David R. Gosse MALS ’67 passed away on February 22, 2022. A full obituary can be found here.
One of the unanticipated benefits of being class secretary is that I periodically get emails from guys I have not seen, or even thought about, since I graduated, long, long, ago. Sometimes they are from people I barely knew, or didn’t know at all. About a month ago, I got one from Bud Smith, ’66, who I last saw in the spring of his senior year, when he was about to graduate. He was a waiter at the eating club at Eclectic. “Baby Bud,” some people called him. I had no idea what his major was, or very much about him, other than that he was a good-time presence at Eclectic.
Well, Baby Bud, it turns out, is a retired college professor of English and a writer. He wrote to ask me if I knew anything about the current whereabouts of our classmate, Benét McMillan. I told Bud that I last saw Benét in the fall of 1967 when he and I were at Columbia, me in a PhD program in social psychology, and Benét at the law school. Then 1968 happened, and I have had no contact with Benét. Interestingly, to me, and maybe to you, Bud included a link to an article that he wrote in 2011 about Benét and Benét’s family. It turns out that when Bud was in junior high school, living in Stratford, Connecticut, Benét’s family moved into the neighborhood Bud’s family lived in, and Bud and Benét went to the same high school, so Bud knew far more about Benét and his family than I ever did. For example: Benét’s father, a professor of history at the University of Bridgeport, was, as Bud puts it, “a personal acquaintance” of the poet, short story writer, and novelist, Stephen Vincent Benét, and named his son after him. Another example: his senior year of high school, Bud was the president of the student body, and Benét was the vice president. One more: Bud’s senior year at Wesleyan, Benét’s junior year, they roomed together at Eclectic, where Benét was the social chairman who brought the Chiffons (“Do lang do lang do lang . . . he’s so fine”) for a party at the house. I also learned that Bud was on Wesleyan’s golf team, which led me to ask myself, “Wesleyan had a golf team?”
Anyway, I can’t tell you much about Benét these days— he did become a lawyer—but I recommend Baby Bud’s 2011 article, “Lights in the Darkness,” published in the Tidal Basin Review.
In a recent set of class notes, I reported that Anthony Caprio retired as president of Western New England University after 24 years and I speculated that he must have done something right to have lasted in that position for so long, more than three times the average tenure for college presidents these days. I can now tell you more. He helped transform what was a small local college into a regional university with a national reputation. In the process, the school added graduate programs, including doctoral programs in behavior analysis, pharmacy, occupational therapy, and engineering management. This, in turn, meant that many major buildings were constructed (ten of the current 28 buildings). The school has received national rankings, including number five in the country, and number one in Massachusetts, for its graduates getting jobs. In a tribute to Anthony that appeared in the school’s alumni magazine, the author described him in the following way: “Cutting a distinguished figure whether walking through campus or leading the Commencement procession, he is famously approachable.” Before he retired, the school met and exceeded a $35 million fundraising campaign, its largest ever. The campaign included a $1 million “Caprio Challenge,” which also met and exceeded its target. Moreover, as part of a lasting tribute to his contributions to the school, the health and fitness center is now called the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center.
Anthony and his wife Dana continue to live in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and spend much of the summer on the coastal Rhode Island beaches. Their son, Mark, is an associate professor of theoretical nuclear physics at Notre Dame.
Late in the game possible name change: Gary Conger ’66, tells me and other readers of his monthly art newsletter that he is considering changing the signature he uses on his paintings to “G. Branson Conger.” His classmate, J. French Wilson ’66, and his younger brother, E. Davis Conger ’68, seem to approve of the change. As I mentioned to him in an email, this nomenclature would put him in the company of three eminent sociologists who have studied the American power elite: C. Wright Mills, E. Digby Baltzell, and G. William Domhoff.
John Palumbo MALS ’67 passed away at the age of 81 on November 26, 2020. A full obituary can be found here.
Classmates, let’s catch up on the responses to the first of a number of quiz questions I have posed in recent class notes columns. I asked if anyone knew about Ed McCune, who gave $6 million to Wesleyan and is listed as a classmate, though he was not in our face book and did not contribute anything to our 50th Reunion book. Three responses came in. The first was from Jeff Smith ’69, who thought McCune had transferred in sophomore or junior year, and remembered him as “a quiet guy, slight in stature, with short dark hair.” Then, Jon Squire, wrote to say McCune was “a transfer student who arrived (from California, I think) perhaps in our sophomore or maybe junior year. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. That is about all that I remember.”
