We have been an eventful class, especially leading up to our 50th. From Seattle to Denver to Maine, our flag was raised. Also in Williamstown, where the momentum refuses to slow down.
Williamstown Theater Festival reunion, July 28 2019
Editor: Thank you, Tom Pierce, for another great report.
’68 Classmates Approach Grand Horizons
No, not those grand horizons. On July 28, a hearty healthy band of ’68 brothers and sisters experienced Grand Horizons, Bess Wohl’s new play at WTF. No, not that WTF. Everyone raved about Williamstown Theatre Festival’s stunning and startling world premiere.Bill and Nancy, happily married for fifty years, have settled comfortably into their Grand Horizons independent-living condo. What could go wrong? Spoiler alert: OMG. Yes, that OMG.If you missed our fun ’68 event in Williamstown, don’t miss this sparkling gem at its next stop, Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theater. Grand Horizons will open in January 2020 with previews in December 2019…
Remember newly appointed class president Bob Heiss’s hat trick at our 50th Reunion? Bob’s horny hat pales in comparison with the Brunch/Theater/Dinner hat-trick that he and his On Beyond 50 Committee pulled off a year later. At 11 o’clock on that glorious Sunday morning, Larry Levien and Linda Zaro hosted classmates and significants for brunch at Larry’s lovely home.
50th Reunion Director Mark Robertson made a surprise cameo appearance at brunch. On July 1st, Williams promoted him to Director of Milestone Reunion Programs. The college thinks Mark will be responsible for 50th reunions and for strategic issues associated with 25th reunions. Maybe Mark thinks our 55th reunion will be a milestone, too. Or maybe our good friend is a glutton for quiche and mimosas.
We strolled or drove from Larry’s to WTF Grand Horizons, followed by an exquisite dinner at Mezze. A picture’s worth a thousand traditional refreshments…
Will this become an annual ’68 event? WTF! Stay well tuned to find out.
National Art Gallery, Tintoretto April 19 2019
Editor’s note: Thank you, Bob Heiss, for this report
The Tintoretto exhibit was in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the painter’s birth, and many of the art works had not previously been on tour. In fact, the NGA show was the only one in North America, the other venue being Venice. The budgetary shutdown of the government delayed the opening of the show, but that ultimately did not affect the timing of our class event.
In the early afternoon on April 12, 2019, we assembled in the lecture hall of the National Gallery for an informative preview lecture, and then dispersed to the galleries for the show. The paintings, which have been magnificently restored, and are mostly of religious and mythological subjects, were astonishing–mostly very large, with vibrant colors and dramatic compositions. After the walk through of the exhibits, some of us gathered in the museum’s underground cafe near the waterfall for a beverage and chatting.
We then proceeded to Central, a highly regarded French restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, for happy hour and dinner. Although we lacked sufficient numbers to score a private room, the restaurant accommodated us with two large, adjacent tables in the main dining room, and we visited back and forth.
David Marcello and his wife, Jane Johnson, won honors for traveling the greatest distance (from New Orleans) to join the party.
As the first of what we hope will be a series of class events to be held in different places in the coming years, this gathering should be judged a great success.
Attending the event were:
Ross Anthony and Roberta Eisen
Arthur Cambouris and Diana Budzanoski
Bob and Arleen Heiss
David Marcello and Jane Johnson
Scott and Cathy McCulloch
Clark McFadden and Mary Wagner
Pass the Baton mini reunion, Sept 28-30 2018
Class of 1968 50th Reunion, June 7-10 2018
What an amazing class!
Editor’s note goes here: Here’s what we’ve received so far from classmates wanting to share their memories and impressions of our 50th. We will leave room in our next update for more accounts and reflections so there will be more coming. Care to share your own impressions adn/or those of your companion/spouse? Click here to get started.
We lead with our accomplished journalist friend, Mr. John Stickney.
John Stickney –Your Goal the Sky
Reunion weekend unfolded with a kind of narrative power, culminating in that number that rocked the gym when John Oppenheimer announced it.
The number loomed all the larger because Oppy saved the best for last, after a charming, disarmingly wry introduction. Without overplaying the sentiment of it all, he told the story of a college that stood by him as a freshman when his father died.
