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1967 Class Annalist's Letter


An Experiment in Time-Travel

A. Barrett Seaman, Class of 1967

Delivered June 2017

You may know of a book called Time and Again by Jack Finney. It involves time-travel, and the mechanism Finney’s protagonist, Si Morley, used to transport himself back in time was not some complicated gizmo or an old DeLorean but by placing himself in a setting identical to what it was during the time period to which he wished to return, which in this case was New York City in 1882. In the book, Morley chooses an apartment in The Dakota, that landmark building on New York’s Central Park West, which was essentially unchanged for more than a century. The right setting, authentic props, a bit of meditation and, bingo, he was there.

So here we are, members of the Class of 1967 (with a few others, of course) sitting in this chapel, which is essentially unchanged from what it was when we were here in the 1960s. Now imagine it’s a Tuesday morning at 10 a.m., the regular, required, weekly all-campus meeting. Instead of me up here, picture Dean Winton Tolles, shirttail partially hanging out under his shapeless suit jacket, cigarette ashes on his lapel, making an announcement that meets the approval of the student body in front of him. What you hear next is this [finger snap], so to get the full effect and launch us back into that time, indulge me by joining in.

So welcome back.

Not everyone liked the finger snapping. To some, it was a reflection of “Hamilton Cool,” an effortless detachment, real or feigned, epitomized by someone who could roll to Skidmore two nights a week, miss classes and still pull a respectable grade point average. But I was quite taken by finger snapping as an alternative to clapping, or foot stomping, or the treble whooping that is the custom on campuses today. This was no rah-rah school, like Colgate down the road. To me, the finger snap exuded something rather admirable—an understated, quiet self-confidence that defined Hamilton men of those years both here and in the larger world. In retrospect, maybe it was a little of both.

The class annalist who spoke from this podium the year we graduated was Louis Brockway, a New York advertising executive and, like me, a Hamilton. Professor Maurice Isserman, who wrote the College history, On the Hill, observed that the College Brockway returned to in 1967 would have been quite familiar to him and his mates from the Class of (get this, guys) 1917 — certainly more so than is the Hamilton College of today to us.

Physically, the core of the campus, centered on this Chapel, remains the same. It was while we were here that the Bristol Campus Center was built. Bruce Sanford wrote approvingly of it at the time in The Spectator as “the living room of the campus,” although it was quickly dubbed “Stonehenge” because of those archways on either side that had no apparent use.

Bristol is no longer the student center; that’s now the Sadove Center, which used to be the ELS house. Before that, the student center was Beinecke, which is adjacent to Sadove and does a lot of the work of a student center but is now more of a gateway to The Dark Side, the South Campus that used to be Kirkland College for women. When we were here, of course, that was an apple orchard — a place where the Sigs would occasionally go to dispose of a no longer functioning car.

There are many more buildings today — and more courses, some in academic disciplines that did not even exist then. The faculty is bigger and far more ethnically diverse, as is the student body. Of course, half of them are women; many of them are of color; they come from dozens of countries and nearly every state in the union, whereas we came mostly from New York and surrounding states. And I hate to tell you, guys, but they are, at least on paper, a lot smarter and more skilled than we were — with exceptions, of course.

But then again, we had it tougher, didn’t we? We had distribution requirements.

Unlike today’s students with their open curriculum, we could not graduate without taking a science course, a quantitative course (mine was Logic), and we had to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.

Two requirements in particular stand out: “yes papers,” the obligation to produce two essays, each grammatically, syntactically and logically flawless in order to pass required freshman English. “Yes papers” were to Hamiltonians of our generation what Parris Island is to a Marine: unspeakably painful but a necessary step if one was to be successful in life.

The second was the four-year public speaking requirement: another banner held high by Hamilton men, without which, they will tell you, they would never have gotten that first promotion or ever mustered the courage to propose to their wives. The reality was that after the first year-and-a-half, in which we practiced basic declamation and the rules of debate and parliamentary procedure, the utility of the course offerings faded.

Take Discussion, for example. I took that either second semester sophomore or first semester junior year from “Lafe” (for Lafayette) Todd, a debonair, chain-smoking former advertising executive, who gathered us twice a week to … well, talk.

I don’t mean to denigrate the public speaking tradition. After all, in February of our sophomore year, the College’s debate team lost out to the team from Harvard in the finals of McGill University’s International Debating tournament in Montreal. “So close and exciting was the Hamilton-Harvard Championship debate,” it was reported, “that McGill University and the Canadian Broadcasting System decided to sponsor a return match between the two teams.”

