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Old Guard Versus Greylocks

greylocks

Back in the day, reunion attendees from the post 50th class were known as the “Old Guard.” (See here for relevant links.) Now, the terminology is “Greylocks.” First, who decided in this change and/or came up with the name? (I think the name is clever.) Second, why the change? Perhaps the “old guard” terminology was too military and/or masculine? Third, do readers agree with the change? (I am indifferent.)

For future historians: here (pdf) is a copy of the Reunion Schedule. Are there many more organized events than there were 10 years ago? Seems that way. Nothing wrong with that! The more fun events at reunion, the better.

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Reunion Comments

Were any readers at Reunion this week-end? Tell us about it!

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2010 Reunion Notes

An alum who attended reunion last year kindly passed along these notes (doc). Thanks! Perhaps another reader would be willing to take similar notes this year?

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Reunion thoughts

I thought I would post a few thoughts about Reunion weekend, which was – as always – a blast. Read more

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Your Voice on the Exec. Committee of Society of Alumni

I know that, from time to time, people use this blog to raise criticisms of the college we all love. And even as I have now begun blogging here, I still do not check it as regularly as I would like, but will try to do so as best as possible over the next three years.

You see, during the annual meeting of the Society of Alumni yesterday (during Reunion Weekend), I was elected to the Society’s Executive Committee and want to represent my fellow alumni as best I can, being as well apprised of concerns y’all have as possible.

If you have concerns that you believe our committee can address, please let me know. And I’ll try to do a better job of reading the blog more frequently to become better informed of the issues which concern alumni with whom I do not regularly come into contact.

(Perhaps, once my laundry is done & I check out of my room in Mission, I may offer some Reunion Thoughts.)

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Five Years Out 1: “Choosing” Williams

Promoting another post to the “Reunion Top.” –93kwt

This weekend is my five year reunion. For a long time, I’ve wanted to write here a post highlighting a few of the most shining moments I remember from my days there. In one post, I could have done this: restricting myself to “moments” that can be described to people not of my inner circle and and which are purely positive would have generated a short enough list.

But as I sketched it out, I found there was more I wanted to write about. I wish I could have kept it simple, but I’m probably incapable of this. I want to give you an idea of what was important to me, and how I connected to the campus community. And I want it to include some of the good and the bad, as well as the hard and the incidental. I want to tell a story, but remind myself that I did not live four years as a story, or see a “point” or even a unified flow in my life as I was going through it: though I suspected that I would look back someday and see it that way.

Five years out, this series of posts is much of how I see what I lost and gained at Williams. This is ephblog, so the segments are far from uncut or uncensored, but they are long enough to be true. They capture what is important to me looking back, and the past I want to give homage to as I think about reuniting with my class this weekend.

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Reunion Thoughts: The Williams Dream

I have promoted this post to the top and will continue to promote reunion-related posts to the top until the end of reunion.  –93kwt as 93kwt

I can still recall the day now nearly thirty years ago, December 15, 1980, when my Mom brought a thin envelope from Williams College to my high school in Cincinnati.  Having heard that when it comes to college admissions, a thin envelope is bad news, I feared the worst.

But, when I opened it up, I learned that I had been accepted early decision into what would soon be acknowledged (on numerous occasions) as America’s finest liberal arts college.  I jumped so high, I punched a (metaphorical) hole in the ceiling outside Room 15.

I often referenced that “hole in the ceiling” as the dream I had for Williams College.  When things got rough in parts of my freshman and most of my sophomore year, it felt like the hole closed up.  Later, in my junior year as things began to turn around in a big way (a very big way), it felt like the hole not just opened up, but expanded beyond measure.

Williams did not quite meet the lofty expectations I had had as an upperclassman at Cincinnati Country Day School eager to set off to college.  But, when I became more in touch with my own qualities and passions, it became a good place, a very good place, one I was loath to leave a quarter-century ago and where I am eager to return this afternoon.

Knowing this year would be a big reunion year, I had been making plans for quite some time to return.  And realizing it would follow shortly after a niece’s Bat Mitzvah (also on the East Coast), I’d been thinking for some time about making another cross country drive to attend both events.

I didn’t make such plans to attend my 25th high school reunion even though I had spent thirteen years in the same private (PK-12) school.  Indeed, for that celebration, I only decided to go at the last minute. Williams has that kind of pull for many of us.

