YAM Notes: March/April 2008

Thanks, once again, to Charlie and Barbara Griffith, for their kind hospitality and fabulous repast in Woodbridge after this year’s Harvard game. Their generosity to nearly 20 or so of us was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise forgettable day that, as the Yale Daily News observed editorially shortly thereafter, ranks high among Yale’s more shameful moments. Forget the score: A previously undefeated Yale team was outplayed and, again, out-coached. These things happen. The greater embarrassment was that neither Yale nor the New Haven authorities had the slightest idea about how to cope with a near-capacity crowd, many of whom were forced by poor management and traffic pileups to abandon their cars as far out as the Merritt Parkway and trudge the last few miles to the Bowl on foot. Even the public address system in the newly refurbished Yale Bowl did not work, and the halftime ceremony, meant to salute the alumni who helped do the refurbishing, was thoroughly botched. The rededication of the Bowl was intended as yet another celebration of Yale’s physical rebirth, not to mention the reliability of its donors, yet the News got it exactly right: the whole thing went wrong from the start, largely because nobody paid attention to the little things…

With that out of our system, let us proceed without delay to one of the other bright spots of that weekend, namely the awarding of the Yale Alumni Fund Chairman’s Award to Ed Greenberg for outstanding service to the Fund over the years. He was one of four Yale graduates so honored. Ed is chair of our forthcoming 50th reunion, Sandy Weiner, who’s in charge of the 50th reunion book, has some interesting thoughts on the shape and content of that book posted on our website. If you have not discovered our website, loving tended by Mr. Greenberg. To avoid giving you a URL, which I’m bound to screw up, I suggest Googling “Yale Class of 1959.” Click and bookmark.

At our mini-reunion in New York, Tom Goodale, with justifiable pride, directed our attention to People Magazine, which honored his daughter Jennifer as one of its “Heroes Among Us”: in its October issue.In 2002, Jennifer courageously spoke out about an incident two years before in which she was sexually assaulted at knife point and further traumatized by unsympathetic police officers. The magazine celebrated her for stepping forward and raising awareness of the issue. Since the incident, Jennifer has married, become a mother and launched a promising career in corporate philanthropy. Her attacker was convicted and sent to prison.

The most recent Calhoun College newsletter paid tribute to the Class of 1959 Fund for Excellence, which has been in business now for about a decade, maybe more, and which supports Calhoun students in their summer and extracurricular pursuits. These mini-fellowships, underwritten partly by class dues and partly by generous individual classmates, last year sent one student to Tunisia to work on a project helping Arab women; a second to an Asian-American conference; a third to New Orleans for relief efforts. They helped a fourth student help middle school students with their math and a fifth launch a weekly campus magazine. A sixth student interned a childrens’ psychiatric hospital in Providence, and a seventh attended a conference on the social sciences in Hawaii. The funding for all of these worthy undertakings would have otherwise been unavailable.

Bob Young has retired after 47 years in the aerospace industry. He and Penny, his wife of 45 years, are still in Mission Viejo, where Bob has helped start an investor-awareness and stock-selection firm called the SMART Group.

John Torinus, who was on hand for the mini-reunion, has also not quite retired, having turned over the CEO reins at the family-owned printing company, Serigraph, to his son Sean. He remains as chairman, and says that he employed a psychologist to help with the transition to avoid the unhappy family dynamics that sometime accompany a generational transfer of power. He says he hates the whole concept of retirement do he will continue to write a column on Sundays for the Milwaukee newspapers on business and economics.

I used to fantasize about improving my tennis game to the point where, at a very advanced age, I would be just mobile enough to achieve a national ranking, say in the over-90 age group. This
remains a fantasy, ever more elusive, but for Art Hotchkiss, a genuinely talented racquets player, it is reality. As Art, in his words, “slid down the age slope that puts one into groups like the National Masters Raquetball Association”, his rankings steadily improved. He rose to 9th in the plus-55s, and has his sights set on a even higher ranking in the over-70’s. Rankings, he notes modestly, “have as much to do with h who is surviving physically” as they do with talent, and also who has the energy or interest to enter the competitions. In his case, though, he has the added incentive of having a relatively new bride of 5 years, Mary, who is also a formidable athlete. In any event, he has our admiration.