YAM Notes: July/August 2011

By Rich Banbury

Recently a reporter for National Public Radio interviewed Rick Santorum, who has been sniffing the Presidential campaign trail.  The reporter inquired of former Senator Santorum how he originally became involved in the political world.  He responded that during his college years at Penn State he had been inspired by our late classmate Jack Heinz and organized student volunteers on campus in support of one of Jack’s senate races.  After serving in the House of Representatives for six years, Jack was elected to the United States Senate in 1976, 1982, and 1988.  On April 4, 1991, Jack’s Piper Aerostar went down after being struck by a helicopter from below, with no survivors from either aircraft.  He was 52.  The Presidential nomination for Rick Santorum, who lost his U.S. Senate seat to Bob Casey in 2006, is presumably a stretch.

As our only classmate to have served as a United States Senator, Jack Heinz had a distinguished career as an independent Republican.  He did not follow the script of his party during the Regan and Bush administrations when he believed they were on the wrong track.  In our 50th Reunion book, Ted Stebbins, reflecting on Jack’s shortened life, shared these memories:    During his 20s and 30s, the real Jack began to emerge, as he developed into a brilliant, warm person, a natural politician, a seeker, a leader … .  There was always an innocence about him … .  Jack and I never once discussed the possibility of his becoming President, a frequent subject of speculation for many of his friends and advisors.  He was always in the old eastern wing of the Republican party, so he might have found himself isolated from the party’s main stream as it moved right … .  He could have taken the opposite tack and switched parties … .  Jack Heinz had developed both the wisdom and the charisma to take on a role of national importance … .  I never knew anyone who embraced life so fully.  As an expression of our respect and admiration for Jack, the Class has for many years selected and funded outstanding Yale undergraduates, in challenging projects throughout the world, by way of the John Heinz Summer Fellowships.

There is a good deal of momentum in New Haven for the return of the ROTC programs to the Yale campus. [Army and Navy both]. This story was brought to my attention by Dave Ross, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel.  Like so many of our classmates, Dave was able to graduate as a Second Lieutenant and later served on active duty in Korea for two years, with a Duke law degree in his back pocket.  Dave also had the opportunity, while commissioned as a Reservist, to become involved at the Pentagon with various aspects of strategic planning.  In early May, the Yale College faculty, by vote of a significant majority of the 200 attending members, adopted a series of resolutions which will presumably enable the return of ROTC courses.  Another sign of the times was an invitation to Army and Air Force ROTC representatives to participate in an “Extracurricular bazaar and academic fair” in Payne Whitney last April.  During the schism, Yale students have been enrolled in ROTC programs at other colleges in Connecticut.  A resident of Falls Church, Virginia, Dave shared memories from his 1976 adventures in eastern Europe, meandering through remote Romania, hiking solo, under the watchful eye of “gun toting guards at all railroad stations”.

In 1994, Lew Lehrman and Richard Gilder established the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History which promotes and enables the study of love of American history.  Among its many initiatives, the Institute sponsors the Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and George Washington book prizes, in addition to administering a history teacher of the year Award in every state.  The Institute has primary and secondary school history programs in all 50 states and several countries, including more than 800 affiliated schools, developing the quality and depth of American History teaching on a grand scale.  Additional information is available at guilderlehrman.org.

The Yale Class of 1960 has its own place in cyberspace.  An expanded and updated version, under the direction of Mike Dickerson, will be or perhaps by now is already at your fingertips.  Just ask your keyboard to transport you to yale60.org.

Not many Yale classes can boast of  a Yogi.  So how was it that Brian Jensen became  Yogi Jensen, a name I associate more in my mind with Yogi Berra than Yogi Bear.  Turns out that, while at Roosevelt High in Seattle, Brian attended an American Legion Boys State convention in Olympia, and decided to run for Governor of that conclave.  With a campaign based on a plank of humane hog slaughtering, our guy decided to adopt the catchy moniker of Yogi, inspired by the Yoga breathing and exercise classes he was taking as a novice mountain climber.  Yogi was victorious, presumably in a landslide.