Alumni Notes: July/August 2021

By John A. Wilkinson

Last year, during the celebration of 50 years of coeducation in Yale College, we began to solicit the names of classmates who have had daughters attend Yale as undergraduates. Two more have reported, bringing the total of classmates to 31: Larry Bogert and Dick Sigal.

As both Yale alumnus and parent, Dick has written a letter to President Salovey urging him to denounce authoritarianism as a potential threat to the nation and to its universities. He also adds for us a message with the historical context which further explains his deep concern. Do read him on our website under Classmates and Activities.

As I write these notes, thanks to Peter Knudsen, we have had three Zoom sessions of “Tuesday Tea”: Paul Bracken, professor of political science and business, on “The Emerging Chinese Superpower: Challenge and Response”; Paul Kennedy, J. Richardson Dilworth Professor of History and Distinguished Fellow of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, on “Lessons of History”; and Bob Sugarman, former national chair of the Anti-Defamation League, and two associates, who spoke on the ADL’s history, current concerns, and present extremist threats. All three sessions have attracted an audience of up to 50 participants, and videos of the sessions are posted on our website. By the time you read these notes, a fourth session will have been held with Dr. Rohan Khera, assistant professor of medicine, on “AI and its Application to Medicine.” (Attention Luddites: AI = Artificial Intelligence.) All four “teas” are on our website.

On July 6, our own Dave Sellers will present his design of a concrete zero-energy home; and when the “teas” resume in the fall, those already committed to participate are: Robert Blocker, Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music and professor of piano; and Phillip Atiba Goff, Carl L. Hovland Professor of African American Studies and professor of psychology.

Jim Sale, a late convert to competitive swimming, reports that he recently placed fourth in the 500-yard freestyle in the National Senior Games. He and Janet collect art pottery which has been donated and exhibited at the Georgetown Library. They also have contributed art to both the Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.

In separate e-mails, Monroe Price, our faithful reporter on classmate activity, passed on the announcement from the University of Miami of a dialogue and farewell appreciation in April, “The European Union and World,” honoring Ambler Moss. Among many other activities, Ambler has been professor of international studies and founding dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at Miami. Monroe also forwarded a link describing the new Hanke Exhibition Gallery in Sterling Library ( Previously announced in this column, the gallery has been established by Lynn and Rob Hanke.

Ed Elmendorf reports that John Negroponte was a guest speaker at Ed’s UN Association Graduate Fellows Program, on “Power at the United Nations: An Iraq Case Study.” See Classmates and Activities on our website.

The May/June cover story in the alumni magazine features Yan Phou Lee, Class of 1887, grandfather of the late Dick Lee. Yan Phou was part of the program, the Chinese Educational Mission, which sent students from China to study in the US in the nineteenth century. Dick wrote a fine piece in our 50th reunion book about his family. I believe that the maternal grandfather of Oscar Tang also participated in the program.

Dick West notes that Yale’s room and board charge for next year will be $17,800, exceeding the total annual cost, including tuition, when we matriculated. However, when inflation is factored in, room and board would be $17,500, not much lower than the actual charge. As we often observe our children struggle to educate their children, nevertheless, it does seem like a lot of money.

George Biggs died in February. In addition to a long career practicing law, he served as a volunteer to Norwalk Hospital and Americares/Homefront (free home repair), and as an emergency medical technician for Wilton, Connecticut. See his full obituary on our website.

In a previous column I paid tribute to Sperie Perakos, long time corresponding secretary for the Class of 1938, and his estimable wife, Nikki. Since then, Sperie was awarded the French Legion of Honor. This spring both of them contracted COVID-19 and died within three weeks of each other. Sperie, who graduated from Yale the year that most of us in the Class of 1960 were born, was 105 years old. RIP.

Tempus fugit, sumus hic.