooster’s accomplished students are on full display.  Our school, which continues to distinguish itself as the premier college for mentored undergraduate research, uses the Symposium to showcase the extraordinary Independent Study research projects newly completed by the senior class. I talk more about the Symposium in my blog, below. Here is just a sampling of what we accomplished and experienced during our 3 days on campus:

Dinner with 2013 APEX Student Fellows

We kicked off the weekend with a dinner with the 2013 APEX Student Fellows and staff. If you haven’t heard about it already, APEX is a distinctive program that integrates academic and post-graduate advising, planning, and experiential learning. APEX was created to foster collaboration among academic advising, career planning, experiential learning and the learning center. To learn more about what APEX is all about and how it is benefitting today’s students, please visit

I met with students Deja Moss ‘14, Daniel Cohen ’14, and Jacob Sprano ’14. Jacob will be interning with Unite For Sight in Accra, Ghana for 8 weeks. He will be volunteering with local optometrists and ophthalmologists to bring eye care to under served communities and gain hands on medical experience.

One thing the Board insists on doing each time we are back on campus is to have plenty of time to sit and talk with students. We are each energized and motivated by our time spent with these young men and women. I sometimes wonder what might have been had I had half the talent and even a quarter of the drive and commitment possessed by seemingly each and every one of the Wooster students we meet. Meeting with and sharing a meal with the APEX fellows was no different. The Board was enthusiastic in encouraging the students to keep us informed of their journeys and experiences as they embark on their internships. We want to encourage each one of you as well to be part of the Wooster Network, and be ready to offer an encouraging word and help our young alums with a contact who might be useful in assisting our alums in getting the job he or she desires. We will be working with you more in the future as we work with the College to make that Network more useful to our alumni. 

Senior Research Symposium

_3MD0743On Friday, we celebrated the accomplishments of the senior class at the Senior Research Symposium. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and the Wooster community came together to view art exhibits and research posters, as well as listen to presentations from the senior class. The passion and enthusiasm with which seniors tended to their Independent Studies was inspiring. The Senior Research Symposium is a testament to the value of a Wooster education, and the ever present collaboration of students and faculty. If you would like to read a few of the Independent Studies from the class of 2013, you may do so here.

During the closing ceremonies, fellow alumnus Dr. Drew VandeCreek ’86 presented the keynote address on the digitization of library materials, including materials drawn from collections of other institutions in collaborative projects. Heather Fitz Gibbon, Dean for Faculty Development, presented the Awards for Presenters and Digital Prizes. For more information on the Digitial I.S. Contest, and to review award recipients over the years, visit:

Dinner with Olivia Navarro-Farr, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology

During the dinner that followed, the Board heard from Olivia Navarro-Farr, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, on the discovery of the tomb of Lady K’abel, a seventh-century Maya queen, also known as “Kaloomte’ K’abel.” I cannot recall a more impressive lecture from a college professor. The talk, which was extremely informative and engaging, reminded me that Wooster excels at what it does because its focus is on teaching.  Wooster attracts and retains the very best precisely because of that emphasis. Dr. Navarro-Farr was attracted to Wooster because of the teaching emphasis and we are thrilled to have her as part of the Wooster faculty.

This discovery has made international news, including articles in USA Today and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Dr. Navarro-Farr teaches introductory courses in archaeology, four-field anthropology, archeological method and theory, physical anthropology, and ritual and religion in ancient Mesoamerica. 

College Update by Alumni Trustees

On Saturday morning, President Grant Cornwell, as well as the Trustees on the Alumni Board, provided an update on the College. A few take aways:

  • Marketing: The College has improved awareness of our status as the premier college for mentored undergraduate research among Wooster parents, friends, and alumni.
  • Gault Family Learning Center: The College has a great opportunity to transform the Gault Family Learning Center into the Gault Schoolhouse Suites for seniors to move more toward independent living for upperclassmen.
  • Campus Stewardship: The College is focusing on the improvement of sustainability on campus. The conversion of our coal plant to gas will reduce the College’s carbon footprint. The iconic smokestack will come down this summer. To learn about the College’s efforts on environmental sustainability, visit
  • Continuing Accreditation: As part of the College’s continuing accreditation process, members of the Higher Learning Commission visited Wooster on April 15-17. The visiting team was very impressed with Wooster, and left with the impression that Wooster is a mission-driven college. For more information and updates on the continuing accreditation process, visit

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Every year, the Alumni Board’s Nominations Committee reviews nominations and selects award recipients for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The award is given each year to three alumni who bring honor to the College through their service and/or professional accomplishments. This year, Jim Clarke ’59, Ken Fischer ’66, and Diane Jorkasky ’73 will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards during Alumni Weekend, June 7-9.

clarke_jimJim Clarke ’59

Known as Tom Clarke while at Wooster, Jim majored in economics, was involved with Kappa Chi, varsity basketball, student government, and the student orientation committee. Most recently, Jim served as International Executive Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before his retirement in 1999 and is a Trustee Emeritus at The College of Wooster.

