45th Reunion Reflections
CLAY ALDERFER (Belle Mead, NJ) Charleen and I had a great time at our reunion. For me personally, the high points were re-connecting with former roommates Steve Howard, Dave Alden, Kent Hughes, Steve Buck (honorary), and George Snyder (also honorary) and spouses. There were also the brief and interesting conversations, with people I knew less well during our undergraduate years. A related development (and sometime topic of talk) was the publication in the recent Yale Alumni Magazine of "Revamping the MBA...", a story describing the current Yale School of Management. As a faculty member for 24 years, I had a lot to do with the startup of the school -- when it was called the Yale School of Organization & Management and the degree was Master of Public & Private Management (i.e., M.P.P.M.). The original vision for the school (set into motion by Kingman Brewster and Bill Donaldson) was to establish an innovative and more comprehensive form of management education than the traditional MBA. For the first time since the tragically destructive events that began in 1986, Yale publications have begun to present an accurate picture of what occurred. There is a lot more to the story than what appears in the latest article, but that account is at least not actively misleading.
TANSY BLUMER (Washington DC) Dennis had a wonderful time at the '62 reunion. He had been somewhat distracted due to his recent retirement from being General Counsel of George Washington University and taking up the practice of law -- a career first -- as a partner with Arent Fox. Having been in higher education for his entire 42-year career, he was in a state of animated suspension but managed to relax, ignore the Blackberry, and thoroughly enjoy his 45th reunion. Reconnecting with Don Nichols and meeting his wonderful wife, Jane. Dennis and I spent many many happy hours with Don and his wife Linda when we were young and just getting started in our careers in Madison, Wisconsin; Reconnecting with Celine Sullivan -- however briefly -- was a highlight for me; she was a wonderful, humorous mentor for me at Smith where we were housemates. I was amazed when she immediately told me a story from those days with a quote from me. It totally sounded like me at that age. She clearly has total recall. This reunion brought back the memory of a much earlier class reunion -- the 25th -- when our then-six-year-old announced that she would be going to Yale. This was a worry to us when, as a senior in high school and preparing to apply to schools, she still could only imagine herself at Yale. Fortunately, Yale accepted her (Class of 2003) and she quickly became as enthusiastic an Old Blue as her father.
STEVE BUCK (Bethesda, MD) What a wonderful reunion. I never thought I'd get to address the class and do it with Hala. For the rest of the weekend we basked in classmates' kind comments and questions. It was great that there were so many wives. I hope the proposed section for the wives on our website works out.
I thought the high point would be speaking, but for me it came from something else -- Tom Luckey's coming on stage Saturday night and asking us to "take back" the Star Spangled Banner. What a wonderful idea. Afterwards, on his way out, I stopped Tom to shake his hand and tell him how moved I was to read of his having been able to move two fingers and of his sponsoring playgrounds where kids with disabilities can play alongside those without them. Tom asked me to put my right hand under his right -- and then, with a wonderful smile, he lifted his right forearm a bit.
There are miracles in seemingly small things. Tom is a miracle and his courage an inspiration.
KEN CASCONE (Newburgh, NY) I have a confession. I had some difficulty recognizing classmates, even those I know well, and perhaps they had the same response to me. Too much aging has occurred between the 40th and 45th. I realize it's a taboo topic, but let's address it head-on. Physically we're changing in a host of ways. Yet there are those attending who looked clearly younger than their years -- Ed Strohbehn, Neil Freeman and Ron Etra -- to mention a few. It seems unfair -- we're all around the same age -- why do some age less than others? Is it lifestyle, diet, genes, or plain good luck? Consider this aging business to be my principal complaint about the Reunion. Let's have no more of it. Can't we just stop the clock? Where is the fountain of youth when you really need it? Perhaps the younger-looking classmates, like the baseball sluggers of late, have discovered a youth-inducing elixir. Please, if that's the case, tell the rest about it. MORE ...
JOHN CHAPMAN (Evanston, IL) No reflections available since I didn't make it to the reunion -- thanks to an all day fiasco at O'Hare last Friday ("weather" the reason - although beautiful and clear in Chicago and Hartford). I am sorry not to have been there. Like many of us, I have kept just a few close associations with Yale classmates but my two closest friends, Bill Cook and Mike Kane, were there. I had wanted to go to the "Morning at Yale" events - I remember them at the last reunion as terrific - but have had the benefit of having President Levin and the Grand Strategies team in Chicago last fall for the Chicago Humanities Festival. Yale seems to be on a roll and I do look forward to being back for our 50th.
