• True North

    True North

    I am a lucky girl. With the minor exception of once wishing I looked like Julie Christie, I have never wanted to be anyone but me. The best part is that I know why I am this way: I was raised by my Granny Jo. In 1966, when my own… Read More

    Mar 22, 2012

  • Wayfarer on a Dusty Road

    Wayfarer on a Dusty Road

    Looking back, I wonder whether we should have been in class that morning. It was just before lunch, and I had already missed a few that semester—classes, never lunch—as, unfortunately, my first midterm grades attested. From our residence in Dyer Hall, the path to food at Sarratt took me and… Read More

    Sep 6, 2011

  • How to Fake a Book Report

    How to Fake a Book Report

    Mrs. Quarles was about the best teacher there was in East Tennessee—patient and demanding while teaching us how to take apart sentences and examine their symmetries, which I really did enjoy doing. She was a tough lady, but I knew she loved me, and she knew I loved her class. Read More

    Apr 15, 2011

  • Of Time and the Clock Tower

    Of Time and the Clock Tower

    “I’d really like to go up into the Kirkland clock tower,” I said. It was last November, and I was having brunch with Charlie Taylor, a director of regional gifts in Vanderbilt’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations, in sunny southern California, where I live. Charlie makes periodic visits to… Read More

    Dec 6, 2010

  • How I Played the Game

    How I Played the Game

    My Vanderbilt University education has been such a blessing to me for four decades that I’ve never really been able to put it into words. But I had lots of opportunities to reflect about it last October when my wife, Carla, and I attended my 40-year reunion. It was a… Read More

    Aug 22, 2010

  • A Wrinkle in Time

    A Wrinkle in Time

    Glen Stewart (right) enjoys a pre-earthquake lunch with members of his mission group at the Olafson Hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince. We were going to be late for supper. That thought was uppermost in my mind as I prodded the members of my group to conclude their purchases in the One… Read More

    Apr 7, 2010

  • See You at Kilimanjaro

    See You at Kilimanjaro

    Allison Oubre (left) and Andrea Alvord on campus in their Navy ROTC uniforms. It was their first photo taken together. Dear Allison, It’s been a few weeks since we last wrote, and now we really have no need for letters. You are the ever-present friend. I am here in Slidell,… Read More

    Nov 23, 2009

  • Against All Odds

    Against All Odds

    Wirth “Welcome to Germany. Just three weeks until you’ll be in Bosnia,” I was told by my battalion’s personnel sergeant upon my 1993 arrival in Frankfurt. I never imagined then how my longing to experience the adventures of transformational Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) would lead me through the dense… Read More

    Aug 5, 2009

  • Green Planet Blues

    Green Planet Blues

    Ellen Pearson, second from right, and her family hang themselves out to dry. “Gripes, kudos, inspired ideas for future stories? Put ’em here,” read the Vanderbilt Magazine voluntary subscription card I received in the mail last year. Having long fancied myself an enlightened environmentalist with a throbbing social consciousness, I… Read More

    Mar 16, 2009

  • Dirty Dozen

    Dirty Dozen

    “You must be Catholic.” It’s the most common reaction I hear when someone finds out I’m the youngest of 12 children. (And they’re right—we’re Catholic, raised by the Sisters of Mercy.) The next most common reactions: “Your parents did know what causes pregnancy, didn’t they?” (I guess so—but, really, I… Read More

    Oct 31, 2008

  • Mortar Fire and Ice Cream

    Mortar Fire and Ice Cream

    COURTESY OF MICHAEL WOODARD. When the Black Hawk helicopter I was flying landed at the American base near Al Qayyarah in early October 2005, ending my role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, it came as welcome relief from the maddening pace of the previous 12 months. Naively, I… Read More

    Jul 13, 2008

  • Lord of the Pointy Ears

    Lord of the Pointy Ears

    Outfitters to Wookiees and Warlocks: Paul Bielaczyc, BS’02, MS’04 (standing), and his brother, Michael, only use their special powers for good, helping solve the age-old problem of what to wear to your next Renaissance festival or science fiction convention. The brothers create ogre masks, elf ears, faun pants, fangs,… Read More

    Mar 12, 2008

  • Up from Slavery

    Up from Slavery

    We never know when one small incident will change lives. It was reading a National Geographic article one September afternoon during my sophomore year at Vanderbilt that changed mine. Reading the article “Twenty-First Century Slaves” in my dorm room that day, I was horrified and heartbroken to learn there… Read More

    Nov 1, 2007