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Cover Story

Influential


GARTH HARRIES

Assistant Superintendent for Portfolio and Performance Management, New Haven Public Schools

Harries was hired to implement major reforms in the New Haven public school system. And in the three years he’s been on the job, the numbers indicate slow but steady might just win the race. In the past two years, test score growth has outpaced the state as a whole by 200 percent, the city’s graduation rate has grown by two percentage points and the number of students on track to graduate has risen by nine percent. Part of the early success can be attributed to his revamping of teacher evaluation guidelines, which included his controversial plan to add student and parent evaluations to the overall score.

SUSAN HERBST

President, UConn

UConn’s first woman president is a mover. Armed with a well-articulated goal to advance UConn along the path to the top tier of research institutions, Herbst is can-do, smart about getting the word out and encourages everyone on campus to take part in improving the looks and manners of the state’s flagship university. Herbst, who has written four books and whose background is in political science, public opinion and communication theory, came to UConn in 2011 from the University System of Georgia after making an impact as president at Northwestern and provost at the State University of New York at Albany. She knows what it takes to move forward and has been quick to make big personnel changes, introducing an initiative to add almost 300 faculty members to improve the student experience as well as boost research dollars, and plans to roll out significant tuition increases in the next few years. Herbst has promoted big Husky sports, fighting the good fight to try to keep men’s basketball in the show despite NCAA troubles and signing a high-profile, albeit controversial, TV contract for the women’s team. But her real aim is to put UConn’s academics in the Final Four.

IRENE AND SANDY

Hurricanes of 2011 and 2012

Rumors of these stormy sisters’ visits preceded their arrivals by several days. As they muscled their way up the East Coast, forecasters initially speculated they might pass Connecticut by, headed to other ports of call. Some predicted much of their wrath would be spent elsewhere, and eventually they were reclassified as posttropical cyclones. But Hell hath no fury like a woman underestimated. Sowing destruction in her wake, Irene wound up the fifth costliest hurricane in U.S. history, causing at least 56 deaths and losses of $15.6 billion. In Connecticut, the shoreline was especially hard hit. A record 754,000 customers lost power statewide, many for a week or more. We don’t have full figures for Sandy yet, because she had just departed as we went to press, but we know that, in the U.S., 8 million homes lost power, at least 63 people died, and early damage estimates are at $20 billion. In Connecticut, 670,000 customers lost power and at least three people died. Spanning 1,100 miles at one point, Sandy was the widest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. We sincerely hope never to see the likes of these ladies again.

HELEN KAUDER

Cofounder, Artspace

Chances are when you see a piece of public art in and around New Haven, Kauder had something to do with it. As cofounder of the innovative nonprofit community arts organization, she deserves snaps for New Haven becoming the art-friendly city it is—both for artists and audiences. Her mission was to bring people from different walks of life together to create art in new ways and unusual places. City-Wide Open Studios is a perfect example. The annual threeweekend event has become part of the fabric of New Haven’s fall not only for the access to artists, but also for its signature “Alternative Space” weekend, which transforms iconic but empty buildings into a lively marketplace for art.

HUGH KEEFE

Attorney, Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, P.C.

Keefe, who joined his firm in 1967, is one of Connecticut’s best known trial attorneys. A Quinnipiac College and University of Connecticut School of Law graduate, Keefe litigates both criminal and civil matters in both state and federal courts. He has taught trial advocacy at Yale Law School since 1979. According to Martindale-Hubbell, Keefe holds the highest “A/V” rating from his peers. His awards are far too many to enumerate, but include being the top Connecticut vote-getter in a poll by Super Lawyers Magazine. Keefe takes on many unpopular cases in the glare of the media spotlight. As an attorney for the Town of East Haven, he has defended the town against the civil suit that followed the police shooting of Malik Jones and against federal racial profiling charges brought against members of the same department. He also represents fired Milford police officer Jason Anderson, whose speeding cruiser killed a pair of young teens in their car in 2009. Few, if any, attorneys defend more vigorously than Keefe.

