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Tage Larsen

Musician Tage Larsen was born on November 7, 1970 in Hartford, Connecticut and adopted by Rikk and Pamela Larsen. He graduated from The Peabody School in 1984 and from Cambridge Rindge School in 1988. Larsen went on to receive his B.M. degree in music performance from Michigan State University School of Music in 1992, and his M.M. degree in performance from the University of Rochester, The Eastman School of Music in 1994. While at The Eastman School, Larsen toured the country with the Dallas Brass quintet for nearly a year, making appearances, performing, and providing youth clinics to support young musicians.

Following completion of his masters program, from 1995 to 1999, Larsen served as solo cornet with the “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, in Washington, D.C. He then went on to join the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, in Annapolis, Maryland, where he served as the principal trumpet from 1999 to 2000. Then, he joined the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, where he served as second trumpet from 2000 to 2002. In July 2002, Larsen was the first African American hired in the history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he has served as fourth/utility trumpet of the orchestra’s brass section. In 2008, Larsen was featured in the Dream Out Loud music education advocacy campaign, a collaboration between the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and Yahama Corporation of America. He also served in the role of Yamaha Trumpet Artist, educator, and roster member. Larsen has performed with the CSO Trumpets, as the featured faculty soloist for the DePaul Festival Winds, and as a guest trumpet soloist with the Evanston Symphony Orchestra in Evanston, Illinois, under the direction of Lawrence Eckerling.

In 2004, Larsen received the first Michigan State University College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award. He joined the faculty at DePaul University School of Music, in Chicago, Illinois in 2007, as an instructor in applied and performance trumpet.

Larsen conducts master classes, has performed at conferences hosted by the International Trumpet Guild (ITG), and also served on the faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

Tage Larsen was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 12, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.053

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2019

Last Name

Larsen

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Andrew Peabody School

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Michigan State University

Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

First Name

Tage

Birth City, State, Country

Hartford

HM ID

LAR03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

You Break It, You Buy It

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/7/1970

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Thai

Short Description

Musician Tage Larsen (1970- ) was second trumpet for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra before being hired as the first African American in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2002.

Employment

U.S. Marine Band

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Annapolis Symphony Orchestra

Favorite Color

Blue

Debra Simmons

Journalist and newspaper executive Debra Adams Simmons was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Simmons attended Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences, from which she received her B.A. degree. She is also a graduate of the Northwestern University Media Management Center’s Advanced Executive Program in its Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Simmons had then planned to attend law school, but in 1986 was offered an internship at the local newspaper in Syracuse.

Simmons worked as a reporter and editor at the Hartford Courant, the Detroit Free Press, and the Virginian-Pilot. In 2003, she became managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, a Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper distributed throughout Northeast Ohio. Six months later she was appointed vice president of the newspaper. In 2007, Simmons was hired as managing editor of The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper. Three years later, she was promoted to editor of The Plain Dealer, making her the only minority female running any of the nation’s top twenty-five newspapers.

In 2014, Simmons became president of the Associated Press Media Editors. She has also served as the board chairman of the Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop, vice chair of the board of directors for Business Volunteers Unlimited: Center for Non-Profit Excellence, member of the board of directors of the American Society of News Editors, member of the National Association of Minority Media Executives, and member of the National Association of Black Journalists

For her journalistic and community achievements, Simmons has been given the Robert McGruder Award for Diversity by Kent State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, named as one of Cleveland’s 40 Under 40 leading executives in Northeast Ohio by Crain’s, won the ATHENA award, and has been inducted into the Women of Color Hall of Fame.

Simmons lives in Copley, Ohio, with her husband, Jonathan. They have two sons; Jacob and Jonathan.

Simmons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.042

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/11/2014

Last Name

Simmons

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lynne

Schools

Annie-Fisher Multiple Intelligence M

South Catholic High School

Syracuse University

Hartford College for Women

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Debra

Birth City, State, Country

Hartford

HM ID

SIM12

Favorite Season

The Holidays

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

11/4/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Macaroni And Cheese

Short Description

Journalist and newspaper executive Debra Simmons (1964 - ) served as the editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.