Beyond curricular requirements, academics were rigorous. Generally speaking, institutions of higher learning were less forgiving then. The College grade point average was around a C; in recent years, it’s more like a B-plus. We had classes six days a week. Chuck Beach tells of one semester in which he had six 8 a.m. classes. And most professors then were not interested in bolstering their student approval ratings by handing out soft grades. It was somewhat Darwinian, and having a high retention rate was not a measure of excellence, as it is now considered, thanks to U.S. News & World Report’s ranking system.

Peter Chapin and Perry Stafford were called into French Professor Franklin Hamlin’s office freshman year and presented with a number representing a grade on the most recent quiz. It was a number in the mid-to-high fifties. Both Perry and Peter recognized a failing grade but took comfort in the fact that it was close to a passing 60. Professor Hamlin leaned forward: “Messieurs,” he said. “You do not understand. This number is your two grades added together — and they still do not pass.”

Many of our teachers, all but a few of them men, had distinct personalities — and often nicknames: Public speaking professor Robert “Mumbles” Carson, “Digger” Graves, “Tweedy” Gambs. …

Some were outright characters. Robert Barnes “Bobo” Rudd: accomplished poet as well as a beloved English professor; retired by the time we got here but still a presence on campus. Bobo was known to ride his horse from fraternity to fraternity during houseparty weekends. He was also once quoted in a Spectator profile, apologizing for the clutter of books in his house. “Sometimes,” he said, “I have trouble finding a place to have a drink around here.”

Then there was Sidney Wertimer, professor of economics, but to us, the all-knowing, all-seeing dean of students. “The 90-pound hummingbird” knew who you were before your first bed in Dunham was made up, who allegedly had a spy network of students that allowed him to shut down a raucous party before it got raucous, who knew exactly who flushed an ignited M-80 down a Dunham toilet within minutes of the explosion. Homeland Security could have used him.

In addition to teaching Art Slides class, known as “Darkness at Noon,” Paul Parker was one of the most sophisticated faculty members on campus. Not only did he know his art, he also played serious jazz piano. Mostly, he will remain dear to me for his description of the village of Clinton, cited in previous annalists’ letters, as “the Versailles of Utica.” Now that’s a man with a sense of humor.

Edwin Barrett would entertain students in his Shakespeare class by playing multiple parts in a one-man thespian tour de force. Students would sit, mesmerized, as Professor Barrett metamorphosed seamlessly from Hamlet: “I loved you not” to Ophelia: “I was the more deceived!” back to Hamlet: “Get thee to a nunnery!” — And he did this all from memory!

John Low Baldwin, in his tenure as choir director that ended abruptly at the end of our first year, produced a men’s chorus as good as at any college in the country; the Hamilton College Choir appeared on CBS TV during a Christmas tour in New York City our first year here. If you sang for John, you worked your butt off.  

Jon Tittler describes Kenneth Jablon as “a pipe-smoking, roly-poly man, jovial and affable. In addition to ably teaching us students the fundamentals in Spanish language, literature and culture,” recalls Jon, “he and his wife invited us repeatedly to dinner at their home and chaperoned parties at the Teke House.”

Personal relationships with faculty were a hallmark of Hamilton then. Art Jones recalls missing not one but two final exams in Professor Freddie Grant’s Organic Chemistry class — the first because he simply overslept; the second, which had been generously rescheduled by Professor Grant, because he’d been lured into a road trip to Skidmore where he drank scotch and didn’t return to campus until two hours after he was supposed to take the exam. Grant (the fact that Art called him Freddie tells you something about their relationship) lectured him sternly but gave him a D instead of an F, which later proved to be an important distinction when Art interviewed at Yale Medical School — and got in, in part because the interviewer saw that he had learned Freddie Grant’s lesson — and probably knew who Freddie Grant was.

These relationships had consequences. Often, all it took was a phone call from Dean Tolles and you were in at Cornell Law School — or one from Sid Wertimer that landed you a place at the Harvard Business School.

Athletics played a large role in our lives — not because we were particularly good but because in a college of around 800, a large percentage of us were needed to fill the rosters of the varsity football, soccer, cross country, ice hockey, swimming, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, track, tennis and golf teams.