Kenneth C. Fischer ‘66

kenKenneth C. Fischer is the President of the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan. A religion major at Wooster, he is an accomplished singer and French horn player (he played in the orchestra at Wooster and sang in the concert

and Westminster choirs), playwright, actor, and author. He has served as cultural ambassador under U.S. State Department auspices to Brazil, China, Lithuania, and Mexico.

Diane Jorkasky ’73

diane2A chemistry major at Wooster who went on for her M.D. in nephrology, internal medicine, and clinical pharmacology, Jorkasky has worked for 26 years for the pharmaceutical industry helping to ensure that drugs are safe and effective. Diane is the president of a private consulting business, specializing in translations pharmacology and medicine in the development of drugs.

For more information on this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, check out the Spring 2013 edition of Wooster Magazine.

Strengthening Wooster’s Network


Alumni Board members, alumni and staff conclude a productive Alumni Board weekend.

This year’s Alumni Board has made it a priority to work closely with the College and especially with the professionals within APEX, to use the full resources of the Alumni Association to help build and strengthen the Wooster Network. Wooster is blessed with a strong and committed alumni base.  There are more than 25,000 of us literally all over the world.  We can do a better job of using this network of alumni to assist our young alumni as they enter an uncertain job market. (For that matter, we can be there as well for our more seasoned alumni as the new economy pushes some of us to develop new skills and seek out different work). We urge you to be ready to assist those Wooster alumni who reach out to you for support and we invite you to stay engaged with the College as Wooster comes to your region, as it hosts events throughout the country, and as it sponsors events on campus, including the Wooster Reunion Weekend, and the annual Homecoming weekend. And please remember to give annually to the Wooster Fund.   The Wooster Fund is vital to achieving Wooster’s mission of providing financial assistance to worthy students who might otherwise not be able to afford the quality education that Wooster provides. Your efforts and your contributions do make a difference. I promise you that!

Please feel free to reach out to me with your ideas about how we can all more fully participate in the Wooster Network. Your Board will continue to keep you informed as we focus on this meaningful project.

With gratitude for all that you do in support of our College,

David Gilliss (’80)
College of Wooster Alumni Association

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Recap of my experience at the Spring BOT meeting

Greetings fellow alumni,

As the president of the Alumni Association, I had the recent pleasure of attending and participating in the Board of Trustee meetings, which were held in early March. The three days during which I was on campus were jam packed with presentations and updates by College officers and Board Committee Chairs. As I learned more about the latest developments with our favorite college, I was reminded of how diligently our board works to ensure that the College continues to grow and thrive as one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions. One highlight (one of many) was the opportunity to hear from Hilary Masell Oswald, the author of the most recent edition of the now famous book, Colleges That Change Lives. Ms. Oswald spoke passionately about the value of a liberal arts education and about the many virtues of Wooster. Of course, her talk was a big hit with all of us.

Here’s an update on some of what was covered during the weekend:

Admissions Results

For the third straight year enrollment has surpassed their previous record, with more than 5,500 applications received for the 560 spots in next fall’s entering class. The applicant pool is strong in all respects, from ethnic and geographic diversity to academic strength. The good results the College is now experiencing are the result of the good efforts of the administration, faculty and staff at the College of Wooster – and of course the efforts of all of you, as you continue to carry the word about Wooster to your own communities.

Gault Family Center Donation

The board has accepted a generous gift from the trustees of the Gault Family Learning Center. This donation presents the College with some amazing opportunities. The property features a beautiful brick building suitable for use as much needed student housing, as well as many other potential uses that support the College’s educational mission, such as administrative, academic and student organization office space. The college will be exploring those possibilities in the coming months. For more information, you can read about the donation here:

Men’s Basketball

basketbal The men’s basketball team had great success again this season. Timken Gym was filled to the rafters with students, faculty, staff, and fans of all kinds displaying Wooster spirit. It was great fun for the Board of Trustees to root along with the crowd. All can be proud of their outstanding season marked by the fourth-straight year of reaching at least the “Sweet 16,” which very few Div. III teams can boast. Unfortunately, Wooster’s season came to an end with a 24-6 record and a North Coast Athletic Conference championship. Cabrini College advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Div. III Men’s Basketball Championship with a 70-63 decision over the Fighting Scots in Timken Gymnasium on March 16th.

