YAM Notes: January/February 2015

By Rich Banbury

Autumn in New York was a grand success. The weather for the last week in September was perfect for 51 classmates, with their distaff partners. The total was just a whisper from a hundred. The itinerary arranged by Peter Wells was challenging, stimulating and entertaining, from the Thursday night rooftop dinner at the Yale Club to a presentation on Saturday evening at the New York Historical Society Museum. In addition to a talk by a museum curator, Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang discussed the newly opened exhibit Chinese American, Inclusion/Exclusion, which they were instrumental in sponsoring. During his remarks, Oscar noted that the Chinese government began sending young male students in the 1870s for study in various American institutions. Consistent with that initiative, Oscar was sent to America for his education in 1949, after his family found refuge in Hong Kong during the civil war. Oscar further noted that there are currently 270,000 students from China at American schools. Another experience for the Manhattan gathering was a visit to the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum. The entire location, including the memorial pools, was inspirational. That Saturday afternoon, Lynn Hanke led a walking tour at the new High Line, a large elevated park running for about a mile on the lower West Side. On Sunday morning, Betty and John Levin, graciously hosted a brunch on their terrace overlooking Central Park. Thanks to Harry Mazadoorian and Tom Yamin, for briefing me on this wonderful off-campus gathering. I must confess that I was part of a small coterie of classmates among the 34,142 that Saturday at the Yale Bowl watching the West Point cadets on parade, prior to Yale defeating Army in overtime.

Incidentally, I was informed by Stew Cole that he and Nancy recently enjoyed an extended trip through China, including a marvelous visit with their son Brom, who works in Shanghai, and dinner in Beijing with Po Wen Haun.

For the last couple of years, Tom Miller has been preparing the ground for “Planting Seeds,” a project which will encourage sustainable organic farming in Cuba and Cuban chefs and food experts, working with their American counterparts. A recent nudge in that direction recently came from the White House, and Tom credits Toby Clark, who assisted at high levels to push this project ahead.

Still hanging his hat in Great Falls, Virginia, Tom Cranmer is having fun as a photojournalist for the Fairfax Citizen. Unhappy with the lack of fiscal restraint at both Richmond and Washington, Tom is fighting back as a Vice President of the Fairfax Taxpayers Alliance.

Perhaps the world’s most famous puzzle, the Rubik’s Cube, is a six-sided, three dimensional object invented by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture, Erno Rubik. The original puzzle has recently been celebrating its 40th anniversary at the Liberty Science Center in an exhibition entitled Beyond the Cube. The promotion and recognition of this worldwide classic puzzle has been placed in the hands of AKA/STRATEGY, formerly known as Anthony Kneer & Associates, under the supervision of Tony Knerr, as the Managing Director. Tony is a man of many interests. After his undergraduate and Masters’ work at Yale, in mathematics and philosophy, Tony earned a doctorate in English Literature at New York University. Included in his impressive spectrum of teaching and strategic consulting, Tony has taught English Lit to undergrads at Columbia, as well as Public Policy and Nonprofit Management at the Columbia Graduate School.

With a doctorate in Astronomy from Yale, Clint Brooks has wisely commented on the conundrum of infinity, in response to my question in an earlier column. My concept was that, assuming time and space are infinite, how can they be constructed of finite segments. The sum of the divided finite parts would never add up to immeasurable infinity, unless it’s an infinite number of finite segments. Clint’s observation about time is intriguing and compelling: “I think time is a construct of consciousness to help our brains order events. Our universe does not need time. We impart time to it.” Even more puzzling than the Rubik Cube.

C’mon guys, start getting ready for our next on-campus reunion in May. In addition to the fun, there is the fund. The Yale Alumni Fund. The co-chairs of the Reunion Gift Committee are John Levin, John Pepper, and Dave Wood. A good deal of the trucking is accomplished by the class agents, captained by Tim Ritchie. That team consists of Clem Barrere, Reid Heffner, Philip Heyman, Ralph Hirshorn, Ted Maynard, David Mendelson, Caesar Naples, Pete Ness, Tom Nolting, Terry Rothermel, Derk Soutendijk, Henry Townsend, and Tom Yamin. Seems like that bunch gets larger every five years. In any event help the cause, a major part of which is dedicated to undergraduate and graduate financial aid. Yale is one of hose rare institutions that makes sure that the best and brightest can experience the Yale education without being saddled with stultifying debt.

The theme of our 55th is Let’s Get Reacquainted with Yale and with Each Other! The entire package of activities will be or has already been sent out to classmates by mail and electronically. Three class panels will feature the following topics: (1) The Careers of our Fellowship Recipients – A Conversation Across Two Generations; (2) Healthcare Quality and Access – Looking to the Future; and (3) From Then to Now – How Yale Shaped Us and How the World Changed. Al Puryear and Harry Mazadoorian are leading the band and crafting a splendorous playbook.