Yale University

Class Notes

January/February 2017

by Tony Lavely

Note: Classmates' names in gold font are links to a pre-addressed email form (if your browser is properly configured). Other links (underlined) take you to more information about the topic. A shorter version of these Notes is published in the Yale Alumni Magazine.

Happy New Year! Some of you will have read this column online even before the year-end holiday. So, to you “early-birds,” we wish you an enjoyable holiday season. Classmates continue to meet monthly for lunch (fourth Tuesday) at The Yale Club of NYC, thanks to Pete Putzel. Chris Getman organizes a lunch table at Mory’s for the Connecticut crowd. The Cape Cod golf outing, played over three courses in late September, was attended by 21 classmates and friends. You can read John Evans' account and see the photos in Class News. For applicants to the Class of 2021, Alumni Schools Committee interviews are underway. How many classmates are still doing interviews and what are your impressions?

We will hold our annual Class Council meeting on Saturday, February 18, 2017, in New Haven. Please email any suggestions or questions you have for the Council. This will be our first Council meeting in many years without Jim Baxter. Recently, Jim moved to Mexico and resigned his position on the Class Council due to travel distance. We thank Jim for his dedication to the Class over many years. Sam Calloway was named to complete Jim’s term, and we welcome Sam to the Council. In Class News, you can read Terry Holcombe’s report (with photos) on the construction of the Class of 1964 Portal in Benjamin Franklin College. A mini-reunion is being planned once the new colleges open in 2017.

On our Class website, you will find at least a dozen new stories in Class News with more details than we have space to report in this column: Gene Van Loan had an editorial about the presidential election published in the New Hampshire Union Leader; Tom Lovejoy won the NCSE Lifetime Achievement Award; Stephen Greenblatt participated in a mock appeal of Shylock’s verdict in Venice; Jethro Lieberman wrote: “The Thing about Books” in The American Scholar; Gerry Shea was featured in a French TV Documentary titled, Gerald Shea: The Art of Deduction; honorary classmate David Swensen was featured in The New York Times for his investment prowess and influence; and Tony Lavely was named to the Yale Alumni Fund Board of Directors.

Pat Caviness returned to Koh Samui, Thailand, in August following surgery in San Francisco. After a few days on the beach, Pat and Frederique left for Bali. Pat emailed: “Bali is special. We routinely do strange and unusual things as if they were a daily part of life here.” Pat will be returning to San Francisco in January for additional treatment. Chuck Mokriski emailed: “I enjoyed my visit with Pat in SF and was inspired by his upbeat and cheerful demeanor.” Owen O’Donnell emailed more notes about the classmate gathering he hosted in July: “To my amazement, three of us are still working. Dennis Helmrich is a music professor at University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana. Frank Basler is a Congregational minister in Connecticut. Ed Arens is still running a lab at UC Berkeley, working on interior environmental and sustainability projects. Sam Low, who continues to promote the voyage of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a, was the featured speaker at the Explorers Club in NYC on October 22nd. Russell Sunshine, whose new book continues to climb in sales, traveled by train to British Columbia where he toured Vancouver, Victoria, and Vancouver Island.

Responding to the interest expressed by Laird Smith in a previous column about charitable undertakings, Jon Leader emailed: “In September, I was proud to participate in the opening of the Leader Family Food Pantry at the Shorefront Jewish Community of South Brooklyn. I have learned that it is not enough just to give money; these projects often require intervention and guidance.” I hope other classmates will share their stories. Jeremy Scott Wood emailed: “Nick Danforth was on Edgartown in August, and we got to spend a rainy afternoon with him before he went off to hear a program of Russian Choral music.” Jeremy continued: “We also made it to a Davenport roommate reunion in Chelsea, as Laird Smith trained down from Mamaroneck and Dave Plimpton made the trek in from Brooklyn.” Paul Balser was honored by the Waterfront Alliance at Chelsea Piers in October for his work in their Harbor Camp program that serves children from NY settlement houses.

Dan Pollack, along with others, bemoaned the Yale football season but reveled in the Cubs World Series victory. Dan also emailed: “We spent the last weekend of September in Good Hart MI with Bob Hannah and Mike Mazer (and spouses) in Bob’s beautiful log home. Our friendships grow stronger because of semi-annual visits and our reunions.” Bill Duesing emailed: “I enjoy the monthly classmate lunches at Mory’s. I’m still working a lot, attend events like the Yale Food Systems, and my farm takes any time I have left.” Dan Berman reported that Italian prosecutors have ruled that a murder trial of asbestos magnate (and Yale honorary degree holder) Stephan Schmidheiny would go forward. John Witherspoon emailed: “I had to miss a planned trip to the Cape; just too busy in surgery.”

Among published classmates, Bob Kaiser wrote an excellent review in The New York Review of Books, “The Closed Mind of Mitch.” Stephen Greenblatt wrote an article in The New York Times, “How Shakespeare explains the 2016 Election.” John Wylie continues to post very thoughtful blogs about the human condition in Why We Became Human. Another blogger, Paul Ruden, emailed: “Much fodder from the election and eventually other topics.” Roger Swaybill’s widow, Marion, published a new book, Oysters: A Celebration in the Raw.”

Five classmates donated Mory’s memorial bricks to honor Handsome Dan XVII (Sherman) and his career with Yale and our Class. Others may want to consider donating to this cause that recognizes departed classmates with named bricks. At In Memoriam, you can read obituaries and remembrances for all departed classmates. David Grabill died in June in Santa Rosa CA. David was a devoted public-interest attorney who was a leading advocate for the poor in battles with local governments. Lee Hanley died in Greenwich CT in November following a long illness. He was a leading business leader who was devoted to his community and the public good.