Class of 1968 Recent Events
Pass the Baton mini reunion, Sept 28-30 2018
Mini Reunion October 20-22 2017
Reconnect, Appreciate, and Celebrate. That will be the theme for our 50th Reunion June 7-10, 2018. It could also have been the theme for our final Mini-Reunion in October 2017. 60 classmates, spouses and partners gathered to reconnect with each other, appreciate being back in the Purple Valley, and celebrate the past half-century.
You'll see how Reconnect, Appreciate, and Celebrate came alive from October 20-22 2017 by clicking here to see the full report. For the photo collection, provided by Tod Hamachek and Carmen Lozano, click here.
Williams ’68 in Oxford June 19-26 2017
For thirty years, Williams has organized lectures, tours, food, and fellowship for 50th reunion classes, scheduled one year before The Big Five-O. In past years, the maximum number who could attend, including spouses, was 50 people. This year, our ’68 class leaders corralled and cajoled Williams leaders into stretching the max to at least 70 people because, well, our class is always gung-ho to go-go. With the final count a record 73 classmates and spouses, unfortunately there was still a waiting list.
Whether you were able to attend, or need to add magical Oxford to your bucket list, it's almost certain that you’ll enjoy reading the impressions collected here, provided by the wives of classmates who made the journey. And with that, a special plea to all Williams ‘68 significant others: cajole your husbands into enjoying—with you—our class’s 50th Reunion in Williamstown, June 7-10, 2018. Want proof that you’ll have a great time with great peers? Click here to see the evidence.
Mini-Reunion Sept 30 – Oct 02 2016
Forty-seven participants – classmates, spouses, and significants – from the competitive Class of 1968 trounced the numbers from ’66, ’67, ’69, and ’70. That’s one of several leading indicators that attendance at our 50th Reunion -- June 7-10, 2018 -- will set a record. Here follows an executive summary of what you enjoyed, or what you missed. Be sure to also check Tod Hamachek's photos of the weekend, click here for those.
2016 Mini-Reunion Events
Sustainability – A Role for Everyone
Bob Bendick ’68 did a terrific job of moderating a terrific panel discussion that ranged from environmental careers to suggestions about how each of us can make a difference. Bob is Director of the Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico program. Panelist Bob Heiss ’68 recently retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he served as Director of the International Compliance Assurance division. Our two classmates were joined by
- Budge Upton ’66, the CEO of Upton Partners, a real estate development firm known for its environmentally friendly solutions.
- Williams Class of 1946 Environmental Fellow-in-Residence, Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Sixth Extinction – An Unnatural History.
Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado
Clark Museum curator Lara Yeager-Crasselt gave a splendid presentation about Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado. Her slides and her storytelling Friday afternoon had the audience salivating to experience the acclaimed exhibit at the Clark. Precisely 24 hours later, ’68 classmates and guests did just that, with a private docent-led tour of the spectacular 28 paintings on loan from Spain’s premier art museum. (Well, semi-private…after thinking that some of us seemed 10 years older than when we last met, we realized that the Class of ’58 had booked a tour at the same time. It was like looking into past art and future us!
Shining Light on How the Brain Controls Hunger
Assistant Professor of Biology Matt Carter enthusiastically enlightened alumni, spouses and guests about his lab work with three Williams students. By lighting up neurons in mice brains’ hunger areas, his team is searching for clues about when and why we eat. And when and why we don’t.
‘68 Class Dinner at Paul Neely’s home
Class Secretary Paul Neely offered his lovely home, just beyond the familiar Mount Hope Farm mansion, for ‘68’s Saturday night dinner. As classmates shared their views about coming back to Williamstown this fall and in June 2018 for our 50th, Paul shared the spectacular views from his living room windows. After the delicious upstairs reception -- where the caterers in Paul’s open kitchen further stimulated our hunger neurons as we watched them prepare salmon and lamb -- everyone headed downstairs for an elegant dinner and engaging conversation. Trip Advisor will undoubtedly rank Chez Paul as the #1 restaurant in Williamstown. Thank you, Mister Secretary.
