Class Notes

Welcome to the new website for the class of ’54. This new website offers classmates the opportunity to include comments but there is so much spam on the internet that if you wish to comment please send an email to and it will be posted.

A “Yale Class of 1954” Facebook listing has been established where classmates can upload comments, pictures and references to other websites of interest.

Early-bird class notes from Russ Reynolds, class secretary.
Read them here first!
600 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, Ct 06830

Class of 1954 Notes for September/October 2017

As you all know, we are having a mini-reunion of the Class of 1954 in London October 22nd – 27th. The brief itinerary is as follows:

Sunday, October 22nd – Arrivals, Welcome Dinner

Monday, October 23rd – Private guided tour of the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey

Tuesday, October 24th – Option 1 – clipper boat ride to Greenwich – Royal Astrological Observatory, Naval Museum, Art Museum and the Cutty Sark ship, Option 2 –  coach transportation to Portsmouth to visit the Mary Rose and Mary Rose Museum, along with HMS Victory.

Wednesday, October 25th – Guided tours of the Imperial War Room and Churchill War Rooms

Thursday, October 26th – day at leisure, farewell dinner

Friday, October 27th – Departure

 A number of classmates and spouses, as well as widows have registered. We hope you are joining the group for five days of sightseeing and general camaraderie in a great setting in one of the world’s most exciting cities. We hope to see you in London! It is not too late to register. Contact me at or Ted Armbrecht at to register.

Dan Swisher was kind enough to point out to me that in a previous edition of the class notes I referred to his wife with the wrong name. Dan is still married to Senta and they are great. Sorry for the error, Senta!

Mason Willrich has been researching and writing a book, Modernizing America’s Electricity Infrastructure, that will be released in September and is available for advance purchase from Amazon. The book develops a comprehensive strategy for modernizing our aging electric infrastructure end-to-end, while ensuring affordable, reliable, secure, and environmentally sustainable electricity services.

 Leonard Marx reported that he and his wife decided to buy a condo in downtown Greenwich in order to “simplify their lives”, but after they bought it and got serious about moving, decided not to, and stayed where they had been, figuring that the move might further complicate their lives! Smart people! Len and Sylvia have traveled extensively on “Silver Whisper”, and also enjoyed various trips in the Caribbean.

George Langworthy reported that he traveled to Germany for his son George Jr.’s wedding, as the bride’s home town is a small town in Bavaria. The church where they wedding took place was constructed in 1593, and the reception was held at Castle Neuburg on the Kammel, a 15th century castle.

Please pass on your news, no matter how big or small, for the Class Notes. Everyone is interested in what we are all doing.

Anneliese Meyer informed me that her husband, John W. Meader, Jr. passed away on July 26, 2016, in Illinois, after 36 years of marriage.

 Irving Jensen phoned me to say that his beloved wife Carolyn “Tigger” passed away on June 12th after a very long illness, in Sioux City, Iowa. Tigger, given her nickname for her energetic nature as a child, lived up to her moniker as an active member of her community, serving as president of the Clark Elementary School PTA, president of PEO Chapter LD, president of Portfolio Book Club, and president of Questers Antique Study Club. Tigger also was on the board of the Sioux City Art Center, Girl Scouts, was part of the Peace Project to beautify Sioux City by planting trees, an active member of the Junior League, and was instrumental in bringing the Freedom Train to Sioux City. She was a longtime member of the Okoboji Yacht Club and a champion Y class sailor. Tigger had been a longtime member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church and was currently a member of First Presbyterian Church. For her dedication to her community, Tigger was awarded an honorary doctorate from Morningside College in Sioux City in May 2011.

George Ervin Lamb died in Seattle on April 3, 2017. He attended Yale University on a four-year scholarship and upon graduation went to work for the California Division of Highways as a civil engineer. He was drafted in 1955 and served 21 months in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, teaching at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia and then serving as an Engineering Intelligence Research Specialist for the Army Map Service in Washington D.C.  George worked as a soils engineer for Brown & Root Overseas in Guatemala for 2.5 years, then for the Foundation Test Service in Washington, D.C. and then at a succession of engineering and soils firms in the Seattle area where he built a reputation for high character, deep expertise and honesty. He eventually owned and managed Cascade Geotechnical, a soils engineering outfit in Totem Lake that employed several dozen. The smoothness of countless local highways serves as quiet attestation to his work ethic and high standards.

After retiring, he continued to work as a consultant and expert witness all over the western states. He played a major role in tunnel construction for the Metro Red Line in Los Angeles in the 1990’s and worked on the upgrade of the Panama Canal. His car was easy to locate in a parking lot, due to the Canal Zone hardhat he always kept ready on the parcel shelf under the back window.

S. Lee Miller passed away in Barrington, Rhode Island on May 29th. He pursued a career in trust banking, in Florida, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and was an active member of the Barrington Congregational Church for over 45 years, working on many committees.

George Rowland Wislar died in Georgia on May 30, 2017. George served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Captain, and completed his MBA at Harvard Business School. George worked at Kidder Peabody in New York, then the Robinson Humphrey Company in Atlanta. He co-founded the National Data Corporation, and spent thirty years in the corporate and private sectors, implementing his leadership skills, spearheading new companies and boosting performance of long established firms. George played on the Varsity Golf team at Yale, was a member of the Marine Corps Golf Team and was a member of  Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta for thirty years. He became a member of Augusta National Golf Club in 1971, where he served for over forty years as Chairman of the Practice Tee Committee for the Masters Tournament.

Willis Carl Bill Kellogg died on May 31st in Concord, Massachusetts. He was awarded a doctorate in Applied Physics in 1966 by Harvard University. He worked as an engineer at MITRE, Lincoln Laboratory, Raytheon, Teledyne Brown Engineering, and SenCom Engineering, as well as on the consulting side for NASA and various small engineering companies. During a two year assignment on Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, he commuted by plane every day to the island of Roi Numur, working on the TRADEX radar, which tracked test missile reentry vehicles launched from California. He was later part of the team at Raytheon that designed and tested the communications systems  for the Precision Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System and Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radars on Cape Cod, in Greenland and Yorkshire.

John A. Creatura died on June 3rd in Westport. John was a graduate of Fairfield Prep, of Yale College and of the Yale School of Medicine. He served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1969, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He spent his medical career with Bridgeport Radiology Associates and retired as Chief of Nuclear Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital. 

Robert Michael Kliment died on June 3rd in New York. Born in Prague in 1933, Robert was one of several hundred children whom the humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton brought to safety in England during the Second World War. After serving with the U.S. Army in Europe, he returned to Yale to complete his M.Arch in 1959, and upon graduation won a Fulbright Fellowship to study the history and evolution of urban spaces in Italy. He joined Mitchell/Giurgola in 1960 as the firm’s first full-time staff member, and later opened their New York office. In 1972 he founded Kliment Halsband Architects with his wife Frances.

Prominent works on which he was the principal designer include the computer science buildings at Princeton and Columbia, the renovation of the Yale Divinity School, and federal courthouses in Brooklyn, New York, and Gulfport, Mississippi.

 In addition to his practice as an architect, Robert was a member of the faculty at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, and was a visiting professor at Harvard, MIT, North Carolina State University, Rice, and the University of Virginia.

Class of 1954 Notes for July/August 2017 issue of YAM

May 9, 2017

Dear Classmates,

I hope everyone is aware of the fact that the Class of 1954 will have a mini-reunion in London from October 22nd through 27th this year. We will be headquartered at the beautiful Goring Hotel, which is terrific, yet not overpriced, with interesting lunches, trips and dinners planned throughout the week. Ted Armbrecht has been very busy putting together an outstanding program, all or parts of which everyone will find of interest. I hope you will make every effort to join us in this once in a lifetime experience. It should be great. By now you should have received our letter with the details. If you need more information, please contact Ted Armbrecht at or me at

The Class Council will meet in New York at the Links Club on Thursday, November 16th at 4:00 pm, followed by dinner with spouses and significant others. Lunch will also be served in the Class of 1954 Skybox, followed by a reception at the Smilow Field House following the Harvard – Yale game on Saturday, November 18th. Please plan to attend.

Here is the sad part of our notes, about some great classmates who had great lives!

Bobo Dean died on February 16th in Washington, D.C. Bobo graduated from Yale Law School in 1961 and attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Bobo Dean practiced law in Washington, DC since 1965. His practice was primarily in the representation of Indian tribal governments. In 1982 he was a founding partner of the firm Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Wilder (now Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker). Over a legal career of over 50 years, Bobo represented Native American tribes including the Miccosukee, Seminoles, Navajo, Mohicans, Oglala Sioux and Mississippi Band of Choctaw as well as various tribes and tribal organizations in Alaska including the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation and the Norton Sound Health Corporation. Bobo was particularly proud of the close to 50 years he spent advising the Metlakatla Indian Community in Southeast Alaska, including the advocacy he provided that ensured that the Tribe retained its full sovereign authority when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was enacted.

John Derby Adams died on March 8th in Suffield after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1959. Except for several years when he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut beginning in 1963, he was engaged in the private practice of law, first in solo practice and since 1983 partnered with his daughter at Adams & Eliason. John served as the Town Attorney for the Town of Enfield from 1967 to 1977, and in 1977 was appointed by Governor Ella Grasso as a Hearing Officer for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.  John was an avid fan of the Pirates, Steelers, Patriots, Whalers and UConn men and women’s basketball teams, loved to travel and take photographs, and sang with the Enfield Community Chorus, the Notarians and the Beethoven Chorus.

Charles Marshall Reagle, Jr. died in Duluth on March 13th. He served in the U.S. Army in France during the Korean War, and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He spent his professional career in the advertising and marketing field, retiring on 1990 as Director of Marketing, Planning and Research for Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri. He enjoyed his retirement in the mountains of North Carolina and on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth.

Paul Pesek reported that Dick Harris died on March 15th.  Dick had a great passion for golf and jazz, and always enjoyed a good martini.  He loved painting and writing, authoring four books. He spent many years in the family business, B.W. Harris Mfg. Upon retiring he created a golf catalogue of unique gift items. He served on numerous boards; USGA Museum Committee, Pres. MN Golf Assoc., Outward Bound and rotary member. His only regret was he never had a hole in one!

