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
  • Business
  • Careers with Social Impact
  • Education
  • 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

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