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YAM Notes: September/October 2015

By Gregory A. Weiss

Fiftieth reunion book editor Howie Moffett announces a deadline extension: “In case you haven’t heard by e-mail, the deadline for personal profile updates and personal essays has been extended two weeks, to Wednesday, September 30 at midnight EDT. To those who have contributed already, thank you! To those who haven’t, we still very much want your submissions. Log in at www.yale66.org to update your personal profile, add your personal essay and photos, remember deceased classmates, take the class survey, and add to the class bibliography of creative works. It will be a much better book, and a much better reunion, if you are included.”

A one-volume edition of Jeff Lewis’s interlinked novels, The Meritocracy Quartet, was published this spring. The Quartet tries to follow the progress of our generation over four decades, with characters from the Yale Class of 1966 at its center. By the time these notes are published, Ben and Sharon Liptzin will have hosted a brunch for Yale ’66ers at their home in Lenox, Massachusetts, prior to the July 26 Tanglewood concert of the Boston Symphony.

With his characteristic sense of humor, Chris Ogden brings us up to date on his career: “I stopped lecturing a couple of years back after a wonderful, month-long cruise back from Cape Town. I actually had been doing it for 30 years and figured I was getting dangerously close to that moment when someone in the audience might stand up and say, ‘You’ve got no idea what you’re talking about, do you Ogden?’ And fearing he might be more right than not. Still traveling, though. Son and only grandchild in London. Rome always beckons. And before long, New Haven. Looking forward.”

We are saddened to report that John Whitman died on July 2 in Morristown, New Jersey, as a result of a catastrophic brain injury he suffered in a fall. John was the grandson of a former New York governor, Charles Whitman Sr., and served as a first lieutenant in the army during the Vietnam War before graduating from Harvard Business School in 1971. His career was in the world of finance, being a founder, president, and managing partner of Sycamore Ventures, a venture capital firm. In 1974, after a first date a year earlier at Nixon’s inaugural ball in 1973, he married the former Christie Todd, who became governor of the state of New Jersey in January 1994 and served until January 2001, when she was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency by President George W. Bush. As stated in his New York Times obituary: “At times Mr. Whitman took on an ambassadorial role of sorts for the state government.” Many of us remember well and fondly the lunch party John and Christie hosted for the class at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion in Princeton, prior to a Yale-Princeton game in the late 1990s. John’s funeral in rural New Jersey was a major event, with over 600 in attendance, including five former New Jersey governors and 11 classmates. In addition to Christie, John is survived by, among others, his daughter, Kate, his son, Taylor, their spouses, and six grandchildren.