I myself couldn’t help thinking about two other of our class reunion leaders who first met as scholarship students on kitchen duty in one of the houses.
The number also astonished me because we were a Vietnam-haunted class of doctors and lawyers, not Wall Streeters (or so it seems from Paul Neely’s excellent “Long & Winding Roads”).
Of course we had heavy hitters. But the class leaders, including the house representatives, tirelessly gentled the rest of us into attending — and giving. Meanwhile Alexander Caskey’s class website raised the echoes of who we were, and who taught us.
In this era of absence of belief, the number showed that we believed in the college.
I was moved to learn about the visits that many of our classmates paid during the reunion to our emeritus professors, including Curt Tauber. And of course there was John Hyde at Oppy’s side right after the Saturday annual meeting.
The reunion focused on the college’s academic legacy to us all. The panels that perhaps made the most impact were “The Future of Liberal Arts Education” and the conversation with President-Elect Maud S. Mandel. (I’d also cite the class of 1968 private tour of the Clark Art Institute — which opened in 1955 and lent another dimension altogether to our quirky, backwoods college.)
At the “In Their Own Write” panel on Thursday, Tony Kronman spoke affectingly about his debt to, among others, his philosophy professor Dan O’Connor. The panel met in Griffin 3 (where O’Connor had lectured), which Tony called “the most beautiful classroom in the United States.”
Forgetting about faculty and legacy, we gathered for the “come as you were” dinner on Saturday night. How lucky we were that Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley graced us! Debby and Bart embodied the spirit of celebration that prevailed throughout the weekend.
Collectively we had experienced a singular gathering, a kind of revival meeting, on that reunion weekend, for which the number served as a kind of exclamation point.
After the Sunday breakfast among the emeriti at Faculty House I returned to Griffin 3 to retrieve a keyboard. Outside I met a woman member of the class of 1993 who had just attended a memorial service there for classmates who had died — her husband among them. She asked me to take a photo of her in front of Griffin, and then by the Civil War monument on the lawn. That was her husband’s favorite spot on campus, she said.
May we cherish what we have while we have it.
And now I’m trying to clear my mind of a tune that’s now stuck there: “Yard by Yard.”
G50 — Gurgle turns 50
Editor’s note: Bill (previously known as Rock) Untereker composed and presented these very special words about the vital role this socially conscious organization played during our years. Photo below shows additionally recruited members and t-shirts.
Robert provided us, post-reunion, with an excerpt from his work in progress. Appropriately it recalls the mood and moment of 50 years ago as we prepared to leave the Purple Valley, not without some sadness.
Editor’s note: Although an earlier version of these richly and invitingly rhymed verses appears in our classbook; we’ve found the definitive version that graces shown here to be clearly superior.
An Embarrassment of Riches (or Too Many Options?)
First, a quick prayer to Mnemosyne,
To certify these memories as genuine.
And then her lovely daughter, Thalia,
Muse of buildings and gardens people like using,
A free-flowing river that I still love cruising.
Read on, I’ll spare you the inter alia.
My work’s little changed since I was just five,
It’s the making of places that makes me thrive.
Transforming toil to play is my most pleasant reward,
How useful I’ll have been, we may never know,
At least I’ve got some large objects to show,
Plus a nod from the high road (or is that untoward?).
Plenty of honors but for Starchitect status unfit,
Too many pursuits to corner just one “This is IT!”
Liberal arts education, maybe old Williams to blame –
A pre-med art major taking Roman History?
For “Zeus” Harper, this posed no great mystery,
And, after all, wasn’t this the much advertised aim?
Architecture’s partly guessing what matters the most,
Of real possibilities, there’s rarely a host.
Clients all different, all sites tell a story,
I begin with difference, leave self-expression alone,
Allowing facts to instruct in an ever-sharpening cone,
When grown from the landscape, form earns quiet glory.
After a quarter century of architectural professing,
My academic titles sound wishfully prepossessing,
As wondrous machines eclipsed drawing by hand,
A pioneering scholar lured me partly away,
To landscape history – a semi-autodidactical sort of play,
Considering dynamics of people’s use of the land.
