Looking ahead

Once a week we devote this space to news for and about our alumni, such an important part of our life at Liggett.

The Class of 1983

The Class of 1983

As the year draws to a close, it is time to start thinking about Alumni Weekend 2014! We hope that all alumni will save the date for this weekend’s festivities. Alumni Weekend will be held May 15-17, 2014.

If you are part of reunion class, now’s the time to get cracking on a dinner or reunion event. Milestone classes for 2014 include all graduation years ending in a 4 or 9. Examples include Class of 1964, who is hosting a 50th reunion bash, or Class of 1989, who will be celebrating their 25th reunion. If you are interested in planning your reunion event contact the Alumni Office at 313.884.4444, Ext. 415 or via email at slee@uls.org.

The University Liggett School Class of 1988

The University Liggett School Class of 1988

Not sure what to expect from Alumni Weekend? Check out photos from last year’s events on Facebook here.

The schedule for the weekend is now finalized and will include the following events:

Thursday, May 15 at the University Liggett School campus
-Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony

Friday, May 16 at the Country Club of Detroit
-Men’s Golf Outing and Lunch at the Turn
-Ladies Luncheon

Saturday, May 17 at the University Liggett School campus
-Campus tours
-Class Photo Session
-All-Alumni Cocktail Reception
-Class Cup Competition Award
-Alumni Loyalty in Annual Giving Award
-Reunion Dinners

We cannot wait to welcome everyone back to campus! For any questions about Alumni Weekend call the Alumni Office. Have you been to a recent Alumni Weekend? Share your memories and thoughts about the events in the comments section below.

Connecting yoga and Africa

Once a week we turn this space over to news for and about our alumni, who are such an important part of life at Liggett.

“What we achieve inwardly will change our outer reality.” This is a quote by Plutarch that alumna Charlotte Waldmeir ’09 has been reciting in all of her yoga classes.

Charlotte Waldmeir

Charlotte Waldmeir

Charlotte, who graduated from DePaul this summer and whose aunt, Maureen Zamboni, teaches in our Liggett Lower School, has been teaching yoga full time in Chicago. She says that her journey to inner peace has roots in her Liggett education.

“I believe that the path to my career is very much connected to Liggett and the amazing community I was a part of there for so many years. I was involved in the athletics program where I played field hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball. I was also involved in the arts, painting and drawing every chance I could get in Mr. P’s art studio. The reason I gravitated to yoga post high school was because personally, I saw yoga as the union between being in the physical world and in the creative world that I had created while at Liggett.”

When asked why she loves the Plutarch quote, Charlotte explains, “The world starts with our own inner selves. In a way, we paint our experience with a brush dipped in our own character. Inner conflict, depression, self-doubt, anger — all of these personal burdens affect the outside world and the reality that everyone lives in. And that’s where yoga comes in. When you walk into a yoga studio you instantly dedicate yourself to inner peace. You remove disturbances and listen to your own breath. You focus on the truth of your senses and ignore your thoughts. Breathing through challenging postures, you practice patience, self-awareness, and compassion. Your newfound peace then radiates to those around you, creating genuine connections and a universal peace.”

Through this work, Charlotte is now embarking on a new endeavor to spread peace and provide support to those who need it most. She has teamed up with a unique nonprofit, the Africa Yoga Project, to use the teachings and practice of yoga to educate and empower people across East Africa. Charlotte will be travelling to Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2014 to work on service projects and participate in yoga classes with local Kenyans. She is also raising funds for the organization to directly aid the Africa Yoga Program.

The organization, founded in 2007, offers 350 outreach programs a week that reach 6,000 people. Activities on a weekly basis include: yoga practice, meditation, self-exploration through inquiry, performing arts as a vehicle for empowerment, health education (HIV/AIDS), relationship building and community activism. In addition, the organization trains locals to become yoga instructors and then hires them to teach many of the courses. More than 200 people have been trained so far.

