The Doane Stuart Alumni/ae Association is proud to bring you a new series of web articles entitled Taking Five, aimed at helping you get to know fellow members of your alumni/ae community. Featured interviewees are asked to answer five questions about their lives, challenges, and inspirations, and their answers can be read over a 5-minute break.  Want to recommend someone or conduct a virtual interview for our Taking Five series? Contact Us

Ellen Jakovic DS, ’78

Where do you live?
I live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. I moved to the area after graduating from law school.

Tell us about your current work and what you love about it.
I am a partner in the DC office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, an international law firm. I practice antitrust law and head the firm’s U.S. merger filing practice. I oversee a team of attorneys and legal specialists that analyzes mergers and acquisitions to determine whether a transaction meets the statutory thresholds for reporting to the U.S. antitrust agencies (the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division) and then works with the client and our corporate attorneys to prepare the necessary submissions and secure the required approvals. I coordinate with my counterparts in our London office and local counsel around the world to identify and prepare any required ex-U.S. merger filings.

Whether a transaction needs to be notified to the U.S. antitrust agencies often is a complex analysis. I love the intellectual challenge and the satisfaction of working as part of a team to achieve the best results for our clients, often under immense time pressures. As a recognized expert in my field, I enjoy speaking and writing about the myriad complexities inherent in this area of legal practice.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re conquering at the moment?
As my law firm continues to grow and expand, the number of transactions that our team handles has increased exponentially. We are in the process of hiring additional personnel to assist with this increased workload, but it takes time to find the right candidates in such a specialized area. My biggest challenge right now is to help our team handle the increased workflow until we are in a position to add new attorneys and to figure out the most efficient ways to integrate them quickly.

What’s one of the funniest stories you remember from your time at DS?
With our coaches, John Fitzsimmons and Jim Miggins, our softball team would take road trips to see the New York Yankees play baseball. Those trips were hilarious, with jokes, songs and crazy antics all-around.

I remember the day some of us in Student Government made an enormous cake for Ma Mere Ducoin’s 90th birthday celebration. We had arranged for use of one of the commercial kitchens in the school and organized a work schedule based on our free periods. I remember cake batter flying all over the room and over us, while we tried to figure out how to use the commercial mixers.

A feweggs also happened to miss the batter bowl and accidentally (?) drill fellow student bakers. It was a mess, but a lot of fun! Miraculously, we were able to bake and decorate the cake (which was actually several large sheet cakes), complete with 90 candles, in time for the school-wide celebration that afternoon.

What stands out from your Doane Stuart experience as influential on the life you lead today?
Doane Stuart gave me a strong foundation in academic excellence and intellectual rigor that was invaluable throughout my college and law school careers. More importantly, however, my teachers at Doane Stuart inspired me to challenge myself, to think critically, to embrace differences as strengths, and to try to make a positive contribution to my community.

What is making you feel grateful today?
Recently, I have been reminded about what a precious gift life is and how much we can make a difference in the lives of others. This Spring, Doane Stuart lost two beloved supporters: The Right Reverend David Standish Ball and the Reverend Canon William D. Small. Both men were instrumental in the successful merger of St. Agnes School and Kenwood Academy that created the Doane Stuart School. Both men served God and their communities selflessly and humbly, skillful leaders and caring men. I am deeply grateful to have known both of them and incredibly honored to have received the Right Reverend David Standish Ball Distinguished Trustee Award in 2003 and to have had Father Small officiate at my 1994 wedding.

What is one of the top items on your bucket list?
I read aloud all of J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter books to each of my children, so needless to say, we are huge fans! I would love to spend a weekend in London and see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the first of the official Harry Potter stories to be performed on stage.

