Currently browsing the archives for July 2003

There were a bevy of

There were a bevy of 89’ers at Naree Wongse-Sanit’s recent wedding. Over the next few days, I hope to post some more material. All of this can be seen as a prelude to the blogging activities for the 15th year reunion for the class of 1989.

Among the attendees was Tim Dailey ’89. Tim, who spent some time among the elite group of Jake House groupies, is now running his own consulting/banking firm, ClearCreek Partners. Their web site reports that:

ClearCreek Partners is a consulting firm that works with privately-held companies preparing to raise $5 – $50 million in capital or engage in M&A transactions. ClearCreek sources its clients through a referral-only network and puts all companies through a rigorous screening process prior to engagement. ClearCreek provides financial advisory services, business plan refinement, presentation coaching, and institutional investor introductions.

Tim is married to a business school classmate and has two young children.


Very Foundations

Surfing around the Williams web — perhaps I need a new hobby — I am consistently underwhelmed with the news and publication section for alumni. Not only is the most recent Alumni Review not posted but the section on Spectrum (a “monthly Newsletter highlighting activities of the Multicultutural Center and Alumni Networks”) is pathetic. I can understand why something like Spectrum might no longer be publishing (and why it was never really “monthly”) but I don’t see the point in keeping up issues that end in December 2002. Perhaps the best guess is that there was a May 2003 issue, but that that was never posted.

Strangely enough, although our household includes an alumna of color (would that be the appropriate PC phraseology?) we don’t receive it.

Looking on he bright side, however, there is material here to blog about! In the December 2002 issue, Stephen Collingsworth, Assistant Director and Coordinator for Queer Issues at the MCC (Multicultural Center) writes (p. 4):

Because of my background, I guess forget that through being white and living in the United States, I am the benefactor of a history and a country whose very foundations are based on the concept of entitlement and the idea that as a nation, we are not responsible for our actions.

“Very foundation”? I seem to remember something about democracy, freedom, separation of church and state, the rule of law and so on. The Framers of the COnstitution obviously failed to live up to the ideals embodied therein, but they surely deserve points for trying. Collingsworth goes on:

The very concept of capitalism on which the United States economy is based, quite proudly it seems, is rooted in that oppression: slavery. We fought and won a Cold War based on the idea that capitalism is better than the oppressiveness of communism.

It is hard to know where to begin with sentiments like this. Here I always thought that the Cold War had something to do with freedom. Would Collingsworth really rather live in, say, North Korea or Cuba?

In any event, I don’t want to get too political (read: boring) here, but whenever confronted with these sorts of ramblings from outfits like the MCC, I always go back to a simple question: In what nation on Earth are my daughters — of proudly mixed-race parentage — least likely to be treated different from other little girls because of the color of their skin? France? Germany? China? Japan? Although one could, perhaps, make a case from a place like Brazil, it seems that the obvious answer is the United States. For all its many faults, there is no country in which my daughters heritage will cause them so little (and none so far) heartache.

I would feel better about Williams and the MCC if this point, if not embraced, were at least acknowledged as plausible. But that would require a diversity of political viewpoint that Williams does not seem to have enough of.


Sad to see that Scott

Sad to see that Scott Farley ’03 was released by the Patriots today. Of course, it is nice to see that Farley had the chance to compete at the highest level. Perhaps he felt as I did when trying out for Williams soccer — “Oh my God! How did everyone here learn to run so fast?” With any luck, young Farley will be able to combine his love of football and Williams education in some other endeavor.


Just back from the wedding

Just back from the wedding of Naree Wongse-Sanit ’89 and Mike Viner.

Now doubt the Williams wedding photo of the event will appear in 8-10 months, if we are lucky.

Naree probably knew more people at Williams during her time there than any other undergraduate. It was nice to see that she had found such a deserving husband. Above is the first page in the program of the event. If there were any demand at all, I would be happy to blog more. The 15th year reunion for the class of 1989 is now only 10.5 months away, so it is not too early to start drumming up interest.

Those wanting more details can always check out the official wedding site. Note the similar color scheme! Is is helpful to have a bridesmaid who is also an ace web developer . . .



