Yale University

Class Notes

January/February 2018

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.


Classmates who read these Class Notes on the website will just be anticipating The Game and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Those of you who read them in Yale Alumni Magazine will be acting on your New Year’s resolutions. Such is the time warp of publishing Class Notes.

There are many classmate gatherings to report. On September 23, Chris Getman “passed the leash” of Handsome Dan XVIII to his new owner, Kevin Discepolo ‘09, at the coin flip of the Cornell game in Yale Bowl. Kevin is Assistant Athletic Director at Yale. You can see a photo of the event on our Class website. A few weeks later, on October 12, Chris “covered” the Fall golf outing on The Yale Course. His full account of the twelve golfers can be found on our Class website with the lead, “Getman, though he didn’t play, nevertheless won.” Thanks again to Neil Hoffman for organizing this semi-annual event.

Chris (who has more time for writing as he recovers from his fifth hip replacement surgery) also posted an account of a classmate luncheon at Benjamin Franklin College. Twenty-two classmates from the New Haven area were hosted by Head Charles Bailyn. A formal dedication for donors to the 1964 Gateway (just off Prospect Street) will take place on February 10, 2018. Benjamin Franklin College also features the Len and Mary Ann Nyberg Baker courtyard among its architectural beauties.

When the classmate luncheons at The Yale Club of NYC reconvened in the Fall, Pete Putzel reported better-than-ever turnouts. I had the pleasure of attending on October 24 with ten classmates. Conversation ranged from North Korea (Lee Sigal) to new medical devices (John Postley MD) to mobile phone privacy (John Ogilvie). Steve Dana is a new regular at these luncheons. That same week, I attended a luncheon in Greenwich to benefit the Breast Cancer Alliance. It was chaired by my daughter Hillary, a breast cancer survivor. Seated at my table were my brother Jay Lavely ‘65 and Larry Lawrence, who had kindly mentored my daughter at The Field Club of Greenwich.

Looking ahead, John Evans reports that 13 classmates (26 travelers) have signed up for the Canadian Rockies railroad trip in July 2018. There is still time to join this spectacular mini-reunion. You can find details on our Class website or contact John. The annual Class Council meeting will take place in New Haven on February 9, 2018, in conjunction with the aforementioned 1964 Gateway dedication.

Sam Francis emailed, “In August Bobbie and I took a Viking River Cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, through 19 locks. The natives were friendly, St. Petersburg was astonishing for its beauty, and Moscow for its traffic. As for the ‘evil empire,’ it was undetectable.” Joe Wishcamper and David Plimpton, a couple of other adventurers, reported: “In June, David and I fished near Cayo Coca in northern Cuba. We had good fishing for bonefish, tarpon, and permit. Non-fishing highlights included Plimpton dancing onstage at the Buena Vista Social Club. We also toured a part of Cuba that was devastated by Hurricane Irma.” Yale again acknowledged the generosity of Jonathan Leader for the Leader Family Scholarship Fund, which this year supports students in Branford College and Trumbull College.

In September, Paul Balser was honored at a Waterfront Alliance benefit at Chelsea Piers for his founding role in the organization. Last year, Waterfront Alliance supported Sam Low’s Hōkūle‘a, the Polynesian voyaging canoe, at her stops in New York City during her worldwide voyage. In July, Lee Sigal testified on North Korea Policy before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, The Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

Dan Pollack emailed: “Nancy and I have been enjoying periodic lunches with Sherry Reum, Bob Reum’s widow (hate that word). In September, we enjoyed a fun-filled ‘mini-reunion’ (our fourth) at the Hannah’s beautiful log home in Good Hart, MI with Hannah and Mike Mazer and Susan and Bob Hannah.” Tony Morris advised the Los Angeles County Fire Department during the worst of the wild fires last summer. Pat Caviness sent a most uplifting message: “Big day. First PSA test after months of radiation and hormonal therapy. No detectable cancer! Thank you, UCSF. Thank you, Frederique. Thank you to all my friends for your love, support, and encouragement throughout.” Pete Putzel forwarded an article from the Lakeville CT Journal reporting the 275th anniversary celebration of Smithfield Presbyterian Church where Doug Grandgeorge has been a longtime pastor (but not founder).

On the publications front, Timothy Breen’s recent book, George Washington’s Journey, received the George Washington Memorial Award for 2018. Tim emailed: “Susan and I are enjoying a beautiful fall in Vermont. In November, we will be staying at the American Academy in Rome.” Those of you who attended our 50th Class Reunion will remember Steven Greenblatt talking about his research on Adam and Eve. Some three years later, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve was published in October to rave reviews. You can read one of these reviews on our Class website. Jeremy Wood called my attention to an article written by our newest Class blogger, Toby Tomkins. With some fascinating insights about Yale, "Identity Politics, Snowflakes, Trigger Warnings, and Other Academic Conniption Fits" is posted on our Class website.

At the October classmate luncheon at the Yale Club of NYC, I learned that Bill Turnage died on October 18 in California. The New York Times published an article (posted on our Class website) praising Bill’s work for the Wilderness Society and as Ansel Adams's business manager. Sam Francis added a personal note about his own connection with Ansel Adams, who took a Christmas photo of Sam’s family when Sam was a toddler. Please consider donating a Mory’s memorial brick to honor a departed classmate. Contact Chris Getman.