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Reasons not to let dkane teach a Winter Study, pt. 1

He might be victimized by the plague of intolerance and harassment against junior lecturers.

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Thoughts on WNY Costs

Among the Williams faculty, the center of discussion over the next week will be the May 7th vote on whether or not to cancel the Williams in New York program. Good luck to both sides. Let the lobbying and coalition building commence! Key, as in all elections, will be turn out. Perhaps a reader will attend and give us a blow-by-blow.

In the meantime, I want to turn the discussion toward some specific parts of the report. I suspect that for many faculty members, the key issues will be cost and popularity. If WNY isn’t that expensive and/or is very popular, then why cancel it? Let’s start with the issue of cost.

Summary: The Waters Committee has failed to provide a disinterested faculty member with enough information to fairly estimate the “cost” of the WNY program. Until that information is provided, one should not vote to cancel the program.

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Eph Interview Podcast Class of 1958 Jim Conlan

As I work my way through the class of 1958, I had a chat with Jim Conlan about how different the campus was on weekends when women were around, as well as how to prepare for a pop quiz in Art History.

I do have another interview that I will be posting tomorrow. I’ve been buried with publisher work, as well as doing my May episode of The Invisible Hand. Of course, the April episode engendered no controversy here on Ephblog, so I may post the May one as well ;)

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1988 Yearbook: Page 188

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Report on the Williams in New York Program

Thanks to Professor Chris Waters for sending me a copy of the Report on The Williams in New York Program. I have pasted an html version of the report below. Comments:

1) I have not had time to read the whole report. What do others think? We would especially be interested in hearing from WNY alumni.

2) Kudos to Professor Waters for sharing this document (which has been sent to all faculty members) with the wider Williams community. Too many College officials and faculty decline to conduct themselves in a transparent manner. Professor Waters (like Professor McDonald, chair of the Committee on Varsity Athletics) upholds the best traditions of the Williams faculty by allowing alumni and students to read this report. Why don’t other faculty members (e.g., Professor Wendy Raymond) act this way? I predict that the College itself will never post this report nor officially notify alumni about its contents.

3) We discussed the WNY program here. (And let me again apologize to Professor Jackall for not providing an accurate description of the program.) Some of the concerns raised there, especially costs and popularity, are raised again in this report.

4) The next step in the process is a vote at the faculty meeting on May 7th on the following motion:

Should the Williams in New York Program be discontinued?

If I were a faculty member, I would vote No on resolution. Yet, at the same time, I would demand some fairly serious changes over the next year, mainly to reduce expenses. If those changes did not materialize, I would get rid of the program.

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CC Minutes 2008-04-23

Latest College Council minutes from the wonderful Emily Deans ’09. In a discussion about raising funds for more social events, we have:

Sarah Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) mentioned the issue of having money for alcohol, which both the neighborhoods and also ACE struggle with. There is no good way to have money for alcohol without charging students.

Peter Nurnberg (co-President) clarified that other schools allocate their Student Activities Tax more for programming things and less to non-programming organizations and Williams does the opposite.

Gordon Atkins (Sage) said that it would be nice if the endowment could subsidize things for the students.

Excellent idea! Of course, it is tough for the endowment itself to cut a check, but the endowment is just the collection of donations from generous alums and, even today, there are hundreds of generous alums who would love to “subsidize things for the students.” In fact, Nurnberg and his co-president campaigned on just such a plan. I outlined how it should work here. Alas:

Even though I think that this is a great idea, my prediction is that nothing meaningful will come of it because Williams administrators will be able to cajole/trick the interested students into dropping the project. The College is happy to have students fund-raise for projects that the College already approves of. It will do everything it can to prevent students from contacting alumni about projects it would not otherwise fund.

With luck, students will prove me wrong.

No one ever contacted me. Perhaps someone in next year’s Gargoyle class will prove me wrong.

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1988 Yearbook: Page 187

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WNY Goodbye?

Has something bad happened to Williams in New York? Tell us more, Will.

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1988 Yearbook: Page 186

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Koreans and Jews and 2020

Elite schools like Williams discriminated against Jewish applicants extensively 75 years ago. Today, Williams does the same against international students, especially applicants from places like Korea, China and India. EphBlog was the first to document that, at least three years ago, Williams had a quota of 6% for international students. This quota has been loosened in recent years: 47 out of 540 students in the class of 2011 are international (pdf). That 8.7% figure might not seem like a large increase from the 6% quota, but it is a 50% increase in the raw number of students (47 now versus 31 in the class of 2008).

Long time readers will recall that Williams is just doing what I recommended two years ago in a Record op-ed.