Scott Farley (whose class I

Scott Farley (whose class I don’t know, but I think it is ’03) is the son of football coach Dick Farley. He is currently finishing week 1 of summer camp for the Patriots. Of course, the number of Williams football players that have ever made an NFL team can be counted quickly (those with the actual details should send them in), but Farley seems to have a chance. The fan web site notes that:

The Patriots will also be trying out two other safeties, both undrafted rookie free agents. Scott Farley (#43) comes from Williams College where he was a team co-captain and three-way player, logging time on offense (receiver), defense (safety) and special teams (coverage and punt returner). He led his team as a senior with four interceptions and 35 tackles from the safety position.

and concludes by predicting that

Prediction: Last year, the Patriots kept five safeties. This year’s quintet will be Milloy and Harrison at the top of the depth chart followed by the versatile Harris and newcomers Akins and Morris. Morris has logged time with a regular defense that Cherry has simply not been able to achieve during his time in New England making him in particular more valuable as a true backup in addition to his special teams prowess. Cherry also just turned 30 while Akins is 26 and Morris 25. The versatile Farley has a good chance at a practice squad position, where he can gain some experience to make up for a lack of “big time” competition at Williams.

Good luck to Farley.


In terms of Williams graduates

In terms of Williams graduates doing interesting things, I thought this article about Bob Jeffrey (whose class I don’t know but whose age would put him at about 1992) was interesting. Jeffrey is the “on-site tournament director for the Professional Golfer’s Association of America,” a job which involves worrying about every detail of a golf tournament. Best parts of the article include:

It’s a demanding job, one that takes a politician’s social skills, a bookkeeper’s attention to detail and an insomniac’s ability to stay awake while exhausted.

In tournament terms, Jeffrey was a ” swamper,” someone who did just about everything from putting up bleachers to ridding the course of rattlesnakes.

Yes, rattlesnakes.

” You have a long pole with a rope,” he says. ” You put the rope around their necks and put them in a bag and take them out into the desert. They really do rattle. The little ones are vicious.”

The rattlesnakes did not discourage Jeffrey from golf, and he has been behind the scenes with the sport ever since.

Alas, there are no details about what at Williams prepared Jeffrey for this role, but organizing Mission House rec-room parties comes immediately to mind . . .


Alan Krueger, an economist at

Alan Krueger, an economist at Princeton, has an article in the New York Times today on affirmative action. Although there was nothing Williams-specific in the article, I couldn’t help but be struck by this passage:

No one raises concerns that preference in admissions given to athletes, cheerleaders and children of wealthy alumni causes self-doubt or stigma. The fact that this concern only rises to prominence when it comes to considering race as one of many factors in admissions illustrates how difficult it will be to overcome the lingering discrimination in American society.


1) The first sentence is simply not true. Plenty of people (or is it just me?) have concerns about the preferences given to atheletes at elite colleges, both for what it does to the college and for what it does to the athletes. I would argue that the average athlete with academic credentials that at the bottom 5% of the Williams distribution would be better off at a (still excellent!) school like Bates or Denison than at Williams. I think that the same applies with regard to a Harvard versus Williams comparison. The football players who go to Harvard but who, academically, belong at Williams have made the wrong decision.

2) Note the subtle smear in the second sentence. If you disagree with Krueger by arguing that preferential admissions harms, on average, its intended beneficiaries (and if you worry about this the larger the preference given) than this fact alone is enough to demonstrate that you are a racist. The average SAT score of a legacy student at Williams may be 40 points lower than her peers (actually, I am not even sure that it is lower since high SAT students are often drawn to Williams over other options because of the alumni connection) but, to my mind, this is much less of a concern than the much larger shortfall in SAT scores for impact athletes (“tips”) in important sports. Worrying more about the latter than the former does not make me anti-athlete.


The Ephnotes mailing also provided

The Ephnotes mailing also provided a note on Williams winning the Sears Cup. Ephnotes comments that:

Williams set a Division III record en route to capturing its seventh NACDA Directors’ Cup for overall athletic performance in NCAA championship events. With 1,158.25 points, the Ephs blew away the competition, netting 379.5 points more than runner-up Emory. Leading the charge were national championships in women’s cross country and men’s basketball; runner-up finishes in men’s tennis and women’s swimming and diving; and third-place performances by women’s tennis and women’s indoor track and field. All told, Williams placed 20 of its 31 varsity teams in the national Top 20.

