YAM Notes: July/August 2014

By Rich Banbury

Between the Hudson and East Rivers lies a level stretch of land known as Manhattan.  It is a magnificent and hyperactive town, known throughout the world as the signature city of Western Civilization.  The metropolis that never sleeps.  Forgive the hyperbole, but here’s a chance to decide for yourself at a class reunion well designated as Autumn in New York.  The Impresario for this wonderful weekend reunion is Peter Wells.  The opening event on Friday, September 26th, is dinner at the Yale Club while being serenated by the 2015 Whiffenpoofs.  Saturday morning is reserved for a visitation at the National September 11 Memorial, followed by opportunities for Broadway matinees, a Circle Line cruise at 2:30, wandering in the elevated area in the new High Line Park, and/or watching a live feed of Yale hosting Army on a large screen at the Yale Club, the largest college club in the world.  That contest will symbolically consecrate the celebration surrounding the 100th anniversary of Yale Bowl.  Saturday night will feature a gala dinner party at the New York Historical Society, including an exhibit entitled Chinese in America:  Exclusion & Inclusion.  I was informed that Oscar Tang is a prime supporter of the exhibit.  Additional information in terms of activities, logistics and costs will be forwarded to you electronically or by regular mail.  Of the five boroughs, Manhattan is called home to just over the 1.6 million residents bunched up in only 22.96 square miles, the smallest by size of the five boroughs.  The verticality of Manhattan island allows for a density of 70,826 per square mile.  With surprising contrast, Brooklyn and Queens are each well over two million in population, but with substantially more room to stretch, jog and bike.

Here’s a different take on the late semester panic dream, which so many of us have experienced on multiple occasions.  Bill Jones, an educator who has a doctorate in mathematics from Harvard, shares the professor’s derivative dream, in which he neglects to attend any of the classes for a course he was assigned to teach.   Having retired for several years, Bill reports that the otherwise chronic late semester dreams, annoying student and teacher alike, have now subsided.

For our 55th Reunion, which has been set for May 28 – 31, 2015, it looks like our home site will be either JE or Berkeley.  One of the features will be a Class Fellowship Program, where Yale students or recent graduates will discuss the manner in which their Aspin, Branford, and Heinz fellowship experiences have influenced their professional aspirations or career development.  These programs have been flourishing under the leadership of Arvin Murch, and his volunteer captains, Mike Griffin, Peter Knudsen, and Chuck Schmitz.  A dozen plus classmates have recently volunteered during the selection interviews.  The overall planning and organizing of this return to New Haven rests comfortably in the capable hands of Harry Mazadoorian and Al Puryear.

During the executive committee lunch last April at the Branford cafeteria, Bob Ackerman reported that the class as an entity, as of March 31st, is worth $52,000, with full liquidity.  We still have been working through the Class website, which Mike Dickerson has been tending.  There is another site which is being developed as Yale60.ReunionTechnologies.com.  Yet another site, with a handle of Yalie.com, is “devoted to highlighting the work of Yale Alumni.”  This information was sent to me by Rob Brodsky, ’84, and he has indicated that class authors being recognized include Leslie Epstein, Peter Green, Dick Peace, Bill Peace, and Fritz Steele. 

I have been reading Gridiron Glory by the late Thomas Bergin, who has been well-recognized for his outstanding service to Yale.  Tom was on the Yale faculty from 1925 to 1930, and later from 1948 to 1973, rising to the esteemed position of Sterling Professor of Romance Languages.  The TD guys will remember Tom as the Master of Timothy Dwight from 1953 to 1968.  Professor Bergin was an extraordinary individual with an impressive range of interests, expressing passion for all.  Gridiron Glory, a product of that passion, is a history of Yale football from 1952 through 1972.  Classmates who are recognized in the book include Mike Curran, Matt Freeman, Nick Kangas, Art LaVallie, Harry Oliver, Al Puryear, and Captain Rich Winkler, whom Tom refers to as an “unusually dedicated and inspirational captain.”  His list is not all inclusive, as many of our unnamed modern gladiators also lent talent, grit and spirit to the cause.  Professor Bergin notes that our senior year team, with substantial help from the Junior Class, “was unscored upon for the first five games – a thing that hadn’t happened since 1911.”  There are many ways to honor Walter Camp, but winning the last game of the season remains the brightest token of grid iron glory.