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Webb ’61, RIP

From the Washington Post:

Charles Webb, whose novel ‘The Graduate’ inspired a Hollywood classic, dies at 81

With its Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, mordant dialogue and bursts of sexual tension, “The Graduate” was a generational touchstone, launching the movie career of Dustin Hoffman, earning director Mike Nichols an Oscar and turning a character’s one-word piece of career advice — “plastics” — into a punchline.

Based on a novel by Charles Webb, the 1967 film foreshadowed Hollywood’s turn toward a more youthful audience and made more than $100 million at the box office, drawing rave reviews for its story of a disaffected college graduate (Hoffman) who is seduced by a married woman (Anne Bancroft) and falls in love with her daughter (Katharine Ross).

But for all its success, Mr. Webb largely distanced himself from “The Graduate,” which featured a Buck Henry and Calder Willingham screenplay that lifted much of the dialogue from his book. “It’s something that I cannot shake,” he once said of the novel. “It has defined my whole life. I just want to run away.”

EphBlog knows the feeling!

The whole obituary is amazing. See below the break for more.

Read more


Jimmy Lee ’75, RIP

From the New York Times:

James B. Lee Jr., a pioneering deal maker and among the most influential Wall Street investment bankers of his era, died on Wednesday. He was 62.

Mr. Lee, a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, died of a heart attack after working out in his home in Darien, Conn., the bank said.

Mr. Lee, who was universally known as Jimmy, was the behind-the-scenes consigliere to the world’s top corporate chieftains, hatching mergers and public offerings for companies as diverse as General Motors, Facebook and Alibaba. He was a constant presence in the lives of moguls like Rupert Murdoch of the News Corporation and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric.

He was a throwback, part of a different generation of bankers on Wall Street who were trusted advisers to corporate America based on deep relationships and insights, even as much of investment banking had become commoditized.

Mr. Lee was a colorful character who was known for calling clients at all hours and signing emails “your pal.” More important, behind the trappings of Wall Street culture was a keen intellect. He was an early pioneer of syndicated loans and became a powerful force in the world of leveraged buyouts and private equity, financing deals for Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group and the late Theodore J. Forstmann of Fortsmann Little.

Famous on Wall Street for the lengths he would go to woo a client, he bought a Corvette ZR1 to demonstrate his dedication to G.M. during its initial public offering and had hoodies made for Facebook’s I.P.O. as a sartorial homage to its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. He also looked the part of a high-powered banker, with slicked-back hair, pinstriped suits and two-toned shirts with cuff links.

He also often played the role of backstage mediator among companies and activist investors, helping to end contentious battles between Carl C. Icahn and Dell, for example, and mentoring Daniel S. Loeb, the founder of Third Point.

Inside JPMorgan, Mr. Lee was the firm’s rainmaker and one of its longest-serving executives. He often used the firm’s enormous balance sheet to finance complicated transactions. He was also a close friend and adviser to the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, whose office was just doors away from his. When the bank was under investigation by the Justice Department and Mr. Dimon was under pressure, Mr. Lee had Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, call Mr. Dimon to cheer him up and tell him to “hang in there.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Dimon called Mr. Lee “invaluable,” adding, “Jimmy was a master of his craft, but he was so much more — he was an incomparable force of nature.”

Mr. Lee was animated by the pursuit of the big deal, stoked by a competitive fire and a desire to be in the middle of the action.

In 2005, at a party honoring Mr. Lee, Mr. Dimon told a roomful of chief executives and buyout clients that “Jimmy Lee has probably lent a trillion dollars to the people in this room.” After pausing for effect, he added, “and almost all of it has been paid back.”

As word spread about Mr. Lee’s death on Wednesday, laudatory statements about him came pouring in from every corner.

“Jimmy loved Wall Street more than anyone I’ve ever known,” Mr. Loeb said. “He wasn’t driven by money or deals but by his passion for people. There was no more loyal friend to be had on Wall Street, nor anyone whose wise counsel I valued more. My last correspondence with Jimmy was a note from him titled ‘Bragging,’ where he told me about his son’s admission into a highly competitive securities analysis program at Columbia Business School. He signed off by telling me that despite his long and successful career, his ‘greatest accomplishment’ was his children” — his son, James, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Alexandra.