Employment

The Plain Dealer

Akron Beacon Journal

Virginian Pilot

Detroit Free Press

Hartford Courant

Syracuse Herald-Journal

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Debra Simmons' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Debra Simmons lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Debra Simmons describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Debra Simmons describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Debra Simmons talks about her mother's second marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Debra Simmons describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Debra Simmons describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Debra Simmons describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Debra Simmons describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Debra Simmons lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Debra Simmons describes her elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Debra Simmons remembers the cultural institutions in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Debra Simmons describes the demographics of Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Debra Simmons talks about her decision to become a broadcast journalist

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Debra Simmons describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Debra Simmons remembers becoming a double dutch champion

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Debra Simmons describes her decision to attend South Catholic High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Debra Simmons describes her experiences at South Catholic High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Debra Simmons recalls how she came to work at the Syracuse Herald-Journal

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Debra Simmons talks about the history of the Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Debra Simmons remembers her senior year at South Catholic High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Debra Simmons remembers her advisor at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Debra Simmons describes her experiences at Syracuse University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Debra Simmons describes her experiences at Syracuse University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Debra Simmons describes her position at the Syracuse Herald-Journal

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Debra Simmons remembers the Janet Cooke scandal

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Debra Simmons talks about her position at the Hartford Courant

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Debra Simmons describes her time as an education writer at the Detroit Free Press

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Debra Simmons remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Debra Simmons recalls her transitions between The Virginian-Pilot and the Detroit Free Press

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Debra Simmons describes her position at The Virginian-Pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Debra Simmons remembers turning down a position at The Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Debra Simmons describes her role as deputy managing editor at The Virginian-Pilot

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Debra Simmons describes how she came to work at the Akron Beacon Journal

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Debra Simmons talks about her tenure at the Akron Beacon Journal

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Debra Simmons remembers the acquisition of Knight Ridder by The McClatchy Company, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Debra Simmons remembers the acquisition of Knight Ridder by The McClatchy Company, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Debra Simmons talks about the City of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Debra Simmons talks about the digital distribution of The Plain Dealer

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Debra Simmons talks about the perception of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Debra Simmons talks about the revitalization of Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Debra Simmons reflects upon her accomplishments at The Plain Dealer

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Debra Simmons talks about the recent crimes in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Debra Simmons talks about her relationships with community leaders in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Debra Simmons talks about the staff and content of The Plain Dealer

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Debra Simmons talks about her awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Debra Simmons talks about the lack of diversity in the journalism industry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Debra Simmons reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Debra Simmons talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Debra Simmons reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Debra Simmons talks about her children

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Debra Simmons shares her hopes and concerns for Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Debra Simmons describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$3

