Currently browsing the archives for June 2003
If anyone has pictures or anecdotes (amusing , thoughtful or otherwise) from reunion that they would like to share, please send them in.
One of the few people with a good excuse for missing reunion was Jim Duquette ’88, recently promoted to interim general manager of the New York Mets.
Duquette has everything but a track record. He has personality and integrity. He has contacts and instincts. He has the skill sets.
He is respected. The Mets rebuffed attempts by Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Baltimore to interview him for their GM job. So it wouldn’t be fair to toss him away after four months.
It’s impossible to re-create conversations that caused the bad calls, so it’s hard to tell where he agreed, or where he differed. But Duquette wanted A-Rod, and passing was the mistake that triggered all the others, like a set of rotten dominoes. Duquette never got the ideas to obtain Bobby Bonilla or Darryl Hamilton, two mistakes of the past. Or of Vaughn, the biggest mistake of the present.
Duquette sounds as if he knows developing their own players is the way to go. But he warned, “You can’t talk about young players and quick fixes in the same sentence.”
Duquette was asked what attribute might guide him, and he said patience would. Duquette knows this needs time. Let’s hope the Wilpons give it to him.
As far as I know, Jim is the highest ranking Eph in sports management, with the exception of George Steinbrenner. For those who don’t follow baseball closely, the Mets, depsite spending a ton of money on player salaries, are doing exceptionally badly. I think that this is bullish for Jim’s prospects since the team has no where to go but up.
My own 2 cents, as a statistician, is that the Mets would be well-served to study the success of the Oakland A’s as chronicled by Michael Lewis in Moneyball. Interested readers can check out this discussion in Slate.
The College has posted a whole bunch of good stuff about gradutation, including the full text of the speeches given. Again, I am not sure how many people actually use this, but I certainly appreciate it. Perhaps my only suggestion for next year is to do things a little quicker.
The images are fun to look at, although there isn’t realy a good shot of my favorite scene: the graduates, having received their diplomas, walking out through the line of clapping faculty.
I would be a poor former student indeed if I didn’t highlight a picture of Jim Burns, looking resplendant in his Harvard robes.
I am not sure if this is a picture of students trying to sing The Mountains without knowing the words, but, if it is, I know a solution!
The speeches overall were fine, but not great. This isn’t to say that I could have done any better. One thing that might make them better is to have one or two of the speeches be awarded in competition. (I don’t think any of them are, but I could be wrong about the Phi Beta Kappa speaker.) Basic idea is that instead of having avote for class speaker, you have a competition, open to all seniors, in which a comittee (including perhaps both students and faculty) listens to all comers and chooses the best. Harvard does this and it seems to work quite well.
Not sure what is up with the Alumni Review. I got my hard copy in the mail almost a month ago, but there is no sign of the latest issue on the website. Of course, it is not clear how many alums care about having the review on-line, but it sure makes for an better blog discussions.
By the way, I think sending the hard copy of the Review out two weeks before reunion is exceptionally good timing. Just when those last-minute deciders are thinking things over, they get a reminder about Williams and how much fun seeing the Purple Valeey would be. I wonder if the timing is fortuitous or planned.
Willa Morris was kind enough to e-mail me about the status of the blog.
Surprisingly enough, traffic to the blog has kept up, even after the reunion. I am not quite sure what to make of this. Part of me is pleased. Part of me is tired.
Mostly though, the blog has been a nice proof-of-concept for me about the desirability of using new technology to better connect the Williams family. I think that many alums would like to increase the depth and breadth of their connections to Williams. I know that many Williams students would benefit from increased interaction with the alumni. My next project is actually to work on this in a more substantive way, perhaps in conjunction with the Williams tutorial program.
Whither the blog?
Well, as long as people find the material hear worth reading, I can hardly resist posting. So, I guess that the blog will live on, at least for the summer. I’ll present a more formal plan later this week. There is also a chance that the blog will be taken over by the class of 1989 (my wife’s class) for their reunion. I will also be trying to work with my father’s class on their 50th reunion planning.
In any event, thanks for your continuing patronage. This blog would not have been nearly as successful without the many contributions that we received from readers all around the world.
Alas, we loss quite a few people on the way to the actual meeting in the gym.
Of course, the quality of these pictures leaves something to be desired. If you have pictures of the event, please send them to me so that I can post them.
Couldn’t make reunion? We bring reunion to you!
Start of the alumni parade. I was impressed with the way that the College started th parade precisely on time at 9:30 even though not everyone had managed to make it all the way up to Baxter Lawn from our lovely breakfast at Poker Flats.
Here is the class of ’88 in full march.
Note how popular the reunion vests are.