They survive him, as does his wife, also named Elizabeth.

James Bainbridge Lee Jr. was born on Oct. 30, 1952, in Danbury, Conn. His father ran the Frank H. Lee Hat Company and died of a heart attack when he was 47; Mr. Lee was 11 years old.

Mr. Lee talked about how his father’s death might have driven him to create special bonds and relationships.

“Jimmy was my closest friend in finance,” Mr. Schwarzman said. “It’s hard to explain. He always gave someone the sense — and it was true —that he cared desperately about you.”

Mr. Lee began his career with Chemical Bank in 1975 after graduating from Williams College. He played a key role in starting Chemical’s syndicated loan group in the 1980s, helping fuel a wave of buyouts, and built the investment banking business as the bank became a bigger player through mergers with Manufacturers Hanover and Chase Manhattan Bank. He climbed the ladder to run Chase’s investment banking business and eventually rose to become vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase after the 2000 merger that created the company.

He advised on some on the biggest deals, including United Airlines’ acquisition of Continental, General Electric’s sale of NBC Universal to Comcast and the News Corporation’s purchase of Dow Jones. He scrambled to help save the American International Group during the financial crisis and later helped underwrite its I.P.O.

He was fiercely loyal and considered leaving the firm only once. In his top desk drawer, he kept a copy of the term sheet to become the No. 2 at Blackstone. He most likely would have become a billionaire had he taken the job, because it was long before that firm went public. He would occasionally show it to friends, in part to demonstrate his loyalty to JPMorgan and his colleagues.

Mr. Schwarzman recounted how he had tried to recruit Mr. Lee away and nearly had a deal. “We had the press release ready,” Mr. Schwarzman said. Mr. Lee told him needed to speak with JPMorgan’s chief executive at the time, Bill Harrison. He called Mr. Schwarzman back and told him he couldn’t do it.

“I told him, ‘Don’t feel badly. You’re following your heart,’ ” Mr. Schwarzman said. “He had so much loyalty to the bank and the people there.”



0000081986-01-1Paul M. Holt, Class of 2002, in Minneapolis. While at Williams, Holt appeared in a well-received production of the play Sophistry, a 1990s era play frequently brought to mind by the recent cultural focus and debate over college sexual assault. In a setting that evoked real life at Williams, Holt played an alcoholic professor alongside, among others, Hans Davies ’99 and Alicia Currier ’00.

As a math major at Williams, Holt was one of many Ephs (including past EphBlogger Diana Davis) who, under the leadership of Professor Frank Morgan, conducted research into the properties of double bubbles: geometrical structures (like soap bubbles) that enclose two separate volumes with minimum surface area. Holt’s work led to several published papers, including Double Bubbles in S3 and H3 and The Double Bubble Problem on the Flat Two Torus.

Holt’s funeral will be held tomorrow in Minneapolis. Donations in Holt’s memory are encouraged to Minneapolis’s Midtown Greenway Coalition. Holt was a leader of the Greenway’s nightly bicycle patrol.


RIP, Harold “Jay” Wilson, ’56

Harold “Jay” Wilson ’56
May, 1934 – May, 2011

In his own words:
“Harold J. Wilson is a retired English Professor and Anglican Clergyman living in Oxford. He was born in NYC in 1934, the son of an Episcopal Clergyman and emigrated to England in his retirement years. He is a poet, a songwriter, a father of two grown sons, Anthony and Laurence Wilson, and is married to retired English teacher Susannah Harris-Wilson, a formidable person.

“He was largely brought up in the Appalachians and graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts. He has two Master’s Degrees. He is from a largely Scots and Irish family background.

“Wilson has taught students from the sixth grade to college level adults, served in the Pennsylvania Poets In the Schools program from its inception in 1971 until 1982, and has been a teacher in England, Pakistan and (mainly) Philadelphia where he was a long-time member of the Community College English Department.

