50th Reunion

Family Data
Wife of 42 years: Dao
Three children: Kim Li; Mai Linh; James. Three grandchildren so far.

'52- '65

James H. Spencer 52.png
  • Stanford Graduate School Psychology M.A.
  • U.S Army
  • Cornell University Medical College, M.D.
  • Residency in Psychiatry, New York Hospital

'65- '02   Psychiatry

  • Half time private practice. New York City, 1965 - present
  • Half time academic. CUMC- New York Hospital, 1965- 1994
  • Half time consultant to New York State Office of Mental Health, 1997- present
  • Admissions Committee CUMC 1996-present

Treating patients. Teaching psychiatric residents and medical students. Some clinical research.

Most Gratifying Accomplishments
The influence I have had over the years on many psychiatric residents and medical students. Work has not taken me anywhere exotic, but it has been interesting enough right here, with dramatic advances and other changes in my field . I have not felt the need for major hobbies My wife's connections in Europe and Asia have gotten me out of the country a few times Family above all -and their accomplishments. My wife has carried out several worthwhile aid/development projects in her home country, Viet Nam. Children seem to be making a success in life as doctor, lawyer, and Indian chief- and enjoying it And now their kids.

Amherst's Influence In My Life?
In retrospect I have never regretted going there and would have gone nowhere else.If it didn't teach me how to read rite and reason it certainly gave me a lot of practice. My two favorite comments from residents in training over the years were that I was able to explain things or address issues with greater clarity than most, and that I often suggested something unexpected. The first was certainly honed at Amherst (I recall Armour Craig telling a class that we could not expect things to be both simple and clear); the second, I don't know.Several good friends over the past 50 and I hope many more years.

All of my three children went to Amherst in the 1980s, so somebody must be doing something right. Interesting changes in the College since we were there- most for the better, some for the worse. Incidentally, our class always seemed to be in awe of Ted Baird. My kids did yard work for him; he and his wife seemed to be in awe of them.

Future Plans
No current plans for retirement, though my younger brother and friends from '52 and medical school seem to be setting me a good (?) example. Recently signed a five year lease on the private practice office I share with some colleagues. I'm working with people from Albany and various hospitals on a long term strategy to undo some of the more egregious recent changes in healthcare delivery and improve psychiatric care in New York State. On the other hand, with two children in Los Angeles the family center of gravity is shifting to the West Coast, so----?
Age is not important, only health. Work with younger people and you have no time or inclination to grow old.