A third email arrived, from John Dooley, with more info about McCune. Dooley spent a fair amount of time with McCune at Alpha Delt. McCune, John wrote, was from Petoskey, Michigan, and his family had roots in upper Michigan that went back a long time. In our senior year, McCune was accepted by the Wayne State University medical school, but he was ambivalent about going and John is not sure if he ever went (“I do not know if he ever started med school but there is no record of him being a licensed physician and there is nothing in his obituary about his career”). John also notes: “It seems he was a very private individual. . . . For some reason Ed called me ‘Chief.’” Am I the only one hearing reverberations of Jay Gatsby?
John concludes: “So interesting that he gave back generously to Wes even though on the surface he did not seem to be at all engaged with the Wesleyan community as an undergraduate.” I must agree. I am sure our relatively unknown classmate, Ed McCune, is every college fundraiser’s dream come true.
And (I hear you ask) what about our classmates, Jon Squire and John Dooley? Well, after 49 years in the Bay Area, where he practiced medicine, Jon Squire (like your class secretary, long ago) took the culture shock challenge by moving from Northern California to the Piedmont of North Carolina. He now lives not far from me, in Winston-Salem, where he moved across the street from his daughter and two grandchildren.
As for John Dooley, after a 40-year career as an ENT physician with special interest in ear surgery, he and wife Rosie retired to their small cattle ranch in the mountains between Reno and Tahoe. With four adult children and 14 grandchildren in the Reno area, they remain very involved in family events. Every year John and Rosie go to the Monterey/Big Sur area, not far from Santa Cruz, the home of Sam Nigh. For the past few years, John and Sam have gotten together. John also has seen his fellow Alpha Delt, and a roommate for two years, Jim Bushyhead, a retired internist living in Seattle, and in the fall of 2019 he saw Aidan Jones, who, John reported, was “winding down his law practice in Washington, DC.”
I also heard from Ted Smith, checking in as we approached the November 2020 election to see what I thought about what was likely to happen in North Carolina in our senatorial election and in the presidential election (he was part of a phone bank to support Cal Cunningham’s campaign for U.S. Senate). Ted has lived in San Jose since 1972. After receiving his law degree from Stanford, Ted founded three different nonprofits, each of which sought to make the high-tech electronics industry more sustainable (he was the executive director of the first of these, the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition, for 25 years and is currently the coordinator of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology). Although he now has retired from most paid work, he remains active politically and was doing “too much travel” before the pandemic shut things down. He also hikes, rides his bike, and does some kayaking. He and his wife, Mandy, also a lawyer, have three children and five grandchildren, all of whom live in California.
Had a nice, too-brief, masked and socially distanced visit here in Greensboro with Reuben (Johnny) Johnson and his wife Mary Watkins in November 2020, a few days before the election. They were driving back from a trip to Virginia to their home in Palm Beach, Florida. We caught up on family, gossiped about classmates, told virus stories, anticipated the outcome of the election, and wished we had more time. Still, it was a treat to visit with them.
In October 2019 our classmate Rick Beebe died in Santa Rosa, California. While serving in the Peace Corps in Turkey from 1967 to 1969, Rick met Pam, his wife of 51 years. They lived in New England for nine years and then moved to California. Rick was vice president of corporate communications at Bank of America in San Francisco until his retirement in 2001. He was an avid backpacker (he noted in our 50th Reunion book that he had “trekked nearly 3,000 miles on all seven continents”), an active swim official for more than 30 years, and sang with the Sonoma Bach Choir.
Richard K. Beebe Jr. ’67 passed away on October 23, 2020 at the age of 74. A full obituary can be found here.
After 45 years teaching at Guilford College, I have joined the ranks of the retired. On March 16, in the middle of our spring break, I was scheduled to give a talk, the second stop on my two-stop speaking tour for a book I wrote about the college’s long-running noontime pick-up basketball game, GEEZERBALL: North Carolina Basketball at its Eldest (Sort of a Memoir). COVID-19 had arrived, and many events were being canceled. The woman who had invited me to give the talk called that day to see if I wanted to cancel, and she and I agreed to go ahead with the talk. We did, a surprisingly good crowd showed up (one, a former student, had flown down from New Jersey for this event), and we had a good time. Had it been scheduled just a day or two later, I am sure we would have canceled. By the end of that week, the college had shifted all classes to online instruction, and in almost every way my life and the lives of those around me changed dramatically.
