At 8 AM, a packed Friday began with a panel set up by Larry Lipsher titled "The Military Returns to Yale" with representatives of the Navy and Air Force and the president of the Yale Veterans Association, Tom Opladen'66.

The Spirit of Elihu Yale
Prodigious. Zucker's book, showing the portrait of Elihu Yale circa 1710 by James Wardale now at the Yale Center for British Art. Yale's ring, the author says, has an "uncut, pointed octahedral" diamond.
photo: Barbara Oliver 

Fifteen minutes later, Ben Zucker presented "Elihu Yale, the First Financier of Yale: Who He Was and What He Means to Us Today," based on The Spirit of Elihu Yale, a richly-illustrated book Ben produced in 2009. It is the product of exhaustive research in the UK and India, where the American-born, English-educated Yale began to make what a contemporary called a "prodigious" fortune as a man of both commercial and amorous affairs who traded, among much else, the gems in which Zucker is expert. "What Elihu Yale means to us today," Ben explained, "is his global vision that India and China are very much linked to England and America. This vision has now come about with Yale University's large number of Chinese-American and Indian immigrant students and the extension in Singapore. Like its namesake, Yale has gone truly global."

Morning lecture
On stage. Professor Gaddis
photo: Bill Doying
Faculty members presented morning lectures on topics including "Ancient Secrets to Modern Happiness," "America's Place in the Pacific Century," "Race, trauma, and memory in the diaspora" and the Yale role in the founding of modern Hawaii. Tours viewed the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Sterling Library stacks, and New Haven. Many took in museums, and many browsed the exhibits of our own arts and letters.


Real eye-openers at the reunion were the displays of works of art, music and writing by members of the class.

The real dinosaurs (at the Peabody Museum)
photo: Allan Cunningham  
Works of art and music by 19 exhibitors were on display in the Davenport College gallery, curated by Dixie Carroll. Says Dixie: "It was a great success. Louie Mackall helped me mount the exhibit in record time and Scott Cook, one of the exhibitors, was a great help, too. We had recorded musical compositions by two of our composer classmates — Lew Spratlan, and excerpts from John Stewart's chorus at Washington University in St. Louis, all playing on a continuous tape loop. Painting, sculpture, craft, drawing, photography, architecture, yacht design: all were all included. Bill (the Occidental) Wheeler brought his grandfather's Yale banner (Class of l868).

"Several items were for sale to benefit Yale. Steve Rose's painting went to Bob Oliver and Steve bought Tony Scoville's book on his eco-friendly green house in NW Ct. Kent Ravenscroft was negotiating a commission for one of his statues cast in bronze when I left. Jennifer Julier, the AYA rep. was a huge help in making the whole thing happen."

Click here for a list of the exhibitors who sent in samples from their oeuvres.

Impressive contributions to knowledge and literature have mounted up, too. Curated by Ed Rowan, covers of many of them, with well-researched and interestingly-written identification labels, were on display in Sterling Memorial Library. Click here for the full texts of the labels.

Ivy Ode THE ODE Ivy Ode

       That which is not mortal
       Is friendship, genuine friendship.

For 50 years those words have lain untranslated from the original Latin in which they were written for our graduation by Richard Doeblin in the form of a classical ode. For the reunion, Tappy Wilder found a translator, and the vast majority of us are now able to appreciate Doeblin's eloquence - and prescience. The translation was posted in the book exhibition in Sterling Library, but those who missed it can click here.


Steve Susman sports jeans Tappy goes to the dogs... bulldogs, that is 
photo: Mike Kane photo: Barbara Oliver 

A reunion dress code emerged: tan trousers and blazers. At least two rebels, however, were "Texas Steve Susman" and Tappy Wilder, going to the dogs - bulldogs.



That's how Ed Strohbehn described the audience participation stirred up by the panel he assembled on the environment, comprising himself, Bill Reilly and Bob Connery, classmates with equally eminent records and credentials. Each a lawyer, they made thoughtful, documented presentations (click here for the details) that were perhaps the most comprehensive of the reunion.

Also perhaps the most controversial. The speakers presented opposing views about whether global warming is occurring, whether humans are causing climate change, and what actions should be taken. In response, classmates energetically engaged the speakers and one another with scientific argument, pointed questions, detailed comments, and policy recommendations.

Among those opposing Bob's views that "we don't know whether the planet is warming or cooling" and "there is no scientific consensus on the subject" was Chip Neville. He is a scientifically-literate mathematician who has been working for six months on a detailed, extensively footnoted, scientifically based essay on global warming and alternatives to fossil fuels. His completed paper, acknowledging the reunion discussion, is published here for the first time.

Combined with the participants' essays in the reunion book, the contents of the panel give Yale '62 a unique, low-sweat update on some of the most critical issues facing our grandchildren.


flag of ChinaThe inescapable challenges of Chinese culture have been embraced and wrestled with by a number of forward-thinking classmates, and Tony Carbone and Jack Pirozzolo organized a panel on some of our experiences there, including old and recent China hands Art Mann, Bill Stork, and David Scharff. The dominant theme, as Stork puts it, was that the West is "separated by language, culture, and distance - and there is great chance for misunderstanding."

The comments and anecdotes ranged from marriage to bribery and a number of stresses within the seemingly mighty Chinese machine. To read a fascinating summary from Dave and notes from Bill, click here. Sample Stork factoid: China's officials are wealthier than ours.