We Eph bloggers are as rah-rah Williams athletics as anyone, so congratulations all around. It is also gratifying to see a truly nice guy like Dave Paulsen ’87 be so successful as coach of the mens basketball team (NCAA Division III champions). However, it is unclear why Williams still needs to have so many admission “tips” — applicants who would not have been admitted were it not for their athletic prowess. Even in a world with no tips, Williams would still be at the top of the Sears Cup rankings.


Class of ’89ers Fountains of

Class of ’89ers Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood were in Chicago recently, and I happened to catch this review of them in the Chicago Tribune over the weekend (you may need to register (free) to read the article – if so, my apologies!). It’s a generally favorable review and nice to see they are still going strong…just wish I had been tracking the local music scene a little more proactively so I could have been in attendance at their concert at the Metro.


Apologies for the dearth of

Apologies for the dearth of recent postings.

I blame my co-bloggers!


In any event, the monthly eph-notes is out. I am unaware of any place on the web where this is posted, so I can’t link to it directly. My favorate part was this:

Robert C.L. Scott, the J. Leland Miller Professor of History, Literature, and Eloquence, emeritus, passed away on June 21 in Lenox, Mass. He was 90. A Williams professor from 1946 to 1978, Scott inspired countless students and faculty members as long-time chair of the department, dean of first-year students, and Dean of the College. Scott was an early advocate of abolishing fraternities and admitting female students to Williams.

I know nothing of Bob Scott, but he certainly appears to have been on the side of the angels. This obituary is The Transcript is a charming read. My favorite parts:

Mr. Scott also served as dean of freshman, and in 1954 and 1955, was dean of the college. Starting as acting chairman of the History Department, 1955-57, he assumed the chairmanship in 1958, a position he held until 1968. Mr. Scott successfully advocated abolishing fraternities at Williams, feeling they were too exclusive and divisive. He also strongly supported accepting women at Williams. The first year he had a woman in his class, Mr. Scott said, “The performance and attention of the young men has never been better.”

In 1990, Mr. Scott and his terrier, Puck, moved to Kimball Farms, where he served as the first president of the Kimball Farms Residents Association. Each year until about a year ago, he taught a popular history course to his fellow residents. In 1996, The New York Times did a story on him, “Retired Professor Teaches History to Those Who Lived It.”

I can’t find the Times article on-line. It seems a shame that Scott was not in better contact with Williams students during the last decades of his life. I am sure that they and he would have benefited from the interaction.


I have a vague idea

I have a vague idea that the blog could be filled with items like this.

Surely, there are a lot of Williams people that Stephan Kargere ’88 and Karen (Costenbader) Kargere ’89 would have liked to send this announcement to but whose address they did not know. So the blog takes care of the distribution for them. Of course, this theory assumes that those same people also read the blog . . .

In any event, congratulations to Stephan and Karen. Other than Jim Duquette, Stephan was the only person that I know with a decent excuse for missing reunion. With luck, he, Karen and the kinds will be in Williamstown next June.

In fact, this announcement might serve as a good start for the class of 1989 Reunion Blog . . .


Gaggle of Migratory Birds

Herb Allen’s ’62 annual media shin-dig is going on. The NYT reports that:

Like a gaggle of migratory birds, dozens of private jets return each July to the tiny airport in nearby Hailey, Idaho. There they unload titans of finance and the information industries, like Warren E. Buffett, Bill Gates and Michael D. Eisner, for a week of meetings, mountain biking and barbecued burgers here in Sun Valley. It is part of the annual media mogul summer camp organized by the investment banker Herbert Allen.

Allen (generous benefactor of the College’s new theatre and dance complex) has been running this confab for many years. Although I am sketchy about the details (alas, despite the blog, my standing as future media mogul has gone unnoticed), I think that the basic deal is that Allen (via his investment banking firm Allen & Company) invites media bigwigs and their families to Sun Valley. Allen pays for everything. Much schmoozing and deal-making follows.