By the end of April, as I celebrated my 75th birthday, I decided to retire. Then, like many old retired guys, I found myself thinking back to my early days, especially my decision in 1973 to move from Santa Cruz, California, to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the teaching job at Guilford, a Quaker-affiliated school. I realized, quite belatedly, that I was the first Jew hired at the college, and this has led me to write another retrospective account (another “sort of a memoir”), this one titled Jews, Palestinians, and Friends: 45 Years at a Quaker College (Sort of a Memoir). This project has led me to think back to the Jews and the Quakers I knew at Wesleyan. Among the Jews in the class of 1967 were the three Jewish amigos, Don Gerber, Myron Kinberg, and Bernie Steinberg—I could probably name all the other Jewish students in our class as there were not very many. The two Quakers on campus that I remember most clearly (in part because they were the first Quakers I ever knew) were David Swift, a professor of religion I was fortunate to take a course with, and Bill Dietz ’66 (generally referred to by Barbara Davidson as “Doctor Doctor Dietz”). Writing this book helped to take my mind off the woes of my little Quaker college, which is struggling mightily to stay afloat, and also helped take my mind off the woes of our country.
As it turns out, I am not the only one who has retired after a long academic career. Our classmate, Tony Caprio, stepped down in June 2020, after 24 years as the president at Western New England University. Tony was the longest-serving president in the school’s 100-year history. Remaining in office as a college president for 24 years is quite an accomplishment—tenured faculty, if they avoid what typically in the profession is called “moral turpitude,” sometimes hang on until they have to be wheeled out, but college presidents only can continue in their jobs if their Boards of Trustees decide to renew their contracts. Given that the average tenure for a college president these days is down to 6.5 years (it was 8.5 years in 2006), it appears that Tony survived and seems to have thrived in a challenging job.
At the end of my last set of class notes, I gave a quiz in which I asked for information about “the late Edward McCune ’67” who left $6 million to Wesleyan and allegedly was a classmate of ours. I now have received some info on him which I will share in my next set of notes. Let’s have another quiz, this one with four, perhaps easier, questions. First, who in our class has the most grandchildren? Second, who since graduation has lived in the most states (for at least a year in each state)? Third, who has been married the most times?
Finally, the fourth question. I have seen Springsteen five times (always great), Dylan three times (awful each time), and John Prine and James Taylor five or six times. Rick Voigt ’68 tells me that he has seen Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, a band that includes some Wesleyan alums, five times. What musical performer have you seen the most frequently, and how many times?
The answers to these questions might help you write your memoirs. Stay safe.
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com
RICHIE ZWEIGENHAFT | firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Keyes, MALS ’67 passed away on April 3, 2020 at the age of 81. A full obituary can be found here.
I was cruising along, teaching two courses (one, Personality, the other, The American Upper Class), when, during our spring break in late March, we were informed that all classes were shifting to an online format. Things changed suddenly here and everywhere, and like so many teachers around the country, I finished those two classes online (learning, in the process, new pedagogical lingo, like “synchronous classes” versus “asynchronous classes”—mine were asynchronous). Things are still up in the air for the fall semester, but I have decided it is time to retire. For one thing, I don’t want to end my long and enjoyable teaching career trying to teach online. But also, equally important, Guilford College, where I have taught since 1974, has furloughed 133 people so far and is about to furlough or terminate more, including teaching faculty. I do not want to be teaching and drawing a salary when my younger colleagues are losing their jobs. I am still trying to figure out what this change will mean.
Not a lot of news about our classmates which, given our age and susceptibilities, probably falls in the no news is good news category. Before the coronavirus crisis hit, I did get word of international travel by two classmates. In November, Bill Klaber, a graduate of the College of Social Science (CSS), and the author of a number of books, spoke at the Dublin Festival of Politics about many questions that surround what he calls (in the subtitle of one of his books) “the unsolved murder of Robert F. Kennedy.” He is also doing podcasts and is working on a series that looks at the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. A Wesleyan publication quotes him saying, “People sometimes refer to me as a conspiracy guy, which serves to dismiss my work. I’m an evidence guy.”
Jim Cawse and his wife, Marietta, took the other international trip in January. Here is how he described the origins of the trip in an email to me: “Last May I chanced upon an advertisement for a cruise through the Spice Islands of Indonesia. It caught my eye because 142 years earlier, my great-grandfather, Captain James Cawse, piloted his clipper ship the John R. Worcester carrying a million pounds of tea through that exact region. He was accompanied by my great-grandmother, Emma Browne Cawse, and she kept a diary, which I now hold. It makes for romantic reading as she calls out the exotic names of the islands and talks about an informal race with the famed Cutty Sark. You may remember that I made books out of the diaries and showed them at our 45th Reunion.”