Mini-Reunion ’68 Class Committee Meetings
The weekend also offered opportunity for the volunteers of the 50th Reunion Committee to unite, plan, and report on their doings.
’68 50th Reunion Outreach Team – Co-chairs Clint Wilkins and Bill Untereker led a lively discussion with a dozen other classmates about the best ways to connect and encourage participation in our 50th Reunion.
’68 50th Reunion Fund Committee (RFC) – Co-chairs John Oppenheimer and Bob Scott began by focusing on changes at the Williams Career Center, one of the Class of 1968 Reunion Fund’s high-priority goals. (The other goal is to increase the Class of 1968 Scholarship Fund.) The RFC heard stunning reports from the two ’68 Summer 2016 interns, Gemma Porras ’17 and Oscar Hurtado ’17. Gemma worked with celebrated research Dr. George Christ at the University of Virginia on experiments to regenerate muscle tissue. Oscar served as communications intern the Plaza de Cultura Y Artes, a museum and community center, in Los Angeles.
The Class of 1968 hopes to dedicate $10 million of our Reunion Fund Gift toward enhancing the Williams Career Center. Director Don Kjelleren, lured to Williams from Middlebury College, briefed the RFC on his short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans for enhancing the Center’s impact, highlighting the impressive actions in his first eight months. In past years, virtually no Williams freshmen (p.c. note: now called ‘first-years’) ever wandered into the Career Center. Don’s team sent invitations to each member of the incoming class, and an astounding 408 students, about 80% of the class, signed up for appointments.
Don has reorganized Career Center professionals into five Career Communities:
- Arts & Communication
- Careers with Social Impact
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and Healthcare Professions
He shared five areas for new investment in the Career Center:
- Encouraging Four-Year Engagement
- Cultivating Professional Knowledge and Skills
- Internship Opportunities
- Ensuring Equity
- Activating the Williams Network
’68 50th Reunion Planning Committee – Co-chairs Bart Jones and Bob Stanton presented a comprehensive outline of decisions that need to be made, ranging from venues to food to music. Our reunion will begin at noon on Thursday, June 8 and end with breakfast on Sunday June 11, 2018. Here are the goals for that weekend:
- Reconnect with classmates
- Celebrate 50 years of life as an Eph
- Renew our appreciation of Williams
Class of 1968 Presidential Forum April 7-10 2016
Ned Perry prepares to offer our 25th Reunion Classbook to President Adam Falk
Every year, Williams hosts the Presidential Forum, a four-day event exclusively for the class whose 50th reunion is two years away. President Adam Falk spoke with—and listened to—the Class of 1968’s participants at breakfast Friday morning, at dinner Friday night, and during Sunday’s farewell breakfast. During the other Forum segments, classmates and spouses experienced today’s Williams by interacting with faculty, students, and administration leaders. Click here to view the complete agenda and here to see the photo gallery.
It would be impossible to capture in words the energy, dialogue, learning, and fun that classmates and spouses experienced Thursday through Sunday. However, here’s a collection of thought-provoking quotes to trigger memories and to give other classmates a feel for the impact of the Class of 1968 Presidential Forum:
“The purpose of the Presidential Forum was to bring you back to experience Williams today. What hasn’t changed are the College’s liberal arts values. Jack Sawyer said it best: ‘Liberal arts is the most practical education.’ I’m not worried about the survival of Williams. I am worried about the survival of liberal arts. Calculating the value of a Williams education over a lifetime is impossible. You need to have faith that education prepares you for the future.”
