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Kick-Off for the 40th Reunion

7_9_11_jh.ah_ShelterIsland copyDear Classmates and Friends:

You are now reading what we call the “kick-off letter” for the Class of 1974’s 40th reunion which will take place from May 29th. Three things should immediately strike you:

1) I am writing this letter on the 150th anniversary of the “Gettysburg Address.” I will exceed Lincoln’s eloquent brevity in length not style

2) The letter is from a guy named Alec Haverstick, whom you may or may not remember, rather than from Shari Aziz, Wes Bray or any one of a plethora of class members of much higher profile than either I can claim or to which I aspire, and

3) It is also from a class member who has never attended a Yale reunion, has not attended a Yale football game since 1974 and has been back to New Haven fewer times in the last 40 years than he has fingers on his hands.

So how did this happen? I’ve asked myself the same question and tried to attribute to forces worthy of my education. Cosmic irony is alive and well at Yale! Cognitive dissonance has conquered entropy! Pigs can fly! The truth is less lofty: I was drafted.

But, as distinct from that moment in July 1971 when I was awarded #46 in the Selective Service lottery, this is indeed a happy moment for me: a chance to reconnect with a fondly remembered home, to reacquaint myself with people who I knew at a time when I lived the life of the mind, and, potentially, to realize that perhaps a life spent beating against the current ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. To paraphrase Faulkner, the past’s not dead. It’s not even past.

Seriously, I am truly honored to be your reunion chair. And it is my fond hope that not
only will I see all those of you who have so loyally returned to Yale during the years I
have not at the coming reunion but also those, who perhaps not too dissimilarly from me,
have not yet found that it’s not just okay to return. It might just be really fun.

So what’s been going on so far? Well, thanks to a great committee, actually, quite a lot!!

The theme of our weekend will be “Yale and the Class of 1974: Then and Now” and we will be treated to a variety of expositions on not simply how far we have journeyed in 40 years but also how far Yale has. Beginning Thursday afternoon, we will hear from classmates who work at Yale on the changes they have seen; we will be treated to a band famed in New Haven when we were students and you all will be offered the chance to come as you were which means you will actually get to see Fred Peters in his purple fringed vest; Kevin Rogan in his actual 35-0 victory uniform; Olivia Wilde’s mother and Page Nelson again asking the seminal question he did at the first campus screening of “Yellow Submarine”.

Or maybe you won’t! You can be sure, however, that William Westmoreland will not speak; no one will attempt to free Bobby Seale; you will not get a tour of Skull & Bones, and Phil and Lorna Sarrell will not lecture on safe sex.

Instead we will be one of the few classes allowed a private tour of the YUAG hosted by the great Jock Reynolds on Saturday afternoon, and certain of you will have the opportunity of impressing your spouse, partner or significant other with how nice you look all dressed up on Saturday night while holding a Red Stripe to help you dance.

And if Gary Lucas makes it, well, we’ll all be Touched by Grace.

So my foggily remembered friends: whether it’s been five years or 40; whether your kid got in or didn’t, whether you’re so burnt out you couldn’t spell YALE when spotted the Y-A-L, or whether, like me, you can’t believe anyone actually wants to see you again, write it down, make your arrangements and come on back.

We’ll keep the lights on for you!

All the best,
Alec

Met Opera available to students on demand

Fred Iseman, right, with Metropolitan Opera chief Peter Gelb, at Yale School of Music convocation (2013)

Fred Iseman, right, with Metropolitan Opera chief Peter Gelb, at Yale School of Music convocation (Sept. 2013)


Thanks to the generosity of classmate Frederick Iseman [PC], the Yale School of Music and the Gilmore Music Library now offer Met Opera on Demand: Student Access to members of the Yale community.

Met Opera on Demand includes dozens of recent productions from the Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning Live in HD series. It also offers more than 300 radio broadcast performances dating back to 1936, representing nearly all of the most popular operas as well as many of the Met’s greatest singers including Björling, Callas, Corelli, Horne, Nilsson, Sutherland, Tebaldi, Te Kanawa, and Tucker.

Previously, Iseman made it possible to see the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD broadcasts on campus. They are presented in Morse Recital Hall free of charge.

Mind Over Mood

padeskyClinical psychologist Chris Padesky‘s [TD] workbook, Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think, has now sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. She is Director of the Center for Cognitive Therapy in Huntington Beach, California. Says Chris, “I enjoy traveling around the world teaching cognitive behavior therapy.” Her destinations have included Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, England, Sweden, Switzerland, Istanbul, London, Copenhagen and the good old USA.

Classics professor Donald Kagan retires

kagan_d_2.

Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of classics and history, is retiring after 44 years of teaching at Yale.

YDN story on his last lecture quotes his parting words on liberal arts education:

“Liberation can only come from [returning] to the belief that we may have something to learn from the past”

His course “Introduction to Greek History” is available free online through Yale Open Courses

Class Notes March 2013

(for the May-June 2013 issue of Yale Alumni Magazine)
Wes Bray, Co-secretary
151 River Road, Essex, CT 06426
Phone (860) 767-1667; E-mail: wes@wesbray.com
Sharyar Aziz, Co-secretary

Greetings from the Connecticut River! Where have all the tree tops gone? Sandy picked them every one. And what Sandy didn’t get, the megasnows this winter got the rest. Our yard looks like it was in the way of a soccer game between the Titans. But, as I write this in late March, at least the weather is (finally) beginning to warm up enough to be able to think about going outside to start to clean it up. So, I’m starting to think about it. Hey, don’t rush me.

