Alumni Notes: January/February 2017

Our annual crack-of-dawn class council meeting at Calhoun College in November, nicely orchestrated by Joe Staley, produced a positive financial statement from Ben Gertz (despite reunion expenses,we are comfortably in the black), a report on the successful Seattle mini-reunion by one of its organizers, Charlie Nolan, a rundown on the myriad summer projects of this year’s recipients of grants from the Class of ’59 Fund for Excellence, a presentation from two Calhoun undergraduates, and, most instructive of all, a report from Weili Cheng, the new executive director of the Association of Yale Alumni, who kindly accepted Joe’s invitation to fill us in on doings at Yale.

Ms. Cheng quickly summarized the AYA’s many local and regional activities, praising in particular the robust network of career-related interest groups created by her predecessor. But to me the most interesting thing she had to say was that there was an increasing awareness among Yale’s senior leadership that many alumni felt divorced from Yale, and were genuinely mystified if not (in some cases) alarmed by what seemed to be y recurrent unrest among the undergraduates as well as widespread incivility and intolerance for Yale’s tradition of free speech. One of the chief problems, as she saw it, was a failure to give alumni a clear picture of the reasons for the unrest, leaving many in the dark, and that one of her top priorities, in addition to her own efforts to improve communication with the alumni, was to persuade senior Yale people to do the same. One result was a long letter from her to the alumni, last summer, followed by another in the fall from President Salovey. Nobody was forced to open those emails, but many thousands of alumni did. She found this encouraging, and so did I…

The Princeton game that followed resulted in yet another defeat for Yale’s banged-up gladiators, but this was softened by a warm post-game party at Bobbi and Charlie Griffith’s historic farmhouse in the hills above Woodbridge. The following weekend’s spectacular upset of Harvard in Cambridge provided further consolation, in fact consigning the Princeton outcome to ancient history, while causing yours truly and the rest of the faithful like Herb Hallas to re-up for another year at the Bowl.

Ed Greenberg pointed out to me that my list of the Whiffs who attended the Seattle mini-reunion omitted one important voice, that belonging to Larry Krakoff. Apologies! That makes nine Whiffs altogether.

Some short notes: Fred Cowles dreams fondly of Florida and sunnier climes but his wife Tina, who positively revels in snow, skating and skiing, keeps him firmly grounded in South Salem, N.Y., where he busies himself with thinning hat he says is an enormous forest of law-firm billing records, college textbooks, class notes like these, and old issues of the travel section of the New York Times. We should all do this. David Dorset, formerly of Weems, Va., has moved to Shreveport, La., to be closer to his daughter and her family. Peter Pastreich, who has been in the arts management business for more than half a century, including 21 years as executive director of the San Francisco Symphony, and before that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, is at it again. Beginning in mid-August, he became interim executive director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco . He says it is his first gig managing theaters rather than orchestras.

The roll call this month:

Robert Bruce Grimm passed away in Vermont in August. Bruce grew up on Lond Island, where he lived for many years. He spent his career in the paper manufacturing industry, and. after retiring from the MidAmrica Packaging Company, moved with his wife Doris to Venice, Fl., where he played golf and participated actively in civic life. .In 2010 he moved to Vermont to be close to his grandchildren. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Donald Glencross Blodgett died in June at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough. A Maine lifer, he was born in Portland attended Deering High School, married Nancy-Ann Patterson in South Portland worked for the Fairchild Semiconductor Company as an accountant for 32 years. He wasa reliable and energetic members of local hospital and theater boards.