“His interests are in contemporary culture, traditional songs, Jungian Psychology, and a wide range of subjects on which he is opinionated but not particularly profound.

“For the purposes of civilised discussion, he may be reached at

“If you also are totally opinionated, cantankerous, and/or as curmudgeonly as he is, please don’t bother. We have enough of that here already. I don’t mind being challenged though. I might even learn something!”


RIP, Soane

E.J. Johnson’s lovely dog Soane recently passed away. A full generation of Williams students associate fond memories of Soane with the most popular class on campus, Art History 101. See a picture of E.J. and Soane here, and watch Soane’s gentle nature (even ducks seem unconcerned by his pursuit) in action below:


Marsh ’95, RIP

Very sad news:

NICHOLAS ANDREW MARSH (Age 37) On Sunday, September 26, 2010 of Washington, DC. Beloved husband of Navis A. Bermudez; loving son of Linda (Dr. William DeVries) and James (Kim) Marsh. Also survived by aunts, uncles, cousins and many wonderful and loving friends. Along with his faithful canine companion, Bourbon. Nicholas was born in Elizabethtown, KY and was 1991 graduate of St. Xavier High School in Louisville, KY where he received the recognition for Freshman”s Scholar. In 1995, Nick graduated from Williams College Magna Cum Laude with double BAs in Philosophy and History. At graduation, Williams College awarded Nick with prestigious Gaius Charles Bolin, 1889 Essay prize in Afro-American Studies. Nick lettered in lacrosse. He also completed a one year course in Philosophy in Oxford and was Oxford Blue lettered in lacrosse. In 1998, Nick graduated from Duke University Schoool of Law in addition to JD in Law. He was awarded a Master”s degree in Literature. Upon completion of law school, he clerked on the 9th Circuit under Judge Andrew Kleinfeld in Fairbanks, AK. He worked for the law firms of Sullivan and Cromwell and Hale and Dorr in New York City. In 2003, he accepted a position as a prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC. Nick loved all sports with baseball and college basketball his favorites. He was an avid reader, cook and loved music and just resumed playing his soprano saxophone. Funeral service will be held on Thursday, September 30, 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1328 16th St. N.W., Washington, DC. Interment Hebron Cemetery, Shepherdsville, KY. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nicholas A. Marsh Class of 1995 – Williams College, 75 Park Street, Williamstown, MA 01267.


George Steinbrenner ’52 Passes

Via postings from 1980 and others: ‘George Steinbrenner died this morning. He was a very generous supporter of athletics at Williams.’  Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.


Finlay ’43, RIP

From The Machester Journal

George Dick Finlay III, 87, passed away at Clark’s Residential Care Home in Hyde Park on Jan. 17, 2010. Dick, the son of George Dick Finlay II and Edith (Christie) Finlay, was born in Montclair, N.J on Jan. 23, 1922. He graduated from Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass. in 1939 and Williams College in 1943. After graduating from college, he became a member of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division.

Dick married Adele Anness in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 16, 1946. They moved to the Manchester/Dorset area where they enjoyed life with family and friends. Dick was an avid fisherman and skier. He worked for years in the fly fishing industry, working for Orvis and Fly Fisherman magazine. He was instrumental in starting the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester. After retiring, he worked part time as a canoe and fly fishing guide for The Battenkill Canoe Company. Dick was a protector of the rivers of Vermont, especially the Battenkill River. He received several awards for his dedication to these rivers including the Watershed Award, presented to him by Governor Douglas in June of 2008 for “significant efforts contributing to clean water in Vermont,” and a special thank you for years of leadership and stewardship of the Battenkill.

Dick’s other love was skiing. He was a weekend ski instructor at Bromley Mountain for nearly 50 years. During that time he especially enjoyed teaching children how to ski.

Read the whole thing. Dick Finlay ’43 lived a life worth living. Am I? Are you? Almost all of us, when the time comes to move on to the Great Pine Cobble in the Sky, will merit an obituary in our local paper. What will yours say?


