Mike Gamson ’96, senior vice president of global solutions for LinkedIn, is a man of versatility and vision, and he holds an impressive role at one of the world’s leading social networks. But because of his personal intellectual curiosity and penchant for risk-taking, his road to this role has been anything but predictable.

“It Felt Right”

Gamson described his path to Amherst as the result of “a little chance, a little luck.”

Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles, an inconspicious building disguises a network that is changing the lives of people across Los Angeles and the rest of the United States. Co-founded by Madeline Janis ’82, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) fights for Los Angeles’ working poor to receive better wages and working conditions, and has been a model for organizations across the country to effectively fight for substantive policy changes for workers.

Cuthbert Simpkins ’69 is the ultimate Renaissance man. Throughout his distinguished career as a physician, he’s been a bitter opponent of medical malpractice. But he’s also the biographer of the jazz musician John Coltrane and an inventor to boot. With all these remarkable accomplishments, Simpkins’ career defies labels.

Growing Up

“There were two circles of influence,” Simpkins said. “One was my family. The other was everything outside of my family.”

The first poem in Kirun Kapur ’97’s recently published collection is called “Anthem,” and it’s a fitting beginning to a book that is often striking in its lyrical intensity.

“Love begins in a country / Where oranges weep sweetness / And men piss in the street.”

After growing up in public housing in Hartford, Anette Sanderson is now dedicating her life to making Hartford a better place to live. Sanderson, the executive director of the Hartford Housing Authority, also serves as the chair of Amherst’s alumni advisory board.

Transitioning to Amherst

From conducting historical research in Kenya to piloting a Boeing 747 at 35,000 feet above sea level, Mark Vanhoenacker ’96 seems to have done it all. In between all of these endeavors, he has also cultivated a lifelong love of writing. Vanhoenacker has written articles for the New York Times and Slate, among other publications. This year, he published the critically acclaimed memoir “Skyfaring,” a product of his philosophical and poetic vision of flights.

The Dream to Fly

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