CLASS OF 1966 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

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Cover of a new book by Gene Bunnell ’66

Congratulations to Gene Bunnell, professor emeritus, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Albany, on the publication of his new book, Transforming Providence: Rebirth of a Post-Industrial City, the subject being of pressing importance as we confront our nation’s decaying cities. Gene, who “studied for my PhD at London School of Economics and Political Science,” and his wife, Lynne, will “celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary later this summer by traveling to Scotland.”

A number of our classmates followed Gene into the academy, doing so with distinction.  David Luft, professor of history at Oregon State University and author of numerous books, tells me he will send a fuller update once he has finished his latest book, The Austrian Tradition in German Intellectual History: 1740-1938/1939. For 39 years James Russell, also a professor of history, taught at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he served as chair of the department before retiring in 2009. He and his wife now live in Worcester, Mass. He added, “I still like to give lectures in the community on American history topics.”

Phillip Shaver ’66

John Lapp, having “left Wesleyan to marry Linda Conner and pursue a PhD in economics at Princeton,” took “an assistant professorship at North Carolina State University,” where he focused on “monetary economics and financial markets,” being “equally drawn to research and publishing, teaching and curriculum, and various aspects of administration.” He writes that it “all worked out well enough.” I’ll say. John retired in 2011 as the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Economics. Professor of Psychology, Phillip Shaver, who retired from the University of California, Davis, in 2015, received this past September an “honorary doctorate in the social sciences from Stockholm University in Sweden. The award ceremony, formal dinner, and after dinner dance were held in the Stockholm City Hall, where Nobel Prizes are awarded. My wife, Gail, is receiving a similar honorary doctorate this September from the University of Oslo in Norway, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.””

We have professors, we have adventurers. Peter Monro, naturalist, newspaperman, and landscape architect, writes: “Although I was unfortunately unable to attend our 50th Reunion, its downstream plume brought me (and Jill) three mini-reunions here in Maine, with fellow Betas Jim Brink and Gene Bunnell and their wives. While the 50th Reunion was taking place, I was volunteering as an hospitalero, co-managing a refugee [camp] on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage route.  I had just completed that trek as my personal challenge at 71. Learning to unicycle was my 70th birthday challenge.”

Peter Spiller, now living on Anastasia Island, chairs the Board of Directors of the St Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate.  This past April, he and his wife, Debbie, “took a repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome followed by slowly wandering through that city plus Florence and Venice.”  In August Peter took his “annual canoe expedition…from Sioux Lookout, Ontario, to and down the Albany River, fly[ing] out 22 days later from First Nation settlement Eabametoong.”

I I envy the Peters, and meanwhile, Richard John Rohfritch writes: “Larry, I’m jealous!   For several years, my wife, Marta, and I have wanted to retire in Durango—just down the road from you.” Richard, who “retired after 45 years of working for big chemical companies” in Houston, has “become literary after writing business emails for so long—I’ve starting collecting and reading poetry, and I am compiling a bibliography of Donald Hall’s writings…I took freshman English from Richard Wilbur at Wes in 1967, but it took me about 50 years to get back to poetry.”

Frank Burrows and wife, Carol, have retired, living with beloved dog, Mandy, in Boynton Beach, Fla. They plan to escape the heat this year, renting a water front cabin in Maine with thoughts of kayaking. Great note from Robert Dearth, who “continues to work with the Chi Psi Fraternity chapter at Miami University…in Oxford, Ohio, as an alumni advisor and officer of the Lodge Property management organization. I also facilitate the alcohol awareness and anti-hazing annual undergraduate educational program mandatory for all new brothers of the Lodge.” Our inspirational leader, Robert Crootof writes: “After 40 years in our 300-year-old house in Norwich, Conn., we sold it (finally) in March, and will now divide our time between Wolfeboro, N.H., and Sarasota, Fla., with travel to visit children in Manhattan, Bozeman, and LA. We had many tears at leaving the family home, but more memories of having lived in a house which suited us so well for those wonderful years.”

Let me conclude with a celebration of generosity and thoughtfulness. Essel Bailey and his wife, Menakka, recently gave $4 million to Wesleyan’s College of the Environment, their total gift to COE now being $7.5 million. Congratulations and thanks to Essel and Menakka for this gift to our students—this gift to our planet—that will serve both for generations to come.

Larry Carver | carver1680@gmail.com

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