Alumni Notes: March / April 2012

This column is from the YAM of the same date.

Please participate in our online reunion survey, "70 Questions for Yale '62 70-somethings." Just click on www.yale62.org/50thSurvey/ and enter the password yale1962 when prompted. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal is for as many classmates to participate as possible, so for the sake of all classmates' curiosity and edification, please complete the survey soon. Results will be in your reunion arrival packet and discussed in an interactive session Saturday morning, June 2, moderated by Al Chambers and Smith '62's Celine Sullivan. We also will post the results on www.yale62.org. If you are physically unable to participate online, send a note to Jean McKillop, Webmaster, at DowneastHost.com, 689 N. Penobscot Road, Penobscot, ME 04476, or call her at (207)326-4315 to ask for a hard copy of the survey by mail.

Interest in the 50th reunion is mounting. John Stewart reports over 300 essays for the reunion book; Bill Reilly's committee is on the way to boost our giving participation (small gifts motivate large givers) and double our 45th reunion gift, and Bob Oliver and his committee have put together unusual sports outings and panels. Thursday afternoon now includes a private, off-the-record session with David Swensen, the university's investment guru, and the list of several hundred early arrivals is growing.

Patrick Rulon Miller pointed out that the January 6 Wall Street Journal's "donor of the day" showed Steve Susman's road to making a gift to the Yale Art Gallery. Bert Decker has relocated from San Francisco to Henderson, Nevada, but keeps on with his public relations consulting and annual production of the "Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators" (e.g., Lady Gaga; President Obama), which can be viewed at www.decker.com/blog/2011/12. Karl Frank retired from Northrop Grumman in November and continues his professional work independently (defense related engineering, as we recall) from his office in Gloucester, Massachusetts (karl.karolus@gmail.com). Bill Polinsky has retired from a career in sales and lives in Harwinton, Connecticut, where he is active in the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish and is blessed with four children and five grandchildren. Chris Lydon has created a two-hour digest of his summer explorations in Pakistan, "the country that could kill us," on the site of his current radio programming, radioopensource.org.

Jim and Catherine White took a ten-day private tour of Morocco, after which they'll doubtless "always have Casablanca." Jim's narrative is on the website (click here), including his awestruck view of the stars from the darkness of the desert. Herbert Kirkland may have been quite close to Dave and Cindy Hummel when their tour visited the Mae Hong River, though we aren't sure if he or they knew it. Having been a historic preservationist and historian, for the last ten years Herb has lived in a Thai rice-farming town, working in agriculture and occasionally teaching, reading Thoreau, and keeping up via the Internet. Mike Kane's odyssey to Italian peaks during his wife's sabbatical came to sea level with the purchase of a second home in Somesville, Maine, and a Christmas focused on finding furniture.

Bill Reilly has won the Vincent Scully prize bestowed by the National Building Museum, for his "commitment to smart environmental planning, comprehensive land use, and preservation of open space." With Jim White in the audience, he gave the distinguished lecture that accompanies the award, citing hard-won environmental progress. His text will make good reading in the class book. One memorable line: "Climate change is to America what the German buildup in the 1930s was to the British: the threat that grows more menacing even as we determinedly pretend it is not there." Elsewhere on the environmental front, anti-"fracking" voters ousted Bill Weber as town supervisor of Pulteney, New York, the town on Lake Keuka where he and his family before him have lived for decades. He now worries that on this issue, as on so many others, "perceptions become reality," creating an inability for many "to deal with the facts and stay in office." Always tangent to the political realm is the persuasive advocacy of better city planning by Alex Garvin, whose latest recognition came in a page and a half of coverage in the New York Times Arts and Leisure section. Alex applauded recent creativity in stale public places in New York City and called for more attention to the spaces that make cities succeed.

Clay Alderfer has published a comprehensive book on the underappreciated patterns of intergroup in organizations that can lead to erroneously blaming individuals when things go wrong. David Finkle's new book of short stories about snarky and affectionate New Yorkers, a literary debut in his career as a theater critic and nonfiction author, is called People Tell Me Things. Excerpts from both are on the website.

We just heard of the death, on August 7, of Geoff Forgie, a Canadian who came to Yale as a swimmer from Hotchkiss. His life after graduation was in England, where he eventually settled in Maesbrook, Shropshire, with his wife Sue. In his later years, although progressively afflicted with MS, Geoff used his computer and marketing skills to create a web-based resource for the disabled in Shropshire. More when Bob Oliver crafts the obituary.

Necrology: Timothy Mulligan, Peter S. Barry, William Sackett, John D. Griffin.

Chris Cory
Acting Corresponding Secretary
January 2012