YAM Notes: July/August 2015

By Rich Banbury

It could not have been better. Jonathan Edwards was a perfect fit for the 155 classmates together with 119 guests, for a total of 274 cozy campers at the 55th Reunion. The arrangements, events and programs, produced and directed by co-chairs Harry Mazadoorian and Al Puryear, were informative, impressive, and well received.   With the exception of raindrops on Sunday   morning, the weather over four days was perfect. Al and Harry were presented with Class Awards at Friday Night’s ceremonies.

One of the programs featured three young Yale graduates who had been awarded fellowships under the Les Aspin, John Heinz, and Branford fellowships. During the panel presentation , each recipient was paired with a classmate experienced in a similar career or background.   The perspectives across two generations led to a lively and stimulating conversation.   Our class   participants were John Bing, Doug Guiler and John Levin.

At the Friday night dinner, each Chair of the fellowship selection committees was presented with Class Awards:   Mike Griffin (Branford), Peter Knudsen (Heinz), and Chuck Schmitz (Aspin). Tom Yamin, who coordinated the booklet describing the history of these three signature creations of our class, was recognized. The overall captain for these programs is Arvin Murch, who also received a Class Award.   Arvin reported at the class meeting on Friday that the class of 1986 has started to participate with these selection committees. As time goes on, it is anticipated that the 1986 contingent will assume full responsibility for carrying on these outstanding fellowship programs.

Peter Wells, our Class Secretary, presided over the traditional Friday night dinner. Peter is both the captain and quarterback of our team, and his leadership in that regard has been     extraordinary. In his capacity as Master of Ceremonies, Peter announced a very special Class Award  to Lynn Hanke, whose background work over the years, on behalf of both the class and University, has been remarkable, untiring and generous. In light of her special role, the executive committee unanimously designated Lynn as an Honorable Member of the Class.

Then there came a bit of drama. Representing the Class Gift Committee, David Wood reported that a sum of $10,000,000 had been committed. The goal had been set at $10,500,000. Between the main course and the dessert, however, there were a few whispers in David ‘s ear, and presumably a nod or two, after which David returned to the microphone and happily reported that   the ambitious goal had been achieved. The post-dinner entertainment was provided by our very own fabulous Whiffs, gentlemen songsters off on a spree, leaving the house in good spirits.

Due to the space constraints, I am not able to cover the entire reunion, but would be remiss without reporting on the Saturday afternoon panel, inspired by Daniel Horowitz’s new book On the Cusp: The Yale Class of 1960 and a World on the Verge of Change. Joining Dan on this panel were Ed Elmendorf, Lew Lehrman, and George McClain.   The premise that our class is both pivotal and exceptional has a good deal of data and historical trends in support. Read Dan’s book. One of   the subjects which the panel discussed, among many, was Civil Rights over a spectrum of conflict, while times were a-changing.

Barry Schaller was the moderator for a panel of prominent professionals from our class, discussing various delivery systems and medical breakthroughs . More of this in the next issue.

Finally, it was nice to see classmates Larry Nazarian and Bob Sugarman, each born in 1940 and presumably our two youngsters.