I did not have room for all the vivid memories that you all (as we say down here) sent me in response to my March 2014 e-mail blast asking for information and memories. First, a few more memories, and then I’ll catch you up on info about some of those who wrote.
Peter Kovach wrote about a number of lasting memories. Here’s one of them: “The paradigm-shaping moment in my life occurred in the spring of ’66, after returning to Wes from doing a year of penance for freshman wildness at the New School in New York, rooming with Tom Sloane ’68, in a parallel exile. And it involved a challenge from Jim Helfer (now Jim Stone), a professor who shaped my world view and, far more than any academic during three degree programs, changed my life. He had challenged me to spend my junior year at Banaras Hindu University in India to pursue my declared major in history of religion. I laughed it off. Then one April morning, I woke up in a sweat and, in a moment of epiphanic clarity similar to the one where I knew I would go to Wesleyan, I knew I was going to India. I banged on his office door (where he slept in those days) at about 6 a.m., and we opened Downey House to work out the details over tea.”
Steve Duck wrote the following: “You asked what event stuck out most vividly for me: I would suggest that I was emotionally and psychologically so ‘asleep’ that I missed huge chunks of ‘amazing’ that Wesleyan had to offer. But what does come to mind are: the camaraderie of the Commons Club men, or the experience of serving as a friend at the psychiatric hospital across the hill.”
Don Stone wrote this: “An event involving Wesleyan that has stuck with me? The Wesleyan-Tuskegee exchange when I was in Alabama very soon after the Selma march. Out of which experience I helped Prof. Dick Winslow ’40 organize the Wesleyan-Smith Glee Club southern tour—to Tuskegee, Morehouse/Spelman, Duke, and so forth, riding on the bus next to my first real girlfriend—who was from the South. And there was music, too!”
And, from Jim Vaughan: “Good Wes Tech memory: Skateboarding down the College Row hill to High Street with Dean Mark Barlow ’46.”
The last recalled memory (for now), is from Dirk Dominick: “Seeing the presidential helicopter parked in the middle of the freshman football field at Amherst College where JFK was in town to dedicate the college library. I remember Jim Branigan, my roommate and fellow football fool, telling me that we should go and see the president, since we might not get another chance. I, as usual, resisted at first, feeling there is always a second chance…. After a while, I realized Jim was correct and I saw the president. The assassination that so quickly followed awoke me to the reality of life and made sense of all the warnings I read in literature. Carpe diem was no longer just a cute Latin phrase but a warning, a very dire warning, that life can be short. Thank you, Jim Branigan!”
And now, some news about those who wrote. Three of those who wrote have had careers as physicians. Jeff Hicks has been at the University of Rochester Medical Center since 1980, and has been chief of cardiac and thoracic surgery there since 1990. He served on the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and recently completed a four-year term as president of the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association. He still does clinical work, including transplants, artificial hearts, and adult surgery.
After Wesleyan, Steve Duck went to medical school at Cornell, and then to Washington University in St. Louis and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where he became a pediatric endocrinologist. He was at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for 17 years, where he was the head of the pediatric endocrinology program, and then he moved to Evanston, Ill., to join Northshore University Healthsystem. When he wrote to me he had been there 22 years, but, as he put it, “I have my eye on retirement.”
The third doc who wrote, Andy Barada, retired in Jan. 2014, after 35 years “taking care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other serious inflammatory conditions.” A week after he retired, he was diagnosed with nephritic syndrome, and learned a week later that the cause was multiple myeloma. As of July 2014 he was six months into chemotherapy, receiving hemodialysis, and slowly improving. He and his wife (Placide) have two children and four grandchildren.
Whereas Steve Duck has his eye on retirement, and Andy Barada did retire, Bob Callahan tried retirement and didn’t like it. Here’s how he explained it in his e-mail: “I tried retirement recently and failed miserably. I had been associate vice president for development and assistant dean at Florida International University’s College of Arts and Sciences. I thought beachcombing and boating would fill my days. Mistake. Now back to work at Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest undergraduate institution (176,000 students) and the grantor of more degrees to minorities than any other school in the nation.” Bob also wrote that he had remarried: “I married a year ago, to someone I had known for 30 years.”
Other classmates, too, have married in the last few years. Hoff Stauffer wrote the following: “I live in Gloucester with my new wife and our two kids (son, 9, and daughter, 7). Our home overlooks the harbor, and I sail my 38’ boat in the summer. We moved to Gloucester because of its natural beauty and the diversity of the community. The kids are doing well in public schools and are very active in sports (soccer, gymnastics, and hockey).”
Finally, a few of you responded to a question from a previous set of class notes about favorite professors. Bob Runk wrote that “Karl Scheibe was also my favorite professor.” Andy Barada noted that, “On further thought, I have great memories of one-on-one for one year with Earl Hanson!” Mike Feagley wrote the following about Willie Kerr: “I have traveled to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sapporo, Madrid and Pamplona on business this year, thereby avoiding most of one of the nastiest Chicago winters in recorded history. I credit Willie Kerr, one of my favorite Wesleyan characters, with teaching me that all those other places are likely to be warmer than Chicago.”
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org