BILL DOYING (Alexandria, VA) I deeply enjoyed the Reunion: Though I was a little uncertain of my decision to attend in the opening hours, by Saturday and Sunday I felt not only enriched by the wonderful programs made available for us, but warmed by the company of classmates. I found this particularly striking because, with a couple of exceptions, I had not known those in attendance at all well, or in many cases at all, during our college years. We nonetheless shared many experiences during those years; but I think more important to the warmth and ease that I came to feel were the experiences we have shared (albeit mostly apart) since then, and are sharing now, by virtue of the stage we have all reached in our lives. In the end, though, perhaps I am mistaken in trying to pick apart a good experience to find the springs and wheels that made it work. It worked, and I should have learned by now to accept that, with thanks!
ROB FLINT (Woodside, CA) For me photography has always been a form of note taking which helps me remember events and places in my life, as well as an artistic challenge to communicate my own reactions to places and times. To that extent, I hope my photos will remind me of what a fine event #45 was, and I hope I captured a little bit of the common joy we all felt at renewing old acquaintances and making new ones with whom we shared a little part of history and geography. And we've accumulated a pretty fine set of wives, too, as my pictures show, but not nearly enough!
TIM HALL (West Newton, MA) For me, the highlight of the weekend was the Tom Luckey event at our dinner. His comments about our losing the flag and the national anthem are ones I share 1000%. In my view, they have been hijacked. (I have done a lot of leadership work with the U. S. Army, and I care a lot about the country and the people who take care of it.) I loved his idea of our singing the national anthem together, with the women singing one part without the men. I also loved the look of pure joy on his face as we all sang so energetically together. I tried to capture that in my pictures, but he was circling around so quickly that it was difficult to get a good shot!
CINDY HUMMEL (Billings, MT) I totally enjoyed my "job" as guest photographer. I'm thinking maybe I saw Yale differently than a Yalie, since I didn't live there. Let's see, what would I say succinctly about the Reunion. I enjoyed hearing from Dave's classmates about how supportive, encouraging and energizing their professors were. I was attending Stanford in basically the same timeframe, but never had that feeling about any of my "teachers". The attitude I felt was, "Well you made it here, now figure out how to stay." The architecture of Yale is definitely unique and beautiful. I enjoyed the lectures I attended and am glad we made the effort to be in New Haven for this big "45".
HERRICK JACKSON (New Haven) I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the reunion. I hadn't enjoyed a few previous reunions that much. Because my closest friends didn't go, I didn't talk with people I knew, but did enjoy talking with classmates I did not know.
A comment: Even though Yale does not make money from reunions, the cost for many is prohibitive. Some paid $1,000 or more. Yale should realize that reunions indirectly benefit Yale by reconnecting people and encouraging them to give. Let's hope that our 50th costs less.
ARNOLD LOPEZ-CEPERO (Austin,TX) This reunion, for me, was quite special. This was my 5th consecutive one, having come for the first time when we held our 25th. Talking to classmates that I've known from my years at Yale as well as getting to know others better whom I've previously only seen in passing is always special treat of these gatherings. This was, also, the first time I have had someone - my lady friend, Mary Kennedy - to share this experience with. That too was special.
But the highlight for me was seeing Don Banks after so many years. After Yale, by different paths, we ended up at Duke, both working on our doctorates in physics. After I had gotten mine in 1968, I headed west to Austin and the Univ. of Texas. I might have seen Don once between then and 1972, but after that, we had lost touch with one another. I don't know where I was going at the time, but I happened to be walking from Poerson toward York St. when I ran into Don as he was arriving. It was really great to see him after so many years. He himself said that it was important for him to be there to reconnnect. He felt that he had to at this time. Here's hoping that he and others who haven't been back at all or, at least, for some time, will be there in five years at our 50th.
LOUIS MACKALL (Guilford, CT) I went with Tom to our 45th reunion at Yale at which our Whiffs, class of '62 that is, sung Tom in as a way overdue honorary member. It made Paul McCartney's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame look prompt. Tom's Whiff name is "Ever So". (Explanation: All Whiff names are puns on the last name, get it?) As always, it was great to be out with Tom, particularly for his classmates, because as I've found out, one's imagination slides a Quad much too close to death, but most incorrectly so.
Tom got to apologize for earlier performances at other reunions (like the 25th for instance, with that bucket of pee I won't discuss). Suffice to say that a good time was had by all, Tom stayed sober for this incarnation, and our Whiffs brought down the Woolsey House. Always a pleasure.
From about two weeks ago, Tom can move (slightly) his whole right arm when you hold his forearm upright with his elbow resting on a surface. Movement is about 3/8 inch in each direction with maybe 6 ounces of pressure. This is pretty exciting: think "Joy-stick", or better yet think "What is the sound of one hand whittling." Oh but we will have a big party when that happens, won't we!
