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Letter from Cambridge

Michael Weishan '86

This issue of the Gold Coaster marks something of a transition. It’s the first to feature two video stories: the 7-minute film we produced detailing the summer adventures of our inaugural FDR Global Fellows, as well as a wonderful piece the Harvard Gazette did on Master Judy Palfrey’s efforts to help the victims of the disastrous 9.0 earthquake Chile suffered in 2010. It’s also the first to profile a House resident – the inimitable Santiago Pardo ’16 – a feature many of you have long requested as a way to get some sense of House life today. Even more strikingly, this issue is the first to publish a piece of student fiction, a story we commissioned from one of Adams’ most talented up-and-coming writers, Christopher Alessandrini  ’15, who this year just happens to be the next-door neighbor of the FDR Suite as well as the new undergraduate editor of the Gold Coaster – an extremely handy proximity for us in terms of assignments, but less so, we fear, for our hardworking assistant.

This all comes at a time of change for the FDR Suite Foundation, and for the House. While we continue to expand our curatorial and preservation efforts, the physical restoration of the FDR Suite is largely complete, and we, as an organization, have begun to turn our efforts to a broader set of educational and philanthropic issues. I’ve previously contacted many of you in regards to our new Adams-based FDR Global Fellowship program. Our just concluded first year was a spectacular success, and we are now in the last phase of round-one fundraising, having reached $35K of our $50K target. I’ll be making one last appeal to all of you to help push us over the top before the end of 2013, and I’m confident we can achieve our goal. In her piece View From Apthorp, Master Judy Palfrey mentions another one of our newest endeavors, The FDR Global Citizenship Initiative, which will produce a week-long seminar at Adams this coming January for students from across the College interested in learning how local and national themes translate to the global arena, and vice versa. Nobel Laureate and Adams Senior Common Room member Amartya Sen will be one of the speakers, and it’s our intention that this programming will become an annual event, making our gilded halls a nexus for undergraduate global studies and cross-cultural communication for the 21st century. Things never stay the same at Adams, that’s a given, but it is fascinating and hugely gratifying to watch as this grand ol’ girl of a House nimbly dips and pirouettes to the beat of the times, always managing to remain poised, upright and relevant for yet another generation of grateful Adamsians.

That’s something we can all be proud of, because we’ve made it so.