YAM Notes: March/April 2010

I wish that Dick Posner could have joined our financial panel at the 50th Reunion (he was invited, but was otherwise engaged) because he has many interesting and unexpected things to say about the economic meltdown. A courts of appeals judge, law professor, amazingly prolific author and blogger, Dick has long been a leading figure in the conservative, free-market Chicago School of economics. He now believes that the economics profession and the Chicago School in particular bear some responsibility for not foreseeing (and to some extent engineering) the mess, and he has begun — gadzooks! — to say some nice things about Lord Keynes. Dick’s conversion — an adjustment seems more like it — was  described in a delightful and informative piece by John Cassidy in the Jan 11 New Yorker, which is still retrievable at newyorker.com and probably on Google. It’s worth finding. 

One of the class of 1959’s more satisfying ventures is its relationship with Calhoun College. That relationship is now well into its second decade, and this year, as in the past, some of the surplus in our class dues (augmented by anonymous individual gifts) has helped underwrite a program called the Calhoun Fund for Excellence, which allows undergraduates to undertake projects — research papers, mock trials, the World Debate Championship and the like — that would otherwise be out of reach. Like some other classes, we also fund several Summer Community Service fellowships for students who intern at non-profit community groups across the country. It’s hard to convey in words, but these kids, chosen from across Yale College, are enormously appreciative.

Incidentally, the flowering of the digital age allows you to pay those dues and, in the bargain, send me some news of yourself. Both are always needed. The address is www.aya.yale.edu/classes/dues.

For years, the post-game parties following either the Princeton or Harvard games, whichever one was scheduled for the Bowl, were hosted by Ed and Sue Greenberg or Charles and Bobbie Griffith. This year the baton was seized by Al and Peggy Atherton, who have bought a wonderful in-town house on Bradley St. that once belonged to Duke and Alison Henning after Duke retired from the History department. This year they consoled and fed, among others, the Greenbergs, the Griffiths, Aldie Edwards and Meg Cunningham, Elizabeth and Fred Lovejoy,  Rose and George Piroumoff, Roberta and Larry Krakoff, Barb and Herb Halls, Pat and Bob :Lau, Eleanor and Bob Ittner, Ben Gertz, George Buchanan and Dyer Wadsworth. Others who may have been there but who certainly attended the morning’s Class Council meeting included Fred VanderKloot, Charlie Hoyt, Alex Boyle and Charley Ellis. Our new commander, Joe Staley, recovering from an illness incurred on a trip to Alaska,  was piped in to the Class Council meeting by speakerphone.

Our condolences to Smoky Bissell and his four children. Smoky’s  wife of 49 years, Sara, died after an 11-year struggle with  cancer at her home in North Carolina in November.    A graduate of   Bennett Junior College, and the granddaughter of Cameron Morrison, a United States Senator and Governor of North Carolina, Sara contributed greatly to the Charlotte community.

More unhappy news:  Mike Male, who became a prominent lawyer in Miami after graduating from Yale Law School, arriving in Florida in 1965 and hanging out his own shingle a decade later, died last summer from complications due to melanoma.  An accomplished tennis player, cook and student of classical music, Mike  helped sustain the Miami Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged. He is survived by his wife, Judi, and children Lauren and John, to whom our thoughts and prayers.

Our condolences as well to Anne , Geoffrey, Elizabeth and Peter — wife and three childen to Tom Vaughan, who died at home in San Francisco after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.  A prominent member of the San Francisco medical community, Tom served as chief of staff at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and, in later years, practiced as a pulmonologist at Kaiser in San Rafael. He graduated from Exeter, Yale, and Cornell Medical School, and was an avid outdoorsman — hiker in the Tiburon hills, dedicated oarsman who spent mornings training in his single shell, mountain climber and kayaker. In his short essay for the 50th Reunion book, Tom, disclosing his cancer, said that he had come to the realization that “our lives are made up of countless small things whic, in the aggregate and individually, are just as important as what we think of as the big stuff.”   Amen.