← 1965 | 1967

We begin celebrating the distinguished career of Bill Dietz, his many years of clinical, metabolic, epidemiologic, and policy work devoted to helping us understand childhood obesity. Recently, Dr. William H. Dietz of George Washington University was “recognized as an Expertscape World Expert in health education,” a result of citations to Bill’s work, placing him “in the top 0.1% of scholars writing about health education over the past 10 years.” Well done, Bill!

A great story from David Griffith, inspired by Jack Knapp’s account in our last class notes about not being prepared for Wesleyan: “My first class on the first day, a lecture in philosophy that was part of the integrated program. The instructor, a newly minted assistant professor whose name I have forgotten, walks in, mounts the podium, and begins with words I will never forget: ‘I assume you all know the difference between a priori and a posteriori reasoning.’ I stared dumbly into space for a moment and then wrote in my notebook ‘Jack, you’ve made a big mistake.’” David, in the same class, remembers that the professor was Paul Reynolds and provides this reminiscence:

“One lovely autumn afternoon, the sun was streaming in the window of a seminar room in Fisk Hall, with a cardinal singing just outside, and bathed in that incomparable soft air of the Connecticut countryside, we slowly drifted in after lunch for a lecture in the freshman course on philosophy, part of the Freshman Integrated Program at Wesleyan in 1962. The original instructor, Mr. Shiman, had taken leave, I guess, and in any event that day the discussion and lecture were presented by Professor Reynolds, who was known and called ‘Rip Reynolds’ by the upperclassmen. Rip was a soft-spoken fellow, slight and thin and gray haired, with a little beard, in his 60s, and semi-retired from the faculty. He was noted for a paper he had published somewhere on Reverend Berkeley’s works on empiricism, and after our customary introductions, he launched into the talk that he gave from his paper, spread out on the wood table in that wood-paneled room, with 15 of us in attendance, seated on very comfortable armchairs. Rip’s delivery was as rumored, easy and light as a feather, slow and deliberate, reading more than speaking from knowledge, all on a topic that would hardly have stirred the heart to action or the mind to engage. As one might expect, as the lecture wore on, the combination of the afternoon, the armchair, and the soft tones of the speaker took their toll— first one student and then another slowly slumping into the chair and surrendering to the charms of Orpheus encased in quotations of Berkeley. Rip was not one to ask questions during a lecture or try to start a discussion, and he simply soldiered on, as one after another of my friends and fellows nodded off, until finally, about 45 minutes into a 55-minute lecture, even my friend Andy Kleinfeld drifted off, and then I no longer had it in me, and allowed my eyes to close. A public-school boy in a private school dominated class, I was diligently taking close notes on every class, trying to keep up with those privileged in their preparation for this college work, but I could not resist the day and the lecture, which was waning in strength. I suddenly opened my eyes and awoke from my light doze when there was no longer that soft droning speech to lull me to sleep, as happens when a sudden silence will wake a sleeper used to background noise; and as I opened my eyes, I realized with mild surprise that even Rip had fallen off, that he had indeed talked himself to sleep. It was somewhat gratifying to realize that I was the only one awake, that even the future valedictorian and master of all knowledge, Andrew J. Kleinfeld, had fallen off, and I was the witness. I kind of tapped on the table a little before the bell rang, which gave Rip a chance to bring up his head, shake off the afternoon nap, and stand to allow us all to leave. That was my only real experience with Rip or Berkeley, but I will never forget it. It was a signal to guide me, but I don’t know to what.”

Essel Bailey writes with the good news that “Our Knights Bridge Winery just opened a production facility in Knights Valley, California, and our wines got serious attention in this weekend’s Naples Wine Auction!” He and Menakka “recently acquired a property in northwest Connecticut where travel to Wes campus is very convenient.” And they have “reorganized our nursing care homes company, to become an ‘Employee Stock Ownership Plan,’ with all of our 1,600 employees as co-owners.”

Rick Crootof sees “Jack and Carla Knapp regularly since they are now living here in Wolfeboro, renting from friends of ours, from September to June, and 30 miles away in the summer. This is their second winter here and they are contracting for next winter again. Like you, they are former urbanites converted to the joys of small-town living. Many pleasant interactions conclude with ‘and this wouldn’t happen in Chicago!’” Rick also keeps up with Sandy Van Kennen, the two recently being “joined on a hike by Peter Monro.” Rick continues to enjoy Zoom “meetings with KNK brothers Jack, Dave Luft and Charlie Ingrao ’69,” where politics dominates. On the way to Sarasota for the winter, Rick and Linda spent a “night in New Haven with Bob and Priscilla Dannies.”

Received this inquiry from Tom Pulliam: “Do you happen to have email address for Hardy Spoehr? My granddaughter has been admitted to University of Hawaii and is interested in marine biology. I would absolutely love for her to meet Hardy, one of my all-time favorite people,” as he is for so many.

An update from Barry Thomas: “Connie and I are gradually getting back to a ‘normal’ pace of activity. Have been to a couple concerts—symphony and bluegrass. We have moved into a period of relative calm with the work in Burundi, striving to stabilize and make sustainable all building and program development activity undertaken during the past year. A third Department of State grant is providing opportunity to do more teacher training, which has to be done virtually. We hope that our return to Burundi is only delayed, and we will be able to travel to East Africa later in the year. The next big issue involves electrifying the Dreaming for Change Community Center, including the preschool. We are looking wherever we can to find an organization interested in supporting such a project.”

Let’s end on this uplifting note. Will Rhys writes: “Pandemic be damned, I did two performances in December of my one-man Christmas Carol and am now in rehearsal for Harry Townsend’s Last Stand, which will have a run in February at the Good Theatre in Portland, Maine.”


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