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C. Keith Conners
Keith ConnersUniversity of Chicago, 1953, B.A., Liberal Arts
Oxford University, 1955, M.A., Philosophy, Psychology & Physiology
Stanford University, 1956
Harvard University, 1960, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

Keith Conners was born and raised in Utah with an older sister and a twin sister.  He spent his first year in school in a one-room schoolhouse in Ophir, Utah.  After his appendix ruptured, his family moved to Salt Lake City to obtain better medical treatment.  At 15, he skipped most of high school and went to study in Chicago.  He became a clinical psychologist and founded the ADHD program at Duke University.  He has done a number of studies of how foods affect attention in children, including writing a book called Feeding the Brain.  Although he is retired, he occasionally lectures and consults.  He also spends his time, writing, reading, and painting oil and watercolors.  He credits the Rhodes experience for pointing him to psychology as his profession, as well as providing him with peak experiences that have lasted a lifetime.      

Q. I read that you were born in Bingham, Utah.  At what age did you move to Salt Lake City?

From Bingham, I moved to a little mountain village called Ophir.  Ophir in the Bible was the place where King Solomon’s mines were supposedly located.  It was a small town that served a large mining operation nearby called The Hidden Treasure.  I lived in this canyon town until I was five. I still regard that experience as “a hidden treasure” in my growing up.

It was there that I did my first “psychotherapy” at the age of four.  There was a lady in her late 80s named Mrs. Howerth, who lived down the road.  On the way to work, my dad walked past her house. He had to climb over a mountain about five miles to where they were mining.  He did that every day and learned that Mrs. Howerth who lived on his was was there with nobody to take care of her.

He suggested to me that it would be nice if I would take her a pot of soup.  So I lugged a pot of soup to her little house where she had chickens, and introduced myself.  She was gracious and charming, and sat in one small room with the rest of the house closed off.  I sat in a chair and she started talking with me.  She was very glad to have company and liked to talk about her life.  She would have been one of the original pioneers in that part of the country before Utah was a state.  She had a husband who had long since passed away, and there was a portrait of him that sat behind her.  He was in a cowboy hat and had a red beard.  She told a lot of really interesting stories about their pioneer days.  I would sit there for hours listening to her tell these stories.  A day or two later, I would come back and bring her some more food, or groceries, or just to listen to her stories. That was how I learned to sit still and listen for a long time to people’s life stories.  It is one of my fondest memories, not only because of the beauty of the surroundings, but also because of the quiet harmony with adults who allowed us to explore freely while still feeling safe wandering through the valley unattended most of the time.

I lived there until I had a ruptured appendix, when they rushed me to a hospital in Salt Lake City. I had contracted peritonitis and in those days with no antibiotics, it was a fairly serious event. Since there was no hospital, or medical care near the canyon, we moved to Salt Lake in 1939.  I remember that time fairly vividly.  When I was getting treatments for peritonitis, I remember seeing headlines in the newspaper that Hitler invaded Poland.  I would have been six years old.  I grew up in Salt Lake until the end of the Second World War.

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On Westray in the Orkney Islands, Scotland

Clifton Cleaveland
Duke University, 1958, A.B., Chemistry
University of Oxford, 1961, M.A., Physiology
Johns Hopkins Medical School, 1964, M.D.

Clif Cleaveland was born and raised in a small town called LaGrange in Georgia near the Alabama border.  He is the oldest child with a sister who is four years younger.  When he was fourteen years old, his family moved to South Carolina.  From a very young age, he wanted to become a doctor.  He graduated from medical school in the mid-1960’s and served as a doctor in the U.S. Army.  After a fellowship at Vanderbilt University, he focused his practice on internal medicine until his retirement in 2004. He is a former president of the American College of Physicians and his work on healthy policy issues has led him to testify before Congressional hearing committees.  He is also the author of two books, Sacred Space: Stories from a Life in Medicine and Healers and Heroes: Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times.  He currently teaches an undergraduate course at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and writes a column about health issues for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.  A major influence on his writing and viewpoint about health care was from his experience of becoming very sick as a student at Oxford and receiving medical treatment under the British national health service.  He currently lives in Tennessee with his wife of 50 years.