Major General William Reed Usher died on March 28th in Arlington, VA. During his distinguished 31-year military career, General Usher served in a broad range of Air Force, Joint Staff, and command positions. He flew over 100 combat missions in the F4-C aircraft with the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing in Vietnam, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Air Medal. He served as aide to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force and to two Secretaries of the Air Force. In later assignments, he was Chief USAF Mission to the Republic of Turkey, and Commander, USAF Technical Training Center at Lowry AB, Denver CO. He earned an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1960, was a member of the Cosmos Club, the Chevy Chase Club, and the Royal Air Force Club, London. He was an avid traveler, skier, and cook and he had a life-long fascination with trains of all types.

General Usher had a successful career in business following his retirement from the military in 1985. He was a senior executive with the Lockheed Martin Corp. and was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Core Software Technology. In his later years, he was a consultant to senior leadership in the Pentagon and US Intelligence Community on national security matters.

Robert Sabath Katz died in March in Illinois. He was the former President and Co-Owner of Superior Tanning Company, a family owned business, and former Managing Partner of Summit Associates.

Philip Aldrich Drinker died on April 10th in New Hampshire. He earned a PhD from MIT in 1961 and set up the Division of Biomedical Engineering at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1965, where his research focused on artificial organs, in particular the heart/lung machine. He served as Chief of the department from 1975 until his retirement in 1990. After retirement he worked at Hood Labs for several years, studying airway morphology using acoustics. His hobbies included woodworking, playing the French horn, ski patrolling, disking behind his lobster boat, summers on Somes Sound in Maine, and playing guitar.

John Allen Richmond died in Florida on April 11, 2017. He worked for Remington Arms before joining General American Transportation in New York, and later oversaw the company’s operation in Cleveland, Ohio. While in Cleveland, he was approached and joined the firm of Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, until retiring in 1995. John moved to Amelia Island, Florida, after retirement where he enjoyed sailing and racing Tartan 10 sailboats as well as golf. He was also a licensed fix wing aircraft pilot.

Kindly contact your class Secretary at any time with news to report about yourself, your family, friends in our class, etc. We have many great classmates, all of whom love to keep in contact with each other, so please communicate!

Russ Reynolds, Secretary

Class of 1954 Notes for May/June 2017 Issue

March 10, 2017

Bill Bernhard reports that he goes to Palm Beach from time to time and gets together with the Johnsons, Bullocks and other classmates.  Palm Beach is becoming a mecca for so many of us, especially if you live in Connecticut!  Bill reports that he and his cousins recently published a beautiful book called Lots of Lehmans, about their family.  Unfortunately it is privately printed, but if you’re nice to Bill he might show you a copy of it.

For those of you who prefer a drier climate, there is always Palm Desert and environs in the California desert!  This year, at least three classmates were detected in the area, including Joel and Joan Smilow, Dan and Kitya Swisher, and Russ and Debbie Reynolds. The area is filled with interesting attractions, starting with golf, but adding World-Class museums, theaters, concerts, hiking etc.”

Peter N. Smith of Old Lyme died December 30th in Farmington.  He was a friend of Carl Loucks and a fellow member of the Madison Lawn Bowling Club with him.  Peter served in the U.S. Army in Frankfurt, Germany from 1957-1957.  He had a long career in the finance industry as an analyst and portfolio manager beginning at White Weld & Company in New York in 1957 and retired from Anchor Capital Advisors in Boston in 1998 as a senior vice president, portfolio manager.  He resided in Greenwich from 1969-1990 and then Boston from 1990 to 2008.  Peter became a summer resident of Old Lyme in 1998, and continued to spend a month each summer in Madison with his family until recently.

Dr. Anthony Ernest Stefanelli, 84, passed away on January 12, 2017 in Broward County, Florida.  He attended Yale on a football scholarship and continued his studies at Downstate College of Medicine, where he completed his medical degree in 1958.  Dr. Stefanelli held a private office for his practice of orthopedics in Bloomfield, N.J. for 40 years, from 1962 until 2002.  He held certification with The Board of Orthopedic Surgeons throughout his career and held various leadership positions at the several hospitals in New Jersey.  He was a full-time resident of New Jersey until 1986, when he became a resident of Broward County, Florida.

Christopher Forster died on January 31stTom McLane noted that Chris was a distant cousin of his through his mother’s Hamilton Fish side, and, growing up in Garrison would often tease Tom that he spent more time in Lenia, his grandmother’s summer place, than Tom did.  Chris spent his entire professional career as an insurance broker and Managing Director with Marsh & McLennan Companies. For his unwavering dedication and involvement in Yale and the Class of 1954, he was awarded the Yale Medal in 2004. He was a loyal member and former president of The Yale Club of New York City and The Phelps Association.  In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Christopher A. Forster Yale College Class of 1954 Scholarship Fund, c/o Yale University.

Ricardo Arias Calderon died on February 13th.  He was Vice President of Panama under President Guillermo Endara after Manuel Noriega left office.

Robert Eells Nettleton died on February 14th at home in Clinton, CT.  He received his MBA from Northwestern University and worked as a mortgage banker at Lomas & Nettleton Co. in New Haven.  He taught Real Estate and Property Management, and was on the President’s Advisory Council for the Small Business Administration.  Robert lived in Cheshire for many years before moving to Clinton, and was active in several choral groups.

Hugo E. “Ted” Braun died on February 8th in Saginaw, Michigan.  A lifelong resident of Saginaw, he attended the University of Michigan Law School  and practiced law for 57 years at Braun Kendrick.  He was active in many civic and charitable organizations, was a Director on a number of corporate boards and received numerous awards, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saginaw Valley State University.

Jane Hiers, wife of Dick Hiers for 63 years, passed away on December 1, 2016.  Jane was an alumna of Maury High School in Norfolk and Bucknell University.  In the 1950s, she worked in Washington, D.C. for the American Psychological Association, and the CIO, and later in New Haven, Connecticut as a research assistant to Professor Roland Bainton at Yale Divinity School, and as a social worker in New Haven public housing.

From Dick: Jane and I were married nearly 63 wonderful years.  The wedding was in Battell Chapel, January 30, 1954, performed by Sidney Lovett (Uncle Sid) and Professor Robert Calhoun (with whom Jane had connected when he visited Bucknell).  Luther Noss, University Organist, with whose choir I had sung, contributed marvelous hymns and anthems.  Bill Brown was my “best man” and several other classmates participated in the proceedings, including Dick Gregory, Roland Smith, Johnny Richmond, John Carr and the “two Georges” (Jacoby and Spaeth).

The wedding took place under somewhat unusual circumstances:  In order to punish Yale students appropriately for what he deemed the outrageous snowball riot that took place along Elm Street near the end of the fall semester, President Griswold decreed that no women guests were to be allowed on the camps for several weeks — which period included the date of our wedding, which necessarily involved the presence of many women guests.  Mr. Griswold then went incommunicado (probably in Bermuda).  To the rescue, came Dean Buck, who was both Branford College Master (if that title may still be mentioned), and also University Provost.  Cutting the story short, he assured us that the interdict would not apply to our guests, and all went well.  So I completed senior year, and began married life with Jane in a third floor attic apartment at 14 Lincoln Street, just two half blocks from the Lincoln Theater.

Russ Reynolds, Secretary

Class of 1954 Notes for March/April 2017 issue

Peter Millard and Polly Espy were married at St. James Church, New York City, November 19th, 2016.  Hugh Millard, ’87, is Peter’s son.

Our creative and highly intelligent classmate Wiz Arndt recently wrote a wonderful book called “Wizdom” Memos: Thoughts Observations, Bits of Advice on Life.  It is well organized, well printed, and attractively put together.  I think it is a must read for any of us who need to give good advice to friends, family or others.  The book can be purchased easily on by searching for “Wizdom” memos.  It’s 228 pages and only $14.95.  I suggest getting several copies to have on hand to give as the occasions arise!

Jim Shelburne writes that he is retired, wobbly, playing doubles tennis, is sickened by the political morass, but healthy enough.  He travels to Paris for 4-5 months a year and loves it.  He goes to Italy for language lessons each year in the fall while in Paris.  Replacement parts get the attention of the airport detectors.  His wife of 55 years, Jaqueline, is healthy and helps him up when he falls.  He is no fan of Hillary Clinton but dislikes Trump.

Peter Shears, Jr. writes that his major outside interest keeping him “young” is being Board of Trustees President for two schools of 700 and 525 pupils.

Joe Gromults asked me to share the following note: “I am not a frequent letter writer or complainer.  To understand the reasons for my current stance you have to have walked in my shoes going back to my youth, circumstances, family situation, and geographics.  No silver spoon background.  Depression-era industrial community.  Poverty.  Then admission to Yale (a dream come true).  Scholarship aid.  A genuine chance to improve my status and my future.  I appreciated Yale for the opportunity they were providing.  Then Medical School, post-graduate training at a major hospital, voluntary military service, and finally private practice in a great community.  I owe all this to the doors Yale opened for me.  I do not see this grateful attitude reflected in the recent Yale situations.  Nor is there any sense of character exemplified.  That bothers me… a lot.”

Berel Lang reported that he has just had a book published, Genocide: The Act as Idea, (University of Pennsylvania Press).

I received a letter from Cynthia Mariani, Recording Secretary of Yale, reporting that the Class of 1954 President’s Discretionary Fund is helping Yale improve the world through outstanding research, scholarship, education, preservation and practice. As of June 30, 2016, the market value of the fund was $4,530,423, and spendable income was $206,155.  New gifts since June 30th total $127,500.

We were recently notified that Nat Spear of New York, passed away on May 22, 2013, at his home in Manhattan. He was 82. Nat earned an M.A. from Columbia University in 1966. An art lover and collector of antiques, Nat had a great love of languages and word games, and he was an avid reader. A world traveler since a very young age, he continued going on lengthy road trips around Europe with his wife, and they visited Paris at least twice a year.

 Bill Jarrett was kind enough to send me the obituary of Kirk Rodgers, which was previously reported.  Bill and Kirk were classmates at Gilman before going to Yale.  They reconnected at our 50th reunion after a long hiatus and became close friends after that.  That’s one of the reasons we have reunions!

 James Michael Burt died on October 17th in Alabama.  He was proud to be a founding member of Beaux Arts Krewe and Chairman of Birmingham Civic Ballet  while living in Birmingham.  He resided in San Francisco, Birmingham, Palm Beach, New York and London, all the while in each place he listened to his beloved team, Auburn.