Indoor Track Meet

trackandfieldThe College of Wooster hosted the NCAC Track and Field Championships during the March 1st weekend at the Scot Center. The women placed fifth in the team standings with 54 points. Highlighting the Scots’ efforts was Abena Boamah-Acheampong winning the women’s high jump, while both the men and women had relay teams set new school records. The men nearly had themselves a championship in the distance medley event, as the team of Kevin DeGrootJohn LanzGus Fuguitt, and Luke Hutchings-Goetz came up one-hundredth of a second shy of Allegheny College when they crossed in 10:32.63. The Scots did break a school record in the event, though, as they bested last year’s time by almost five seconds (10:37.20) while picking up all-conference honors. You can read more about the track meet here:

View results of the track meet:

Dining Services Study

You may have heard about the study of Wooster’s dining services that is currently underway, whether you saw it online or mentioned in The Wooster Voice. The purpose of this study is to assess what the College does well, and what can be improved. The assessment group includes faculty, staff and students. The goal of this group is to conduct a thorough study of the dining services operation, using a variety of methodologies and metrics beyond the purely financial, including quality and variety of food, accommodation of special diets and needs, quality of service, and the particular ethos and culture of this campus. When it is complete, the study group will report to Financial Advisory Committee, which will offer their recommendations on how to make dining services the best it can be.

My Goal as President

alumniboardA theme of my term as president of the Alumni Association has been to strengthen the Wooster network. Wooster is blessed with not only a strong and talented student body, but an alumni body that is large, diverse, engaged, and committed to helping our newest Wooster graduates. I want to make that network even stronger and more vital as our newest alums enter the working world. Your Alumni Board will focus over the next year and more on what our alumni body can do to make this goal a reality. The College is doing its part to prepare its students for success. Through an innovative approach to student advising, called APEX, an integrated team of experienced advisors encourage students to become passionately engaged in their education and empowered to make informed, intentional choices about academic, personal, and professional opportunities. Wooster’s students are now participating more actively in their educational planning through the work of the offices within APEX. Read about this exciting reality here:

Please contact me with your ideas about how we can all more fully participate in the Wooster Network. Your Board will continue to keep you informed as we focus on this meaningful project.

Your Alumni Board will next convene in late April, when we will have the pleasure of participating in the Senior Research Symposium – a time when the College cancels classes to celebrate the accomplishments of the senior class. This is when Wooster takes off the bushel basket and lets its light shine for all to see. Read more about the Symposium here:

It is a pleasure to work for you as the president of the Alumni Association. Please remember to contact me with your ideas and comments.

Enjoy the spring!

David Gilliss (’80)

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Fall Alumni Board Weekend

Students walking to Kauke in the fall.

The Alumni Board kicked off a beautiful Fall weekend on campus with a discussion of a topic of interest to all Wooster alumni: our desire to assist students as they consider further education or career choices. By having a strong Wooster alumni network, we can help students as they enter the professional world. The Alumni Board also discussed ways to increase both alumni engagement with the college and consistent participation in giving to The Wooster Fund. This past year 5,500 out of 19,000 alumni made a gift to The Wooster Fund, and that matters to us; it’s a place to start, but not where we want to be, as this one indicator likely falls short of the passion for and commitment to the College that many more than 5,500 alumni have for their alma mater.

The mission of APEX is to empower students to make informed, intentional choices about academic, personal, and professional opportunities.

The Board heard from Alison Schmidt, Associate Dean of Academic Advising, about APEX, a distinctive program that integrates academic and post-graduate advising, planning, and experiential learning. APEX is housed newly renovated space in Gault Library and was created to foster collaboration among academic advising, career planning, experiential learning and the learning center. To learn more about what APEX is all about and how it is benefitting today’s students, please visit this web page:

The Board also heard about our great strides in Admissions. With the increase in applications, Wooster can be more selective than ever. As a result, the incoming class is one of the strongest classes academically that we have had in years. Almost half were ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class and one in four is either a U.S. multiethnic or international student.

Board members next did what we love to do – and that is to meet with and engage with students at the College. We had several opportunities to meet with students and discuss with them their experiences on campus and off. We met with the student leaders of the Inter-Greek Council (IGC) and learned about the important role that Wooster’s Greek system plays on campus, as well as the work of the council itself. Leaders of the IGC stressed to us that they and their members are service-driven. Did you know all Greek students are required to participate in at least one organization or sport other than their Greek group? In addition, each active charter must perform community service every semester.