Take Back the Night (with this photo)

Although this blog has occasional suggested idiosyncratic views of how to decrease the rate of sexual assault on the Williams campus, I suspect that many observers might agree that plastering this picture all over campus might be a good way to start.

As this article in the Berkshire Eagle describes,

A Williams College student was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court yesterday on one count of rape, stemming from an alleged assault on a fellow student this spring.

Mark H. Foster Jr., 19, of Concord, pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance after a brief arraignment during which he was represented by Northampton attorney John Callahan.

Foster allegedly raped a fellow student in his dorm room after a night of drinking and dancing on the college campus March 16.

Foster is, of course, innocent until proven guilty, but even at this stage of the judicial process, he has paid a heavy price. We will have more to say about this case going forward, but I would wager a lot of money that making every male student at Williams aware of this case (and of the price that one might pay if one is less than certain that one’s sexual partner is anything less than an enthusiastic participant) would do much more to decrease rape on campus than all the sensitivity training and other awareness workshops that the college has put on in the last 10 years.


In the category of Williams-grad-makes-good,

In the category of Williams-grad-makes-good, it is nice to note that Susan Schwab ’76 has been nominated by President Bush to be the next deputy Treasury Secretary (the number 2 job in the department). The Washington Post notes that:

Schwab, 48, has been dean of the School of Public Affairs for eight years, moving there from Motorola Inc., where she was director of corporate business development. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master’s from Stanford University and a PhD from the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management.

If there was ever a job that the Williams Political Economy major (Schwab was one) could be said to prepare one for, it is Deputy Treasury Secretary. This article, although dated, provides a nice overview of Schwab’s career. Note especially the praise from future Nobel prize winner in economics Tom Schelling.

Next year’s seniors in political economy would be foolish not to (try to) make use of Schwab for their Washington work.


Worldwide War Against Desperation

For Williams news junkies, a good source is the College’s listing of media references. The list is not comprehensive (not sure how one would create a comprehensive list), but is does have many interesting tidbits. Alas, no links are provided. But that is why we have this blog!

An example, provided from the list, is a book review from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of “Transforming Leadership” by James MacGregor Burns ’39 and professor of political science emertus. The review, written by the paper’s executive editor David Scribman, is adequate, if a bit shallow. It notes that:

for most of us leadership is uncomfortably close to pornography; we don’t know how to define it, but we know it when we see it. But James MacGregor Burns isn’t like most of us. In a lifetime of scholarship, he has sought to identify leadership, analyze leadership, understand leadership. Now a man admired for his biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and remembered for his trilogy on American history has leaped into the leadership fracas. He knows it when he sees it, of course, but in his latest volume, he is seeking to define it, too.

Burns, of course, has been trying to define leadership all his life. In this context, a failure to mention Burn’s 1982 magnum opus on the topic, Leadership, suggests that the writer may not be overly familar with what Burns thoughts on the topic. Scribman concludes by noting that

This slender volume, stuffed with anecdote and analysis, is more than a study of leadership. It is also a call to arms — for a radically different sort of conflict from the ones engaged in by the great figures of history. Burns has in mind a great conflict involving great values. He envisions a worldwide fight against poverty and hunger.

“In millennia past, the most potent act of the rulers of nations has been the recruitment and deployment into battle of great armies of their people,” Burns writes.

“Can we, in coming decades, mobilize throughout the world a new, militant, but peaceful army — tens of thousands of leaders who would in turn recruit fresh leaders at the grass roots, in villages and neighborhoods, from among the poor themselves, to fight and win a worldwide war against desperation?”

Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to read the book myslef, but these sentiments are certainly consistent with what Burns has been saying and writing for more than 50 years. Of course, Burkean that I am, my preference would be to aim for much smaller, but more concrete, steps. How about: “Can we, next year, mobilize 10 Williams graduating seniors to go out into a dangerous part of the world (Burma, Iraq, Liberia) and try to help the people there make their lives better?” Burns, for all his well-deserved stature as an intellectual giant of the Left, might accomplish more thinking small than in writing (another) book as call-to-arms.

Think globally, act locally.

That’s what the bumper stickers tell me, at least.


