Yale University

Class Notes

May/June 2009

by Tony Lavely

The past two months have seen a number of important class events as well as news from many classmates. On January 30th, Terry Holcombe presided over a class council meeting in NYC. There were a number of good committee reports: Reunion (Waldo Johnston), Finance (Chip Brennan), Nominating (Pete Putzel, who was also kind to host the meeting), and AYA (Will Elting). Notably, a decision was made to end our financial support for the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies summer fellowship program; in its place the council voted unanimously to provide funding for the Urban Resources Initiative in memory of Strachan Donnelley to foster community-based land stewardship; Chris Getman serves on the URI Board.

Following the council meeting, Waldo Johnston convened a Reunion Committee meeting to finalize plans for our upcoming reunion. John Evans, chair of the Program Committee, reported, as did Bill Galvin for the Attendance Committee. Wayne Batcheler volunteered to research information on departed classmates for whom obituary information is incomplete.

Then on Friday evening, sixty-two classmates, family, and friends met at the Yale Club of NYC for a class dinner and an evening of musical entertainment, featuring the operatic voice of Bunt McKee, Don Leka on piano, and Angus MacDonald on folk guitar. An impromptu songfest by three of our Whiffenpoofs (John Evans, Al Rossiter, and Jon McBride) took us well into the evening! Check the class Web site for more details and pictures. At my table, I was pleased to have Stan Thomas' daughter, Beth Cohen, who just launched B'squared Public Relations.

On February 6th, Tony Lee reported from the Harvard-Yale hockey game that a dozen classmates and friends watched Yale dominate; since then, the team has advanced to the ECAC semifinals. In February, Gus Speth led a Yale Travel expedition down the Amazon River. In announcing Gus' replacement as FES Dean, President Levin said: "Dean Speth, a passionate advocate for a greener Yale, has played a key role in increasing national and international awareness of climate issues."

Dan Lowenstein wrote: "I've been spending the past couple of years attempting to create a UCLA Center for the Liberal Arts and Free Institutions. I'll be the first director. Part of what we're trying to do is inspired by my experience at Yale in Directed Studies." Ward Wickwire wrote: "I'm still doing a bit of M&A; we spend summers in Maine not far from Mac Deford and Church Carey." After reading his book, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, I e-mailed Stephen Greenblatt, who responded: "I've managed to keep up my connection with Yale. My wife graduated in 1989 and my middle son in 2000. Recently, I was back in New Haven as chair of the Harvard Task Force on the Arts." Al Ayre e-mailed: "Still practicing law in Portland, ME, and named to the Board of Governors for the Maine State Bar Association." In late January, Dan Pollack, Gary Hallenbeck, and Waldo Johnston (and spouses) lunched in Vero Beach, FL. Later that week, I saw Dan Pollack and Nancy when they drove up to Orlando.

Jon McBride e-mailed about the excitement of Inauguration Day in D.C. "Barack and Michelle Obama walked directly in front of my office building. We also saw the first ‘shovel-ready' projects of the stimulus package." Dick Berk e-mailed that his daughter "is working at MGM with a great opportunity to see all aspects of the film business." Tom Powers wrote: "After ten years of roaming the plains, I'm about to finish a too-long book on The Killing of Crazy Horse." John Ostrich wrote: "Still working full time in adult general medicine at Kaiser in Sacramento. Will be celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary in June: staying healthy, work out regularly, wear my seat belts, cross at the light, get 8 hours of sleep, same dog, same cat." Larry Speidell wrote: "I run an investment fund that specializes in frontier stock markets. We travel often to research companies in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia." Tom Rowe retired from Duke Law School; he and his wife "have settled in her house in Marina del Rey, CA, where he is enjoying his 43' sailboat." Terry Holcombe e-mailed: "Peter Giblin and I attended the opening of the new campus of American University in Cairo, where Peter is on the board." Russell Sunshine e-mailed: "After 20 years of living abroad, Nancy and I are settling in California's Monterey Peninsula. It's wrenching to put our Umbrian olive farm on the market and say goodbye to that nurturing sanctuary."

The monthly luncheons at the Yale Club of NYC continue to attract classmates. At the February gathering were: Pete Putzel, Steve Norman, Phil Lochner, and Mac Deford. Patrick Caviness was in touch with Jack Cirie's daughter, Andrea, who lives in NYC and works in both classical and contemporary theater. We miss Jack and other departed members of the class. Patrick has also been communicating with Merrill Pasco who lives in Hilton Head, SC.

Bob Kaiser has written a new book, So Damn Much Money, on the politics of lobbying. Terry Holcombe is one of his sources. Kaiser was interviewed on Bill Moyers PBS "Journal" in February. Wendell Motley also has a new book, Trinidad and Tobago Industrial Policy 1959-2008, tracing the industrial policy that made his native country a premier oil and natural gas exporter. Jim Rogers has a new book coming out, as well: A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing. You can buy these books and other books by classmates at the new Publications link on our class Web site. Jim Rogers was interviewed in Business Week (March 9, 2009): "Jim Rogers doesn't mince words about the crisis." An AP wire story in March reported "Sen. Joe Lieberman now sings Obama's praises." In March, Tony Morris attended the first aerial firefighting conference in US history held in California.

Sadly, I report the death of two classmates since the last issue: George Hampton died on January 21st in New Jersey, and Ed Wilhite died on February 19th in California. Obituaries for both men can be found at the "In Memoriam" page on our Class Web site. Joe Wishcamper is again organizing a memorial service at our upcoming reunion for the 23 classmates who have died since our last reunion. See you there, I hope.