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Stories I heard in Alaska

by Melinda Lantz | Aug 18, 2017

Posted Aug. 18 - I’ve just returned from a two-week trip with alumni to Alaska. It was a wonderful trip, partly because of the vistas and wildlife that we saw, but also because of the alumni we got to know. Renee and I made a point to share a meal with each person or couple that wanted to meet with us. As with all such conversations, the best part was hearing their stories about Manchester and what they’ve done with their lives after.

They were an eclectic group. The oldest were in their 80s and Renee and I were among the youngest. They were physicians, missionaries, teachers, pastors, farmers, social workers, nurses and more. Among their stories, we heard:

  • One couple, newly graduated from Manchester and newly married, chose to go to Laos for two years during the Vietnam War. He had a high draft number and could have avoided going to Southeast Asia, but he felt called to help those in need. Both went. They worked with agriculture and community health projects in a war zone.
  • One alumnus told me he majored in math and chemistry and minored in physics and communication studies. “Communication studies?” I asked him. “That one doesn’t fit.” He told me he felt strongly that being able to communicate effectively with others was one of the most important things he could learn at Manchester.
  • One alumna practices family medicine in a solo practice. She acknowledged that her way of serving her patients is out of step with the direction of health care, but said that it allows her to choose who she serves regardless of their insurance. Her patients are her family, she says.

I am proud to claim each of each of these graduates as alumni. They embody the spirit of “ability and conviction” and have, over the course of their careers, improved the human condition in tangible and real ways.