Never interrupt when
you are being
flattered

Profiles

Acts Of Faith

Illinois Alumni Magazine June 2007

Eboo Patel ‘96 LAS has the radical idea that people from other religions shouldn’t kill each other.

“Why are religious extremists getting to young people before we do?” he asked. “Why don’t we build a different pattern, a pattern of religious pluralism?”

Faculty Feature: Martha Gillette

University of Illinois Molecular and Cellular Biology magazine April 2007

Martha Gillette’s grin can easily light up a room, but behind that thousand-watt grin is a determination that could stop a freight train.

Although Gillette knew from a young age that she would be a scientist, she faced more than her share of obstacles in the course of her career.

Poet Laureate Donald Hall Applauds Resurgence of Poetry

NCTE Council Chronicle March 2007

Poet Laureate Donald Hall’s love of poetry grew from his fascination with horror movies.

Bebe Moore Campbell

First appeared in NCTE Council Chronicle in March 2006

Although novelist Bebe Moore Campbell started out as a teacher, she always knew she would end up as a writer.

That knowledge was about all she had to sustain herself in the beginning. She struggled for five years in the wilderness of rejection letters before her first short story was accepted. The Shopping Trip, a story about a mother who shopped at three different grocery stores in order to make ends meet, was published in 1976 by Essence magazine.

There’s No Place Like Home

First appeared in Illinois Alumni magazine in January 2006

First, you should know that architect Lori Naritoku ‘82 FAA, MARCH ‘84 FAA, was not too keen on this whole idea of talking about herself. What she does, she said, is not interesting.

“I just kind of like doing my own little thing,” Naritoku said. “It’s not a big deal.”

Frank McCourt Is Forever a Teacher Man

First appeared in National Council of Teachers of English Chronicle in November 2005

Frank McCourt has become rich writing about being grindingly poor. Arriving in America as a teen, having survived a harrowing, poverty-stricken childhood in Ireland, McCourt, who never went to high school, enrolled in college to become a teacher. Many people will be familiar with at least part of his story, told so movingly in his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, Angela’s Ashes (1996) and his second memoir, ‘Tis (1999).

Isabel Allende

First appeared in National Council of Teachers of English Chronicle in September 2005

Anyone who has read Isabel Allende’s novels will not be surprised that she has what she describes as “an ear for stories.”

“I can’t remember my children’s names, but I never forget a good story,” she says with her deep, warm belly laugh.

Purchasing Power

First appeared in in September 2005

When Mindy Conover Meads ‘74 ACES looks at a shirt, she’s probably not thinking about how it will look on her but how it will look on you.

That’s because Meads, recent president and CEO of the clothing chain Lands’ End, has spent her entire career in the retail clothing industry. Starting out as a 16-year old store clerk, at her latest post she ran a company earning $1.6 billion a year in revenue.

Against the Odds

First appeared in Illinois Times in October 2003

It is a late September afternoon. Eighteen-year-old Johniesha Deberry is in labor. Her child wasn’t growing as expected, so birth is being induced. A fine-boned woman, with beautiful clear, black skin, Deberry wears a well-worn hospital gown. Her black hair, tinged with red, is tied in a high ponytail with a bright plastic hair elastic. She looks tiny and scared.

A Telling Effect

First appeared in Illinois Alumni magazine in March 2003

Barry Bearak, MS ‘75 COM, doesn’t like to talk about himself.

“It makes me self-conscious,” he said. “I get flustered.”

On the other hand, he is very good at telling other people’s stories. Bearak, a New York Times staff writer who received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his coverage of the devastation of Afghanistan, has been telling other people’s stories for close to 30 years.

Pages

Read more writings in my features, essays or books