Stephen R. Pflaum ’62 receiving the
Medal for Eminent Service, May 22, 2005.

Photo by Robert Tobey

2005 Honorary Degree Recipients

Stephen R. Pflaum ’62
Medal for Eminent Service

Stephen R. Pflaum is committed to enhancing the lives of young people. In doing so, he has also enhanced the lives of a number of institutions, including Amherst College.

In his native Minneapolis—a city known for its civic idealism—Pflaum has served on the boards of a number of important organizations, including the Guthrie Theatre Foundation, the Minnesota Orchestral Association and the University of Minnesota Foundation.

But his commitment to education is especially strong, and that commitment is abidingly personal. For decades, Pflaum has quietly and effectively identified promising young students—often from challenging or difficult backgrounds—and helped them imagine how education might improve their lives. He works with students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to ensure that students have the academic and personal resources necessary for education beyond high school. He helps students identify colleges that meet their needs, and stays in touch with these students throughout their college careers to ensure their success. “His commitment is thorough and completely selfless,” says one Amherst College faculty member. “In his own quiet way, he just doesn’t allow a student to fail.”

Among the beneficiaries of Pflaum’s efforts are two schools he knows well: Amherst and The Blake School, from which Pflaum graduated in 1958. A number of the Amherst students graduating today first “met” the college through this tireless volunteer. But Pflaum’s connection to the college goes beyond recruitment. He has been an important and energetic volunteer for Amherst in Minneapolis. He has remained involved with Amherst’s intellectual life by participating in alumni colloquia on campus, and he is keenly interested in co-curricular activities at the college, returning to campus frequently to meet with students at athletic contests and music and theater events.

After graduating from Amherst in 1962, Pflaum earned an LLB. Degree from Yale and studied at the London School of Economics. A partner at Leonard, Street and Deinard, Pflaum has been married for 39 years to Ann Shevlin Mitchell, a Smith College graduate. They have two children, Bruce Shevlin Pflaum ’93 and Andrew Mitchell Pflaum.