I’m not quite pagan, more amateur animist,
If road spirits track admirers, I’m on their list.
But landscape studies can turn vexing passion,
(Try herding sixty big city architects on a year-long sally,
Tracing 20th century change in the Mississippi’s great valley,
Preaching about touring in more meaningful fashion.)
My father liked noting making Karen Simonson my wife,
Was the smartest thing I had done in my life,
Eph and Cliffie, refugees in L.A.’s chaparral fringe,
Battle building requirements that to them seem extreme,
To build a house on a stairway that bridges a stream,
In a city so hard to know it makes most tourists cringe.
Arroyo House, when published world-wide,
Drew risk-taking clients, talented help to my side.
Once a destination, last house up a steep canyon lane,
Now a portal to gardens, vineyard, hilltops beyond,
Of the summer récolte, friends have grown so fond,
There’s even a barefoot grape crushing refrain.
With daughter, Charlotte, we’ve often journeyed afar,
Pursuing views other than L. A. as seen from the car.
World travel reveals oddity in the look of America’s communities,
But, if geographical distinctions help us to feel secure,
Crude tinkering with this grand experiment leaves me deeply unsure,
Like most aging Boomers, I rue our era’s missed opportunities.
Happiness doesn’t elude me, why not is easy to say,
But at some point, I expect, sadness stops going away.
Love’s key to optimism: friendship, kindness, generosity,
It’s right the Williams we knew should no longer exist,
But, memory of its high spirits seems to persist,
And that I wouldn’t be accepted now arouses no animosity.
Amazing stuff and yet I don’t think about it much. Seeing some classmates after 50 years, e.g., frosh roommate Bill Gardner.
Williams F had a party sponsored by Guy Horsely & wife at Williams Inn. Skip Edmonds was there – last saw him in Seattle, 1980.
And there are those who have never written or come to reunions that I can tell, e.g., Jim Love. I remember him at the library all the time. Premed, from one of the Carolinas, I think, became a neurologist but never a word. Quite a few did not write essays. Met Teschke’s widow and son Max from Portland, ME. Son in Newton. Maybe we’ll have a cup of coffee in Newton Center someday.
I never crossed paths with Spencer Beebe on the campus but had a nice talk with him after the Clark lecture. He was sitting by the large pool behind with Stone Hill green under blue sky for backdrop. We talked about Punta Arenas, CR, Peace Corps, Isla del Coco & eastern South Pacific Islands & then he was gone, who knows maybe forever. I think Trav Auburn said he’d been to every reunion. Clint Wilkins’s dad was there for his 75th! It goes on and on, doesn’t it? When we return to the campus “sporadically” in the future as in the past, recollections of the 50 will enhance those visits. We might actually go to a Williams-Amherst football game, who knows.
I went to my high school 50th. There was one prior reunion, in 2000, the 36th. Didn’t go. So all those kids I saw there at the 50th, were unheard from for 50 yrs. it was a more tender age, too. I wrote a poem about it. I’ll find it & send. It doesn’t apply to Williams so much tho since there have been so many opportunities to keep abreast of classmates thru notes & reunions – but still, spooky to me (shy type) to see faces after so long. Maynard came with his daughter Jane ‘95 for Saturday PM only. And a long list I saw but did not get to even say hi. Saw Chris Dornin from afar – he’s a sailor who actually lives in Concord. I’ll have to chase him down. I could go on…but I’d have to pause to reflect.
Dick Heller and Bob McCloud reflect on their Cap and Bells reunion, one of several reunions inside our main reunion
A group of ’68 classmates who had been active in Cap and Bells had lunch at the home of Rita Watson on the Saturday of our reunion.
Rita had been the costume designer during our entire time at Williams and still lives in town. Her late husband Jack had been the technical director. Jack passed away of heart disease in 1999.
Present were Dick Heller, Bob McCloud, David Earle, Mike Morfit and Bob Herzog and our accompanying spouse or companion.
Rita made a wonderful lunch and we all had some fine reminiscences of the active and creative Adams Memorial Theater in our day.