Charlotte is so excited to join this amazing group on the upcoming trip, and we will follow-up with her early next year to find out more about her time with the program. Interested in more information? Visit the Africa Yoga Program’s site here and Charlotte’s own website about the trip here.

By Savannah Lee

Are you an alumnus/alumna involved in a cool project like Charlotte? We would love to share your story! Contact Savannah Lee, Alumni Relations Manager at 313.884.4444, Ext. 415 or slee@uls.org to share your information.

Back from the East

Once a week, we turn this space over to news for and about our alumni, a very important part of Liggett Life.

The Alumni Office had two extremely successful events on the east coast this week, and we were so glad to have so many alumni turn out to greet us!

In New York City: Christian Redding, Drew Brophy and Katherine Fitzgerald

In New York City: Christian Redding, Drew Brophy and Katherine Fitzgerald

Tuesday, November 12, alumna Mary Warren ’81 held a reception at her home in New York City. The event was attended by about 20 alumni from grad years 1960-2009. We had a large group of young alumni attend the reception including four people from the Class of 2009! They were Christian Redding, Drew Brophy, Chris Brownell and Katherine Fitzgerald. In addition to networking with their fellow alumni and catching up with Liggett’s Alumni Office,  the alumni guests were the first group to watch our new admissions video!  Everyone was also very excited to hear from Head of School Dr. Joe Healey, who answered questions about plans for the athletic fields, the Curriculum for Understanding and upcoming projects at Liggett. It was a lovely evening, and you can see pictures from the event on Facebook here.

In New Canaan, Conn., Elizabeth Kontulis ’79 and Sara Champion ’59 GPUS

In New Canaan, Conn., Elizabeth Kontulis ’79 and Sara Champion ’59 GPUS

The next morning, Wednesday, November 13, alumna Elizabeth Kontulis ’79 hosted an alumni reception in New Canaan, Conn. There were 15 alumni in attendance from classes 1959–1988. The attendees were very excited to hear about the Middle School improvements, the school’s upcoming campaign and the Grosse Pointe community today. Everyone was very excited about our C4U program, including the Academic Research Program, and Dr. Healey shared some great stories about our ARP seniors, and their research. You can enjoy photos from this event on Facebook too here.

Our trip to New York and Connecticut was the kick-off to our regional alumni events for the 2013-14 school year. Next up, we will make our way to Florida. We will check back in with updates as the travel season continues!

By Savannah Lee
Alumni Relations Manager

Seniors network with connected alumni

On Wednesday, November 6, Liggett hosted an alumni networking session to give the seniors an opportunity to speak with adults in the community about professions, experiences, possible outreach opportunities, and possible project ideas.

Daniel Ngoyi was among the younger alumni who spoke to the students.

Daniel Ngoyi was among the younger alumni who spoke to the students.

The goal was to enlighten our seniors about the importance of educational and professional networking by modeling the process with the Liggett community. In return, the alumni heard about current Upper School programs and saw the new Middle School. Each of the alumni sat with a group of seven students to share their journey and stories for approximately 10 minutes, at which time they moved to another table of seven students.

Stacy Buhler discussed advertising, a career she loves, but not one she expected.

Stacy Buhler discussed advertising, a career she loves, but not one she expected.

Senior Austin Sasser explained the benefits to the rotating program: “Today, I learned mostly about how connections are very important for the future. All the alumni came from different backgrounds (besides Liggett), which was really interesting to hear about. They also talked about how being nervous for college is okay because in the end, it’s a wonderful experience.”

Alumni who participated were
Stacy Buhler ’82               Advertising, W Magazine
Pahl Zinn ’87                     Law, Dickinson Wright
Ian Jones ’86                     Publishing, Autoweek
William Burns ’93             Engineering, Marines
Lauren Parrott ’02           Television Operations, WMTV
David Keys ’07                  Accounting, Grant Thornton
Daniel Ngoyi ’06                Recruitment, Quicken Loans
Robert Levi ’68 GPUS      Law, Private Practice
Doug Wood ’90                   Financial Planning, Wells Fargo

The varied professions and graduation years added dimension to the experience; all of the students heard something insightful.

