Derek Wayman '06 is tackling more than most students. The 2005-06 Obenzinger Scholar is helping the College create public health programs, volunteering in his hometown and preparing for a career in medicine – all while leading the Dutchmen defense with 51 tackles and five sacks in their 11-1 football season.
The Ronald M. Obenzinger Memorial Premedical Scholarship was created by the late Nathan and Romana Obenzinger in memory of their son, Ronald M. Obenzinger '61, who died of Hodgkin's Disease while a medical student. Ronald's brother, Mark '65, helped organize the trust.
A chemistry major from Ballston Lake, N.Y., who was named Academic All-American by ESPN the Magazine, Wayman says, “The scholarship has allowed me to look past the kind of medicine that gets practiced behind the closed doors of a hospital or doctor's office, and to realize the importance of public health awareness outside the classroom.”
“I am a musician, completely and totally, every part of me,” says Kara McCabe, opera singer and instrumentalist. “My mom tells me I started to sing before I started to talk.”
McCabe is a graduate of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where she studied while simultanecously attending high school in Park Ridge, N.J. At 17, she attended the premier Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, Mass. – having already performed, at 15, at Carnegie Hall as a violinist with the Bergen Young Artists Orchestra.
Now, at 19, McCabe is blending the best of all possible worlds. The daughter of Karen Fasoli McCabe '74 and Tim McCabe '73 and sister of Andrew '03 and Gillian '05, she is pursuing her love of British literature and other courses while taking private vocal lessons.
“I've got four generations of people who left a mark on this College,” McCabe says, noting that a great, great grandfather, a grandfather and a great uncle also went to Union. “My father and my sister won the Bailey Prize. My brother won the Daggett Prize. My mom was a trailblazer; she was in the College's first female class.”
A dual music and English major, McCabe is already exerting her own mark on the school. She sings in the College choir and Garnet Minstrels, writes for Concordiensis and is active in Sorum House Council and several other campus groups.
“I love Union. And it's finally my turn to come here. I'm not going to be at my vocal peak until I'm 30, and instead of throwing myself to the wolves at 18, I know that at Union I'm going to get an amazing, well-rounded, liberal arts experience. I'll go to conservatory as a grad student. To be onstage at the Metropolitan Opera is my be-all and end-all.”
For now, Union gives McCabe the perfect place to mature, take risks and broaden her horizons. She'll sing to that.
Julie and Terry Martin had all the trappings of corporate success – big titles and salaries, prestige and perks – at the height of the e-commerce boom. Then three years ago, after more than two decades, the Class of '81 computer engineers walked away from it all.
Make that kayaked away.
Instead of developing databases, the Martins, who met at Union, are designing their own version of a dream come true as kayakers on Cape Cod.
Julie is store manager and head of the outdoor adventure program for Goose Hummock Paddle Shop in Orleans, Mass. Terry is a boat mechanic for the company's marina. Both teach kayaking and lead guided paddling trips.
“I was 40 the first time I got in a kayak,” said Julie, 46, a Niskayuna, N.Y., native. “I made a very odd career change late in life, and it's awesome. Terry and I had semi-illustrious careers for GE, Unisys, Compaq, Sun Microsystems; we lived in London. You make a lot of money, but sometimes it's hard to enjoy it. The bosses, the customers – whoever the ‘they' is at the moment – have no qualms about calling you at two in the morning.
“My first year out was hard; my second year, I bagged all my suits; the third year, well, I can't imagine going back.”
“I'll do anything to stay close to water,” agrees Terry, 46, of Summit, N.J. “We were working on innovative, exciting projects for original equipment manufacturers, but those jobs are 24/7. You live in airports.”
In 1999, the Martins took a leave of absence. They skied out west, sunned on the Kona Coast, and caught the kayaking bug in the San Juan Islands in Washington state.
When the Y2K frenzy hit, they succumbed to “tons of pressure” to return to their jobs with Sun Microsystems in the World Trade Center.
“Then, in 2001, they blew up the World Trade Center,” Julie said. “We should have been there, but we'd gone back to the islands for some kayaking. We flew into the city the morning of Sept. 11 and were preparing to relocate to Boston that day. We watched the smoke in our rear view mirror… In Boston, where I was overseeing the Northeast Division, it was too weird. My New York employees were traumatized. All of our systems and our intellectual property were gone. I didn't have the energy to start over.”
Said Terry: “We chewed through the corporate leash, this time for real.”
The Martins now make their home in a rambling hillside ranch in South Orleans. Both are paddling-certified by the British Canoe Union.
“I hope to have my own paddling business one day,” Julie said. “My dad, a surgeon, asked me, ‘Aren't you wasting your education?' I said, ‘No, Dad, just the opposite; my education gave me all the smarts, the creative thinking, I need, to do this.'
“At Union, I learned how to think for myself and not be afraid of what's out there.”
Some professors impress students inside the classroom, and others make their mark by giving to students after classes have ended. Professor Emeritus Twitty J. Styles, who taught biology at Union from 1965 to 1997, did both.
To pay tribute to their beloved teacher and mentor, Trustees Fred Pressley Jr. '75 and Estelle Cooke-Sampson '74 helped establish the Twitty J. Styles Scholarship in 2003.
“He was not only a fabulous professor,” said Pressley, “but he was instrumental in encouraging students to pursue the sciences. People respected him and looked up to him.”
It was well-known that Styles' commitment to students continued long after each of his classes was dismissed. At biology club meetings, on field trips and during the countless meals he and his wife, Constance, shared with students at his home, he repeated this message.
“I always told them, ‘Stay with it, you can do the work, put your studies first, and do what you're capable of doing,' says Styles. “They needed to know that someone cared about them and somebody wanted them to succeed. That's what I've tried to convey all these years.”
Pressley, an attorney, and Cooke-Sampson, a physician, are just two of many Union undergraduates who have treasured and valued Styles' guidance over the years.
Styles, who received the Faculty Meritorious Service Award from the Alumni Council for his many years of teaching and guiding pre-med and biology students, has been invited to some 20 graduate school commencements and about half as many weddings. He also continues to receive a steady stream of family photos and friendly phone calls from those whose lives he's touched.
Some former students have contributed to the Styles scholarship, given annually to students, especially biology majors, with financial need.
He adds this plug for giving: More former students and other alumni should kick in funds “so that my spirit and what I want for my students will live on even after I'm gone.
“The best measure of a professor's success is how a student feels about you,” he says. ‘Your student is your final product. They and their success are the final judges of who you are and what you did for them.”
Since Eliphalet Nott created the first endowed scholarship in 1801, Union has welcomed all students who demonstrate superior academic ability. Endowed scholarships provide a permanent source of income for Union undergraduates and help ensure the College's ability to attract and retain the best qualified students. Those alumni, parents and friends who establish an endowed scholarship make their mark on untold generations to come, linking them to Union for all time.
A few facts on scholarships:
Union has approx 390 endowed scholarships; the College stewards about 230 of them.
The College financial aid budget for fiscal year 2005-06 is $25 million.
57% of the 581 freshman in the Class of 2009 received some form of financial aid.
The average total financial aid package this year was nearly $24,000.
As part of the You are Union campaign, the College is committed to raising $39.14 million in endowed merit and need-based scholarships.