Just back from the parade and alumni meeting. Much fun was had by all, although we lost about 90% of the class on the transition from the parade to the meeting in the gym.
If anyone had any doubts about Morty Shapiro as president of Williams, you should put them aside right now. As we sang The Mountains and other traditional songs, Morty not only sang along but knew the words by heart! At least, that is the way it looked from the cheap seats . . .
Another highlight of the parade was meeting Katie Ken’ts partner and her adorable son Simon. I’ll just note that Simon and my Cassandra are the same ages. With any luck, they’ll both go to Williams, meet, fall in love and get married. And then Katie and I can be in-laws! That would be great fun . . .
It’s Saturday morning here in Williamstown (your loyal blogger staff never rests!), and the parade is about to start. Jack Phillips’s genius in reunion organizing has come to the for with his choice of warn vests as the class gift. Very snug here with the weather in the 60’s at best. The Great Eph in The Purple Mountain has taken mercy on us by preventing the constantly threatening rain from actually landing on us, so far.
To anyone who couldn’t make it, we wish that you were here.
I’m very sad that I won’t be at reunion. I’ll be happy to post for those who also can’t make the trek to Billsville. Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Somebody please have a belgian waffle for me on Sunday and wish Kate Macko a happy birthday too!
For those who misplay their schedule of 1988 class events, here are the highlights from Jack’s letter in May. All class events are at the tent on Poker Flats.
Friday 6:00 Cocktails; 7:00 Dinner
Saturday 8:00-9:30 Breakfast leading to Alumni Parade
Saturday 6:00 Special Kids Dinner (even if you don’t have kids, there are few things more fun than watching 100 or so children under 10 party like its 1999)
Saturday 8:00 Cocktails; 8:30 Gala Dinner; 9:15 Music and Dancing
Sunday 8:00 — 10:00 brunch
The college has a handy schedule of reunion activities here. Unfortunately, I won’t be making it in time for Steve Fix’s talk about the tutorials. Here’s the question/suggestion that I would ask if I were there:
Have you ever thought about putting the tutorial papers on the web?
Basic idea would be that, besides bringing the paper to tutorial for reading to the professor and her fellow student, a student would be expected to post the paper on a special college tutorial site the evening before. (Perhaps this would have the added benefit of encouraging the other participants to read the paper before the meeting, but that is a side issue.) This site would be public, open for viewing to everyone inside and outside of the college. Benefits might include:
1) Students taking their work more seriously. The more people who read your writing, the more that you were about its quality. In my experience, this is especially true for undergraduates when they know that their peers will be reading their work.
2) Students learning from each other. Most Williams students are probably pretty good writers. Many of excellent. A few are superb. Since reading good writing is a good way to improve one’s own writing, the more that the good writers have a chance to read the work of the superb writers, the more the overall average quality will increase.
3) Alumni involvement. I think that there are a lot of alumni who might be interested in reading tutorial papers. We all miss Williams. Many of us miss the thrust and parry of academic argument. Posting tutorial papers on the web would allow intererest alumni to read, and possibly comment on, the work of current students. This would be part continuing education for the alumni; part better feedback for the students.
4) Essentially zero cost.
5) No coercion. As a first pass, you could try this for only those professors and students who volunteered. Selection effects being what they are, you would probably end up with some of the better student-writers (and more open minded professors) participating in the first pass.
5) Easy exit. If, having tried it for a few tutorials, you discover that it is a waste of time, there will be no cost to ending the practice.
I guess that this “question” would be too long for a question at the actual event. So it goes.
It is still not too late to head to reunion! The weather is looking . . . uh . . . challenging, but better than it looked yesterday. Wasn’t it last time around that we had rain except for the two times that we most needed dry weather (Saturday morning parade and evening dinner)? As long we make it dry to Sawyer gym, I’ll be ready to declare victory.
Why are you reading this blog? You should be loading up the car and heading to reunion. The weather looks lovely, sunny with temperatures in the 70’s.
Of course, you should believe everything that you read on the internet. Here is an alternate version.
With reunion just a day away (for those arriving for the Thursday evening get-together), about the last thing we need to worry about is the words to “The Mountains”. The best rendition on the web that I have been able to find is here.
O, proudly rise the monarchs of our mountain land
With their kingly forest robes to the sky
Where Alma Mater dwelleth with her chosen band,
And the peaceful river floweth gently by.
The mountains! the mountains! we greet them with a song,
Whose echoes, rebounding their woodland heights along,
Shall mingle with anthems that winds and fountains sing,
Till hill and valley gaily, gaily ring.
