Ann Marie Donovan Griffith '89
The hallmark of a liberal arts education is the professors who make it happen. They open the literal and metaphorical doors to knowledge, guiding young, bright minds to success.
For Ann Marie Donovan Griffith, a managing director of fixed income for APG Asset Management in New York City, her professors made the difference when she majored in history at Franklin & Marshall College in the late 1980s.
“(History Professor) Glenn Miller was amazing,” she recalled. “Without so much as a note card, he was able to describe and recite American history in precise detail and in such an animated way. He taught me to think thematically, which I still apply to my work in the finance industry.
“And Anthony Ugolnik (the Dr. Elijah E. Kresge Professor of English Emeritus) and his ’Vietnam Experience’ class had an enduring impact on me. Hearing firsthand accounts from veterans, and conducting and transcribing interviews for the final project, was a life-changing experience and completely shifted my world view.”
Griffith also remembered Professor of French Lisa Gasbarrone, whom Griffith said helped her perfect her grammar and accent and gave Griffith the confidence to speak in French during her subsequent trips to Europe.
After her time at F&M—where she also played lacrosse, was part of the French Club and worked at the College Reporter— Griffith earned her MBA from Long Island University. In 2016, she earned her Sustainable Investment Professional Certification from Concordia University. Today, Griffith is married, with three children, and lives in Manhasset, N.Y.
Though it’s been nearly 30 years since she graduated, F&M is still very much a part of her life. She is an active volunteer: a Franklin & Marshall Admission Network (FAN) volunteer, a member of the Leadership Council, and the vice chair of the F&M Fund Global Steering Committee. She has met with many students and graduates over the years to offer advice and guidance as they launch or reset their careers.
Griffith also supports her alma mater through her philanthropy. She is a member of the John Marshall Society, is a PIT supporter, and has a named scholarship for current use financial aid, the Griffith Franklin & Marshall Fund Scholarship.
But it all started with her powerful liberal arts education.
“A liberal arts education is foundational,” Griffith said. “It teaches you to think critically, communicate effectively and challenge yourself always. F&M set a very high bar for success, and would not let students settle for less than their very best. Today, if my name is on a project, presentation or investment strategy, I apply those same standards.”
The Power To Discover Your Purpose
Preston Kilgore '14
When Preston Kilgore ’14 began his time at F&M, he was sure that he was going to study economics—until he took a microeconomics course and realized that the subject wasn’t for him. But, as he would soon learn, the path of a liberal arts education can often be a winding one.
“After talking to some friends and going through some introspection, I reflected on my intro to sociology class from my first year, and…a light bulb went off,” says Kilgore, now in his first year pursuing a master of urban and public affairs degree at the University of San Francisco. By the end of a meeting with Associate Professor and Department Chair of Sociology Jerome Hodos, he had declared himself a sociology major.
Kilgore hadn’t ever planned on going to a small liberal arts college; he had originally decided to follow his high school friends to a “big school.” But when F&M Head Soccer Coach Dan Wagner convinced him to come take a tour of campus, he knew that Franklin & Marshall was going to be his undergraduate home. He remembers, “I instantly fell in love with campus, the team culture and winning spirit.” Kilgore went on to play soccer at F&M for four years, including helping the team win its first Centennial Conference title.
The powerful influence of the close-knit College community continued to play a role throughout Kilgore’s time on campus. While his interactions with his professors and coaches had significant effects, he says that fellow graduate Darrius Moore ’14 had the single biggest impact on his life. Moore convinced him to join I.M.P.A.C.T., a tight-knit brotherhood that inspires members to make a difference in the community, and to apply to a summer socioeconomic development program in South Africa.
These experiences spurred Kilgore’s dedication to community service and engagement, and ultimately led him to pursue meaningful work after graduation, first in the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps, then as campaign manager with the mayoral campaign for Lancaster mayor Danene Sorace, and then at the Lenfest Scholars Foundation.
Even though Kilgore hadn’t originally set out to pursue a liberal arts education, he’s thankful for the perspectives that his time at F&M gave him.
“My liberal arts degree has inspired me to think critically and to always strive to help others,” he says. “F&M altered the trajectory of my life, and I am forever grateful.”