YAM Notes: March/April 2010

By Rich Banbury

Memorial Day this year will be celebrated on May 31st, which also just happens to be the first day of our three-day pre-Reunion adventure on the Connecticut shoreline.  So save the week of May 31st through June 6th for an aesthetically, intellectually and socially stimulating experience.  The first three nights, for those who choose to participate, will be at one of two resort facilities on the east shore of Long Island Sound.  Depending on which of the two locations is selected, the drive to New Haven will be within the 30 to 40 minute range, allowing the possibility for some classmates to stay at one lodging for six nights, which I’m told will be at a reasonable rate.  More details will probably have reached you by the time of this column’s publication.

Preliminary plans for Reunion Week include a number of outstanding guests to educate and entertain.  It is anticipated that a panel consisting of Owen Cylke, John Dwyer and Harvey Feinberg will share their observations and insights regarding the continent of Africa, based on a confluence of professional experience and scholarly pursuits. The long-time chief scientist for the Jacques Cousteau enterprise, Dr. Richard Murphy, will talk about the present and future dynamics of our oceans.  Patch Adams, who was played by Robin Williams in that splendid film of the same name, will be a featured speaker on Saturday in New Haven.  The week will not be without nostalgia, including Marcus Giamatti’s reflections on his remarkable father and growing up in the President’s house on Hillhouse Avenue, one of the byways which Charles Dickens reportedly described as the most beautiful in America.  Our Reunion tri-chairs, Peter Knudsen, Steve Lasewicz and John Wilkinson, are doing a great job and getting a lot of support from fellows such as Peter Parsons, Mike Dickerson, Dave Sellers, and Rob Hanke.

Hard at work on the second volume, Bill MacKinnon has enjoyed a strong positive reaction to the first volume of At Swords Point, his historical treatise on the Utah War of 1857-1858.  This is a fascinating story of a little-known military and political conflict between the United States and the Utah Territory, right on the cusp of the Civil War.  The Utah Territory, then a vast expanse of land six times the size of the present state of Utah, was the center of Mormon religion and culture.  When President James Buchanan attempted to remove and replace Brigham Young as the governor of the Territory, Young refused and led a rebellion against the federal government.  At Swords Point is now recognized by scholars as an authoritative work on the Utah War.  The second volume will continue the chronological narrative of the first, beginning with the new year of 1858.

There will be an exhibition of authors at Sterling during the Reunion.  All published classmates should contact Bill MacKinnon at mackbp@msn.com or John Wilkinson at john.wilkinson@yale.edu.

Gordie Moran reports that he is still a resident of Florence, certainly one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of the world.  He refers classmates to the Marquis version of Who’s Who in the World for his updated biography.

A number of our classmates, as well as our country, benefited from the Navy and Army ROTC programs at Yale.  Dave Ross, who served as a Second Lieutenant in the infantry while stationed in Korea, was one of many who achieved officer rank while studying at Yale.  Dave recently sent along an article from the Yale Daily News which documents the growing momentum for a return of ROTC opportunities at Yale and other Ivy schools.  Some Yale students are currently participating in the University of Connecticut ROTC programs.

In the fall of 1959, as we eased into our final year as undergraduates, the football team was manhandling its early opponents.  After the fifth game, Yale was the only team in the country which was undefeated, untied and unscored upon.  The combined margin against UConn, Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Colgate was an amazing 95 to 0.  Our guys were 13th in the AP national rankings and 15th in the UPI poll, and this was of course prior to the time when Division 1 football was split into sub-divisions.  Among the bulwarks of the Bulldogs that season were many mates, including Captain Rich Winkler, Matt Freeman, Raleigh Davenport, Fred Ernst, Pete Riddle, Mike Curran, Bob Millano, and of course All-East tackle Harry Olivar.  Sadly, No. 75 will not be with us at the Reunion, since we lost Harry late last year.  An outstanding football player, Harry Olivar was a good man, respected by all who knew him and loved by all who knew him well.