Alumni Notes: July/August 2013

This is essentially the reunion issue of theYAM. And these notes will be short , so as to give the reunion correspondents, not least my friend and Yale Daily News predecessor, Scott Gregory Sullivan, room to ruminate in the adjacent space on his 55th.

Speaking of which, ours is fast approaching. As former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming was wont to observe in his bootkicking drawl, time flies, don’t it? Only yesterday, it seems, we gathered at Silliman for our 50th. And next year, at the end of May, we will gather for our 55th in Jonathan Edwards — a cozy little courtyard within easy stumbling distance of New Haven’s finest hotels. It will be hard to top our magnificent 50th, but co-chairs Austin Hoyt and Fred Vanderkloot will be giving it their best shot. Austin organized the successful Boston mini-reunion, and Fred, who lives in New York, helped put together the equally successful Chicago mini-reunion reunion. More details to follow as the year unfolds.

A scholarly saga is reaching a glorious conclusion: the State University of New York press is publishing “William Almon Wheeler: Political Star of the North Country,” by Herb Hallas, who discovered in this most unlikely candidate for biographical treatment (Wheeler was the 19th Vice President under Rutherford B. Hayes) a treasure trove of information about the development of upstate New York and the nation as a whole during the industrial revolution and the great period of westward expansion. Wheeler, rescued by Herb’s fine hand from the dustbin of history, played a pivotal role in the founding of the Republican Party, the construction of the transcontinental railroads and the creation of the Adirondack and Niagara Falls state parks. Along the way, Herb debunks various myths about Wheeler and restores his place as an influential 19th century political figure. The book will be listed in Suny’s forthcoming catalogue and can be ordered from SUNY Press. Herb has also started a blog about upstate New York history on

Herb and his wife Barbara will be joining Lisa and me at our regular location in Parking lot B Special at the Yale Bowl for the Bulldogs’ home football games, beginning with Cornell on Sept 28th. These gatherings have been graciously hosted by Charlie and Bobbie Griffith and George and Rose Piroumoff. It’s a young team, but all of us hope that Yale football, under second year coach Tony Reno and with the support of first-year president Peter Salovey, can put the recent dismal past behind it and begin to replicate the hockey team, whose incredible run to the national championship continues to resonate. I watched the championship game at the Yale Club in the company of Ben Gertz and Bob and Eleanor Ittner, along with 300 or so other graduates ranging from 22 to 92, and it was an absolutely amazing evening, the noise carrying at least to Brooklyn.

A belated thank you to Charles Simonds and other Yale alumni in the Charleston, S.C., area, whose enduring support of the Yale Association of Charleston Scholarship Funds continues to underwrite a Yale education for, at last count, four Yale undergraduates. Partly though efforts such as this, Yale’s financial aid budget in 2012-13 grew to $118.5 million, providing an average grant of $38,360 (towards the total annual cost of $55,300) to the 55 percent of undergraduates who received assistance.

For once this column is free of obituaries, a good thing as we head towards our 55th. Please write or email me over the summer with updates. I don’t need to hear about all the grandchildren but I would like to hear about you. Thanks.