Who inspires you?
My parents, the late Dr. and Mrs. Louis G. (Marjorie Magee) Jakovic, are my inspiration and role models. Despite a demanding professional career as Chief Pathologist and Director of the Laboratory at Albany Memorial Hospital, my father gave freely of his time and talents to many community organizations. Most significant to me was my father’s service on the boards of trustees of St. Agnes School and the Doane Stuart School and his role as one of the Founders of Doane Stuart. A member of the St. Agnes School class of 1942, my mother was a loyal volunteer for St. Agnes and Doane Stuart, as well as many other charitable and educational organizations. She received the Doane Stuart Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003. My parents were true partners in life; it was a rare recital, sports contest, or other event for my brothers and me that at least one of my parents did not attend. I hope that I have been able to follow in the footsteps of my beloved parents in giving back to my community and in supporting my family.

If you could travel anywhere for a 1 month adventure, where would you go?
I am a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and his classic fantasies The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I would love to visit New Zealand, where director Peter Jackson filmed the movies based on the Rings trilogy.

Linda Cesare MacFarlane DS ’83

Please tell us about your current work and what you love about it.
I am the Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, Inc. where I am able to promote sustainable community development efforts for economically underserved people and communities. This organization focuses on loans to micro-entrepreneurs, to women and minority owned businesses, and to non-profit organizations who service individuals in low income census tracts. In addition, we provide training and technical assistance programs. I enjoy this work because I am able to give back to my community every day, help individuals realize their dreams of entrepreneurship, and work with an amazing group of people who believe in the mission of this organization.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re conquering at the moment?
I run a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), non-profit loan fund organization with a social mission. My biggest challenge at the moment is our federal government, oval office in particular, that is trying to eliminate federal funding to organizations that provide funds to disadvantaged communities. Conquering funding challenges requires new strategies, new collaborations, and new ways of doing business.

What’s one of the funniest stories you remember from your time at DS?
Oh goodness, I have so many. While at DS I was a weekday boarding student. We had fun both during and after school. One story that still makes me laugh: A Japanese boarding student, (after 36 years I’ve forgotten the correct spelling of her name), received a care package from home. She was so excited to share it. We all tried the dried seaweed. It was awful! By the end of the night, she said she knew we wouldn’t like it but thought it so funny, the looks on our faces while we ate dried seaweed. The next morning instead of the flag on the flag pole, some of her clothing was blowing in the wind. Sr. Seitz suggested the clothing come down before day students arrived, and the flag be put up.

What stands out from your Doane Stuart experience as influential on the life you lead today?
The strive for excellence in academics and the structured independence of the boarding floor influenced me to become a passionate person who cares deeply for others and a person who pushes myself harder than anyone else. I spent four years living with girls from different countries, different socio-economic backgrounds, and different religious beliefs. I learned to respect people who were different from me, listen to others, and value cultural differences. I carry all of that in my professional and personal life today.

What is making you feel grateful today?
I am grateful every day for my beautiful daughter, who was a miracle baby. The love of a mother is very powerful and unwavering. As I watch her grow, I am constantly amazed at her beauty, intelligence, sense of humor, and deep caring for other people. She is 9 years old.

What is one of the top items on your bucket list?
I’ve been fortunate to experience a ride on an elephant’s trunk in Taiwan, fly off an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, and live abroad in Hong Kong, Vienna, London, and Bahamas. I’ve always enjoyed the ocean, taking walks and runs on the beach. One of my bucket list items is climbing a lighthouse for the beautiful view.

Who inspires you?
Two people whom I have not met in person, but am inspired by the work they do to improve the lives of women: 1) Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In; helping women achieve their ambitions. 2) Muhammad Yunus, Banker to the Poor & Nobel Peace Prize Winner; helping women of very low income move out of poverty and into successful business ownership.







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Doane Stuart Timeline

  • 1852

    The Kenwood Academy was founded in 1852.

  • 1870

    The St. Agnes School was founded in 1870. 

  • 1975

    The Doane Stuart School was founded from the merger of Kenwood Academy and St. Agnes School.

  • 2009

    Doane Stuart moved to its current location at 199 Washington Avenue in Rensselaer. 

  • 2014

    Construction is completed of the $1.3 million 22,000 square foot vegetative green roof.