 Tom McLane informed me that Jim McClellan died on November 15th in Hilton Head after a long illness.  An avid and accomplished tennis and squash player, he was a terrific guy who, after Yale spent a couple of years in the army in Germany, worked at Citibank and Continental Can, and, since 1984, he was very active in real estate in Hilton Head.

John B. Friauf died on November 16th in Bakersfield, California.  He served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1954 to 1957 and worked in manufacturing management positions in several states, Singapore and England.  He was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church wherever he lived and sang in the choir at every church he attended.  He married his high school sweetheart in 1999 after meeting her again at their 50th high school reunion.

Malcolm Richard “Dick” Specht died on December 14th in Flat Rock, North Carolina.  He worked as a research physicist at Eastman Kodak for more than 30 years and was instrumental in the development of many imaging technologies.  He also served in the Navy in both active duty and reserve service, and retired with the rank of Captain.  Malcom was active in his church, was a Boy Scout Troop Master for several years, and volunteered many hours at the St. Andrews Food Pantry in Rochester.

Leigh Quinn informed me that Thruston Ballard Morton died in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 3rd after an illness.  He was a Sterling Fellow and a member of DKE and Skull and Bones.  He served in the U.S. Army and spent 16 months in Korea.  Ballard was a partner of J.J.B. Hilliard & Son, and subsequently President and CEO of Orion Broadcasting, former owner of WAVE TV in Louisville. After Orion was sold, he became the Executive in Residence at the College of Business at the University of Louisville where he created a course in leadership that he taught to MBA students for 18 years.

Russ Reynolds, Secretary

Class of 1954 Notes for January/February 2017

The Class Council met in New York on September 26th.  Those present were Jay Greer, Dick Gilder, Allan Rabinowitz, Peter Millard, Michael Armstrong, Fred Frank, Murray Buttner, Howard Brenner, Bob Quinlan and myself.  Those who dialed in to the entire meeting included Tom McLane, Carl Shedd, Buddy Thompson, Bob Martin, Steve Kumble, Obie Clifford, Bruce Meacham, Joel Smilow, Bob Blankfein, and Wiz Arndt.  We had an almost two hour discussion of the current situation at Yale.

Fred Frank reported that his son (yes, not grandson!) Frederick graduated from Yale this June with the class of 2016.  No more tuition, until he goes to business school, hopefully the Yale School of Management.  He is working at Barclays Bank in their Investment Banking Group.

Richard Murphy reported that he and Luda traveled to Iceland (awesome!) and Switzerland (spectacular!) and thoroughly enjoyed a cruise on the Rhine River from Basel to Amsterdam with a group of alumni of various colleges and universities including Yale and Johns Hopkins (our graduate school alma mater) last July.  As always, they spent the month of March in beautiful Longboat Key, Florida.  All things considered, they are in decent health.  Life is good!

Joanna and Bob Martin passed through London on the way to a Met Tour in early June.  It included Hamburg, Hannover, The Hague, Amsterdam, and Delft.  Great art, including five Vermeers, Rembrandt, van Gogh, and a galaxy from the Dutch Golden Age.  In late July they again launched in London before joining a Yale Tour, Educated England, providing a fascinating immersion in Cambridge and Oxford, with a visit to Bletchley Park in between.  They followed with a Crystal cruise from London to Lisbon.

Joel Smilow has made a gift to The Open Door Shelter in Norwalk to support the transformation of a historic factory building in South Norwalk into a multipurpose center.  The project will include sixteen efficiency apartments, a health center, a job training program and GED and college entrance classes.  Jeannette Archer-Simons, Executive Director of The Open Door Shelter, stated “We are honored to receive this funding to support this project and as a result name the building the Smilow SoNo Life Center. We are deeply touched by Mr. Smilow’s belief in our efforts. His vision for building stronger communities through education and healthcare has benefited people nationwide. We hope this gift inspires others to support this transformative project as we finalize funding for this campaign.”

William Foerster recently moved from a large home in Nichols Hill to a smaller garden home in Muirfield Village.  Since retirement in 2010 he has continued to work daily at his antique store in Oklahoma City, which he owns with his wife Barbara and another couple, which is lots of fun.  They have won several awards.  His book about Yale, Memoirs of a Yale Man: Class of 1954, fell into oblivion but he sent copies to several classmates several years ago.  If anyone wants a copy he has many available.

John Franciscus is selling Haitian paintings, 350 pocket watches and 1,000 personal paintings online.  He established a music prize at Union Church to encourage talent to play at each Sunday service.

Allan Rabinowitz and his wife Leah just returned from 10 days in Burgundy and Paris.  Great place to visit but he is always happy to return home to New York City.

Thomas Briggs reported that in the last year and a half he’s had three falls, three fractures (one serious), and spent a total of four months in hospital and rehab.  Now he is home and on his feet again, though no longer running, unfortunately.  To stay busy he took up beekeeping.

Bob Redpath reports that we are nearing almost 100% response to the request for lists of publications, including responses from widows of classmates who have expressed their gratitude about the project.

However, there are still some classmates who have promised to submit lists but haven’t done so, despite Bob’s impassioned urgings via letters and emails.  To them, please contact Bob with your lists. This is a very exciting project and it will be enhanced if we can reach 100 % response. Please note that Bob’s new email address is

On October 15th, Buddy Thompson phoned me to say that Ballard Morton, who has been suffering from cancer for some time, is having a tough time.  Ballard wants to hear from classmates any time.

Kirk Rodgers died on October 13th in Falls, Church, Virginia.  Following jobs with the U.S. Forest Service, the Baltimore County Planning Commission, and a three-year tour of duty as a naval air intelligence officer, Rodgers joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1960 and in 1965 was named Chief of the Natural Resources Unit. In 1971 he became the Director of the Department of Regional Development and Environment, and in 1996 he was appointed Director of the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment. He retired from the OAS in 1998 and continued for several years as a consultant to international organizations, including the Commission of Environmental Cooperation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 2004 he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for his lifetime achievements.

Please keep me posted on your news, thanks!

Class of 1954 Notes for November/December 2016 issue

I hope everyone has had a great summer and that you are gearing up for an interesting and healthy autumn.  The Class Council will meet at 4:00 pm at the Links Club in New York on Thursday, November 10th, for a couple of hours, followed by dinner with spouses.  Any classmates who are in the area who would like to attend are welcome to do so if you let me know in advance.   Any ideas, suggestions or complaints regarding our class’ activities should be forwarded to me and they will be respectfully aired!

As everyone knows, Yale has recently been going through a period of self-examination regarding its posturing towards minorities, changing the names of buildings, and discussing various issues regarding freedom of speech.  Obviously it is complicated and there are few simple answers but feel free to let me know of any thoughts you have on the subject.  The Class Council held an informal discussion on this subject on September 29th, and I will report on it in the next edition of the Class Notes.

The Whiffenpoofs of 1954 are still going strong!  Obie Clifford is kindly hosting our group for a fall gathering at his beautiful camp at Big Wolf Lake near Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks.  We will sing a benefit concert at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, an impressive museum for natural history, which has had unparalleled success.  Clifford is the Chairman and the guiding light behind it.  We will also sing a couple of performances at retirement homes.  In the group will be Bruce Meacham, Jim Doak, Oak Thorne, Chuck Bullock, Obie Clifford, Peter Coughlan, Hugh Ravenscroft, Tom McLane, Dick Hiers, John Franciscus, Jim Monde, Ash Gulliver, John Burke and Russ Reynolds.

The group will also be performing at our annual cocktail reception following the Yale-Princeton game in the Smilow Field House on November 12th.  Please plan to attend.  Details will be forthcoming.

Bob Redpath is making great progress on his work compiling the list of class publications.  Please note that his e-mail address recently changed to if you need to contact him regarding the project.  Thank you Bob for taking on a mammoth project and making it work!

George Spaeth has stopped seeing patients and plans to pull back on teaching commitments next year.   He enjoys the intellectual and emotional challenge and reward.

How many classmates are still working on their dream field of endeavor or still working?

We recently were informed that Bill Laffer passed away on December 6, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Donald A. Gray, Jr. passed away on July 9th in Branford, CT.  He was a U.S. Navy Korean Conflict Veteran and a retired President and General Counsel for the Western Connecticut Industrial Counsel, Inc., an exclusive association of manufacturers, retiring with over 30 years of service.  Tom McLane noted that Don was an avid Yale football fan, and had a droll sense of humor and dry wit.  Don raced Star Boats and Frostbite Dinghies as a member of the Milford Yacht Club.  Bob Blankfein, Don’s classmate at Hotchkiss, recalled his wonderful sense of humor and that he was a daring and competitive athlete; he was a great ski jumper and avid sprinter on the track team.

David Weltman passed away on April 4, 2016 in Massachusetts.

Robert C. Johnson died in New London on July 1st.  He enlisted in the cadet program of the Army Air Corps in 1944, with the war ending before he could commence pilot training.  After service with the headquarters squadron, 13th Air Force in the Philippines, he entered Yale.  Robert worked for Olin Corporation, then United Nuclear until 1977, when he joined Windsor Manufacturing, where he worked until his retirement in 1991.  He later served on the boards of Twin Manufacturing and Clearwater Systems corporations.

Newton L. Bowers died on September 1st in Iowa.  He received his Doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1965.  He began his teaching career at the University if Michigan and moved to Des Moines in 1969 to work at Drake University, where he was a professor in the Actuarial Science Department for over 25 years until his retirement.

Please keep us informed of your activities and thoughts!


Class of 1954 Notes for September/October 2016 issue

Dan Swisher and Senta sold their place near Puerto Vallarta and moved back to the US a few months ago and are now busily engaged in finding a house to buy in the Palm Springs area of southern California. They thoroughly enjoyed their twelve years in Mexico but decided it was time to come home and sought out a warm climate in the desert.

Dick Gilder and his wife Lois Chiles were honored at a beautiful luncheon at the New York Historical Society on Flag Day, June 14th.  The Gilders donated a magnificent painting of American flags to the museum, The Fourth of July, 1916, by Childe Hassam, and also have assisted the New York Historical Society in numerous other ways.  Dick has also been a large supporter of the American Museum of Natural History, so naturally the street between the Historical Society and the Museum of Natural History is named Gilder Way.  A number of our classmates and wives were at the lunch, including Obie Clifford, David Banker, Howard Brenner, Bill Bernhard, and yours truly.  These great New York institutions have been lucky beneficiaries of the Gilder magic touch!