Pahl Zinn offered advice.

Pahl Zinn offered advice.

Senior Anthony Simon explained, “The alumni gave us a good understanding of life after Liggett and how to pursue your goals in college and out in the real world.” And senior Vinnie Scarfone stated, “Today I enjoyed the experience very much. I learned that you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do right out of high school and college, to keep an open mind, and to network to open up connections for opportunities.” While senior Tiana Whitely took away a different message, “I found the session to be helpful overall because we had the opportunity to hear a wide spectrum of experiences. One piece of advice that I found to be most helpful was from Mr. Ian Jones. He told us, and I loosely quote, “Instead of planning your life starting from now to where you want to end up, start backwards from where you want to end up and find the path to get there. That way you won’t end up with a result that doesn’t satisfy you.”

Our helpful alumni were full of advice.

Our helpful alumni were full of advice.

Senior Julia DeRoo appreciated a story of changes in direction, “One of the biggest things I learned from all the alumni was that plans might change, but it is important to do something fulfilling to you.  I specifically liked meeting with Stacy Buhler. She graduated from college with a degree in political science and Spanish but now is in advertising. I thought it was interesting how different her job is from what she majored in in college, and even though her job isn’t what she was expecting it to be, she still loves it.”

In the end, we achieved the goal of the session, which was to allow the students to understand the value of educational and professional networking. Senior Joshua Dickens explained what he discovered from the session saying, “The experience was very eye-opening for me. I realize now how important and helpful networking can be once I get out of college. I also understand how easy it could be to just pick up a phone and call someone to ask for help or advice.”

The students, alumni and faculty all seemed to walk away feeling that they had gained true insights into each other, and the alumni remarked that they learned as much from the students as the students did from them.

These networking sessions are planned as a more frequent project for the future, and a session for the spring is in the works now. If you are an alumnus who would like to speak with our students please contact Savannah Lee in the Office of Alumni Relations at 313.884,4444, Ext. 415 or via email at slee@uls.org

By Shernaz Minwalla,
Director of the Advanced Research Project

Alumna elected to Detroit City Council

On Tuesday, the voters of Detroit elected University Liggett School alumna Raquel Castaneda ’99 to sit on the city council in the newly created District 6.

Liggett alumna Raquel Castaneda-Lopez is the first Latina elected to the Detroit City Council.

Liggett alumna Raquel Castaneda-Lopez is the first Latina elected to the Detroit City Council.

Raquel received 6,781 votes from neighbors, friends and supporters in District 6. This district consists of areas downtown including Southwest Detroit home to the Mexican Town area where much of Raquel’s campaigning took place.

A well-liked student at Liggett, Raquel was the manager of David Backhurst’s soccer team, and the two have stayed connected throughout the years. He was a huge supporter of Raquel, and helped her throughout the campaign. Through their friendship, David was able to expose our current students to the inner workings of a political campaign, and his civics class had the opportunity to volunteer in Detroit for Raquel last Saturday.

Raquel will become the first Latina council member in the history of Detroit. She and her fellow council members are the first members elected to the new seven district council structure. Check out additional information on Raquel and her campaign on Facebook here. Raquel’s win has also been featured in the Free Press, which you can check out here.

Congratulations to Raquel!

We’re headed East

It’s travel season in the Alumni Office!

From left, Susan Latos, Rick Latos ’65 GPUS and Toni Slotkin ’65 GPUS, attend last year's New York City event.

From left, Susan Latos, Rick Latos ’65 GPUS and Toni Slotkin ’65 GPUS, attend last year’s New York City event.

The invitations have been sent, and alumni are buzzing with registrations for two east coast events. The trips kick off in November with an event in New York City on Nov. 12 and a morning reception in New Canaan, Conn., the next day. University Liggett School has some 300 alumni living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and we make the trip each year to keep them connected to the school!