One of the nice aspects

One of the nice aspects of the Williams web site is that the campus picture changes each time you go there. I think that all of these pictures can be found here and on the succeeding pages. What’s striking about many of these pictures is that they might be from this year or 15 years ago or 50. Of course, the visualatti among us will be able to note changes in campus architecture, football uniforms and the like in order to get a sense of when a given picture was taken. The shot of Chapin

could have come from almost anytime in the last 100 years. The one from Pine Cobble

is essentially timeless. The one that I am trying to figure out, however, is the graduation picture.

I had assumed that this was from a recent graduation (why scan in old photos), but, looking closely, I (think I) recognize the faces. Am I crazy or is this a photo from 1989 or thereabouts?


Ace correspondent George Tolley notes

Ace correspondent George Tolley notes that:

Lots of pictures of reunion available here — good blog fodder, if you’re still looking for that.

Thumbing through the thumbnails, I found only a paltry few pix that I could identify as being of members of our class. There were more pictures of some guy in a purple cow suit than of our class.

Nevertheless, there are a few, mostly identifiable without serious eye strain by our telltale purple fleece vests. Of the ones I could identify, there was one of Kerri Kazak and her husband wheeling their two children down Spring St. (no. 123), and at least two pix of Joyce Noonan Anderson and her brood (nos. 78 and 131). Also no. 125, but for the life of me I can’t tell who that is. There may be others — kids and such unidentifiable as belonging to our class due to the absence of any buttons, fleece vests, captions or other identifying information.


1) I am always looking for fodder, blog-related and otherwise.

2) The proud papa of twin girls is our own favorite Williams chemistry professor, Tom Smith, who had all sorts of interesting stories to tell at out table at the Gala Dinner on Saturday at Reunion.

3) I would also be remiss (and a bad father) if I failed to note these two cuties, hard at work in arts and craft. George has assured me that the admissions office will look kindly on both their race and their artistic talents a decade from now.



Arrange an Interview

Any connoisseur of Williamsiania needs to aquire a taste for the local newspapers. The two that we have linked to in the past, the North Adams Transcript and the Berkshire Eagle are both interesting reads. The Eagle is even somewhat famous as being one of the highest quality local newspapers in America. Today’s Transcript reports that Michelle Burgher, an assistant track and field coach at Williams has qualified for the World Track and Field Championship in Paris. This Sunday’s Eagle had a fun op-ed piece by Federick Rudolph, Mark Hopkins Professor of History, Emeritus. My favorite part:

The next time it didn’t happen was in 1940 when I was a sophomore at Williams College and David Rockefeller was an aide to Fiorello LaGuardia, the colorful mayor of New York. My ambition at the time was to become editor of the college newspaper; one way to advance my cause was to interview important public figures. I prevailed on Frederic T. Wood, a college trustee and a patriarch of my fraternity, to help arrange an interview with LaGuardia during spring break.

Of course, ambitious Williams students have been following in Rudolph’s footsteps (using connections to interview famous people) for the last 60+ years. No doubt they were doing so before him.


I updated my post below

I updated my post below on Williams C, 15 years later. Other entry historians are welcome to submit their own summaries.


I see David is working

I see David is working on a posting regarding and fulfilling Mike Harrington’s request for fodder for his final (boo hoo!) class notes submission. If you want to be part of this historic event, please send him info/thoughts/reunion reviews, etc. to (replace the “_at_” with @ – we are trying to protect him from the spammers!) Here is Mike’s request verbatim:

I’m putting together my final…sniff…class notes for the Alumni Review and it includes (obviously) thoughts about Reunion. Given the large number of people who made it to the Purple Valley a few weeks ago, I wasn’t able to talk to everyone and I want to make sure I encompass stories about people I might not have had a chance to catch up with. So…I’m sending out this e-mail to see if you have anything you’d like included in the column. I’d appreciate any thoughts, stories, reminisces, etc. (gossip?!) you have (and it doesn’t even have to be about the reunion).

Thanks and have a great Fourth of July!


P.S. I’m working off the registration list for the reunion (which may not have been complete up to date), so there’s a chance you were included in this list even if you didn’t attend. Feel free to send any other news you’d like to see in the Review.

P.P.S. My deadline is creeping up so if you could get me something in the next day or two, I’d appreciate it!