David Banker called me to say that Catherine Bernhard, Bill Bernhard’s wife, died on June 1st after a long illness.  Catherine and Bill graciously hosted a wonderful cocktail reception at the Chesterfield Hotel at our mini reunion in Palm Beach last January.  She will be greatly missed.

David L. Weltman, Esq. of Cohasset and Venice, FL, died on Monday, April 8, 2016.  Remembrances in David’s memory may be made to the Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut, Hill, MA.

Thomas Sheafe Walker died on April 30, 2016 in Danvers, MA. He went to Exeter and Yale School of Engineering.  He worked at the United Shoe Machinery Corp. in Beverly, then enlisted in the Coast Guard. Tom then worked with Northeast Engineering.  Tom’s life-long and first love was the sea. He liked nothing more than “messing about in boats.” He even sailed across the “pond” to Plymouth, England aboard Shearwater, a 41′ sloop.  Contributions in his memory may be made to the Manchester Sailing Association, P.O. Box 172, Manchester, MA 01944 and to the Manchester-Essex Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 1486, Manchester, MA 01944.
Robert G. Kleckner, Jr., died June 14th, 2016 at his home in Manhattan. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he was husband of Carol for over 60 years. After Yale and ROTC service in Korea for two years, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He pursued his career at Sullivan & Cromwell, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Higgins, and Marsh & McLennan, while maintaining an active interest in Russian history, language and culture. He was a former member of the University Club, Edgartown Yacht Club, the Union Club, and the Mill Reef Club. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to an animal shelter or animal rescue organization of your choice.


Class of 1954 Notes for July/August 2016 issue

Your Class Council will meet once again on Thursday, November 10th at the Links Club to create more exciting events in the spirit of the class of 1954. Let me know if you have anything to add to the agenda. The next mini reunion will be one of our top agenda items.

We also plan to have the usual gatherings before and after the Yale-Princeton game, on the following Saturday, November 12th.

Shelby Pruett reports that he is now retired, and enrolled in a fine arts program for advanced painting at St. Louis Community College. What a great way to express yourself in our developed years! Shelby, please send us some samples of your work!

George Spaeth was recently recognized by The Opthalmologist on its 2016 Power List. He was number 1 on their list of the top 100 most influential people in the world of ophthalmology!

Bob Redpath continues to do an amazing job in compiling a serious list of all of our classmates’ publications, including books and significant articles. The end result with be two bound volumes presented to the Sterling Library, summarizing all of the publications our classmates have produced in our lifetimes. The list so far is impressive. If you’ve not already done so, please send Bob your list of any publications that you are proud of. His e-mail address is

Please continue to send me any news you can about what you are doing.

Robert Sanderson Craig died on February 17th in Maine. He spent four years in the United States Marine Corps after Yale. He managed a bank trust department at HM Payson and Co. and taught at the Williams College School of Banking until he retired. Rob and his wife Nancy loved to travel, and many of their vacations were centered on outdoors activities, from trout fishing to camping.

John Daniel Meader passed away on February 18th. Jack received a professional certificate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Management Engineering and received his J.D. from Cornell University Law School in in 1962. He was Assistant Attorney General of New York State from 1965 to 1968, worked as Corporation Counsel for GE in Schenectady, General Counsel for Glidden in Cleveland, Ohio, President and Chairman of the Board of the Applied Power Technology Company and President of Applied Energy, Inc. in Ballston Spa, NY. He was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Army Reserve and was Deputy Staff Judge Advocate in the 3rd US Army JAG Corp – US Central Command.

Charles Emerson McKenney, age 84, passed away on March 1, 2016, in Florida. He had lived in Darien, Connecticut for more than three decades, from the 1960s through the 1990s. He raised his family in Noroton and Tokeneke and they were parishioners at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Charles got his law degree from the University of Virginia. After serving in the Navy, he practiced patent law as a partner with Pennie & Edmonds in New York City his entire career.

Bill Carpenter reported that Lauren J. Keist died on March 6, 2016 in Quincy, Illinois.

Dr. Edward Cooper Saltzstein died on March 9th in Texas. He received his M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School. While working in Milwaukee early in his career, he performed one of the first kidney transplants in the United States. From 1977 to 2002 he was the Regional Chair of Surgery at Texas Tech University Hospital Sciences Center in El Paso. From its inception in 1994 until his retirement in January, 2016, he served as the Medical Director for the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center.

Family and Friends are Welcome to join in Celebrating the life of Donald Fay Burrill at the Bedford Center Cemetery in Bedford, New Hampshire on Saturday, May 28th. Call Barbara Burrill Moulton with questions at 603.875.5651.

Russ Reynolds, Secretary

A fitting tribute to Sandy Muir

This e-mail just came in today, from Charlotte Cowden, who is coordinating the ceremony for giving two new undergraduate seniors, the William K. “Sandy” Muir Leadership award for the third year. Thought you might like to read one of the latest letters that came in about Sandy from one of his students.
Pauli xox

I would be honored if you posted my tribute to Professor Muir on the website. I still get teary-eyed knowing he has passed on.
You may use whatever I wrote below or I would be happy to refine what I wrote to make it more appropriate for the webpage.
Additionally, the night I found out last November – in the most random way –that Professor Muir had passed, from a mutual classmate, I posted the below message to my facebook, which I’ve copied. It came from the heart. Feel free to use any portion of that too.
“In a weekend filled with festivities, I found out in the most unexpected way that my beloved political science professor at UC Berkeley, William “Sandy” Muir passed away in February of this year. In my life, I have been blessed with many teachers who have cared for me and shepherd me through life, but no one had more indelible impact.
Professor Muir was one of the best human beings I knew; and he did not suffer fools gladly. He was also humble, eloquent, and had class. He was wheelchair bound because he contracted polio (six months before they found the vaccine). I will always remember stumbling upon him as he was downhill bound as I was uphill bound to another class and he pointedly asked how I was coming along on my thesis; when the same thing happened the next day, I knew the encounters were no coincident for he knew I was slacking and that was his gentle yet effective nudging. I remember him, when 500 students were crammed in a hall with half-desks upon which to write their final exams, wheeling down the aisle just one row from where I sat and how I immediately became encouraged and zipped through with flying colors. I will always remember him posing the question in class, whether it is better to do that which is wrong and benefit a great number of people or do that which is right and benefit little to none – an inherent struggle in politics. I took nearly all my political science classes with him; his classes were amongst the most difficult and yet most accessible of all the classes I took at Cal. He also chose the best books and the best T.A.’s.
The year I graduated from Berkeley, he also retired. I will always remember his parting words to my class at commencement: “If you ever experience a war, an illness, a bankruptcy, or a divorce, take a look at the sun, the moon, the stars, the turn of a stream, and realize you are not alone in this wild, wild world.” I know there is always a beginning and an end to things, but to have it happen to someone who is greater than humanity is such a loss. I hope that wherever he is, he can use his legs again.:
Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for Professor Muir. I want his memory to live on. I am the person I am today because of mentors like him.

Duyen Nguyen, Attorney-At-Law
From: Charlotte Cowden To: Duyen Nguyen
Subject: Re: Prof Muir

Dear Duyen,
This is such a beautiful and moving message and a real testament to Professor Muir. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me.
Would you mind if I put part of your message, below, on the webpage for Professor Muir’s award? It is such a lovely tribute and I know that others feel the same. Of course, I understand either way.
Thank you again for reaching out.
Best regards,

, Duyen Nguyen wrote:
Dear Charlotte:
Thanks so much for the info. I will write to Professor Muir’s widow. His death anniversary is coming up and I wanted to pay my respects.
Professor Muir was the highlight of my experience at Cal. He retired the year I graduated. I think about him often and owe a great deal to him for all that he taught me, both inside and outside the classroom. He was the best example of humanity and no doubt inspired legions of students to be public interest minded. He was classy, eloquent and sharp. His classes were the most academically challenging and yet accessible to students like me who came from disadvantaged backgrounds. I took nearly all of his polisci classes.

Thank you for creating an award in his honor so that he will not be forgotten.
Duyen Nguyen, Attorney-At-Law


May-June 2016 Class of 1954 Notes

Charles Workman writes that he is enjoying good health. He still plays tennis daily. He is ranked #1 in NorCal doubles! He visited New Zealand last November – he says it is a lovely country and people – much like the USA of the 1950’s.

Jerry Cunningham wrote with an update that he and his wife downsized to a town house in Mendham, NJ almost eight years ago and are pleased with their community, even after 26″ inches of snow recently. They are well and enjoying life and family.

Once again, over 100 classmates, spouses and widows attended our mini-reunion in Palm Beach from January 18th – 20th, and everyone agreed it was another great success. Thanks to Charlie Johnson, Harris Ashton, Bill Bernhard, Howard Brenner, Chuck Bullock, Pim Epler, Jack Kindel, Buddy Thompson, Grant Beadle and Leigh Quinn, we were extremely well organized and not lacking for interesting activities, which included a tour of the Society of the Four Arts, the Flagler Museum, the Norton Museum, and beautiful dinners at Club Collette, the Everglades Club, and the Johnsons’ home, all of which were fantastic. Bill Bernhard hosted a wonderful cocktail party at the atmospheric Chesterfield Hotel bar, which was enjoyed by all.

Among those attending were the following: Armstrong, Ashton, Atherton, Beadle, Bernhard, Blankfein, Brenner, Burke, Buttner, Carpenter, Clifford, Coughlan, Creatura, Dempsey, Dickinson, Doak, Dodd, Epler, Forster, Franciscus, Glowacki, Grinstein, Head, Jacoby, Jarrett, Johnson, Katz, Kindel, Kumble, Langworthy, Martin, McDonald, McLane, McNeely, Meacham, Millard, Monde, Morton, Newsome, Norton, Oestreich, Peay, Polk, Prentiss, Rabinowitz, Ravenscroft, Reynolds, Richey, Shedd, Smith, Stanley, Strain, Strickler, Thompson, Thorne, Toohey, and Treadway.

Thanks again to our illustrious committee, and particularly to Charlie and Ann Johnson, Harris and Angela Ashton, and Bill Bernhard!

