With long blue pennants flying over the giant white tent pretty as a medieval fanfare, my heart swells for the glory of W&L alumni. Alumna, alumnorum, alumius, whatever, they’re all over the place for Alumni Weekend. What I appreciate is how the alumni network worked to help set up our great NY Magazine visit that starts Sunday.
Here’s how W&L alums helped. We’ll start at ASME, whose summer internship program has taken on several of our journalism majors. Then we have lunch with Stacy Morrison, class of ’90, whose gift for magazine-editing (a certain shrewd optimism about people in the aggregate and culture in the now) put her in charge of Marie Claire, Redbook, Modern Bride and now, BlogHer. Then we go to the Madison Avenue offices where Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is re-positioning the historic New Republic for the 21st century – a visit set up for us by Will Chamberlin, ’08, one of the market-researchers in that office.
Tuesday morning, we walk to the dazzling Hearst Building (the only LEEDS certified skyscraper in New York, spurting out of the old 1920s pediment of the building). My former student Elyse Moody, ’07, an assistant editor at Elle, has us set up with an art director there. (Elle, born fashionably in Paris, is now involved – like, more than “dating” – with another Hearst title, Esquire. The current issues of both have a section from the other inside.) Then we hop down to Chelsea on the Hudson for lunch with another former student of mine, Becky Mickel, ’13, who is at Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Becky has us set up for a tour of the Martha Stewart operation there. Then we scurry up to the famous Time-Life building on 6th Ave., across from Radio City. Alison Kudlacik, ’02, in the marketing side of Time Inc’s powerhouse, People magazine, has us set up with another W&L alumna, Lee Cordobes, ’01, associate publisher of Cooking Light.
What an itinerary! The only non-W&L alum is an alumnus of my college, Bennington. Alec Wilkinson, who graduated around the same time as I did from Bennington (we all sort of dropped in and out of Bennington as the spirit moved us in those days) will take us on a stroll to Strawberry Fields in Central Park on Wednesday morning. Alec has been a staff writer at the New Yorker for about 30 years, was taken under the wing of one of the best editors ever, the late William Maxwell, and has written a number of excellent non-fiction books.
— Prof. Cumming