Coach Fryzel, RIP

Sad to note the passing of former Williams Coach Dennis Fryzel.

0002285100-01i-1_141148Dennis Fryzel had three careers spanning 45 years. But to those who knew him, he was, simply, Coach.

Mr. Fryzel was a college and professional football coach for 20 years, working with the likes of Bill Parcells, Nick Saban and Earle Bruce. He coached at Columbia University, Williams College, Air Force Academy, Syracuse University, University of Tampa and Ohio State University. He even did a stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“He loved the game and he loved kids,” said Gayle Wood Fryzel, his wife of 44 years. “He loved knocking heads on Saturdays with the other team, trying to outsmart them.”

Vin Hoover played for Coach at the University of Tampa 1973-74. Initially the defensive coordinator, Mr. Fryzel became head coach at the age of 30.

Mr. Hoover said Coach was intense. He paced back and forth on the field. He yelled. He butted heads with players. And if he had to show an athlete how to tackle, he’d demonstrate — without gear.

Sounds like my kind of coach. I believe that Fryzel was at Williams in the early 70s. Here is the only reference to him that I could find at Williams.

Perhaps the greatest impact of Towne Field House was the growth of the winter track and field program at Williams. Coach Denny Fryzel told the Williams Record: “Largely due to our new facilities, winter track, which in past years has had 4-6 runners, will have 20 members this year.” He then called the field house “One of the finest small-college track facilities in the East.” The first indoor track meet ever held at Williams took place on January 27, 1972. Union College triumphed with a score of 56 points, followed by host Williams with 53.

Did any readers play for Coach Fryzel? Tell us your stories.

Condolences to all.


Sounds of Silence

WilliamstownJazzFestivalDue to budget-cutting at Williams, its major source of funding, the Williamstown Jazz Festival has ceased operation. The annual multi-day spring program had included music, dance, film, and an intercollegiate jazz competition, and was run as a collaboration amongst Williams, the Chamber of Commerce, MASS MoCA, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, with additional venues provided by St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Clark. Some events had free admission; others had an admission charge, but that did not bring in nearly enough to keep the festival going once Williams ended its subsidy.

For more about the festival, go here. (A link at the top of that site opens up a sampling that includes snatches from Williams jazz and gospel choir groups and a faculty jazz group.)

This is a true loss to Williams, to music groups from many colleges, and to Williamstown and the surrounding communities. I am grateful to the people who had the vision to start the Jazz Festival and to those who made it happen every year. My heart goes out to them and to the people who had the difficult task of deciding whether to continue the funding from Williams.

May more abundant times return soon.

(Thanks to Frank for alerting us to the festival’s demise via a post in in Speak Up!)


Little Platoon

Conor Cruise O’Brien, Irish intellectual and former visiting professor at Williams, has passed away. Did any readers study with O’Brien? My roommate reported that the class was excellent, if too large. Former Williams President Frank Oakley reflects on O’Brien’s work in this 1995 essay.

So, where does all of this put me along Conor Cruise O’Brien’s continuum of pessimism to optimism? What I have had to say should place me, I suppose, well towards the outer, pessimistic reaches. But I find myself reluctant to be located on that continuum at all. If I am well aware of the sorry historical record of setbacks and failures, I also cannot help taking heart from some of the successes. Despite the predictions of so many pundits that Portugal and Spain would be unable to make an effective transition to liberal democracy after the ending of the Salazar and Franco regimes, they succeeded in so doing. If so many tyrannical regimes have flourished in Africa, constitutionalist (if not necessarily liberal democratic) orders have survived in Botswana and Zimbabwe, and, against all forecasts, have made an unexpectedly successful start, at least, in South Africa. And, whatever its flaws, a parliamentary, constitutionalist order will soon be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in the vast reaches of the Republic of India.

