Dick Berggren, G67, G70
HOME: Ipswich, Massachusetts
OLD JOB: Motorsports announcer for FOX TV. Retired in June from a career that included such highlights as several times interviewing the winner of the Daytona 500 for national television.
STEADY GIG: Editing Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated, his monthly racing magazine
NEW PROJECT: Establishing the first comprehensive motorsports museum in the Northeast, to be built on the grounds of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
PROUDEST SPORTS ACHIEVEMENT: Making it as a race car driver. “I’ll always remember the thrill of coming off turn four in the lead and seeing the checkered flag waving. But then in 1981, after twenty years of racing and twenty-six wins, came the big crash. At a track in Iowa, my car hit a dirt bank and went flying toward a crowd of fans. I was terrified, thinking I would hit someone, and when it was over, and I found out I hadn’t, I figured I’d used up all my good luck. I never raced again.”
PROUDEST ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT: Becoming a psychology professor. “Psychology always interested me, still does. But after teaching the subject for nine years at Emmanuel College in Boston, I had to leave it behind. I hadn’t yet stopped racing, and one Monday morning, the only way I could get to school was in my ramp truck with my race car loaded on the back. I’d barely got to my office when the college president paged me. She was beside herself about that ‘thing’ in the faculty parking lot. Wanted it out of there immediately. I didn’t comply—I wasn’t about to park my truck and race car on a city street—and I knew that my days as a professor would be short after that.”
TOUGHEST DECISION: Going to Virginia in 1977, after his professorship ended, to accept a job as editor of Stock Car Racing. “I had to leave behind a broad circle of friends and, for several months, even my wife.”
DEFINING TRAITS: Warmth, good humor, total lack of confusion about who he is and what he wants. A taste for fresh-cut fries with salt and vinegar. A fondness for watching his Airedale, Indy, “do silly things that make her happy.” And an undying passion for his favorite sport. “You sit up there in the stands amid all the noise and drama and watch cars going so fast, racing so close together with so much at stake. Even when I’m not covering a race, I’ll go to the track, buy a ticket, grab a hot dog and a beer, and take it all in. It’s dazzling.”
EDUCATION: M.S. and Ph.D. (psychology), Tufts
Laura Rotolo, J97, F00
HOME: Medford, Massachusetts
OCCUPATION: Staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts. “I focus on civil liberties issues, including immigrants’ rights, prisoners’ rights, free speech, privacy, and racial justice.”
WHAT DRIVES HER: “I was born in Argentina during a brutal military dictatorship. I have come to believe that the best protection against such regimes is an open society, in which people participate in upholding high standards of justice and equality.”
WHAT HAUNTS HER: Her encounter with members of the Maya K’iche community, an ethnic group from the mountains of western Guatemala, who were detained in a 2007 immigration raid. “They asked, ‘Who gave the U.S. government the power to deport people whose ancestors have been on this continent before the United States was even a country?’”
HOW SHE UNWINDS: Baking. “My mom says that ‘stressed’ is just ‘desserts’ spelled backwards—and it’s true!”
STAR TURN: Playing Maria in her high school’s production of West Side Story.
EMPOWERING READ: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, the classic work by the pioneering midwife Ina May Gaskin that got her through her recent pregnancy and remains one of her favorite books of all time. Characteristic snippet: “There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we.”
GUARANTEED TO CRACK HER UP: Pranks and pratfalls. “I have a pretty childish sense of humor. Now I finally have a one-year-old daughter and a nephew who understand me.”
DEFINING TRAITS: Energy, a sense of purpose, a love of life, and above all, gratitude. “I know that I have opportunities that many others do not have. When I feel down, I realize that it is my responsibility not to squander those advantages, and to work on behalf of the society in which my daughter will grow up.”
MAJOR WORRY: That in the wake of 9/11, we will “give up our rights in exchange for the illusion of security.”
EDUCATION: B.A., Tufts (international relations); M.A.L.D., Fletcher School; J.D., American University Washington College of Law