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Debra Simmons reflects upon her accomplishments at The Plain Dealer
Debra Simmons describes her position at the Syracuse Herald-Journal
Transcript
When you look at your, your years here in Cleveland [Ohio], what is the highlight, I guess, in terms of The Plain Dealer?$$Hm, the highlight. Okay, I gotta think about this for a minute. So I've been in Ohio for ten years; came in 2003 as I mentioned, left the Beacon [Akron Beacon Journal] December 31st, 2006 and started at The Plain Dealer in 2007. I guess there have been a number of highlights; probably most significant is that a couple of years ago, the structure of county government in Cuyahoga County [Ohio] was changed, driven largely by the investigative reporting of The Plain Dealer, which unveiled widespread corruption. So being able to shed light on how the government has run, and to provide citizens with the kinds of information that would help them make a meaningful choice about doing things differently is probably the defining professional moment of my Cleveland experience. You know, there are a number of people--readers who would argue that The Plain Dealer should have been writing these stories twenty years ago, so as--one who wasn't here twenty years ago, can't really take the hit for what didn't happen. I don't necessarily disagree with, with some of those points but, you know, I think if you look at the work that we did in 2008 and 2009, that--not, not just one or two people of questionable character, but that really sort of unveiled a whole infrastructure of corruption and cronyism, and to get that broken down and to come up with a new structure that has, you know, leadership, you know, for the people by the people, where everyone has a seat at the table, really is significant.$$Okay. So 2010, I guess, was a landmark year for those investigations?$$Yes. That's when the sort of chickens came home to roost so to speak (laughter).$$Yeah, I heard--well, this morning, [HistoryMaker] Harry Boomer again; he was saying another, you know, corruption scandal (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right, right.$$--and he was talking about some other layer has been peeled back.$$I mean that's the thing. What we really helped to do is unveil this whole culture of corruption and, you know, what has sprung from that is a whole series of investigations and a whole series of, you know, identifying pockets of mismanagement and misbehavior, and so, you know, when you think about journalism as a public trust, I mean I think that we most effectively fulfilled that role in the kinds of content that we're talking about here; but we're also doing it now around rape. As you know, 2013 was the year that three women [Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight] were found, you know, to have been locked in a house for a decade. Well, for the last three years, we have been pushing the state to do a better job of examining rape kits and, you know, I think our content, as well as, you know, other developments, have sort of moved the state to a place where it's more effectively and efficiently testing rape kits, and thousands of rapes are being resolved as a result of much of the work that we're doing. And so, you know, we are continuing to push to--particularly, you know, for poor women whose credibility is questionable, they've never--you know, they rarely have been able to get anybody to listen to their cries. And now the state attorney general [Mike DeWine] has made a commitment to testing every untested rape kit that's out there, and there are about four thousand, and they're about a third of the way through. And in some cases, the offenders are in custody; you know, they're right there but no one's ever tested and no one's ever asked, and so for many families, including families who've had people not just rape but murder, some of those murders have been resolved in the past year. In one case, a woman's daughter was killed thirty years ago and just gotten to a place where she knows what happened. But as it relates to the rape kits specifically, there's a twenty year statute of limitations, and so there's this race to get those tested before that statute runs out.$Syracuse Herald-Journal. What was your internship like? What did, what did you do, and did you learn--what did you learn, I guess in that year?$$So I mentioned that my internship, which was supposed to be nine months, two weeks in, the managing editor offered me a full time permanent job because he was concerned that I--you know, I, I, I sort of jumped in with both feet, I was doing a good job, and he was concerned that I was going to get picked off by another newspaper, and so one of the, one of the projects I did during my first year as a reporter was on children in foster care, and I worked with this senior editor who was just happy to have somebody who was young and who would do whatever he told 'em to do 'cause the veterans would sort of grouse and ignore him. He was like, "Okay, you gotta get these records, you gotta do this, you gotta do that." So when I talk about the--when I mention that when I got out of school, some of my first mentors were white men? Barry Katz [Barry E. Katz] was this great mentor, this sort of hard nose, hard core investigative journalist who sort of guided this project on children in foster care, the result of which were changes in the way that the foster care structure was organized and held accountable in the county where Syracuse is, and that's called Onondaga County [New York]. You know--so I--in the course of doing this, in addition to sort of the--gathering the data and the whole bit, I talked to these foster kids who had been in fourteen homes in eight years; some had been abused; but we really sort of shed light on all the--really, all the failures of the system. That won a huge statewide award; I, I was like named the newcomer of the year, which was an annual award they gave at that time, and so Tim Bunn, the person who had offered me this internship and then this full time permanent job, said after this project ran, "I wouldn't be surprised if Debbie Adams [HistoryMaker Debra Simmons] took her five part series and went home with it." And sure enough, sometime shortly thereafter, the Hartford Courant called and said, "Hey, you could do that work here; what do you wanna stay in Syracuse [New York] for?" And so I shifted from the Syracuse Herald-Journal to Hartford [Connecticut]. The interesting thing about the Syracuse paper is that--you know, I went to the Newhouse School, which was, you know, funded by the, you know, revenues of Newhouse family and Advance Publications [Advance Publications, Inc.], and the Syracuse Herald-Journal was a Newhouse newspaper, you know, Advance Publications, Newhouse family newspaper, and The Plain Dealer is an Advance Publication Newhouse newspaper, so when I came here, everybody said, "Oh, my goodness, your Newhouse career has gone full circle; you got your degree from the Newhouse School, and now you're running a Newhouse newspaper." And I think I might be one of the few Newhouse grads to run a Newhouse paper.

Gerard Peterson

Gerard M. Peterson was born on September 10, 1932, in Hartford, Connecticut; he was the second of five children born to Edythe and Rufus Peterson. Peterson attended Hartford public schools, and graduated from Bulkeley High School. From there, Peterson received a B.A. degree in economics from the University of Connecticut.

