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The Dish

For State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America (Ecco), the book’s editors asked a favorite son or daughter from each state in the union to write about his or her homeland. The choice for Nebraska: Alexander Payne, ’83, director of such films as Sideways and About Schmidt. Payne’s essay is largely a salute to Cornhusker practicality, but it also contains this gem, familiar to anyone who has spent time getting to know dormmates from different backgrounds: “A kid from San Jose down the hall from me at Stanford could remember Nebraska only as the place his family bought a new car after they totaled theirs hitting a deer. (That happens a lot, by the way.)”

Samba King and Queen
ROYALS: Harper and queen Kellita Garton.

Everett Harper, MA ’99, MBA ’99, may be the director of community initiatives at Linden Lab, but he had a second life as the king of San Francisco’s 30th annual Carnaval celebration. “Probably nobody knows that the King of Samba went to Stanford Business School,” Kristin Hansen, ’90, MA ’91, MBA ’98, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Well, now they do.

Adaptive rowers Ron Harvey, MS ’94, and Jesse Karmazin, a future Stanford medical student, will be on board in September as the sport is contested for the first time at the Paralympic Games. Harvey rows arms-only single sculls; Karmazin is part of the legs-trunk-arms four-person boat, for which Simona Chin Campbell, ’02, will serve as coxswain. Medical student Cheri Blauwet, who won one gold and two bronzes in 2004, will compete in wheelchair racing.

Jack Swarbrick, JD ’80, has returned to his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, as athletics director. A longtime partner at the law firm Baker & Daniels, Swarbrick is a leader in the Indianapolis sports scene; he helped bring the Super Bowl, the NCAA national headquarters, the Pan Am Games, the Final Four and more to his home city. “Notre Dame was wise to land Jack Swarbrick before someone else did,” said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

On July 1, Ted Mathas, ’89, became CEO of New York Life Insurance Company, the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States. He will oversee all of the company’s U.S. and international operations, including individual life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. He joined New York Life in June 1995 as an officer in the asset management department. 

Nelson Dong, ’71, has been elected member and director of the National Committee on U.S.-China relations, joining such luminaries as former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger and secretary of defense Robert McNamara. Dong co-chairs the Asian law practice at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and is a director of the Committee of 100, a New York-based nonprofit that promotes U.S.-China relations.

Chocolate Lovers
Courtesy Howard Peters

The business card for Mr. and Mrs. Chocolate (aka Howard, PhD ’67, and Sally Peters), says, “Have Chocolate—Will Travel.” Still, it was a treat to be invited aboard the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 as last-minute replacements for the guest speakers. The Peterses, who have chemistry backgrounds, gave a presentation on chocolate (with a raffle for 10 pounds of Guittard bittersweet for those who “stayed to the bitter end”). Howard Peters, a longtime Palo Alto patent attorney, also spoke about immigrants and patents and about Joseph Priestley, “the British father of American chemistry.” It was, he says, “tough duty—but, then, someone has to do it.”

After Hurricane Katrina hit, Rolando Toyos, MA ’89, offered free eye care to the evacuees who streamed into Memphis, Tenn., including several jazz musicians. On May 29, the Jazz Foundation of America recognized the ophthalmologist at its annual concert and benefit at the Apollo Theater in New York City. “Our clinic is always open to anyone who needs our help,” Toyos said. “It was our privilege to take care of the Katrina victims, including the many musicians who came our way.”

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