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Yale 62

60th Reunion Report

By Dan Koenigsberg, Reunion Chair

On a bright spring weekend with near-perfect weather, the Class of 1962 60th Reunion was held “under the tent” at Timothy Dwight College June 9-12, 2022.

I think it’s fair to say that the event was a solid success and that a good time was had by all.

There was a great deal of class spirit and intermingling by those in attendance, some 100 classmates who came to New Haven from Hawaii, Canada and 20 other states, along with 50 spouses and significant others and 2 widows of classmates.

Many others wrote or called in to express their disappointment at being unable to travel because of illness or infirmity or other commitments. Bill Stork, for example, weighed in from Hong Kong in the weeks leading up to the reunion with numerous pithy insights on life in China and regional geopolitics.

The Thursday afternoon talk by Professor Matthew Kotchen from the School of Environment described the interdisciplinary composition of the faculty and students, with many joint degrees awarded with other Yale schools. He referenced the nascent “all green” dormitory that was in the active planning stages for all its graduate students.

Friday afternoon, David Scharff held forth with an interactive discussion on his work with Chinese culture, and with families in particular. Originally organized as a broader discussion of “Asia and Culture” which would include two of our other resident Asia experts, Kent Hughes and Fred Starr, illness prevented them from attending. David facilitated a lively and wide-ranging discussion.

Later on Friday, Rev. Peter Sipple conducted a moving Memorial Service for those classmates no longer with us since the 55th. He was ably assisted by Rev. Bill Nye and a cadre of classmates reading the names of the deceased out loud, one by one.  Associate University Chaplain Jenny Peak also participated.

A most pleasant outdoor reception was held Friday afternoon at the Yale Art Gallery, with a review of the current status of the ‘YUAG’ by Director Stephanie Wiles, and a tour of the space and works therein underwritten by classmate Steve Susman. A letter from his widow Ellen was read, which described the evolution of Steve’s interest in art and in museums in particular. Ellen now serves on the Art Gallery Board.

After Friday night dinner, we were entertained by the indomitable duo of Dave Finkle and Bill Weeden, who in fact have been writing, composing and performing comedy and drama together since their Andover days. Judging by their enthusiasm that night, they are still going strong.

On Saturday, we attended a presentation on the life of Frederick Douglass by History Professor David Blight, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Douglass has garnered significant recognition. Blight’s talk gave those of us in attendance new insights into both the man and the era. The session was captivating enough that it spilled over into the next talk and finally had to be called!

Next up on Saturday, we were treated to a panel on “Working into Our Eighties: Failing Retirement,” organized by Phil Moriarty. The presentation was kicked off by Sam Waterston, who summarized with some levity his current activities on Broadway and in TV. Phil Moriarty, working in executive recruiting, Ed Goodman in finance, Phil Proctor in the entertainment industry, and Steve Lash, former CEO and still active at Christie’s auction house, all offered their insights into keeping busy, professionally, in our ninth decade. A Yale psychologist and authority on ‘Ageism’ Beca Levy (see her recent NY Times article) described misconceptions of and prejudices against us older folks. Amen to that.

The Class Dinner Saturday night witnessed the election of Class Officers, with incumbents John Stewart as Class Secretary and (yours truly) Dan Koenigsberg as Treasurer. Recognition was given to several classmates who had done yeoman’s work on behalf of 1962. The group included Bob Oliver, ‘Necrologist-in-Chief,’ and Larry Prince, whose decades of monthly ’62 luncheons at the NYC Yale Club have kept the herd together. The Communications Team of Dick Riseling, John Stewart, Steve Buck, Bill Weber, Tim Hall, Al Chambers, Lee Bolman and John (“Jay”) Hatch were acknowledged for their efforts over time with the YAM Class notes and the increasingly impressive, long-lived Class website, Yale62.org. Our hardworking webmaster, Jean McKillop, came down from the wilds of downeast Maine for the weekend and videotaped most of the individual sessions, which will be posted on the Class website shortly.

Chaired by the triumvirate of Bill Reilly, Ed Strohbehn and Bernie Zucker, the Reunion Gift Committee weighed in with impressive results. The original goal of 4.5 M was far exceeded with gifts of 7.8 M and still counting. These numbers were well above the Yale average for 60th reunions and a tribute to the class of ‘62.

And yes, the unforgettable ’62 Whiffenpoofs rendered a few choice numbers to the delight of the crowd. Kudos to Messrs Bill Gross, Dixie Carroll, Lou Mackall, Peter Sipple, Cam Carey, Tom Cutler, Peter Clarke, Mike ‘Biggie’ Moore and Pitchpipe John Stewart for stepping up. Prior to the Whiffs, Men’s Hockey Coach Keith Allain ’80 gave an update on the status of hockey at Yale since their national championship in 2016. The pandemic has taken its toll, with several players transferring out to programs that were not closed down because of Covid.

After dinner and the Whiffs, there was music and dancing to the sound of the fabulous Joe Holmes Band.

Overall, it was a terrific extended weekend without any major glitches and a fitting tribute to the Class. Heartfelt thanks are due those who gave of their time and effort in making the event a big success. Reunion Committee members Phil Moriarty and Tappy Wilder in particular made major contributions to the event and were of enormous help to the Reunion Chair over the 2 years of planning, as was John Stewart, Class Secretary.

As a personal observation, in speaking with many classmates over the four days, I was struck by the degree of altruism and personal values amongst the group, many of whom had public service or related careers, but even amongst those that had not. There was a sense, if anecdotal, that a Yale education conveys more than just information but values, as well as knowledge.

That said, I apologize in advance if anyone was inadvertently omitted from this summary, and I look forward to the 65th.

 

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