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Meeting Minutes: January 18, 2014

From: Cynthia Wolloch (in class Secretary Barbara Attardi's absence)

Location: Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA


Name Email
Barbara Lutz Brim
Nancy Taylor Butler
Tim Davis
Phyllis Rivkin Goldman
Marcia Goldschlager Epstein
Judie Pink Gorra
Adadot Hayes
Susan Mair Holden
Janet Spencer King
Linda Cohen Meltzer
Joan Melville
Karl Miller
Carolyn Chauncey Neuman
Bill Russell
Brenda Teeter (CU Reunion Campaign Liaison)
Bruce Wagner
Carolyn Stewart Whitman
Steve Whitman
Cindy Wolloch

Attachments to the minutes

Items I and II – Welcome and Minutes 

Susie called the meeting to order at 3:30 pm.  She thanked everyone for participating and called attention to the minutes from the last meeting, posted with some updates on the class website.  The meeting agenda is attached, though the Campaign report came up out of order, owing to Brenda Teeter's schedule. 

 Item VI - 50th Reunion Campaign Report – Tim & Adadot, with Brenda Teeter

Adadot handed out the campaign report (attached), based on results to date from 1,476 mailable classmates.  There was some discussion about the mailable numbers – they could be as high as 1725.  Adadot emphasized that the campaign committee is more interested in participation rates – i.e., numbers of classmates contributing at any level, than in total amounts pledged:  “focusing on Reunion,  not the money.” Nonetheless, the campaign is on track to meet or exceed all 50th reunion campaign goals.   As of January 13, 2014, 322 donors out of a goal of 525 have contributed.  Of these, 40 contributed at the Tower Club level ($5,000 and up), and 47 at Quadrangle Club level ($1,000 - $4,999).  Adadot did not provide total amounts contributed to date but noted that the University is responsible for contacting potentially large donors.  Adadot reflected, “Charity is not charity unless it hurts.” 

Brenda noted that the numbers are good, with five months to go.  This year will be our significantly best showing for the class, both in numbers and in amount.  She wants donors at all levels to feel good about their gifts.  She reported that Toby Levine told her she had had a very positive experience making the calls.

Susie asked whether anyone tracks the percentage of the class that gives to the annual fund.  Brenda:  Yes, right now, about 25%.  There are “a couple of significant gift discussions still to be finalized.”       

Nancy noted that the CACO Board is urging all class officers to donate. 

Susie noted that it makes a difference to have Tim and Adadot and their wonderful team, all Tower Club members, making the calls. 

The team is composed of Marcia Goldschlager Epstein, Joan Page Gerring, Ken Kupchak, Toby Kleban Levine, Carol Britton MacCorkle, Stan Morgenstein, Wistar Morris, Carolyn Chauncey Neuman, Joan Lazarus Shapiro, John Sterba, Michael Troner, Michael Wachter, George Weiner, and Ted Weinreich.  The team is assigned 116 class members to contact; 89 have been reached to date.  Contacts and mailings to classmates who have not yet given will continue through mid-April.

Tim provided an example of one classmate who had promised a significant amount; after he reported the news to Brenda, she called to thank the donor, who then doubled the offer.  The campaign runs on the University's fiscal year, July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.

Item III – Treasurer's Report 

Barbara distributed a detailed report on all the class accounts, whose book value at the close of the year was $79,375.42, down slightly from the previous year; and ran down the disbursements for the year.  The biggest expenditures were for the yearbook - $3,403.85 to date – which Barbara said could go to $10,000.  Dues payers are up this year – we have 472 – producing a large surplus in the account, though there is a net loss from the previous year of $2,835.66, owing to the reunion expenditures which include some $1,400 for the promotional DVD which is about to go out to all classmates. 

Barbara briefly went over the accounts for the class's three awards:  JFK, Tradition, and the Gary Wood Scholarship, which paid out $15,307, $6,278, and $1,068, respectively.  Barbara observed that we usually get a letter of thanks from the Tradition Scholar, and Susie confirmed that she had received a lovely one from last year's winner, whom she and Barbara met at Cornell.  She will forward the letter to Carolyn for the Newsletter.    The Gary Wood Scholarship is administered by Athletics, with assistance from the family. 

Item IV – Reunion Report

             A.  Schedule – Bruce distributed the schedule of the class activities (attached), reporting that the committee has tried to keep it from being too packed.  They hope many people will come on Thursday.  He reported a new twist:  Our (D. Forum, Part I) Speakers, Glenn Altschuler and (now added), his co-author Isaac Kramnick, are also giving the University Olin Lecture, four hours later.  We were disappointed to receive this news.   Bruce said that he would speak to Glenn to ask him to focus on our class years at our forum and not simply make a single presentation during both slots.  [Update:  The speakers assured Bruce that they will focus their Class Forum talk specifically on our years at Cornell.  The Olin Lecture will cover Cornell since WWII.  Hence, the potential problem is resolved.]  Another potential conflict occurs on Friday night, with multiple parties taking place, but several classmates have heard our band, Greaseband, and say they're fantastic.  They should attract a good crowd.  Dress for both the Friday and Saturday receptions and dinners is “classy casual, no jackets for men.” 