Coaches tended to be characters too. Don Jones, a decorated B-24 bombardier who flew over 100 missions in WWII, coached football and freshman basketball. Jim Vaughan says he was often designated by Jones as the freshmen basketball captain because at the start of the game when the refs asked him to identify the captain, Jones would tell them: “I don’t know any of their names; just get the funny-looking little one with the glasses.”

Bob Cady remembers a football game against Wagner on Staten Island. “We were behind something like 40-6 when I caught a pass and was tackled right in front of Jones and the Hamilton bench with about a minute to go in the game,” Bob recounts. “I looked up at Jones from the ground and said, ‘Coach should I call time out?’ He was stunned. His jaw dropped and he yelled back: ‘Call timeout? Hell no, Cady! Let’s get out of here before someone gets hurt.’” Those of us who played hockey against Cornell understand that sentiment.

Speaking of hockey, Greg Batt was legendary as a player, both at Colgate and for years with the Clinton Comets of the Eastern Hockey League, where he held the scoring title even though he only played the home games. As a coach, he taught by example. Greg would challenge us, alone or in pairs or even threes, to knock him off his feet. We could not.

Jon Tittler tells the story of an away tennis match somewhere in New York State. “The team was so small that we did not merit a bus,” says Jon. “Coach Mox Weber drove some players in his station wagon, while Fred Vanderbilt drove the rest. In his mid-to-late 20s already, Fred was married, had played in the U.S. National Championships at Forest Hills and smoked like a chimney,” reports Jon. “As we were departing from campus, and Coach Weber was reminding Fred of the route we would take, I watched from the back seat how Fred was covering the ashtray, mounded with cigarette butts, with his right hand.” It should be noted, however, that under Weber and Captain Ken Wyatt, the team went undefeated for three consecutive seasons.

Then there was Manfred von Schiller, varsity soccer, lacrosse and freshman hockey coach — the last, I guess, because there wasn’t anybody else to do it, as he could hardly stand up on skates. I could devote an entire talk to the sayings of Coach von Coach, but we don’t have that much time. Those of us who played for him remember being told to line up on the corners of the circle or pair up in threes. The one that tickles me the most to this day was a chalk talk he once gave to the lacrosse team in which he drew up options for a fast break. His eyes widened with enthusiasm as his stub of chalk raced across the blackboard, illustrating a rich variety of plays available with a man open, so that the blackboard eventually came to look like a plate of fettuccine. There were, Coach von Coach summarized, “thousands, maybe hundreds of things you could do.”

We had our share of talented athletes. Tom Deyle, who came to Hamilton as the New York State high school shot put champion, could, as Bill Hunnicutt remembers, “bench press a small truck.” So too, as I recall, could my hockey teammate Jim Mote, who was in the act of bench-pressing 300-some pounds when the great blackout of 1965 suddenly plunged the weight room, along with the entire Northeast, into darkness. Jim had the presence of mind to recognize that he personally had not blacked out and was able to lower the weight harmlessly back into the rack.

Many of us remember Jack Bromley throwing a snowball from one side of Dunham’s courtyard to the other “on a rope,” as they say in football, before it smashed into some unfortunate classmate. Jack went on to Ithaca College, where he set a number of pitching records and led their baseball team to the semi-finals of the NCAA championship. He is, claims Bill Hunnicutt, “the only pitcher in any league who struck out Minnesota Twins all-star batting champion Rod Carew four times in one game!” As they say, look it up.

But enough about academics and athletics. We know that what we really came here for was the social life.

Okay, we didn’t have any — or had very little that didn’t involve hundreds of miles of travel, burning vast amounts of 35-cents-a-gallon gasoline, in often unsuccessful quests to find meaningful female companionship at Skidmore, Wells, Vassar, Smith and more locally Caz, that is, Cazenovia Junior College. Only three times a year was there anything that could be construed as a social life here on College Hill — houseparty weekends.

Sid A’hearn has a fixed image in his mind of a veritable convoy of Utica Club trucks winding its way up College Hill Road on the Friday of each of those weekends.  Houseparties were ritualistic affairs. The women stayed in the fraternity houses, while the men slept elsewhere…most of the time. Couples whose relationships had, shall we say, “matured” tended to stay together at one of many local motels — the Cloverleaf, the Pinecrest, the less-than-luxurious Limberlost Cabins come to mind.