Adam Falk, President
“The class of 68’s commitment to support the Center as part of your 50th Reunion class gift was an important part of my decision to come to Williams from Middlebury. I was sold on the clear alumni engagement and investment to improve the center. After two months at Williams absorbing what’s been done in the past and what’s being done today, I’m beginning an outreach phase to re-envision the Career Center. That discovery process begins with today’s meeting with the Class of 1968. I’ll have a more comprehensive plan to share with you during the September 30 through October 2 Mini-Reunion, but here are some of the fundamentals of a highly functioning center that we’re already thinking about:
- We need to full activate the power and influence of the Eph network.
- Williams needs, beginning this September, a four-year career development process for students.
- We will build a core career curriculum and offer a ‘certificate of career readiness’.
- We need to diversify the approaches available for students to prepare for their lives beyond Williams
- Williams requires a more inclusive and welcoming Career Center for all of our constituents.
- Our analytics about recent graduates and summer interns must meet the higher standards of the nation’s top colleges and universities.
- As soon as this initial discovery phase is finished and we’ve begun the most important changes, we need to tell the Career Center story clearly and professionally”
Don Kjellern, Director of the Williams College Career Center (as of February 2016)
“The role of the Williams faculty is to guide students toward a path, not toward some obvious box. It’s sometimes hard for them to find their way.”
Tiku Majumder, Professor of Physics and Director of the Science Center
“My faculty colleagues are smart, caring, and work all the time.”
Thomas Garrity, Professor of Mathematics
“Many qualities of Williams students are the same as when you were here. They are smart, they are go-getters, they take advantage of the learning opportunities, and they like to run things. Today’s Williams students are different in that they seek a global engagement, fill our language programs, are often double majors, and seek a year-round experience through travel, internships, or community service. Today’s students are from 58 countries and represent 38 religious traditions. 40% are students of color, and 20% are first-generation students (i.e., the first members of their families to go to college).”
Sarah Bolton, Dean of the College, Professor of Physics and President-elect of The College of Wooster
"Today's students grew up in a post-9/11, post-Great Recession America. Unlike earlier generations, they are very aware that everything is not necessarily going to be fine if they just work hard and set goals for themselves. This makes them challenging to teach, but also in many ways more interesting than the generations I taught in the 80s and 90s."
Gail Newman, Professor of German and Chair, Curricular Planning Committee
“Millennials are digital natives in a social media ecosystem. They form communities differently, and they communicate differently. Social media helps our students keep in touch with each other, with faculty and staff, and with the college itself after Williams.”
Steve Klass, Vice President for Campus Life
(After citing many ambiguities in Miguel de Cervantes’ prologue to Exemplary Novels, a collection of his short stories…) “It’s a privilege to teach students who believe that 17th century Spanish literature is useful! Cervantes showed the benefits of embracing ambiguity and I tell students that their lives are about ambiguity. Ambiguity is at the heart of everything human.’”
Leyla Rouhi, Professor of Romance Languages
“Living in this moment has given students a global consciousness. They are linking their studies with the world to become responsible global citizens.”
Nimu Njoya, Assistant Professor of Political Science
“Williams contributes to the national conversation on diversity and equity. Colleges and universities know that Williams asks hard questions and uses data effectively to drive meaningful change.”
Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes ’99, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity
“Our endowment is approximately two billion dollars. We draw down about 5% of that, or $98 million per year, to fund 48% of our $206 million 2015-2016 operating budget. Our gross tuition per student is $63,000. That amount, times 2,000 students, should yield about $125 million, but due to offsetting financial aid expenses, the college actually collects about $75 million. That net revenue from students funds about 36% of our annual budget. Annual alumni gifts of $22 million funds about 11%, and other revenues of $11 million from sources such as conferences and grants fund about 5%.”