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David CareyAt the Army Navy Country Club in Washington, D.C. in 1993.  The president was playing golf and heard a seniors tennis tournament was being played and a fellow Rhodes Scholar was playing.
University of British Columbia, 1938, B.A., History
University of Oxford, 1938-1939, Philosophy, Politics & Economics

David Carey was born in 1913 in Malaysia to British parents.  For most of his elementary and secondary education, he attended boys’ boarding schools in England.  When he was seventeen, his family immigrated to Canada.  World War II started while he was attending Oxford University as a Canadian Rhodes Scholar.  He decided leave school in order to enlist, but did not qualify for military service because of cancer.  During the war, he worked for the Canadian Department of Labor.  After the war, he spent about twenty-five years volunteering and working for Moral Re-Armament.  Carey worked another fifteen years as the public relations director for Up With People, a spin-off of MRA.  In 1983, he retired to Asheville, North Carolina.  Besides having an active civic life in his retirement, he is known for his tennis ability.  He started playing tennis regularly at the age of 65 and he has won 31 USTA national senior championships in singles and doubles.  He won the 2000 world singles title in the 85-age bracket and has held the number one US ranking in the ninety-year-old age group.  Regarding playing in the men’s 90 division, he is quoted as saying, “Yes, there were more than two of us playing in all these tournaments!”  When the weather is okay, he plays tennis three, or four times a week.

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Maggie Little
University of Iowa, 1983, B.A., Philosophy
University of Oxford, 1985, B.Phil., Philosophy
University of California Berkeley, 1994, Ph.D., Philosophy

Maggie Little grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, the youngest daughter of a computer consultant and an insurance executive.  She has one brother and a sister.  From on early age, she started asking the big questions about life.  Her curiosity led her to pursue the study of philosophy.  Most of her work has focused in some form or another on ethics.  She is currently an associate professor in Georgetown University’s philosophy department and a senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, a think-tank specializing in bioethics. She is also finishing a book entitled Intimate Duties:  Re-Thinking Abortion, the Law, and Morality.
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Ford RungeFord Runge
University of North Carolina, 1974, B.A., American Studies
University of Oxford, 1977, M.A., Politics and Economics
University of Wisconsin, 1980, M.A., Agricultural Economics
University of Wisconsin, 1981, Ph.D., Agricultural Economics

Ford Runge grew up in Wisconsin with two younger sisters, a stepbrother, and a stepsister. He is currently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Applied Economics and Law and Director of the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy at the University of Minnesota. He also regularly contributes public opinion pieces that appear in the Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, and the Financial Times. He also writes longer pieces. His most recent contribution is an article in Foreign Affairs called “How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.” It is representative of the work he does, which is designed to get people’s attention.

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Scott Bear Don't Walk Scott Bear Don’t Walk
University of Montana, 1993, B.A., Philosophy
University of Oxford, 1993-1994, Modern History
New York University, 2007, M.F.A., Creative Writing

Scott Bear Don’t Walk was born in Helena, Montana, but grew up mainly in Billings. He has one older brother and a younger sister. As the middle child, he describes himself as very diplomatic, careful, soft-spoken, wary, and pleasing. He is a member of the Crow tribe. His father, an attorney, has worked with various tribes throughout his career. His mother dedicates her time to work on American Indian health issues. He is the twenty-seventh Rhodes Scholar from the University of Montana. Recently, he completed a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at NYU, where he had the opportunity to work with writers Sharon Olds, Breyten Breytenbach, and Kimiko Hahn.  He is a published poet and his long-term goal is being a writer.  He is currently in the Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago at the Committee on Social Thought trying to fuse epic poetry and academics into something that matters on the reservation.

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Jonathan SkinnerJonathan E. Skinner
St. John’s College, 1991, B.A., Liberal Arts
University of Oxford, 1993, B.A., English Language & Literature
University College London, 1996, M.A., Translation Studies
State University of New York at Buffalo, 2005, Ph.D., English

Jonathan Skinner was born and raised in a classic nuclear family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has also lived in Mexico, England, Italy, and France. He is the author of a poetry collection called Political Cactus Poems and the editor of ecopoetics, a journal exploring creativity mainly in the written form and ecology. Currently, he is an environmental studies professor at Bates College in Maine. He teaches a freshman writing seminar that emphasizes experiential learning. His class included a climb of Mt. Adams in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and a canoe float on the Androscoggin River. And when he’s at home, he has a view of a wild island populated with bald eagles.

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Steve UminSteven Umin
Yale College, 1959, B.A., Modern Literature & Philosophy
Universty of Oxford, 1961, Bachelor of Medicine
Yale Law School, 1964, J.D.