What is the solution? No sensible person recommends radical change. Start with small steps. First, select the best candidates from the waitlist to fill out the Class of 2010. Odds are that the vast majority of these will be international students. Second, increase the quota to 10 percent for the Class of 2011. If Harvard is 9 percent international, why is Williams 6 percent? Third, President Schapiro should appoint a committee of students, faculty and alumni to study the issue and report to the community. The 2002 ad hoc faculty committee on athletics provides a useful model. With more data and analysis, we will all have a better sense of what the policy should be.

8.7% is not quite 10% but I’ll give partial credit for the effort! Where is this debate going and where should it go? Recall that the College is currently engaged in the 2020 Project, an effort by the trustees and senior administrators to think hard about what Williams should look like in 2020 and what it needs to do to get there.

The single most important issue facing the College’s leadership is how “global” to make the Williams student body. Plausible cases can be made for keeping Williams where it is, at 10% international, or for going to 50% international. (You can’t have the best college in the world without the best students and at least half of the best students were not born in the United States.) Any percentage in between is reasonable as well.

Regular readers will be surprised to know that I (gasp!) do not know what the right answer is. Although international students have amazing credentials (hence the need for an admissions quota), there is some doubt as to how much they enjoy their time at Williams, how well they benefit from the experience and how connected they stay to Williams after graduation. My bias is that these concerns, while real, are little more than the same sorts of fears that caused elite colleges to restrict Jewish enrollment 75 years ago. I think that Williams ought to move quickly to 20% international and then, after a few years of evaluation and reflection, go to 50%.

But the issue is not what I (or you) think. I could be wrong! The issue is the process by which the College confronts this problem, the data that it collects, the people that it consults, the discussion which it encourages. Deciding on the best percentage for international enrollment is the most important decision to confront the leadership of Williams since President Jack Sawyer ’39 wrestled with the fraternity question almost 50 years ago. The President and Trustees should study how Sawyer handled that issue and use his approach as a template for action.

Further discussion, and a relevant news hook, below.
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Left Out of the Libel Loop

Did you catch Discussion #1422 on WSO last night? See here for a screen grab. I am not sure why the thread was deleted. Basic story seems to be that Professor Jay Pasachoff is involved in an ugly dispute with one-time friend and co-author Philip Seldon. I think that Seldon maintains this website, including gems like:

FAMED ASTRONOMER’S LITERARY WORK DEEMED UNFIT TO BE PUBLISHED BY THE EXALTED

HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS

WILLIAMS COLLEGE PROFESSOR’S CONTRACT SUMMARILY CANCELED IN POSSIBLY THE BIGGEST SCANDAL TO HIT THE FIELD OF ASTRONOMY IN DECADES

Whatever you say, friend. Just, please, step away from the keyboard.

This is one of the few cases that I won’t recommend that you “Read the whole thing.” Someone, presumably Seldon, now makes a habit of sending out e-mails on this topic to a wide cross-section of the Williams community. Ben Rudick ’08 forwarded a copy to me. Have any readers received a copy?

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1988 Yearbook: Page 185

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1988 Yearbook: Page 184

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Guide Dogs and Wheelchairs

Were you reading the New York Times editorial page 5 years ago?

It seems likely that Jeffrey Sutton, a nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, will be confirmed by the Senate this week. But it is important to recognize why he was selected, and how he fits the Bush administration’s plan for an ideological takeover of the courts. Whichever way the Senate votes on him, it must insist that the administration start selecting judges who do not come with a far-right agenda.

There is no shortage of worthy judicial nominees. Federal courts are filled with district court judges, Republicans and Democrats, who have shown evenhandedness and professionalism, and many would make fine appeals court judges. State courts are overflowing with judges and lawyers known for their excellence, not their politics.

The Bush administration, however, has sought nominees whose main qualification is a commitment to far-right ideology. Mr. Sutton is the latest example. He is an activist for ”federalism,” a euphemism for a rigid states’-rights legal philosophy. Although federalism commands a narrow majority on the Supreme Court, advocates like Mr. Sutton are taking the law in a disturbing direction, depriving minorities, women and the disabled of important rights.

Mr. Sutton argued a landmark disability rights case in the Supreme Court. Patricia Garrett, a nurse at an Alabama state hospital, asserted that her employer fired her because she had breast cancer, violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. Mr. Sutton argued that the act did not protect state employees like Ms. Garrett. His states’-rights argument narrowly won over the court, and deprived millions of state workers of legal protection. He also invoked federalism to urge the court to strike down the Violence Against Women Act. It did so, 5 to 4, dismantling federal protection for sexual assault victims. Mr. Sutton has said that he was only doing his job, and that his concern was building a law practice, not choosing sides. But throughout his career, he has taken on major cases that advance the conservative agenda. He has left little doubt in his public statements that he supports these rulings.

