Alumni Notes: November / December 2016

Yes, Virginia. There is a 55th reunion this spring. See below. Let those who have eyes and ears keep them open. Mellow information will be coming soon.

If you are making use of the Yale Alumni Magazine's expanded website, or are participating in any of the regional non-credit Yale courses or in activities (including having a drink) of your nearest Yale club, please tell your news-thirsty classmates about it via a note to your CorSecs.

A decommissioned US Chinook helicopter, minus its two rotors, and a granite marker now adorn a grassy New England field. They are a memorial to the 17 Navy SEALs who were killed, along with 21 other Americans and eight Afghans, when the Taliban brought down a similar Chinook in Afghanistan in 2012. Last September, Chris Bent, our class's former SEAL and frequent correspondent on SEAL activities, spoke at the memorial's dedication, sympathizing with a recent book, Call Sign Extortion 17: The Shoot-Down of SEAL Team Six. The book says the deaths could have been prevented by suppression fire to clear the landing site, which was withheld for unknown reasons. ("Extortion 17" was the name of the mission and its chopper.) That New England farm also includes an obstacle course created, Chris says, by "a private citizen who wanted to build a regional training facility for SEAL candidates and law enforcement." Chris's self-published inspirational books keep coming out on Amazon, where he now has a whole author's page.

Peter Saccio was dramaturg for an early fall production by the Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vermont, of Shakespeare's "Scottish play," as superstitious theater people coyly dub that work to fend off bad luck. Peter gave the lecture on the meaning of the play that he says audiences in regional professional theater always want ... and has joined those sending our reunion committee audience-pleasing suggestions for roles they'd be willing to play in the festivities.

After a brief snafu, Bill Stott is again curating his judicious listserv postings of cultural and political commentary. Ask to join his list at wstott@utexas.edu. Jon and Christine ("Singi") Saari usually fly from their northern Michigan fastness right to their farm and small family museum in the mountains of Austria, as they did again this summer. In November, they added a domestic swing to visit eastern friends and for Jon, who is from a Finnish background, to attend a national board meeting in Washington, DC, of the Finlandia Foundation. His comprehensive 2003 history (revised in 2010) is Black Ties and Miners' Boots: Inventing Finnish-American Philanthropy, which the foundation still sends to all new members.

In midsummer, Benjamin Zucker and Chris Cory attended a cocktail party for donors with President Peter Salovey at Bob Rosenkranz's oceanfront house in East Hampton, New York. Benjamin's insights and donations are helping revamp several galleries of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History (all-natural history, of course, includes gems, with no artificial ingredients). Inventive new displays tracing minerals from iron to crystals and diamonds opened this fall and will be worth including in any reunion tours of Yale's burgeoning Science Hill.

Alex Garvin's planning ideas for Atlanta again were on the front page of the New York Times in September, though you may not have known it because the story did not mention his role, unlike the Times article ten years ago and the write-up in the winter 2014 issue of www.Yale62.org. His concepts have helped shape the "emerald necklace" of paths, parks, and trolleys now slowly being created to circle the city, mostly by joining abandoned railroad rights of way. Though the Times said the Atlanta BeltLine, as it's known, is "staggeringly ambitious," and plans for lower-income residents are far from realized, it said the concept is "one of the purer expressions of America's newly rekindled romance with city life" and reported mounting enthusiasm for it in the city. Alex himself describes it as an example of the welcoming urban "public realms" that are key to What Makes a Great City. That's the title of his handsome latest book (Island Press), which was launched with a fall party at the New York Yale Club. He's talked about it at events in Houston and Manhattan, and will discuss it with critic (and Yalie) Paul Goldberger at New York City's 92d Street Y on November 9. Details, and a 20 percent discount for the code 4GARVIN, at http://islandpress.org/author/alexander-garvin.

Since women will make up a nice portion of those attending our 55th reunion in New Haven June 1-4, spouses were welcomed to the conversation when our reunion planning team met for lunch at the New York Yale Club in early October. Two of our three co-chairs, Dan Koenigsberg and Peter Clark, reported on the Association of Yale Alumni's all-class meeting of reunion chairs the previous day. (Peter Sipple attended the lunch but had to miss the AYA session because of a chorus rehearsal.) Other attendees were the spouses of Bob Oliver, Steve Susman, John Stewart, and Jerry Swirsky and their wives, plus the girlfriend of Dave Honneus, who he says is "fast morphing from a Dartmouth fan to a Yale consort," along with Alex Garvin, Dick Ward, Dick Davis, and Sam Waterston.

Necrology. This is not an easy time of life for us all. That reunion memorial service is getting more and more meaningful. We regret to report the death since our last issue of Gus Hedlund. Full obituaries of him and several others are in preparation. The obituary of Clay Alderfer, which we prematurely said was posted, now truly is up on www.Yale62.org.