It’s not surprising Dan Sharp is a fine dinner companion. He’s led an interesting, globe-trotting life that’s provided him plenty of compelling stories. But when he and his wife, Revelle, moved to Meadow Ridge, they were thrilled to find they had joined a community chock-full of equally accomplished and fascinating people. “We’ve made so many close friends here in a year and a half, more than in our many years in Stamford,” says Dan.
That means conversations at their table are always lively. After all, Dan’s career as a recognized thought leader in global risk management, strategy and organizational resilience led Fortune Magazine to profile him as one of “25 Who Help the U.S. Win.” And the talk often comes around to where his career started.
Dan was living in San Francisco and set for a career in law when lightning struck. On November 2, 1960, he went to hear then-Senator John F. Kennedy speak. That speech became famous for launching the Peace Corps. When he heard Kennedy propose “a peace corps of talented men and women” who would dedicate themselves to the progress and peace of developing countries, Dan’s career plans began to shift. He says he felt “like a dream had come true” because “Kennedy’s really going to do something important.”
Dan determined that if Kennedy were elected, he would ask his boss, California’s attorney general, for a six-month leave of absence to help start the Peace Corps. When Kennedy became our 35th President, he fulfilled his promise. He took his leave of absence (which he proudly notes is still ongoing) and went to Washington, D.C., announcing “I’m here to help start the Peace Corps.”
And help start it he did. As one of the first 35 employees of the Peace Corps, he was soon sent to Geneva with the U.N. delegation, reporting to Adlai Stevenson, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. (Uniquely bipartisan, Dan was later CEO of the Eisenhower Foundation.) He helped draft the founding legislation, negotiated the first five treaties to start the Peace Corps, initiated the Peace Corps in Peru and led it in Bolivia, and learned three languages (French, Spanish and Portuguese) in his seven years in the Corps. If you get the chance, ask him about running into Lyndon Johnson while wandering around the White House.
His days at Meadow Ridge are a bit different, he says. “Life here is fuller and busier, and in many ways more satisfying, than life before.” Upon moving in, he and Revelle immediately engaged with the community. Both are on multiple committees. Dan was recently elected to a three-year term on the Residents Board. Revelle highlights her role chairing the Grounds Committee and her involvement interviewing applicants for scholarships available to Meadow Ridge staff and their post-high school children from a fund established by residents to be especially rewarding.
They both love the range of activities and opportunities for lifelong learning offered. In fact, Dan has added a new option for residents. He recently introduced and is co-chairing the Great Decisions program, a discussion group focused on foreign policy. He was delighted to have a full house, 76 registrants.
When Dan and Revelle first visited Meadow Ridge, they were immediately drawn to its bright cheeriness and “beautiful atmosphere” and the smiling, happy staff. But they’ve found what makes every day so rewarding are their intelligent, interesting and entertaining neighbors and the joys of being part of a real community.
Dan and Revelle are currently taking a memoir writing course here. So watch the best-seller lists. Someday soon you may be able to read even more of his stories.
If you’d like to experience Connecticut’s premier retirement community firsthand and meet people like Dan, why not come for a visit? We’d love to treat you to lunch and show you around. Use the form below to schedule a convenient day and time.