A Conversation with Author Zeke Emanuel '79 and his classmate and long-time friend Andy Oram '79
"Someone was really surprised that I was talking to my brother in the middle of the day. And I was like, yeah, I talk to him all the time in the middle of the day, or at night, or three or four times a week and it’s pretty unusual if I don’t speak to my brothers three or four times a day…..the person was shocked that they talk to their sibling or see their sibling a couple of times a year and talk maybe three or four more times a year. I wouldn’t know how to live because I get a lot of meaning out of them, and I share a lot of with them and they are incredibly both critical and supportive."
Andy Oram '79
Curiosity about people and ideas have been the continuing threads of my life and career. Raised in Western New York by a family that valued discourse, responsibility, and learning, I came to Amherst in 1975 to pursue a degree in American Studies. Amherst made a great impression on me best summed up by John William Ward's description of the purpose of a Liberal Arts education: to create people "critically engaged with life". This idea has been the standard I've strived to meet. I graduated in 1980 after taking a year's "adventure" after junior year in which I rode a bicycle from New York to Texas. The discomforts and discoveries of that bicycle trip lead to a Watson Fellowship in Europe studying bicycle design and then building a custom frame which I then used for a 6000-mile tour of Western Europe. Returning from Europe, I ran America 's oldest incense company and cooked nights in a restaurant to pay the bills until two Amherst classmates approached me about starting a chain of upscale convenience stores. I brought my cooking experience to the Neighbor's Great Meals and Groceries venture, with two stores producing fresh baked goods and take-out meals. Our concept was before its time and we closed after a few years and sold the Neighbors Logo to a gasoline distributor for their stores. For the next decade I managed a busy family restaurant serving more than 150,000 meals a year in Brattleboro, Vermont.. Tired of the grind of the restaurant life, I started working for PC Connection in 1996. I'm still there currently as a Sales Manager in the Corporate Sales Division. Happily married, I reside in Keene NH with my wife Leatrice and our lively verbal daughter Louisa, who may be applying to the class of 2029.