Will Dudley ’89, Provost, Professor of Philosophy, and President-elect of Washington and Lee University
“A good way to look at capital budgeting is to list the projects we’ve completed, the projects under design or in construction, and future projects. Williams has completed renovations of Chapin Hall; Weston Hall, which is now the center for admissions and financial aid; The Log, now open to the public; and the Class of 1966 Environmental Center. Works in process include the Sawyer Quad, the new residence hall near Stetson Court, and a new bookstore on Spring Street. Replacing the Bronfman Science Center and renovating the science complex will be the largest project in Williams’s history. In the future, we’ll be looking at building a new Williams Inn, renovating Saint Anthony Hall (the Center for Development Economics), and WCMA (the Williams College Museum of Art).”
Fred Puddester, Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer
“No one could possibly have asked for more. My only regret was that not every single classmate was there.”
John Dirlam ‘68
Chicago Regional Gathering October 2015
Tom Pierce and Lu Ann Dillon, David Eblen, Dave Redman, Susan Eblen, and Ned Perry take a break from exploring downtown Chicago architectural gems
Three Chicagoland Davids—Eblen, Allen, and Schulte—welcomed classmates and spouses to a whirlwindy weekend of stunning architecture and superb dining. The city literally opened it doors to the Williams ‘68 visitors, and to tens of thousands of visitors to Chicago Architecture Foundation’s (CAF) OpenHouse Chicago.
Early arrivals Ned Perry and Cynthia Wood, John and Judy Oppenheimer, Tom Pierce and Lu Ann Dillon huddled together on a cool Friday afternoon to jumpstart the weekend aboard an architectural tour boat on the Chicago River. Tom floated this observation: “The CAF docent gave a fascinating 90-minute lecture without one ‘um’ and without any senior-moment memory blips. Clearly, she was not a member of our class.”
Here’s a sample of buildings visited on Saturday and Sunday, including the architects who built them:
Aon Center, Edward Durell Stone, 1972. The view from the 71st floor of the third tallest building in Chicago, originally the Standard Oil Building, provided spectacular perspective.
AMA Plaza (originally IBM Plaza) Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1972. In 2009, architects Perkins+Will completed a LEED-platinum renovation of their 35th and 36th floor offices, incorporating sustainable design strategies with 360-degree views.
Blackstone Renaissance Hotel. Marshall and Fox, 1910. Twelve U.S. Presidents stayed in its quaint Suite of Presidents.
Chicago Motor Club, Holabird & Root, 1927. Now a Hampton Inn, this Art Deco skyscraper boasts a 29-foot-wide mural of early cross-country automobile highways.
Marquette Building. In 2006, Holabird & Root moved to the 1895 Marquette Building, which H&R had designed 111 years earlier. The lobby balcony’s extraordinary mosaic frieze, designed by Louis Tiffany and J.A. Holzer, depicts Father Jacques Marquette’s adventures in the 1670's.
Walking tours create whopping appetites. The antidotes included a reception at the Chicago Yacht Club and elegantly fun dinners at Trattoria #10 and The University Club, where Ned Perry announced that David Eblen and David Redman had been added to the 1968 Class Spirit Award bowl. The bowl was passed around so all could see the engraved names of the 32 classmates recognized for their leadership of class activities since our 45th Reunion.
Williamstown Mini-Reunion October 2015
Mini-Reunion 2015: Executive Summary
Williams created its annual fall Mini-Reunion primarily for classes approaching their 50th, but any alum can attend the excellent presentations scattered throughout this fall football weekend. (Williams 16, Bates 14. For classmates more familiar with golf than football…Williams won.)
The ’68 Reunion Fund Committee took advantage of the number of classmate members gathered in Williamstown, holding a lively and information-packed meeting Saturday morning.
Thursday evening, ’68 locals and earlybirds finely dined at Mezze on Cold Spring Road. Friday, our classmates mingled with four other classes for a Williams Inn reception and dinner. The ’68 Saturday evening tour, reception, and dinner at Field Farm was the weekend’s crown jewel.