And I wonder sometimes if one of the things that makes us love Williams so is the dreams we had about what that place might be. Read more

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Correspondents Wanted for Falk Talks

There are two main public events at which Adam Falk will be speaking tomorrow. Go to them and tell us what he says! (The overview I provided of Morty’s talks in 2008 is still one of the best guides to how he thought about his decade at Williams.)

The first event is the Ephraim Williams breakfast in Paresky tomorrow. It starts at 7:30, but, if you show up at 8:15, you won’t miss anything. This event is, theoretically, restricted to donors of various kinds, but no one checks invitations. Just say EphBlog sent you!

The second event is the traditional presidential Q&A from 4 to 5 on Friday at Main Stage. In a better world, the College would record and distribute either video or audio from that event, but, in past years, they have not. Perhaps this year will be different.

Go and tell us what President Falk has to say!

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Reunions! (and Commencement)

[[note: Promoted this Reunion-related post to the top spot,  and eventually returning Mr. Blatt’s post to its original date and time. 93kwt, 12Jun]]

Like the other posters, I’m here for reunions, but as a staffing Reunion Ranger. We wear tangerine shifts (they stand out in the purple), and direct traffic, check rooms, run events, and generally run ragged for a few days. If you’re in town, look me up and shoot me an e-mail; I’m spending most of my time with the post-50th reunions @ Dodd, but will be other places.

So far, though, the work has been great. We have a good crop of Rangers (40 selected over over 80 applications), and WIlliams students are so efficient that we’re knocking down tasks left and right while having a good time. Hopefully, the rainy and cold weather will clear up in time for everyone else’s arrival.

Part of Rangering is service as an usher during Commencement and the surrounding events. I had a neat role supporting the Dean, and while the weather played a few games with us, I will appreciate my own Senior Week much more now that I’ve seen the work put into it. If anyone was there, I was the odd fellow near the stage who looked like secret service.

But the weekend also showed me something of this college’s nature. The pole-hit by Berkshire County‘s High Sheriff and our commencement’s formal language were reminders that despite our resources, events, and famous alumni, we’re still a bunch of people clustered in a small Berkshire college. The Williams Community stretches far and wide – through this blog – with people who have shared memories of the Purple Valley. It’s been a privilege to share a bit of time with the ’10s, and I’m learning that this college is much more than a group of buildings and classes. We’re starving artists, rich venture capitalists, and everything in between; but only 550 people in the world sat in Lancing-Chapman rink last Sunday, and those 550 people will, if patterns hold, be returning for years to come.

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Reunion Thoughts: The Armor We Wore Our Freshman Year

When I first set out on my cross country drive, culminating this weekend in my 25th Reunion, I had expected that Williams would often be on my mind and I would frequently pen posts about my thought.  But, now with the first events of our reunion fewer than 48 hours away, I find I have hardly posted on this journey, the last time just after staying with Williams friends in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now, I’m in Boston, having followed a route similar to that I first took when my Dad drove me to college for my freshman year.  Only then time, instead of heading from the New York Thruway to Route 2, I took the MassPike into Boston.  On Thursday, I’ll take Route 2 West to Billsville.

One thought which has crossed my  mind from time to time was more  a hope than a thought, the hope that when my class assembles again, they won’t remember me as I was when first we assembled as freshmen in the Fall of 1981.  But, as I noted in a previous post, “some of the sharpest memories I have are of freshman year“.  I would dare say it’s the same for many of them.

While I came to embrace many of my lifetime passions in the Purple Valley, when I first arrived I was uncertain about the propriety of expressing any of them, more concerned about fitting in than in “finding myself” (to borrow an expression which has become a cliché).  But, then I think that many of us tried to mask our own insecurities in false identities.  And we sometimes became judgmental of those not in our circle (or our entry) to cover our own anxieties.

For most of us, that judgmental attitude melted away as we became more comfortable in our own circles more confident in our talents and more aware of our own interests.  Perhaps, it was the support of a good friend or the encouragement of a professor.  Or the inspiration of a coach (or other mentor). Read more

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Williams Couples

Given how much we complained how little dating there was at Williams when we were students, it’s fascinating how many of my classmates are married to each other.  And of those couples that formed while we were in the Purple Valley, it seems the better part survived long after those happy golden years.

