Finding Denison in the City of Light

issue 01 | spring 2013
Alumni Society - Finding Denison in the City of Light

As Denisonians around the world united on Jan. 30 for the “After Work with Denison … Everywhere!” event, seven came together for the very first time at Harry’s Bar, the oldest American watering hole in Paris, France. For many of us, it was the first time we dropped the names of Slayter, Olin, and Beth Eden since leaving the top of the Hill for the foot of Montmartre.

What draws Denisonians to the City of Light?  “The amazing food!” was easily the first response around the table, particularly by Matthew Ketcham ’02. Ketcham came to Paris for an M.B.A. program, was offered a job with a French company, and has since settled right in.

Other responses were more sentimental. “It’s the view of certain things.  I don’t want to be the person who visits.  I want to live here,” said Karen Decter Malek ’88, who studied in Paris her junior year and found her way back permanently just after graduation.

For me, my path to Paris lies between the two. What began as culinary curiosity evolved into my unexpected dream job as an illustrator and a food stylist for magazines and commercial advertisements.

And love provided the backdrop. It is Paris, after all.

Surrounded by other Denisonians at a snug round table at Harry’s Bar, along with our triumphant tales of Denison, we exchanged our France horror stories.  Although love, art, business, and curiosity led us all here, navigating a country where the first answer is “non” takes a continual amount of commitment, courage, and perseverance.  And everyone could commiserate over expiring visas, language mishaps, and cultural clashes, I was surrounded by new friends who all had the same two pinnacle places in their personal histories.  And it was an overdue pleasure.


While seven alumni met up in the City of Lights, hundreds of Denisonians were getting together all over the United States (as well as Shanghai and Rio) to reminisce with old friends or make new ones. Here were the top five places to be that night, based on number of Denisonians all in one room.

New York: 130

Columbus, Ohio: 113

Washington, D.C.: 109

Chicago: 100

Boston: 73

Published March 2013
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