Rotary Minute: Sam Miglarese

SamMiglareseI spent 16 years in Catholic schools, was an altar boy many of those years, and vaguely remember getting a prize in some oratory contest designed to recruit priests. The theme was “many are called, few are chosen.” I also taught 4 years at my old high school and the piece of literature I used to teach the novel was Morte d’ Urban about a worldly priest.  During those 20 years, I encountered many priests.  However, any consideration of being one disappeared somewhere around puberty after I realized the full implications of the vow of chastity.

Therefore,  listening to Sam Miglarese tick off his background in the priesthood…which somehow he seemed to do while still sounding humble…it was obvious to me that he was the kind of superstar priest every diocese would trade a roomful of gold chalices for.  He studied and was ordained at the Vatican, returned to South Carolina where he built one church, restored another in Charleston, was a chaplain at the Citadel and organized a Synod, which is church speak for strategic planning. Knowing Sam, I would bet along the way there was a lot of the counseling and good works that come with the job. Maybe a little missionary work too, since South Carolina isn’t known as a hotbed of Catholicism.

When Sam joked that now as a husband and father he may have gained a little more perspective on counseling people with marriage problems, I felt happy for him but a little sad for the church, even though my ties to Mother Church died many years ago.

However Sam feels about the transition from priest to ex-priest, there are at least three or four organizations that he mentioned that have benefited from his being where he is now. One is Duke University where he is Director of Community Engagement. This, of course, puts him in a leadership position to marshal the vast resources of Duke to the community’s benefit.  So Duke and Durham are glad he’s here.

And then there is Rotary.  Sam’s turn as president was in 2009-2010. He led our highly successful participation in the Million Meals campaign and the refurbishment of the Rotary Bandstand at Bennett Place, where the Civil War really ended. He also traveled to England and helped establish our relationship with Durham England as a Sister City and a partner in Rotary projects with their Rotary Club.

His most enduring Rotary legacy may be using his Synod experience to initiate with another past president, Susan Ross, a strategic planning process that left a strong foundation that each new president now builds on. We have MaryAnn Black to thank for sponsoring Sam back in 2004 and putting him on a fast track for Club leadership.

Lest anybody think that leaving the Catholic Church meant Sam was turning away from his God, please note, that even with everything else he does, he is also an assistant pastor for First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Durham.

Concluding, Sam mentioned that it should be obvious that he had a few left turns along the way or, as he quoted a Spanish proverb, “God writes straight with crooked lines.”


Rotary Minute: Dieter Mauch

DieterwebIf you have wondered whether people with lots of kids have a hard time remembering their names and birthdays, consider Dieter Mauch’s challenge remembering the names and birthdays of aunts, uncles, and cousins. His father was one of 14 children and his mother one of 13.

His parents emigrated from Germany in the 60’s. His father was a mechanic trained by Volkswagen in Stuttgart. They decided to come to this country because the standard of living for blue-collar workers was much better here than in Germany which was still recovering from World War II. Dieter was 1 year old at the time so in spite of his German name and heritage, in his words, he was a “typical American kid” who grew up in western North Carolina.

He had a distinguished academic career. He studied at Oxford…well, Oxford elementary school, who were known far and wide as the Fighting Catfish because of the size of the catfish in the Catawba River at Lookout Dam.

He was also involved in the battle of Bunker Hill. Well, that was the name of a high school he attended and these battles were football games.

He was good enough to join the NFL. Well, not that NFL but the National Forensic League, which was the association for competitive speaking in high school. In spite of the small size of the school, they competed all over the state and the south in debate tournaments.

Dieter received an early admission to UNC as a Morehead nominee, which brought him to this area. Although he didn’t attend on a Morehead scholarship, he noted that at the time tuition for a semester was less than $300 which he could earn working a couple of weeks of construction. While in college he worked in various restaurants including the Western Sizzling where Breadmans is now.  He also worked on the Gallop poll. And then he learned a skill all future lawyers have, curing ham at Mom and Pop’s Ham House.