As I drive now down the eastern seaboard, heading first south before turning north with the ultimate destination of Williamstown for my reunion, I have visited family members and friends, including two Williams couples.  I am now in Charlotte, North Carolina. staying in the home of a good friend from the Class of 1987 and her husband, also of that year.

They are now the second coupled classmates I have met on this journey, the others from 1984.  Pardon the double negative, but I had never not known the elder couple as anything but a couple.  What I didn’t know was that they waited until five years after Williams to marry.

I had just always assumed that they would.

As to the second couple (whose hospitality I now enjoy), well, I can still recall learning of their romance when she wrote me in Germany (where I was then living), telling me of this guy she met and had started dating.

Now, these couples met at Williams, but going through my reunion book, I found quite a number of couples who got together only after graduation.  Perhaps, some day, someone will study why it is that people who knew each other as Williams waited until after graduation to connect.  But, for now, I will just note the high percentage of people who started dating at Williams and ended up married.

From my experience at least, It seems almost that if the relationship survived Williams, it would survive into the real world.

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A Day in Prague (Williams In Prague Reunion, Day 2; Chapter 1)

“CHAPTER ONE: INTO THE GARDEN” PLEASE SEE NOTES BELOW.

Another film day and night. Another (mostly) quiet voyage.

Quick viewing notes:
Best seen if you click on the embed/image below, then on “Full Screen” in the top left of the window that pops up after that, and then press F11 for actual Full Screen.  (This page will, unfortunately, loop back through the start.) You probably wish to use the your right and left arrows to move through sequences which do not interest you quickly.


This is one of nine chapters. Due to limits in Picasa, chapters must be presented separately. Other chapters:
Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. Chapter 8. Chapter 9.


Approx. 2400 frame slideshow film, shot @ .8333fps in 6-frame bursts; enhanced and edited.

Presented inPicassa. Approx. run time: 120 minutes (at default settings; set to 3sec per frame).


Description/Notes: Many Easter Eggs and human stories. Special prize awarded to any non-European alum who can identify more than 75% of Williams alums pictured here and there.


Further notes: Viewer can adjust playback speed from .10-1 fps, use forward/back keys to skip, use other means to skip or rearrange.
Best viewed on a laptop or other device where the viewer can turn the screen, or learn to turn their head.


This may interest:
Those who would like to take a look at Prague;
those with a particularly obsessive interest in space, detail, or the Czech Lands;
those who have not seen the area in 10 years or so;
those who have never had the time or opportunity to look hard.

&Further further notes: Viewer may need to mutter odd witchcraft to use keyboard controls. Picasa does not allow all kinds of things from this kind of embed.


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Reunion Nostalgia

I write this post from a Comfort Inn in Richfield, Utah, having completed the first leg of my cross country drive (or x-country x-cursion as I have dubbed it) so I can attend both my niece’s Bat Mitzvah in New York and three weeks later my Williams Reunion in Billsville and in the between time, visiting friends and family on the east coast while taking time to pay homage to the subject of my dissertation at her North American shrine.

And in the past few days, few weeks really, I have spent much of my time remembering Williams, with odd memories cropping up at strange moments.  Because this is a big reunion (25th), the college sent out a facsimile of our original Facebook, only replacing our dorm and high school information with our current address and professional situation.  So, I page through it, particularly at moments when I needed a break from dissertation writing (or was procrastinating that writing) and remember classmates and wonder at their current situation.  I never would have thunk he or she would end up in the UK.  Or that he would teach high school.  Or she go into finance.

And her spouse is a woman!?!?  (Cool!)  But, she and Steve (not his real name) were the most coupled people at Williams, smooching in the snack bar, holding hands in Hopkins.  Their relationship didn’t last, but it was fascinating to note how many of our classmates married other classmates.  Some relationships just made sense. Of course they’d end up together.  But, they didn’t date at Williams, did they?  (In many cases, they did not.)

And then there were people I wished I had gotten to know better or had made the effort to meet.  And those with whom I lost contact (and regretted as much).  Thanks to Facebook, I have gotten in touch with several of my classmates, learning that one man comes up with better one-liners than some people who earn their living writing such lines in Hollywood.  (Was he this witty at Williams?)

