Yale '62 - Alumni Notes - June 2003

Summer Alumni Notes

Summer Magazine


It is hard to believe that a year has passed since so many of us were together in New Haven for the 40th reunion and our class held one of the prominent positions in the 2002 Alumni Magazine Reunion Issue.

By now, everyone should have his copy of the 40th Reunion Classbook. If you want to share your thoughts about the book or about Yale, here are two ways to do so on our web site (www.yale62.org). One is to e-mail your Corresponding Secretary what is on your mind, and I will include it in a "Viewpoints" section that will be on the site for the next few months. The other is to post directly on the web site Message Board.

Let's start with two classmates living in Europe. Richard Portes (London) is the first and almost certainly the only 1962 graduate to be named Commander of the British Empire (CBE). Richard was on the Queen's 2003 Honors list "for services to economics.". He has lived in England since graduation except for occasional teaching and research assignments in the United States. Portes founded the economics department at Birkbeck College (University of London) in 1972, then in 1983 established the Centre for Economic Policy Research. In 1995, he became Economics Chair at the London Business School but also teaches regularly in Paris, in French no less. Richard will spend the 2003-2004 school year Columbia's School of Business.

Sculptor Rick Light (Paris and Kalamazoo, MI) says that being in Paris since early 2002 gave him the chance to practice sculpture and be in "the heart of European culture." He continues that "one could speculate forever on the Parisian temperament, their view on Paris, the world, and of course us. Suffice it to say that the Parisians, the French and Europeans in general, are in the process of forgetting their historical closeness to Uncle Sam and his post world War II descendants."

Howard Kaufman (Washington D.C.), after a career as a doctor, graduated from Georgetown Law School two years ago at age 61. Now, he is in the Masters in Public Health Program at George Washington University and is also working as a health policy analyst in Department of Health Policy at the same University. Medical malpractice issues are his special interest. Son Zachary (Yale '00) won a Marshall Fellowship and is studying International Relations at Oxford. Son, Zeke, graduated from Cornell Hotel School and is at Washington University Law School.

Another doctor in the midst of a new challenge is David Hershey (Dallas). For the past three years he has been working on a Ph.D. in Archaeology at Southern Methodist. Dave says, "with luck, I will get funding for a dissertation project involving a complete survey of earlier populations on Nevado de Incahuasi, a 22,000 foot mountain in Argentina. I'll be testing two different models of indigenous behavior at altitude. At the very least, it is incredibly exciting and stimulating for a physician (psychiatrist) who has grown disenchanted with the drudgery of doing HMO-controlled medicine and who still has a flair for the romantic and likes to embody a humanistic perspective in the actual work he does. It's almost like being back at Yale."

Frank Samponaro (Sarasota, FL) is one of many classmates who chose to spend more time on Yale following retirement. He and wife Marsha moved to Sarasota four years ago after 25 years as a professor of history at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He recently completed a two-year term as President of the Yale Club of the Suncoast during which time he represented the Club at the Tercentennial celebrations in New Haven. Tuscany is the Samponaro's favorite spot for travel. They spend about a month there each year.

A classmate, who has returned to New Haven, this time as a member of the US Court of Appeals, is Hon. John Walker Jr. John says, "It's great to be in New Haven again with my judicial chambers on Church Street overlooking the Green and Yale." Prior to this move, John served as a federal Judge in New York City and before that practiced law in both the private and public sectors.

Turning to a few notes that came in recently via the Alumni Association, I want to apologize because some of these were mailed many months ago and may be somewhat out of date. Two ways to submit material about yourself for the Alumni Notes are via the Alumni Association along with your dues or other communication or directly by e-mail or regular mail to your Corresponding Secretary. We always need fresh material.

Toby Berger (Ithaca NY) received the IEEE Information Theory Society's 2002 Award and delivered the accompanying Shannon Lecture In Lausanne last summer. His subject was "How Human Brains Process Sensory Information." Toby, who is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cornell, calls the subject "his new research interest." His wife Florence, and children Elizabeth (Yale '84) and Larry (Yale '90) made the trip with their spouses and three grandchildren. In a bit of an understatement, Toby called it a "grand time."

For Jeffrey Wright (Birmingham, MI), there was an unexpected new career when a consulting assignment during his fourth year of retirement led to appointment as President of American Truck Co. LLC (ATC). Jeff explains that "ATC is an international joint venture start-up with the objective of assembling 'Americanized' Czech-designed Tatra all-wheel drive trucks in the USA. Target customers are worldwide commercial and military users who need superior off-road mobility and high payload capability in challenging environments." This was not meant as an advertisement but as sometime who spend years working in the global automotive industry, I found the whole idea very interesting.

And to close with something on a lighter note, but a nice example of abiding Yale friendships, Dave Hummel (Billings, MT) reports that he and wife Cindy visited Martin Hale and wife Debbie on Martha's Vineyard. You see Martin introduced Dave and Cindy in 1963.