Alumni Council News
Alumni Council member Paul Kaufman exemplifies the balanced life
O n his application to Kenyon in 1966, Paul Kaufman wrote, "A very valuable lesson that I learn every day is that life has a way of balancing out. Something may not happen the way I want it to, but something else happens that compensates for everything." Such confidence, optimism, and maturity have been valuable assets as he has sought to balance career, family life, and service to his alma mater.
When Kaufman entered the College, it was a small liberal-arts institution for men. When he graduated four years later in 1971, Kenyon was a coeducational college on the road to doubling in size. "I selected Kenyon for its small size and the curriculum rather than because it was a men's school, so I was very happy to welcome women," he says. "It was a much better place, more balanced, after the women arrived--especially on the weekends."
The late 1960s and early 1970s were turbulent times but, as Kaufman recalls, the Social Committee had a substantial budget for entertainers such as Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears. "There were two big dance weekends a year, when the fraternities each had a live band," he remembers.
Social life was far from the only thing on Kaufman's mind, however. Balance, remember. A cum laude honors graduate in political science, he knew from his high-school days that a career in law or politics was his goal. "I'm a behind-the-scenes kind of person in politics," he says. "I coordinated [former U.S. Senator] Howard Metzenbaum's first campaign, I've been a precinct committeeman, and now I'm working some for gubernatorial candidate Lee Fisher."
After graduating from law school at Vanderbilt University, Kaufman returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where he joined the firm of Weisman, Goldberg, and Weisman (later named Weisman, Goldberg, Weisman, and Kaufman). In 1992, he established his own practice, specializing in civil practice with a focus on plaintiff's tort and negligence litigation.
Kaufman has always retained his interest in and close connection to Kenyon. "I really miss my undergraduate days in Gambier," he says wistfully. The Cleveland Regional Association Steering Committee, the Cleveland Regional Committee for the Campaign for Kenyon, the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee, and his twentieth reunion committee have all profited from his willingness to further the mission of the College. "Serving on the Alumni Council seemed to me to be a natural next step," says Kaufman.
As chair of the group's Communications Committee, he is interested in improving relationships between the regional associations and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Annual Funds and in encouraging graduating seniors to take advantage of the alumni network for career counseling. As an extern sponsor, he is very supportive of expanding the scope and influence of the Career Development Center. Kenyon's current curriculum review process is another focus of the committee.
While his own children, Jennifer and Lindsey (twenty-two) and Allison (twenty), all chose to attend large universities, Kaufman remains committed to the basic ideals of a liberal-arts education. "I've always felt that it's extremely important to help to preserve and promote liberal-arts education, and I think Kenyon represents the very best in that tradition," he says.
"I've tried to apply the fundamental concepts I learned at Kenyon--of well-roundedness and leading a life of contemplation and moderation--to both my work and my personal life," Kaufman adds. "Trying to achieve a proper balance between work, family, and outside activities seems to represent to me one of the major goals of a liberally educated person."
Although Kaufman enjoys many activities outside of work, including tennis, reading, and antique-collecting, a favorite family pastime has been world travel. "When you have teenagers," he laughs, "you have to entice them into family activites they can't refuse." Recently, the family spent the end-of-year holidays in Costa Rica. "We took a small plane to a very remote, thousand-acre preserve in Lapa Rios. Imagine our shock when outside the lodging was a jeep with a Kenyon sticker on it!" The vehicle belonged to the owners of the facility, Karen and John Lewis, parents of Wendy Lewis '96.
Kaufman intends to ease almost imperceptibly into retirement, gradually letting his outside interests play a bigger and bigger role. Volunteering for the College and continuing to support liberal-arts education will be prominent among his activities. He is, as always, optimistic. "I think college-age people have more of a concept of a balanced life than either they will admit or we will give them credit for," he says. "I think any young people who come to Kenyon and stay will balance their lives."
Alumni Council calls for nominations
T he Alumni Council invites you to suggest one or more candidates for election to the Council for a three-year term or to the Board of Trustees for a four-year term commencing in 1999. You may nominate a friend, a classmate, or yourself.
Please send the nomination and supporting information to Lisa Dowd Schott '80, director of alumni and parent relations and annual funds, College Relations Center, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio 43022-9623, by August 28, 1998. If you nominated someone last year, the name will automatically be reconsidered.
All suggestions receive careful consideration by the Alumni Council. Alumni Council and alumni trustee positions are an important part of Kenyon alumni activity.
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