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
Edward McCune ’67 passed away on Jan. 5, 2020. A full obituary can be found here.
James B. McEnteer ’67 passed away on July, 30, 2019 at the age of 74. A full obituary can be found here.
Not much news this time around. As the recent scandal unfolded based on bribes paid to get faux student-athletes into elite colleges, I found the following quote by Jerome Karabel to be worth pondering. Karabel, whose B.A. and Ph.D. degrees are from Harvard, now an emeritus professor of sociology at Berkeley, is the author of The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), a 700-page exposé of the ways that Ivy League colleges have quietly tinkered with their admissions formulas over many decades. In response to a question about the scandal, Karabel had this to say: “It shows the extraordinary weight given to athletic talent and the remarkable latitude given to coaches to select the people whom they want for their teams if they meet very minimal academic standards—including at elite colleges. And what I think is not well known is that the weight of preference given to athletes far surpasses the weight given to underrepresented minorities or, for that matter, legacies. It’s the weightiest preference of all the various preferences.”
Like I said at the end of my last set of class notes, which was about two classmates and John Perry Barlow ’69, all three of whom had died relatively recently, “Hang in there, and send me stuff.
Richie Zweigenhaft | firstname.lastname@example.org
Classmates, Dave Cadbury died in February 2018. The obituary that was sent to me included the following information. After graduating from Wesleyan (and before that, from Germantown Friends), he earned a master’s in sculpture from the Maryland Institute of Art, and in the early 1980s he worked as a sculptor, “producing conceptual installations about natural and environmental systems” (among other places his work was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.). He also established two construction businesses. In 1992 he and his family moved to Maine, where he continued to work as a sculptor and as a building consultant. He was the founder of Friends of Maine Coastal Islands NWR, an organization that worked to protect the seabird habitat on Maine islands. In Philadelphia he was active with the Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting and served on the board of the Friends Select School. In Maine he was active with the Midcoast Monthly Meeting of Friends and served as the clerk of the meeting for a number of years. He and his wife Karen were married for 49 years.
More recently, I received word that E. Craig MacBean died on Oct. 16. Craig was a graduate of the Haverford School (’63). At Wesleyan, he majored in English and played lacrosse. He subsequently attended the Union Presbyterian Seminary, from which he received an MAT in 2004. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal for his service in the U.S. Army in the early 1970s. He is survived by four children.
While I am on the topic of Wesleyan alumni who have died recently, I recently watched Long Strange Trip, a four-hour documentary mercifully divided into six parts that featured, in a few of those parts, the late John Perry Barlow ’69. The film got very good reviews when it came out, but I was put off by the length, and did not go to a theater to see it. However, my wife and I stumbled upon it a month ago as we looked at streaming options on our TV and decided to watch it. We were glad we did (we watched it over three evenings). Barlow comes across as thoughtful and wise, the adult in the room (not, I’ll admit, as I remember him!). Those of you who are Deadheads have probably already seen it. Others of you might enjoy it, just to bring back some memories of the late 1960s and early 1970s (spoiler alert: it ends sadly, with the death of Jerry Garcia). And those of you who went on to earn MBAs might want to see how Garcia and Company (ironically?) created a brilliant entrepreneurship that made them more money than they knew what to do with.
As the obituary for Barlow in the New York Times noted, he was also a “coordinator” for the 1978 Congressional campaign of Dick Cheney (see my comments above about Barlow being wise). As part of my ongoing search for Wesleyan alumni in the media, I carefully watched the aptly titled movie about Cheney (Vice) and can confirm that there was no sign of Barlow.
Hang in there. Send me stuff.
Richie Zweigenhaft | email@example.com