Mini-Reunion 2015: Campus-wide Presentations
Provost and professor of philosophy Will Dudley and deputy director of admissions Liz Creighton tag-teamed their mind-opening presentation Access & Affordability: Admission and Financial Aid at Williams Today. Highlights:
Williams is more than just “need-blind.” Unlike most colleges, Williams is also “need-seeking,” search nationally and internationally for high-achieving, low-income (HALI)students
The actual annual per-student cost to Williams: $100,000
The annual cost to students with no financial: $61,000
Because of Williams significant financial aid commitment, the average annual net cost to students: $15,000
The annual net cost to HALI students: $0
Faculty lectures assured that the Mini-Reunion featured something for everyone. Professor of Russian Darra Goldstein described The Visual Culture of Food, and Professor of English Alison Case contrasted with From Narrative Theory to Practice: The Writing of Nelly Dean. (Who was Nelly Dean? If you non-English-majors promise to read to the end of this Mini-Reunion wrap-up, we promise to reveal the answer.*)
Mini-Reunion 2015: Presentation to the ’68 Reunion Fund Committee
Dean of the College and professor of physics Sarah Bolton talked candidly about (1) sexual violence and dating violence, and (2) the College's initiatives to assure that every student understands how to take full advantage of their years at Williams.
First, Dean Bolton explained the impressive programs Williams has initiated to prevent sexual violence and to protect and counsel victims. One example: training faculty members about what to say and what to do if a trusting student confides that she or he has been a victim of unwanted sexual aggression.
Second, the Dean described students who don’t take full advantage of their Williams experience because, for example, they
don’t speak up in class.
don’t develop personal relationships with faculty.
don’t register to take tutorials.
Williams is working with faculty and administrators to identify and work with students who, for whatever reason, appear not to be taking full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.
Breaking news…On July 1, 2016, Professor Bolton will become President Bolton of the College of Wooster. Her bright presentation to the Reunion Fund Committee made it clear that Ohio's gain will be Williams' loss.
Mini-Reunion 2015: Field Farm Follies
Tom Nicholson serves on the board of The Trustees of Reservations, the stewards of Field Farm. Classmates who attended Saturday evening’s exclusively-for-68 festivities were delighted to explore this treasure of a property: http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/berkshires/field-farm.html
The evening began with a tour of The Folly, the smaller house on the 316-acre Field Farm nature preserve. The whimsically charming structure was designed with curves centered on a central silo. Classmates were lured up the hill to the larger Guest House by the promise of traditional refreshments and a refreshing docent lecture on Field Farm’s history. The catered dinner was served, avec camaraderie, under a cozy tent.
The Toms (Nicholson and Pierce) and the Joneses (Bart and Sherm) and E.J. Strassburger, Ned Perry, and spouses Cathy Nicholson, Lu Ann Dillon, Debbie Jones, Erma Jones, Mona Strassburger, and Cynthia Wood opted not to spend the entire night in the tent. Instead, that less-than-hardy crew lodged in the warmer Guest House for the weekend. Their unanimous review of Field Farm, the breakfasts, the natural landscape with modern-art statues, and the entire experience: “Just do it!”
*Who was Nelly Dean? Ellen Dean is the main narrator in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Nelly, as most people in the novel call her, gives the reader her account of interactions among the characters.
Maine Regional Gathering August 2015
Punctuated by meals from country cooking near Waterville to a lobster feast and Sunday brunch in Harpswell, classmates and spouses toured the new Colby College Museum of Art on August 1, and set sail with skipper Tom Nicholson for six adventurous hours on August 2.
Here’s how Bob Heiss painted Saturday's education: “After a great lunch at Riverside Farm Restaurant in Oakland, we were treated to our own behind-the-scenes docent tour of the substantial modern art collection at the Colby Museum.”
Here’s how Charlie Potts navigated Sunday's recreation: “The day was perfect – one of those great State of Maine summer days whose memories make the winter days endurable as we cruised Casco Bay aboard Captain Nicholson’s beautiful sloop Larkspur.”
