Alumni Spotlight - Rick Fernandes '76 and Rachel Jordan '04

Name: Rick Fernandes

Hometown: Danbury, Connecticut

Graduation Year: 1976

Where are you now? Split time between Fairfield, CT and Naples, FL

What are you doing? Semi-retired. Spending time on some corporate boards and still trying to figure out how to play golf.

What is your favorite Wooster memory? My interactions with all of the great teachers is my favorite memory. The group of teachers I had were unbelievably dedicatedly.

What impact did your Wooster education have on you? I have often told people that my four years at Wooster made me who I am today. I learned so much from the teachers and others I was exposed to. The learning didn’t just happen in the classroom; it happened on the fields and in the hallways also.

What advice would you like to share with current Wooster students? You will think back on your time at Wooster for the rest of your life. Take advantage of the incredible learning environment that Wooster provides. Stretch yourself and do things there that you’re not comfortable with. Take an art class, play lacrosse, act in a play. You may never get another chance.

Name: Rachel Jordan

Hometown: Bethel, Connecticut

Graduation Year: 2004

Where are you now? Brooklyn, NY

What are you doing? Working for Brooklyn Defender Services as a deportation defense attorney for low-income immigrant residents of New York City (New York City is one of the only cities in the country where immigrants are afforded a public defender to represent them in their deportation proceedings). As a result of the explosion in aggressive enforcement and anti-immigrant policies under the current Administration, the vast majority of my clientele are refugees who fled violence and persecution in their countries of origin, including Central America, Africa, and the Middle East.

What is your favorite Wooster memory? Trips to away games with the varsity girls’ soccer and lacrosse teams (shout out to all my GVS and GVL ladies).

What impact did your Wooster education have on you? I think the most fundamental value I learned at Wooster was something so simple as to sound cliche, but so powerful - to respect others. Treating all individuals with respect, and teaching that value to children, was and is baked into Wooster’s ethos. James Baldwin said that “words like ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’ and ‘democracy’ are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous, and above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people these words imply.” It seems like such a simple lesson, but all of my Wooster teachers constantly emphasized it to me over the course of my six years there. It really stuck with me and shaped the course of my career.

What advice would you like to share with current Wooster students? Stand up for the underdog, always. You will never be sorry you did.

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