Our Next CareersStrong briefs for new careers after "retirement" were entered by several of those fortunate enough to have done it more or less voluntarily. Organized by Bob Titus, who could not be there due to a death in his family, the "Where Do We Go Next" panel was moderated in his stead by Steve Buck with comments from Eli Newberger, Dave Hummel and Mike Gill.

"A great awakening" has invigorated Steve, he said, turning out to speak for many. He has become involved in an organization that mentors young men. "My greatest fears and hurts became like the rods in a nuclear reactor, turning into 'fuel' that is very powerful and can last a long time." Eli, describing some of his continuing harvest from pediatrics and music, quoted the endocrinologist Hans Selye: "It's not stress that kills us. It's adaptation to stress that lets us live." Dave talked about an unexpected shift away from living in a dream second home (it burned) to frequent travel that is making the world his home. He also has logged "8 million vertical feet of helicopter skiing."

Now a bit famous via a New York Times report and a book about his work as a barista at Starbucks, Mike wryly recounted his early "cocoon of entitlement," recalling the "days when many corporations thought it was their obligation to give jobs to Yale men," and his erstwhile success in advertising. "There's nothing for self-pity like a Yale man with reverses," he said, but "loss can be invigorating" and after eight years of it, he still takes pride in getting up at 4 a.m. to open the store and in his ability to "detail a bathroom like a Ferrari."

Click here for Steve Buck's opening remarks and probing questions, and for the panelists' descriptions of themselves then and now.

(Ed. Note: We might be able to get a report on the final class panel, "Careers," in the next issue of our website.)


Battell ChapelA high and profound point of the reunion was the well-attended Friday afternoon memorial service featuring contributions from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish traditions. Organized by Peter Sipple with classmates' musical compositions sung by a co-ed choir of classmates and spouses, it provided, as Yale's chaplain pointed out, a chance to think of ourselves once again as a full class, and to ponder significant moments not only in the lives of deceased classmates but in our own.

Click here for Peter's description of the service, the names of the participants, and above all the text of evocative litany for people of all religious traditions - or none.

Though it was not specifically part of our class's activities, click here for the sermon delivered Sunday morning at the all-university service by Rod Quainton, in which stories from his days in the Navy and at First Chicago bank prompt him to suggest that individuals practice a "simple" but "hard" "ministry of presence: presence to, presence with, presence for, presence by."

Expansive views, both inside and out, characterize the new gallery. Here, Steve Susman is shown with Gallery Director Jock Reynolds. Insert: Bob Rosencranz, donor of an earlier exhibition.
photos: Barbara Oliver, Mike Kane


As twilight fell, many gathered to celebrate the new gallery created on the former roof of the Yale Art Gallery's Louis Kahn building through a gift of Steve Susman and his wife Ellen. The addition, complete with an outdoor patio offering a view of several other pieces of modern Yale architecture, reflects their interests as collectors of contemporary art and is part of several fresh initiatives for the YAG, according to Michael DeHavenon, who is now a Gallery trustee.

At the end of the reception Bob Rosenkranz made available copies of the clothbound catalogue for an exhibition funded by his foundation with obvious personal involvement from him — the first exhibition that brought public attention to 33 landscape paintings and a 132-page work called "prison notes" by the Chinese intellectual Mu Xim, who was held in solitary confinement for his beliefs during the Cultural Revolution.



Yes! Gentlemen (and Ladies), by exclusive arrangement, Yale62.org is the very first to bring you, direct from a special recording session in the heart of pulsing New York City, the script, the music, and the lyrics!  SCROLL DOWN!

Friday night entertainmane
photos: Bob Stokstad

Comedy tonight! Reliving "all the olden times" with a dazzling cast of thirteens, the Friday night show starred (left to right or clockwise from upper left) Bill Weeden at the piano (Dave Finkle was behind the instrument), "Johnny and The Nostalgics," and others too numerous to mention (but described below).

Seriously, folks, here's Bill Weeden "with a brief history of what went into the show we performed on the Friday night of our 50th reunion. We had a ball and by all accounts so did a whole lot of the attendees.

Bill says: "David Finkle was asked to be the reunion entertainment chairman and he asked me to help. We started from scratch with an idea that we could use one of the songs we wrote in ?62 for our commencement as the theme of the event. It's called "How I Wish I Were Back at Yale" and includes the words "How I'd love to relive all the olden times." We took it from there — a recap of our years at Yale.

"Add a few songs, contact some classmates, and you've got a show. We were aided enormously by the contributions of David Honneus, Alex Garvin, Ellis Wisner, Sam Waterston, Phil Proctor and his wife Melinda Peterson, and Bo Rodgers' wife Betsy. John Stewart and his singing cohorts Bill Gross, Carl Kaestle, Biggie Moore, and Peter Sipple added more than a "whiff" of texture to the music. It was a blast for David and me, and we got enough compliments to last us for five more years."

CLICK ON THE TITLES TO HEAR THE SONGS — including the new one that became the hit of the reunion, "Old Farts!"

(Ed. Note: These music files will open in a new window. When you are finished listening, simply close the window the music file opened.)
How I Wish I Were Back at Yale (2:05 min.)
Reunion Prayer (2:31 min.)
Old Farts (3:13 min.)
For lyrics, click here, or to read the script, click here.