The snows of Winter crown them with a crystal crown,
And the silver clouds of Summer round them cling;
The Autumn’s scarlet mantles flows in richness down,
And they revel in the garniture of Spring.
O, mightly they battle with a storm-king’s power;
And conquerors shall triumph here for aye
Yet quietly their shadows fall at evening hour,
While the gentle breezes round them softly play.
Beneath their peaceful shadows may old Williams stand
‘Til sun and mountains never more shall be
The glory and the honor of our mountain land,
And the dwelling of the gallant and the free.
See you all on Friday!
From Ellen O’Connell:
The following classmates have volunteered to serve as class officers for the next five years, serving through 2008.
- President – Christine B. Roach
- Vice President – Lisa Buxbaum
- Secretary – Russell Werkman
- Treasurer – Ben Miller
The Berkshire Eagle has an OK article on the Williams graduation two days ago. Tough to tell how the speeches were from the snippets quoted.
Class speaker Aaron Jenkins, who noted the class’ successful completion of “four years of what I would like to call ‘academic/emotional/spiritual boot camp’ in what I would refer to as ‘an undisclosed bubblelike mountainous location,’ ” urged a full embrace of life.
“We must actively engage life, not only because it is a beautiful thing that can end at a moment’s notice, but also in that we have only one life to live — there is no going back,” he said.
That last part is, obviously, a bit trite, but it is tough to form a fair judgment without seeing the full context. Cathy Salser’s graduation speech still sticks with me 15 years later, but it might not have appeared that good in the next day’s Eagle.
The North Adams Transcript also provided graduation coverage. Again, there wasn’t a whole lot there worth quoting, but I like the way that the Transcript highlights the student speakers whereas the Eagle focussed on Eric Lander.
The college also granted honorary degrees at Commencement, as is its custom. I was pleased see Jim Burns honored, although I think that the college has his Ph.D. degree incorrect. In fact, I think that he and Paul Volcker (another honoree) were in the same prgram, albeit at different times.
On a lighter note, if I were a famous author like Michael Beschloss, I might spend the money to come up with a better publicity picture than this one:
Perhaps it is just my browser, but the coloring here looks a little Oompa-Loompish to me.
Probably I am just jealous that I don’t get invited onto PBS NewsHour . . .
Brooks Foehl reports that:
On-line registration was turned off as of Friday evening and our office is not taking phone in sign up. From here on out, people should just show up at the Alumni House/Faculty club with a check or credit card when they arrive. Housing is guarenteed, but where is not — ’88’s housing situation looks fine, though.
People who are just now deciding to come should let someone know so that we can add you to the list of attendees.
Of course, pretty much as soon as I posted the forecast, it changed. The good news is that the chance of rain is still pretty low. Actually, I think the job of weather forecaster must be a great one – I mean, where else can you be consistently wrong (as they are in Chicago anyway) and not get fired for it?! (I hope no one in our class is a weather forecaster. If so, my apologies – that was totally tongue-in-cheek!)
Today’s Weather Channel forecast for Williamstown has no rain in it for Saturday and Sunday at least! Of course it will change 50 times between now and the weekend, but let’s keep our fingers crossed that we all made enough sacrifices to the rain gods 5 years ago to cover us for this year!
With reunion less than a week away (and more than 100 classmates registered to attend), this blog has seen a non-trivial increase in readers. Of course, determining viewers of a web page is as much an art as it is a science, but it seem like a lot of people have stopped by (3,000 unique ip addresses since we started; 1,000 in May alone) and that activity has picked up in the last week or so.
I don’t really believe that a thousand different people checked out the blog in May. Who are they? Why are they here? I suspect it has more to do with dynamic IP addresses and other technical mysteries. Yet it does seem that a fair number of people read the blog and that some people, who might not have come to reunion otherwise, have been, in part, motivated to do so by what they have seen here.
In that spirit, I thought it might be useful to highlight some of best parts of the blog, both for the pleasure of new readers and to encourage further attendance.
The blog started on January 5th. The archives of all blog postings are available to the right of this page. Tracy, Kim and I are the bloggers (which means that we can post directly to the blog). If anyone else wants a shot at the fame and fortune that has been ours these last 6 months, you would be welcome to join us. All you need is enthusiasm, time and a facility with Google. In my view, the best parts of the blog have been the “Eph Blurbs” that people have sent it. These are meant to be like the little life summaries that the college will expect us all to send in for the 25th reunion 10 years from now. Here is a listing of the ones that we have collected.
0) If I left anyone out, please let me know.
1) I love these. If you do to, then you should send in your own Eph Blurb as a kindness to your classmates. Note that we would like blurbs from anyone and everyone in the class, whether or not you are (currently) planning on attending reunions.
