Post Sixty Eight – San Francisco

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I spent a long weekend in San Francisco by myself.  I needed to clear my head and meet some friends at the B.C.

I started with lunch at Louis’s – a family owned restaurant with INSANE views of the ocean and Sutro Baths.  I’d argue there isn’t a better deal in America than a $8 cheeseburger on a cliff overlooking turquoises waves crashing into massive rocks (see below).

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Afterwards I went for a long walk on Baker Beach to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  Part of the beach is for nude sunbathers…so that was interesting.  I went on to Twin Peaks (AMAZING VIEWS!), the Painted Ladies (houses in the opening scene of Full House when Bob Saget & family are picnicking), and a peaceful drive through Golden Gate Park.  The evening ended with visit to the B.C. and drinks at St. Francis Yacht Club (one of the coolest nights of my life).

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Friday morning I rented a bicycle and rode it across Golden Gate Bridge.  I took a leisurely stroll through Sausalito, had a beer on a pier overlooking the bay (pic below), and took a ferry boat ride back to San Francisco and saw Alcatraz.  Yup…ideal morning/afternoon.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon riding my bicycle around the city…visited Fisherman’s Wharf (lame).  I eventually settled down and had a few drinks at my favorite bar – Vesuvio’s, but not before visiting the TransAmerica Pyramid (I’m an architecture buff).

I capped off the evening with a few boat drinks at the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar (see below).  One of my favorite writers and television personalities, Anthony Bourdain, visited it while filming in San Francisco, so I had to do the same.  And let me tell you this – AWESOME!

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Located in the Fairmont Hotel, it’s an old swimming pool that was converted into a Tiki Bar – with a floating boat playing live music.  Drinks are pricey, but worth it.

The next day I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway with my cousin.  We visited the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, 17-Mile-Drive in Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Bixby Bridge, and McWay Falls (last pic in post).

Northern California is all that and a bucket of chicken.  I get why it’s so expensive to live there – the beauty is world class.

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Just look at McWay Falls.  There are hundreds of miles of this stuff…breathtaking.  I love San Francisco and I love Northern California.  Suffice to say I cleared my mind.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty Seven – Board Meeting

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We had our second board meeting for my brothers foundation last week at the cabin in Atlanta (where we’re headquartered).  We learning this is a “2 steps forward, 1 step back” type of thing and there is nothing easy about it.  This ain’t for the weak of heart.

We’re looking to hire a consultant who works with transplant houses to help with getting the foundation property set up.  The truth is, we don’t know what we’re doing.  And how would we?  None of us have started a non-profit.

We have a few items to discuss before we hire this person, but there is no doubt we need her.  We also discussed fund raising.  No money = No chance of helping anyone.  Money is the heartbeat of a non-profit – at least at the beginning and I’m sure that never changes.

Maybe…just maybe, the most important part of the board meeting was making sure everyone knows what this is about.  We are patient advocates – we serve to make sure the patient and their caregiver are looked out for.

It’s WAY too easy to get caught up in the economics and administrative “stuff” of getting our foundation off the ground.  I firmly believe it’s all for nothing if we don’t make sure our first priority is the patient.

Our foundation has a soul and it’s our job to protect it.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty Six – Squash

 

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There is something addictive about squash.  It’s outrageously intense and a mind game that requires quick and strategic thinking.  Safe to say I love it.

I’ve been playing Wednesday’s at lunch with a friend at the Driving Club in what we coined the “Michelob Light Cup”.  Loser buys drinks…highlight of my week.

This game is the only way I can clear my mind.  With helping start a non-profit, working full time, raising two kids, and laundry list of other things…I need it.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty Five – Dallas

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I spent last week in Dallas on business and knew I was going to spend five straights days in a hotel conference room, so I had to incorporate some fun in the trip.  I choose to do a Free Fall and Bungee Jump.

Free Fall is exactly what it sounds like (that’s me beneath the green arrow).  You’re brought up 160 feet and dropped at breakneck speed into a giant net.  IT. WAS. TERRIFYING.  And this is coming from a guy who been skydiving and ice climbing (see below).

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The entire fall took 2.5 seconds, but felt like an eternity.  Bungee got my blood pumping, but nothing like the Free Fall.  I later read that scientist study the brain of people who do this while falling because it’s as close as they can get to seeing what the brain does when it believes death is imminent.

