Alumni Notes: November/December 2014

Record attendance at a 55th Reunion, record reunion gift , and now, according to the alumni fund office, top dollars of any class for this year’s alumni fund–$900,812 from 348 donors, which is just over half the reachable classmates. Not bad for a year in which the reunion is competing for the same dollars and donors and, of course, much bigger bucks. Congratulations to Mr. Charles Hoyt and his army of agents.

Few classmates get as much ink in the daily press as the prolific, entertaining and razor-sharp 7th Circuit judge, Dick Posner– see, most recently, Linda Greenhouse’s column in the Sept 17th Times about the evolution of his thinking over the years on whether the Constitution protects same-sex marriage. But a close challenger is Mr. Charles Ellis, no less prolific in his field of investment management, known especially for his provocative thoughts on the mutual fund industry. See, most recently, the Aug. 23-24 Wall Street Journal , p. B1, in which he is described as “revered among money managers.” It escalates from there.

The tip on the Journal story, which I missed, comes courtesy of Mike Doyle, who keeps a sharp eye on these things. Mike also reports that he and his wife Bunny attended a Yale for Life seminar in New Haven (well after our reunion) on the subject of “Reconsidering 1914-1945”. It featured five senior Yale professors, excellent small group experiences and a required reading list. He said the course was a “knock your socks off” experience and was oversubscribed. He therefore urges all classmates to check with the AYA about next year’s offering and to attend if possible. Anyone who wants a fuller account can email Mike at

Nearly 60 years ago, as he was unpacking his stuff in Durfee Hall, Quart Graves bumped into a young Cuban named Fernando Portuondo. Thus began a cordial 4-year-friendship with a bright, charming fellow from Havana with just the slightest Ricky Ricardo accent, a black belt in karate, and what Quart’s wife later recalled as a definite ojo para las mujeres, or eye for the ladies. Fernando returned to Cuba, became a distinguished scholar like his father and never gave up on Castro, even though the hostilities between Cuba and the United States isolated him from his many friends and from Yale, which he had greatly enjoyed, . On a recent visit to Cuba (Quart is one of our most energetic world travelers) he tried without success to find someone who knew Fernando, who died some years ago. Then, one day, as he was leaving an outdoor market, a bookseller of whom he had earlier inquired raced after him yelling “senor, senor” and waving a dog-eared sixth edition, c. 1957, of Fernando’s father’s majestic “The History of Cuba.” Quart gladly forked over $25.

Am delighted to report, especially in this age when we must increasingly turn to renewable sources of energy, that the American Solar Energy Society has given its 2014 “solar pioneer” award to Don Watson, for his contribution to the design of sustainable buildings. Don continues to consult on these matters with the United Nations, the International Development Bank and other organizations.

Core members of the Saturday football loyalists — Bobbie and Charles Griffith , the hosts, Herb and Barbara Hallas, and yours truly with Lisa — opened the season with a truly astonishing comeback win over Lehigh after being down 21-0 after five or so minutes.

This small, intrepid group was joined the next week by several more classmates, some with spouses, including Bob Ittner, Austin Hoyt, Ed Greenberg, George Buchanan and Ben Gertz, for the following week’s game against Army, which turned out to be an even more electric contest won by Yale in overtime, 49-43. This brought back fond memories of Yale’s victory over then 19th-ranked Army in a packed Bowl in 1955, our freshman year. This year’s game brought out the best Yale crowd I’ve seen in a decade, Harvard games included. The present Yale club seems like the real deal, but we’ll know more by the next time I write.

And don’t forget to write me. Email is easy.

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