Our alumni event in New York City is being hosted by alumna Mary Warren ’81 in her home. This is the second year in a row Mary has opened her home to us, and welcomed University Liggett School to share updates on the school and opportunities to network for our regional alumni.

The New Canaan, Conn., event is new this year, and will be hosted by alumna Elizabeth Kontulis ’79 at the Country Club of New Canaan. This event is a new format as well. It will be a morning reception featuring coffee, fruit and pastries. Head of School Dr. Joe Healey will give an update on the school and answer questions.

Both events are free and we encourage alumni to attend for networking with fellow grads and our school leadership. Registration is required for both events and can be found online at www.uls.org/alumni.

If you have any questions about our east coast trips, or the rest of the 2013-14 alumni regional event schedule contact me at 313.884.4444, Ext. 415 or via email at slee@uls.org. We can’t wait to see you!

Savannah Lee
Alumni Relations Manager

A celebration of talent and dedication

One day a week we turn this space over to news for and about our alumni, such a big part of life at Liggett.

Inductee Gene Overton

Inductee Gene Overton

The Third Annual Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony took place last Friday, and it was a night filled with wonderful stories of athletic triumphs and reflections on teams and coaches from over a century of players. Five honorees were inducted this year. These athletes included John Neil Patterson ’06 DUS, David Rentschler ’52 DUS, George Perrin ’64 GPUS, Laura Khelokian Byron ’87 and faculty emeritus Gene Overton.

Each year a committee made up of coaches, faculty, staff and alumni meet to vote on nominations sent into the Alumni Office. Anyone can nominate someone for the Hall of Fame, and you can find out more on how to do that by contacting me at 313-884-4444, Ext. 415 or by email.

George Perrin and his wife Dominique.

George Perrin and his wife Dominique.

After a few words from Head of School Dr. Joseph Healey and Athletic Director Michelle Hicks, a new category was introduced for this year: the historical honoree. University Liggett School, being a product of four predecessor schools, has a long history of impressive athletes. We created the historical candidate to celebrate this history and induct athletes who deserve recognition from the early years of our school. The first recipient was John Neil Patterson, an alumnus of the Detroit University School who graduated in 1906. Staff emeritus, Phil Langford, gave a brief overview of Patterson’s career at DUS which included multiple district and state trophies in track and field. Patterson also competed for the United States Olympic team and won gold and silver medals in high jump.

Laura Khelokian Byron, left, Shelly Tucker '87 and Meri Dembrow.

Laura Khelokian Byron, left, Shelly Tucker ’87 and Meri Dembrow.

After the induction of our historical nominee, each inductee was introduced by a special coach, teammate, colleague or family member of his or her choice who shared the inductee’s athletic highlights and personal stories.

David Rentschler’s classmate, Paul Brown ’52 DUS, highlighted David’s tenacious spirit on the football field and a humorous story in which David won a steak dinner from coach Earl Kimber by going out for the track team. David passed away in May and this event became a heartfelt moment to celebrate David, with his wife Dianne, his children, grandchildren, siblings and friends.

George Perrin ’64 GPUS was introduced by former coach, and longtime GPUS faculty member, Richard Trim. Mr. Trim shared George’s impressive stats including 12 school records in football. Mr. Perrin was delighted to accept the award, and reflected on the great teams he was a part of that included fellow alumni Chuck Wright ’66 GPUS and Charles McFeeley ’64 GPUS. Both Chuck and Charles were at the ceremony to cheer George on.

Laura Khelokian Bryon ’87 was introduced by her sister Sara Coyle, who talked about Laura’s years on the soccer team and field hockey team, and how they led to an impressive career at Dartmouth. Laura discussed the importance of being a female athlete, and how she felt privileged that Liggett provided so many opportunities to women to be empowered in a variety of sports.