Rather than pessimism, I am left simply with a sense of the wisdom, in these matters, of modest expectations, of the importance of attending carefully to the nourishing of grass roots initiatives–the network of voluntary organizations, the collaborative efforts of state agencies with the non-profit–all of those undramatic, piecemeal activities which go to weave and strengthen the very fabric of civil society.

Modest expectations are rarely disappointed. Those interested in the history of thought behind civil society might start with The Great Melody, O’Brien’s masterful biography of Edmund Burke.

Condolences to all.


Payne, RIP

Former Williams President Hank Payne died yesterday.

Students at Woodward Academy in College Park returned from winter break Tuesday to news that the private school’s president, Harry C. “Hank” Payne, had died on Monday.

Payne, 60, was found dead Monday afternoon in Midtown Atlanta. The cause of death was being investigated by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office.

His death was announced on the Woodward Academy web site.

“The school has flourished over the past seven years under Dr. Payne’s leadership,” the note on the Web site reads. “We have become a community in every sense. Now our community faces the most difficult of tasks — to mourn a great man, a visionary leader and a loyal friend.”

Payne was named president of Woodward in July 2000 after serving as president of Williams College in Massachusetts from 1994 to 1999.

I met Payne only once, at the class of 1988’s 10th year reunion. Judging from Record coverage at the time, he was doing a fine job. I congratulated him on his performance as president. He graciously acknowledged the compliment while pointing out the working at Williams was “easy duty.” Indeed. While President Payne’s time at Williams ended on an awkward note, with the faculty and town in open revolt over the proposed new theatre, there can be no doubt that he loved Williams and served her well.

Condolences to all.


A Deafening Silence

Since war came to the West on September 11, 2001, only a handful of Ephs have read these words. Are you among them?


My Home Is in the Valley Amid the Hills

Each morning I watch the sunlight drifting down through the pines, scattering the clouds from the mountain sides, driving the mists from the glens.

Each night I see the purple lights as they creep up the slopes of the Dome and the shadows as they fall on wood and stream.

My home is among young men — young men who dream dreams and see visions; young men who will carry my banner out into the world and make the world better because they have lived with me in my valley amid the hills.

Among my sons who have left me, some have caught the poet’s fire, and their words have touched men’s hearts and have bought cheer to a weary world.

And some, in answer to the call of country, have gone out to battle for the common rights of men against the enemy. Some of them will not return to me, for they have given all they had, and now they rest at the foot of a simple cross or lie deep below the waves. But even as they passed, the music of the chimes was in their ears and before their eyes were visions of the quiet walks beneath the elms

Whether apart in solitude or pressing along the crowded highways, all these who have breathed my spirit and touched my hand have played their parts for the better, for


This 1926 eulogy, written by Professor of Rhetoric Carroll Lewis Maxey, comes from page 136 of Williams College in the World War, a beautifully arranged remembrance of those Ephs who served in freedom’s cause during the Great War. To Williams students today, World War I is as far away as the War of 1812 was to the generation that Professor Maxey sought to inspire. What will the great-grandchildren of today’s Ephs think of us? What will they remember and what will they forget?

1st Lt Nate Krissoff ’03, USMC died a year ago yesterday. Since that time, we have maintained a link at the upper right to our collection of related posts, as sad and inspiring as anything you will ever read at EphBlog. Yet, tomorrow, that link comes down. Time leaves behind the bravest of our Williams warriors and Nate’s sacrifice now passes from News to History, joining the roll call of honored heroes back to Colonel Ephraim Williams, who died in battle during the Bloody Morning Scout on September 8, 1755.

Read more


Driscoll ’05, RIP

Emily Driscoll ’05, daughter of David Driscoll ’73 and close friend of Walker Waugh ’02, was struck by a car and killed last Friday morning. The funeral is tomorrow. Emily was everything that an Eph should be: an athlete on the playing field, an artist in the gallery. Is there a father who does not hope and pray that his young daughter will grow into a woman like Emily? Not at EphBlog.

