Elkin Isaac Keynote Profile: Mary Jean Eisenhower

Albion College is always striving to produce alumni that can make an impact in the world, such as William C. Ferguson, Doug Parker, Anna Howard Shaw and many others. It is only fitting that this year’s Elkin Isaac Research Symposium Calvaruso Keynote speaker, Mary Jean Eisenhower, is someone who has done just that.

Eisenhower is the president of People to People International, a nonprofit founded by her grandfather and former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. People to People enacts educational, cultural and humanitarian projects around the world. Eisenhower explained that she originally got involved with the organization because of her family ties but soon made People to People her own passion.

Eisenhower sees many benefits to working for a nonprofit. “It’s the satisfaction that you have helped someone else in either a small or large way, and in turn, you have been helped,” said Eisenhower via email. “This along with the world-wide friendships and bonds that last a lifetime.”

While she did indeed come from a very presidential past, learning how to run a nonprofit was not the only thing Eisenhower learned from her legendary grandfather. She also inherited many life lessons that she believes are very applicable to college students in this day and age.

“I learned that everyone has a story, and that I should be honest, open minded and a part of the hope process, no matter how difficult global relations appear to be,” she said.  “He also taught me that the vast majority of humanity is good and decent, and the similar values and desires are a continual good prose.”

When it comes to Thursday night’s keynote address, Eisenhower wants students and faculty to walk away with a feeling of empowerment.

“I want them to take away the understanding that one person can make a huge difference, no matter what size the action,” said Eisenhower. “Also that most people carry on with the same goals, even when the approach is completely different. In one word: hope.”

Eisenhower’s lecture will be 7PM this Thursday, April 20, at Goodrich Chapel, following a day of tremendous student research presented at the Elkin Isaac Symposium.

Photo courtesy of People to People International.

About Andrew Wittland 28 Articles
Andrew is a Junior who was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Mich. When he is not avidly writing for the Pleiad, you can find him running for the cross country and track teams or hanging out with friends around campus. He enjoys an engaging cup of coffee, and a tasteful conversation.

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