The evening concluded with a wonderful speech by faculty emeritus, Jim Schmidt, about honoree Gene Overton. Jim shared many amazing stories of Gene’s tireless commitment to the athletics department for more than 36 years. Gene filmed thousands of hours of softball games, and managed the scorebook for boys and girls basketball for three decades at GPUS and then University Liggett School.

All in all, the ceremony was a special evening for guests. About 90 alumni, faculty, staff and friends were in the audience to congratulate the inductees and celebrate University Liggett School. Congratulations to all of our 2013 inductees!

By Savannah Lee, Alumni Relations Manager

The caveman cometh

OK, he’s not really a caveman, but with his beard and long hair John Durant could play one on TV. If, of course, cavemen were reasoned, polite, well-spoken and charming.

Students kept asking John Durant questions long after his speech to the Upper School ended.

Students kept asking John Durant questions long after his speech to the Upper School ended.

Durant, who graduated from Liggett in 2001, returned to speak to Upper School students about his first book, “The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health,” which came out last month. He is on a nationwide book tour to promote it and will be signing books from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Barnes and Noble at Pointe Plaza at the intersection of Mack Avenue and Moross.

What is the Paleo lifestyle, you may ask? Well, it’s a way of living that mimics, as much as it can in these tech-centered days, the way man once lived. Its tenets include the importance of being an omnivore, of cutting out processed foods and whole-body exercise and the cleansing values of fasting. That’s an oversimplification, but the idea is that we are unhealthier now than we have been in generations, so maybe there’s a way for us to draw wisdom from the past.

“It’s just common sense in how to keep a human being healthy,” Durant told the students.

In the book, Durant uses evolutionary theory to present the science behind the Paleo lifestyle and explains how and why it worked for him — and for many others. What he does not do is push it on people. He presents the facts in an engaging way and lets the readers decide whether it’s something they want to try. It’s not a diet book — he’s quick to point out there are no recipes in it — he simply wants to prove, scientifically, that there are lessons to be learned from nature, from science and from ancient man, with whom we share DNA.

For the record, Durant knows what he sounds like. When asked how long he’s lived a Paleo lifestyle (seven years), he adds “I’ve been a weirdo for a long time.”

Durant took several questions then stood answering questions in the hallways from students intrigued by his premise. One student came by and said he thought Durant’s talk would be too weird, but he ended up liking what he heard. He especially liked the fact that the Paleo lifestyle is not necessarily about what you can’t eat, but what you can eat. He adds that his diet has broadened since he started seriously watching what he ate.

Read a full story on Durant’s road to where he is today — and stories of other alumni who found themselves off the beaten path — in our latest edition of Perspective.

By Ron Bernas

A sneak peek at Perspective, coming to your mailbox soon

Each week we devote one day to news for and about our alumni, such a vital part of live at Liggett.

Perspective Fall Cover 2013-14Hey alumni, make sure to check your mailboxes next week. Perspective, the alumni magazine, is on its way to you, and this issue is filled with interesting articles, a ton of photos from Alumni Weekend, class notes and much more. Here’s a small peek inside the magazine.

The feature story is an expanded version of our regular feature Cool Jobs. Five alumni are profiled in the piece, and their careers span from travel writer, Broadway carpenter, government service officer, organic farmer and even Liggett’s only (probably) professional caveman, John Durrant ’01. John’s new book about the Paleo diet and lifestyle titled “The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health” was released September 17. Currently on his book tour, John will stop by school next week to talk with Upper School students. Check out this article featuring John, and our other

John Durant

John Durant

alumni with cool jobs, and look for a follow-up post next week about John’s visit to school! (And if you think you have a cool job, let us know, you may be profiled in a future Perspective.)

If you keep yourself informed about the school, you’ve no doubt heard the term C4U. It stands for the Curriculum for Understanding, the hallmark of Liggett’s educational model. We encourage students to take ownership of their learning in an area of their choosing. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our Upper School’s Academic Research Program (ARP). The ARP projects from last year — the first year of the program — are also featured in this issue of Perspective, and chronicle the process of the ARP for last year’s 23 students enrolled in the program. Check out the article for a great snapshot of what’s going on in our Liggett classrooms today! Learn more about the Curriculum for Understanding at our website here.