Rita surprised us all by inviting Kathy Toohey to join us. Kathy had been at Mt. Greylock High School at the time and was the leading lady in “Carousel” opposite David Earle and “Under Gaslight” opposite Dick Heller. She is a voice teacher in North Adams today.
Also visiting, but known only to me, were Steve Hardy and Marta Rudolph, both ’73, who had been active in the theater after our time. They both felt that the theater was more active and creative in our day, before it became a major and lost its student driven spontaneity.
It was Friday, I think, although the weekend melds together in a blur. As an undergraduate, I was so intimidated by Rita’s coolness that I did not realize how close in age she actually is to us. Also, missing was one of our absolutely most talented members, the late John DeMarco.
Michael Yogman reports on the status of Wall Ball at Spencer House 50 years later
After lunch Sat at the reunion,Jeff Palmer, FaST Eddie weeks,
Bill Untereker and I played a reunion game of wall ball at Spencer house.
I am sending 3 pix. We could not remember the rules but were disappointed
that the college had removed the bushes which were a critical part of the game.
Mini Reunion October 20-22 2017
Reconnect, Appreciate, and Celebrate was 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.
Reconnect, Appreciate, and Celebrate
Here are a few recollections from a weekend filled with engaging events, meaningful meetings, thought-provoking lectures, and lively conversations.
Reunion Planning Meeting
Barton Jones and Bob Stanton led a spirited discussion on every aspect of our 50th Reunion weekend, from music-to-dance-by to clothes-to-march-with to soup-to-nuts meal planning. Horn Hall, the first new Williams residence building in 40 years, will serve as ‘68 Reunion Headquarters. Its central location on Stetson Court (across Main Street from the Adams Memorial Theater / 62 Center for Theatre and Dance), its variety of conference rooms for large- and small-group discussions, and its private backyard for fun and games will bring a fresh approach to our fifty years of nostalgia.
Are you looking for a convenient and cost-effective place to stay during Reunion? Horn Hall dormitory rooms include 10 double rooms and 40 single rooms, all clustered in suites of six (i.e. six singles, or a double and four singles). The price is unbeatable: $80.00/person total for the entire reunion!
Class President Ned Perry and his leadership team designed every event in the past five years—from regional dinners to mini-reunions to the ’68 Oxford odyssey—to be welcoming and inclusive. To continue that goal at the 50th, Pattie Dirlam and Arleen Heiss presented the results of their research about the types of experiences suggested by spouses and partners to assure that June 7-10, 2018 will be “not just for the ’68 guys.”
Advances in Medicine Panel
Why include this panel under our “Reconnect” theme? Even though the discussion was open to all attendees from all Mini-Reunion classes, each of the physician presenters was from ’68. It was stunning to realize that the Pat O’Grady, Michael Yogman, and Mark Donavan we remember from as mid-sixties students had become a brilliant cardiologist, brilliant pediatrician, and brilliant primary care / oncologist / hospital administrator, respectively. The following concepts from each ‘68 panelist give a feel for their riveting presentations:
Moderator Pat O’Grady: In the past, a cardiologist would prescribe bed rest and pain medication and allow the heart injury to heal. Catheterization created a major change, from the early balloon with a crimped metal cage to drug-coated stents that reduce scarring. From the era of spending many days in the hospital after heart surgery, today it may take from 60 to 90 minutes to transfer a heart attack patient from the ER to a completed angioplasty, with the patient discharged home in a few days.
The future will see genomics correcting many conditions, and artificial intelligence performing a consultative role to synthesize and access voluminous amounts of research data.
Michael Yogman: Years ago, vaccines helped wipe out childhood diseases. We’ve seen major advances in curing or reducing childhood malignancies, heart problems, early deaths from premature birth and cystic fibrosis. Today and tomorrow, we need to focus on the social determinants of health, i.e., housing, adequate food, safe neighborhoods. In most western industrialized countries, 70% of dollars are focused on tackling the social causes of poor health and 30% are focused on medical solutions; in the United States, 70% of the dollars are focused on medical and 30% on social causes, with worse outcomes.