We have had a good response to our request for submissions to the “class publications” project, which is being orchestrated by Bob Redpath. Bob would like everyone to know that musical recordings should be included. Please continue to e-mail your bibliographies to

Charles Hurd, Jr. died December 8th in New Jersey. He began his career at the Prudential in Newark, ran a successful payroll services company in the 1970’s and finished his career in real estate.

John Donald Taylor died at his home in Rhode Island on December 22nd. He served in the Navy during the Korean War on the USS Bennington, and was a member of the Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars. His career started in engineering and shifted to technology sales, while living in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Tom Dee’s law partner sent in a very nice obituary for Tom, who died of pneumonia on December 23rd. After Yale and Harvard Law School, Tom joined Rosenman, Colin, Freund, Lewis & Cohen, where he began his lifelong career as a real estate attorney, representing major financial institutions and developers. Tom was one of the first lawyers to utilize the concept of a non-recourse lease, where a letter of credit or cash security deposit became the sole collateral for the tenant’s lease obligation.

Hendon Chubb died suddenly on January 3rd. He was a director and CFO of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, an artist, writer, psychologist, dog-lover, rug designer, honorary Girl Scout, gardener, officer of the American Cycad Society, vintner, army veteran, civil rights election monitor, and an early programmer, among other things.

Dr. Bill McEachen died on January 7th, 2016 in Kansas. He attended Yale for one year, completed his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Kansas, then served in the Air Force. Dr. McEachen practiced pediatric medicine in the Kansas City area for over 35 years.

Ronald Anthony Schulman died peacefully in Reno, Nevada on January 7th, in his eighty-fourth year. Survived by wife Diane, children Lisa, Seth and Tony. Member of the Trumbull Beer and Bike Race Maidenform Five. At Princeton and MIT after Yale, he settled in Brookline, MA enjoying success as a commercial printer until retiring to Reno. A well-known local expert on the benefits of composting, the garden brought him much pleasure, as did his eight grandchildren, ranging in age from 15 to 34.

S. Joseph Fortunato died in New Jersey on January 8th. After playing football for all four years at Yale, as team captain senior year, Joe earned his LLB at Harvard Law School in 1957 and joined the law firm of Pitney Hardin and Kipp (now Day Pitney) in 1958, becoming partner in 1963, specializing in labor and employment law, ending his career there as a managing partner in 2002. His son Steve noted that he had many lifelong friends from his Yale activities and had commented that he learned the most about life from Yale football.

Warren A. Ransom, Jr. died on January 8th in Mount Pleasant, SC. After graduating Yale, he served three years in Germany with the Army Air Corps, had a 16 year career with The Bank of New York, then became a real estate broker before retiring to South Carolina. Warren participated in the Norway Olympics in 1967 where he raced an International One Design sailboat. He was a ranked squash player and an avid tennis player.

C. William Berger died in West Palm Beach, Florida in early January. He and his brother Daniel attended Yale Law School and served on the Yale Law Review, later becoming partners with their father, Morris Berger, who established the Berger Law Firm in Pittsburgh in the late 1950’s. Later he moved to Florida and practiced law there.

Donald Fay Burill died on January 10th in New Hampshire. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1955 and was stationed at Fort Ord, in Monterey, California. Don received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and was a professor of statistics and education research at the University of Toronto, from 1976 until his retirement in 1996. He then returned to New Hampshire and was an adjunct professor at Plymouth State and St. Anselm Colleges.

Thomas Byrne Swartz passed away on January 18th in San Francisco. Tom’s service in the Navy took him to Japan, Korea and Hong Kong as a navigator, and he served as a battalion commander at the Naval Training Center in San Diego. After his Navy service, Tom attended law school at UC Berkeley. Tom joined the San Francisco firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, where he was a partner for over 20 years before entering the real estate trust business. In 1980 he founded Sierra Capital, a REIT advisory firm, and later Capital Alliance, Inc.

William Maxwell Chick died on February 12th in Ohio. After Yale he received a degree from the University of Chicago and spent his entire career in the precision metal castings industry, beginning with Alcoa and culminating with his own manufacturers’ representative agency (William Chick Co.) for almost 40 years. He was an officer of Yale Clubs and spent decades interviewing students as a member of the Yale Alumni Schools Committee.

Russ Reynolds


March-April 2016 Notes

The Class of 1954 had a Class Council meeting at the Links Club in New York on Thursday, November 19th, followed by dinner, with about 30 council members plus 15 wives for dinner. We discussed the mini reunion coming up in January, and expect about 100 classmates, spouses and widows to attend. We also had a conference call with Bob Redpath in London, and refined the class publications project. A letter will be sent out on that subject shortly. We discussed the importance of planned giving, which Fred Frank is spearheading, and student unrest at Yale, which we feel has turned the corner favorably. We heard a report on the AYA and Charlie Johnson reported that the class treasury has a very positive balance and a great prognosis for the future.

The Yale-Harvard game on the following Saturday, although disappointing in its results, was exciting because of its broadcast on NBC Sports. The lighting at the Yale Bowl seemed to work well and Peter Salovey and his wife Marta Moret were nice enough to join us at the Smilow Field House after the game for an upbeat talk about what’s going on at Yale in general and in specifics. It was a great event and the Whiffenpoofs of 1954 also performed at the Field House before lunch, following a concert they gave at St. Andrew’s Church in Northford the night before.

All in all it was a great weekend, and we are sure that next year’s football team will put on an even better performance. We are also giving thoughts to the venue, the scenario, and activities of the class events in the future, which will stress quality over quantity and congeniality over obsession with activities!

In May, 2015 George Spaeth started on the first “leg” of several trips which will take him around the world visiting, teaching and learning from his Ex-fellows. The first – pilot – trip was to Monterrey and Mexico City and was a huge success; In June to Newport, Boston, Liverpool, York, Dundee, and London, then in July to Berlin, Warsaw, Munich and FrauenCheimsee, in November to Charleston WV, Dallas and Texas, and in 2016 to New Zealand, Hong Kong, 5 places in India and then China, and later 5 places in Brazil, two in Argentina, Santiago, Bogota, and then putting it all together into a report, and perhaps a book! He is trying promote his methods of examining the eye, but more importantly, a whole new concept of what constitutes health or disease, not based on statistical surrogates – such as mean blood pressure or mean eye pressure –but on ranges of clinically relevant findings and symptoms, such as ability to function or quality of life. He usually stay with one of his Ex-fellows and has a truly thrilling time.

Irv Jensen called from Sioux City recently and we had a nice chat. He said he would be at the Harvard-Yale game with a substantial portion of his family, including a granddaughter who is at the Yale School of Management. Irv reports that of their 13 grandchildren, two are married and a third is engaged. Irv commented that his father had insisted that he go east to Yale to college, which opened his eyes about the world as a whole. When he returned to Sioux City he was very grateful for the experience, as are his brothers.

Richard W. Murphy sent me an update. He follows a rigorous series of exercises almost daily to slow the progress of his peripheral neuropathy. He and Luda are looking forward to spending the month of March 2016 in Florida and hope to take a Rhine River cruise next summer.

Howard Robert Hoffman sent in a note that he is slowing down, (who isn’t?), and that he attended the weddings of two grandchildren recently. He now has 31 and 8/9 persons in his family.

Dr. James E. Pruett passed away on October 24th in Atlanta. James attended Yale for three years and left early to attend the Medical College of Georgia. After serving his residency in Atlanta and New Orleans, James joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps and took a position as the Assistant Chief of Otolaryngology at Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, until 1964, when he and his family returned to Atlanta, where he took up private practice as an ear, nose and throat doctor. He was also Chief of Otolaryngology at Decatur Hospital and Northside Hospital. James was an avid tennis player, was an accomplished piano player and enjoyed collecting and working on antique clocks.

Charles I. Lieberman, M.D. died on October 18th at his Kansas home. His parents noticed his musicality at a young age and Chuck began piano lessons at four years of age. He was somewhat of a child prodigy, became the pianist in his high school orchestra and was a percussionist who played the base drum in the Yale marching band. Dr. Lieberman was a Board Certified Anesthesiologist who joined the Anesthesia Department at Beverly Hospital in 1963. He practiced there until 1982, when he was diagnosed with a pheochromocytoma, a rare tumor of the adrenal gland. The subsequent traumatic surgery left him with chronic disabling pain that forced his early retirement from medicine.

Allan Rabinowitz informed me that Thomas J. Dee passed away on December 23rd in New York. He had two children and three grandchildren.

Russ Reynolds, Secretary

Yale’s Quiet Majority

A new survey finds that most undergrads favor free speech, even if the loudest students—and Yale administrators—don’t.

Repeal Yale’s Trustee Gag Rule

We asked candidates their views on free speech. The university told them they were obliged to shut up.

Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Photo: iStock

With free speech under attack on campuses nationwide, university trustees have generally remained on the sidelines. Yale seems determined to keep them there. The William F. Buckley Jr. Program recently began an effort to encourage a more open process for electing alumni trustees, known as fellows. So far we’ve gotten nowhere.

Last year we invited the three candidates for alumni fellow to participate in a web forum on free speech and diversity of thought. To our surprise, not one responded. Then we received an email from Kimberly Goff-Crews, Yale’s vice president for student life, explaining it was “university practice that Alumni Fellow candidates do not campaign in any way” but “stand for election solely based on the biographical statements in the Alumni Fellow ballot.” This she described as “both a constraint placed on candidates, and a promise made to them in terms of the demands of the election process.”

This year we penned an open letter to the trustees asking them to encourage candidates to participate in our forum. More than 400 alumni have signed on. So far Ms. Goff-Crews hasn’t budged. In an interview with the Yale Daily News, she repeated, almost word for word, last year’s assertion that campaigning is forbidden. University administrators also canceled the Daily News’s scheduled interviews with the trustee candidates.

The executive director of the Association of Yale Alumni, Weili Cheng, defended the gag rule. The Daily News reports “she feared that campaigning might lead to conflict in the alumni community” and quoted her as saying: “Look what happened with the presidential campaign.”

But the current process is unfair to the candidates and the alumni. If university administrators will not provide the basis for both groups to help ensure an informed choice of trustees, what is the purpose of having an election?