Jim and Marietta were able to visit some of the very same islands described in the diary. They also spent some time in Australia and New Zealand. Then, Jim writes, “We got back Jan. 27, and as we came out from under jetlag, we started reading rumors about some virus…”
I’ll end with a quiz for you guys. I received a letter dated May 11 from Michael Roth ’78 (president of Wes), Donna Morea ’76 (chair of the Board), and Essel Bailey ’66 (trustee). You probably got this letter, too. They wrote, “In mid-January, we learned that Wesleyan will be the recipient of two large bequests totaling $6 million: one from the late Dr. Roger Cyrus ’61, the other from the late Edward McCune ’67.” I don’t remember Edward McCune, so I immediately turned to my ’67 facebook (the original Facebook in my life, published 17 years before Mark Zuckerberg was born), but there was no sign of Edward McCune (it goes straight from Michael McCord, Germantown Friends, to James McEnteer, Culver Military Academy [!]). I then turned to our 50th Reunion book (and its addendum): no sign of McCune. So, somebody clue me in. When did he join our class, and what can you tell me about him?
Take care. Be safe.
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com
Classmates, I had a nice note from Dave Garrison, now retired from teaching Spanish and Portuguese at Wright State, but still writing poetry—he was named the state poet in Ohio in 2014 and continues to publish his poems (and win prizes for them!) and give readings. He also plays golf, tennis, and trumpet (in a concert band for folks over 50).
Jeff Hicks has been honored by the medical school at the University of Rochester, from which he received his M.D. in 1971, and where he has taught since that time. He received the Alumni Service Award. The nice citation went as follows: “Throughout his celebrated career, Dr. Jeff Hicks has raised the quality of education for students at the School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as those studying around the world. A highly accomplished and admired educator, he holds numerous awards for teaching distinction. With deepest gratitude, we honor his generous and unwavering support of the School.” As we say down south in Greensboro, N.C., “Mazel tov!”
When my wife Lisa and I lived in Santa Cruz, Calif., lots of Wesleyan pals came to visit, on their way from who-knows-where to who-knows-where, or just to experience the hip West Coast Santa Cruz vibes. We get fewer Wesleyan friends passing through Greensboro, N.C. (can’t imagine why), but we did have a really nice visit from Tony Schuman ’65, and his son Sam, on their way from Atlanta to New Jersey. Tony last visited us in Greensboro in the 1980s, so he was way overdue. He is a professor in the School of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Until recently, he was the director of the graduate program, he served as interim dean for two-and-a-half years, and he is a past-president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. He and his wife, Peg, live in Montclair, N.J., where he serves on the housing commission, and he is a trustee of the Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee. Sam, a student at Oberlin, spent the summer working as an intern at Oxford American (Sam has a twin brother who is a student at Occidental). Sam patiently listened to me and Tony go on and on about 1960s Wesleyana, as we recounted stories about people with names like Melillo ’65, Dinwoodey ’65, Archer ’65, Fluegelman ’65 and Zetterberg ’65, Norman O. “Nobby” Brown Hon. ’67, and bands with names like Gary and the Wombats and Uranus and the Moons.
In the category of weird blasts from the past, Jim Kates writes (“Dear Herr Zweigenhaft, keeper of the flame . . .”) to tell me that his girlfriend from freshman year recently sent him all the letters he wrote her in 1963 and 1964, which apparently was a lot as when he wrote me he had read dozens of them and was not yet past October of 1963. These letters include many details that will be of interest to very few people (e.g., “Pete Kovach dropped by earlier this evening; he is cultivating a beard . . . He’d spent the weekend at Wellesley”) but they perhaps capture that memorable (but fading?) first year we spent at Wesleyan. Jim would be glad to share these with interested classmates.
Bruce Morningstar wrote to catch me up on what has been going on with him. He has been fighting prostate cancer and needed radiation treatment. Fortunately, this treatment seems to have worked, as his doc has told him that his PSA is now way down. Unfortunately, his wife of nearly 47 years, Katie, died in late October (“I lost my love and my best friend”).
