An email from Pete Putzel '64, Chris Getman '64, and Waldo Johnston '64 regarding the 50th Reunion of the Yale Class of 1964
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A Preview of the 50th Reunion of the Yale Class of 1964

January 19, 2014

Dear Yale 1964 Classmate:

Four months from now we will gather in New Haven for our Fiftieth Reunion. See the list of classmates who have pre-registered (numbering 163 even at this early date), and please click here to pre-register yourself so your classmates will know you're coming. Pre-registration does not require a commitment.

The Reunion Committee has just finished its final planning session, and on its behalf we are writing to give you a preview of our program. In forthcoming emails, we will supply further particulars concerning arrival times, registration information, lodging in Davenport College, and so forth. This communication simply offers an overview of reunion festivities.

Although the reunion itself formally starts on Thursday afternoon, May 29, we have several preliminary offerings to entice you to come to New Haven even earlier. On Wednesday, May 28, we have scheduled the class golf outing at the beautiful Yale Golf Course. This will be followed by an informal dinner at Mory's where our honorary classmates David Swensen, Yale's Chief Investment Officer, and Jock Reynolds, director of the newly-renovated Yale Art Gallery, will join us and speak informally.

This reunion presents an opportunity both to reflect on the five decades since our graduation and, perhaps more interestingly, to use that retrospective as a prism through which to discuss the coming years and the issues that will confront our children and grandchildren. As one classmate succinctly put it, the theme for our gathering is: "How the hell did we get into this mess and how do we get out of it?!" Our programs are generally conceived with these dual objectives in mind. Our participants are exclusively members of the Class of 1964.

Here are some day-by-day highlights:

  • On Thursday morning, early-arriving classmates and their spouses or friends will have a choice: (1) a tour of the Yale Art Gallery, supervised by its director Jock Reynolds, or (2) a tour of the new Evans Hall, donated by our late classmate Ned Evans as the home of the Yale School of Management (SOM), to be followed by a panel on running not-for-profit entities, chaired by Hank Satterthwaite and moderated by Sharon Oster, former SOM dean.

  • The Thursday afternoon sessions will first feature a panel led by Howard Gillette in which prominent classmates will explore the big issues of the past fifty years — civil rights, the environment, national security, and the changing role of women — as a preamble for discussing the future. Then a panel of educators led by Jim Duderstadt, former President of the University of Michigan, will discuss the issues that confront university administrators concerning Yale's future and, more broadly, the future of higher education in this country.

  • On Friday afternoon, Bob Kaiser, retired Managing Editor of The Washington Post, will lead a discussion with former Senators John Ashcroft and Joe Lieberman. When our Class Book arrives (within the next several weeks) you will read a provocative Kaiser essay in which he bluntly argues that our generation bears significant responsibility for the current state of affairs in Washington. He will explore this theme with the able assistance of our class's most prominent veterans of congress.

  • Perhaps as a diversion from the public themes of the first panel, we will then hear our classmate Stephen Greenblatt, University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard and the celebrated author of numerous books, including most recently The Swerve, which won the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction. He will discuss King Lear and old age and has titled his remarks: "Age is Unnecessary: Shakespeare and the End-of-Life Stories." Perhaps appropriately, immediately following this presentation we will walk to Battell Chapel for a Memorial Service in remembrance of deceased classmates.

  • On Saturday afternoon, under the guidance of Ed Massey, a dozen of our classmates will make a variety of brief, incisive presentations on passions they have pursued during their lifetimes, from the arts and personal journeys to issues they find to be provocative. Each of these talks will be strictly limited to six minutes and eighteen slides.

Quite apart from the programs described above, we will also participate in the following events:

  • The University's morning reunion programs
  • Our Class Dinner on Friday night
  • Informal dinners on Thursday and Saturday evenings
  • Multiple appearances of all thirteen Whiffenpoofs of 1964
  • Numerous other offerings.

Even more to the point, we will also provide ample opportunity for old friends to catch up with each other in an atmosphere of informal conviviality.

In our next communication we will supply registration information. We hope that you are enticed by the programs described above and look forward to seeing each of you four short months from now.

All the Best,


Pete Putzel

Chris Getman

Waldo Johnston

Reunion Chairs