Brian Drier ’86
Assistant professor of English, Nagaoka University of Technology, and jazz singer
I entered Colgate as an Alumni Memorial Scholar, after a year stringing tennis rackets, busing tables, and singing in a none-too-talented and none-too-busy bar/garage band. I created my own major, Human Liberation: Theory & Praxis, which drew on ideas found in philosophy, religion, sociology, and political science.
I attended law school at SUNY-Buffalo and worked in the Appeals Bureau at Legal Aid of Nassau County for seven years.
Then I took a “temporary” leave to serve as an assistant language teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.
Returning to New York, I entered Columbia University’s Teachers College, where I won the John Fanselow award (essentially a recognition of creativity and originality).
I returned to Japan a few days before Sept. 11, 2001. The next April, I began teaching at Nagaoka University of Technology. By day, I’m a tenured professor; by night, a jazz singer in Tokyo and Yokohama.
In Japan, there is a concept called en, the fateful connection that marks something as meant to be: a person, a place, perhaps one’s calling. I met my wife at a jazz club in Tokyo (we were both checking out a “vocal clinic”). The house that we’ve built is the lucky 13th in our area. Coincidence?
My experiences at Colgate fostered my curiosity; my deep and abiding interest in music and language; love of improvisation; and reliance on intuition. In the Colgate years, I found myself, found my feet, and found a path to the next bend in the road.
Margaux Jackson ’07 helps athlete Laura Schwanger into her boat after accepting the bronze medal in the women’s arms-only single sculls in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China.
On the waterfront in Beijing ’08 with Margaux Jackson ’07
What is your job title?
National Team Programs Athlete Coordinator, U.S. Rowing Association
What was your role at the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics?
Assistant team leader for the Olympic team and the team leader for the Paralympic team.
What did your job entail in Beijing?
My function is to eliminate any obstacles to the athletes competing successfully. We coordinated the athletes’ activities as well as organized meals and transportation — basically ensuring that they had everything they needed. We also acted as liaisons between the team and the international rowing association, so we were the representatives for them, taking care of any issues that needed to be resolved.
What challenges did you face?
The Paralympics was my first trip as a team leader by myself and I was the only U.S. Rowing staff person there — that was really exciting. It was also the first time that rowing was a Paralympic event, so it was a big test for us to see what we could do. We’ve only had an adaptive rowing team for four years, so this was our first time at that level of competition, and we won two medals out of the four events we competed in.
Tell us what it was like to be there.
I was there for a total of seven weeks, which was a long time, but being at the Olympics and Paralympics was just an amazing experience. You have the highest level of athletes in the world, and everyone is so dedicated and so focused that it’s really inspiring. There’s a lot of buildup and it’s something many people have been working toward all their lives, so it’s a very intense feeling. Everything has to be perfect, at the highest level, and for myself and the other team leader, that’s why we’re there, to keep everything running smoothly so that the athletes can do their best. Being around that kind of energy amps you up and makes you want to do your best. It’s a great environment for sports.
How did your Colgate education prepare you for your work?
My degree in international relations has definitely been very helpful. The international rowing scene is not in North America at all, so I correspond with other teams. I speak French, Dutch, and Spanish, so I’ve been able to use that quite a bit. Having traveled a lot and studied abroad, being familiar with other places is always really helpful in this job.
My experience on the Colgate crew team for four years, and being captain, were instrumental. I think about it every day that I’m here — I learned so much — and I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been on the team. I feel lucky for that. I wish those girls would get more recognition and the support that they deserve because they’re really hard-working student-athletes. That experience is invaluable for the rest of your life.
— Aleta Mayne
The spirit of alumni sporting their Colgate gear is seen here, there, and everywhere around the globe. We’re collecting photos of Colgate sightings around the world. E-mail them to email@example.com with “Colgate Seen” in the subject line, or mail them to: Colgate Scene, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346.
This photo of Adam Skarke ’03 in northeast New Zealand was taken when he was a teaching assistant for the oceanography study abroad program for the University of Delaware, where he is a PhD student. He was teaching students about beach and coastal erosion processes on the Pacific coast.
Adonal Foyle ’98 (left) came to campus in September to talk with Colgate students about the organization he founded, Democracy Matters. “Our dream that regular citizens can represent each other is one that is running away from us,” said Foyle during a brown bag lunch in the O’Connor Campus Center, sponsored by Colgate’s chapter of Democracy Matters. Leading the fight to get “big private money” out of politics, Foyle founded Democracy Matters at Colgate in 2001. Now with an active presence on 80 college campuses, the nonpartisan organization gives students a voice in issues of democracy. For Foyle, who also delivered an evening lecture at Memorial Chapel, the recent national election was a momentous occasion: it was the first time he voted in a U.S. presidential election. A native of a tiny Caribbean island, he came to the United States when he was 15 and became a U.S. citizen last year. “This [was] such a watershed moment for me. To be able to vote in this historic election [was] unbelievable,” he said.
Dan Arment ’83 has gone from wearing a football helmet as the Colgate Raiders’ outside linebacker to becoming president of Riddell, the official helmet of the NFL. Easton-Bell Sports recently promoted Arment to the position after his years as executive vice president and general manager of mass market business. He previously was the vice president of national sales for the Speedo Division of the Authentic Fitness Corporation, and also has marketing experience with Playtex, Mennen, and Revlon. Arment and his wife, Julie Collishaw Arment ’86, live in the Chicago area with their three children.
“It translates to ‘Now accepting applications for a Japanese girlfriend.’ My grandmother found this shirt online and bought it for me. She thought it would be funny because of my major.”
Gregory Golden ’09
Japanese and Spanish major
Hometown: Keller, Texas