Inspired by an encounter with an ailing elderly woman, David Speltz Ô67 became a consultant specializing in reviving troubled hospitals, and over the last eleven years he's helped turn around more than thirty of them. "If I can help get a hospital healthy again," he told the Syracuse, N.Y., Post-Standard earlier this year, "I've done something for the community."
Patriot or Traitor? Michael Newdow '74, a doctor, a lawyer, and an atheist, admits to being eccentric, but he says he's not a nut. Newdow says that his belief in the strict separation of church and state led him to quit his job as an emergency-room physician and file a lawsuit against his daughter's school district arguing that forcing children to pledge allegiance to "one nation, under God" is unconstitutional. When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in June, Newdow found himself besieged by reporters, angry citizens, and an outraged Congress and president. (The decision was quickly stayed, pending appeal.) "I hope they would think I am one of the greatest Americans," Newdow told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I am upholding the Constitution. I am a patriot."
A passion for animals led Buffalo Zoo president Donna Fernandes '81 to devote her professional life to zoology and zoo administration. Fernandes's dedication to her work was so complete she admits she was surprised when Cupid struck in her personal life. "I thought I was like Spock, the Vulcan," Fernandes told the Buffalo (N.Y.) News in May of meeting her husband. "I thought falling in love was too frivolous."
At thirty-six, Buena Vista Motion Pictures president Nina Jacobson '87 doesn't fit the stereotype of the hard-charging movie executive. "I don't know how she ended up anywhere," actress Carrie Fisher told the New York Times in June. "She doesn't run for office, which is what I watch all around me."
His father may be Ireland's richest man, but Tony O'Reilly Jr. '90 says he doesn't believe in nepotism. "There is no family business," O'Reilly told the Daily Telegraph (London) in July. "There is no preordained grand scheme for any of us. It is based on meritocracy."
Actress Julie Bowen '91, also known as Julie Bowen Luetkemeyer, may be one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People, but she claims to be naive when it comes to fashion and glamour. "I looked up one day after going to some fancy, expensive salon in New York City," Bowen told People in May, "and my head looked as though a fuzzy yellow bird was sitting on it. The colorist had told me he was going to lighten the base, but I didn't know what that meant. Now I do."
He may not have inherited his dad's skills on the basketball court, but Stephen Silas '96 is getting noticed for his sidelines skills as an assistant to his father, Paul Silas, the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets. "He's got a good future," Hornets executive Bob Bass told the Times-Picayune in July. "He'll be a good prospect to become a head coach one of these days."
Her advocacy for stress awareness and her credentials as a successful entrepreneur weren't enough to carry Jessica Nam '00 to victory in this year's Miss Rhode Island Pageant. Nam, who also competed in 1998, finished as third runner-up. "This is my last year to compete," Nam, the twenty-four-year-old founder of Jessica's Wonders, told the Providence Journal before the competition.
On the Ball
Despite being cut by two teams before last year's inaugural season of the Women's United Soccer Association, Michaela Rooney '01 didn't abandon her dream of playing professional soccer. Rooney earned a spot on the Boston Breakers' reserve roster this year and played a key role in the team's first game. "I want to prove that it was a mistake that I wasn't playing last year," Rooney told the Boston Herald in May.