He went on to attend law school at UNC and clerked for large firms in both Atlanta and Dallas. His first child came along during his last year of law school and because their families where here he and his wife decided to stay put in North Carolina instead of heading to Dallas. This also let him avoid boning up on oil and gas rights to pass the Texas bar.

He was able to land a job with Durham’s Newson Graham Hedrick and Kennon in a Dallas-like skyscraper, our own Green Pickle otherwise known as University Tower. Some may recall that this was built by a Dallas developer with a kid at Duke. Unlike Dallas, as Dieter noted, you can see trees and not just the rooftops of other buildings.  After 5 years with Newsome Graham he became a partner. Nine years later when the firm split into two he joined another firm as a partner but returned to the smaller of the firms that split up and has been with Hedrick Murray Bryson Kennett and Mauch for the past 7 years.

As he should, Dieter bragged a little about his kids. Christopher graduated from UNC in December and Caroline will graduate from law school this May. The kids attended Durham public schools and played tennis at a high level. Both earned scholarships to play at ASU and both were ranked in the top five throughout much of their junior careers.

Although he didn’t mention it, Dieter has been an active Rotarian with the exchange program and lending his time and legal expertise as a board member to things like the recent changes to the bylaws.

Rather than elaborate on those accomplishments, Dieter finished by mentioning his first encounter with the day’s honoree, Howard Clement, which was during his first bar meeting when Howard took the initiative to introduce himself to the rookie lawyer. At former Club member Connie Campanaro’s request, Dieter served 6 years on the board of the Carolina Theatre when they had discussions about communicating the history of the Theatre.  A part of that history was, of course, the segregation  that was prevalent in the south.  Anyone who has seen the video produced by the Theatre knows that Howard was interviewed and integrating the Theatre was one aspect of the civil rights movement that Howard helped lead.

So it was Howard’s day at Rotary but we salute one lawyer ending a distinguished career and another, Dieter, with many years of continued service to the community left to go.

Rotary Minute: The Presidents – Susan Ross

SusanRossSusan’s minute was the first in a series of the popular “Rotary Minutes” from past presidents of the club as a run up to our Centennial year two years hence.

Susan described herself as a Rotary kid, which most of us already knew because of the matriarchal presence of her mother Lois Cranford, who was here this day and serenaded by the club celebrating her 90th birthday. Many of us also remember Susan’s father, H.C Cranford. H.C, besides being a Rotarian was the communications guru at Blue Cross Blue Shield.  That was back in the dark ages when Rotary was not open to women and wives like Lois were Rotary Anns. Susan noted that H.C considered his greatest accomplishment as District Governor to be the racial integration of Rotary during his term.

Susan didn’t mention it but strengthening her claim as being a Rotary kid, both H.C. and Lois have been honored separately as recipients of the Nicholas B. Fagan Award, an honor that has been bestowed only 8 times since it was initiated in 1985.

As it happens Lois recently moved into senior living housing (I guess 90 is not too young.)  Packing up stuff she and Susan came across a number of things including old banners from Rotary clubs that had been collected.  Immediate Past President Don Stanger, swept them up for the project he is leading commemorating the Club Centennial.

Susan wasn’t the first women member of the club but she was close.  Her presidential year was 2006-2007, which was the year we first got involved with Million Meals.

Susan is a UNC graduate but spent 29 years doing development work at Duke where she had a hand in raising about a half billion dollars which probably bothers the heck out of folks at UNC. When she retired she co-founded the firm of Moss and Ross, which advises primarily non-profits on development work. She noted that many of her past and current clients she reached through connections to Rotary and our club.

Susan also shared a little of her personal story, the two children she had by her first husband who died tragically many years ago and about how she became mother to the four children of her second husband Tom.

