Ann Williams Jackson has distinguished herself in the field of magazine publishing, achieving the highest level of excellence with intelligence, diplomacy and the savvy to know what readers want. In 1993, while still overseeing day-to-day operations at People magazine, she began working on InStyle, a new spin-off celebrity lifestyle publication. As the founding publisher when it was launched in 1994 by Time Inc., Ann contributed to making InStyle one of the most successful magazines on newsstands today and the winner of numerous awards. An English major at Middlebury where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Ann joined Time, Inc. in 1977 as a financial analyst. She earned her master's degree in business from Columbia University in 1980. Two years later, she moved to London with her husband and became direct-mail manager for Time-Life Books Europe. Returning in 1985, Ann assumed a managerial position at Money Magazine, at Sports Illustrated and then People. Currently the group president of Real Simple, Parenting andInStyle magazines, Ann was the recipient of the Matrix Award in 2000, sponsored by New York Women in Communication, in recognition of her exceptional accomplishments in the magazine industry. She is also the chair of the board of trustees of the Cancer Research Institute. It is an honor to have her here today.
In 1971, Roger Chapin founded the non-profit Help Hospitalized Veterans, or HHV, which has delivered 18 million free therapeutic arts and crafts kits valued at more than $150 million to more than 300 Veterans Administration medical centers, military hospitals and state veterans nursing homes. This effort built on Roger's work in the late 1960s as the founder of an organization that sent 600,000 gift packages to soldiers in Vietnam-an endeavor he repeated during the Gulf War. Improving motor skills and building self-esteem, the arts and crafts kits respond to the critical need to stay occupied during hours of recuperation, or, as one veteran told Roger, "to do something with my hands." Since 1997, Roger's efforts at HHV have included assistance to disabled veterans of all wars. In 2000, HHV received the Ernest Borgnine Spirit Award, sponsored by the annual American Veteran Awards, for keeping the spirit of America's military alive. Roger, a political science major at Middlebury and a former real estate executive, has applied his limitless energy and enthusiasm to other causes as well, including citizen initiatives to reduce deficit spending, balance the budget, and fight drug abuse.
Dan O'Brien emerged as an exceptionally talented young playwright at Middlebury. A double theatre and English major who was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he wrote and directed the play The Last Supper Restoration while still a student. In 1996 it won the National Student Playwriting Award through the American College Theatre Festival sponsored by the Kennedy Center, where the play was produced in 1997. Dan's other national awards include the Mark Twain Comedy Playwriting Award, also presented by the American College Theatre Festival, for his work An Irish Play and the Elizabeth Osborn Award, sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, for his play Lamarck. His dramatic work has been published by Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing and various journals. Dan has also written commissioned plays for such organizations as the Manhattan Theatre Club, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company. An actor and a poetry and fiction writer as well as a playwright, he contributed work to the Doubletake/WW Norton anthology titled 25 and Under: Fiction. A former Thomas J. Watson Fellow in Ireland, Dan earned a master's in fine arts in playwriting and fiction at Brown University. He is currently the Tennessee Williams Fellow in Playwriting at Sewanee, the University of the South. We are pleased to honor him here today.
White House Press Secretary L. Ari Fleischer knows how to keep his cool. This quality, along with his trademark smile, sense of humor and skill with language have contributed to his success as a political spokesperson, one who is now at the pinnacle of the profession he has pursued for the last 20 years. As the official liaison between the White House and members of the press, Ari acts as the primary spokesman for the president and delivers the daily White House briefing, where one misstep or failure to choose exactly the right words can result in misleading headlines regarding presidential policy. The son of New York Democrats, Ari experienced a political conversion at Middlebury when he departed from his family's tradition and became a member of the Republican Party. A political science major, he began his career after college when he became the press secretary for a losing GOP candidate in a House race. Later he worked for the Republican National Committee and for several GOP congressmen. Ari also served as press secretary for Senator Pete Domenici from 1989-1994 and later as spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee, working on issues related to taxes, social security, welfare and international trade. Prior to joining the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush in the fall of 1999, he served as communications director for Elizabeth Dole's presidential campaign. We are pleased to honor him here today.