Edwin B. Neale '53 (Ned)
At Amherst I had a relatively small circle of friends - mainly fraternity brothers and we have remained good friends to this day. Bachelor days in New York City and rooming with fellow classmates gave me the opportunity of getting to know, like and respect other classmates. Good fortune in retirement has had the result of rooming and cementing more friendships with classmates. There are many in our class I do not know well and wish I had crossed more paths.
I spent my professional life as an agent with The New York Life Insurance Company. A challenging career and one that I enjoyed. In my early days when one was hired the only thingneeded was a fountain pen. No capital required as the company provided the rate book,telephone and desk. This resulted in a sales force that mirrored the general population. We had a number of agents who were college graduates but being one was no given formula for success. As a matter of met, the number one agent was a fellow out in Ohio who never went beyond the eighth grade. There was a feeling of camaraderie among the agents - we felt we were in this together. Just about every agent I came in contact with was more than willing to share sales ideas and to offer much needed encouragement. We had our share of characters - some provided laughs, others fell by the wayside and still others became very successful - you never knew. Towards the latter years of my career our sales office recruited a good number of men and women from South Korea Many were fluent in English, others had to work at it. For the most part they were very hard working, intelligent and motivated. They were proud and appreciative to become United States citizens. My hat is off to them. Amherst and life insurance agents two different worlds and it has been good to have been part of both.
I would like to make an observation about present day Amherst that disturbs me. I know the college is riding high and for good reason but what concerns me is the lack of interaction between the alumni and students. I believe the fraternities had one feature that is now sorely missed - a place where alumni could go back to and have contact with students. The fraternity initiation evening is a case in point. At that event house members and alumni introduced themselves an there was a feeling of congeniality. Banquet speeches by the alumni were oftentimes inspiring, witty and enlightening about college days of yore. Discussions would spring up between alumni and students. Everyone had a good time and I think everyone felt connected. Another occasion was after the homecoming football game. Many alumni would go back to their fraternity houses and be welcomed with open arms by house members. Football and soccer players might very wells there along with glee club members, THE STUDENT reporters, Zumbye and DQ performers, etc. Discussions about life at college, the game’s outcome, present day concerns and articles in THE STUDENT would abound. As house members we were happy to have the alumni back -proud to show them the refurbished music room, etc. As alumni, maybe a look at our old room. This is all no more. I venture to say that when most of us go back to a homecoming football game it is a rare event to have contact with students. I do not know what the answer is but I think it is a situation that needs and deserves attention.
I have been very fortunate with my family. Barbara is terrific and we have been happily married for thirty eight years. We have two
children and are proud of their accomplishments and
believe they have the right values. We have one grandchild and more on the way. This has given me the opportunity to reflect on the past and present. I am looking forward to the future and hope you are too. Godspeed to all classmates.