To reflect on how much Rotary has changed under the influence of this remarkable family consider this: Once Rotary was exclusively the realm of white males in this country. Our next two club presidents will be women, one an Indian and the other African-American. This year two of our key committee chairs, International and Membership, are headed by women. Next year our club Secretary and Finance chair will be women. Our program this day was by the new female Chancellor of NCCU and next week we will honor long time civil rights advocate, city councilman and Rotarian, Howard Clement.

We’ve come a long way baby. Thank you Susan.

Submitted by Jay Zenner

Rotary Minute: Shelly Green

Anyone that was surprised hearing about Shelly Green’s background in music hasn’t been near her table when we sing America the Beautiful at the beginning of a meeting… It’s pretty impressive and I’m sure she’s holding back so as not to embarrass us less talented souls. I laughed when she mentioned that her new music teacher at the University of Miami informed her that she wasn’t an alto even though she had sung that her whole life. I don’t even know what that means, probably because the only music “teacher” I ever had, a nun back at St. Bridget’s elementary school, told me that I was a “listener.”

A couple of things I’ve noticed about these Rotary minutes is that we often see a side of our fellow Rotarians that we don’t usually see and then how they often underplay their professional accomplishments. Shelly was no exception, especially on the latter point. The DCVB has been been pretty darn important to the revival of Durham in the last few decades negotiating the slippery slopes of both marketing and politics. Having Shelly ready to step in when he retired is one more thing we have Reyn Bowman to thank for. You can visit the DCVB website to see the tip of the iceberg of all the organization undertakes. If you are asked to recommend just one website to get a flavor of Durham, this is the one. Besides guiding that organization for four years, Shelly has gotten her daughter off to college, become a Reading Ranger at Y.E. Smith, served on Rotary’s board and organized a couple of successful fundraisers for the club.

Below is the text of Shelly’s Rotary Minute if you missed it. It’s a good read even without her cheerful and humorous presentation of it. 



I grew up in upstate New York, one of three children. I was the middle child, with a sister 13 months older and a brother 5 years younger than me. I had a stay at home mom and a dad who worked in construction. Like any other middle child, my baby book has only three entries in it. And like most middle children, I’m creative, independent and good at compromising and negotiating.

My family was very poor. But I never knew it. I grew up learning to help those in need, especially the most vulnerable among us. Maybe that was because my Dad was a Rotarian. One of my favorite activities as a child was collecting money for UNICEF in what looked like little orange milk cartons.

So fast forward a decade or so. My family moved to Dunedin, Florida, when my dad got a job with U.S. Homes as a superintendent. He oversaw the building of what some might call cookie cutter houses. They were all the rage in the early 1970s.

To say my high school was overcrowded is an understatement. We had more than 3,600 students. Freshmen and sophomores went to school at 12:30 in the afternoon until 5:30 p.m. Juniors and seniors went from 7:00am – 12:00 noon. There were no breaks and no lunch. Just six class periods and then you were done.

At the end of my junior year, my high school choir went on a week-long cruise to the Caribbean. There was another group of high school students on the same ship. They were part of a summer camp at the University of Miami. I ended up attending that camp the week before the cruise.

It turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life, because I met Dr. Lee Kjelson, who became a teacher, mentor and friend for the next 30 years.

By the last semester of my senior year 4 out of 6 of my classes were music classes. If we had AP classes back then I didn’t know about them and was not at all on the radar of any of the guidance counselors at my school.

Despite graduating 17th in my class of more than 800 students, no one—parents included—ever discussed college with me. We didn’t have the money and I never thought it was in my reach. With no other plans formulated, I enrolled in St. Petersburg Junior College as a music student.

Dr. Kjelson kept in touch throughout that year inviting me down to audition. I finally went in February, six months after studying voice for the first time. My new teacher informed me I wasn’t an alto even though I had sung that part my whole life. I had to learn how to sing all over again.

I bombed my audition and we all knew it. Afterward Doc held up the form that was used by the voice faculty. Nothing was filled out except 4 words written in big red letters: “I want her here.” He saw some potential there that the others didn’t.