With Aetna Life and Casualty, Peterson’s first position was administrator of Aetna’s Corporate Insurance Division as an assistant secretary at the corporate level, directing sales for field office group insurance representatives. Active in Aetna’s commitment to corporate involvement, Peterson was a loaned executive to non-profit organizations. From 1965 to1966, Peterson then was manager of Plans for Progress, one of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. Between 1969 and 1970, Peterson was again on loan as the executive vice-president of the National Alliance of Business, which was created to find jobs for the unemployed. In July 1970, Peterson left Aetna to become assistant dean in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in California, where he served for three years.

Peterson returned to Aetna in 1973 to become the marketing director of Aetna Public health Management’s Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). From 1975 to 1983, Peterson, as Aetna’s Marketing Manager, directed sales representatives and managed national advertising and marketing services. Peterson completed his distinguished twenty-three year career with Aetna Life and Casualty in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1983.

After leaving Aetna, Peterson served as executive director and CEO of the Hartford Civic Center; this multi-purpose facility had a convention venue and one of the largest arenas in New England. During his tenure at the Hartford Civic Center, 18.5 million customers visited the Center while contributing a surplus exceeding $11,000,000 to the City of Hartford. The Hartford Civic Center received the 1986 Arena of the Year Award from Performance Magazine while Peterson himself was recognized as Facility Manager of the Year for major convention centers.

Peterson’s contributions to national, regional and local organizations included being director of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, a council member in the town of Bloomfield, Connecticut, and serving on committees of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Accession Number

A2005.142

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/21/2005

Last Name

Peterson

Maker Category
Schools

Bulkeley High School

University of Connecticut

Naylor School

Burr School

First Name

Gerard

Birth City, State, Country

Hartford

HM ID

PET05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

I Know A Few People Who Are Living As Well As We Are, But Nobody Is Living Better.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

9/10/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken (Roasted), Gravy

Short Description

Corporate executive and insurance executive Gerard Peterson (1932 - ) worked in various executive roles for Aetna Life and Casualty over a distinguished twenty-three year career. In addition to his work with Aetna, Peterson also served as executive director and COO of the Hartford Civic Center.

Employment

Hartford Civic Center; XL Center

Aetna, Inc.

Plans for Progress

U.S. Government's taksforce on Youth Motivation

Stanford University

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Gerard Peterson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his maternal grandparents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his maternal grandparents' move to Connecticut

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson describes New England's demographics during World War II

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Gerard Peterson describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Gerard Peterson describes his paternal grandmother's occupation and personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson describes his childhood neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls his family's holiday celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his parents and siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes his parents and siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his sister's nursing career

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his father's move to Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson recalls playing sports and working odd jobs with his brothers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson describes attending Hartford's Dr. James H. Naylor Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls Alfred E. Burr Junior High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his dreams and aspirations in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson recalls Hartford's Morgan Gardner Bulkeley High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson recalls the difficulties of attending a predominately white school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his decision to attend the University of Connecticut in Storrs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes caddying at Wethersfield Country Club

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson describes his time in the U.S. Army during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Gerard Peterson remembers playing golf in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Gerard Peterson describes returning the University of Connecticut in Storrs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson describes his activities at the University of Connecticut in Storrs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson describes his wife and sons

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson recalls working as a computer programmer at Aetna Life and Casualty Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson recalls his position at the Plans for Progress program

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson recalls working in Washington, D.C. during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes his motivational work for the Plans for Progress program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson recalls becoming assistant dean at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson recalls his work as assistant dean at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls notable people at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes Stanford Golf Course

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes how Stanford Graduate School of Business influenced his career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his return to Aetna Life and Casualty Company

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson recalls becoming executive director at the Hartford Civic Center

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes his role at the Hartford Civic Center

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson recalls working as a project manager for Johnson Controls

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson recalls the racial discrimination he faced playing golf

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson describes the impact of golf on his career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson describes his affiliations with golf organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson describes the state of golf in Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1900s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his golf affiliations

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson recalls meeting Earl Woods and Tiger Woods

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson describes teaching golf at the senior center on Martha's Vineyard

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Gerard Peterson shares his advice for young golfers

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Gerard Peterson describes his involvement in nonprofit organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gerard Peterson recalls coaching midget football, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gerard Peterson recalls coaching midget football, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gerard Peterson reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gerard Peterson speculates about his future plans

