The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Reunions 2019
A celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of Opportunity Programs at Hamilton, dedication of the Bob Simon Golf Center, and the reading of the class annalist letter by Vin Strully ’69 were among highlights of Reunions ’19 on a perfect-weather weekend.
Members of the Class of 1969 received their 50-year medallions and the annual meeting of the Alumni Association featured presentation of the Bell Ringer Award to Tom Succop ’58. Sunny weather contributed to a weekend that provided countless opportunities to reconnect with old friends and create new memories.
- The late Professor of Music Sam Pellman and his love of life, music, and Hamilton was celebrated at a Reunions welcome reception.
- The 50th reunion of Opportunity Programs at Hamilton featured the unveiling of a “tree” bearing the names of all Opportunity Programs alumni.
- The late professor of philosophy and golf coach Bob Simon was honored at the dedication of a new golf center bearing his name. His wife, Joy, and sons, Bruce ’91 and Marc ’94, accepted a plaque and framed illustration of Bob to remember the event. Director of Athletics Jon Hind ’80 and golf coach Lauren Cupp ’07 made remarks before a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
- Former Hamilton president Joan Hinde Stewart and former Board of Trustees Chair and Procter & Gamble Chair A.G. Lafley ’69 discussed strategic choices made by Hamilton during Stewart’s presidency during a luncheon, “How Hamilton Plays to Win.” (see below)
- Alumni colleges featured such diverse topics as work-life balance by David Solomon ’84, Disruption in Media & Entertainment with a panel of Class of 1979 experts, the opioid crisis presented by Bob Ross ’69 and Dr. Steve Shapiro ’69, and a 2004 alumni panel on careers that embrace social good.
- The Reunion parade gathered hundreds of participants and spectators under sunny skies, culminating with the all-alumni picnic.
- The 1968-69 men's basketball team reunited to reminisce about their team, dubbed “the greatest in the first 75 years of Hamilton's basketball history.” The team went 15-3 that season.
Hamilton vs. Jefferson
Winslow Professor of Classics Emeritus Carl Rubino offered alumni a glimpse into the lives of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Giving a condensed biography of both historical figures, he discussed the important events that shaped Hamilton and Jefferson’s lives and the fundamental contributions they made to the creation of the United States.
Much of the talk emphasized the political rivalry and personal similarities between Hamilton and Jefferson. “Jefferson was a man of leisure. Hamilton was far from it,” Rubino said at the start of his lecture, establishing the contrast between the two politicians. He highlighted how Hamilton and Jefferson came from different backgrounds and were dissimilarly received by other notable figures, like George Washington who, according to Rubino, preferred Hamilton.
Rubino based his lecture off a course he taught for over 10 years at Hamilton. The course, “The Classical Tradition in American Political Life,” examines classical influences on the beginnings of the United States, focusing specifically on Cicero, Hamilton, and Jefferson. Rubino provided alumni with a list of books he used for the course, including Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, so they could learn more about the people entwined in the history of both the country and Hamilton College.
Rubino allowed for questions from the audience throughout his lecture. At the end, he opened the talk up to more broad questions about American history and his own work.— Majestic Terhune ’21
How Hamilton Plays to Win
Former Hamilton College President Joan Hinde Stewart and Hamilton trustee A.G. Lafley ’69 participated in a question and answer session during the class of 1969 lunch. Lafley, moderating the talk and basing his questions off his book, Playing to Win, asked Hinde Stewart about the critical decisions she made during her 13 years as college president. Lafley began the event by talking about main points of his book, inspired by his time as chair at Procter & Gamble, and allowed Stewart to take over for the majority of the talk.
Stewart started by discussing her approach to managing Hamilton when she first became president. “We wanted to make Hamilton more like Hamilton,” she said of herself, the trustees, and her advisers. She felt that Hamilton already had a “shining” history and culture and thought that the best way to improve Hamilton would be to develop its established strengths. Stewart prioritized understanding Hamilton as she first encountered it and taking the people and norms on campus into consideration when deciding the college’s future.
Stewart listed several memorable decisions from her time as president, including merging the library and information technologies, making Hamilton a full-playing member of the NESCAC, and advancing the construction of several buildings on campus. She moreover noted Hamilton’s change to need-blind admission as “one of the most important things” she helped accomplish during her presidency. She ultimately shared several anecdotes from her time on the Hill and reminisced about the parts of her work that still resonate with her.
