Broadening Horizons Alumni to Visit Campus

Twelve alumni will visit campus this Saturday to share stories about their time at Andover and their careers with students for the Broadening Horizons program, now in its twelfth year. The event is open to 70 seniors, and alumni will include Zoe Pechter ’95, Co-owner of Riley’s Reads Children’s Books and Gifts, Tim Mahoney ’65, sound and lighting expert who formerly toured with Michael Jackson and the Rolling Stones and Lincoln Chafee ’71, Independent candidate for Governor of Rhode Island. Buzz Bissinger ’72, a Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist and author of Friday Night Lights, will participate in the program following his speech on Friday. Deborah Murphy, Director of the Office of Alumni Affairs, said, “Students think that [the alumni] just magically got to where they are today. When they actually hear their stories and realize that life is full of unpredictable twists and turns, students feel much better.” The program includes three sessions of discussion titled “Finding and Following Your Passion,” “Turning Points/Overcoming Obstacles,” and “Education & The Public Good (Non Sibi).” Students attending the event will be assigned to small groups, and they will spend time with all alumni speakers. The sessions hope to serve as forums for open discussion, during which students and alumni can share their views on their time at Andover and on what path their lives after Commencement may lead. Michael Ebner, ’70, Principal Gift Officer in the Office of Academy Resource, said “There is a new generation that is being educated, and they are being streamlined for their education very early in life. They are looking for those careers that match their best talents. We all know that life is not a straight line.” “I proposed bringing together alumni either who have done very unorthodox things, young and old, to show that life is not a straight line. We want to show how their passions and goals have led to a variety of career paths,” Ebner continued. Ebner, who founded the program in 2002, is responsible for selecting alumni speakers. “So many [alumni] fit into this category of having made many changes and having chance play into their life decisions. I never have an intention of trying to interview them for the program, but I am a story person, and you always find a lot of interesting stories.” Murphy said, “I think it helps kids to hear some of these interesting stories from alumni who are all quite successful and happy with their lives but have all had challenges along the way. It is also helpful for kids to hear from alumni who were all sitting in their same seats, at this very school years ago. Students come out of the program realizing that they do not have it all figured out by the time they graduate.” Annie Pates ’10, who attended the program last year, said, “It was cool to see all the different places an Andover education will lead you to. There are a lot of career options people don’t think about, which is the beauty of the event.” Murphy said that she remembered an alumnus of the program telling her that she only wished someone had taken the time to talk with us about life after Andover and to help prepare us for the next steps. “The alumni really enjoy coming back to campus and connecting with current students. They all remember what it was like to go to school here and they are happy to help the current students in any way possible,” Murphy continued. In its first two years, the program was only available to a select group of Uppers and Seniors who were nominated by faculty in order to ensure full attendance. In years since, the event has been open to all Seniors, and its attendance has been roughly the same. The event will meet from 8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m in Davis Hall, and it includes both breakfast and lunch. Barbara Chase, Head of School, will introduce the alumni.