Thirteen years ago a second-year student asked his classmates to join him in a fund-raising activity in which he’d participated as an undergraduate at Haverford College. Now that activity, the Hunger and Homelessness Auction, has become a tradition at the medical school, growing from a one-day affair to a flurry of activities spread over several days, including a football game, a dinner and a silent auction with hundreds of offerings. This year the auction raised $32,225 for seven organizations in New Haven.
The first auction in 1994 netted $3,500 and had far fewer activities, recalled Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, M.D. ’97, who organized it. “The silent auction,” he said, “was just two tables.” Meyerhardt, now at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, returned to Yale in November to relate the history of the auction. Some things don’t change, he said in a subsequent interview. William B. Stewart, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy, is still auctioning off his trademark bowtie, and Frank J. Bia, M.D., M.P.H., FW ’79, professor of medicine and laboratory medicine, is still called upon, as he was this year, to serve as an auctioneer. Richard Belitsky, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, shared this year’s auctioneering chores.
Items on the block included, as in past years, weekends in faculty vacation homes, meals at restaurants or faculty homes, baby-sitting services, rides in planes and on yachts, various types of lessons (language, sports, music, art) and lots and lots of food items. Perhaps the most unusual offering, with a starting price of 50 cents, came from second-year student Maggie Hatcher: “Former rugby champ will tackle you three times this year when you least expect it.” Her offer netted $50 from a bidder who preferred to remain anonymous.