by Tony Lavely
The July-August Yale Alumni Magazine just arrived in my mailbox, and the memories of our 50th Class Reunion are still vivid. I received many emails and notes from classmates expressing their enthusiasm for the reunion. The most common sentiment was "It was too short and there was precious little time to spend with classmates!" Gus Speth said, "It was the best reunion ever!" Ted Jones emailed: "I am incredibly proud of 1964 and its contributions to our society, our country, and Yale." Sam Crocker thanked Waldo Johnston for organizing a hockey team luncheon and wrote: "The short time together was very meaningful." Jim Rogers exclaimed: "I was delighted and surprised to see grits on the menu. Maybe there is hope for the North yet!" John Ashcroft wrote: "It was pleasant for Janet and me to see old friends from half a century ago." Fred Hornbruch emailed: "I very much enjoyed the experience of reliving student life by sleeping and eating at Davenport. The pièce de resistance was the 'Kaleidoscope of Passions.' Well done Reunion Committee, and well done Yale."
See a photo album from the Reunion, accompanied by our 1964 Whiffenpoofs.
Dan Berman reported that he met with the Yale administration about an alumni petition signed by 53 alumni to revoke the honorary degree awarded to Stephan Schmidheiny.
Many classmates who traveled great distances to attend our reunion extended their travels to other connections. Pat Caviness, who arguably travel the most distance from Koh Samui and took the most time, visited California, Louisiana, Georgia, Kansas, and Vermont. Here in Atlanta at my home, Pat and I spent a wonderful afternoon with Bob Semisch, who was moving to Florida the very weekend of the reunion. Douglass Lea posted on Facebook, "I'm using the opportunity offered by my 50th reunion to meander afterwards around New England visiting friends and seeing a few previously unfamiliar corners of Nordistan." Dan Pollack, who generously created personalized "game balls" for all returning football players, continued on to Rockport, MA, to visit Steve Caplan.
All classmates who attended will know of the Class Gift to Yale of over $73.8 million, which completed the funding of the two new residential colleges. There will be a gateway in one of the colleges named for the Class of 1964, and you will find an article about it in Class News on our Class Website. Larry Crutcher sent an email blast offering classmates who did not submit a personal essay for the Class Book an opportunity to submit their personal essay for an addendum. In the same vein, at the suggestion of Bob Archer, there will be an addendum to include a list of classmates who served in the Peace Corps. Sam Francis and I are still working to organize reunion photographs and the presentations from Kaleidoscope, so check the Class Website later in the summer.
Now for some pre-reunion news: About two weeks before the reunion, President Peter Salovey visited Atlanta for a Georgia alumni gathering at the Carter Center. I attended along with classmates Frank Franklin, Ed Vollertsen, Bob Semisch, and Ron Hosek. In April, Coach Tony Reno visited Atlanta to update football alumni on his new recruits. Bob Hilgendorf wrote in March: "Mike Sherwood was in Santa Fe for our annual mountain-bike ride." In March, Pat Caviness spent some time in Hong Kong for a board meeting and "to see old friends." Tony Morris is working on a new TV series on Aerial Firefighting. Terry Holcombe and Marya, who will soon be moving to Vermont, had a "Boxing Day" dinner in London with Peter Giblin and Mauritza. David Plimpton refuted Joe Wishcamper's earlier report on his language skills, "While my Spanish has flashes of the late and great Pablo Neruda, Joe insists on pegging me with Desi Arnez." Douglass Lea posted on Facebook about his open house in March to celebrate the relocation of FODI (Friends of Doug International) to Bequia.
Chris Getman was recuperating from hip surgery so was not able to do his annual MS Walk in April but was still the top fundraiser in CT for this worthy cause. Paul Balser was honored in April at the annual Hudson Guild Benefit for his leadership of 35 years with this organization. At the April Class luncheon at the Yale Club of New York City, Pete Putzel reported: "John Ogilvie is dividing his time between NYC and Argentina; Steve Dana traveled from Philadelphia for the luncheon; Daniel Gsovski is the alumni conductor of the Yale Russian Alumni Chorus; Bob Kaiser just bought a co-op near Lincoln Center; and Jim Baxter just relocated to Brooklyn Heights. A word of appreciation to Jonathan Leader for his continued support of the Leader Family Scholarship Fund that benefits current Yale students. Jon McBride is our Class liaison to Squash Haven, a New Haven organization that teaches squash to inner city youth.
At Commencement in May, David Swensen, an honorary classmate, was awarded an Honorary Degree, "A steward of gifts past and present, you have used your own gift to secure our future." The full citation appears in Class News on our Class Website. In May, Peter Jokl was honored as Orthopaedist of the Year by the Connecticut Orthopaedic Society. Joe Wishcamper's wife Carol was awarded an honorary Doctor of Human Letters by the University of Southern Maine.
The authors and artists in our Class continue to amaze. In May, Gerry Shea had a book launching in Millbrook NY, and the 1964 Whiffenpoofs performed in conjunction with it. A News item on the Class Website reports the event in full. Bob Musil's new book, Rachael Carson and Her Sisters, was reviewed in Connections in June, and it appears in News on our Class Website. Ed Massey has published another novel, Every Soul Is Free (see his website). You will find it and other books by classmates in Publications on our Class Website. Alfred Webre has published his first book, The Dimension Ecology of the Omniverse, about science and cosmology, a must read for anyone who wants to end any fear of abandonment, death, or the future. Sam Low's book, Hawaiki Rising, and his film, The Navigators, continue to garner rave reviews and prestigious awards, among them the 50th Five-Star Review on Amazon and the Waimea Ocean Film Festival.
Our classmate blogger community has expanded (see Blogs in Publications on our Class Website). Ron Parlato did a great blog on Jimmy's in New Haven and "Yale, India, and Enduring Episodes." John Wylie wrote a terrific blog on "The Impact of Farming on Social Psychology." Jim Rogers added blog entries on "The Artificial Sea of Liquidity" and "Having Children is the Most Important Lesson in Life." Jim will be the keynote speaker at a conference in Fortaleza, Brazil in September. Howard Gillette posted a blog on 50th Reunions. Morris Dean interviewed Stephen Greenblatt on Shakespeare's 450th birthday (and you thought 50th was big?).
In the artistic community, Norm Hix has shared some stunning woodworking creations. Stephen Becroft has been added to the Visual Arts section of our Class Website. There are some new entries in the "Sound Off!' section of our Class Website by John Hanold, Gene Van Loan, and Quincy Rodgers. Check them out and add your own!
Word limits on the previous column prevented me from acknowledging the passing of four classmates. All four were remembered in our reunion memorial service and are now included at In Memoriam on our Class Website. Hal Schwartz died in March in Chattanooga TN. Jack Cover died in March in Raleigh NC and was remembered by Craig Jensen. John Butler died in May in Mystic CT and was remembered by Bob Bulkeley. Jim Bowers, a dedicated member of our Class Council, died in Grundy VA only weeks before our reunion, which his widow Lucy attended. His roommate, Bob Jacobs, remembered him. Sadly, Mac Deford had to confront the death of his son, Benjamin, only one day after the reunion, where Mac served on a most moving panel. Mac is also a loyal Class Council member, and I know his classmates brought comfort to him in this tragedy. Lastly, I want to recognize John Henderson and Chip Brennan for donating Mory's Memorial Bricks in honor of departed classmates. You can do the same on our Class Website at In Memoriam.