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gerard Peterson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gerard Peterson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gerard Peterson narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATitle
Gerard Peterson recalls working as a computer programmer at Aetna Life and Casualty Company
Gerard Peterson recalls becoming executive director at the Hartford Civic Center
Transcript
Let's move back to Aetna Life and Casualty [Aetna Life and Casualty Company; Aetna, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut] because you were there from June 1957 until February 1965. So say a little bit about the details of your--the progression of your development at Aetna during those first roughly, oh eight years?$$Yeah, I started as a computer programmer back in the days when there wasn't anybody that I knew who knew what I did for a living. So when they said, "Well what do you do there?" And I'd say, "Well I'm a computer programmer," and they'd say, "Well what is that?" And then there were some people who'd say, "What do you mean you're sweeping up over there? What are you, tell us the truth what you do there?" I said, "Well I write instructions for this computer, and the computer does what the instructions say." Oh wow, this guy is--and that's what they called us the eggheads at the Aetna. There were only about ten of us in the department and as a matter of fact when I joined the department it was called the data processing development department they weren't sure if it was going to be permanent. Because they weren't sure, they were going to keep the computer. In the country in those days, there was probably a hundred and fifty computer programmers in the whole United States of America. I went to school for three days at the IBM [International Business Machines Corporation] school across this street from the Aetna and came back as a programmer. And really learned on the job but loved it, enjoyed it very much worked a lot of overtime and learned enough so that I became the supervisor of the programmers and then became a systems analysts. And then became the human resources director if you will of the computer area and that meant that I was responsible for hiring and training the new programmers. Because I told my boss we had such an inadequate training program, he said, "Well write one," and I wrote one and sent the memo to him. He said, "Hey this is pretty good, now you are in charge of training." I said, "Well does that mean I've been promoted?" He said, "No you're just in charge of training (laughter)." But it was a great experience because it sent me off to the personnel department now called human resources and I did some projects with them. And computerized some of their records and met some people in the process. About that time I also thought that I needed to learn more about presenting myself, so I joined the Toastmasters Club [Toastmasters International] at Aetna. And loved that and that was something that allowed you to prepare speeches and be evaluated by your fellow Toastmasters. And you improved as you went on, I was a Toastmasters for many years, you know, six or seven or eight years. I remember it, and became the president of the, maybe the vice president I'm not sure, but I was one of the officers of the club.$What came next at Aetna Life and Casualty [Aetna Life and Casualty Company; Aetna, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut], what was your next step up?$$Well I stayed in that area until there was a mild depression that happened (laughter) in our economy and the Aetna decided to get out of managed-care business at that point. Even though if you look at them today they're one of the largest managed-care companies in the country. It was done the second time by mergers and acquisitions. They went out and found organizations that were Aetna-oriented in their way of doing business. And that's the way--the reason they're so large in the managed-care world today. But we, we actually went out of business, and I went back into the group insurance division and went to marketing group insurance again. And then one day received a call from the city manager of City of Hartford [Connecticut] asked me to come and spend a little time with him. And he asked me if I was interested in being the executive director of the convention center and arena that we had at Hartford called the Aetna--the Hartford Civic Center [XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut]. And I said no, but thank you very much I'm flattered that you would ask me. And he said, "I would really like you to do this and you ought to think about it and when you go back to the Aetna why don't you talk to John Filer [John H. Filer] 'cause I've been talking to him also." And I went back to the Aetna, and I thought about it and because of my Stanford [Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford, California] thinking, I started thinking outside the box. And saying well what would that be, what would I do when I do that? Then when I thought about, oh I probably could do a better job in marketing than we're doing now. I went to the back--some back issues of the Hartford newspaper [Hartford Courant] and looked at the record, at least, the way it was portrayed in the media, and they weren't doing very well. And they didn't have very, very good reputation. They were at best neutral, but in some senses negative. And I thought this my chance to make this a better organization and I also thought, you know, working in show business that might be fun. So I did--I went back to the city manager and said I'd be willing to do this, and John Filer agreed that it would be a good place for me to be. The Aetna had a very large financial interest in the shops that were around, and offices, that were around the Hartford Civic Center it was, you know, a several million dollar investment (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) When was the Civic Center built and finished?$$It was built in 1975 I believe and then it--the roof fell in, in 1976 and I think in 1978 or something like that. As I remember it they went back in the business the roof went back on. And five years later, 1983 I went to work as the executive director and at that point it needed a lot of marketing kind of assistance. And the organization was pretty sad.

