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Class of 1961: 50th reunion

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2011 - Spring


It was a beautiful weekend in New Haven—much as was the weather when our class graduated some 50 years ago.

Specific activities for our class reunion began about a year earlier as I made every effort to ferret out all the members of our class on a dual mission—increase awareness and attendance at the reunion, and fulfill my role as the class agent for fundraising. The final stats on the latter are not in, but I have been told that our class has broken all prior records for the total sum raised in the five-year period leading to the reunion. Thanks to all who contributed. We did not break the record for the percentage of class members who contributed—but we came close!!! In the course of the year I spoke to almost all of the extant members of the class, and also came to gather the data on the group of us that started out in September 1957, as members of the Class of 1961.

At the all-class luncheon on Saturday we tried to identify all the members of the half-class photo that appears to have been taken in the then brand new auditorium in the Sterling Hall of Medicine in 1961. None of us could recall why the photo was taken nor why only half of the class was included. Collectively we were able to identify all who were pictured. Maybe someone who reads this report can come up with the reason why only half the class was included.

On Saturday afternoon we had a mini-seminar in the Boyer Building—a “new building” adjacent to what I think is the oldest of the current buildings of the YSM campus, the Hope Memorial Building. The speakers included John Fenn on the SVC-RPA shunt development, and others who offered remembrances of William Glenn. Vin Marchesi recalled his and Sally’s days abroad and then came a discussion of the pathology of Alzheimer disease and the status of current research. Chris Durham spoke about the evolution of vascular grafts for replacement of the aorta. Don Young spoke about his experiences and the legal status of who gets the credit for drug innovation. Frank Top spoke on the process of bringing an idea for a new drug from the concept process to the market. Bob Taub spoke on the development of chemotherapy for cancer and the prospects for directed therapy in the future. Dave Brook did not answer the question on “should we win the battle against ‘recreational drugs’ ”—but by presenting the data he left it to us to provide the answer. Anoush Miridjanian discussed the changed and changing role of the internist. And John Woodward wound things up with a manifesto on universal health care in the style of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

We had a break in the sequence of the talks when Dean Alpern came for a scheduled half hour to talk with us—which ran into 45 minutes as he answered some concerned questions about the plans for Yale system, the size of the class in years to come, and financial support of the faculty for teaching.

The seminar ran well over the scheduled time—but no one seemed to mind—and we had an unscheduled few minutes for reflection as we recalled our deceased classmates: Stephen C. Cary, Robert Alan Doyle, George Fedden, James M. Giffin, Robert Sterling Gillcash, John L. Howland, Warren Mead Jones, Richard L. Keefe, Robert Isaac Levy, Joseph Richard Lusby, Sally Lockwood Marchesi, Norman Moss, Roland D. Paegle, John Curtis Parker, John Pearce Jr., Larry Pearlman, Bruce C. Robinson, Peter Bent Brigham, Northrup Wallace, John J. St. Andre, and David E. Weaver.

Collectively, we also recalled some of those who started with us but who left the school: Charlie Gibbs (M.D., University of Kentucky,’64), Joel Greenblatt, Dave Groth, Roger Herman, Ph.D., Ruth Lapovsky, Ph.D., Al Mattern, Joseph McDaniel, and Stuart Silver.

The Class Dinner was preceded by drinks and hors d’oeuvres on a delightful open air balcony and then dinner, all in the Boyer Center. Those present for the reunion included Eddie and Gail Gilbert (who had to leave Saturday morning—I was sorry to have missed seeing them), Ken and Anne Arndt, Earl Baker, Jack Barchas, Dave and Judy Brook, Chris and Sue Durham,John and Natalie Fenn, Tom Kirsch, Ellen Levy, Vin Marchesi, Dave Matloff, Anoush Miridjanian, Bill and Melva Rogoway, Charlie and Suzanne Sachatello, Bob Taub, Hugh and Allyn Thompson, Frank and Lois Top, Warren and Myra Widmann, John and Dorothy Woodward, and Don and Alice Young. We especially missed those who through personal or spousal illness, family event conflicts, reunion anathema, or “whatever” could not attend, but who sent regards which were given to those present. Regards were extended from Al Bechtoldt, Bob Briggs via Joyce, Larry Chiaramonte, Orson Dee, Paul Dieter, Ralph DePonte, Ron Dierwechter, Jon Dorman, Wayne Downey, Dave Dreyer, Phil Felig, Norbie Fleisig, Dave Griffith, Walter Hierholzer, Lou Hunt, Bernie Kosto, Paul Leand, Marguerite Stein Lederberg, Bob Livingston, Elaine Liebesman Pitt, Roy Ronke, Tom Sakoda, Stan Shade, John Weil, and Murray Witner.

The dinner was not memorable for the food but was very memorable for the company as various members of the class gave humorous remembrances of our days at Yale School of Medicine.

Apologies in advance if I missed any classmates in this report. We have collectively seen a lifetime of medicine, changes not anticipated, and now a passing of the baton. YSM remains brick and mortar—we have been fortunate to have attended Yale and having been a part of its life. To this observer, the future of YSM is even brighter than it was in 1961!!!!

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