At his confirmation hearing, Mr. Sutton faced protesters with guide dogs and wheelchairs, who were upset about his role in rolling back disability law. Naturally, they urged the Senate to reject him.

Pictures, please! See also.

The Eph connection? Jeff Sutton is class of 1983 and married to Margaret (Southward) Sutton ’84. He is now one of the highest ranking Ephs in the federal judiciary and certainly the most prominent conservative. Questions:

1) What other Ephs have similar positions?

2) Has Sutton issued an interesting opinions recently? We need someone to write about this.

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1988 Yearbook: Page 183

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The Function of RASAN

The Campus Rape Myth is a long an interesting read, especially as a male member of RASAN (the Rape and Sexual Assault Network). Make no mistake, it’s quite provocative.

The campus rape movement highlights the current condition of radical feminism, from its self-indulgent bathos to its embrace of ever more vulnerable female victimhood. But the movement is an even more important barometer of academia itself. In a delicious historical irony, the baby boomers who dismantled the university’s intellectual architecture in favor of unbridled sex and protest have now bureaucratized both. While women’s studies professors bang pots and blow whistles at antirape rallies, in the dorm next door, freshman counselors and deans pass out tips for better orgasms and the use of sex toys.


Context

The “Sex Signals” show mentioned in the article came to Williams as well, and I don’t think the writer was fair in her characterization of them, so take the article with a grain of salt. Follow the jump for more quotes. Read more

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1988 Yearbook: Page 182

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Shut Up and Go Along

Most interesting comment on EphBlog in the last week? This one from a female ’07. (Since it is comment 156 (!) in that thread, I think a few readers may have missed it).

I think hwc has a good point in his comments on this page. Specifically:

Are you arguing that a few specific individuals finding offensive language acceptable give them the right to impose such offensive language in a common area on ALL female members of an entryway?

Do you argue that this would never pressure women in the entry to just “shut up and go along” with somebody else’s “context”, even though they are deeply offended?

That’s exactly what happened in my entry, and I graduated last year. I was one of a few women who found a lot of the loud male humor in the entry offensive, both on quote boards and out loud, but yes, we all did “shut up and go along” with it without even being asked. Because when you’re a freshman in college and you’re told these people will be your best friends, and it takes a few months to find likeminded people and make solid friendships outside your entry, you don’t want to make people mad at you. In fact, you try to just get used to it and find it funny instead of offensive.

I’m not saying this damaged me or that I hold a grudge. In fact, I stayed friends with most of the guys and continued to live with them after freshman year, as did the other women who found some things offensive. Also, I do understand people in a group making jokes about that group ironically. But the fact that none of us women ever said, “Could you please stop calling people c*nts?” because we didn’t want to bother anyone, while none of the men ever thought “Hmm, maybe the three girls in the room who aren’t joining in to our jokes are bothered by us calling people c*nts”…do you really think it’s that unlikely, that ridiculous, that this entry-specific type of interaction is rooted in the fact that sexism DOES exist in American society?

Read the whole thing. Comments:

1) I, like Whitney Wilson ’90, was shocked by this description of a (typical?) quote board. I never saw anything like that during my era at Williams. Has the world really changed so much?

2) I think that any JA who allows, much less encourages, such displays is not doing his job. You can be fairly certain that there is at least one first year in your entry who doesn’t like such crudity, even if he does not tell you. Simple guide: If your quote board is so crude that you feel the need to take it down when parents visit, your quote board is too crude for regular display. If you wouldn’t show something to your Mom, don’t show it to your entry, and don’t let your freshmen show/inflict such crudity on each other.

3) There is a world of difference between what you put up in your own room (i.e., anything you (and your roommate) want) and what you put up on your door, which your whole entry has little choice but to see. Is it a hassle for JAs to police this? Yes! But consider it a teaching opportunity.

4) All those who claim that hwc is out of touch should consider this a data point in his favor.

5) I am not sure if I see this as an example of “sexism” so much as boorishness. The problem is not that these boys think that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote. The problem is that no one has taught them how to behave in civilized society, especially when women are in the vicinity. Is it too much to hope that Williams might turn such youngsters into gentleman?

6) I wrote to a member of the Women’s Collective, suggesting that they consider taking photos of quote boards and posting them. She did not have the common courtesy to even reply. Perhaps someone else will take on this project. It is hard to have a productive discussion without concrete and current examples.

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rhinoceros steinbrennerus tampafloridus

An update from the New York Times on the Eph Steinbrenner’s: George ’52 and Hal ’91.