Despite these travails, Bruce was nice enough to ask about me (“You write about the rest of us. Let us know how you are doing”). I’m doing fine, living with my wife, Lisa, and two rescue dogs, both collies (Jokomo and Zena), in the house in a historic neighborhood we moved into in 1975 (before it was “historic”). I have been fortunate in terms of the major health issues that many people my age and younger have faced. I am still teaching (though a somewhat reduced load), and still writing some academic stuff. My writing project this past summer (2019) was not my most academic (au contraire), but it was one of the most fun. It is a book about the pick-up basketball game I helped to found and have been playing in for 44 years. It is titled GEEZERBALL: North Carolina Basketball at its Eldest (Sort of a Memoir). By the time you read this, it should be available at my favorite Greensboro independent bookstore, Scuppernong, or whatever your favorite independent bookstore is, or (if you must) through Amazon.
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org
Classmates, more sad news. Jim McEnteer died of colon cancer July 30 in Los Angeles. His wife, Tina, wrote to some of his old friends a few days before he died, telling us that Mac did not have much time, but he was still aware, and she encouraged us to send messages that she would read to him. Many of us did, and, a few days later, when she wrote to tell us that he had died, she reported that “I read him your e-mails as they came in, he smiled, and was touched, as was I, by the outpouring of love and appreciation and celebration that you shared.”
I have many vivid memories of Jim at Wesleyan, from taking an English class with him freshman year (taught by R. L. Greene) to (as seniors) playing charades against a faculty team that included Joe and Kit Reed, Paul Horgan, and Richard Wilbur (the judge was Willie Kerr). So, too, do I have memories of being with Mac in New Hope, Plymouth Meeting, D.C., West Hartford, Big Sur, and Oakland—as I wrote to Tina (and Jim), all of these memories are good ones.
He went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD in communications from the University of Texas. He was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He wrote four books and many articles (including, memorably to me at least, one about Alberto Ibargüen ’66 and another about John Perry Barlow ’69). He and Tina lived at various times, and for various lengths of time, in Florida, Veracruz, Oakland, Bolivia, South Africa, and Ecuador. They have two sons, Nico and Jake. A memorial service took place in Dedham, Mass., on Oct. 5.
I know it is a cliché, but it is true: you may never know what an impact you have had on someone’s life, or someone has had on yours. Sometimes you do not figure it out until many years later. The following is a moving e-mail I received from Jeff Marshall about E. Craig MacBean, who, as you might recall from a recent set of notes, died in October 2018. Jeff tells me that he is “mostly retired due in part to vision loss stemming from glaucoma,” though he is still associated with the law firm he founded. He is the author of a book on elder law (now in its fourth edition), and he continues to do some legal writing for his blog. He has been married for 48 years, has a daughter in Hawaii, and another daughter and two grandsons who live next door to him in Williamsport, Pa. Here is the e-mail he sent me:
“I noted your recent class notes reference to the death of our classmate Craig MacBean. Craig and I were acquaintances at Wesleyan but we were not friends. We had one very heated encounter involving a girl. After that, we just stayed away from each other.
“But I was to encounter Craig again after college and in very different circumstances. In the summer of 1969, I was a soldier reporting for duty at the Army’s Valley Forge General Hospital. I walked into the company clerk’s office and there was Craig MacBean. As company clerk Craig had a lot of authority over the lives of the soldiers in the company. So, my first reaction was concern that our negative encounter at Wesleyan might influence my fate.
“My concern was misplaced. Craig and I were comrades during a time of great trouble. It was difficult being a soldier in 1969 with the Vietnam War being very unpopular with people our age. If you wore your uniform in public you were likely to encounter vitriol. You were much more likely to have someone call you a baby-killer than thank you for your service. We knew our president and generals were lying to us. The entire world seemed to be unravelling.
“So, seeing a classmate from college represented some return to normalcy. And Craig and I became friends. Craig was able to watch out for me and find a position for me with the judge advocate. This was very desirable to me because I had a year of law school and intended to be a lawyer. It may well have also saved my life. The reality was that the Army didn’t need a lot of legal clerks in Vietnam. I was always prepared to go if ordered. But I felt at the time, and still do, that with my original combat classification and poor eyesight I would not have survived a tour of duty in Nam.
“A few months later Craig was transferred to another duty station. I never got to say goodbye and never saw him again. He was one of those people who intimately touch your life and then are gone.
“I am writing this note to say a final goodbye to my friend, Craig MacBean. And to thank him for his important positive impact on my life.”
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com