The message from Emily’s parents is heart-breaking.

to our friends and on behalf of her brother david, her sisters jessie and abby,

williams gave our emily a spot to shine
an arena that paid attention to her unique gifts
a community of friends and family that seeded in the years ’70-’73 when her father brought her mother from lynn over the mohawk trail into the purple valley to hang out with marty dogget and lenny vecchio ( whose son peter joined emily and struck friendship in the class of ’05) and andy harper and skip masback and john gallagher and robbie koegel and richard muglia and so many others like lester call me mark lesniowski and tommy hyndman aka spuds who gave us his sister in trade for another band of brothers for emily, her sisters and brother. patty hydman dogget ,who after 5 fun and feisty dogget boys took a real shine to our girls and son and shared some special times together for several summers on cape cod in eastham and wellfleet and truro. as if they didn’t have enough of us the doggets came to MA. checked out the north shore of boston and short beach in nahant. (emily’s home turf) then went to governors, kept us all connected with the greater community of friends and and all things eph and all things williams. at governors’ marty encouraged the smart boy to invite emily to the prom so he could get her on his arm for a night and take a few pictures with him in his evening best.

we fly the prayer flags she brought us from nepal, she is home and we have welcomed her back into our arms so small for her presence which is far and wide among all who met and shared her many gifts. her magic is freed now for all to share at one time instead of in installments …thanks to williams for all they gave our girl. she had a good run, she met her fella, her partner in art and love … williams made her a fellow and she and walker then stuck off to create WORK>.

walker we love you and all who knew and nurtured her growth, who watched her talents and passions unfold in this small, too small space of universe. we are the small paper cup. she is the universe. “nothing’s going to change our world.”

if it did change our world we would lose her forever. we will keep her in our hearts. carry her legacy, honor her in our world forever. rest in peace.

what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?

with all love and devotion
mum and dad

Feel free to leave a message in the comments at EphBlog or at this guest book. The 50+ entries there hint at the impact that Emily had in her all-too-short time with us. Why is it the very best among us — Ephs like Bob Quay ’04, Shirin Shakir ’03, Katie Craig ’08 and Nate Krissoff ’03 — why are they called away too soon?

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

The sun sets now on a Williams community bereft of one of its most promising young members. Emily could not stop for Death, and so He stopped for she. And we are all the poorer for it on this sad Thanksgiving week.

Condolences to all.


Death in Iraq

How many of us noticed this news item from Iraq?

RELEASE No. 20061209-10

Dec. 9, 2006

Marine killed in Al Anbar

Multi-National Corps – West PAO

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.

There is no reason for any Eph to have read this particular story, to have given a thought to this specific Marine, another warrior fallen in a long and bloody conflict, a nameless soldier who will never see another sunset, who will not celebrate another Christmas.

Recall the poem engraved inside the war memorial atop Mt. Greylock.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

That young Marine is now among the honored dead, having given his life so that my young daughters might sleep safely in their beds tonight.

Yet others are ready to take up the torch thrown by that Marine. How many of our readers know that two Williams seniors will be commissioned as officers in the Marine Corps this spring, will take their place as leaders in the most storied fighting force of the last 100 years? Perhaps they will swear their oaths as Jonathon Dailey ’91 did 16 years ago, in Chapin Library, in front of an original copy of the Constitution. Repeat after me.

I, David Kane, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.

These words, whether uttered by me or Jon Dailey ’91 or Preston Parrish ’41 or Myles Crosby Fox ’40, link soldiers across the generations, back to Colonel Ephraim Williams and beyond. The wording changes but the solemn pledge to honor, duty and sacrifice — to serve a cause larger than yourself — remains constant.

And, if these Marines do swear their oaths at Williams on graduation weekend, perhaps the College will record the event, will take a picture to mark the occasion. Perhaps the College will place that photograph on the cover of the Alumni Review, as it did with Dailey’s.

But if Williams does honor these new Marines, will Professor Mark Taylor complain as he did about the photograph of Dailey? Will he insist that the College is wrong to glorify military service, that a picture of a Marine Corps commissioning ceremony — even if it features an Eph, even if it occurs at Williams — has no place in a College publication?

