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Donald Wright Fink, Jr. '79

Recently, I came across a letter dated 02-June-1978 addressed to my parents from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, History & Literature of Religions stating the department was “delighted to inform you that we have invited Donald to membership in our Honors Seminar”. Though never quite being able to understand why I chose to major in the religious studies, this achievement was nonetheless a source of parental pride for 30+ years. Religion is one of those uniquely human attributes, dependent upon a complexity of cognitive ability and contemplation that has a broad impact traversing political, social, and cultural boundaries.

Attending to the origins, precepts and practices of the world’s religions can facilitate an understanding of the intricacies of interpersonal relationships that occur on the micro as well as macro-scales. I was privileged to have the late Dr. Edmund Perry as a professor. I continue to hold him in the highest esteem. He was a remarkable educator who taught me the value of critical, disciplined thinking and demonstrated with eloquence, the power of verbal communication. As a student at Northwestern, I envisioned myself entering the field of medicine while others offered I would do well in ministry. I am doing some of both.

I evaluate novel stem cell-based therapies being developed for clinical investigation in my role as regulatory scientist for the Food and Drug Administration. I am also involved in musical ministry at my local church. Cultivating a liberal arts education was enriching and allowed me to pursue study in an area about which I was passionately curious (quest for the historical Jesus). My experience provided me the basic tools that have enabled me to achieve a high level of success in my current vocation.