Defensive back Girard Ogletree-Crawford ’13

During the course of our meetings, we had the opportunity to meet with faculty. In addition to Kent Kille and John Gabrielle who are faculty representatives to the Alumni Board, we honored newly tenured faculty at a special dinner. We learned about some cutting-edge and vital research and teaching being done by the faculty at our College. Our alma mater distinguishes itself in its commitment to faculty teaching and research and in the quality of the professors we hire. The newly tenured faculty reflects that tradition. They are core to our mission, and are crucial to our striving for excellence at the College.

We closed out our work at Wooster with a bit of fun: a nail-biter of a football game against the Kenyon Lords…and a heart-breaking loss in the final seconds of the game. But we relished our time with Fighting Scots spirit and not only remain undeterred about the season, but most certainly enthusiastic about the direction and future of the College.

Before I close, I want to return to the ideas presented in the first paragraph of this blog. I want us to work together to strengthen our Alumni Network. I ask that you continue to engage with the College and its students. Think about ways we all can help current Wooster students and recent grads connect with the world outside of college. Send me your ideas – your Alumni Board wants to hear from you. Also, as we head into the holiday season and toward the start of another year, please make a contribution to the Wooster Fund. You can do it on-line through Wooster’s secure site. It is important – yet easy. Please visit:

I wish for all of you a wonderful holiday and a joyous New Year ahead!

David Gilliss (’80)


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Recap of my experience at the Fall BOT meeting

Greetings from your new Alumni Board president! I hope with this blog to have a conversation with all of you – my fellow alums. I want to share with you what I see and hear when I am on campus, and I want to hear about your many and varied experiences as one of about 18,000 College of Wooster alumni.

Earlier this month, I attended my first Board of Trustee meetings as Alumni Board President. The Board of Trustees, the governing body of the College, is comprised of 43 members and meets three times a year. The Alumni Board president attends as an observer.

I was impressed with the many changes and improvements to the campus and the Board’s commitment to improve the lives of our students – both during their tenure on campus, and following their graduation from the College. Here is just a small slice of what is new on campus:

APEX (Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning) was the focus of our Friday evening program. During a reception in the newly renovated space in Gault Library, the APEX team gave an overview of the key elements of this integrated, intentional approach to student advising throughout a student’s four years at Wooster. I urge you to learn more about this innovative approach to learning for Wooster students.

Here is a link to more information:

The Class of ’62 deserves special kudos for creating the seed endowment fund to support APEX Fellowships, which are funded opportunities that offer structure and mentored support to students engaged in summer internships or vocational exploration programs. President Cornwell wrote that “APEX Fellowships are a strong signal of Wooster’s seriousness of purpose in helping students translate the value of their education into a trajectory beyond graduation.”

During the dinner that followed, three Wooster students talked about the opportunities that Wooster afforded them as they explored and defined their aspirations, putting their ideas to work in the world.

I invite you to learn more about this new approach to learning. Please check out this new initiative, become informed, and compare it with your own experience. Lastly, please stay engaged with the College.

The next day, during the full board meeting, the board voted to appoint three new trustees.

Jim DeRose, Jr.’72 currently is the CEO of DeRose Partners, LLC, a management consulting firm. Jim has had a distinguished and varied business career, including positions as president of Mattel USA, Sarah Lee, and DreamWorks.

Leslie Simcox Hudson holds a doctorate in epidemiology and is the parent of a current Wooster student.

Jeffrey Lee Keefer ‘74 rose from product manager to executive vice president and chief financial officer of E.I DuPont de Nemours and Co. before retiring in 2010. He continues to consult for the company part-time.

On Saturday, there was a great sense of collegiality and Wooster spirit at the pre-game tailgate party, which included Trustees, members of the Class of 2013 and the Class of 1963. I am happy to report that the Wooster Fighting Scots football team was victorious against Hiram.

On Sunday, I witnessed the first-ever Wooster Highland Games on a most perfect autumnal day. Approximately 125 bagpipers and drummers gathered on campus to compete in the Eastern U.S. Pipe Band Association’s competition Wooster proved its piping excellence with at least two first place awards.

All in all, the meetings and events represented wonderful examples of the work done at Wooster day after day, year after year. From the stellar students to the extraordinary board members, from the momentum-building initiatives to the displays of Scot spirit, Wooster is obviously on a purposeful trajectory under strong leadership. I invite you to learn more, visit, check out the website, and attend events so you, too, can see our Wooster and its future. Most of all, I look forward to many conversations with you.

-David Gilliss ‘80


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