The Alumni

Commanding the Naval Reserve Air Program

Rear Adm. Richard Wallace '75 this spring assumed command of the U.S. Naval Reserve Air Systems Program. As director of the reserve component of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), he also serves as its deputy assistant commander.

NAVAIR supports the Navy/Marine Corps team by providing readiness and combat power. The reserve component offers civilian and military experience in support of research and development, engineering, logistics and industrial capability activities.

"We have a rare opportunity to start with a new canvas and paint our own picture of what the Naval Reserve Air Systems Program should look like in the future by seeking out ways to better align the program with the active-duty component, reducing the cost of doing business and delivering value-added products and services to NAVAIR customers and our war fighters," Wallace said at the change-of-command ceremony in June.

One year after earning his degree in physics from Hamilton, Wallace completed Aviation Officer Candidate School. Earning his Wings of Gold in 1977, he was assigned to a fleet training squadron and later to an attack squadron deployed aboard the USS Nimitz for Mediterranean and Indian Ocean cruises. The Ohio native later attended the Naval Postgraduate School, earning both a master of science and a degree in aeronautical engineering. In 1983 he joined Fleet Composite Squadron 8 as a fleet "adversary" pilot. Over his career he has accumulated more than 3,600 flight hours.

Wallace left active duty in 1985 and accepted a commission in the Naval Reserve. He was initially assigned to a Naval Air Logistics Unit and later served as the commanding officer of four Air Systems Program reserve units. He was promoted to rear admiral in February 2003.

In civilian life, Wallace served as assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for full spectrum dominance and is currently chief scientist for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, S.C. He also earned a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1991.

— Excerpted from an article by Lt. Mike Randazzo, USNR

On the Fringe with Happy Mundanes

One night at the Little Pub, then-Hamilton students Justin Tyler '01, Aurelia Fischer '03 and Aaron Wilton '03 were discussing post-Hamilton plans. "A group of us had been to see a play ... we got to talking about what we all wanted to do after Hamilton. The idea came up of how nice it would be to have a company of our own that would allow us to create our own kind of theatre," Tyler recalled. "It sounded outlandish at the time."

Fast-forward three years, and that idea has not only become a reality, but also a huge success. Fischer, Tyler and Wilton teamed up to work on a theater project Tyler had conceptualized after traveling extensively as a Bristol Fellow the year after his Hamilton graduation. Tyler visited England, Scotland, India, Australia, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Japan, France and Italy where he studied street theater and sociopolitical expression in theater performed in public spaces.
In 2003, the three students reconvened at Hamilton to develop a play based on Tyler's initial ideas. "When we started, I had a loose structure in mind. Aaron and I developed everything else together throughout the rehearsal process, and we were able to really play with our ideas and let them evolve through improvisation and experimentation," said Tyler, who got his first taste of improv performing as a student with the comedy troupe Yodapez.

The result is Happy Mundanes, a series of nine loosely connected scenes that illustrate the repetitive nature of daily urban life. Wilton and Tyler star in the production with Fischer assisting as stage manager/lighting designer.

The dialogue-free play, described by Tyler as a dark comedy, does not focus solely on the despair and loneliness often associated with dull activities; instead, it highlights how minds respond to everyday life. "Watching Happy Mundanes is like walking through someone else's dreams," Tyler explained. "You learn about the reality of that person by seeing his or her imagination at work."

After debuting the show at Hamilton, the aspiring thespians applied to the prestigious New York International Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America. Happy Mundanes was one of only 200 shows accepted from a pool of more than 800. The group soon formed Pig Brooch, Inc., a non-profit theatre company based in New York City, and dedicated their time to polishing the show. Tyler, Wilton, Fischer and Robb were joined by Jared Johnson '02, Gillian Smith '04 and Ben Fischer, Aurelia's brother, who helped with production, lighting and sound.

Happy Mundanes opened at the Greenwich Street Theatre on August 18 and ran through the end of the festival. Riley MacLeod wrote on NYtheatre.com: "Tyler and Wilton have an excellent, unstated chemistry between them ... Happy Mundanes never comes to any conclusions about how to make your work day less boring or 'sums it all up.' By looking at day-to-day living in a new way, this show presents the possibilities for change, excitement and humor with vitality and a degree of optimism."

Reviews aside, the actors agreed that participating in the Fringe Festival was a learning experience. "Being a part of the festival included singing a song for opening ceremonies, catching other shows at a downtown nightclub and meeting a lot of passionate artists from around the world," Wilton explained. "I think it challenged me as an artist in promoting my work, in adapting the show to a new venue, in the constant revision process."

So what's next for Pig Brooch, Inc.? A sister show to Happy Mundanes called Forces is already in the works, and the group is considering taking Mundanes to other festivals in the U.S. and abroad.

"A few other Hamilton graduates will be moving to New York this year, and we've already spoken about working together -- keeping that Hamilton bond strong," Tyler said. "One night [at the Fringe Festival] it felt like we were performing on campus there were so many Hamilton people there."

— Emily Lemanczyk '05

Making the List

What do boxing promoter Don King, tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams, and Mason Ashe '85 have in common? The answer is a place on Sports Illustrated's list of the "101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports."

Ashe, chief operating officer and general counsel for one of the largest minority-owned sports marketing and management companies in the U.S., was named to SI's list for the second consecutive year. He appears in 53rd place, one behind his business partner, Bill Strickland, in the magazine's June 28, 2004, issue. Last year the duo placed 42nd and 43rd.

According to SI, Strickland and Ashe Management represents "more than 40 entertainers and athletes -- including Rasheed Wallace, Allan Houston and Daunte Culpepper — and last October, Strickland became chair of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association. Ashe is the executive producer and marketing agent for Soul Spectacular on Ice, the first touring ice show featuring African-American figure skaters."

Arturo Moreno, owner of the Anaheim Angels, is SI's pick as the most influential minority in sports. Golfer Tiger Woods is second, and Yao Ming, center for the Houston Rockets, comes in at third. To qualify for the list, a person had to have "the power to hire and fire (or substantially influence those who do), hold a significant senior-level position with a team, league or major sports enterprise or have a profound economic impact on the sports economy."

Contact Information

Stacey Himmelberger

Editor, Hamilton Alumni Review
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
Back to Top