by Tony Lee
Our 40th Reunion from June 3-9, 2004 was a wonderful event for the 252
classmates plus 168 guests who attended. The total of 420 sets a record for
all 40th reunions. We also donated an impressive $24 million to Yale thanks
to the fund-raising efforts of George Humphrey, Len Baker, and Terry
Recently renovated Timothy Dwight College served as our headquarters. It was beautiful, as was the entire campus. Thirty of us played golf Friday morning on the spectacular Yale Course.
Chris Getman and his reunion team put on a great program. All the panel discussions were stimulating, with Thursday's "Uses and Misuses of Intelligence in Iraq" sparking discussions throughout the weekend. The comments by Tom Powers, Chas Freeman, and Tom Parker may already be posted on our website. Friday's seminar on "Designing a World of Good" provided some exciting new ideas and challenged our commitment to the future. Other panels gave us additional food for thought.
The greatest challenge of the weekend was choosing from a smorgasbord of tempting programs, not to mention food options, especially Sunday morning. In addition to class programs, the University offered programs on everything from Ethnic Cleansing Chimpanzee Style to the Bayeux Tapestry including Why Not?; Behind the Scenes at the Peabody Museum; Actors at work―A Scene from Shakespeare; Does It Swing? Rhythm in Jazz, Classical and Pop Music, etc.
The best part of our reunions, though, is reconnecting with classmates and their families and friends. It was gratifying to see classmates back on campus for the first time in 40 years thoroughly enjoying themselves. I hope more classmates will show up at future reunions and minis. The Mini Reunions have given us additional opportunities to stay connected.
Distinguished Service Awards were presented to Sam Francis for his extraordinary efforts as our webmaster; John Morrison for chairing the Washington, DC Mini Reunion; Bob Hilgendorf for the Santa Fe Mini (Bob also received an empty can of Dorf Beer from Getman's collection); Blaine Krickl for the London Mini; and Al Rossiter on behalf of the 1964 Whiffenpoofs.
The Reunion marked the first time since graduation when all 13 Whiffs were reunited. The years have passed but not their voices and ability to impress us with their harmony.
Joe Wishcamper organized a beautiful memorial service on Friday evening. Classmates read personal and in many cases very touching statements for the 17 classmates who passed away since our last reunion. You can read them on our website (in the In Memoriam section). We'll probably hold memorial services at future reunions.
Many of us were exhausted by the non-stop pace of the weekend. I'm usually in bed before midnight. On this weekend, however, I saw the pumpkin hour 3 nights in a row. Fortunately I resurrected a skill I developed on campus 40 years ago and caught a few 10-minute chin-on-chesters during talks.
George Wright deserves special recognition in the nap department. At noon on Friday he engaged in a lively discussion, sustained by contributions from the bar. He returned to his hotel room for a nap. Awakening at 5:30 he realized he'd missed the memorial service, but headed off for the cocktail party at Sterling Library. He got there at 6:30 but found the library locked up. The shuttle bus gave him a ride to Timothy Dwight for the dinner party. But TD was locked up too! Exasperated, he protested: "300 people are supposed to be having dinner in there!" Whereupon the bus driver laughed and said, "Dinner? It's 6:30 in the morning." George had napped for 14 hours.
I'm very pleased to pass the baton to the next Class Secretaries, Tony Lavely and Terry Holcombe. Be sure to send your news and articles to them. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to serve such a talented, diverse, and nice group of guys for the past 5 years!