Reunion Tidbits

Outgoing class secretary Mike Harrington is looking for reunion tidbits for his last column. You should all e-mail him something. But, for immediacy (and arbitrary length) of publishing, nothing beats the blog. Here are my thoughts on Williams C, 15 years later (apologies for any mistakes, spelling and otherwise).

There were 24 freshmen (as we were called then) in Williams C in the fall of 1984. Here is an update, floor by floor, as best I know. Starting from the top, we have Chris Jones, Kurt Oeler, Charlie Kaplan and Blake Robison. Only Chris made it to the reunion. He is married to classmate Cecilia Malm (also at reunion) and they have a lovely daughter named Emma. Chris continues to teach math at Horace Mann High School in NYC. We threw around the frisbee a bit although, just as it was 15 years ago, he throws much better than I. I did not see Kurt or Charlie or Blake at the reunion. Kurt (at CNET) and Blake (teaching theatre at the University of Tennessee) have made appearences in the blog before. According to Chris, Charlie is working as an architect in New York City.

On the third floor were, in one suite, Ken Marcus, Dan Pyror, Stan Macel and David (DJ) Johnson. I only saw Ken at the reunion, with new fiancee/wife (not sure which) whom I was happy to regale with tales of Ken’s somewhat unusual philosophical past. She claimed to be fuly informed on the issue. Ken is the Deputy Assistant Secretary at HUD and still manages to get mentioned in places like National Review. Dan graduated ’89, I think. DJ went on to medical school and is now a high speed surgeon somewhere, but my information is spotty on this. In the other suite were me, Ed Leung, Cary May (let him rest in peace) and Josh Mellon. Unfortunately, I did not see Ed or Josh at reunion. Ed also ended up graduating with the class of 1989. When last we exchanged Christmas cards, he was married, living outside Boston and the proud father of 3 boys. Josh is married with a young son and living in Tennessee.

On the second floor were our JA’s Sarah Suchman and Annie MacDonald along with Jean Janson, Sonja Lengnick, Janet Mansfield and Ellen Lee. I didn’t see any of these folks at the reunion. I occasionally run into Jean in the Boston suburbs. She is married to a class of ’87 alum (Davis somebody or other). Sonja made an appearence in the blog (lawyer in Seattle) and, according to her e-mail, is on maternity leave.

On the first floor were KK Roeder, Lisa Klem, Julie McGuire, Willa Morris, Julie Cranston, Sara Hansen, Virginia Demaree and Anne Carson (who ended up graduating with ’89). I caught up with Lisa, Julie McGuire and Willa at reunion. Julie Cranston lives in the Boston suburbs (see here Eph Blog for more details). Sara Hansen (now Wilson) is a lawyer in San Francisco. Lisa told fascinating stories about working as a federal prosecutor in NYC, specializing in organized crime cases. She flew off to stange cities to meet ne’re-do-wells in the witness protection program. Julie McQuire is still running her coffee house (Zanzibars) in Des Moines, Iowa. It is always great fun for me to talk with Julie about the nuts and bolts of running a small business.

Certainly the award for most read-about (in some sense) member of Williams C must go to Willa Morris. Fans of John Grisham will have noted that Willa was thanked in the acknowledgements for A Street Lawyer, a recent Grisham bestseller. She has been active n social work in Washington DC for many years. She provided Grisham with much of the background material for how DC operates. Attentive readers of the book will have noted that the love-interest for the hero is clearly modeled on Willa, both in terms of job description (running a women’s shelter) and even physical appearence.

Now, if at least one member of each entry could provide a similar update. Mike and Russ would have things to write about for a long time to come . . .


I have updated the title

I have updated the title and desciption of the blog. Kim, Tracy and I have decided to keep the blog going, at least for now. Our plan is to transform it from something that focussed just on class of 1988 reunion activities into a cite of general interest to all those with an affinity for Williams. Of course, like everything with the blog, this is an experiment. We have a few ideas (and we welcome more) for what people would find interesting and useful. We are also in the process of reaching out to current faculty and students to try and broaden the perspective of the blog.

In any event, it is unlikely that the blog will be as active during July and August as it was during April and May, but we will see how things develop.