Stewart said that these days, she is happily spending her free time reading, continuing her research on Joan of Arc, and learning to bake bread. — Majestic Terhune ’21
Disruption in Media & Entertainment
Brad Auerbach ’79 moderated a panel on Friday featuring his classmates Leigh Keno, Bob Kinkel, and Melinda Wagner discussing modern media consumption. From Keno, who has regularly appeared on the television series Antiques Roadshow, to Kinkel, who co-created and played the keyboard in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the talk spanned several topics on the development of media since 1979.
The group discussed media ownership and the popularity of live streaming as a way to consume music. Auerbach noted the changing role of musicians, explaining how, for example, performances now constitute a more significant amount of musicians’ income than they did 20 years ago. They expressed concern over the value of an individual song or work and contemplated how live streaming platforms, like Spotify, will continue to alter the music landscape.
Though the “clicks and pops” are largely absent from music today, the alumni were excited about how new technologies have made it easier to discover new and old music alike. Keno talked about how his son, who is in his early twenties, listens to the same music that he used to listen to when he was younger. Other alumni in the audience shared the sentiment, agreeing that their children and grandchildren were familiar with the hits from when they were young and expressing delight over how technological advancements have made it easier to connect to younger generations. — Majestic Terhune ’21
Mission Driven + Social Good
Julia Hysell Ruther ’04 moderated a discussion with her classmates Louis Bosso, Alexandra Geertz, and Michael Tennant on what it’s like to work in a career that positively benefits society. The panel spanned various types of work, including that of Ruther, who helps manage library relations in Minnesota and, and of Bosso, who works as a lobbyist for affordable housing. They addressed the steps that got them to their current jobs and what doing good means for them today.
The group first talked through their post-Hamilton graduate experience, describing the jobs and further schooling they did leading up to their current positions. While some, like Tennant, dove into an industry related to his current work, others, like Geertz who lived abroad after graduation, explored other experiences first.
The alumni also mentioned how Hamilton helped prepare them for their work. “Hamilton does the best they can to prepare people to go out and not fall all over themselves,” Basso said, explaining how the rigor required of his Hamilton education helped him with professional commitments. Others agreed, and Tennant noted how his term “abroad” on the Hamilton New York City program helped him with his interest and career in media. — Majestic Terhune ’21
Hamilton trustee and CEO and chairman of Kronos Aron Ain ’79 gave a talk on Friday about the leadership tenets he mentions in his book WorkInspired. Full of enthusiasm and passion for his company and employees, Ain explained how he helped the company get to $1.5 billion in revenue after his promotion to CEO and how Kronos has been regularly rated the top place to work in Massachusetts.
“Trust is the magic glue that makes everything else work,” Ain said, citing trust as one of the most important aspects of a successful work environment. He discussed how trust can help employees feel appreciated and important in their career, which ultimately improves employee engagement and satisfaction, helping the company retain and aid its esteemed workers. One example of this at Kronos, Ain said, is the company’s vacation policy, which allows employees to decide how much vacation time they want to take. Employees typically want to work and only take the time off they feel they need.
Ain explained that though WorkInspired focuses on Kronos, the values listed in the book could be applied to “any other place.” Much of the advice that Ain had to offer related to, more generally, being a person that cares about others and recognizes that other people have their own lives and priorities. Overall, Ain discussed the business and business practices that make him a happier, satisfied person and encouraged the audience to consider his suggestions. — Majestic Terhune ’21
Holly’s Cookin’ Now!
Holly Kehoe Amidon ’84 gave a cooking demonstration on Saturday, teaching other alumni how to make conch fritters from a recipe in her second cookbook, Foods From Far and Away, Bringing Regional Dishes Home. She showed the audience how to make the fritters, which she developed over the course of a couple weeks, and talked about her job as a cook.
Amidon primarily discussed how she creates her recipes, self-promotes, and self-publishes her books. From traveling and personalizing the foods she tastes along the way to hosting demonstrations, she keeps herself busy and focused on her culinary passions. Likewise, she gave advice on both cooking and entrepreneurship.
At the end of the demonstration, the audience was invited to try her conch fritters, which she paired with a spicy mango dipping sauce. — Majestic Terhune ’21