Perhaps. And if not him, then some other faculty member, if not publicly, then privately. The depth of antagonism among a certain segment of the professoriate against all things military is hard to appreciate unless you have experienced it firsthand.

When I first argued against Taylor about this a decade ago, the issue of military service and risk was mostly theoretical. The end of history was upon us and the notion that military Ephs might be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice was faintly ridiculous. But times have changed.

That Marine who died in Iraq, unnoticed by all of us amidst the hectic bustle of our overflowing lives, was an Eph (not an Eph who appears here or anywhere in EphBlog). He gave his life for us, for our families and our future, for our very freedom. What does Mark Taylor now think about what belongs and does not belong on the cover of the Alumni Review? Kipling said it best:

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country,” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
But Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

Indeed he does. Kipling’s Tommy captures the essential tension between the military and the wider society which it serves and protects. The argument between Mark Taylor and the Marines of Williams is one small example of that conflict, a dispute made all the more poignant when Death calls in a marker.

It has been 30 years since an Eph gave his life in the service of his country. May the next such sacrifice be decades away as well.

Condolences to all.


Tim Cook, RIP

Sad to note, via Professor Marc Lynch, that Tim Cook, former Williams professor of political science has passed away. Marc writes:

Tim, who was my senior colleague at Williams until he left for LSU in 2002, was a brilliant scholar of the political role of the mass media. Our long conversations over coffee no doubt played a great role in shaping my evolving thoughts about the Arab media. More important, Tim was the kind of senior faculty member of which every junior faculty dreams: demanding of and living up to high academic standards, but unfailingly generous, supportive, open and excited to engage with new ideas. With his constant intellectual curiosity and his generosity of time, intellect, and spirit he will always be an inspirational role model to me, and to all the colleagues, students, and friends lucky enough to have known him and Jack over the years. He will be missed.

Indeed. Tim was my professor for a class on the presidency. It was well designed and well done. Tim was especially patient with those of us, like me, who were outside the mainstream at Williams, as it were.

Condolences to all.


Moore ’36, RIP

Sam Crane notes that “Barrington Moore’s passing should be noted. For many academics, he would be seen as among the 3-4 most important intellectual Ephs of the 20th century.”

Barrington Moore Jr., a Harvard sociologist whose studies of the contemporary human condition led him to dissect the totalitarian society, particularly as it evolved in the Soviet Union, died last Sunday at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 92.

His death was announced by the university, where he taught from 1951 to 1979. He had also been affiliated with the Russian Research Center at Harvard since 1948.

Dr. Moore followed an interdisciplinary approach, always placing social change in its historical context. He distrusted models of social behavior that ignored politics, economics and a multiplicity of other possible factors and events that helped determine it.

His methodology had its roots in years he spent as a wartime strategic analyst for the O.S.S., the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a stint at the interdisciplinary social science division of the University of Chicago.

His best-known book, “Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World” (Beacon, 1966), remains in print. J. H. Plumb, in a review for The New York Times, called it “a profoundly important book.”

I am such an ignoramus that I had never heard of Moore. Thanks to Sam for the pointer. Perhaps more educated Ephs than I could provide some more background on Moore and his work in the comments.

Condolences to all.


Deans ’78 , RIP

Stuart Deans ’78 died two weeks ago.

Stuart Deans swam as a boy, became an All-American swimmer in college and turned laps almost every day as an adult. As an official, he helped referee swim meets at the Family Y in Wilton and across the state. Last week, the 48-year-old Redding attorney, who specialized in environmental law, was back in the water in Hawaii.

As Deans finished his day with one last set of laps in a pool near the family’s hotel in Maui, he suffered heart failure and died in the water.

Younger Ephs should read the whole article to get a sense of what it means to live a well-rounded life.

Connie Deans [his wife], a Spanish teacher at John Read Middle School in Redding, produced one of her own memories — an e-mail sent by her husband to his office in Stamford on Earth Day last year.

“Stuart was in Naples, Florida, and he was out swimming in the Gulf with our two sons,” Connie Deans told one visitor. “It was their birthday. While they were out, they were joined by four adult and one young bottlenose dolphins.”