Now to the food.  Yes…Texas lives up to the BBQ hype.  Ribs were good at Hard Eight BBQ, but the brisket was down right decadent.  You know you’re in for a good meal when it’s weighed by the pound at the register.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty Four – Post Properties

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So let’s get back to the whole point of me going to Brown – to help organ transplant patients and their caregivers.  I am a patient advocate – plain and simple.  As stated in several posts, my younger brother died from not receiving a heart transplant in time.

Jeffrey passed away ten years ago and we’re just now getting around to getting his foundation off the ground, and we had a pretty big moment last week.

My Mother, who Chair’s the foundation, had a call with Post Properties about using their corporate apartments for patients and their caregivers to live in while waiting for their organ transplant.

Let’s back up a little here.  When someone is on the organ transplant list, they rarely, if ever, have the operation done where they live, so they need a place to stay while waiting.  This could be a few days or several months, but one thing is for sure – they have to be close to the hospital.  Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of people in this position don’t have the means to rent an apartment or a house in another city.  And, that’s where the Jeffrey Campbell Evans Foundation comes in.

We exist to make sure every one has a comfortable and clean place to stay while waiting.  Not only for the patient, but his or her caregiver too.

And this is where Post Properties comes into play.  We originally planned on raising money to build “transplant homes” and soon realized our efforts were better spent partnering with high end apartment complexes.  Why?  Simple – everything is already built and furnished.  It’s also a LOT cheaper.

We have no doubt that the foundation will grow into other areas, but for now, we’re excited to have made this potential partnership.

We are truly a grassroots start up.  We started without a single penny, but a massive idea.  More to come!

Post Sixty Three – San Antonio

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I spent last week Deep In The Heart of Texas…good ole’ San Antonio.  I had never been and was pleasantly surprised.  San Antonio is an awesome city.  I wouldn’t put it up there with the likes of New York, Chicago, or San Francisco…because you can’t, but I would with Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.  The photo of myself above is at The Alamo.

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The Riverwalk is their Jewel of the Nile.  It’s unique, beautiful, and a ton of fun.  I took a boat tour and enjoyed several $20 margaritas on its banks.  Oh yeah, I had a TON of Tex-Mex food.

Here are some examples of what the Riverwalk looks like.  It’s clean, easy to navigate, and FULL of massive Cypress Tress.  I mean HUGE trees…one is over 300 years old!  If you’re a horticulture buff like myself, you’ll find this city fascinating.

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Best of all, San Antonio is cigar friendly.  I had a blast…definitely worth a visit.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty Two – Brown MBA

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I spoke to a gentlemen who went through the IE Brown MBA program this afternoon.  I reached out to him in the same way I reached out to the first person I talked to in the EMHL (Executive Masters of Heathcare Leadership) Program.  If I’ve learned anything it’s that people want to help…you just have to ask.

First and foremost I am going to attend the EMHL program.  My brothers foundation is near and dear to my family and I and this program is a perfect fit.  I’m so grateful for having been accepted in.

Afterwards and later on I may get my MBA too.  I’ve always wanted to go to business school and if I do, I’ll try my hardest to do it through Brown.  The gentlemen I spoke to today said the MBA program is a fit for corporate guys and entrepreneurs.  He also spoke of the liberal arts portion and that excites me.  Candidly, it appears to be another perfect fit.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens.  But you can bank of this – when something interests me and it’s on my radar, I figure out a way to make it happen.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty One – How To Get In The Ivy League

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I was at a Masters party last weekend watching the pro’s battle it out at Augusta National and this question came up again, “How did you get in the Ivy League?”  The mystique behind the Ivy League is intriguing to me because I used to feel the same way.

There is something about these eight schools that captures peoples attention.  No doubt it has to do with its distinguished alumni –  15 U.S. Presidents, 37 Supreme Court Justices, and an impressive 996 Rhodes Scholars.

Or maybe its athletic achievements…like 46 college football national championships (most came from Princeton and Yale in the 1800’s when the sport was first played).  What’s even more impressive is the conference no longer plays in bowl games and doesn’t give athletic scholarships.

The most obvious reason is the low acceptance rates.  It’s not easy getting in the Ivy League.  I’d hazard a guess and say the acceptance rates would be MUCH lower if more people applied, but they don’t – only the students who think they can get in apply.

I’ll use Brown as an example, since that’s where I’m going.  It’s the 7th hardest school in the U.S. to get into with an 8.5% acceptance rate (not including music schools, like Julliard, who are ranked along side traditional schools).  30,397 kids applied to the undergraduate program in 2015 and 2,580 got in.  I guarantee at least two to three times as many kids wanted to apply, but were told not to for many reasons (namely academic).