Two things to note, some of the sharpest memories I have are of freshman year (and I do hope that that is not the same for my classmates about me).  And then, there’s something a classmate said to me when after learning (via Facebook that he was in LA for a few months) we got together for lunch.  As we talked about reunion and our class; he remarked how despite the size of the school, people had so many different experiences there.  So many people loved the place–and for so many different reasons.

It is amazing the diversity at such a small college.

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Bloggers’ Panel at Reunion

I have contacted the Alumni Office about doing a bloggers’ panel at reunion next month.  They think it’s a swell idea. I have confirmed Dan Drezner ’90 in addition to myself to speak.  But, with myself on the right and Dan in the middle, we have a gaping hole on the left.  In the true spirit of our alma mater, we should balance this out.  So, if there is anyone on the left politically who’s going to be at reunion and wants to participate, please e-mail ASAP, so we can make this happen.

Thanks, Dan Blatt ’85

(Ronit has long since asked me to blog here, so I may just do that in the future.)

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Purple Cows of America, Reunion Encore

photo copyright Williams College

photo copyright Williams College

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Meg Lowman ’76 Still Climbs Trees

KERA’s (Dallas)  Krys Boyd recently interviewed tropical field biologist Meg Lowman ’76 on Boyd’s always fascinating “Think” program.

 

http://podcastdownload.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/77/510036/91173599/KERA_91173599.mp3

 

The interview ranges over a variety of topics, from Lowman’s creation of the first tree canopy walks (she was the force behind the one in Hopkins Memorial Forest), being an international field biologist, teaching (she is a professor at New College of Florida, where she teaches undergraduates), life as the single mother of two boys while working in the field, and women in science. More than anything, I was struck by how much her identity as a parent shapes her worldview and values. She and her sons (who are now in their early twenties, and destined for scientific careers of their own) have collaborated in writing about life growing up in a field scientist’s family.

 

Those of you who are at Williams for reunions can try out a canopy walk for yourselves tomorrow (assuming the rain stops):

Sat., 1:30 – 5 p.m.  Hopkins Forest: Visit the Treetops on the Canopy Walkway

The walkway is a pair of tree platforms set 70 ft. above the ground and originally used for research. Platforms are linked by a cable bridge and accessed via a wooden ladder. Participants are harnessed to safety cables, and aided by guides. Space limited; long waits possible; first come, first served; no children under 12.

(It’s safe, but a challenge if you have height anxieties. Even if you don’t ascend, it’s worth walking over to HMF just to look at the structure. There will be an open house in the forest at the same time, so you could stop in at HMF headquarters and see the museum of farm implements, buy some homemade maple syrup, and view some of the other exhibits. And if you are outdoorsy, don’t miss the bird walk and the hike, both of which are also on the main reunion schedule.)

Listening to the interview or seeing the canopy walk might interest you in reading Meg’s books for the layperson:

Life in the Treetops: Adventures of a Woman in Field Biology by Margaret D. Lowman (2000)

and

It’s a Jungle Up There: More Tales from the Treetops by Margaret D. Lowman, James Burgess, Edward Burgess, and Ghillean T. Prance (2006) (written with her sons)

 

Lowman has a website, canopymeg.com. Officialy, her title is Margaret D. Lowman, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies and Director of Environmental Initiatives, New College of Florida, but, if one just adds “Mom,” the subtitle of her website encapsulates it rather nicely: “Author, Adventurer, Tropical Rain Forest Canopy Biologist.”  She is very much a proud product of  the  Williams Center for Environmental Studies, and the College has celebrated her accomplishments by honoring her with a Bicentennial Medal.

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Emily Driscoll: Works at Williams College Museum of Art

From May 31 through July 13, WCMA is showing works by the late Emily Driscoll ’05, an exceptionally talented artist who died last fall. Here is the College’s press release on this well-deserved honor: http://www.wcma.org/press/08/08_Driscoll.shtml

Continued well wishes to her family, including her father Dave Driscoll ’73 and her partner Walker Waugh ’02.  Emily’s life was short but her accomplishments and impact were disproportionately large. May she rest in peace. 

If any of you who are going to reunions, are on campus for the summer, or otherwise happen to be in Williamstown and visit the exhibit, we would be grateful to hear more about it.

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Reunion Pictures

Lots of great reunion pictures at SmugMug. Kudos to the Society of Alumni for making these photos available. If I (and my EphBlog co-authors!) weren’t so lazy, we would pick out the best pictures and post them here.