Leading up to winter houseparties our sophomore year, Dr. Leon Roe, the College physician, opined: “I consider it unsportsmanlike and ungentlemanly to get a date so intoxicated that she loses her sense of responsibility.” Such behavior on today’s college campuses, Dr. Roe would learn if he were still with us, would not only be considered unsportsmanlike but flat out illegal.

There were Friday night parties and sports events to attend during the day Saturday. On Saturday night there was always a big band in the hockey rink or sometimes here in this Chapel. In this regard, Hamilton punched well above its weight, with performances by the likes of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Little Richard, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Simon & Garfunkel. Before coming here for one spring houseparty, a member of the Ronnettes, making a return engagement on The Hill, said in interview that performing at Hamilton was really no more dangerous than at any Air Force or Navy base.

Sunday mornings drew lesser bands to accompany gin-and-juice parties that dragged into the afternoon, leaving everyone exhausted and women racing back to their campuses by any means of transportation possible to get a shower and a clean set of clothes. Back on College Hill, there was always a story of someone discovered a day or two later, passed out behind a couch or rolled up in a rug.

The venue for all this bacchanalia were the fraternities: There were 11 of them when we were here, each with its own house, each with its own personality. Dekes and Psi-Us were jocks who drank too much; The DUs were the farmers; AD was the preppy house; the intellectuals gravitated to the downhill houses, TKE, Gryphon and D-Phi, or to ELS. And then there were the Sigs — self-described as “thugs with savoir faire.”

Every year, between 80 and 90 percent of students joined one or another of these fraternities, and for those who didn’t receive a bid but still wanted to belong, there was the Total Opportunity Program, otherwise known as the Turkey Pool. After formal rush, the unbidden were then divvied up, discreetly, among the houses. At the time, it seemed to some like an earnest attempt at egalitarianism; to others, it was transparently demeaning. Marty Baenninger, writing in The Spectator, called the system “hopelessly inadequate, unfair and self-defeating.” But that’s just the way things were done.

I will not re-litigate the 1995 Residential Life decision that shut down the fraternity houses. Many of you know that, as a trustee, I was involved in that decision. Suffice it to say that when we were here, in an all-male environment, the fraternity houses provided room and board to their members as well as a place to party. They tended to be a bit shabby, but they managed to maintain the essential trappings of home. Over the decades since we graduated, however, the kitchens closed, the furniture disappeared from the living and dining rooms, and the responsibility of maintaining some sense of domesticity withered and died. By the early ’90s, in one house at least, there was not a single functioning doorknob.

Of course we were all long gone by then — out in the world pursuing careers, raising families, fixing broken appliances instead of throwing them out the window at 4 a.m. Our memories are generally fond. We formed friendships that remain strong. Students today, both men and women, still form strong friendships, even marriages — just not in the same social construct. To those who still grieve the loss of the fraternity life we knew and enjoyed, I say, let’s move on.

Ironically, fraternities provided us with some degree of cultural exposure. From time to time, faculty members and their wives came to dinner, prompting us to dress up a bit and, for an evening anyway, act like adults. We saw live demonstrations of people having one or two drinks — and then stopping. Students today, closeted away by the 21-year-old drinking age, don’t have that opportunity.

We had been forewarned that civility was a fragile gift in what was essentially a free world. Our freshman orientation consisted of reading William Goldman’s Lord of the Flies during the summer before matriculating. As you will recall, the book is about a group of English schoolboys marooned without adult supervision on a deserted island. In frighteningly little time, most of the trappings of civility fell away as these British boys devolved into primitive pagans. In our respective lounges, under the guidance of our Dunham “advisors,” we talked about the possibility of such a dystopian future here at Hamilton. The not-so-subtle message was that in our similarly isolated and primitive world, this could happen to us. 

We hardly expected that our world order would be profoundly shaken from well outside College Hill when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated late in our first semester freshman year. I suspect every one of you remembers precisely where you were on campus when you heard the news.

On a lighter note, there’s a story that will not die about a dinner at the home of Professor Wertimer, which, if true, lends substance to this theory. A couple of months into that first fall semester, some half a dozen freshmen were invited to the Wertimers’ College Hill Road house for the laudable purpose of getting faculty and students to know each other as people, as Sidney often used to say. As the story goes, one of the guests, apparently forgetting that he was no longer in Commons, asked if someone would “pass the [expletive deleted] peas.” A pall of silence fell over the table, so the story goes. To the rescue came the bow-tied professor who broke the tension by turning to his wife and saying cheerfully, “You heard the young man, Ellie, pass the [expletive deleted] peas.”

