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YAM Notes: September/October 2011

By Gregory A. Weiss

We begin with some big news coming out of the reunion: we have a new Whiff! Yes, Steve Shelov was tapped into the 1966 Whiffenpoofs on Saturday night of the reunion in a ceremony at Mory’s where he was even given his personal nickname, “Top.” Who knew such a thing was even possible? Steve is, to say the least, very pleased: “It was quite a thrill. … A lifelong dream, one might say.”

Excerpts from a long note from Peter Lownds: “Got my doctorate in social science and comparative education from UCLA in 2005, where I had the honor of being the valedictory speaker at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies commencement exercises. My dissertation research took me back to my Peace Corps site in Brazil, where I have kept in touch with friends for more than 45 years. My wife, Terre, and I have refurbished a beautiful old (1923) boarding house on a hill overlooking downtown L.A. and, for the past 13 years, have turned it back to its original use—practicing ‘dinner table diplomacy’ with guests from the world over.” Peter is a professor in the PhD education program at Walden University, an online university.

Speaking of Brazil, Rick Gerard reports, “Our daughter Zoe, a neurologist and assistant professor at Northwestern University (Yale ’98), is engaged to a Brazilian geneticist at the University of Chicago. Our son Elliot is also engaged. Weddings planned for Recife, Brazil, and Hawaii. I am enjoying working as a landowner attorney in the Marcellus Shale area.” Another wedding: the New York Times reported the April 1 marriage of Tom and Barbara Israel’s daughter, Emily, to James Pluhar, a Dartmouth grad with an MBA and a JD from Stanford. Emily is a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital Boston, where she is associate director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program. The article noted that Emily’s great-grandfather (Tom’s grandfather) was the designer of the engine that powered Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic in 1927.

John Reid has taken a new job in New Haven: “I am leaving Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge after 42 years and joining University Equity Capital, a start-up that is raising money to fund drug development and other medical innovations using research provided by leading educational institutions. In the process I am learning chemistry. This summer my wife Meg and I will do an Alaskan cruise with Roy Rubin MD and his wife, Anita, so Roy can complete my education.” Another attorney who has made a change is Ted Lenz: “This year I gave up my partner status at my Nashville law firm and now have the grand title of senior counsel. It’s a wonderful arrangement that lets me work (or not work) as much as I like for very fair compensation. This allows me to work on matters I like, avoid administrative matters, travel for pleasure more, and, generally, work enough to stay interested and enjoy life.”

Reported in the Washington Post was the death on January 16 of Robert Evans, of lymphoma. He was from 1982 to 2007 the director of the American Bar Association’s governmental affairs office in DC. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, he was involved for many years with the Legal Services Corporation, the DC-based nonprofit that provides legal aid to low-income families across the country. Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Katherine, and his daughter, Sarah, both of DC.

We received a thoughtful note from Jesse Reiss, the son of Richard Reiss, informing us of Richard’s passing on March 4: “Upon graduating from Yale in 1966 with a degree in economics, he accepted a Fulbright scholarship to study in Berlin. Following this he attended Oxford University where he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He was studying for his PhD in philosophy at Rockefeller University in New York when he discovered and began to study the scriptures and religious philosophy of the Scientology religion. In 1973 he decided to devote himself to the ministry of the religion, eventually becoming a senior minister of the church’s largest and most advanced organization in Clearwater, Florida, a position he held for a quarter of a century. As a primary duty, he oversaw the precise application and technical quality of the spiritual counseling of the church by ministers all over the world. He was personally known and loved by tens of thousands. He is survived by his wife, Cala, and son (myself, Jesse) and daughter (Rebecca). In the last weeks of his life he was able to connect with his Yale Russian Chorus friends from his days at Yale and was delighted to receive an outpouring of wonderful communication. We were also able to return to the alumni a collection of color slides, recordings, and mementos from the tour’s trip through Europe and the USSR. He was very proud to have graduated from Yale and spoke fondly of the educational experience and friends he made there.”

Concluding with a brief note from Kas Kalba: “Busy year working in Bahrain, Canada, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tanzania, and Thailand; knock on wood for countercyclical consulting? Time to visit with the grandkids.” And, finally, who says we are getting old? John Harpold is happy to report that he bought his first motorcycle in April—a Vulcan 750. Go for it, John!