Alumni Notes: January/February 2019

Because of a number of recent mailings and e-mail blasts, it should not have escaped classmates’ attention that our 60th class reunion is coming up May 23–26 in New Haven. Planning is well under way: recruited and appointed so far to spearhead the effort are reunion cochairs Randy Ney and Charlie Nolan, attendance chair Bob Lau, widows chair Louise Arias, and reunion gifts chairs Steve AdamsAlex BoyleCharley EllisJohn Moss, and John Wellemeyer.

During the three-day reunion weekend, you can expect to hear from the best representatives of Yale’s faculty and leadership; from among the most prominent thinkers and achievers of our own class; perhaps from a distinguished invited speaker; and of course, from the rejuvenated 1959 Whiffs, now 13 members strong. Mostly, of course, this is an opportunity, one of our last formal ones, to gather together to reminisce on our shared experience in New Haven from 1955 to 1959, to mourn our departed friends, to celebrate and ponder our own longevity, and, not least, to unveil the extraordinary book of reminiscences that Don Watson and his band of merry men have been putting together. Our reunion headquarters will be Timothy Dwight College.

Here are some details to help you plan. First, contact roommates and friends—and don’t forget about widows of deceased classmates—and insist that they join us. Second, go to, click on ours, and preregister. Actual registration, with costs and full reunion schedules, will come from AYA in March. Third, check these class notes and our website,, for updates. Remember that hotel rooms are usually in short supply on reunion weekends, so go to this AYA link to review housing options.

The class council meeting at Grace Hopper, née Calhoun, on the morning of the Princeton game moved expeditiously under the smooth guidance of Class Secretary Joe Staley. Mr. Nolan presented an overview of reunion planning, Mr. Gertz a report on the class treasury, which is healthy, and the council as a whole voted to increase our total contribution to Grace Hopper students for summer internships and fellowships to $4,000. After the game, Al and Peggy Atherton hosted their annual gathering at their wonderful downtown home, a New Haven classic, occupied by a succession of Yale luminaries.

Tony Greenwald, a modest person, has never written to this column, but now his sister has, informing us that Tony, along with two research colleagues, has received an award known as the Golden Goose Award (as opposed to the late Sen. William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award, which called out government waste). The Golden Goose Award is given to scientists whose basic federally supported research had a big impact in unexpected ways. In Tony’s case, it was an initial federal grant that made possible a lifetime of original work on the subject of implicit bias. Tony has had a distinguished career as a social psychologist and professor at the University of Washington. He and his wife Jean live in Seattle and have a family of three children and four grandchildren, as of this writing. You can read more about the award at the website.

Another happy career moment: Robert Mike” Whitney tells us that he and his partners have just celebrated the 50th year of LandVest, which he founded in 1968 with $60,000, one office, and one employee. He now employs 130 people and manages two million acres of timberland as the largest independent marketer of investment-grade forests. He also buys and sells some rather spectacular residential properties. He lives in Pownal, Maine.

I just shelled out $4.95 a month so as to watch Yale hockey on ESPN+, but it would be hard for any Yale hockey team to match the swagger, joie de vivre, and sheer elegance of the 1959 squad, some of whom gathered courtesy of All-Ivy goalie Gerry Jones in Woodstock, Vermont, including Ted WardHoyt AmmidonFrank LloydTom GoodaleJim Cowperthwait, and Reeve SchleySam Chauncey was also on hand, but no Cleary brothers from Harvard.

This month’s roll call: Thanks to Dave Shanno, who keeps track of these things, I can report the passing last March of Walter Skernolis, who spent three years in New Haven with our class, and then, for a long list of reasons, went off to the Army and then returned to graduate with the class of 1966. Wally lived in Annapolis for half a century, and worked for Kennecott Copper. Dave makes a good point in his note to me: The passing of men who started with one class and finished with another are often lost track of by both, so if you know of anyone who fits that category, let me know.

Charles Buss died peacefully in his sleep, of cancer, in September in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Charles grew up in the Cleveland area and, except for Yale and Michigan law school, never really left, serving as a probate officer in the trust department of the Cleveland Trust Co. for 40-some years. He gave generously of his time, resources, and voice (in the choir) to Christ Episcopal Church in Shaker Heights, was father to three children and two stepchildren, traveled widely, sailed on Lake Erie, and collected all sorts of stuff, including a Model A Ford.

Don Menken died in September at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut. Born in Nutley, New Jersey, and educated at Montclair Academy, Don worked first for Merrill Lynch, then, brandishing his BS from Yale, embarked on a 30-year career with IBM, retiring in 1993 after working for the company in Poughkeepsie, Austin, and finally Connecticut. His passion for computer programming continued well into retirement. His wife, Karen Kover, predeceased him; he is survived by two daughters.