YAM Class Notes: January/February 2018

YAM Class Notes: January/February 2018

The annual class dinner was held on October 27, and thanks to Bob Woodward’s second consecutive appearance as our dinner speaker, a near-record crowd of over 130 classmates and guests gathered in the Grand Ballroom at the Yale Club of New York City. Bob provided another insightful talk on the current political climate, noting that fear is a powerful influence on the Washington environment, but offering that some of the policy positions that appear unwise may achieve results. He also observed that in their criticism of Trump, both his political opponents and the mainstream press have sunk to Trump’s level and are as mean-spirited as Trump himself. Bob is currently writing a book on the Trump administration. I was not able to convince him to do a “threepeat” for next year’s dinner.

As is the custom, your class council met before the dinner. The class treasury is in good shape, although dues participation continues to hover around 40 percent, up one percentage point from 2015–16 (unfortunately due to our having fewer classmates). As of June 30, 2017, we numbered 821 classmates and 78 widows. The council discussed options for continuing the class listserv in light of the possibility that the AYA may discontinue the current system because it is no longer supported by the vendor. It was agreed we would not make a change but explore alternatives. We also discussed the October 2018 Portland, Maine, mini-reunion being organized by Lance Fletcher, as well as options for one additional event prior to our 55th reunion. Earl Potter graciously offered to organize another Santa Fe mini-reunion in 2019, which was greeted with unanimous agreement and thanks. 

David Roscoe is winding down as chair of the board of the Hastings Center and is now jumping into artificial intelligence: “I am still processing my two days in Berlin with the Partnership on AI (partnershiponai.org), perhaps as stimulating a meeting I’ve ever attended. The powerhouses in AI have generated unstoppable momentum; inventing and innovating will continue as fast as possible, but there’s also a genuine commitment to address ethical issues and social implications of the tsunami they’ve unleashed. Whether the right balance can be struck is the question.” 

Earl Potter let the listserv know about “the film I made (H. C. Potter: A Son’s Story of His Theater and Film Career) which has been selected to be shown at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. H. C. Potter was one of the most prolific directors of the mid-twentieth century, with ten Broadway plays and 22 feature films in his credits. I was lucky enough to be born his youngest son. The film tells the story of his career straight from my heart.” Richard Bienia reported via his class dues payment: “After a career as a State Department foreign service medical officer, I have retired to Washington, DC.” I hope more of you will pay your dues and send me some news too.

According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, Bill Nelson isn’t slowing down. The author of the article conducted much of the interview while Bill was out for a run on the beach at Amelia Island. Bill is running for a fourth term in the US Senate. He was quoted: “If I can’t be at peak performance, I shouldn’t be doing it. . . . I feel like I’m still at peak performance. I don’t have any plans that I’m going to stay there forever. I’m not going to be a Robert Byrd.”

A number of classmates alerted me and others that Gordon Haaland, who married Suzanne LaPrade after Carter’s untimely death, passed away on October 23. Donna and I joined Stanley and Susie Trotman, Saint and Mary Tucker, and Randy and Virginia Totten at a memorial service for Gordon in Kilmarnock, Virginia. Suzanne said she looks forward to rejoining the Class of 1965 “family” and expressed her deep appreciation for the messages from classmates and our class widows.

Phil Scott, Bruce Smathers, and John Troutman initiated a lasting contribution to Yale through our 50th reunion by establishing a Yale ROTC endowment to recognize outstanding ROTC seniors from the Air Force, Navy, and Army (New Haven University) and provide administrative support to Yale ROTC (a first for Yale). Phil reported that the 2017 ROTC graduating classes were the first beneficiaries of the endowment, as three battalion swords were presented to ROTC seniors by President Peter Salovey. Phil enthusiastically reported on not only the moving award ceremonies, but the growing partnership of Yale alumni and Yale administration to enhance Yale ROTC’s presence on campus. Phil, Bruce, and John encourage Class of 1965 veterans and ROTC graduates to assist these efforts to enhance the Yale ROTC experience.

I’m sorry to report that Steve Morris died on July 19, 2017, after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. David Roscoe sent this note on Steve’s memorial service: “On Saturday September 23, in NYC, I attended a moving celebration of Steve’s life, emceed by his wife Vickie, which included childhood memories from Jeff Miller and Charlie Stone, as well as a spirited rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ featuring Dan Bergfeld and his wife Holly Adams. Steve’s three brothers—Pete ’63, Fred ’68, and Daniel—also spoke. In addition, attending from Y’65 were the Trotmans, Kinneys, Kendricks, Steve Rockmore, and Rusty Tilney. Steve was a highly successful executive, whose main philanthropic passions were public radio journalism and the integration of undocumented immigrants into American society. Steve’s wit, intelligence, leadership, humility, empathy, sensitivity, passion, humor, respect for all others, and his love of gardening and large trays of cookies, all came through clearly in the 15 stories told by family, friends, and colleagues from all parts of his life.”

We’ve lost two other classmates. The AYA sent an obituary for Grigsby (Grig) Wotton. Grig died peacefully in Asheville, North Carolina, on August 26 after a brief illness. Karl Schonborn alerted the listserv that Art Hacker died on July 21, 2017. Obituaries for both are posted on the class website. Please visit the website and post remembrances.

Reminders: Class hockey dinner scheduled for February 24; drinks and dinner at Mory’s and Harvard game at Ingalls. Portland/Coast of Maine mini-reunion October 2–5, 2018.