It was only two years that seeing reunion photos required a stupid registration with some idiotic company (which, to this day, continues to spam me). Wonder how much the College paid for that service?

In any event, it is good to see SoA taking advice from EphBlog. We are here to help! Really.

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Reunion Pictures

EphBlog was at reunion!

sleep.jpg

Thanks to the always interesting EphNotes (which really ought to be posted in pdf or html), we finally have information on pictures from reunion. (Alas, this web page doesn’t seem to have the July issue posted yet, but, if you’re reading this, you probably received it via e-mail.) In any event, EphNotes reports that:

The College has teamed up with a Web-based company, EveryoneSmile.com, to bring you a slew of Reunion ’04 photos, organized by cohorts and activities (25th, 50th, Parade, Family Fun, etc.). Go to http://www.everyonesmile.com/williams and fill in your e-mail address. Within 24 hours you’ll receive an e-mail granting you access to view all the photos and share them with friends. You’ll also be able to order one free 5 x 7 photo print. When signing up, you will be able to opt in or out of EveryoneSmile e-mails and promotions, but rest assured, the company has guaranteed not to share your e-mail address with any other vendor.

This seems like a lousy idea to me. Last year, the pictures for the reunion were posted for all to see. I think (hope) that there are some alumni who would be happy to surf around easily-accessible pictures and take a look. I believe that there are very few alumni who would take the time and trouble to register for the privilege of doing so.

I bet that very few alumni, and almost none that work outside of Williamstown, have registered for this service. (Perhaps someone in the know could tell us the actual results.)

But, EphBlog did register, of course. The pictures were OK, but last year’s seemed better. You can see them for yourself here, using “eph@ephblog.com” as your login and “qkqln” as your password.

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Alma Mater

Reunion is just over a month away. If your year of graduation ends in a 4 or a 9, you should go. If you know someone going, you should go with them. If you are on the fence about going, you are underestimating how much fun it will be. I can’t put it any better than MacGregor Jenkins ’90 (that’s 1890).

He walks the familiar paths, he passes doorways through which he has gone a hundred times as a Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior…[h]e smiles as he recalls that it was in this doorway or at that corner that some incident occurred which he felt at the time marked an epoch in his life, now a faint…memory. He passes Jesup Hall where he has labored in the small hours at his self-imposed task of journalism, he passes the darkened Labs where he has experimented and Morgan where he lived in those ample days of Sophomoric expansion…He recalls the hours of study, the long walks alone among the hills, evenings of discussion, and the constant urge to think, to understand, to express and to create. But tonight the divergence in detail of their interests is lost and forgotten in a common sense of nearness and intimacy, born of greater and more enduring things than personal traits or preferences. It is not the athletic field, or the editorial sanctum that fills their minds. It is Williams. It is the College. It is Alma Mater in the true sense of that significant phrase.

Hat tip to the most excellent web site set up by the class of 1998 for their 5th year reunion last year.

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Class of ’99, 5 year reunion notice.

The class of ’99 was sent a reminder for the 5 year reunion today. The meat of the e-mail is this:

Hello Class of ’99!

Our class reunion website, produced by Josh Fincke, is up and running! Please take a moment to check it out at www.williams99.com.

If you are planning to attend our five-year reunion June 11 – 13th and have not yet sent in your RSVP card or have lost it, we still want you to be there! Just e-mail our reunion chair Laura Moberg at lmoberg@wso.williams.edu, and let her know that you will be attending and whether or not you’ll be bringing a guest. In the next couple of weeks you should receive a mailing with all of the registration and housing details for the reunion. In the meantime, the website should be able to address questions you may have regarding what the big weekend will be like.

The e-mail is then finished off with about twice as much text describing how we came to receive that e-mail, and the process by which we can elect to stop receiving said e-mails.

I am class of ’99, but personally I won’t be attending this reunion. Not out of some protest but instead due to the fact that a plane ticket from here is going to be over $600-1000 and at this point I don’t think I can justify spending that much on the 5th. I would rather just give that money to a specific part of the school and have it better used that way.

I am sure that it will be a good time – I worked many alumni functions in the summers at Williams and witnessed just a small amount of the planning, effort, and (at a more abstract level) money that they put into it.

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