PAW’s Tiger of the Week feature will be taking a break for the next two weeks, but we encourage readers to keep sending nominations of alumni doing interesting or notable things. Many of our honorees make headlines, but several have made their mark away from the public spotlight — and fellow alumni often are the ones who bring their stories to our attention. Follow the links below to read about the alumni featured in 2014.
Our Tiger of the Week honors this week go to two big-city mayors, one former and one soon-to-be: William Hudnut III ’54, Indianapolis’ longest-serving mayor, who was honored last weekend with a statue that commemorates his contributions to the city; and Steve Adler ’78, the mayor-elect in Austin, Texas, who won a Dec. 16 runoff election for the post.
Hudnut, the Indianapolis mayor from 1976 to 1992, oversaw an era of remarkable growth in the city. Last year, officials announced the creation of Hudnut Commons, a downtown park refurbished in his honor, and on Sunday, with help from private donors, the city unveiled a final addition: a sculpture called “Mayor Bill,” which depicts Hudnut on a park bench, in a relaxed, affable pose. “I’m grateful that this is a recognition ceremony, not a memorial service,” Hudnut said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “I’m embarrassed to get so much credit for this and have this unveiled to me. This should be unveiled to the staff who helped pull this off.”
The ceremony preceded a home game for the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL team that Hudnut lured to town in 1984. “Mayors tend to do some gutsy things,” current Mayor Greg Ballard said, according to FOX 59. “Some are risk adverse, some are gutsy, but I am here to tell you that the gutsiest thing I ever knew of was building a stadium without a football team. … Holy cow! But it worked.”
Adler, a lawyer and longtime Austinite, is a relative newcomer to electoral politics. He served as chief of staff for a state senator in the 1990s and has been a member of civic and nonprofit boards. He received the endorsement of outgoing mayor Lee Leffingwell and earned the most votes in a crowded November election, falling shy of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
On Tuesday, Adler received two-thirds of the popular vote and defeated City Councilman Mike Martinez. The mayor-elect delivered a message of unity in his victory speech, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “If there is a city that is positioned to get out ahead of poverty, and to get ahead of gentrification, it’s Austin, Texas,” Adler said.
WATCH: Video coverage of the “Mayor Bill” unveiling and Adler’s election victory
After finishing her senior season at Princeton, golfer Kelly Shon ’14 decided to test herself against a new level of competition in pro tournaments on the Symetra Tour, a minor-league circuit for the LPGA. Last weekend, she earned a promotion: With a top-10 finish in the LPGA’s qualifying tournament, she earned her LPGA Tour card for 2015.
Shon will be the first Princeton woman — and third Ivy League alumna — to play regularly on the LPGA Tour. At Princeton, she was one of the most accomplished players the women’s golf team has ever seen — a two-time Ivy Player of the Year and three-time All-Ivy competitor who earned the league’s best-ever individual finish at the NCAA Championships in 2013 (tied for 37th).
Shon’s recent success came in her second pass through the marathon five-day tournament known in golf circles as “Q-School.” Last year, she played well enough to gain entry on the Symetra Tour but fell short of the LPGA cutoff. This time, Shon carded a 6-under-par 354 to graduate in a class of 20 tour qualifiers, including 14 rookies. She completed the weekend with a tap-in for an even-par 72 on Sunday.
Joseph Barrett ’14, one of two Pyne Prize recipients from last June’s graduating class, has spent the past few months working to expand the Petey Greene Program, a prison-education nonprofit founded by alumni Jim Farrin ’58 and Charles Puttkammer ’58. Barrett had tutored inmates in GED studies and adult basic education during his time as an undergraduate. Now, as the regional field manager in Massachusetts, he builds partnerships between colleges and nearby correctional facilities. But Barrett’s work will take a detour next fall: Last week, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, joining two current undergraduates, Rachel Skokowski ’15 and Sarah Yerima ’15, in the class of 32 American recipients.
The news, Barrett said, was both exciting and shocking. “It was a really impressive group there as finalists — they could have chosen anyone,” he said. Continue reading
As a writer and executive editor for Texas Monthly, S.C. (Sam) Gwynne ’74 covered big names of the early 21st century, including White House adviser Karl Rove and football phenom Johnny Manziel. But as an author of nonfiction books, Gwynne has found a niche telling the stories of notable 19th-century figures. His 2010 book about Comanche chief Quanah Parker, Empire of the Summer Moon, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Circle Award. His new release, Rebel Yell, a biography of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, has spent four weeks on the New York Times Best-Sellers list and earned praise from reviewers. Continue reading
In July, Rebecca “Bex” Levine ’01 started a new job as an officer in Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. She spent one month in training and then began working as a disease detective on one of the most significant health challenges in recent years: the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Levine was deployed for a month in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with a CDC team that supported local partners in epidemiology and contract tracing, finding the people who’ve come in direct contact with sick Ebola patients. She will be heading back for another 30-day stretch beginning in mid-December.
The Ebola outbreak’s size and scope has presented significant barriers for public health officials, according to Levine. “It does sound like a major undertaking for us, as we sit here in the United States,” she said. “Take all of that and put it in a context where computers are not regularly used, where power is not reliable, where resources are so incredibly limited.” What we might think of as easy tasks, she said, become “immense challenges” in Sierra Leone. Continue reading