In his e-mail, Deans wrote: “They never got closer than about five feet but it was pretty cool.”

Deans, who said it was a reminder of the environment people needed to protect, signed off: “Try to find a couple of minutes today to watch the sunset or notice a bird that has returned from winter’s migration, or whatever other symbol of the interconnected nature of things you choose.

“Enjoy the day!”

Carpe diem is a recurring theme among Ephs of all ages. Connie Deans is class of 1979. My wife is also one class younger than I. We are just a ten years younger than Stuart and Connie. If I knew today that my number would come up in just a decade, would I spend my time any differently? Would you?

As family and friends gathered Thursday to share their memories of Stuart Deans, his daughter, Emily, expressed her own. She recalled when she had friends sleep over, they often awoke to find her father left them doughnuts for breakfast.

“We always looked up to our dad because he was something we all aspired to be,” she said. “I think a lot of our friends felt the same way because he was also a friend to them.”

Emily started at Williams yesterday as a member of the class of 2009. She and her mother will be on the same reunion cycle for decades to come, reunited every five years in a place that can’t but help to remind them of Stuart.

Life is often too bittersweet for words.

Condolences to all.


Callan ’39, RIP

Curtis Gove Callan ’39 has passed away.

Born on Staten Island, N.Y., he moved to Little Silver in 1958 and lived there for 41 years before moving to Hightstown in 1999. He was married for 59 years to the former Frances R. Neyland of Williamstown, Mass., who died May 21, 2001.

A graduate of Staten Island Academy and Williams College, Class of 1939, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1940. A member of the First Officer Candidates Class in Quantico, Va., he marched in President Roosevelt’s inauguration parade. Active duty during World War II included operations in the Pacific, followed by service in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves from 1945 to 1957.

Hired by Chase Manhattan Bank in 1945, he worked in the credit and trust departments until his retirement as a vice president in 1982. Mr. Callan served on the boards of the Little Silver Public Library and the Little Silver & Red Bank Regional Schools. A voracious reader of history, biographies and the classics, he was also a world traveler, avid walker and birder.

I never knew Curtis Callan and now never will, but reading his obituary I see my own life as well. Fall in love in Williamstown. Marry forever. Feel the call of service. Get a job. Raise a family. Pay a mortgage. Visit the grandkids. Read everything. Pass away.

We all walk in the footsteps of Curtis Callan. May we all walk as well as he.

Condolences to all.


Allan Casson ’53, RIP

Allan Casson ’53 passed away on Friday.

He joined the USC faculty in 1960 and taught until his retirement in 1987. He also served at various times as chairman of the English department, head of graduate studies in English and chairman of undergraduate studies. Much loved by students, he earned repeated awards as USC’s most outstanding teacher.

Casson contributed to several books to help high school students prepare for college admission, and worked to improve college board examinations.

One of the longer term projects of EphBlog is to gather Eph writings on all sorts of topics. Unfortunately, I can’t find any of Casson’s articles or book chapters on the web.

Condolences to all.

UPDATE: Here is a short piece by Casson. (EphBlog is a non-profit education site which provides all material like this within the confines of fair use.)


Clapp ’45, RIP

Charles Clapp ’45 passed away last week. Clapp was a Navy veteran and had at least 2 of his seven children attend Williams (David Clapp ’77 and Nancy (Clapp) Kerber ’87).

Charles E. Clapp II, 80, died peacefully on Wednesday, June 16, 2004, at his home in Duxbury, Mass. He was the husband of Elinor Jones Clapp.

A longtime resident of Providence, Barrington and Duxbury, Judge Clapp served on the Barrington Town Council from 1974 to 1980, including two years as president.

The father of seven children, Judge Clapp also was a partner at the law firm of Edwards & Angell before being appointed to the U.S. Tax Court in 1983 by President Ronald W. Reagan.

Although it is always hard to tell from a distance, he seems to have led a remarkably well-balanced life.


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