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  • Orrin Luc posted an article
    For the first time women lead the Poetry Foundation and the YMCA of the USA see more

    Meet the new presidents of the Poetry Foundation and the YMCA of the USA. For the first time at both of these venerable institutions, there’s a woman at the helm.


    Michelle Boone

    President of the Poetry Foundation

    CHAD | 1994–96

    Photo courtesy the Poetry Foundation


    Named in April as the new president of the Poetry Foundation, Michelle Boone is the first woman of color to lead the storied Chicago-based institution, which publishes the century-old journal Poetry, one of the most prominent literary journals in the United States. Along with her Peace Corps service, Boone brings over 20 years of experience to the new role, including prominent positions at the Navy Pier; the Joyce Foundation; and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

    During her tenure at DCASE, she helped facilitate the Chicago Cultural Plan and also championed the Chicago Architectural Biennial in 2015. Boone told The New York Times that she was heavily influenced by poetry while growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, when the Black Arts Movement saw the emergence of poets like Gwendolyn Brooks and Oscar Brown Jr. 



    Suzanne McCormickSuzanne McCormick 

    President and CEO, YMCA of the USA

    THAILAND | 1989–91

    Photo courtesy YMCA


    The YMCA of the USA announced its new president and CEO in August: Suzanne McCormick, who becomes the first woman to lead the Y in the United States. McCormick brings more than 27 years of experience as a senior and executive leader, most recently serving as U.S. President of United Way Worldwide. She has been responsible for helping the 1,100 local United Ways across the U.S. address communities’ most pressing challenges.

    Prior to assuming this national role, she spent five years as president and CEO for United Way Suncoast and 13 years at United Way of Greater Portland in Maine — including four as president and CEO — during which she set strategic direction for Let’s Go, a preventative childhood obesity project, and three school district community-based partnerships focused on school success. McCormick was just recognized by The NonProfit Times as one of 2021’s NPT Power & Influence Top 50.

  • Communications Intern posted an article
    New role diplomat Juan Gonzalez. And recognition for architect Edward Mazria. see more

    A new role in the Americas for an experienced diplomat. And recognition for a veteran architect whose career has been devoted to changing the way we build — with the goal of making new buildings and renovations carbon neutral by 2030.


    Photo: Architect Edward Mazria from ArchDaily



    National Security Council Policy Lead for the Western Hemisphere

    Juan Gonzalez (Guatemala 2001–04) has taken on responsibilities as Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the Obama administration. 

    A native of Cartagena, Colombia, he served with Peace Corps in the west-central Guatemalan city of Huehuetenango. In March he was back in Guatemala, and in Mexico, to meet with officials to discuss ways to stem the flow of migrants from the region to the United States. Bolstering opportunities in migrants’ home countries is crucial to that, as is holding accountable those Gonzalez described as “predatory elites.”


    Juan Gonzalez in meeting

    In the room: Juan Gonzalez, center with hands raised, in his previous role conferring with President Obama’s team.



    Buildings of the Earth 

    Edward Mazria (Peru 1964–66) is the recipient of the 2021 AIA Gold Medal—the highest honor presented by the American Institute of Architects. Mazria is a Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architect, the founder of the nonprofit Architecture 2030, and a researcher, educator, author, and environmental advocate. 

    Honoring him with the medal sends a powerful signal: “We’re transitioning toward an ‘Architecture of the Earth,’” Mazria said in an interview recently, “not just as a style, but also as substance and actions—integrating existing and new architecture with the Earth’s systems, renewable resources, and energy, while protecting the planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity.” 



    Architecture 2030 webpage

    The 2030 Challenge: Read about it at Architecture 2030.


    Mazria published The Passive Solar Energy Book in 1979. In the 1990s he helped found AIA’s Committee on the Environment. He has drawn attention to the carbon impact of building—and the enormous effect that the built environment has had in creating our current climate crisis. He issued the global 2030 Challenge; his work helped inform the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

    Mazria also holds a rare distinction among architects and in Peace Corps annals: In the early 1960s he was drafted by the New York Knicks but turned down the offer to serve as a Volunteer in Peru.