Alumni Notes: May/June 2021

By John A. Wilkinson

Your executive committee held its first ever Zoom meeting on February 12 and learned that we now have plans, pandemic permitting, for a 60th reunion, two years late, in the spring of 2022. The university will be devoting three weekends to reunions, both current and delayed. Be prepared to reserve a room asap once our weekend dates are announced. Meanwhile there will be virtual reunions this June 4 and 5 for those classes such as ours that have had to cancel or postpone reunions for these two years. In addition to these two events, our 1960 mini-reunion in Philadelphia and Wilmington, originally scheduled for this spring, has been postponed, probably till the spring of 2023. Details later.

Peter Knudsen has volunteered to head a new 1960 initiative, “Tuesday Tea,” a monthly Zoom meeting for classmates on a timely topic. The first took place on March 2 with Professor Paul Bracken speaking and leading a discussion on “The Emerging Chinese Superpower: Challenge and Response.” More than three dozen classmates participated. Scheduled for April was Professor Paul Kennedy on “The Fall of the Great Powers,” and Dick Sigal is attempting to organize a discussion on “Universities’ Responsibility to Advocate for Honest Political Dialogue.” Join us for “Tuesday Tea” or see the video on our Class of 1960 website.

Arvin Murch reports that the baton has been passed successfully for our three summer programs (Heinz, Aspen, Branford) to an eager and organized Class of 1986.

Rich Banbury, who edited these notes for 18 years, will have the 60th reunion class directory dedicated to him for his faithful, good-humored service to the class.

While reading a recent publication of Germantown Friends School, I came across an article on our own Dale Purves, Geller Professor of Neurobiology at the Duke School of Medicine and research professor at the Duke Institute for Brain Science. Dale, a student for 13 years at GFS, has become a generous donor to its science program, convinced that supporting K–12 learning has the greater potential for affecting the career trajectories of scientists and doctors.

Bill Dunk died in Chapel Hill on January 2. From elevator operator on Wall Street and barista in Berkeley, California, he rose to lead Corporate Annual Reports, establish his own company, and publish The Global Province, offering advice to CEOs and many others. Yoga, gi gong, poetry, and old growth forests were among his many passions. See the full obituary on our website.

Had just begun a paragraph announcing the publication of Leslie Epstein’s 12th book of fiction, when he sent me an e-mail which included that information: Hill of Beans: A Novel of War and Celluloid. It is about making war and making movies in the years of our childhood, and, if you love Casablanca as much as I, you will find Leslie’s tale totally compelling. BTW, the novel’s title comes from one of Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) lines in the film.

Leslie also offered his judgment that Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad, written during Stalin’s brutal censorship, is not as good as Life and Fate, written post-Stalin. However, Proust remains his number-one novelist. If you are interested in an account of folly in the academy, look up his Room 222: Four seasons in academic hell. You can find it, through Google, in Tablet magazine.

Tempus fugit, sumus hic.