Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
Davidson was a natural fit for Arie Hefter '11, who came from a small high school with close student-teacher relationships. "I wanted an enhanced version of that," he said. One enhancement he found especially natural at Davidson was faculty support for his athletic pursuits.
Work and Play
A tennis player from age three, Hefter valued his friendship with Wildcat teammates who honored his competitive streak but didn't let him get carried away. Division I sports is a natural complement to the rigors of Davidson's academic life: "I brought a lot of what I've learned on the tennis court into the classroom, and vice versa: hard work, pacing and determination."
A German major ("It was mainly the professors.") with a film and media studies concentration ("I kind of tumbled into that."), Hefter also found avenues through the Chaplain's Office to explore questions of faith. On a Pre-Ministerial Fellowship, he worked for a summer with a Jewish congregation in Hawaii, on jobs ranging from the business of births, deaths and weddings to civil-unions legislation with the governor. Also cliff-jumping, surfing, kayaking and Buddhist meditation. "I don't know that I've ever worn that many sleeveless shirts in a Jewish context."
Faith and Works
"I'm a religious mutt," says Hefter, who helped lead the campus Jewish group Hillel as well as campus interfaith efforts, Patterson Court service projects, and community forums. Through it all, exploring personal faith remained important to his sense of self. "I feel more connected to the world around me. I feel more connected to people. That's what religion is about.... In order to find God, I don't need to rise above the world. I'm praying with my feet."
Big and Rich Life
The summer after graduation, he headed to L.A. to follow up a contact with Hollywood screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis '87, then on to UVA to pursue a master's in commerce. "I know," he e-mailed alma mater. "Big leap from the Pre-Ministerial Fellowship. But I guess if Davidson has taught me anything, it is the necessity to experience and explore all avenues of life and dive in at every direction."