Not only was I accepted, but I was given a scholarship that made it possible for me to spend the next three years as a music major at the University of Miami. I made it into Doc’s touring choir and traveled to Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece and Spain. And when I graduated 3 years later I fulfilled my life-long dream of becoming a music teacher.

There was just one problem. Sigh. I hated being a music teacher. There isn’t enough time to go into the stories about THAT, but suffice it to say, it had nothing to do with the kids. Two years later I accepted a graduate assistantship back at UM and started work on my Master’s degree.

This time I became the manager of UM Singers and took on fund raising and tour planning. I made ends meet by conducting the Miami Children’s Choir, working as a choreographer for half the high schools in Dade County, serving as a soloist and youth choir director at a community church, and singing at various synagogues for the High Holidays. Oh, and I became the Director of that choral camp I mentioned earlier.

I think this is when the travel bug really bit me. In the next few years I traveled to Hong Kong, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, England and Belgium. I got to sing in the Sydney Opera House and yes, I even made it to Carnegie Hall. I finished my Master’s Degree in music with a concentration in arts administration.

Immediately following I worked at International Fine Arts College in Miami recruiting students and developing programs that helped double their enrollment.

When I moved to North Carolina as a trailing spouse in October of 1988, it was evident that getting a school or university job at that time of the year was highly unlikely.

I took a job at the Winston-Salem Convention & Visitors Bureau to tide me over until I could get a “real” job. But within months I figured out that I could put all of the skills that I learned in music and the arts to work in marketing. I loved it and never turned back.

I accepted a job in 1992 to start a visitor’s bureau in Chapel Hill. Three years later my daughter was born. Exactly four weeks after that, my mom, who had just turned 56 years old, died from breast cancer. I still mourn the fact that Samantha, who is now a freshman at Hendrix College in Conway Arkansas, never got to know her.

I was hired in Durham as part of a succession plan following a stint running the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau in the late 90’s.

When Reyn Bowman subsequently announced his retirement, the board interviewed me and hired me to be their president, a position I’ve held for 4 years now. And after a 20 year friendship, I don’t think too many people were surprised to hear that Reyn and I began to date each other two years ago.

In closing, I want to end by saying how much I love what I do and how much I love Durham. Marketing is every bit as creative as music and I love knowing that what I do helps businesses prosper and helps bring tax revenue to Durham so our community can continue to be a great place to live and work.

I also love my work with Rotary, especially working with students at YE Smith Elementary school. It’s brought me back full circle to become a teacher and I find my time there incredibly fulfilling.

Rotary Minute: Immediate Past President Don Stanger

DonsMinutewebThe “Rotary Minute” is back with a bang.

Past President Don Stanger, who introduced the new club feature under his leadership, took the podium on Monday to help drive the popular program into its second year by having what he jokingly called his own “day in the barrel” and sharing details of a well-lived life at club lunch.

As most of our club membership knows, this is the sole purpose of the program. The minute exists to help prospective and current members to see that our club is populated by a unique mix of talented and interesting individuals well worth getting to know and well worth joining in service.  The challenge is getting folks to get up there and tell all.  In recent months the frequency of the popular feature waned.

Which returns us to the past president who started it all and is driving the tradition forward:

Existing and long-time members are likely not surprised that Don had a sterling international business career, first with IBM, then with an international Fortune 500 joint venture between CSX and American Airlines, then as a small businessman and consultant.  He walked the membership through some exciting war stories (including meeting with the President of China and Prime Minister of Great Britain.)

But Don as surfer boy or cowboy roper or spear fisherman?  Turns out – courtesy of the protocols of the Rotary Minute –  that he disclosed that he had a colorful and happy boyhood with fascinating parents and college football career.  With benefit of growing up out West in California, he described a childhood that began “on the beach” and extended to included surfing, roping from horseback in the Wild West, spearfishing and deer hunting with a bow and arrow.

