YAM Notes: July/August 2018

New Times.  We all know that the sculptured Bart Giamatti Bench stands near Wright Hall on the Old Campus. Certain mysteries about the bench persist, including whether the design reflects the game of baseball. (We lost Bart on September 1, 1989, when he was serving as commissioner of Major League Baseball.) On our class website we have posted a 19-minute video of a conversation that Dave Sellers had with Mark Aronson about the Giamatti Bench. Aronson is the chief conservator at the Yale Center for British Art, and penned the excellent article about the bench that appeared in the March/April issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine. (Thanks to Peter Knudsen, who was a central player in bringing about Aronson’s research and article.) Sellers, who runs an international architectural studio in Warren, Vermont, was the chief designer for the project, and plays a wonderful part in the video with his showing and abundant white hair.  The video was shot by Rob Lisak, a professional photographer, who allowed us to post it on our site.

Yale sports have had some national success over the last half decade. A sampling: the men’s ice hockey team was a national champion in 2013; men’s basketball reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2016; and this year, men’s lacrosse was ranked in the top ten, entering the NCAA tournament as a #3 seed—and ending up as national champions, for the first time in the program’s history!  Bravo!

Old Times.  Perhaps we have not fully appreciated some overlooked teams of our days, including fencing, rifle, and polo. Mike Harris was captain of the rifle team in 1959 and 1960.  The fencing team was led by Jay Powell (dec. 1993), and successful polo riders were led by Captain Richie Jones (dec. 2007).  “From Newport to Pebble Beach, polo is the most Up of all adult sports.” (The first sentence in the class book for the polo team, page 231.) Mike Harris returned to campus and took courses for an entire semester in 2004, under a program entitled Alumni Auditor. He described a wonderful experience, a semester during which he “managed to find lodging in other college guest suites—Branford, Morse, Saybrook, and Calhoun. . . . There is an enormous energy on the campus, a great deal going on at all times.  The students seem extremely friendly . . . most evident in the dining halls. . . . The intellectual atmosphere is challenging. . . . One thing: the students obviously are bright.”  So Yale College may be waiting for you.