JULY / AUGUST 2007
Everyone seemed to have a great time. The broad consensus among about 130 classmates and 90 spouses and partners was that we have reached a fascinating and mostly wonderful stage of life. Years of experience and wisdom have helped make most of us better and friendlier people. We listen better and care more about each other. Set against this, as more than one classmate observed, it was harder to recognize people without their nametags. The physical effects of age were showing, though there seemed to be less banter about whether the men or the women were aging more gracefully.
Many attendees said they hesitated to come because their close friends or roommates would not be there. But those same people were delighted to meet classmates they had not known or to move from acquaintance to friendship. The Yale experience is a unifier.
The 45th, organized and led flawlessly by David Honneus, was delightful. The 1962 class-only program elements blended well with Yale's offerings. Refurbished Pierson College was a pleasant headquarters. The food actually drew praise. The weather was mostly obliging. The campus looked inviting. Many attendees had real difficulty choosing between "A Morning at Yale"lectures. Two of the sessions featured professors from the Class of '62 – Medievalist Lee Patterson speaking on "A Thousand Years Without a Bath" and Chinese historian and former Clare Fellow Jonathan Spence whose topic was "China's Past, Does it Shape the Present?"
Friday afternoon was just for 1962. Law professor Akhil Amar offered his original and controversial views on the power and foibles of creation of the U.S. Constitution. Our own revolutionary-era author, Ken Cascone, saw the issues differently and engaged in a lively discussion with our guest lecturer.
Steve and Hala Buck shared their extraordinary experiences together as a couple during close to 40 years in the Middle East with the State Department. A main message was that most Americans do not understand important social, historical and cultural aspects of the Arab world and should not believe that American experience or practices can or should be imposed on the region.
Our class had its own Friday evening entertainment. Vic Miller wrote an amusing skit, drawing on a cleverly assembled cast of classmates and spouses, ably assisted by Yale College Dean Peter Salovey, to resolve an imaginary issue concerning the validity of our diplomas.
The '62 Whiffenpoofs then took the stage and put on a fabulous performance. The voices, style and camaraderie were still there. Our yodelers, Dixie Carroll, Louis Mackall and Biggie Moore echoed through the theater and then reprised their performance Saturday afternoon at Woolsey Hall, drawing the biggest applause in an hour of wonderful Yale music.
Our Saturday program featured the results and analysis of the joint Yale-Smith 45th Reunion survey poll offered by Al Chambers and our partner Celine Sullivan. We were mostly healthy, wealthy, Democrat, and grateful to Yale but also plenty concerned about the uncertainties of the future. There were reminders that although the data were very accurate as a sample, the survey was self-selective, just as coming to the Reunion or going to Yale had been.
David Scharff organized and led a panel about the effect that Yale has had on us. Bob Connery, Tony Giamei, Dave Hummel and John Stewart offered their viewpoints and then joined in a lively discussion with the audience.
Saturday night was the traditional sit-down dinner with speakers and awards and the dance music of Joe Holmes' Swing Band. A memorable moment was when paralyzed classmate Tom Luckey took the stage to become an honorary Whiffenpoof. Luckey's zest and determination were evident as he led the class in the "Star Spangled Banner," striking a political tone by saying, "It was time to take back the national anthem and the flag." Al Chambers, Kent Ravenscroft and David Scharff received Class Distinguished Service plaques.
The dancing was over by shortly after 11 P.M, which by itself delivered a message. Virtually everyone said they were looking forward to the 50th and expected to be there. This theme also was reflected in communications from numerous classmates who had conflicts and were unable to attend this reunion.
Full details of the Reunion, including hundreds of photos, and complete survey data can be found on www.yale62.org