So, from the mailbox. Most of my mail comes electronically these days, although about once or twice a year I get a bunch of notes that people have written on their dues letters. These analog communications I put into a “paper file” and place in my “paper file drawer”. Given the way we live in this digital world, this paper file thingie doesn’t always get opened when its time to write a column. Hence, when I do tear my eyes away from the laptop to look in the file thingie, lo and behold, there are communications in there that are, um, a bit old. So, apologies in advance, here are some of the ones that you sent in and wondered if you would ever see in print. From Steve Hefner on the occasion of a “recent” birthday (and we all know which one this was):

By the sun’s rising, he had foreseen the ending
blanks in the typewriter,
shot in the Boss
the field tents shredded beyond further mending
the high ground cratered, not worth defending.

I thought, could it really be such a hell,
these empty sheets wanting
for well-lighted lines,
that you’d prefer being hosed from a ball-turret farewell?
Why not some golf — collect a few shells?

There are dawns, I’ve learned since, that break like bombs,
timed to the moment
bursting from behind,
and the forces you’d trusted to bear up your psalms
are suddenly quiet — reluctant, becalmed.

Alarms toll through the morning: Prepare to engage!
the dying of light!
the dimming of love!
If I must — but for now I’ll chance just marking the age,
and try to fend off worse by filling a page.

Scott Glascock appeared as a judge in the short film “Fetus Envy”, which you can see at www.fetusenvy.com. A nice long note from Peter St. Clair on the subject of the ad that was run in YAM by Skip Prince and Brian Clarke that asked questions about Yale’s commitment to Ivy League sports. Peter observed, “Yes, Yale has lost a lot of football and basketball games. And hockey, while holding its own, has fewer prospects enrolling…On the other hand Yale has won an extraordinary number of men’s and women’s titles in other sports…Living out west and attending grad school at UCLA may give me a perspective from which to comment. Stanford is a good model…so are UCLA and Berkeley. They maintain first-rate NCAA Division 1 athletic programs while graduating marvelous students. Why can’t Yale? Let’s have a discussion.”

From Scott Stone: “After 33 years as a lawyer in Washington, DC, I have become a science teacher. I taught chemistry last year and am teaching physics this year. It’s a lot of fun but a lot of work. Good thing I’m only 60.” Touché Scott! Louise Ing reports that her son Kurt Zwald, graduated from Tuck this past year is now loving his job as a business analyst with the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management. I received a press release announcing that Constance Lau has been appointed to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council by President Obama. She is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

There’s more, so we will continue with the paper archeological dig in the next column. Enjoy the arrival of spring!

Class Notes February 2013

(for the March 2013 issue of Yale Alumni Magazine)
Wes Bray, Cosecretary
151 River Road, Essex, CT 06426
Phone (860) 767-1667; E-mail: wes@wesbray.com
Sharyar Aziz, Cosecretary

Greetings from the frigid & rigid banks of the Connecticut River. Its a bit of a rarity to have the Connecticut River freeze down here near the Sound, seeing as it has a pretty consistent 3-5 mph flow, it is tidal so the flow goes both ways, and it is brackish. But this bitterly cold winter is certainly giving it a chance! We know we are getting close when we see the Coast Guard Ice Cutter making regular trips upriver to Hartford. Br-r-r-r-r.

Several notes came in along with dues slips. Eric Luse writes that he is still living in Chevy Chase practicing law and trying to be a productive Chair of Class Agents for the AYA. His children, Andy, Barbara, and Jeffrey all graduated from Princeton. Andy is a second year at UVA Business School, Barbara is at Fordham Law, and Jeffrey is in private equity.

From Paul Williams: “I wanted to report that in December my youngest daughter, Alexandra, gained early admission to Yale class of 2017! Without prodding from me, she simply fell in love with the school after a visit early last year and her attendance at an admissions open house later in October. Though we had visited a number of outstanding schools, including Penn where my oldest daughter, Marlowe, graduated from in 2011, Yale was the only school she wanted to consider. My sister, Bisa Williams ’76, returns from her post as U.S. Ambassador to Niger in June. She’s expected to take an appointment in the State Dept. in Washington and with all the turmoil brewing in neighboring Mali, we’ll be happy to have her back stateside. Finally, I am really enjoying my ‘third career’ in public service, having stepped away from law and investment banking in June 2008 to become president of DASNY, the public authority in New York for health and education facilities finance and construction. Last year, we actually finished as the nation’s number 1 issuer of tax-exempt bonds.”.

Kem Knapp Sawyer and Jon Sawyer wrote in to say they now have five grandchildren ages 1 – 8. “Our youngest daughter is in the Congo (DRC) working for Human Rights Watch. I have a new book out for young readers: Nelson Mandela: Champion of Freedom, and am working as an editor for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. We are expanding our educational programs into Europe. If you have contacts in London, Paris or Berlin, please get in touch (kemsawyer@gmail.com).”