Shhh. Don’t disturb him. Let him trample through the marshland undisturbed. You may take photographs and video and audio to your heart’s content, but please do not do anything harmful to this endangered species.

For a while, there were fears we were losing the awesome roars and fearsome wallowing and general flailing of the dangerous “upright keratinous horns on the snout” (to quote the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). This impressive mammal seemed on the verge of extinction, a victim of enlightenment and manners and corporate groupspeak.

I am speaking here of rhinoceros steinbrennerus tampafloridus, a rare breed apparently making a comeback in its native habitat. The beast is back, in the person of Hank Steinbrenner, Rhino the Elder, not to be confused with Hal Steinbrenner, Rhino the Younger.

Are you an Eph interested in being a sports writer? Write for EphBlog! We have hundreds of readers per day and your beat would be the New York Yankees (and Hal Steinbrenner ’91). If you don’t take up this offer, then you probably don’t really want to be a sports writer. And, who know, you might even get a book out of it, as Derek Charles Catsam ’93 did from his Red Sox Diary series.

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1988 Yearbook: Page 181

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1988 Yearbook: Page 180

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ars longa vita brevis

It’s Family Days at Williams. Are you participating in any of the activities? Here is a report from FROSH mom:

Well…time for some puppies and unicorns and dewdrops in the purple valley…

It was another beautiful day here in Williamstown. I started the morning with a double shot latte and muffin at T.C., at which point (sufficiently caffeinated), I walked…ahem…trotted… over to the College Museum. It did not disappoint; the highlights being the J. Mehretu and W. Kentridge exhibits. The Rotunda was stunning, having in stark contrast to the room, an exotic, earthy collection of beautiful African masks.

From there, I strolled over through Hopkins Gate…the idea being to make my way up to the cupola of West College. Couldn’t get in the building , however, so I plunked myself down for a moment on a bench I had laid claim to on my visit last Fall…the very bench that Larry linked to above…no lie! In fact, I have a series of photos taken from that bench last year…blue, blue sky, through vivid fall leaves.

Next, I made my way past Paresky and Chapin, past the Frosh Quad, through the little park and Haystack Monument (facing the ’soviet bloc’ style Mission dorms), and then down to the college cemetery. At the very end of it, I turned around, and facing the backs of all the gravestones, one caught my eye. Most of the backs of the markers are blank, but this one, more contemporary in shape, had inscripted, in plain, block letters, simply ‘HELLO THERE’. Amused, I came around to the front of it. It was none other than the gravestone of S. Lane Faison…someone I’ve heard so much about. Inscripted on the front of it, below his name was ‘ars longa vita brevis’. It was a sweet, whimsical moment…and the highlight of my day.

I spent the afternoon at MassMoca; the Anselm Kiefer exhibit was, IMO, muddy, clunky, and somber. But Holzer was good…as was the lighthearted exhibit of Spencer Finch.

Off to dinner tonight with friends, students, and family.

A lovely day…special thanks to Professor Faison.

From all of us. Any other reports from the Purple Bubble?

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1988 Yearbook: Page 179

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1988 Yearbook: Page 178

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Tutorial Suggestions

It’s pre-registration time at Williams. What tutorials would you recommend for current students? My suggestions include:

ECON 357T(F) The Strange Economics of College (W) SCHAPIRO
ECON 371T(S) Economic Justice ZIMMERMAN
ENGL 343T(F) Whitman and Dickinson in Context (W) KENT
HIST 128T(S) Conquistadors in the New World (W) WOOD
HIST 487T(F) The Second World War: Origins, Course, Outcomes, and Meaning (W) WOOD
PHIL 350T(S) Beauty (W) WHITE
PSCI 323T(F) Henry Kissinger and the American Century (W) MCALLISTER

If you aren’t taking at least one tutorial a semester, you are cheating yourself out of an amazing experience.

Which tutorials would our readers recommend and why?

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Like a Crocodile

Most amusing article about an Eph in finance in the last ten years? This one from December 2001 about Jimmy Lee ’75, one of the most important and successful bankers of his generation. Highlights:

“Jimmy is a relationship man” said Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.’s Henry Kravis. “In fact I’m having breakfast with him in a few days. Most relationship bankers are like concierges. Jimmy comes up with solutions: He is a full-fledged investment banker.”

Last week, at a leadership conference in midtown, striding back and forth across the stage, Phil Donahue-style, the 49-year-old Mr. Lee, well under 6 feet, seemed much the smaller man than his suspender-snapping, deal maker image. His thinning gray hair was cut short, and he was attired in the most conservative of blue bespoke suits. A chunky gold ring glimmered as he waved his hands under the lights.

