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How we selected the stories

Choosing 33 experts to feature in the magazine was far from simple.

First, we started with a long list -- roughly 125 alumni whom we've always wanted to interview, but never had the right opportunity to use. We narrowed the list down to 75 by striving for a variety of backgrounds -- men and women from eight different colleges -- and a variety of subject matter, both serious and silly, athletic and artistic, practical and peculiar.

Next, the telephone calls started. I'm talking about some of the most serious phone-tag games ever initiated. For two months, four of us attempted to round up everyone we could.

Some we could not locate. Some did not return phone calls. Some wanted to talk to us as badly as we wanted to talk to them, but they simply could not fit us into their schedules. In the end, we had a nice stack of 33 interviews.

That's when we got a crash course in reality. Due to some inexplicable state of naiveté, we thought that having interviews completed meant our work was nearly done, that those great tape recordings and notes would simply turn themselves into stories.

Silly staff. Here's our last "Tip from the Top": Fascinating interviews with 33 fascinating people gives one enough material to write a book. Maybe several books.

So we spent another month transcribing tapes and editing content down to fit into a 40-page magazine. Now that it's over, we're happy with the results: quick and easy-to-read information that we hope will entertain, inform and leave you impressed with the caliber of our alumni.

But I'm also happy with my staff. They all slaved on this tedious project without the traditional benefit of bylines, because ... technically, they didn't write anything; our alumni did.

Still, it wasn't that simple. Consequently, I'd like to give them credit: associate editor John Bach, assistant editor Mary Niehaus and free-lance editor Alan Scheidt, who quickly got used to our routine of writing, cutting and rewriting our copy over and over again, as well as editing, slashing and revising everyone else's copy, too.

For a couple of months, we bled a lot of colored ink. Fortunately, no one ever found a pen stuck in his or her back.

-- Deborah Rieselman, editor

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