Yale Class of 1975

YAM Notes: January/February 2019

By Thomas J. Bourgeois

In our last exciting episode, we encountered Nancy Ross and Bill Carmean, whose marriage is among the most enduring legacies of our illustrious class, three weeks into their 500-mile walk, begun on September 7 in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, along El Camino de Santiago, the trail followed for centuries by pilgrims bound for Galicia, Spain. I’m happy to announce that they finally gave their tired feet a rest in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on October 16, the 40th day of their journey. The next day, they returned to their destination, and I’ll let Nancy take it from here, as posted contemporaneously on her Facebook page: “Day one post-Camino: we went to the noon Pilgrims’ Mass at the cathedral and sat in the perfect place to watch the lowering, lighting, and launching of the Botafumeiro, the world’s biggest incense burner. It is really quite spectacular. It looks for all the world as if it’s going to continue its arc and launch itself right through the rose window at the end of the transept. But this last happened in 1499, so no worries.” We salute you, Nancy and Bill! To paraphrase St. Paul, you have walked the good walk.

Other news from here and there:

Tim Fisher writes from Hartford, “I recently re-upped as dean at the UConn Law School. So now in my sixth year. Notable mostly in that the median tenure of law school deans in the US is now shorter than that of NFL running backs. Different injuries, though. Also, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been made a fellow of Branford College. Pretty intimidating given that the fellows I recall from our college days were Dizzy Gillespie and Walker Evans. But it’s great to be back on campus from time to time.” Tim signs off, “See you in 2020!” Thanks, Tim, both for the news and for the timely reminder that our 45th reunion is just around the bend.

Jim Austin files this report: “Last spring the Health Administration Press, part of the American College of Healthcare Executives, published my second book, Transformative Planning: How Your Healthcare Organization Can Strategize for an Uncertain Future. It is a guide for community hospitals, physician groups, and others in the US health care system struggling with building in transformative change while maintaining current operations and preparing for a range of potential futures, as agility and adaptability are what will define future success.” Jim adds, “I continue to teach at Brown as an adjunct senior lecturer in their Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership program, and lead executive education seminars for Wharton (at the Aresty Institute) and Duke Corporate Education. So keeping busy.” Sounds like an understatement, Jim.

Still lighting up the Great White Way and venues across the Pond, Catherine Schreiber sends word of her current projects: “So thrilled to be part of the phenomenal reimagined version of Sondheim’s Company, directed by theater royalty, Marianne Elliott, starring Rosalie Craig, Patti Lupone, Jonathan Bailey, with sets by Bunny Christie. This new version has Bob as Bobbie (Rosalie), and one of the married couples is now gay. We’ve opened to wonderful five-star reviews, and the Gielgud Theatre has just extended us through March. Sondheim did some rewriting which makes this really a part of theater history. Chuffed to be a lead producer on this play, which has been shortlisted for four Evening Star Awards. On Broadway, Pretty Woman continues to delight audiences, as does The Play that Goes Wrong, and Network opened December 6 starring Bryan Cranston. The Play that Goes Wrong is now touring across the country. If you like to laugh, check it out. Should be a merry season.”

Michael Schwarz has his next campus visit planned, and it entails a long-awaited opening: “Our latest film, The Ornament of the World, is going to have its world premiere at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center on February 16 at 4 p.m. Ornament is based on a book of the same title by Maria Rosa Menocal, which we first optioned in 2003, making this the longest-running project in our company’s history. Maria, who was for many years the director of the Whitney, sadly passed away in 2012 from metastatic melanoma. Kiki and I will be coming to Yale for the premiere, and I would welcome any classmates who might want to attend. PBS will broadcast the program on a 2019 date yet to be announced.” Michael’s company, Kikim Media, is a partnership with his wife (and attorney) Kiki Kapany, who runs its legal and business affairs. Just before I filed this column, Michael’s JE comrade Peter Kaufman brought to the class listserv’s attention an excellent profile of Kiki and Michael in the November issue of the Punch publication Spirit of the Peninsula.

Speaking of Mr. Kaufman, treasurer Nancy Young posted news of the New York contingent’s latest celebration, on November 15, of what now appears to have become a semi-annual event: “One of our best Peking Duck banquets ever! Hat tip to Peter Kaufman and John Friedman for suggesting a second one this year. Maurice Lanselle traveled from Strasbourg, and Albert and Pamela Palitz from California. The conversation was loud and lively, as befits our class. In attendance were Michael CarlisleAndy GouldCharles KeefeGeorge and Andrea MillerMark PetersMichael SteinLaurie StevensGreZorthian and Robin Reeves Zorthian ’76, Paul Ford, and yours truly. Almost three hours later, we all emerged to driving snow! Sadly, Peter was stranded and not able to fly back to NYC. We learned that Pamela Palitz was on Judge Judy and Robin Zorthian was on Jeopardy! In addition to Maurice, Albert, and Pamela, our other first-timer was Joe Altonji, who traveled from New Haven where he teaches economics at Yale.”

The Zorthians and the Millers also made the scene on November 10 at the Bowl, where Nancy and I hosted a class table in Alumni Village. Andrea and I were not acquainted as undergrads, and she met me with a question: “Did you work on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse?” Indeed, I was the only CBS program practices executive assigned to the iconic children’s show, which aired between 1986 and 1990. Astoundingly enough, Andrea, one of the program’s producers, recalled that she delivered videocassettes (remember those?) to me on an almost weekly basis, often stopping in my office to chat, and somehow amid all the conviviality we never recognized each other as classmates—this despite the fact that my Yale diploma, along with the more modest certificate admitting me to the company of Pierson College alumni, has adorned my office wall since 1985! Our other table attendees were Robert Cole (honored, along with DC Yale Club president Yvette Rivers, the day before at the Alumni Association’s awards ceremony for his longtime leadership role at the club), Laura Mathews and her husband David, Mike and Jackie AlbisAlex TwiningPaul Baumgartel, class representative Russell Leavitt and Priscilla Kellert ’74, and Chris and Cary Whipple. I should note that all I bring to the annual class table is my bubbly personality, whereas Nancy and her husband Paul Ford always provide her now-famous Bloody Mary concoction, and the Albis kitchen—as reliable as Thanksgiving at Grandma’s—yields up an assortment of goodies. This year it was turkey sliders and an array of gourmet mustards. Our table has thus become a gathering place for alums across the decades, and I am most grateful to the folks who do the heavy lifting.

That’s it for now. Please write with your news.