Three special sessions have been added to our program:  Judy Mabel's proposed forum on sustainability has been taken over by Cornell's Atkinson Center, without Judy's participation but with her blessing.  It remains to be scheduled.  Steve Einhorn's Forum on Intellectual Diversity will be run by the Debate Club, with two students assigned to each side.  It will take place on Friday at 1:30.  Finally, Alice Friedenson proposed canoeing on Beebe Lake and is organizing that for Saturday from 3-4 pm, with a limit of 28 people.  This will require separate registration via

            B.  Yearbook – Janet reported that she received 403 bios, after setting two deadlines – higher than the previous classes achieved.  Laurie Musick Wright '74, is designing the book.  Elliot Gordon is inserting the pictures – a big job.  He has also done some discreet photoshopping. Janet circulated several very impressive looking pages.  Each classmate has a separate page.  The front of the book contains a letter from Susie, as Class President, and three essays, under the heading, “That was then, this is now.”  The first is by Janet, on computing technology, which Susie said was terrific; the second, on diversification of the student body, by Toby Kleban Levine, and the third, also by Toby, is on women at the University.  These are followed by a history of the JFK award, by Cindy, illustrated by some nice pictures.  [Update:  Bruce advises that the Yearbook will also include a letter from President Skorton.]  The yearbook will  be given to all reunion attendees and will be sent for the cost of shipping to all other classmates who submitted bios. 

In addition to the Yearbook, Janet and Elliot are preparing a softcover book on the JFK award which includes the historical essay along with photos and contributions from the 52 winners who responded to the survey Cindy administered.   Along with the Yearbook, it will be a Reunion gift to attendees and to the JFK winners.  Others may order it and the Yearbook, as they will be printed on demand at low cost. 

Bruce praised the reunion committee's working relationship with Janet and Elliot. 

             C. DVDBruce reported that, at Linda's suggestion, he and Joan Melville prepared a promotional DVD to market reunion.  It will be sent out to all classmates next week.  Bruce said they had a lot of fun doing it.  (Classmates attending the dinner following the meeting had a chance to preview it and found it terrific.)                       

            E. Forum Part II – Cindy reported that Part II is entitled “The Cornell Class of 1964 John F. Kennedy Memorial Award – Fifty Years of Public Service.”  It will consist of a panel of three winners discussing the issues that have driven their work in public service.  Two are confirmed: Jared Genser, '96 and Ilir Zherka, '89.  A third is expected to confirm next week.  The tentative  panel topic is “The expansion of rights in the second half of the twentieth century:  Human, political and environmental.”           

            Cindy will open the session with a quick history of the award, referring the audience to the yearbook and JFK softcover, and will then introduce the panelists.  Each will speak for ten minutes, with questioning and discussion to follow.  After this, if the 2014 winner is available, Cindy will introduce that person as the 50th Reunion JFK Award winner.  (Linda will investigate the options for videotaping the proceedings for the archives.) 

            F. Affinity – Nancy reported that 65 people signed on to contact affinity groups.  (There has been some drop off, as it's a big job.)  These classmates have begun contacting members of their affinity groups to confirm emails and mailing addresses.  They will send out reunion reminder postcards later in the Spring.  The University is generating mailing labels.  Several fraternities have reached almost every living brother.  People are having a good time reaching out to their groups.  Nan will send suggested times during the reunion when the groups can get together, as several have asked about doing so.  Nan asked Bruce about the possibility of creating an Affinity link on our web site.  They will discuss the matter. 

            J.  Facebook  and other communications– Carolyn Whitman reported having gotten some 50 people to sign up for a page to reminisce about JFK on the anniversary of his death, in response to her email on that occasion.  In response to a recommendation by Steve for a follow-up to the DVD mailing, Carolyn will send out an email later this month.  There was discussion about the use of Facebook to generate interest in coming to reunion.  Carolyn called for people to get on it.  Janet and Linda promised to supply pictures for the site.  Carolyn is now designing the next newsletter.  Linda asked whether we need it, in light of all the other communications going out around the same time.  Barbara proposed we keep it at least for this year, and we agreed.  It will probably go out in April.   Carolyn asked Cindy for a report on the 2013 JFK winner. 

            G.  Costs – Linda circulated a cost sheet and reported that there is an early bird reduced price for all packages, with a deadline of May 10.  For example, the full weekend package will be reduced to $365, compared with $390.  Some 85% of attendees usually meet the deadline.  80% of the registration cost is attributable to food.  Beer and wine will be included at dinner only. 

Housing costs are also listed, with options for hotels.  Our dorm, Kay Court Bauer, which is near Donlon, with nearby parking, is air-conditioned, with clusters of rooms accommodating five people, around bathrooms.  The bathrooms will be gender-designated, so people may have to cross the hall from their clusters.  The dorm costs $141 per person for three nights, or $60 per person per night for fewer than three. 

