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50th Reunion Program Planning

Submitted by David H. Stringer on Tuesday, 1/7/2014, at 2:13 PM
Amherst College


Class of 1964

Dear Classmates,

Planning for the programs that our class will present at our 50th next May is well underway. We're writing as program chairs to invite your participation in the following ways:

•    Join a problem solving team to engage with classmates starting in January.
•    Exhibit artwork created by you, your spouse or your children in the Class of '64 Art Exhibit and Lecture Program.
•    Sign-up to participate in a Class of '64 singing group, which will lead a songfest.
•    Join in a program presentation and discussion of encore careers.
•    Respond to the class survey coming in February.

Our 50th Reunion is a time to engage with classmates, to renew old friendships and make new ones, and to share our stories in a relaxed environment. The theme for our programs, "The World We Inherited and the World We Will Bequeath," encourages us to reflect on the Kennedy Era we experienced as college students and the enormous changes that have affected us all over 50 years. In other words, what's taken place "On Our Watch," what's the outlook for the future, and how can we still influence that future.

Join a Problem Solving Team:
You, your spouse and interested children are invited to join a "problem-solving team" that will tackle an important issue. The purpose of the team approach is to provide a forum for engaging with class members (and their family members) prior to, during and, perhaps, following the reunion. We ask that you sign up now so the organizing groups can be ready to dialogue with you starting in mid-January. Meanwhile, the organizing groups will define the focus of the team's inquiry, propose readings, and outline a plan of engagement. Click here to see the invitation and details.

Exhibit Art Work You or Your Family Members Have Created:
An invitation from Richard Barth and Bank Greene, exhibit organizers:

Because the Class of 1964 surely has some amazing artists, we are arranging an exhibition of art created by class members, their spouses and children to be displayed during our 50th Reunion. The venue will be in Fayerweather Hall in the Eli Marsh Gallery space.  It is a lovely, large, open space with natural light, and the work will be professionally hung and credited.  There are stands for three-dimensional work, and we are trying to obtain some enclosed cases for jewelry and other smaller artworks. Work will also be insured while in the gallery.

Right now we are asking for class members to indicate their interest including size, medium, and quantity of submissions so we can plan the interior space. Photos of the pieces you propose submitting would also be helpful for planning purposes. After we get an idea of the response, we can let you know where, when, and how many pieces to actually submit. We are hoping that you will self-edit and send only your best work. Who knows, maybe Francis Bacon started this way. Thanks.

Please send emails of interest

Join in a Discussion of Encore Careers:
Class members who are engaged in encore careers are invited to join the discussion about those second (or third) careers and the extent to which encore careers can influence the world that we bequeath. How can encore careers contribute to a meaningful retirement and feeling good about life? How do we make the most of the next 15-20 years? What is fulfilling? How do we have fun? What does it mean?

Please send emails of interest

Respond to the Class Survey: 
A class survey to capture momentous experiences, humorous anecdotes along with a more traditional profile of the class is being prepared by the team of Roger Hirschberg, Peter Wintersteiner, Peter Kleinman, Dave Stringer and George White. The survey will be distributed in early February, so this is a heads up and request to respond promptly. If you have expertise in designing and conducting surveys, please contact Neil at

Other Programs:
We are also organizing programs on Health Care in the 21st Century (with Kim Hetsko, Doug Lowy, Dave Pearle and others), changes in religion and cultural values (with Peter Rubinstein and others), and the interaction of art and culture during the past 50 years (with Brad Collins). In addition to the organized programs, we plan to schedule informal discussion groups during meal times, late afternoon or the late evening on other topics of interest, such as favorite travel destinations, perspectives on America from abroad, etc. Suggestions are welcome and should be sent to Neil or Smokey at the above email addresses.

We invite you to engage and enjoy the reunion.


Smokey and Neil
Reunion Program Co-Chairs 

Join a Problem Solving Team

 Members of the Class of ’64, Spouses and Family Members:

 You are cordially invited to join a problem solving team.  We are asking each team to take the attitude that "we are in charge and we are responsible for solving the assigned problem."  In short, you are invited to become actively engaged with your classmates even before the reunion rather than just passively listen to a presentation at the reunion.

 The three teams and the discussion organizers are defined below followed by an explanation of how the team approach will work.

 To sign up for a team, please email one or both of the team conveners with a copy to Smokey or Neil.

 1)       Education in Transition (Reinventing Education) -

Team conveners and organizers:

Dave Potter*      Bob Frank      George Sussman     

Gil Schmerler*      Chuck Lewis      Bill Weary     

Ed Cohen      Dave Stringer      Joe Wilson     

*Conveners:  Dave:      Gil:                 

2)       The State of Our Planet and Environmental Sustainability -

Team conveners and organizers:

Paul Stern*      Larry DeWitt      John Perkins

Joe Wilson*      Bob Knox      Rip Sparks

*Conveners:  Paul:      Joe:     


3)       The State of Our Democracy and Making Washington Work (Reinventing Our Political Institutions) –

Team conveners and organizers:

Bob Benedetti*      Joe Stiglitz      Sy Wasserstrom   Wells Wadleigh

Neil Bicknell*      Smokey Stover     Mark Sandler    Scott Feldman

Andy Burkhardt      Stan Sloss       Barry Browkaw   Pat Deleon

Roger Hirschberg   Mike Newsom    Jesse Brill        Art Schoepfer

David Ross

*Conveners: Bob:  Neil:     


Note: This team will consider a Spring trip to Washington, D.C. to speak with legislators and commentators concerning our polarized politics and how to fix it.


Problem Solving Team Framework


  • Objective:   To organize three reunion programs that:
  1. Provide forums for classmates to talk with each other rather than being talked to.
  2. Focus attention on topics that concern us all significantly.
  3. Promote informed and informative discussions, not recitations of biases.
  4. Engage classmates in discussions that may stimulate some to take action post-reunion.


  • Team mission:
    • Engage in dialogue during the five months prior to reunion via, for example, emails, conference calls or a blog on the class web page.
    • Define issue or issues of concern.
    • Identify reforms/changes needed to address the issues.
    • Define actions that class members can take to promote the reforms.
    • Consider post-reunion initiatives.
  • Team activities for the reunion:
    • Hold a team member workshop/meeting early during reunion weekend.
    • Present a 50-minute reunion program (as a panel discussion or an alternative format).
    • Organize and host a discussion forum open to classmates/reunion attendees following presentation of the program. This may be an evening discussion group or bull session.
  • Team member tasks:
    • Sign up
    • Become informed on the topic; the organizing group will suggest readings.
    • Participate in civil discourse to help the team carry out its mission.

Class Officers

Class Webpage

May 28 - June 1, 2014
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