Steven Umin grew up in the Bronx during the 1940s and 1950s as the eldest son of a lower middle class family. He has only one younger sister. He did his undergraduate studies at Yale, where he was ranked first in his class. He planned on becoming a doctor before deciding to pursue law. After law school, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart. Over the years, he has been involved in a wide variety of cases in civil and criminal litigation. He is currently a senior member at Epstein, Becker & Green in Washington, D.C. And since 2000, he has been a mediator for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. Besides making time for art, music, and friends, he also devotes himself to the fight against multiple sclerosis. He is a member of the board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation in London, England, and the Sylvia Lawry Center in Munich, Germany.
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David SatterDavid Satter
University of Chicago, 1968, B.A., General Studies in the social sciences
University of Oxford, 1975, B. Litt., Political Philosophy

David Satter grew up in Chicago as the oldest of five children. He has one brother and three sisters. He is a journalist/author and a well-known Russia scholar. After his time at Oxford on the Rhodes Scholarship, he worked as a police reporter for the Chicago Tribune and in 1976 became the Moscow correspondent of the London Financial Times. He has written two books, Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union and Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State. His numerous articles and essays have been published in the Los Angeles Times, National Review, New Republic, and the Wall Street Journal. His first book, Age of Delirium, is also being made into a documentary film to be finished this year. In addition, he has made appearances on Russian television networks, CNN, C-Span, and the Charlie Rose Show. He is currently a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Read the rest of this entry »

Jonathan BlakeJonathan Blake
Yale University, 1960, B.A., History
University of Oxford, 1962, B.A./M.A., Jurisprudence
Yale Law School, 1964, LL.B.

Jonathan Blake grew up in a small seaside town in New Jersey called Rumson. He is the eldest of three sons. He attended the school where his father was the headmaster and spent his high school years at Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in Connecticut. He has been a communications lawyer at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. since 1964 when he started out as an associate. He remains physically active by playing in three to four tennis tournaments annually and since the first U.S. oil crisis in 1973, he’s been running to work. He has been described as one of the finest lawyers in America and “the most ethical person I can imagine in the law profession.”*

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Tope FolarinOluwabusayo Temitope Folarin
Morehouse College, 2004, B.A., Political Science
University of Oxford, 2006, M.Sc., African Studies & M.Sc.,Comparative Social Policy

Oluwabusayo Temitope Folarin, or “Tope” as he likes to be called, was born in Ogden, Utah. He has four younger siblings-three brothers and a sister. At the age of 14, his family moved from Utah to Texas. Although he completed his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, he spent a year at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and a semester in South Africa studying at the University of Cape Town. He also worked for an NGO where he interviewed Parliament members about including anti-child prostitution laws within the South African constitution and aided in the development of HIV/AIDS training clinics for rural South Africans. During the summer of 2004, before heading to Oxford, he was a Galbraith Scholar dealing with issues of inequality and social policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He finished his studies at Oxford last summer and he now works for Google in London.

The first part of our exchange was conducted via email. We then continued the conversation by phone. Read the rest of this entry »

David Quammen with baby Tasmanian devilDavid Quammen
Yale University, 1970, B.A., Scholar of the House in English
University of Oxford, 1973, B. Litt., English

David Quammen is an award-winning writer, perhaps best known for his nature column called “Natural Acts” in Outside magazine from 1981 to 1995. His first novel, To Walk the Line, was published when he was 22 years old. He has authored three other works of fiction and seven non-fiction books, including Wild Thoughts from Wild Places, The Song of the Dodo, and The Reluctant Mr. Darwin. His recently published book is Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. He is also a regularly contributing writer for National Geographic.

Below is the transcribed record of a verbal conversation. Neither David Quammen nor I have tried to make it read like a polished, fully grammatic piece of writing. It is what it is: human talk.