Over the years, I have doggedly attempted to verify this story. One classmate — who is alas not with us this weekend — swears that he was at that table and heard the exchange with his own ears. Ellie Wertimer, to her dying day (which was only a few years ago), vigorously denied the story. Sidney, she would say with indignation, would never use that word when speaking to her. I was unable to get Ellie to see that the story, true or not, was meant to be a compliment to her husband for his icebreaking skills.

People think of the ’60s as a period of campus activism. True, the Free Speech Movement was born at Berkeley in 1964, and the Civil Rights Movement drew students, including some from Hamilton, to the South. Opposition to the war in Vietnam was only beginning to build. This campus was hardly a hotbed of protest while we were here.

We did make our mark on two local issues: Hans Siebert recalls an attempt by the sophomores above us to enforce the hoary tradition of freshmen beanies. We refused. The sophomores then tried to block the entrance to Commons, declaring that we wouldn’t eat until we wore the beanies. There were more of us than there were of them, and we had Hans. The blockade broke; we ate; the beanies vanished — forever.

The second tradition we challenged was required attendance at Sunday religious services, a defining element of Presbyterian Hamilton since its founding. In our first semester here, 150 students, led by our own Dan Siegel, conducted a sit-in on the steps of this building. The following spring, the Board of Trustees abolished compulsory chapel. The next fall, Dean of the Chapel Colin Miller, whose fire-and-brimstone rhetoric came straight out of central casting, held what he promoted as “the first service in the history of Hamilton College offered purely for the glory of God and not to fulfill a graduation requirement.” Now there was a spin meister!

Despite our isolation, a steady stream of politicians, statesmen, artists and the occasional scoundrel managed to stop by Clinton, New York, and speak to us: M. Stanton Evans, editor of Indianapolis News and leading conservative voice, spoke in Minor Theater about Conservatism and Freedom. The Spectator scored interviews with the two candidates for mayor of NYC: John Lindsay and William F. Buckley, Jr. Robert F. Kennedy spoke here. Senator Jake Javits, a moderate Republican, certainly by modern standards, was here, as was John Rouselot, PR director for the staunchly anti-communist John Birch Society. Liberal or conservative, all spoke without incident.

No visiting speaker carried more risk of serious protest, if not violence, than American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell. He spoke here in the winter of our senior year at the invitation of the student-run Root-Jessup Public Affairs Council. His white supremacist, anti-Semitic, racist message was well known to us in advance, but many of us went to hear him anyway. Mike Sorrell remembers finding Rockwell’s argument that Jews presented an imminent danger to America rather compelling … until Mike remembered that he himself was Jewish. “I had witnessed evil in its most persuasive form,” recalls Mike. “Hamilton College, by allowing me the opportunity to hear someone I would usually avoid, taught me both the potential harm of oratory and the importance of knowing thine enemy. In turn, I have taught these lessons to my children.”

We often debated politics among ourselves — not from behind a smart phone screen but face to face. It’s amazing what you can learn in a conversation by watching the faces of the people you are talking to — a little blush of anger here, a smile of appreciation there, a skeptically furrowed brow. I didn’t fully appreciate how much one could learn until I began to see how unskilled members of recent generations — and frankly all of us — have become in basic interpersonal communication — the art of conversation. Maybe Hamilton could now use that course in Discussion.

Communications technology in our day here consisted of a pay phone at the end of the corridor and a TV set in the lounge. Without computers, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook or the anonymous Yik Yak, information, ideas, emotions, opinions were shared up close and personal. It could be slow and awkward, but it was effective.

I don’t mean to suggest that we didn’t also fire salvos at one another. We did so then through various campus publications. When it came to criticisms of our peers, we seldom held back. Critical, sometimes scathing reviews of the Hamiltonian or an issue of The Continental literary magazine were regular features in the pages of The Spectator. The paper turned its editorial ire on the staff of the Hamiltonian yearbook for the Class of 1964, describing it as “a product of mismanagement, myopia and misrepresentation — nevertheless an improvement over Hamiltonians of past years.”

