Writers and speakers are often told "Show, don't tell." Andy Parker '79 took the admonition to heart in 2004, when he returned to campus for a panel discussion called "Gettysburg Goes Global."
Parker told how his Gettysburg education prepared him for his work in international finance and for living abroad. At a lunch after his talk, he learned that Profs. Caroline Hartzell and Robert Bohrer were trying to get their Contemporary Civil Conflict class to Belfast, Ireland to gain firsthand experience of the effects of conflict there. With a creative gift of his airline miles, Parker made that trip possible (see Gettysburg magazine, spring 2005, p. 30). Since then, he has provided funds for one or two course-related trips each year.
"I've had the opportunity to travel quite a bit for work, which has taken me many places around the world. I strongly believe that traveling to other countries gives one a very different perspective on life," Parker said.
"I enjoy giving to causes when I can understand the specific use of my donation—it's extremely satisfying that I can tie my contribution to a particular trip. I love helping students get this opportunity to witness other cultures. Beyond perspective, it also gives a deeper understanding of issues, a higher degree of tolerance, and hopefully helps a person become more thoughtful about the polarized issues we see in the press so frequently these days."
Parker's father, Robert '48, was an economics major. Andy was a double major in economics and physics. Today, he is a managing director at Lazard Wealth Management LLC in New York.
He made his first gift to Gettysburg shortly after his graduation. As a Cupola Society member, he has made gifts to the Gettysburg Fund and the Orange and Blue Club.
"I view this as both 'giving back' as well as being an investment in the future. I'm a big believer in a liberal arts education with a broad mix of courses like math, history, science, or literature. Gettysburg didn't 'prepare me' for a Wall Street career—it prepared me for lots of things. I think college is a place to develop a broad base of interests, curiosity, and to 'learn how to learn,'" Parker said. "I am impressed with what I see the school doing and Janet Riggs' leadership, and have fond feelings for the place and my experience there."