Given parents’ exposure to television advertising and other influencers, they often expect a pediatrician to prescribe a drug to cure a medical problem. We need to tell them that the most effective cure may be, for example, exercise and healthy nutrition. The current crisis in health care is the skyrocketing cost. New research on primary prevention in early childhood shows great promise for influencing the brain, genome, the immune system and the inflammatory system, reducing mental health problems and costly chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Mark Donavan: Mark shared his startling personal look at Bennington Hospital, as it transformed from having a non-staffed emergency room with three cots in 1966 into an increasingly modern facility over the decades. He reminded us that in 1966, healthcare represented 5% of our country’s GDP. By 1978, that expenditure had risen to 8%. By 2017, health care had climbed to 18% of our GDP. His conclusion: Healthcare is the Achilles heel of our country’s future.
The Football Game
It was sunny and warm, a great place to connect after the Tailgate luncheon under the tent.
Tufts 21. Williams 13.
Conversation with Don Kjelleren, Director of the Williams Career Center
‘68’s Reunion Fund is focused on two priorities: Increasing the Class of 1968 Scholarship Fund and Transforming the Williams College Career Center. It’s clear that the Career Center transformation has already begun. Don Kjelleren began his presentation by outlining the evolution of career services in higher education:
1900-1920 Vocational Guidance
1920-1940 Teachers Guidance
1940-1970 Job Placement
1970-1990 Career Counseling
1990-2010 Professional Networking
2010-2030 Connections and Communities
He outlined the new vision of the Williams Career Center:
- Engage with students during all four years
- Help students develop real-world skills
- Draw upon alumni, parents, faculty, and staff
- Build lifelong connections among networked alumni
After reviewing his team’s successes during Don’s first year at the helm, he described the themes for 2017-2018 progress:
- Access and Inclusion
- Transformative Technology
- Programmatic Innovation
- Smart Staffing
- Renovated Space
As Don explained each of these broad categories in depth, it is clear that the Class of 1968 “backed the right horse.” The enhancement of the Career Center, well underway, deserves our Class Gift to keep the momentum going.
Reunion Fund Committee
The RFC and students? Eye-opening presentations early Saturday morning by Williams students Justin Cho ’18 and Melinda Kan-Dapaah ‘20 reminded committee members why our classmates are so passionate about donating to Williams. Justin, from the state of Washington, and Melinda, from Ghana, participated in the Career Center’s summer internship program, in two opportunities funded by the Class of ’68.
Justin interned at Pacific Bridge Medical in Bethesda, Maryland, a provider of business development and regulatory consulting services for Asian medical markets. Melinda returned to her native country’s Institute of Economic Affairs, where she worked on affirmative action for women in Ghana’s Parliament. Both students were articulate, motivated, candid and inspiring.
After heartfelt applause, the committee turned to the status of the ‘68 Reunion Fund and progress toward our two Class Gift priorities. RFC co-chair John Oppenheimer reported impressive progress in total gift commitments through October, but we still have a ways to go to increase the percent participation. Oppy reinforced that all gifts of any amount are welcome, and that gifts can be made to any approved Williams priority. In the months leading up to our 50th, gifts and pledges that are unrestricted, commitments dedicated to the Class of 1968 Scholarship Fund, and commitments focused on Transforming the Williams Career Center will be especially important.
For more information on this website about giving to our 50th, just click on “Giving” in the footer to go directly to that section.
Confident, Convincing, and Completely Mistaken: The Psychology of Eyewitness Misidentification, Laura Smalarz, Assistant Professor of Psychology
How many times have you seen a police lineup on TV? Maybe some of our classmates have seen one in real life. With luck, none of us have been in one as the “perp.” Professor Smalarz shared disturbing research, made real with interactive audience exercises, that pointed out flaws in our memory mechanism. Chilling specifics convinced the audience how incredibly wrong memory can be when a witness points out, with “confidence,” an alleged perpetrator.
Professor Smalarz contrasted the widely accepted (but woefully inadequate) analogy of human memory as a video camera: simply access the “disk” in the mind and playback the memory. A more current and cogent view is the “trace evidence” analogy—witnessing an incident will leave trace evidence in the brain, subject to contamination and distortion.