Chris and Lindsay Brownell

Chris and Lindsay Brownell

Additional articles include one from current Liggett parent Shelli Elmer, a student perspective written by Taniesha Williams ’13 about her work at Focus: HOPE, and a story about Lindsay ’06 and Chris ’09 Brownell’s summer adventure on the El Camino de Santiago.  The magazine also has a plethora of class notes! Many notes focus on the fun had at reunion, summer trips, like alumnus Jody Jennings ’61 GPUS’s trip to Italy, and new baby announcements from alumni like Leython Williams ’03. You may remember that we featured a “pre-baby” post on Leython earlier this year. Read it here!

We hope you enjoy the fall issue of Perspective next week! In the meantime, catch up on the past issue of Perspective on our website here, and on the Alumni Facebook page here.

By Savannah Lee
Alumni Relations Manager

Fall Preview: University Liggett School hosts a variety of events for alumni

Once a week we devote this space to news for and about our alumni, such a vital part of life at Liggett.

The fall season is off and running, and the Alumni Board of Governors and the Alumni Office have a ton of events in store for alumni!

The 2012 class of the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame inductees will be joined by several new members in October.

The 2012 class of the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame inductees will be joined by several new members in October.

Our Annual Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame induction is first on the calendar. This year’s ceremony will take place on Friday, October 11. There will be a cocktail reception with the inductees from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. and then we will celebrate the 2013 class with a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The event is in the Manoogian Arts Wing of the school and you can register for this free event online at www.uls.org/alumni.

The honor will be bestowed upon four amazing athletes including John Patterson ’06 DUS, David Rentschler ’52 DUS, George Perrin ’64 GPUS and Laura Khelokian Byron ’87. In addition to the athletes, we are very excited to induct faculty emeritus Gene Overton. Read about each inductee on our Facebook page here where we chronicled each inductees athletic highlights over the last week!

We'd love to see you at Homecoming on Oct. 12.

We’d love to see you at Homecoming on Oct. 12.

To continue the tradition of athletic excellence, we will celebrate Liggett’s annual Homecoming the following day on Saturday, October 12. The day kicks off with an Alumni Football game at 11 a.m., and there is still time to register! Relive your glory days, and receive a free T-shirt for playing in the game. Alumni Pahl Zinn ’87 and Bill Listman ’87 (that’s him below) have been recruiting players for all years. We would love you to join! Register online.

There's still time to register to play in the Alumni Football Game.

There’s still time to register to play in the Alumni Football Game.

In addition to the alumni game, varsity boys soccer will play at 11 a.m., varsity field hockey will play at 11:30 a.m. and the varsity football team will round out the day beginning at 1 p.m. There are a lot of family friendly activities planned for the day as well, including face painting, a bounce house, obstacle course, pumpkin painting and a children’s parade before the football game at 12:30 p.m. Stop on by for a bit, or stay all day and celebrate Liggett athletics!

The Alumni Board of Governors will also be out supporting the event with an alumni cook tent filled with fall treats like donuts and cider, hot chocolate and hamburgers and hot dogs.

Finally, to keep the fall fun going the Alumni Office is planning a new local event! We will be hosting a bike tour in downtown Detroit for families on Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The event will be a private tour for our alumni group facilitated by the Detroit company Motor City Bike and Brew Tours. The event is limited to the first 20 participants, and includes the tour and lunch afterwards at the Traffic Jam & Snug in Midtown. The cost is $30, and bike rentals are available for an additional $10. Come bike with Liggett! For details contact Savannah Lee, Alumni Relations Manager at 313.884.4444, Ext. 415 and slee@uls.org.

Celebrate fall with us all October long by coming out to these great events. We can’t wait to see you! Oh yeah, and GO KNIGHTS!

By Savannah Lee
Alumni Relations Manager