Sanford Cloud, Jr.

Attorney and foundation executive Sanford Cloud, Jr. was born on November 27, 1944 in Hartford, Connecticut to Inez Morgan Cloud and Sanford Cloud, Sr. Attending Burns Elementary School, Northwest Elementary School and Northwest Junior High School, Cloud graduated from Hartford’s Weaver High School in 1962. After staring his college career at the University of Arizona, Cloud transferred to Howard University in 1964 where he came under the tutelage of Frank Snowden, Nathan Hare and Naylor Fitzhugh. Cloud graduated as student body president, worked in the office of Senator Thomas Dodd and married his college sweetheart in 1966. His twin sons, Adam and Christopher Cloud, were born as he graduated cum laude from Howard University Law School in 1969. In 1992, Cloud earned his M.A. degree in religious studies from Hartford Seminary.

Cloud worked briefly for Aetna Insurance in 1969 and then became the first African American lawyer to work at the firm of Robinson and Cole. In 1976, Cloud was elected to the Connecticut State Senate and formed his own firm, Cloud and Iberguen. Returning to Aetna in 1978, Cloud became vice president of public involvement in 1986 and headed the Aetna Foundation until1992. He became the eighth president and the first African American president and chief executive office of the National Conference for Community Justice (NCCJ) in 1994. Cloud represented the NCCJ as a member of former President Jimmy Carter’s delegation overseeing the first Palestinian elections in Jerusalem in 1996. Before retiring from the NCCJ in 2004, Cloud convened faith leaders to combat racism and advised the United States Customs Commissioner on racial profiling in the area of international air traveling.

Cloud has lectured at the University of Connecticut Law School. A former board member of the Independent Sector, The Council on Foundations and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cloud serves as director of Northeast Utilities, the Phoenix Company, Tenet Healthcare and Advest Incorporated.

Accession Number

A2005.053

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/18/2005

Last Name

Cloud

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Weaver High School

Burns Elementary School

Northwest Elementary School

Northwest Junior High School

Latino Studies Academy at Burns

Howard University School of Law

Hartford Seminary

University of Arizona School of Law

Howard University

First Name

Sanford

Birth City, State, Country

Hartford

HM ID

CLO02

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Lincoln Financial Group Foundation

State

Connecticut

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

Ciao.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Connecticut

Birth Date

11/27/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Hartford

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Jambalaya

Short Description

Foundation executive, lawyer, and nonprofit executive Sanford Cloud, Jr. (1944 - ) was the eighth president and the first African American president and CEO of the National Conference for Community Justice (NCCJ). He was also the first African American attorney at Robinson and Cole, was elected to the Connecticut state senate, and became Vice President of Public Involvement for Aetna.

Employment

NCCJ

Robinson & Cole LLP

Aetna, Inc.

Robinson & Cole LLP

The Connecticut State Senate

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sanford Cloud, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his parent's meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his experiences with church growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about his siblings and extended family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his childhood interests and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. remembers discovering golf

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. reflects upon his experience as a caddy at Tumble Brook Country Club in Bloomfield, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. explains how reading impacted him as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes living in public housing and the schools he attended in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. names influential school mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his experience at Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. recounts his decision to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his experience at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. recalls his decision to transfer to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. remembers his experience at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. remembers meeting his future wife at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes courting and marrying his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. relates why he wanted to become a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes the activism on campus at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his experience at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. remembers his early career after law school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his experience at Robinson & Cole LLP in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. explains how he became involved in politics

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. reflects on his tenure in the Connecticut State Senate

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about Aetna Life Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. explains why he attended Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about his interest in theology

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. explains how he used his master's degree in religious studies

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about his involvement with the National Conference of Christians and Jews

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about the naming of the National Conference for Community and Justice

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes the work of the National Conference for Community and Justice, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes the work of the National Conference for Community and Justice, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. reflects upon highlights from his work with the National Conference for Community and Justice