From Jane Hamersley McLaughlin: “Busy pursuing bridge at tournaments and gardening. Significant year last year with step son getting married and daughter graduating from Barnard and now employed in NYC at wonderful company called ART.SY. Son is a 1st LT in the Army and deploying to Afghanistan in January of 2013. Don’t plan to sleep for nine months. He is infantry, a mother’s nightmare!”

And a bit of news from the Bray Family: on New Years Eve, our son Will asked his girlfriend Ally to marry him! She accepted before he finished the question. No date set yet as they are being relocated by his company, Civitas Media, to Charlotte, NC. 

Lastly, I received several communications from classmates about the passing of Kirk Williams. From Tom Corbi: “Wes:   Sadly, I write you about the death of Kirk Williams, 1974, my roommate (all four years), best man at my wedding, and good buddy for 42+ years.  We spoke very often by phone — especially during the past few years as his conditioned worsened and he was increasingly housebound. Some remembrances:  yo-yo’s… Altec Lansing “Voice of the Theater” speakers loudly playing “Also Sprach Zarathrustra” at 3am in Durfee… the Driving Wheel Blues Band (and rehearsal room in a flood damaged Trumbull underground squash court)… breakdown of The Motor City Barber Supply Van… discovering the frozen giblets in the turkey neck cavity at Mom Sullivan’s… THE FIRST CO-ED FLOOR (and shared bathroom) AT YALE….  secret Zombie recipes… re-creation of a 8 foot x 8 foot red, green, and blue, stereo musical “color organ” (witnessed at a RPI frat)… Mount Budweiser… Yosemite… the White Cadillac and Hawaiian Shirts in Las Vegas… Fishing in Birmingham, Alabama… and numerous other adventures (retold to those with restricted ‘Need to Know’ security clearances)… I met him on our first day at Yale in 1970.  We always remembered those first words that we exchanged freshman year on that first hike up to the fourth floor of Durfee (a quad with 2 bedrooms and a sitting room) when we realized that we were roommates… (The bedroom floors were thick with dust from the summer): Corbi: “Well, why don’t you go in there and I’ll go in here, and we’ll wash the place down?” Kirk: “I’m going to a movie.” Yep.  That’s true. Keep your friends close; our time here passes quickly.”

Amen Tom. On that note, I close and wish all “carpe diem.

Class Notes December 2012

(for the Jan-Feb issue of Yale Alumni Magazine)
Wes Bray, Cosecretary
151 River Road, Essex, CT 06426
Phone (860) 767-1667; E-mail: wes@wesbray.com
Sharyar Aziz, Cosecretary

Greetings from the chilly banks of the Connecticut River. People say that the reason they choose to live in the Northeast is for the change of the four seasons. Well, in my narrow and highly biased view, I would heartily recommend change of the seasons — like changing from four to three! Get rid of winter. For all the jack-frost-nipping-at-your-nose romance, winter is basically dark, gray, cold and usually wet in some form or another. Yech.

On a more positive note (sort of), this was an enjoyable Yale football season despite the unfortunate record. The team showed great heart and perseverance for such a young team with a brand new coaching staff. And injuries were a factor also. I lost count but I think we had seven different players play QB at one point or another. The team played particularly well against Harvard, which was favored by 30+ points, holding a lead with 6 minutes left in the game. And, of course, there was the Penn Game, Yale’s only Ivy win. Particularly sweet for two reasons: 1) Penn won the Ivy Title 2) My wife and son are Penn grads (tee-hee!).

On the same subject, the Class rented a skybox at the Bowl for the Princeton Game. It was a delightful afternoon, with some 30 people in the box enjoying food, drink and company. (The game was less enjoyable). In attendance, Sharyar Aziz, Jeff & Sally Brenzel (’75), Chet & Mary Cobb, Rick Fehling & Marcia Binder, Tim Harwood, Peter & Lorette Marshall, David Orbison, Kevin & Charlotte Rogan, Stuart & Wendy Ross, Stan & Robin Weiss, plus assorted families, classmates (whose names I missed), and friends. The skybox was on the visitor’s side so we basked in the warm sunshine all afternoon — delightful!

The H-Y Game was in Boston, but the Brays found themselves rendezvousing at the summer house of Dave & Kathy Knapp (’73) in Hilton Head, along with Don & Tee Pfeil (’73), and John & Janet Pattillo (’73). Thank you NBC Sports for airing The Game in South Carolina! Also on the road was Peter Marshall who sent in this report: “I was in Chicago for the Yale Club of Chicago’s Harvard/Yale Classic at Piece restaurant. There, about 300 alums from both schools and all ages squared off to cheer on their alma maters. I met Steve Kase at Union Station, and we were joined by Victor Cheers at the restaurant. The beer was cold, the pizza was hot and the game was closer than the final score indicated.” If any of you intrepid souls ventured to Harvard Stadium, please send me a report.

So, to close, Sharon & I would like to wish you all very happy holidays… and the endurance and fortitude to survive this blasted winter!!