“At the time I’d been running our business in Australia,” Mr. Lee said, relating to a new audience that moment when he had stopped being a Wall Street drone and instead started his ascension in the syndicated loan business. ‘I didn’t like my job or my boss. I knew, too, that there was this guy Bill Harrison at the bank who was an up-and-comer. One August morning in 1982, I just walked into his office and said, ‘My name is Jimmy Lee. You don’t know me, I don’t know you very well, but I don’t like my job or my boss and I want to work for you.'”

The story is revealing in a number of ways, as it speaks to Mr. Lee’s notorious infighting skills and his ability to cultivate those mightier than he.

Soon after he was appointed managing director at the bank in 1988, he began wearing the famous dollar-sign suspender. For his 40th birthday, he bought himself a Shelby Cobra; he grew his hair long, letting it flair, Michael Douglas-like, over his ears and touching it up with a bit of gel.

And then there was the trail of bosses he left in his wake, although his ultimate boss, Mr. Harrison-now J. P. Morgan Chase’s C. E. O.-has always been a fixture in his life. Indeed the joke has always been that the shortest job on Wall Street is being Jimmy Lee’s boss. Mr. Lee just hated to lose. If it meant having to be a bastard every now and then to get there, so be it.

“Jimmy once said to me, ‘It’s not about money, it’s all about power,'” said one former colleague.

And last year he was paid more than $30 million in cash and stock to stay put.

Others counter that the leopard does not so easily change his spots. Said one former colleague, “Someone at Chase once said, Jimmy is like a crocodile: He sits there with his eyes just a bit above the water saying, oh yeah, come just a little bit closer .”

Question for our finance professionals: How much money does Jimmy Lee have? Note that, because he is not one of the top five officers of JP Morgan, the bank does not report his income even though he is almost certainly one of the top five money makers. Indeed, during the great credit bubble of the last 5 years, Lee has almost certainly done extremely well, even if doing so required a bit of brown-nosing and conceirging.

I assume that much of Lee’s compensation was in Chase and then JP Morgan stock, but I do not see him listed as a major holder in Bloomberg. Is that because the bank does not need to report his holdings on a Form-4 since he is just an employee and not an officer? My guess would be that his net worth is around $50 million, i.e, about what Chase Coleman ’97 and Andreas Halvorsen ’86 earned each month in 2007. Lee’s former boss Williams Harrison currently owns around $75 million in JPM while his current boss, Jamie Dimon, controls about $150 million.

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1988 Yearbook: Page 177

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Art and (Wo)man at Yale

Brilliant op-ed from Professor Michael Lewis.

Has any work of art been more reviled than Aliza Shvarts’s senior project at Yale? Andres Serrano’s photograph of a crucifix suspended in his own urine did not lack for articulate champions. Nor did Damien Hirst’s vitrine with its doleful rotting cow’s head. But Ms. Shvarts’s performance of “repeated self-induced miscarriages” has left even them silent. According to her project description, she inseminated herself with sperm from voluntary donors “from the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle . . . so as to insure the possibility of fertilization.” Later she would induce a miscarriage by means of an herbal abortifacient. (Or so she claimed; whether she actually did any of this remains unclear.)

Ms. Shvarts may have, as she asserts, intended her project to raise questions about society and the body. But she inadvertently raises an entirely different set of questions: How exactly is Yale teaching its undergraduates to make art? Is her project a bizarre aberration or is it within the range of typical student work, unusually startling perhaps but otherwise a fully characteristic example of the program and its students?

A traditional program in studio art typically begins with a course in drawing, where students are introduced to the basics of line, form and tone. Life drawing is fundamental to this process, not only because of the complexity of the human form (that limber scaffolding of struts and masses) but because it is the object for which we have the most familiarity — and sympathy. Students invariably bristle at the drawing requirement, wishing to vault ahead to the stage where they make “real art,” but in my experience, students who skip the drawing stages do not have the same visual acuity, and the ability to see where a good idea might be made better.

Note that the Williams Studio Art major requires a year of drawing and a year of art history. Glad to see Lewis practices what he opines. Read the whole thing. (Rest below the break.)
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Eph Interview Podcast Class of 1958 Bruno Quinson

This interview is with Bruno Quinson, Class of 1958, in which we learn about the seductive power of Red Sox baseball games, Wall Ball and acting in French. 

Bruno was also extremely helpful in suggesting Ephs to contact. I have to complete interviews with 10 members of the class of 1958 by the reunion, and May is going to be a tricky month for me, with a bit of travel. Will I be able to do it?

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1988 Yearbook: Page 176

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