Not long after his graduation in 1982 Kayvan Ariani began giving back to University Liggett School. To him, financial support is a very small way to give back the school community that offered him an authentic, holistic educational experience for the nine years he attended the school.
“I can only speak from my experience, but Liggett influenced me in many ways,” says Kayvan. Even from Middle School, the academic bar was suitably high to build strengths that served him well in the Upper School, and then onward through his undergraduate work at Stanford University. “It set a standard for me moving forward. When I went to college, I felt like I was well prepared academically.”
Liggett’s unique sense of community, richly steeped in tradition, also offered a level of socialization not found at every school. “It wasn’t just the school, but the students and their families. There was a history to the place and you feel part of that,” says Kayvan. “That was important to me because it gave me a sense of place, a belonging. I wanted to live up to the tradition there.”
Academics, combined with sports and arts, gave Kayvan many memories – he especially enjoyed soccer, baseball, the school newspaper and band. But it was the knowledge that the teachers and staff genuinely cared for its students that made Liggett feel like home for Kayvan. “It was a small school, so there was an intimacy…a certain kind of focus on each individual student,” he says. “I think on a number of levels, it really was a complete type of school, a complete place.”
Learning to sit comfortably in the face of challenge — and the time management needed to juggle many demands — are skills that helped Kayvan pursue several opportunities when he reached Stanford, including playing guitar with his band on the weekends, digging into research as early as sophomore year, and serving as a teaching assistant in a core biology class as a senior.
“It was all about multitasking, which I learned well from my preparation at Liggett. I remember getting out of class to hop on the bus for an away baseball game, but remembering to bring a book to study on the way. It was all about learning how to spend my time wisely.”
As he pursued his medical degree at Stanford, Kayvan worked alongside fellow Liggett alum Roger Wu ’82 in a medical school class of only about 80 students. He also recalls Hilary Feeser Bhatt ‘82, another Liggett alum, was a graduate student working in a laboratory at the Stanford Medical School at that time. “It was nice to see familiar faces from my Liggett graduating class at Stanford during that part of my life,” Kayvan says.
In a critical way, people completely unconnected to Liggett benefit from the personalized care Kayvan received as a Liggett student. He recalls many times teachers sat down to explain a concept or provide a larger context to the work he had before him. This support is something Kayvan harvested, and has given to others in his own life. It’s certainly something he shares with his patients at his Orlando-based private anesthesiology pain practice, where he treats individuals with spine and other pain disorders.
“I try to give individualized, attentive and supportive care to people,” he says. “My whole life, I have been lucky enough to have great educational experiences…and that kind of care people gave me, I have tried to transfer back to my patients.”