I’m not attending the undergraduate school.  Those days are long gone.  I applied to and was accepted in one of the graduate programs.  I don’t have the acceptance figures because they’re not published, but I think it’s safe to say it’s competitive.

So…how did a “normal” guy with an undergraduate degree from a state school get in the Ivy League?  Here’s how:

  1. I wanted it…badly.  Nothing can happen unless you want it more than anything else.
  2. I believed I could.  More than wanting something, you have to believe you can get it.
  3. I tried.  It’s one thing to want something and believe you can get it, it’s another to try.
  4. I got creative – like really creative.  Read below…

When I discovered the program I was interested in I reached out to a few students who were enrolled.  I found them on LinkedIn.  One, in particular, was very kind and over the course of a year we became friends.  She answered all my questions and eventually told me who else to talk to.

I started this blog to document the process; all the while not knowing if I’d get accepted.  When representatives from the program I was interested in came to Atlanta I scheduled a meeting.  And this is where things got interesting.

To be honest, I was really nervous to meet with these folks.  I mean after all, this is the Ivy League, right?  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But, I was pleasantly surprised to meet people just like myself.  After an hour of talking I was encouraged to apply.  This, and this alone, was the single most important part of the process.  I was on cloud nine.  You gotta understand, my undergrad grades are not Ivy League material – not by a LONG shot.  This is when Brown University started showing its colors.

It would have been easy to look at my academic transcripts and resume and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  But, they didn’t.  Brown looks at the individual and gets to know him.  I had an honest story to tell and they were willing to listen.  Brown got to know who I am and what I’m about.  And for that I’ll forever be grateful.

I eventually drove to Brown from Atlanta to meet students, professors, and administrators.  They were kind enough to not only extend an invitation to visit, but to sit in on a full day of classes.  Again, this is where Brown and the Ivy League shows their true colors.  If you’re willing to do your part (which by no means is small or easy) and have a compelling story, they’ll at least listen.  It goes without saying that most schools won’t.

So I drove to Brown and sat in class from 8am to 4pm and was treated like a regular student.  It was great!  As stated in an earlier post, I met with Jay Flannigan, the Assistant Dean of the program I was interested in.  Jay, in my opinion, exemplifies what the Ivy League is about.  He listened to my life story and understood why I wanted to attend Brown.  I mean really…who does that?!  Again, I’ll forever be grateful.

Looking back I can see how Brown puts a cohort of students together.  It’s not about grades (although I’m sure everyone is intelligent and accomplished), where you went to school before, the title on your business card, etc.  It’s about assembling the best minds who can learn from each other.  Lord knows they have the applicant pool to choose from. My particular story and life experiences fit a space they needed to fill.  So yes, when a Ivy League school sees 30,000+ applications, most of which are valedictorians, and only a few percent are let in, it’s safe to say they know EXACTLY what they’re looking for.

I ended up applying and after several months of waiting I received my acceptance letter (see post 49).  And that’s how I got in the Ivy League.

I firmly believes it starts with knowing what you want, believing you can get it, and doing everything possible to find a way.  It wasn’t easy and it took a few years, but I did it.

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)

Post Sixty – JCEF Board Meeting

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The Jeffrey Campbell Evans Foundation had its first official board meeting last week. My parents and I hosted it The Cabin in Atlanta.  A friend of the family owns it and let’s me use for whatever I want, whenever I want.  It’s a 115-year-old cabin on the banks of the Chattahoochee River.

It took my Mother several months to put the board together.  It’s made up of family friends, Fortune 500 senior executives, and a gentlemen who had a heart transplant that we’ve gotten to know quite well.

I can’t stress enough how hard my Mother has been working on this.  And furthermore, how proud I am of her.  Starting a non-profit, especially one with goals as big as ours, is no walk in the park.  We like to say we’re grateful for being so naive at the beginning.

All but two board members attended and as expected, we accomplished a lot.  We’re at the phase where we’re exchanging ideas and beginning to put plans in place to build the first JCEF House in Atlanta for organ transplant patients and their caregivers.  Again…no small feat, but it will be done.

We discussed fund raising, potential locations, and design of the house.  We also discussed the future.  The objective is to build a JCEF House in every city that needs one in America.  Beyond that we want to fund research in cardio/organ transplants to the tune of $100,000,000 and fund five medical scholarships at Brown, Yale, Harvard, Penn, and Johns Hopkins (I’ll get into this part in another post).

We’re dreaming as big as we can and we’re working as hard as we can.  This is exciting!

Sincerely, The Graduate (at Brown)