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Faith SalieFaith Salie
Harvard University, 1993, B.A., History and Literature
University of Oxford, 1995, M. Phil., Modern English Literature

Faith Salie was born in Boston, but grew up mainly in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest of three children. At an early age, she found a love for theater. She attended Northwestern University for a year before transferring to Harvard, where she won the Jonathan Levy Award for most promising actor at the university. She had a brief stint on “Sex in the City” involving a gold lamé outfit and portrayed a genetically enhanced mutant on a couple of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episodes. She has also done years of stand-up comedy and improv, including two seasons in the BRAVO sitcom, “Significant Others.” You can now find her hosting a public radio satirical news and entertainment show called “Fair Game” from Public Radio International. Read the rest of this entry »

Katherin EbanKatherine Eban
Brown University, 1989, BA; English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing
University of Oxford, 1990, M. Phil., English Literature
University of East Anglia, 1991, M.A., Creative Writing

Katherine Eban grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She is the younger of two daughters. Her father practices and teaches law, but he is also a statistician. Her mother is a theater scholar and critic. Katherine is an investigative reporter focusing on public health and homeland security issues. Her work has appeared in the Nation, the New Republic, the New Yorker, and Vogue. In her first book, Dangerous Doses, published in 2005, she unveiled the spread of counterfeit prescription drugs in the American supply chain. Her most current piece appears in the July issue of Vanity Fair. In the article called “Rorschach and Awe”, she exposes the role of CIA-contracted psychologists in military interrogations and torture. Read the rest of this entry »

Leslie EpsteinLeslie Epstein
Yale University, 1960, B.A., Scholar of the House in English
University of Oxford, 1962, Dipl., Anthropology
University of California-Los Angeles, 1963, M.A., Theater Arts
Yale Drama School, 1967, D.F.A., Playwriting

Leslie Epstein spent his childhood in the 1940s and 1950s in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, California. He was part of a Hollywood screenwriting family. His father and uncle, Philip and Julius, wrote classics like Arsenic and Old Lace and won an Academy Award for Casablanca. He is the author of seven novels and three short story collections. His most controversial work was the novel, King of the Jews, in which he examines European Jews who betrayed their own people to the Nazis. He also wrote an autobiographical novel called San Remo Drive in 2003. For over 20 years, he has been the director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University.

Below is an hour-long talk we had while he ate lunch and cleared the dishwasher at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Ben CannonBen Cannon
Washington University, 1999, B.A., History
University of Oxford, 2003, B.A., Philosophy, Politics, and Economics & M.Sc., Comparative and International Education

Ben Cannon grew up primarily around Portland, Oregon, but attended college in St. Louis, Missouri. At Washington University, he started as a delivery boy for the student newspaper and became its editor-in-chief his senior year. He also moved the paper on-line and created a new journalism program for freshmen. After studying in Oxford for three years, he returned to his home state where he enjoys his favorite activities like hiking, camping, and running. He currently teaches American history and civics to sixth to eighth graders at Arbor School of Art and Sciences in Tualatin, just outside of Portland. Inspired by talks with his wife, a public school teacher, and others about educational issues, he decided to run for office. In 2006, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. He is currently the youngest member in the legislature. His focus is on educational, health care, energy, and environmental issues.

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Bonnie St. John
Harvard University, 1986, B.A., International Political EconomyBonnie St. John
University of Oxford, 1990, M. Litt., Economics

Bonnie St. John grew up in San Diego, California, the youngest of three children of a single working mother. At the age of five, her leg was amputated, because of a birth defect. But 10 years later, after a friend invited her to go skiing, she decided to pursue competitive skiing. While in college, she participated in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Despite falling after hitting an icy patch during one of her races, she went on to win two bronze medals in the slalom and giant slalom. She also received a silver medal for her overall ranking as the second-fastest female amputee skier in the world. Before becoming a motivational speaker and coach, she had a successful career in sales for IBM and was on the National Economic Council under the Clinton administration. She is also the author of three books: Succeeding Sane: Making Room for Joy in a Crazy World, Getting Ahead at Work Without Leaving Your Family Behind, and Money: Fall Down? Get Up! In November 2007, she published her fourth book entitled How Strong Women Pray, featuring interviews with Maya Angelou, Barbara Bush, Edie Falco, and others.

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Matthew Polly

Matthew Polly
Princeton University, 1995, B.A., Religion and East Asian Studies
University of Oxford, 1998, M.A., Politics and Philosophy

Matthew Polly, the eldest of two children of a doctor and a homemaker, grew up in Topeka, Kansas. After his junior year at Princeton, he dropped out to study kung fu with the famous Shaolin monks in rural China for two years. He has documented his experience in his recently released book called American Shaolin. He has also written articles for Esquire, The Nation, Playboy, Publisher’s Weekly, and Slate. He’s currently looking for suggestions on a career that doesn’t involve any work.

The following interview was conducted by email.

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