One of the most significant factors that can increase the witnesses’ confidence to testify occurs right after they choose the lineup person whom the case detective believes committed the crime. A subtle smile from that detective, or even a documented comment such as “Yup, you picked the guy we thought did it” has sent the wrong person in jail for years. Even though a 2014 National Academy of Sciences recommended that all police lineups should be “double-blind” (i.e., the person who administers the line-up should have no knowledge of the people chosen for that line-up)…in the United States, only 31% of lineups are double-blind, while 69% continue to be standard lineups.
Mini-Reunion participants also enjoyed the Faculty Lecture: Making Buildings Smarter: Using Technology to Achieve a More Sustainable Future, presented by Jeanie Albrecht, Professor and Chair of Computer Science. A hands-on group worked with Antonia Foias, Chair and Professor of Anthropology, and her students at the Williams College Museum of Art in an Object Lab, The Seeds of Divinity: Exploring Pre-Columbian Art & Civilization.
Outreach Committee Meeting
Outreach co-chairs Clint Wilkins and Bill Untereker reported that 195 of our class’s 271 living classmates have been contacted by their house representatives or other class volunteers with one message: Join us at the 50th to Reconnect, Appreciate, and Celebrate! As of October 2017, 138 classmates have committed to return to Williamstown in June 2018. The committee (whose sole function is fun-raising, not fund-raising) plans to continue their conversations with our classmates in the months ahead.
Yes, there really was a baton at the final banquet. ’67 Class President John Hufnagel gave a speech full of advice on how to have a fun 50th and offered sincere best wishes to ’68 as we approach that milestone. ’68 Class President Ned Perry responded with gifts for the ’67 leadership team and Williams 50th Reunion staffers Mark Robertson, Chris Robare, and Darlene Alderman. Ned added several classmates to the engraved Class of ’68 Spirit Bowl he’s dutifully and enthusiastically brought to every event in the past five years.
President Adam Falk addressed the ’67 and ’68 participants with a poignant note that this dinner would be his last official Alumni event before he leaves Williams to lead the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Adam has enjoyed getting to know alumni from every class, but what will he miss the most about Williams? “The students. I’ve been around students my entire life.”
To be sure that Adam would remember the unique Class of ’68, Ned awarded him a pair of purple and gold striped athletic socks, urging him to wear them when he runs the New York City Marathon so we could all cheer him on. Ned thanked President Falk for his service to Williams, and cheered him on in his new leadership venture.
Here’s the best way to sum up our final mini-reunion, and the best way to anticipate our 50th Reunion: Reconnect, Appreciate, and Celebrate!
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?
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 — would 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.
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.
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
Pacific Northwest Gathering: 2016
Chicago Regional Gathering October 2015
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.
Here’s a parallel report, with fuller detail:
Despite blizzards up and down the East Coast on February 15, all 24 people who signed up for the Williams1968 in Philadelphia gathering arrived on schedule.
Bill and Judy Whitman from Vermont were the first to arrive, followed closely by Tom Pierce and Lu Ann Dillon from Virginia. Philadelphia classmates Jon & Janine Weller, Bill & Susan Untereker and Jeff Walker & Pat Mynaugh welcomed us all to the city during the visit. Participating in the tour of “Representations: 200 years of African American Art” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon were: Clark McFadden & Mary Wagner, Lowell & Nancy Davis, EJ & Mona Strassburger, Bill & Judy Whitman, Tom Pierce & Lu Ann Dillon. Sunday evening, we had a superb dinner served family style at the Osteria. Monday morning, we had a private tour of the Barnes Museum where the above group was joined by Tom & Cathy Nicholson, Barton & Debby Jones, Jon & Janine Weller and Katherine Myers from the Williams College Museum of Art. At an informal lunch at the Barnes, Katherine Myers conveyed greetings from the Director of the Williams College Museum of Art and discussed a variety of topics related to the museum. Monday evening, we all attended a reception hosted by Susan & Bill Untereker and had a gourmet meal at the Fork restaurant. All participants expressed enthusiasm for the art, the food and particularly the opportunity for classmates to reconnect and spouses to meet classmates and other wives.
Seattle Gathering: 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.”
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.
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.