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55th Reunion

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55th Class Reunion – June 4 & 5, 2021

By Gregory A. Weiss

In a normal year we would probably begin this column with a description of the weather in New Haven over reunion weekend. This time it didn’t matter. We spent two days hunched over our computer screens all around the country and the rest of the world watching the reunion on Zoom. It was a different experience but great fun and a great success.

We started at 2 PM on Friday, June 4 with a brief welcome and introduction by Reunion Co-Chairs Cary Koplin and Greg Weiss, including a review by Greg of some highlights of the Class survey. This was followed by a fascinating discussion of the pandemic and related medical issues entitled ”Our Control – Or Lack Thereof – Over the World“ led by Michael Dalby, as moderator, and featuring former CDC head Jeff Koplan and Connecticut-based infectious disease expert Mike Parry.

Saturday’s Class activities commenced with the announcement by Biff Folberth, Tom Barry and Tim Wollaeger of the Class reunion gift, a whopping $14,200,000, and by Bob Brundige of over $500,000 in annual giving contributions. Congratulations to the terrific teams which worked so hard to bring in this gift and these contributions and to all the members of the Class who participated.

Congratulations also to the recipients of Class Awards delivered by our Reunion Co-Chairs: Josh Jensen and Ted Elliott, for all their wines they have provided over the years to our reunions and other events; Damon Baker and Rich Look, for the musical joy they have provided to the Class over the years, including our Class anthem and the memorable musical written and produced for our 50th, Naked Lunch, the Musical; and Jennifer Julier (‘77) of the YAA staff, for the great advice she has provided in planning our last five reunions over the past 20 years.

We were then treated to a timely and thoughtful panel on climate change entitled “Tackling Climate Change on a Global Scale” with retired University of North Carolina professor, Pete Andrews, as moderator; former Secretary of State and currently US Special Presidential Envoy For Climate, John Kerry; founder, Chairman and CEO of FedEx, Fred Smith; and former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman (widow of our deceased Classmate, John Whitman).

After a short break we watched a moving and professionally produced Class memorial service honoring the 49 Classmates who had died since the 50th. The service was led by Tom Porter with help from too many people to mention, including Bob Hughes and Marshall Portnoy. Being prepared for each of the 49 deceased classmates and to be distributed in late June to all Classmates and surviving spouses as a follow-up to our 50th reunion classbook is an In Memoriam booklet written by our 12-man team of memorialists.

We ended the afternoon with 4 Zoom “breakout rooms,“ each including roughly 20 randomly chosen Classmates. There were no set topics. The participants enthusiastically discussed anything and everything.

On to the 60th in 2026 in New Haven, but before then the plan is to schedule some themed class-wide Zoom meetings and some regional events. Great ideas welcomed!