Alumni Notes: March/April 2021

I am embarrassed to admit that there is precious little to report this time around. The virus seems to have had a soporific effect, at least insofar as it has inhibited communication between you and yours truly—in addition to restricting travel, which means fewer bulletins regarding exotic vacations, new ventures in retirement, sightings of classmates, etc. etc., all important grist for these columns. The upside, of course, has been a welcome calming of the national discourse, following the election of Joe Biden, and the retirement to Florida of his volcanic predecessor.

As I began this column, just a week after the January 20 inauguration, I received from Phil Kopper in Washington a note saying that he was grateful, at last, to wake up in the morning unafraid to hear news of another political or cultural explosion, and that a sense of relative calm, indeed happiness, had descended upon the nation’s capital. The estimable columnist David Brooks, the featured speaker at our 60th reunion, writing in the aftermath of the invasion of the capitol and Biden’s inaugural, put the matter thusly: “We’ve been through an emotional hailstorm over the last four years. Suddenly the sky has cleared. It’s possible America may emerge from this trauma more transformed than we can imagine.”

Regardless of who’s in charge of the nation’s destiny, the business of the Class of 1959 proceeds. The class council met via Zoom in December. On the call were zoom master Al Atherton, Terry Combs, Ben Gertz, Charlie Griffith, Ed Greenberg, Austin Hoyt, JimPender, Herb Rule, Bill Waldorf, Sandy Wiener, and Class Secretary Joe Staley. The council discussed the great success of the 1959 Hopper College Fund for Excellence, which enables undergraduates to pursue research projects that would otherwise be beyond their reach financially, as well as a separate endowed Summer Service Fellowship. More about these ventures, which will continue, can be found on our class website, There you will also find the link to a remarkable group of contributions to Sandy’s “Life Stories” project.

Two bits of news, and two obituaries. David Miller, one half of the legendary Miller twins (the other one interviewed my daughter for Harvard), writes to say that he and his wife Trudy live in retirement in a Baltimore condominium north of the Johns Hopkins campus. David, who returned to Yale to attend the now-renamed forestry school, had an exceptional career in conservation, including efforts to save Chesapeake Bay. What we shared in common was not only respect for environmental values; we had both taken a Directed Studies course under Dick Bernstein, one of Yale’s great teachers, and we both rose up in fury when Dick was denied tenure, costing Yale a fine philosophy teacher who later had fruitful careers at Haverford and the New School. The Millers’ daughter, Jeanette, is chief of the ICU unit at Johns Hopkins Howard County Hospital, where she has managed critically ill patients during the pandemic. “I am bragging,” David says, “proud of it, and she deserves it.”

Also on the medical front, David Pleasure remains a professor at Shriners Hospital at the UC–Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento. David is researching a rare disorder called Canavan’s disease and consults in neurology at the university. He stays in touch with Dan Morgan, who also lives in Davis.

Edward W. (Ted) Lollis died in December in Knoxville, Tennessee. A geology major, he had an epiphany in India on a research trip, realizing that he “preferred people to rocks,” and joined the federal government as a career foreign service officer. He became an expert in Sub-Saharan Africa, and postings included Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, London, and Paris, with multiple assignments in Washington. With a passion for geography and monuments, he later owned a map gallery and travel center in Washington’s Union Station. He is survived by his wife, Schera Chadwick, of Knoxville, and a daughter, Cynthia.

Norland Berk reports that Aaron Krosnick passed away in November, from a head injury sustained in a fall. His friends at Yale will remember him as an excellent violinist, occasional concertmaster with the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and violinist in chamber music concerts in Silliman’s common room. After further studies at Juilliard, Yale, the University of Wisconsin, and in Europe, he carved out a career as concertmaster with the Jacksonville Symphony and as teacher of violin and chamber music coach at Jacksonville University. He also recorded with his wife Mary Lou, a pianist he had met at Yale and married in Branford Chapel and who was his partner for half a century. He leaves Mary Lou, a son, Wes, and a universe of musician friends and grateful students.