Alumni Notes: January / February 2013

"...New, ironed dresses, and hot baths, and sleeping, and waking up. Oh Earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you."

If you don't recognize that reminder to appreciate this life while we have it, from Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town," Tappy Wilder is working to remind you. He has created an enticing website, thorntonwilder.com, about his celebrated uncle Thornton and the upcoming 75th anniversary of the play, which the site says "is performed at least once each day somewhere in this country." Productions kicked off in Boston in December and so far are scheduled at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, Phoenix, Arizona, Monmouth, Maine, and throughout southern England. Tappy helped the writer Penelope Niven research a new biography that the New York Times praised as "exquisite." He himself is working on an afterward for a new edition of the script. He says he'll be "mooching as usual off Alex Kovel when I speak at a talk-back at the Huntington Theatre [in Boston]."

Music hath increasing charms, too. Ford Maurer is still involved in his Foxx Equipment Co. in Kansas City, Missouri and monitors his grandchildren, most in pre-school. But he's "still taking harmonica lessons and hoping to improve someday." Rod Hunter continues pursuing his interests in pastoral care and counseling, a field he helped to found, but also devotes himself "passionately" to his classical piano studies "with a brilliant teacher who is younger than our son David!"

Investing in health care-related businesses is the chief professional activity of Breaux Castleman, who works with his wife Pat, at his Syntiro Healthcare Services, Inc. in Houston. He says he divides his time between Washington, DC and Houston, with children and five grandchildren spread between those cities and Healdsburg, California. As he has for years, Charlie Mills served as a judge at the Yale Invitational Mock Trial competition, and will do it again at the Northeast Regionals, which are always held at Yale.

Capping it off, so to speak, when Dave Honneus and his wife, Ginny were visiting Arlington, Massachusetts, they sportingly picked up Italian takeout for themselves and their son, daughter-in-law and 7 month old granddaughter. Andy Halperin was in the restaurant, noticed Dave's 45th Reunion Y62 cap, and identified himself. He was in town visiting his daughter and her husband. Crows Dave: "See, wearing class 'gear' makes friends!" In his role as Class Secretary, Dave asks any class members with ideas for mini-reunions to please contact him.

Al Chambers commented on our website about Bill Stork's preview of the change in China's leadership. Bill's thoughts appeared on Yale62.org a few days before many other media picked up the story. This month Al is teaching another of his Elderwise seminars in Ann Arbor, helping older people analyze how media cover public issues. His next topic: "China" Truth or Consequences."

Mike Kane provided a sidelight on a Yale-Harvard men's hockey game he saw in early November. Though coach Keith Allain is notoriously intense, as Mike's Q and A on our website shows, the 5-1 Yale win was "a huge upset" that actually "got coach Allain to smile at the end."

The hustle of another kind that enabled our 50th reunion gift to set an all-time single-year Yale Alumni Fund (YAF) record of $1,063,316 was revealed by Randy Nelson '85, chairman of the fund's board, when he presented the Chairman's Award to Bill Boyer at the New York City Yale Club. Bill accepted the award "for all of us, and especially the very generous ones who pushed us up over the top."

In his final months as Alumni Fund Chair of Agents before reunion, Bill and his team had already gotten us over our $750,000 goal. He then wrote a special May solicitation to 85 non-donors who were not assigned to the gift committee, and we entered Reunion weekend approaching $900,000 in YAF gifts. Soon, Clark Winslow stepped forward with a $50,000 challenge. As Nelson told it, Bill and Bill Reilly, the Chair of the Reunion Gift Committee, "immediately set to work with staff to engage classmates who had not yet come on board. They authored and approved a variety of solicitations right up until the final week of the fiscal year." Nice going, guys. As Boyer put it, "62 rides high!"

Dan Koenigsberg is on the coordinating committee of the new Yale Alumni College, which this fall piloted tempting courses for alumni in New Haven and the New York City Yale Club, taught by retired Yale. The first offerings were on Walt Whitman, Einstein, the Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, "Is there a crisis in higher education," and "A history of Christian architecture." Dan recently endowed the Daniel and Susan P. Koenigsberg Scholarship; he's on the board of the New Haven Yale Club.

Yours truly is soliciting nominations from classmates and other concerned citizens for the James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism, of which I am a longtime judge. The awards honor "original, written reporting that brings to light widespread injustices, their human consequences, underlying causes, and possible reforms"; a separate prize honors "cartooning with a conscience." If you've admired journalism of this ilk, tell me before January 31.

Necrology. We have learned of the deaths of Carl Barth, Tom Luckey, Fred Reames, and Geoffrey Spencer. Our caring chronicler, Bob Oliver, took a deserved breather after reunion, but will provide obituaries on Yale62.org in the next months.