DORSEY KENDRICK

President, Gateway Community College

Kendrick has been a pioneer wherever she has gone, from being one of three black students who integrated Union University in Tennessee to becoming the highest-ranking black woman in Wisconsin’s higher education system. Since taking her current post in 1999, Gateway’s enrollment has more than doubled, she has instituted a nursing program, and is credited with beefing up Gateway’s offerings in the areas of allied health, green technologies, education, business and continuing education. But her greatest accomplishment—even if, as she is quick to point out, it couldn’t have been accomplished alone—might have been getting Gateway a new $198 million downtown campus in such unfavorable economic times. Can’t wait to see it!

JOHN LAHEY

President, Quinnipiac University

Lahey became president of Quinnipiac College in 1987. Bronx born and raised, Lahey had earned degrees in philosophy and in higher education administration and held the position of executive vice president of Marist College. Lahey initiated a strategic planning process for Quinnipiac, leading to unprecedented growth in its enrollment, academic programs, reputation and facilities. In 2000, the school’s name changed to Quinnipiac University to reflect many of these changes. The physical plant has expanded from 100 to 604 acres with the addition of the York Hill and North Haven Campuses.

Quinnipiac’s sports programs moved to Division I and the TD Bank Sports Center was constructed. A law school was added and a medical school is in the works. The school acquired a 1,000-watt radio station (WQUN) and the Quinnipiac University Poll became nationally recognized. Of Irish descent, Lahey has made it his mission to educate the public about Ireland’s Great Hunger, served as Grand Marshall of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City in 1997, and was named Irish American of the Year by Irish America magazine in 2011. He is also a director of the United Illuminating Company, the Aristotle Corporation, Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Alliance for Gene Cancer Therapy.

BUN LAI

Chef/Owner, Miya’s Sushi

Born in 1971 to a Chinese surgeon father and Japanese nutritionist/restaurateur mother, former college wrestler and model Lai immersed himself in his mother’s traditional Japanese restaurant, Miya’s Sushi (named for his sister), in 1993 and turned it into a culinary laboratory for his evolving environmental beliefs while producing some of the most creative sushi the world has ever seen. Miya’s is the world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant and has the largest vegetarian sushi menu in the world. In demand as a speaker all around the globe and the recipient of numerous awards, Lai practices what he preaches—foraging, fishing and diving to help supply his restaurant while battling invasive species. He owns two fishing boats and leases a 100-acre fishing grounds from the state. Host of the prestigious Miya’s Idea Dinners connecting an interdisciplinary group of diners with each other to foster positive change, Lai wants to change the ways people think, eat and live, and the way restaurants do business.

RICHARD LEVIN

President, Yale University

The longest-serving university president in the Ivy League, Levin recently announced that he will be stepping down from Yale’s top post on June 30, 2013. Levin obtained his bachelor’s from Stanford, a Bachelor of Letters from Oxford, and then in 1974 got his Ph.D. in economics from Yale. Joining the Yale faculty as an assistant professor, he became a widely respected economist, eventually chairing the economics department and then serving as dean of Yale’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Levin is credited with overseeing a huge expansion in Yale’s endowment, a tremendous renovation and expansion of its physical facilities, and even an improvement in its academic standing. He has both internationalized Yale’s outlook and improved cooperation between Yale and the City of New Haven. Since taking the helm in 1993, he has overseen $1.5 billion invested in companies spun off from Yale and $100 million of improvements to the city. Doubtless a reflection on his leadership, every one of his provosts has gone on to lead a major university.

THOMAS LYNCH JR.

Director, Yale Cancer Center; Physician-in-Chief, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital

Boston-born Dr. Lynch received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale University in the 1980s. Then it was back to Boston for his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where he eventually rose to director of the MGH Thoracic Oncology Center. Lynch is especially known for his development of novel therapies for lung cancer. He helped pioneer what’s called personalized medicine or customized care in cancer treatment (using molecular profiling to match therapy to the genetic signature of the patient’s tumor). Then it was back to New Haven to take on his current dual roles. Yale has southern New England’s only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute and one of only 40 in the nation. Under Lynch’s leadership, it’s expected to become the most comprehensive cancer care facility in all New England.

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