2) Some of these are toungue-in-cheek, obviously, but Eph Blurbs come in many different flavors. Send us yours.
3) If you are a member of the Reunion Committee and didn’t send in an Eph Blurb (even just a picture), you are officially a Bad Person.
4) There is a small groundswell (well, Brooks Foehl e-mailed me and my father called me, independently, I assume) to the effect that we should collect these Eph Blurbs and other blog highlights into some sort of packet for distribution at Reunion. We (Tracy, Kim and I) will consider this if either a) someone volunteers to help — surely there is an ex-yearbook editor out there somewhere or b) a bunch of people e-mail us to say that they want this or c) a bunch of people send in Eph Blurbs.
Apologies for the lack of posts, but we have had some (more) problems with our provider, Blogger. Ben Miller wrote in with this update:
Laura (Wefing) Brady was our sole registrant for Friday, but she made up for it by bringing along an entourage of 5 others as well! Some people travel in style!
If any of your friends haven’t registered yet, please encourage them to do so right away. Remember that you can register online at here. Also, see the entry from Ellen O’Connell on May 29 for options if you do not plan to spend the entire weekend at the reunion.
PLEASE, do NOT mail checks and/or paper registration forms in after Saturday 6/7/03..because they might not arrive before Thursday.
1. Register online (if you’re able to come for the whole weekend)
2. E-mail Ben, Jack or Ellen and let us know you’re coming, then pay at the
door. (Ben_Miller at monitor.com; jadaph at yahoo.com; eoconnell at pasesetter.com)
Ben Miller reports that:
Congrats to our new registrants of the day bringing our total to 103 alumni and 164 adults total.
Erin Braden (officially, she’s been ‘unofficially’ registered for weeks !)
Noreen Harrington wins the prize as the official 100th registered alum for
I am especially glad to see two Williams C’ers (Lisa and Willa) is this batch, along with the George Tolley, the most proflic e-mailer to the blog and ace-googler of many classmates. I especially look forward to introducing my daughters to Noreen Harrington. With any luck, her ability to give good advice (to me, at least) will rub off on them . . .
I have updated our attendee list. To anyone who is still on the fence about attending: Surely there are at least a handful of people on this list that you would like to catch up with!
And my final Google find for the evening: Catherine Woods Richardson. If this info is current, she is the rector for St. James Church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts…not too far from where many of us will be in just 7 short days!
Here is a statement by reunion attendee Ken Marcus, who is (at least at the time of this statement) the General Deputy Assistant Secretary Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And here is a picture of Ken (on the far left):
Can’t remember if we’ve posted anything here yet for William Ryan, but Google found this bio, which indicates that he is an attorney focusing on labor, employment and immigration law. Note that this link is via Channel 8 News in Connecticut, where it appears he is available for online consultations – or at least for questions – on immigration law!
Ben Miller suggest that we should all:
Thank Seksom when you see him. Seksom, always a giving soul, decided to make up for his procrastination by registering TWICE on the online system. We’re assuming he WANTED to pay twice (either to make a contribution to the reunion fund or because he was planning on eating and drinking for two). Don’t worry Seksom, we know how to issue refunds!
If any of your friends haven’t registered yet, please encourage them to do so right away. Remember that you can register online here. Also, see the entry from Ellen O’Connell on May 29 for options if you do not plan to spend the entire weekend at the reunion.
Latest registrants to the endless fun that will be our reunion in ten days include:
Long time readers of the blog will recall that Seksom was one of our very first google victims. But, with our new and improved technology, we can post these pictures in line.
I came across of transcript of the event that Seksom was attending in this picture. The woman is saying to him: “Is it true that you attended several parties freshmen year dressed in hospital scrubs?” If you want to know Seksom’s answer, you should come to reunion.
Always-on-the-ball Ben Miller provided this update:
96 of your classmates are currently registered, with total attendance of 155 adults and numerous kids. 12 additional classmates are in various stages of the ‘check is in the mail’ (really, on-line registration isn’t that tough !). At least 20 others that we know about are trying to fit attending into their schedules.
If any of your friends have not yet registered, please encourage them to do so right away! Remember that you can register online here. Also, see the entry from Ellen O’Connell on May 29 for options if you do not plan to spend the entire weekend at the reunion.
Hope to see you all there !
The list of reunion attendees to the right has been updated.
Ellen O’Connell mentioned that golf spots available on Thursday & Saturday of Reunion weekend. Anyone interested should contact Brooks Foehl at Brooks dot L dot Foehl at williams dot edu. (Note that we replace “.” with “dot” and “@” with “at” in Brook’s e-mail address so as to keep him out of the clutches of the spam bots.)