Even faculty members openly critiqued what students published. Responding to John Gordon’s debut Spectator column “The Jaundiced I,” History Prof. David Ellis fired off a letter to the paper. “The fulminations of Mr. Gordon are the worst example of bad taste that I have seen in 18 years at this College,” he wrote. Undaunted, John continued to produce the column all the way through our senior year.

Sometimes, culture seeped in by osmosis. Chuck Rinker recalls walking to dinner after a March swim practice before a big meet. “When I approached the Chapel, whose doors were open despite the cold,” recalls Chuck, “the Paul Kuentz chamber orchestra was rehearsing for a weekend concert. I was brought up short by some of the most beautiful music I had ever heard. As I stood shivering but transfixed — light jacket, no gloves, wind blowing up my jeans on my freshly shaved legs — I couldn’t pull myself away until I found out what they were playing. When they finished, I slipped in and snatched a program.” He later learned that the composer of Adagio for Strings was a 20th- century American, Samuel Barber. To this day, whenever he hears that haunting work, Chuck says, “I think of that magical night and of all the discoveries I made during my days at Hamilton.”

There were 62 names and faces in the Meet the Freshmen facebook, issued on our arrival in September of 1963, that were not among the names of degree recipients in June of 1967. On the other hand, there were 19 men who received degrees with us who did not start out in 1963. Some of those who fell by the wayside, like Peter Chapin and Morgan McKenzie, returned to receive their degrees later — just as there were some who received diplomas with us who had started college earlier, left and came back — men like Henry Allen, Jim Willse and Fred Vanderbilt.

Still others left and never returned — either because Hamilton wasn’t right for them, or right at the time, or in some cases because they never had the chance. 

Keith Althaus was a poet and an artist with a fertile mind, who came and left and came and left Hamilton again but went on to become an accomplished poet. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Orion, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and elsewhere.

Chuck Wardell flunked out at the end of sophomore year, joined the Army and became a decorated Green Beret officer. After his discharge, he was admitted to Harvard from which he graduated, I think even with honors. He now runs a search firm outside of Chicago.

Perry Stafford’s pre-med career at Hamilton seemed doomed from the start, as he found that 8 a.m. Saturday morning chem labs were not compatible with his social life. Perry was sent packing in the middle of senior year as an “underachieving” government major. He enlisted in the Marines, graduated at the top of his OCS class, became a carrier-certified combat pilot, finished up his pre-med and medical school at the University of Florida and paid for it with 14 additional years as a Navy surgeon. Perry retired as a full captain. He became an internationally respected pediatric surgeon with a curriculum vita that lists 100 peer-reviewed articles. At the renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he was a full professor of surgery and pediatrics and ran his own division.

Ken, a.k.a. “Hangover” Hirst always seemed to have a book in his hand, though hardly ever a textbook. He hitchhiked to Washington D.C., freshman year to attend JFK’s funeral but left the College and joined the Marines. On May 13, 1967, three weeks and a day before the rest of us graduated, Ken was shot dead when his unit was ambushed in Quang Tri Province.

We will have the chance to honor Ken and a long list of other classmates who have passed away at tomorrow morning’s Memorial Service here in the Chapel.

There are others who drifted away over the four years: Conway Wilson-Young, who came to Hamilton from Eton College, the renowned British school of kings; Lindsay Sheiffelin, who was a nephew of New York’s glamorous mayor, John Lindsay; Hugh Kincannon; Chip Cippola… Where are they now?

They are somehow with us today, I suspect — part of a small company of boys who were attracted to this windswept hillside by … something, whether it was the tradition, the no-nonsense classroom rigor or the uncomplicated, sometimes monastic quest to “know thyself,” as the College motto urges.

Many former class annalists have succumbed to the temptation to end their letters with the last line of the original version of Carissima — you know, “We still will be…?” But I know that if I did that, I’d choke up, and then Ric Leavenworth would start to cry, and it would get all soppy — and frankly a little trite.

So let’s just leave it at this: we came, we learned, we left, we have come back again — different from one another, different from what we were then, but forever marked by this place.


After Hamilton, A. Barrett Seaman served in the U.S. Navy Reserve and received an MBA from Columbia Business School before pursuing a 30-year career as a correspondent and editor at Time Magazine. During that time, he served as bureau chief in Detroit, where he co-authored Going for Broke: The Chrysler Story and covered the White House during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. As the special projects editor for the magazine, he oversaw a variety of single topic issues and special sections. After his retirement in 2001, he authored Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess, an account of undergraduate life in early 21st-century America.

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