Above: From left: Steve Levine, Marlene McCurtis ’79, Linda Levine ’77, and Nanci Isaacs ’79. (We were sad to learn of the passing of Linda this fall, just as we were going to print.)
Nanci Isaacs ’79
President, Alumni Association Board of Directors
I don’t know what the world will look like when you read this. It’s October now, and we’re living in a world of masks and social distance. In striking contrast, the Alumni Association Board of Directors gathered in person in Los Angeles last February. We thanked outgoing president Carla Lewis ’86 for her dedicated service, and together with my fellow volunteer leaders, I accepted the privilege and responsibility of serving this incredible community. We spent two days with the Alumni staff team, finalizing plans to launch new programs to serve our community and tell your stories to the world. We hosted a social for 200 alumni and heard your stories—your phenomenal stories—of diverse careers across this sometimes zany Southern Californian city that I call home.
And then, a few short weeks later, the world seemed to stop.
As COVID-19 tightened its grip on our nation and world, we grieved while covering our faces and withdrawing from the physical presence of our friends and loved ones.
The world soon felt even bleaker as we mourned the death of George Floyd, leaving us to reckon with blinding anger at the injustice and racism that continues to plague our country. We wondered, what will each of us do personally, politically, and socially to ignite sustainable change, the kind that will, we hope, leave systemic racism in our wake? How do we support Black lives together when we are physically apart?
Here’s what I think. Community is EVERYTHING. And when I think of my community, the people who surround me and keep me lifted, Emerson College is at the heart of it. We’re 51,000 strong. We fight. Our voices resonate and sometimes boom when we need to make ourselves heard. We are deliciously creative, made more so by life’s greatest hardships. We lift each other up and we make room for those who want to join us, for those who need us.
We do not sit still. The Alumni Board is moving forward to serve you during this time. We accelerated the launch of Emerge, our new online networking platform, so this time in isolation can build your community, not diminish it. We’ve launched Making It Big in 30 Minutes, our new alumni podcast, to tell our diverse stories, because we know our community is more than a handful of Hollywood moguls. And yet again, alumni answered the call, coming together to raise more than $50,000 for students through the One Emerson Scholarship Fund during the Shine Through campaign. Let’s keep that up. Let’s keep them lifted.
Speaking of community, Emersonians, please join me in welcoming the alumni of Marlboro College into our family. Marlboro alumni share many of the same qualities I love about Emersonians—they are creative doers who are fiercely independent and deeply caring. They love each other and want to use their art and their voices to make an impact in the world. While some of us chose to attend college in the heart of Boston, and others in the verdant or snow-covered environs of Potash Hill in Vermont, we want many of the same things—to be heard, to be seen, to make a difference.
And to Marlboro alumni, as members of a close-knit community, I know you will continue to have your own spaces and connections. Transitions take time; as we get to know each other better, I look forward to seeing how we might create connections together, in addition to the deep connections you already have to each other.
When it’s most difficult—perhaps especially then—we find a way forward. As your new Alumni Association President, I’m proud to say that our College is finding its way forward, with Flex Learning and safety protocols dictated by science and enacted with the greatest regard for the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty.
Like you, I long to return to life as it used to be. For now, let’s lean on and support each other, because even as we stand apart, we are One Emerson.
Stay lifted, stay well.