He loves Rotary (no surprise there). He described his tenure as club president as a “blessing,” as well as his role as father and grandfather now, or at least for now, in professional retirement.

Throughout Don’s tenure, the Rotary Minute did not disappoint.  We have sussed out among our ranks former rescue helicopter pilots, Notre Dame football players, World War II vets, even a former Star Trek actress.

Thanks to Don for his service, and making Rotary a part of his own fascinating and varied life.

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)

Program Report: DPS Superintendent Eric Becoats on New Core Standards

becoats and barkerwebGiving away free stuff is cool so I had one of the easier volunteer opportunities at the Battle of the Bands on Sunday evening handing out tee-shirts to VIP ticket holders and later to anyone who wanted one. This year the Battle raised money for the East Durham Children’s Initiative which is, of course, led by Rotarian David Reese and includes our Reading Rangers program. David and a number of the Y.E. Smith teachers were there. My best moment was when Ms. Johnson, whose classroom several of us tutored in, came behind the table and gave me a quick hug, which was something of a surprise because she’s so formal in the classroom. I don’t even know her first name and she knows me only as “Mr. Jay.”

I mention this because watching these folks from Y.E. Smith interact with each other in an informal setting is something we don’t see when inside their classrooms. Their youthful enthusiasm and respect for each other and the commitment we do see in the classrooms added special poignancy to the presentation their boss and our Superintendent and fellow Rotarian, Dr. Eric Becoats gave us at Monday’s meeting.Becoats1web

Dr. Becoats was introduced by Barker French who set up the presentation with a quiz that pointed out several recent achievements of the district including graduation rates of 80% and no under-performing schools in the most recent assessment. That was the good news. The bad news is that we are now implementing new “Core Standards” which are national standards that have been adopted by many states including North Carolina. That itself is not bad news because these emphasize analytical skills and are meant to be more rigorous, integrated and individualized.  Dr. Becoats used one of those text abbreviations, WIIFM or “what’s in it for me” to illustrate the point. Providing context for how knowledge and skills are used in the real world answers this kind of question for students.

What is troubling is that the adoption of these standards comes at a time when resources have been slashed by the General Assembly. Our Senator Mike Woodard squirmed visibly during the presentation even though he was not part of the majority that was responsible. Once again teacher pay was frozen and financial incentives for getting advanced degrees was taken away, hurting the teachers, the school system and the university schools of education.

Dr. Becoats is giving this presentation in a number of venues to alert the community to expect less glowing achievement reports as everybody adjusts to the new standards. More information including Dr. Becoats’ full presentation are on the DPS website at this link: . Dr. Becoats also thanked the club for our leadership in the Reading Rangers program and the Crayons2Calculators school supplies collection efforts.

There are several other take-aways from this and our program last week with speaker Steve Schewel. First, we cannot take for granted the teachers and their leaders in the school system. As Dr. Becoats pointed out, two thirds of the 32,000 +/- kids in our system qualify for free lunches, meaning their households often lack the resources or skills to help with their education.  This forces many teachers to buy supplies out of their own pockets. As the squeeze continues there will be a point when almost every teacher in will be ask the WIIFM question themselves. In fact, I note this morning on Facebook that a statewide teacher walkout is being organized for November 4 to protest the cuts and lack of financial incentives. We can’t expect to keep good personnel on board and motivated without recognition and reward.

Second, all the Reading Rangers we can recruit, all the supplies we can collect and all the businesses that participate in the Battle of the Bands will never be enough without the total support of the community through adequate funding for regular activities. Those struggling kids are not “them,” Dr. Becoats reminded, they are our future citizens, they are our kids.

Finally, as Rotarians in particular, we have to remember that the point of this is Service above Self. It is not just about the warm and fuzzy feeling we get from a hug we might get from a kid occasionally…or a pretty teacher. Those are just an extra bonus and not the main goal.