Our 45th reunion was a source of great pride for the Class of 1960, because the keynote speaker for the entire alumni body was our own Jerry Post. Jerry, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and political science at George Washington University, has written six well-received books on subjects ranging from the psychopathology of political leaders to the origin and perpetuation of terrorism. Many of us had already been familiar with his thinking not only from his books, but also from his numerous appearances on cable TV.
On Friday afternoon Jerry spoke eloquently and unsettlingly about the rapid propagation and intensification of terrorism. His talk, subtitled “When Hatred Is Bred Into the Bone,” highlighted the bitter irony that our political leaders are confidently adopting bellicose policies that are only making the phenomenon worse. The fact that there are no panaceas and that terrorism will be with us for generations to come was deeply troubling to the audience; this struck us as the mark of a highly successful talk.
The festivities continued into the evening. During the clambake, which seems to get more delicious each time, we began to unwind and renew our old friendships. There was general agreement that the finalists for the Obscenely Young Forever category were Gerald Cimmino, Neil Cooper and Sue Kleeman. By virtue of his continued stature as basketball star, Lanny Ames was charitably awarded honorable mention. Moreover, Cooper had lost so much weight that no one recognized him. We suspected they were all plants from the Class of 1990. However, the rest of us all looked so fit and terrific that no one really envied them, except for Kleeman. The Most Eloquent Award went to Bob Wallach, whose brave and moving reminiscences brought many of us to tears.
On Saturday we were all pleased by Dean Alpern’s talk. It seemed engaged, thoughtful, serious and leaderly. We were persuaded that our school is in very good hands and will retain its outstanding rank for years to come.
But the pièce de résistance was, as always, the Saturday evening dinner at the Lawn Club. The tone was set by class agent Tom Kugelman, who reported that our class had contributed more than any other reunion class to the Annual Fund. This was due in large measure to one extremely large gift from Eric Kindwall, who spoke movingly of what Yale had meant to him.
And so did the rest of us. We all got up in turn and gave accounts of ourselves and our lives. One common thread was that in many different ways, even for those of us who felt we had not thrived within the Yale System and had not been happy here, the Yale experience had somehow defined us—or more accurately, had helped us define ourselves—and helped us become what we are today. We discovered that on our first day of school each of us had been convinced that Yale had made a mistake in admitting us, and that each of us was convinced that he or she was the only one who felt that way. And over time we discovered that each of us had been wrong. That’s quite a tribute to Art Ebbert and the late Tom Forbes—not to mention all the rest of our splendid faculty.
Jerry led us in observing a brief silence in honor of our deceased classmates: Ormond Brody, Tom Carson, Stan Chung, Dave Dunn, Mal Golden, Irv Guttenberg, Arthur Martin, Kent Morest, Mike Moynihan, Ross Snyder, John St. Andre and Brian Welch.
Present at this extraordinary occasion were Vic and Laura Altshul, Lanny Ames, Neil and Teresa Cooper, Jon and Carol Courtney, Jim and Kitty Eustermann, Gene Gaenslen, Jim Gilman, Bill Kaden, Eric Kindwall, Sue Kleeman, Tom and Alice Kugelman,Tom Lau, Bob Marcus and friend Vie Simons, Al and Barbara Newcomb, Tom and Danielle Okin, Fred and Ruth Palace, Jerry and Carolyn Post, Nancy and Bill Powell, Buzz Robinson, Al Ross and friend Jane Semmons, Dan and Lina Rubin, John and Suzanne Schrogie, Bob and Judy Wallach, May and George Wang, and Ron Yankee. Present in spirit was Malin Dollinger, who had intended to come before his wife, Lenore’s, sudden illness and who sent a warm and moving account of his recent life.
Victor A. Altshul