ALBERTO MESTRE (Miranda, Venezuela) My wife and I enjoyed tremendously the 45th reunion and liked everything. The lecture on the Constitution and Dean Peter Salovey's Emotional Quotient lecture we considered to be extremely interesting and fun. The Survey was great. So was the singing in Woolsey Hall, the Sunday service in Battel Chapel, the food, the Joe Holmes Band and the Saturday Party. We particularly enjoyed seeing and talking to Lee Patterson, Charlie Brainard, Bob Oliver, Rody Salas and wives. It was a great experience and everything was very well organized. The people could not have been nicer.
VIC MILLER (Alameda, CA) I was amazed to discover how mellow we've all become. What a pleasure to spend good times with people without axes to grind, products to sell or egos to burnish. You were very kind and great to be around.
PHIL MORIARITY (Hinsdale, IL) Meredith and I have not missed any of our '62 Reunions dating back to 1967. Each and every one has been rewarding in very different ways. Our loosely organized Class of 1962 always seems to come together in special ways at Reunion time. In keeping with Kirk's theme in his Class Dinner remarks, "communication" is the key. I would urge our new Class Leadership to plan for more mini-reunions between now and our 50th in 2012. They are always great fun.
Always good to reconnect with classmates, meet new ones, and compare, contrast, debate, laugh and learn at reunions. Our 45th was no exception.
KENT RAVENSCROFT (Washington, DC) Our own '62 Whiffs blew the competition away at Woolsey Hall after President Levin revealed Yale's Edifice Complex, but my white hanky was not just for waving. I was so moved by Yale's men and women singers. I slipped away from fabulous conversation with classmates to swim in the 50-meter pool at the Temple of Sweat, which seemed much longer than I remembered as a Yale swimmer. Dancing to Joe Holmes, some inspiring teaching, and impressive class leadership all left me with a wonderful afterglow. I look forward to the 50th! We're a great Class!
ART ROBERTS (Palo Alto, CA) The reunion was terrific! The class activities were fun and I thought the university did a great job with logistics such as the food and the always available shuttles. Hats off to our committee.
DAVID SCHARFF (Chevy Chase, MD) Another reunion in New Haven. Can it really be 45 years? A small shaky flight from Washington National to Bradley Field and an hour's drive, registration on Thursday afternoon when only few have arrived – Ben Gottlieb and his wife, Pete McDougall and David Honneus standing at the ready, organizing. Pierson College, an unfamiliar local with the familiar feel of the reunions that have more reality in a way now than the experience of Yale when college courtyards were places of transit from a dorm room to class. Now being in the college means extended socializing under a tent. There were no tents even for graduation or for dances then.
The Omni Hotel, though long a landmark, didn't exist then either, only the dreaded Taft. Now one couple tells us they are staying there, of the chronically ill residents on the upper floors and the memories of its reputation for ladies of the night. MORE ...
JOHN STEWART (St. Louis) I had a great time and was sorry to have to leave Saturday night. Two comments: as I said in the panel discussion, it is so terrific to talk to people I didn't know. We share the connection of Yale, which immediately springs over social barriers and into greater intimacy and revelations. And after 17 years at Washington University, trying to energize vocal life, I remain so thrilled and moved by how central singing as metaphor and experience is at Yale. It is, more central than at any school I can think of outside of those choral schools such as Westminster Choir College and St. Olaf, where it's more tied to pre-professionality and religion.
JERRY SWIRSKY (West Hartford, CT) Holly and I had a wonderful time at this Reunion. In addition to seeing "old friends" and some new ones we most enjoyed the lectures given by members of the faculty (3-4 to be exact). Except for the damp weather here and there we enjoyed it all and look forward to the 50th.
ROMAN WEIL (Chicago) I was surprised, not as much as I was at the Yale 89% married rate, at the fact that only 6/135 of this self-selected group, who are on average happier with their lives (we'd guess) than the non-respondents, make over $1m per year. My girlfriend, herself with a lineage back to the Mayflower, suggests that our generation of Yalies has disproportionate amounts of long east coast lineages who have learned that lifelong fulfillment can result from career paths other than the financially rewarding ones.
I used to think that is because we men are hornier than the women. I can see, post age 65 that many men's sex drives diminish, whereas the women's don't go down as fast. Anecdotal evidence here is surely silly, as this must have been studied to a fare-thee-well. I think the social science data I've seen are clear in reporting that unmarried men are the most unhappy of the four combinations of married/not and man/woman.
One of my age 55 women friends says that as women go from 40 to 60, their inclinations to pair with an older man goes down. By 50, she says, they are accustomed to being self sufficient and the impending burden of caring for a 70-year old guy looms larger. She says that as women age, their inclination to go out with us old guys goes down, so that we old guys will be increasingly unsuccessful in our searches for the young things.
JIM WHITE (Washington D.C.) It was a successful reunion, and great to see so many old friends.