Carolyn Servid & Dorik Mechau
Dorik Mechau, Senior Fellow, arrived in Sitka some twenty years ago as a result of his duties at theAlaska Humanities Forum. Then, having fallen in love with Carolyn Servid and Sitka, he could not help himself from engagement with the Island Institute. His early formative years included schooling in a Colorado ghost town and New York City, followed by a rare liberal education at St. John’s College. His subsequent experience includes a decade-long stint at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory before coming to Alaska in 1968. Here, he found himself absorbed in issues related to cultural conflict: oil, land claims, rural education, and community. Participating in the work of the Island Institute has proved to be a wonderful continuation of an exploration of our place on earth.
Carolyn Servid, Senior Fellow, moved to Sitka in 1980 after falling in love with Alaska’s wild country on a trip the previous summer. Her interest in the literary arts quickly connected her to Old Harbor Books where she and other employees dreamt the Sitka Symposium into being and gave the Island Institute its foundation. Her work with the Institute earned her the 2001 Governor’s Award for Distinguished Humanities Educator. Her memoir/essay collection Of Landscape and Longing chronicles her childhood in India and her unexpected attraction to Alaska as a place that would become her home. It was that move that galvanized her interests in issues of place, community, and the natural world. Carolyn retired in August 2014 after serving for 30 years as the Executive Director of the Island Institute.