There isn't much gathering space at the dorm.  Instead, the tent outside will be the venue for breakfasts and informal gatherings.  When we register for reunion, we will have an option to identify classmates we want to be housed near. All sets of people involved will need to make the request. Rooms will be pre-assigned.  The reunion packets will have maps showing the dorm and all the venues of class activities. 

            H.  Volunteers – Linda got good response from her call for volunteers to help with reading at the memorial service, greeting arriving classmates, and taking photos.  (She sent out about 100 emails and had 70 positive responses.)  Carolyn Neuman will organize the arrivals volunteers.  She cautioned that the greeters will not carry luggage or park cars.  We will have help from the student clerks assigned to the class.  Susie will organize the greeters and hosts at meals; and Nancy and Steve Einhorn are in charge of the memorial service. 

            I.  Photography - Bob Friedenson will honcho the photography throughout the weekend. There will be no group photo this year owing to the time it takes to assemble everyone and the size of the group, which makes it difficult to discern faces. There is not unanimity on this decision but it appears it will not be revisited.   At the reunion tent outside the dorm, Linda's laptop will cycle through pictures, the DVD and the JFK video throughout the weekend. 

            K.  E-mails and website – Bruce is now transitioning from his work with Janet and Elliot on the yearbook to reunion logistics.  The website will cover the main concerns the committee is hearing from classmates.  He asks that we let Linda, Joan or himself know of anything that should be included.  Our page will have links both to the class reunion page and the University's reunion page.  Linda said the site is great.  

            L. Mailings – Linda reported that she and Bruce are keeping email address updates as they come in. As people register for reunion they will receive email confirmations. 

            M. Memorial Service – Linda reported that the Einhorns are in charge.  Eileen Corwin Mason will play the violin.  There will be a printed program with the names of deceased classmates. 

            N.  Souvenirs – Linda – reported that, in addition to the Yearbook and the book about the JFK winners, we will also have caps, donated by Mark Colman and some Beta Sig brothers. 

Item V – University Memorial Service 

Susie reported that the service will be held on Friday at Sage Chapel from 1:30 till 2:30 and asked if anyone were interested in representing the class.  It is traditional that each class send a representative, preferably two, and that the 50th Reunion representative speak at the service. Chaunce suggested that Susie, as President, should do the honors. Unfortunately, this service conflicts with the Einhorn forum. Susie hopes that it will be possible to have that forum taped.   Marcia suggested we seek out class members who are clergy and ask them to participate.  Susie is considering the possibility.

Item VII – JFK Award report

Cindy reported that administration of the award has very recently been moved from Financial Aid to the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development.  She and Susie met with their reps yesterday to educate them about the award and to work out how they will publicize it, as we are already behind on getting the word out. The Dean of Students' Office has already agreed to email each graduating senior, attaching a copy of the application form.  We agreed that this year the form would be writable, rather than having to be downloaded and filled in, so that students will have immediate access to it and that perhaps application numbers will increase as a result. 

Janet, Tim and Judie have kindly agreed to continue on the review committee. 

On learning of the administrative change, Cindy contacted the SUN and learned that the only publicity last year's award received was after the fact, when Financial Aid took out an ad congratulating the winner.  This year we will place a promotional ad – Barbara has agreed the class can pay for it – as well.  Moreover, the SUN's News editor has agreed to assign a reporter to do a story about the award to coincide with the application period.  Cindy asked Chaunce for permission to give her name as a possible interviewee, and she agreed.  She will also ask Mike Newman because of his long association with the award, as well as several winners.

Susie asked about the award's future.  Cindy noted that it will depend on the participation of people younger than ourselves.  Happily, 31 of the 52 respondents to the JFK survey have indicated that they might be willing to serve on the review committee.  Chaunce noted that Alumni Affairs typically engages with classes at the time of their 55th reunion regarding the future of the class's treasury, and that the JFK award will necessarily come under discussion at that time. 

Item VIII – Nominating Committee and thank you

Susie thanked the assembled officers for their service and was heartily thanked in turn.  She reported that Janet, as past President, has agreed to chair the nominating committee to propose officer candidates for the next five years and that Tim will serve as well, with Susie assisting.  One additional member will be named.  People should let these classmates know if they are interested.  Chaunce urged us to seek out new people for our slate, observing that we are something of “an inner circle.”  She recommended we seek input from classmates who may have not had the time to serve in the past but may now be free to do so. Susie noted that we do have several new people working hard with the class, whom she named. 

Item IX – Old Business 

Susie reported that we had estimated we would sell 40 tickets for the Frozen Apple.  In fact, we sold only 36 to classmates, but sold the remainder to another class.  We made a little money because one classmate generously insisted on purchasing two tickets he had thought he could use but found he could not. 

Item X – New Business 

There was no new business. 

Item XI – Adjournment and dinner 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:40 pm and was followed by dinner at Brasserie Jo.

Attachments to the minutes