In decades past, candidates for alumni fellow did offer their ideas and opinions on major issues facing the university. In 1972 the candidates included John H. Chafee, the Navy secretary and future senator from Rhode Island, and Lloyd N. Cutler, who served as White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton. Chafee focused on the need for Yale to “remain free from restrictive pressures—pressure to support currently popular ideas, pressure to be more ‘relevant,’ and pressure from government.” Cutler emphasized the importance of maintaining an “academically free institution.”

A recent editorial in the Yale Daily News argued: “We do not pick leaders based on credentials alone; we elect them based on their character and values.” We could not agree more and hope our petition will convince the Yale Board of Trustees to change its policy. But given the way university governing boards across America have been behaving, we are not optimistic.

Ms. Noble is founder and executive director of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale. Mr. West is dean emeritus of New York University’s Stern School of Business and a board member of the Buckley Program.

Appeared in the Apr. 26, 2017, print edition.

Class Editor’s Note:  It is possible to earmark a gift to Yale for the Buckley program.  Just mention to the development office that you would like the gift to support the Buckley Program (reference number is 30522).

A Lawsuit Accuses Yale of Censoring Even Inoffensive Ideas

A class essay condemning rape was ‘unnecessarily provocative,’ the Title IX coordinator allegedly said.

The campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

The campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Photo: Beth J. Harpaz/Associated Press

Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, took to these pages last October to affirm that “we adhere to exceptionally strong principles of free expression.” He invoked Yale’s exemplary 1974 Woodward Report, which states that the university’s educational mission is inextricably bound up with “the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.”

A February lawsuit tells a different story. Tucked inside the amended complaint, Doe v. Yale, is the extraordinary claim that Yale punished the anonymous male plaintiff for writing a class essay in which he condemned rape.

Like dozens of lawsuits now working their way through state and federal courts, Doe v. Yale alleges that university officials grossly mishandled sexual-assault allegations. According to the complaint, a university panel found in spring 2014 that Doe had engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent. He alleges that the woman expressly consented and on that evening she harassed him. He adds that Yale’s disciplinary procedures were stacked against him and administered by biased officials who presumed his guilt.

This case is unusual in several respects. Doe advances one relatively new and one completely novel legal theory. The relatively new one revolves around Title IX, the 1972 federal law that provides that “no person” may be discriminated against based on sex in educational programs that receive federal assistance.

In April 2011, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” letter declaring that Title IX imposed a duty on colleges and universities receiving federal funding—as virtually all do—to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate sexual-assault allegations and impose punishments where appropriate. The letter also directed schools to reduce due-process protections for the accused, typically men.

Doe insists that Title IX must protect men as well as women. In punishing him for sexual assault on the basis of allegations that were either unfounded or refuted by facts to which both sides of the dispute agreed, the lawsuit argues, Yale discriminated against him on the basis of his sex in violation of Title IX.

The novel legal theory flows out of a reading of “state action” doctrine developed by Jed Rubenfeld of Yale Law School, who served as Doe’s faculty adviser during the university’s sexual-assault proceedings. Doe argues that through the “Dear Colleague” letter, the Education Department conscripted Yale to enforce criminal law—thereby transforming the private university into an agent of the government.

That would subject the university to constitutional limitations. Thus Doe alleges Yale violated his 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

This case also involves free expression because it began, Doe alleges, with Yale’s draconian regulation of his speech. According to his lawsuit, in late 2013 a female philosophy teaching assistant filed a complaint with the university’s Title IX office about a short paper Doe had written. In the context of Socrates ’ account in Plato’s “Republic” of the tripartite soul, the paper argued that rape was an irrational act in which the soul’s appetitive and spirited parts overwhelm reason, which by right rules.

According to the lawsuit, Pamela Schirmeister, Title IX coordinator and an associate dean in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, summoned Doe to her office and told him his rape example was “unnecessarily provocative.” She ordered him to have no contact with the teaching assistant and directed him to attend sensitivity training at the university’s mental-health center. She also informed him that he had become a “person of interest” to Yale, which meant that the university had to intervene to ensure he “was not a perpetrator himself,” in the lawsuit’s words. A few months later, the same Title IX office initiated the sexual-assault investigation against him.

Through a spokeswoman, Yale described the lawsuit as “legally baseless and factually inaccurate” but declined on confidentiality grounds to address any specific factual allegations.

If the lawsuit’s account is accurate, Yale has reached a new low in the annals of campus policing of speech. Surely no female student would incur criticism, much less censorship or punishment, for providing weighty philosophical authority in support of the proposition that rape is wrong.

If Doe’s story is true, Yale is no longer satisfied in enforcing correct opinions. To utter the correct opinion, Yale also demands that you be the correct sex. Far from protecting the right to “discuss the unmentionable” in accordance with the Woodward Report, Yale is stretching the boundaries of censorship by abridging the right to discuss even the uncontroversial.

Mr. Berkowitz is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Appeared in the Apr. 03, 2017, print edition.

Yale Alumnus Jonathan Haidt on the Cultural Roots of Campus Rage

An unorthodox professor explains the ‘new religion’ that drives the intolerance and violence at places like Middlebury and Berkeley.

03:27 / 04:22

New York

When a mob at Vermont’s Middlebury College shut down a speech by social scientist Charles Murray a few weeks ago, most of us saw it as another instance of campus illiberalism. Jonathan Haidt saw something more—a ritual carried out by adherents of what he calls a “new religion,” an auto-da-fé against a heretic for a violation of orthodoxy.

“The great majority of college students want to learn. They’re perfectly reasonable, and they’re uncomfortable with a lot of what’s going on,” Mr. Haidt, a psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business, tells me during a recent visit to his office. “But on each campus there are some true believers who have reoriented their lives around the fight against evil.”

These believers are transforming the campus from a citadel of intellectual freedom into a holy space—where white privilege has replaced original sin, the transgressions of class and race and gender are confessed not to priests but to “the community,” victim groups are worshiped like gods, and the sinned-against are supplicated with “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”

The fundamentalists may be few, Mr. Haidt says, but they are “very intimidating” since they wield the threat of public shame. On some campuses, “they’ve been given the heckler’s veto, and are often granted it by an administration who won’t stand up to them either.”

All this has become something of a preoccupation for the 53-year-old Mr. Haidt. A longtime liberal—he ran a gun-control group as an undergraduate at Yale—he admits he “had never encountered conservative ideas” until his mid-40s. The research into moral psychology that became his 2012 book, “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” exposed him to other ways of seeing the world; he now calls himself a centrist.

Paul Gigot says there is a clear disconnect between Wisconsin and New York City.

In 2015 he founded Heterodox Academy, which describes itself as “a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars” concerned about “the loss or lack of ‘viewpoint diversity’ ” on campuses. As Mr. Haidt puts it to me: “When a system loses all its diversity, weird things begin to happen.”

Having studied religions across cultures and classes, Mr. Haidt says it is entirely natural for humans to create “quasireligious” experiences out of seemingly secular activities. Take sports. We wear particular colors, gather as a tribe, and cheer for our team. Even atheists sometimes pray for the Steelers to beat the Patriots.

It’s all “fun and generally harmless,” maybe even healthy, Mr. Haidt says, until it tips into violence—as in British soccer hooliganism. “What we’re beginning to see now at Berkeley and at Middlebury hints that this [campus] religion has the potential to turn violent,” Mr. Haidt says. “The attack on the professor at Middlebury really frightened people,” he adds, referring to political scientist Allison Stanger, who wound up in a neck brace after protesters assaulted her as she left the venue.

The Berkeley episode Mr. Haidt mentions illustrates the Orwellian aspect of campus orthodoxy. A scheduled February appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos prompted masked agitators to throw Molotov cocktails, smash windows, hurl rocks at police, and ultimately cause $100,000 worth of damage. The student newspaper ran an op-ed justifying the rioting under the headline “Violence helped ensure safety of students.” Read that twice.

Mr. Haidt can explain. Students like the op-ed author “are armed with a set of concepts and words that do not mean what you think they mean,” he says. “People older than 30 think that ‘violence’ generally involves some sort of physical threat or harm. But as students are using the word today, ‘violence’ is words that have a negative effect on members of the sacred victim groups. And so even silence can be violence.” It follows that if offensive speech is “violence,” then actual violence can be a form of self-defense.

Down the hall from Mr. Haidt’s office, I noticed a poster advertising a “bias response hotline” students can call “to report an experience of bias, discrimination or harassment.” I joke that NYU seems to have its own version of the morality police in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia. “It’s like East Germany,” Mr. Haidt replies—with students, at least some of them, playing the part of the Stasi.

How did we get here, and what can be done? On the first question, Mr. Haidt points to a braided set of causes. There’s the rise in political polarization, which is related to the relatively recent “political purification of the universities.” While the academy has leaned left since at least the 1920s, Mr. Haidt says “it was always just a lean.” Beginning in the early 1990s, as the professors of the Greatest Generation retired, it became a full-on tilt.

“Now there are no more conservative voices on the faculty or administration,” he says, exaggerating only a little. Heterodox Academy cites research showing that the ratio of left to right professors in 1995 was 2 to 1. Now it is 5 to 1.

The left, meanwhile, has undergone an ideological transformation. A generation ago, social justice was understood as equality of treatment and opportunity: “If gay people don’t have to right to marry and you organize a protest to apply pressure to get them that right, that’s justice,” Mr. Haidt says. “If black people are getting discriminated against in hiring and you fight that, that’s justice.”

Today justice means equal outcomes. “There are two ideas now in the academic left that weren’t there 10 years ago,” he says. “One is that everyone is racist because of unconscious bias, and the other is that everything is racist because of systemic racism.” That makes justice impossible to achieve: “When you cross that line into insisting if there’s not equal outcomes then some people and some institutions and some systems are racist, sexist, then you’re setting yourself up for eternal conflict and injustice.”

Perhaps most troubling, Mr. Haidt cites the new protectiveness in child-rearing over the past few decades. Historically, American children were left to their own devices and had to learn to deal with bullies. Today’s parents, out of compassion, handle it for them. “By the time students get to college they have much, much less experience with unpleasant social encounters, or even being insulted, excluded or marginalized,” Mr. Haidt says. “They expect there will be some adult, some authority, to rectify things.”

Combine that with the universities’ shift to a “customer is always right” mind-set. Add in social media. Suddenly it’s “very, very easy to bring mobs together,” Mr. Haidt says, and make “people very afraid to stand out or stand up for what they think is right.” Students and professors know, he adds, that “if you step out of line at all, you will be called a racist, sexist or homophobe. In fact it’s gotten so bad out there that there’s a new term—‘ophobophobia,’ which is the fear of being called x-ophobic.”