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes his future plans

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about his parents witnessing his success

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sanford Cloud, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

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DAStory

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DATitle
Sanford Cloud, Jr. relates why he wanted to become a lawyer
Sanford Cloud, Jr. talks about his involvement with the National Conference of Christians and Jews
Transcript
Now let me go back to undergraduate school at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.]. You graduated from Howard--$$Nineteen sixty-six [1966].$$Okay. Okay. And, and what--what influenced you to become a lawyer?$$Well I was, well as I told you the, the assassination of President [John Fitzgerald] Kennedy led me to the first thought and the fact that [President] Lyndon [Baines] Johnson was gonna become president. Of course, as it turned out he was a great president for African American people, and, and, and our interests. But just the, the sense of, I'd always been focused on issues of social justice and, and during that time at Howard, you know, not only were the Civil Rights Movement going on and gaining momentum but the war in Vietnam [Vietnam War] was raging. I became very involved in the student government and at the, my senior year ended up becoming president of the student body and so very involved in social related issues. And I also had the opportunity to work for the late Senator Thomas [J.] Dodd, Senator Chris Dodd's father, while I was at Howard as a research assistant. And that exposed me to the world of the United States Senate and that was an extraordinary experience. So all of those, all of those experiences and the environment in which I found myself led me to, to the law.$You eventually became involved with the National Council for Christians and Jews [sic. National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ)] and did, when, when did you first become involved with that organization?$$Well I was, ended up heading up the Aetna Foundation for several years and in 1992 I decided that I wanted to go back to practicing law. I had been at Aetna [Life Insurance Company; Aetna Inc., Hartford, Connecticut] for fifteen years all told, and in that particular part of my journey with Aetna and, and, and just wanted a different environment, wanted out of the corporate environment at the time. And my partners at Robinson & Cole [LLP, Hartford, Connecticut] invited me to return home. And so I did and that's where I thought I was going to be, I had become chairman of the new foundation in the Hartford [Connecticut] area focused on children's issues called the Children's Fund [of Connecticut]. And so that's what I thought I was going to do, y'know go back to having a corporate and, and community practice. And, and then in ninety--late '93 [1993], I received a call from a headhunter in Chicago [Illinois] it was just before Thanksgiving weekend. And she said "I have talked to a number of people around the country and your name keeps coming up as the person that oughta become the next president of the National Conference [for Community and Justice]." Which it had, what it had become to be called simply the National Conference founded as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. And, "Would you be interested? It's an old human relations organization founded in 1927 and, and it's got some sixty regional offices in thirty some odd states around the country and, and oh, by the way it's headquartered in New York City [New York, New York]." And I said, I said, "You must be kidding to think that I would leave my beloved Connecticut Valley to go down and work in New York City." I said, "I like New York but I'm not going down to work and live there." And I said, "But send me some information and I will try to find you an appropriate candidate." And so she did and at some point over the Thanksgiving weekend I opened it up and what I opened up was the 1992 annual report. And while I had known of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, we had a very active regional office here in Connecticut and led by some very prominent old friends of mine that I knew, I didn't even know what they did but I figured, you know, Christians and Jews are getting together it must be a good organization and, and that's how I viewed it. Well I opened up this 1992 annual report, on the inside cover was the mission statement and the mission statement said, "And this National Conference, founders of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1927 as a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias and bigotry and racism among all people and promoting understanding and respect among all people through advocacy, conflict, resolution, and education." I said, "No, this can't be what this organization is about. How could this be what its mission is?" Well that mission spoke to me primarily because all of my life I've always been about trying to build community across all of the divides, the race, ethnicity, culture, and, and faith. And, and in a quiet moment I said to myself, Sandy Cloud [HistoryMaker Sanford Cloud, Jr.] you oughta take your experience in the law and in public life and the corporate world and theological education and community building and go down to New York and, and focus on advancing this mission. And so Diane [Brown Cloud] and I had a conversation about all of that and she said, "You do what your, where your heart wants to take you." And so I ended up going down to New York eleven years ago in '94 [1994] and extraordinary run, I just retired from NCCJ at the end of December. And it was an extraordinary journey for me and hope I did some good that was '94 [1994] to, to '04 [2004], '94 [1994].$$Okay.$$--to '04 [2004].