The Colgate Scene
September 2001

People on the go
Katie's Kids

Katie Brant '92 was taken from life too soon, but she formed a legacy that will continue forever.

The enthusiastic, courageous young woman was diagnosed with brain cancer at the end of her first year at Colgate. Her illness required her to live at home for treatment in Philadelphia and transfer to the University of Pennsylvania.

"Katie loved Colgate and was devastated when she was not allowed to return," says friend and classmate Madeline Paske Baulig. "She had joined Kappa Alpha Theta, played sports and the piano, and made an impact on all who met her. She always said her one year at Colgate was her favorite."

Despite undergoing brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Brant graduated from Penn cum laude. She developed her marketing career in New York City, where she and Baulig became roommates. At Time, Inc., Brant created her own position in cause-related marketing, which involves advocating businesses to donate a portion of their sales to charities, her first step towards her dream to make a difference for children.

Unfortunately, the tumors kept recurring and Brant endured extensive treatments, including a double stem cell transplant. She briefly held her final, dream job, as national director of corporate marketing at UNICEF, until her doctors told her she didn't have much time left.

"I remember Katie saying she wanted something to live beyond her," says Baulig. Brant set out to create Katie's Kids for the Cure (www.katieskids.org), a foundation to fund innovative and creative research in pediatric brain tumors, the leading cause of cancer death in children under 20 and the third leading cause of cancer death in young adults. Through her many friendships and connections, Brant recruited medical and advisory boards of international stature.

Shortly before she died in July 1999, Brant asked that Katie's Kids be kept going. Her brother Rich became executive director and his wife Caroline became president.

Caroline remembers that Katie's Colgate friends were there for her through the worst. "When Katie was very sick, one weekend Madeline (Paske Baulig) and another close friend, Amy Verret Vassel '92, flew out and took care of her." She also notes that many Colgate folks have helped Katie's Kids in myriad ways.

Lis Bartol Reed '92 raised more than $6,000 running the 1999 Chicago Marathon. Caroline's brother, Jamie Toedtman '00, and his girlfriend, Kim Chaskey '99, raised more than $4,000 through the 2000 Marine Corps Marathon. Along with Philadelphia resident Kristin Stevens '91, they also volunteered at the first annual Spring Celebration, which raised more than $35,000 and was attended by a bevy of Colgate alumni. Other supporters of Katie's Kids have included Baulig, Christian Stewart '92 and Sean Lang '92.

Brant raised $100,000 before she died, and to date, Katie's Kids has raised more than $400,000; the first two grant recipients are already making significant progress in their research. For more information, contact Caroline Brant at 3741 Walnut Street, Box 612, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3602; 215-919-5898.

The career changing insider's new book

A neonatal nursing specialist enters malpractice law. A Maryknoll priest becomes a carpenter. A corporate marketer handcrafts jewelry. A nuclear submarine officer teaches high school physics.

While interviewing these folks and scores of others for his latest book, Bob Otterbourg '51 became an insider on career changing today.

"I'm not a career counselor. I've had no training or experience in this field," submits the Durham, North Carolina resident, "but I am a writer who pokes around, does research, conducts interviews and comes to conclusions." And thus he developed the insight to write Switching Careers: Career changers tell how -- and why -- they did it, coming from Kiplinger Books in September.

A career changer himself, Otterbourg left his own PR firm to become a freelance writer in the late 1980s. He writes a column on workplace issues for the Raleigh News & Observer and has written several books. Switching Careers, his second on the subject, targets people in their late 20s through early 50s.

"I define career changing very broadly," Otterbourg points out. Some folks take a minor U-turn within their fields -- from public- to private-school teaching, for example -- while some do an about-face, such an abstract painter attending medical school in his mid-30s, and some meld careers, like the engineer who gets a law degree and becomes a patent attorney.

A trio of Colgate alumni career changers are among Otterbourg's 70 profiles of people who've done it in law, ministry, medicine, education, information technology, nonprofits, new business ventures and the arts. Lucia Greene Connolly '76 was a writer for People who took a break to raise her family, freelanced, and then returned 16 years later. Murray Decock '80, a professional hockey player and coach, became a concert pianist and is now Colgate's director of development. Linda Besse '81, whom Otterbourg discovered through the May 2001 Scene and was able to tuck into the book at the galley stage, is a real estate agent-turned-wildlife artist. Otterbourg also profiled former attorney Peter Travis (son of Colgate classmate Jack '51), now an executive search consultant.

"The writing process has been enhanced greatly by the computer," declares Otterbourg, who did interview follow-up via e-mail. "I would send a few questions and people came back with wonderful explanations -- they'd write me two pages."

Switching Careers examines current trends, provides helpful national statistics and gives advice on how to plan, and pay for, a career change. The book also outlines questions that potential career changers need to ask themselves and debunks several myths.

Otterbourg observes this axiom of career changing: you can't run away from who you are. "If you worked as a trial lawyer, I'm sure you'll think like an advocate in any new career."

"Like it or not," he writes, "the work you've done in the past leaves indelible traces on a new career."

"It's exciting and challenging to figure out the best ways we can advance Colgate's initiatives and goals," says David Hale '84, Colgate's new financial vice president and treasurer, who took his post July 1.

Hale joined Colgate's finance division in 1996 as director of financial analysis and investments, handling day-to-day operations of the endowment, plus capital financing plans. In 2000 he was promoted to assistant treasurer.

Part of an extended Colgate family, Hale and his wife Ingrid (Miller '89) met at her sister Sabina Miller '84's wedding to William MacMahon '84. The Millers' dad is Gordon '56 and their brother and sister-in-law are Kenneth '82 and Anne Hershberger '84 Miller.

The Hales returned to Colgate in 1993 when he became associate director of planned giving in development, and Ingrid became associate dean of admission. His experience in development gave Hale "an appreciation of the importance of our alumni, and a keen sense of Colgate's history." He had spent seven years in the entertainment industry, first as a controller with Paramount Pictures, and then as director of international accounting with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In his new role, Hale is responsible for financial planning and management of a staff of 27 in accounting and control, budget, capital project finance, decision support, investments, risk management and student financial aid. He's also the elected treasurer of the Board of Trustees, serving on several board committees. Hale describes his charge as, to find the best way to fund Colgate's burgeoning academic and extracurricular programs, while keeping a close eye on cost containment. "Ultimately, we are trying to create a place that through our resources delivers the best possible residential educational experience for students."

Outside of work, Hale's a stalwart of the "Noon Hoops" basketball bunch at Huntington Gym. He's been timekeeper for Colgate men's hockey, and treasurer of Hamilton's Community Chest. Son Sam, six, is into sports, so Little League, hockey and soccer are becoming a focus, and daughter Katrina was born in March.

Hale remarks that his family's bond with Colgate became even stronger when their 20-month-old son Ian passed away suddenly in 2000. "The Colgate community, not only here, but our college friends, our parents' friends, even people we didn't know, reached out to us and were so incredibly helpful in a really dark time."

Working for Colgate, Hale finds satisfaction in "being able to put all my energy into something I really believe in -- knowing we provide an outstanding education and turn out highly educated, good citizens. That's why I came here in the first place."

Top of page
Table of contents
<< Previous: On safari Next: Alumni Affairs >>