Born and raised in San Francisco, CA Michele Rehfeld met Patrick (Pat) Atkins, born in Hopkinsville, KY, in 1964 while he was attending Stanford University. They married in 1965 and have 2 children, Lee Anne and John. Pat finished his Ph.D. in Environmental (Civil) Engineering in 1968 and took his first position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas in the department of Environmental Health Engineering.. In 1972, they relocated to Pittsburgh, PA to begin work with Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). Michele completed her degree in Sociology in 1982 and began her career in nonprofit management.
Pat worked for ALCOA until 2007. He retired from ALCOA and then worked for a private equity company based in New York. He now works for Mineral Technologies, Inc., a New York Based resource company.
Michele worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation until 2003. She then had a series of positions with nonprofit organizations, specializing in helping to stabilize the management and to ensure that the organization can thrive.
Michele has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations but is most proud of serving as the Chair of the Carlow University Board for the first three years of the Presidency of Dr. Suzanne Mellon.
During their careers, both Pat and Michele experienced the best and the worst of ethical issues. It became clear that in both the nonprofit and the corporate world, decisions are sometimes made without full consideration of the moral and ethical implications of those actions. Dinnertime conversations often involved questions about what could be done to help better educate people regarding decision making within the framework of “what is right, what is just and what is fair.” Pat often said that “ethics dictates what you do when no one is looking.”
The decision to create an Endowed Center for Ethics at Carlow University was made easily because Carlow embodies values that demonstrate doing the right thing for the right reason regardless of who is looking. The gift was made with the hope that the Center for Ethics can position Carlow as a national leader in conversations around ethical issues of our day.
Michele and Pat are the proud grandparents of Robbie (graduated from Davidson College 2017 and soon to attend law school at Washington University), Annalise (will attend University of Richmond in September) and Elizabeth (will attend Furman University in September), Elysa and Dylan (who are in grade school.)