35th Reunion Re-Cap, June 2012

For those who didn’t make it to reunion in May and are wondering what you missed, and to entice everyone to come back in five years, here’s a recap:

The Stories

We had just over 90 classmates, guests and kids back at AD (Hitchcock House).    While some arrived Wednesday and Thursday, the weekend kicked off in earnest on Friday.  Besides cocktails and dinner under the tent both nights, here are a few highlights/anecdotes:

  • Sam Friend (Dave’s son) and his band performing Saturday night
  • Mark Kotfila taking over the mic and singing a love song to his wife, Karrie (Mark also won the sleeve of Amherst golf balls in the sideshow chipping contest, but the serenade was far and away the highlight)
  • The post-midnight co-ed crashers begging John Clinton for cigars
  • Our student assistants, all of whom are children of classmates – Lindsay Gruskay ('13), Will Kitchell ('13) and Dan Schulwolf ('14)
  • Adam Apt NOT breaking his record of the reunion HQ – Smith College round trip walk

 The Photos

Check out the photos here: https://www.amherst.edu/alumni/classpages/1977/photos/35thphotos

 The Events

Thanks to the panel participants who represented the Class:

  • Paula Rauch, a Trustee of the College, on the Women’s Experience at Amherst panel
  • Rick Pfeiffer on the Educate! Developing Young Leaders & Entrepreneurs in Uganda panel
  • David Downs, Commissioner of the North American Soccer League moderatedand participated in the Sports, Sports, Sports panel
  • Harlan Levy, 1st Deputy NY Attorney General on the Who’s Policing Wall Street? Or Not? panel
  • And the panel sponsored by the Class, Education in 2012 with Joel Paul, Chris Cerf, Kerry Brennan, Sam Lockhart, and Tom Boniello

 New Officers

The new officers elected at Reunion follow.  “Elected” is used loosely in this context; Dave Babbott, the new Treasurer, pretty much summed it up with the following phrase: “…but since so many are invested in getting out of their jobs and sticking it to the new guys…”

          • President – Phil de Picciotto
          • Vice President – David Downs
          • Treasurer – David Babbott
          • Reunion Chair – Grant Patrick
          • Secretary – Gerry Brown
          • Class Agent – Robert Kitchell
          • Webmaster – George Ayoub

 And Finally

Outgoing President Frank Stevenson provided the ‘key note’ address (a toast, really) on Saturday night.   It was impressive.  Here is what he sent when asked for a copy to include here: 

I didn’t write down what I said beforehand.  Lester cruised by the table where I was eating my dinner and said he was going to introduce me, so I gathered some thoughts while Brother Schwalb tried to get the microphone to work.  Fortunately, for all his talents, Lester’s no Edison, and I had some time.
I think what I said may have been better than what I’ve been able to recollect.  Or maybe it simply sounded better in that specific setting.  Nevertheless, here’s roughly the toast I made. 


A little over 35 years ago, an unknown Irish poet visited this campus.  And at the end of a day of reading his poetry, he took a copy of his Collected and wrote on the frontispiece these three spare lines:
 “The bird a nest,
the spider a web,
man friendship.”
That unknown Irish poet was Seamus Heaney, the 1995 Nobel Laureate in Literature.  But the words weren’t Heaney’s, they’re Blake’s.  Heaney must have used them because he felt they’d been affirmed by his experience here.
What Blake was saying, and what Heaney was affirming, was how just as palpably as a bird is supported by its nest, and just as tangibly as a spider is held up by its web, so are we all supported and held up by this mysterious force we call “friendship.”
Blake’s words have been affirmed here again tonight.
Friendship was the force that brought us back together for this reunion.  It’s what has filled this tent with laughter.  It’s what rekindled so effortlessly the instant we were together despite the years we’d been apart.
I could propose we toast ourselves.  Or our wonderful spouses.  Or our fine children.  Or this extraordinary institution.  But I choose not to.
Instead I propose we toast the remarkable force that forged us together nearly 40 years ago.  The force that has and always will support each and every one of us, and hold each of us up, for as long as we live.
Just like a bird a nest.
Just like a spider a web.
To friendship.
Hope to see you all in five years.