Philadelphia Regional Gathering February 2015
Philadelphians Jon and Janine Weller, Bill and Susan Untereker, Jeff Walker and Pat Mynaugh welcomed ’68 classmates and spouses to their city. Events ranged from a tour of Representations: 200 Years of African American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to a private tour of the extraordinary Barnes Museum. During lunch at the Barnes, Katherine Myers of the Williams College Museum of Art discussed topics related to the museum. Culture and camaraderie were punctuated by cuisine: a family-style dinner at Osteria the first night, elegant hors d’oeuvres at the Untereker’s skybox condo the second night before a gourmet meal at Fork restaurant.
Williamstown Mini-Reunion October 2014
Williams created its annual fall Mini-Reunion primarily for classes approaching their 50th, but any alum can attend the excellent presentations scattered throughout this fall football weekend. (Williams 20, Middlebury 23. For classmates more familiar with golf than football…Williams lost. In overtime, though.)
After a Friday filled with campus-wide tours and talks, ’68 classmates felt young again as they mingled with senior citizens from the classes of ’65, ’66, and ’67 during a reception and dinner at The Williams Inn.
The ’68 Saturday morning began with Preparing for Life Beyond the Purple Valley, an eye-opening presentation by the director of the Williams Career Center. Next, the lively and productive Reunion Fund Committee focused on whether a portion of the Class of 1968’s 50th Reunion gift should be dedicated to enhancing the Career Center and its future initiatives.
The '68 Saturday night continued our class's DIVE tradition (Dinner In Venues Extraordinaire) begun by Paul Neely at the 2013 Mini-Reunion, when classmates dined at the striking Stone Hill Center, up the hill from, and part of, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. In 2014, ’68-ers gathered for traditional refreshments and elegant cuisine, catered in the Rotunda of the Williams College Museum of Art. WMCA Director Tina Olsen shared an informal and informative update about Museum issues and initiatives.
During dinner, Class President Ned Perry artfully revealed the names of nine additional people engraved on the ‘68 Class Spirit Award bowl, bringing the total to eleven classmates recognized for their leadership of class activities since our 45th Reunion.
Seattle Informal Gatherings 2013-2015
Over the past few years, a growing cadre of Williams ’68 classmates organized informal gatherings at various Seattle area locations. Alexander Caskey reported, “As we approach our 50th Reunion, we hope to expand the group and enlarge the scope of activities. For example, short hikes to wonders like Wallace Falls. Seattle is a very special outdoors-oriented place none of us want to leave. Mountains and sea within sight of each other. Mild winters, but with snow and great alpine and Nordic skiing a short drive away.”
Skip Edmonds and Alexander Caskey experienced this close encounter of the first kind at the Maltby Café located in Snohomish, just outside of Seattle. Maltby is renowned for its homestyle American fare, cinnamon rolls, 1937 school gym building, and now for serving as the site of the founding meeting of the ’68 Williams group.
Gathering critical mass after our 45th Reunion, the next Maltby gathering included Ted McMahon and his wife Rosanne Olsen, Alexander and his wife Carmen Lozano, and Skip and Diane Edmonds.
In June 2015, Peter and Colleen Miller joined the group at a “spirited” get together at Le Caviste. New recruit Peter selected the downtown Seattle wine bar, specializing in French vintages paired with small bites in a quaint space. Peter also selected the wines, so he was more than welcomed by the group’s founding fathers.
In November 2015 the group, meeting in the charming Seattle neighborhood Green Lake, increased its numbers and geographic expanse when Tod Hamachek flew from Idaho to join the gathering. Full disclosure: Tod and family lived for an extended period in Bellevue, Washington; he’s also a frequent visitor to Seattle. The ’68 Seattle group was instantly transformed into the ’68 Pacific Northwest group.
Pacific Northwest: 2016
There are informal plans for the group to invade Idaho on skis. Whether or not this inviting event occurs, the New Year promises creative Seattle events involving more PNW ’68 classmates. Check our site’s Welcome page for alerts of upcoming events.