That fear runs deep—including in Mr. Haidt. When I ask him about how political homogeneity on campus informs the understanding of so-called rape culture, he clams up: “I can’t talk about that.” The topic of sexual assault—along with Islam—is too sensitive.

It’s a painfully ironic answer from a man dedicating his career to free thought and speech. But choosing his battles doesn’t mean Mr. Haidt is unwilling to fight. And he’s finding allies across the political spectrum.

Heterodox Academy’s membership has grown to some 600, up about 100 since the beginning of March. “In the wake of the Middlebury protests and violence, we’re seeing a lot of liberal-left professors standing up against illiberal-left professors and students,” Mr. Haidt says. Less than a fifth of the organization’s members identify as “right/conservative”; most are centrists, liberals or progressives.

Balancing those numbers by giving academic jobs and tenure to outspoken libertarians and conservatives seems like the most effective way to change the campus culture, if only by signaling to self-censoring students that dissent is acceptable. But for now Heterodox Academy is taking a more modest approach, focusing on three initiatives.

The first is its college guide: a ranking by viewpoint diversity of America’s top 150 campuses. The goal is to create market pressure and put administrators on notice. The University of Chicago currently ranks No. 1—rising seniors, take note.

The second is a “fearless speech index,” a web-based questionnaire that allows students and professors to express how comfortable they feel speaking out on sensitive subjects. Right now, Mr. Haidt says, there are a tremendous number of anecdotes but no real data; the index aims to remedy that.

The third is the “viewpoint diversity experience,” a six-step online lesson in the virtue and practice of open-minded engagement with opposing ideas.

Heterodox Academy is not the only sliver of light. Following the Middlebury incident, the unlikely duo of Democratic Socialist Cornel West and conservative Robert P. George published a statement denouncing “campus illiberalism” and calling for “truth seeking, democracy and freedom of thought and expression.” More than 2,500 scholars and other intellectuals have signed it. At Northwestern the student government became the first in the country to pass a resolution calling for academic freedom and viewpoint diversity.

“What I think is happening,” Mr. Haidt says, is that “as the visible absurdity on campus mounts and mounts, and as public opinion turns more strongly against universities—and especially as the line of violence is crossed—we are having more and more people standing up saying, ‘Enough is enough. I’m opposed to this.’ ” Let’s hope.

If you’re not a student or professor, why should you care about snowflakes in their igloos? Because, Mr. Haidt argues, what happens on campus affects the “health of our nation.” Ideological and political homogeneity endangers the quality of social-science research, which informs public policy. “Understanding the impacts of immigration, understanding the causes of poverty—these are all absolutely vital,” he says. “If there’s an atmosphere of intimidation around politicized issues, it clearly influences the research.”

Today’s college students also are tomorrow’s leaders—and employees. Companies are already encountering problems with recent graduates unprepared for the challenges of the workplace. “Work requires a certain amount of toughness,” Mr. Haidt says. “Colleges that prepare students to expect a frictionless environment where there are bureaucratic procedures and adult authorities to rectify conflict are very poorly prepared for the workplace. So we can expect a lot more litigation in the coming few years.”

If you lean left—even if you adhere to the campus orthodoxy, or to certain elements of it—you might consider how the failure to respect pluralism puts your own convictions at risk of a backlash. “People are sick and tired of being called racist for innocent things they’ve said or done,” Mr. Haidt observes. “The response to being called a racist unfairly is never to say, ‘Gee, what did I do that led to me being called this? I should be more careful.’ The response is almost always, ‘[Expletive] you!’ ”

He offers this real-world example: “I think that the ‘deplorables’ comment could well have changed the course of human history.”

Ms. Weiss is an associate book review editor at the Journal.

Appeared in the Apr. 01, 2017, print edition as ‘The Cultural Roots of Campus Rage.’


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Yale may ditch ‘freshman’ for gender-inclusive ‘first-year’

Yale may ditch ‘freshman’ for gender-inclusive ‘first-year’: ‘It’s an antiquated term’

Administrators at Yale may refrain from using the term "freshman" in favor of a gender neutral alternative. (Associated Press) ** FILE **
Administrators at Yale may refrain from using the term “freshman” in favor of a gender neutral alternative. (Associated Press) ** FILE ** more >
– The Washington Times – Friday, March 17, 2017

Yale’s top officials say “it’s time” to leave the term “freshman” behind in favor of something considered gender inclusive.

Administrators at one of the world’s most prestigious universities may adopt the term “first-year” as a way to be more welcoming to new students. Yale’s Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar is leading the charge to make it happen “before the next academic year.”

“I think there comes a time when you want to make sure that the way you’re calling things reflects the values that you have,” Ms. Lizarríbar told Yale News on March 8. “If we really are serious about inclusivity and diversity, we need to look at everything. It’s not written in stone that it has to be ‘freshman.’ … We do have some agency in what we call things.”

Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway added that he spent “a lot of time thinking about, recognizing yes, it’s an antiquated term.”

“Dean Lizarríbar, who oversees freshman or first-year orientation … basically said ‘it’s time,’ and I have no problem with that,” he added.

Students at the Ivy League university, which was founded in 1701, backed the change.

Yale’s Inconsistent Name-Dropping

Several campus names are more objectionable than John C. Calhoun—including Elihu Yale.

John C. Calhoun served as U.S. vice president, 1825-32.

John C. Calhoun served as U.S. vice president, 1825-32. Photo: Alamy

Yale University announced Saturday that it would change the name of Calhoun College, one of its original 12 residential colleges that opened in the early 1930s. Henceforth, the college will be named in honor of Grace Hopper, an early computer scientist and naval officer.

No sentient observer of the American academic scene could have been surprised by the move to ditch John C. Calhoun, the 19th-century South Carolina statesman after whom the college was originally named. On the contrary, the unspoken response was “What took them so long?”

Since last August, when Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, announced that he was convening a Committee to Establish Principles for Renaming—yes, really—the handwriting had been on the wall for Calhoun, a distinguished Yale alumnus who served as a congressman, senator, secretary of war, secretary of state and vice president.

Like Belshazzar before him, Calhoun had been weighed and found wanting. He may have been a brilliant orator and a fierce opponent of encroaching federal power, but he was also a slave holder. And unlike many of his peers, Calhoun argued that slavery was not merely a necessary evil but a “positive good,” because it provided for slaves better than they could provide for themselves.

You might, like me, think that Calhoun was wrong about that. But if you are Peter Salovey, you have to disparage Calhoun as a “white supremacist” whose legacy—“racism and bigotry,” according to a university statement—was fundamentally “at odds” with the noble aspirations of Yale University (“improving the world today and for future generations . . . through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community”).

During a conference-call press briefing Saturday, and throughout the documents related to the Calhoun decision, officials have been careful to stress that the university operates with a “strong presumption against” renaming things. Because they do not seek to “erase history,” the officials insist, renaming things for ideological reasons would be “exceptionally rare.”

When you study the four principles Mr. Salovey’s committee came up with to justify a renaming, you can see why it took so long. The task, it seems clear, was to find a way to wipe away Calhoun College while simultaneously immunizing other institutions at Yale from politicized rebaptism.

Did the principal legacy of the honored person “fundamentally conflict” with the university’s mission? Was that legacy “contested” within the person’s lifetime? Were the reasons that the university honored him at odds with Yale’s mission? Does the named building or program play a substantial role in “forming community at Yale”?

Readers who savor tortuous verbal legerdemain will want to acquaint themselves with the “Letter of the Advisory Group on the Renaming of Calhoun College,” which is available online. It is a masterpiece of the genre.

Is it also convincing? I think the best way to answer that is to fill out the historical picture a bit. Nearly every Yale official who spoke at Saturday’s press briefing had to describe John Calhoun (1782-1850) as a “white supremacist.” Question: Who among whites at the time was not? Take your time.

Calhoun owned slaves. But so did Timothy Dwight, Calhoun’s mentor at Yale, who has a college named in his honor. So did Benjamin Silliman, who also gives his name to a residential college, and whose mother was the largest slave owner in Fairfield County, Conn. So did Ezra Stiles,John Davenport and even Jonathan Edwards, all of whom have colleges named in their honor at Yale.

Writing in these pages last summer, I suggested that Yale table the question of John Calhoun and tackle some figures even more obnoxious to contemporary sensitivities. One example was Elihu Yale, the American-born British merchant who, as an administrator in India, was an active participant in the slave trade.

President Salovey’s letter announcing that Calhoun College would be renamed argues that “unlike . . . Elihu Yale, who made a gift that supported the founding of our university . . . Calhoun has no similarly strong association with our campus.” What can that mean? Calhoun graduated valedictorian from Yale College in 1804. Is that not a “strong association”? (Grace Hopper held two advanced degrees from the university but had no association with the undergraduate Yale College.)

As far as I have been able to determine, Elihu Yale never set foot in New Haven. His benefaction of some books and goods worth £800 helped found Yale College, not Yale University. And whereas the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica praises Calhoun for his “just and kind” treatment of slaves and the “stainless integrity” of his character, Elihu Yale had slaves flogged, hanged a stable boy for stealing a horse, and was eventually removed from his post in India for corruption. Is all that not “fundamentally at odds” with the mission of Peter Salovey’s Yale?

Mr. Salovey stepped out of a board meeting briefly to join the conference call on Saturday. More in sadness than in anger he disparaged John Calhoun, praised Grace Hopper, and affirmed his commitment to diversity, free inquiry, etc. Then one of the reporters asked why he was renaming Calhoun College for a white woman, especially since February was Black History Month. Oh dear. Thanks so much, must get back to that board meeting now.

In “The Crack-Up,” F. Scott Fitzgerald comments that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” First-rate or not, the evolving politically correct circus at Yale does not offer a lot of support for that proposition.

Mr. Kimball is editor and publisher of the New Criterion and president and publisher of Encounter Books.

Decision on the name of Calhoun College

President Peter Salovey                                Feb 11
To the Yale Alumni Community,

Today I write to announce that the name of Calhoun College will be changed, and that we will honor one of Yale’s most distinguished graduates, Grace Murray Hopper ’30 M.A., ’34 Ph.D., by renaming the college for her. The university’s board of trustees—the Yale Corporation—and I made this decision at our most recent meeting. The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly, but John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a “positive good” fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values. I have asked Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College, and Julia Adams, the head of Calhoun College, to determine when this change best can be put into effect.

This decision overrides my announcement in April of last year that the name of Calhoun College would remain. At that time, as now, I was committed to confronting, not erasing, our history. I was concerned about inviting a series of name changes that would obscure Yale’s past. These concerns remain paramount, but we have since established an enduring set of principles that address them. The principles establish a strong presumption against renaming buildings, ensure respect for our past, and enable thoughtful review of any future requests for change.

In August, I asked John Witt ’94 B.A., ’99 J.D., ’00 Ph.D., the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law and professor of history, to chair a Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming. After this committee completed its work, three advisors—G. Leonard Baker ’64 B.A. (Calhoun College); John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History; and Jacqueline Goldsby, professor of English, African American Studies, and American Studies and chair of the Department of African American Studies—were charged with applying the Witt committee’s principles to the name of Calhoun College. The thoughtful and instructive reports produced by these two distinguished groups are available here.

As part of its work, the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming studied similar conversations about naming and commemoration that have arisen in recent years at institutions such as Georgetown University, Harvard Law School, Princeton University, and the University of Texas at Austin. At these and other institutions of higher learning, certain names have changed, while others have not. Yale has learned from these situations while, necessarily, charting its own course.

The Witt committee outlines four principles that should guide any consideration of renaming: (1) whether the namesake’s principal legacy fundamentally conflicts with the university’s mission; (2) whether that principal legacy was contested during the namesake’s lifetime; (3) the reasons the university honored that person; and (4) whether the building so named plays a substantial role in forming community at Yale. In considering these principles, it became clear that Calhoun College presents an exceptionally strong case—perhaps uniquely strong—that allows it to overcome the powerful presumption against renaming articulated in the report.

Understanding Calhoun’s Legacy
The name of Calhoun College has long been a subject of discussion and controversy on our campus. John C. Calhoun 1804 B.A., 1822 LL.D. served the United States as vice president, secretary of state, secretary of war, and a U.S. senator. Yet he leaves behind the legacy of a leading statesman who used his office to advocate ardently for slavery and white supremacy.

When he learned of Calhoun’s death, Benjamin Silliman Sr. 1796 B.A., 1799 M.A., professor of chemistry at Yale and the namesake of another residential college, mourned the passing of his contemporary while immediately condemning his legacy:

“[Calhoun] in a great measure changed the state of opinion and the manner of speaking and writing upon this subject in the South, until we have come to present to the world the mortifying and disgraceful spectacle of a great republic—and the only real republic in the world—standing forth in vindication of slavery, without prospect of, or wish for, its extinction. If the views of Mr. Calhoun, and of those who think with him, are to prevail, slavery is to be sustained on this great continent forever.”(i)

Silliman’s conviction (shared by many other Americans) that Calhoun was one of the more influential champions of slavery and white supremacy speaks across the generations to us today. As a national leader, Calhoun helped enshrine his racist views in American policy, transforming them into consequential actions. And while other southern statesmen and slaveholders treated slavery as a “necessary evil,” Calhoun insisted it was a “positive good,” beneficial to enslaved people and essential to republican institutions. The legacy that Silliman decried was that of a man who shaped “the state of opinion” on this issue—ensuring that slavery not only survived but expanded across North America.

This principal legacy of Calhoun—and the indelible imprint he has left on American history—conflicts fundamentally with the values Yale has long championed. Unlike other namesakes on our campus, he distinguished himself not in spite of these views but because of them. Although it is not clear exactly how Calhoun’s proslavery and racist views figured in the 1931 naming decision, depictions in the college celebrating plantation life and the “Old South” suggest that Calhoun was honored not simply as a statesman and political theorist but in full contemplation of his unique place in the history of slavery. As the Witt report reminds us, honoring a namesake whose legacy so sharply conflicts with the university’s values should weigh especially heavily when the name adorns a residential college, which plays a key role in forming community at Yale. Moreover, unlike, for example, Elihu Yale, who made a gift that supported the founding of our university, or other namesakes who have close historical connections to Yale, Calhoun has no similarly strong association with our campus. Removing Calhoun’s name in no way weakens our commitment to honoring those who have made major contributions to the life and mission of Yale—another principle described in the Witt report.

The presidential advisors found “no Witt committee principles that weigh heavily against renaming,” “three committee principles that weigh heavily toward renaming, and a fourth that suggests the need to rename.” The advisors recommended unanimously that the name of Calhoun College be changed.

It is now clear to me, too, that the name of Calhoun College must change. Yale has changed magnificently over the past 300 years and will continue to evolve long after our time; today we have the opportunity to move the university forward in a way that reinforces our mission and core values.

In making this change, we must be vigilant not to erase the past. To that end, we will not remove symbols of Calhoun from elsewhere on our campus, and we will develop a plan to memorialize the fact that Calhoun was a residential college name for eighty-six years. Furthermore, alumni of the college may continue to associate themselves with the name Calhoun College or they may choose to claim Grace Hopper College as their own. As the Witt report states, “A university ought not erase the historical record. But a great university will rightly decide what to commemorate and what to honor, subject always to the obligation not to efface the history that informs the world in which we live.”

A Legacy of Innovation and Service: Grace Murray Hopper
In selecting a new name for the college at the corner of College and Elm streets, Yale honors the life and legacy of Grace Murray Hopper. Hopper was an exemplar of achievement in her field and service to her country. As we considered potential namesakes, the trustees and I benefited from hundreds of unique naming suggestions made by alumni, faculty, students, and staff who either advocated for a name change to this college or submitted ideas for the names of the two new residential colleges. This community input was indispensable: Hopper’s name was mentioned by more individuals than any other, reflecting the strong feeling within our community that her achievements and life of service reflect Yale’s mission and core values.

A trailblazing computer scientist, brilliant mathematician and teacher, and dedicated public servant, Hopper received a master’s degree in mathematics (1930) and a Ph.D. in mathematics and mathematical physics (1934) from Yale. She taught mathematics at Vassar for nearly a decade before enlisting in the U.S. Navy, where she used her mathematical knowledge to fight fascism during World War II. A collaborator on the earliest computers, Hopper made her greatest contributions in the realm of software. In 1952 she and her team developed the first computer language “compiler,” which would make it possible to write programs for multiple computers rather than a single machine. Hopper then pioneered the development of word-based computer languages, and she was instrumental in developing COBOL, the most widely used computer language in the world by the 1970s. Hopper’s groundbreaking work helped make computers more accessible to a wider range of users and vastly expanded their application. A naval reservist for twenty years, she was recalled to active service at the age of 60. Hopper retired as a rear admiral at the age of 79, the oldest serving officer in the U.S. armed forces at that time.

The recipient of Yale’s Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, the National Medal of Technology, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, “Amazing Grace” Hopper was a visionary in the world of technology. At a time when computers were bulky machines limited to a handful of research laboratories, Hopper understood that they would one day be ubiquitous, and she dedicated her long career to ensuring they were useful, accessible, and responsive to human needs. An extraordinary mathematician and a senior naval officer, Hopper achieved eminence in fields historically dominated by men. Today, her principal legacy is all around us—embodied in the life-enhancing technology she knew would become commonplace. Grace Murray Hopper College thus honors her spirit of innovation and public service while looking fearlessly to the future.

The Calhoun issue is complex. There are substantive arguments on all sides. Good people—moral and principled people—can and will disagree about it. These disagreements, however great they may seem, should not prevent us from finding common ground. Our bonds as Yalies are greater than our opinions about a name or a building. Those bonds ensure that we will continue together the great work of “improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice.” This is our common ground.


Peter Salovey
President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology


(i) George Park Fisher, Life of Benjamin Silliman, M.D., LL.D., late professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology in Yale college: Chiefly from his manuscript reminiscences, diaries, and correspondence, Volume 2 (New York: C. Scribner and company, 1866), 98-99. Emphasis added.


Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation

Richard Gilder Center

for Science, Education, and Innovation

The Gilder Center will expand access to a broader range of the Museum’s resources for students, teachers, and families, offering new learning opportunities and inviting all visitors to share in the excitement of discovery.

Rendering shows an open space with students and teachers surrounded by desktop and wall-mounted digital screens displaying bright visuals.

A rendering of one of the next-generation classrooms in the Middle School Zone of the Gilder Center, serving grades 5 through 8. The Museum will also work with the NYC Department of Education to invite schools without laboratory facilities to attend “research field trips,” expanding students’ access to scientific equipment as well as to collections and exhibition halls.

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Sweeping architecture creates multiple levels in which visitors can be seen viewing scientific models and collections.

The multi-story, 21,000-square-foot, glass-walled Collections Core will be both a critical resource and a spectacular feature of the Gilder Center, revealing the specimens and artifacts that scientists use to investigate and answer fundamental questions, identify new species, and formulate new research questions and directions.

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates

(left) Rendering shows visitors viewing larger-than-life insect models as well as live specimens. (right top) Cricket sits on the tip of a finger.

A rendering of the Insectarium on the first floor of the Gilder Center, a place for family and general learning as well as for structured school visits by groups from every grade. The new facility will feature live insects, collections of insect specimens, scientific tools used for conducting research, exhibits, and digital displays.

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Visitor stroll through an expansive space of sweeping design filled with lush greenery and butterflies.

A rendering of the year-round Butterfly Vivarium on the second floor of the Gilder Center, which will feature a variety of opportunities to encounter live butterflies and observe their behaviors in various “environments,” including a meadow and a pond.

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Rendering shows an open space with students and teachers surrounded by desktop and wall-mounted digital screens displaying bright visuals.

A rendering of one of the next-generation classrooms in the Middle School Zone of the Gilder Center, serving grades 5 through 8. The Museum will also work with the NYC Department of Education to invite schools without laboratory facilities to attend “research field trips,” expanding students’ access to scientific equipment as well as to collections and exhibition halls.

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Sweeping architecture creates multiple levels in which visitors can be seen viewing scientific models and collections.

The multi-story, 21,000-square-foot, glass-walled Collections Core will be both a critical resource and a spectacular feature of the Gilder Center, revealing the specimens and artifacts that scientists use to investigate and answer fundamental questions, identify new species, and formulate new research questions and directions.

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates