SURVEY RESULTS

Show Us Something You Created

How have our classmates applied their creativity and insights to life and work after college? Let us show you the ways …
—Stu Rohrer

The question: Show us (and tell us about) something you created since graduation.

These are a selection of some of my books and translations. Drawing by Jim Stroup shows me with my close friend, Aaron T Beck, founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). My role in the development and dissemination of CBT is my biggest accomplishment since graduation. 

I’ve written a number of books. Collectively, these have sold more than 1.5 million copies in more than 20 languages. The best seller of the group is Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think, a popular self-help book in many countries. My books teaching therapists how to do evidence-based psychotherapies capture most of what I’ve learned and taught in more than 500 workshops world-wide over the past 5 decades. See photo above for a variety of these books in English and a sample of these other languages. In retrospect, Yale’s requirement of a senior thesis prepared me for a professional career involving a lot of writing! The drawing in the photo was done by Jim Stroup, an artist friend in Istanbul and shows me with my dear friend Aaron T. Beck, MD, founder of cognitive therapy.
Christine Padesky [TD]

Zelig and Babe Ruth; screenshot from the film Zelig (1983)

Beginning with Manhattan in 1979, I edited 22 Woody Allen movies during a time when he was considered one of America’s premier filmmakers. It might amuse you that the film I’m proudest of is the little known Zelig. In 1981 Woody challenged us to create a black-and-white “documentary” interpolating a fictional character named Leonard Zelig seamlessly into newsreel footage of the 1920s and 1930s. The verisimilitude would be buttressed by interviews with such pundits as Susan Sontag, Saul Bellow and my old Yale history professor John Morton Blum. It was a daunting but exciting proposal as, for us, it echoed Kennedy’s challenge of landing a man on the moon—not because it was easy, but because it was hard.

Years before the proliferation of personal computers, let alone the digital revolution, Zelig unwittingly gave birth to the first deep fakes. Most exhilarating was working as a team with generous, brilliant experts like cinematographer Gordon Willis, innovative sound mixer Lee Dichter and musicologist and composer/arranger Dick Hyman, each of whom tangentially gave me a master class in his specialty. Gordon’s concept for mimicking archival footage was to duplicate our footage over and over just as the newsreels had been duplicated repeatedly over the 50 years since they were shot. And since documentaries cull their footage from disparate sources, we made sure contiguous shots were “aged” differently. I began by searching our 40 hours of archival footage for shots where there was space in the frame for Woody to fit and where it wouldn’t look as though everyone else was inexplicably ignoring him. Finally I spotted a shot of Babe Ruth batting at spring training where it seemed reasonable that Zelig might be lingering in an ostensible on-deck circle. We were on our way!

Two years later, after much experimentation, the film was released and there was the satisfaction of having achieved something unprecedented. Longtime New York Times film critic, Vincent Canby, said Zelig was “Citizen Kane miraculously transformed into a side-splitting comedy.” And we could exhale, having succeeded in the paramount goal of translating the vision Woody had concocted into reality.
Sandy Morse [CC]

After seeing the 1987 installation of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC, I felt strongly that New York should be a part of this moving and powerful experience. Others agreed, and set about making this happen: NY’s Lesbian & Gay Community Center would provide space and sewing machines for producing quilt panels under the guidance of Wes Cronk; several arts and fashion organizations offered to donate fabric and other materials; and I would oversee the display of finished panels on Central Park’s Great Lawn as part of Pride Weekend events. The above image is from The Center’s website: David Nimmons was President of their Board of Directors, and Harvey Fierstein was (and is) Harvey Fierstein.
C S Piel [MC]

Well into my legal career, I came to understand that much of what young lawyers learn from senior lawyers is dogma and that, when young lawyers become senior lawyers themselves, they pass down the same dogma to their juniors. As a result, generation after generation of lawyers are practicing in outmoded ways without questioning whether the orthodoxy they’ve inherited is good or bad. Case in point—how lawyers prepare clients to testify. Over many generations, nearly every litigator has been taught to tell their clients that, when the opposing lawyer is asking the questions, say as little as possible, don’t stray beyond yes or no, don’t explain your answers, and if there’s a word or phrase in the question you don’t understand, just say you don’t understand the question and wait for another one. The problem, I discovered, was that these directions make clients so afraid of saying the wrong thing that they don’t say the right thing. These directions let the other lawyer control the narrative, and the client loses valuable opportunities to give case-winning answers. Worse, these directions make the client appear evasive and unlikable, which sets the client on the path to defeat. And worse than that, the client’s unexplained yes or no can cause a judge or juror to draw mistaken inferences and come to a wrong conclusion that can torpedo the client’s case.

So I wrote a book about it: Reinventing Witness Preparation—Unlocking the Secrets to Testimonial Success. The American Bar Association published it, and it became an ABA best seller. The book offers a very different approach, one that shows how lawyers can turn their clients into much better testifiers and to give case-winning truthful answers. This approach takes the advantage away from the cross-examiner and gives it to the witness. Since then, I’ve heard from many lawyers around the country who have told me that the book has changed how they execute this critical area of law practice and that it’s made a meaningful difference in strengthening their cases and protecting their clients. And now I know firsthand the power and reward of authorship.
—Anonymous

Eli Abbe, left, runner-up

At the ripe old age of 56, I started playing squash. My getting started was just an accident of work location, proximity to squash courts, an especially rainy California winter that kept me indoors, and a chance meeting with someone else who was interested in getting started. Fast forward 14 years, when having just turned 70, I crossed the country to participate in the 70+ bracket of the National Masters tournament. I figured I would be the young kid on the block. Without going into the details (mostly because they make it seem not so impressive), I ended up as runner-up. That is me on the left, holding the smaller cup.
Eli Abbe [ES]

I was a high school bass player when I came to Yale, and played in various bar bands for the time in New Haven. But I never wrote any songs or sang to any great degree. It took a move to Florida in 2015 to give me the experience and confidence to write and sing. What a thrill. The attached video is a performance of my song “Florida Man.”
Clark Johnson [MC]

I like to “repurpose” old car parts, found metal objects and wood washed up on shore.

Upon retirement, I immediately took a welding class at an art studio in Alexandria. Va. That experience fed my creative side. It also rekindled my childhood memories of growing up in the shadow of the Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn, bicycling there as a kid, watching older neighborhood guys souping up cars and my parents working in a nearby auto parts packager (“points, plugs and condensers”). While I took wood shop and metal shop classes in junior high, I regret not taking auto shop or machine shop in high school (noo, I had to take typing and speech classes on the college prep track). Message to self: it’s not too late to learn new things or rekindle old associations.
Jim Pavle [BK]

From Neverland at Kennedy Center

I got a job as secretary of a foundation to produce new musicals started by a Broadway producer, Stuart Ostrow. The foundation started the Musical Theater Lab to workshop musicals. Ultimately, I ended up producing one of the shows, Neverland by Jim Steinman, which included many of the songs he wrote for Meatloaf on the “Bat Out of Hell” record. Fun fact: Scott Rudin was sort of an intern on the show. Here’s a link.
Steven Kimball [MC]

The Tree of Life (from “A Time for Life”)

As a composer, writer, photographer, videographer, and filmmaker, it continues to be a great joy to create interdisciplinary works that combine music with writing text for music and images (photographs and videos), also in the medium of film. My first work as an interdisciplinary artist was created at Yale, a multimedia work titled “Voyage,” which was my senior project in the Scholar of the House program. Since 1974, my creative work has evolved in three thematic areas: the environment and global climate change (living in harmony with nature); conflict and reconciliation (peace-making); and the spiritual themes of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

During the pandemic, I took eleven wilderness journeys in Oregon and New Mexico (two states where I reside during the year), during which I took over 10,000 images that became the source material for my film, “A Time for Life.” The purely musical version of the work was commissioned and premiered by Cappella Romana (Alexander Lingas, conductor), which the ensemble recorded for compact disc. Thus, the music arrived first and I created my film to it.

“A Time for Life” is about both “living in harmony with nature” and “conflict and reconciliation” and is in three parts: Creation, Forgetting, and Remembering. The first part is a creation story and the second part explores how human beings have forgotten who we are when we dominate and abuse the gift of Nature that was offered to us as a life-sustaining gift. The third part proclaims that we must remember who we truly are and learn to be ideal stewards of Nature by collaborating with it as we strive to preserve Creation.

I am an eternal optimist: I believe that music and the arts connect us more deeply with the very life force that nurtures us. Through choosing to create and sustain a beneficial relationship with Nature, we will survive and ultimately thrive. If you like, you can watch and listen to “A Time for Life” via this link, where you can also “Click to View Text & Program Notes” which are offered directly below the video screen.
Robert Kyr [JE]

“Jungle Night“ – In one of the more surreal moments of my life, I got a phone call from Yo-Yo Ma early in the pandemic. Like everyone everywhere, we were each stranded at home. He said this would be the perfect time to collaborate. I replied: “WHO IS THIS REALLY?” Okay, actually I didn’t; I can’t imagine what I said. Yo-Yo thought there should be a book, and somehow it would have a music component. Stalling for time, I asked him for a theme, and he said (fittingly), “How about surprise?” And here it is.
Sandra Boynton [CC]

In 1998, while I was the midday announcer at radio station WGUC (in Cincinnati), I created the six-minute audio feature “Classics for Kids,” designed to demystify classical music for kids of all ages. It now airs on stations around the world, and it’s also online as a podcast. Our late classmate Judd Magilnick was the show’s biggest fan.
Naomi Lewin [TD]

My book was first published in an Italian translation by the Italian publisher Arcana and later published in English by the UK publisher Jawbone. It details all the ups and downs of my tempestuous creative relationship with Jeff Buckley with much attention devoted to the writing and recording of our anthemic songs “Grace” and “Mojo Pin,” which open Jeff’s 2 million-selling “Grace” album. The book received excellent reviews from fans and critics all over the world.

The song “Grace,” which I co-wrote with the singer Jeff Buckley, is my favorite of all of the songs I’ve written or co-written to date (about 400). Last year it was cited as “One of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in Rolling Stone magazine and is featured on Jeff’s eponymous first album (1994 Columbia Records). The studio demo of “Grace” appears on “Songs to No One: Early Work of Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas” (Knitting Factory Records 2002). Jeff, the precocious son of 60’s singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, joined forces with me in 1991 as the lead singer of my longtime band Gods and Monsters. I wrote the solo guitar instrumental that became the basis of the finished song first, and Jeff added lyrics and a melody to that. I had just met and worked with Jeff at a Tribute to his father, and we had started writing and performing together. It was sounding really good so I booked us into a studio here in NYC with my band in August 1991. After recording the band instrumental track (guitar, bass and drums) Jeff went out in the dark studio to sing. Sitting in the booth with the engineer I heard absolute magic! Jeff came back in the booth and said “Was I any good???” He knocked it out of the park! The engineer ran off a copy for me on digital audio tape for shortly thereafter as we had to get out of the studio fast. I walked out of there thinking “I have the atomic bomb in my pocket — this music is gonna shake the world!” Which it did — it was that potent and fresh. My best moment in music to date by far. You can hear the demo here:

Gary Lucas [JE]

My bibliography from the National Library of Medicine
Margaret Kern Fahnestock [JE]

Kuma and Goofy Visit the Queen – This is the “origin story” of our charity, One Thousand Bears Project. The royal guards never communicate with people, but when this one bowed down to ask our bears, “Do you have an appointment with the Queen?” Masumi exclaimed, “The bears just kuma-nicated with him!” (“Kuma” is the Japanese word for “bear.”) We realized that teddy bears are universal in their appeal, and they make people smile, so we decided to donate large fine art photos of teddy bears to hospitals, as our way of giving back.

My wife, Masumi, and I have created a private charity which donates teddy bear photos to children’s hospitals, orphanages, and hospices throughout the world. We say, “A teddy bear photo may not cure a disease, but if it puts a smile on the face of a patient, we’ve done our job.” You can learn more about it at www.OneThousandBears.com. We neither solicit nor accept donations, but we do look for personal introductions to decision makers at these institutions, to facilitate the donation process.
John O’Donnell [ES]

David Kra’s DaVirnier RetrO’Clock

For an engineer, being awarded a patent is a global recognition of the ability to invent something new and useful. Two things I invented in undergraduate projects were later patented by others, although in one case, what was patented required manual adjustment, while mine was automatic. In my professional career, I was awarded patents for two very different inventions. However, what I am most proud of is a novelty clock I invented. The demonstration is online here

  • One thing turns, but it displays both the hour and the minute. There is no separate minute hand.
  • The minutes are not all scrunched together between one hour and the next.
  • In one version, the minutes proceed counterclockwise, even though the part that turns turns clockwise.
  • The minute numbers are in different places than on a regular clock. The next minute in time is not adjacent to the current minute.
  • The minute numbers are not equally spaced around the dial.
  • It could have been invented in the 1600s, but wasn’t.
  • It uses a standard clock movement, except that the minute hand’s shaft is unused.

If anybody wants to manufacture this, I would be very happy. Due to improper application handling this invention can never be patented.
David Kra [DC]

Fans, flags, & probably my obituary: In the late ’70s to mid ’80s, there was a Gay disco scene that existed throughout the America described by Edmund White in States of Desire (1980). The music was lyrical, melodic, and gallopy, a trippy mix of rock, R&B, pop and ballad — a quintessentially “gay” sound, much the same from city to city. And there were some men (mostly) who played tambourines or finger cymbals; others spun bamboo spines covered with fabric, or colorful weighted flags, in time to the music. In the cities where this gay dance culture flourished, AIDS hit hard — killing countless men who were the core of this community. Unfortunately, many of the fan players had never shared their secrets of fan making and playing: When they died, this gay art form began to disappear. 

Major NYC events were being planned for Stonewall’s 25th anniversary in 1994; I decided a gathering of the (remaining) fan-playing tribe should be part of the festivities. Starting in 1991, whenever I saw a fan- or flag-player at a club, I explained my idea and asked for their contact information. In 1993, as a kind of “dry run,” I invited those who could get to NYC to perform at the Dance on the Pier (the last event of Gay Pride Day, held outdoors on the Christopher Street Pier); around a dozen men showed up. Towards the end of the night, Adam Wojtowicz handed me a flag to try: I recall being simultaneously surprised, overwhelmed, and self-conscious. 

That summer on Fire Island, a now-frail Jeffrey Reichlin took me under his wing — mentoring me on how to manipulate spine fans and how they were constructed. We had an unspoken agreement: He would stay alive until I’d learned all he could teach me. Before he died that fall, he told me I was his legacy — and I promised him I wouldn’t let fanning or flagging die as well. I continued to track down any elders I could find and learn from them, while (re)building a fan/flag community: I taught the tradition to those who expressed an interest, extracting a promise that they would share The Gift with others. A “Gift,” because it allowed me to connect with communities all over, took me on intense journeys into myself, and got me through six months of clearing out dead people’s apartments.
C S Piel [MC]

Radical Embodiment by David Nikkel, Wipf & Stock

My book in Religious Studies and Theology, Radical Embodiment, was published by Wipf & Stock in the United States in 2010 and by James Clarke & Co. in 2011 in the United Kingdom. Over 1000 libraries hold copies.
Dave Nikkel [PC]

Ted and Melinda Tally at Alice Cinema; plaque from the theater

Here’s a photo of a plaque that rests in the Humanities Quadrangle, listing the names of alums who made possible the building of the Alice Cinema, Yale’s only full-screen, state of the art movie theater. This wonderful facility will benefit generations of student and community filmmakers. The fundraising campaign was inspired and led by my friend and colleague, Jodie Foster, and I am grateful to be listed in such distinguished company
Ted Tally [TC]

Here is the poster from “The 600: A Soldier’s Story”, my recent feature documentary about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. My wife is from Rwanda and I made this doc to honor her experience. You can watch it on Amazon Prime, or at www.the600movie.com.
Richard Hall [SM]

I have a lengthy body of songs I have re-written (mangled?), a la Weird Al. (It’s in the genes I inherited from my old man. My favorite of his manglings begins: “Good King Wenceslas is lost. We don’t know where to find him…”) The song below was written (and posted to Facebook) in March 2020, about two weeks after the world closed due to the pandemic. I was trapped at the time at our Rehoboth Beach House, and I guess I was going a little bat-shit-crazy. I actually got some positive feedback on it from classmates Jane Miller, Alec Haverstick, and Peter White.

FIXIN’ TO DIE RAG
(with apologies to Country Joe & the Fish)

Come on all of you, big strong men
Uncle Sam needs your help again
He’s got himself in a terrible state
With a President who ain’t so great
So open your doors; go out for a run
We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun

[Refrain]

And it’s one, two, three
What is Trump waiting for?
Don’t ask me, he don’t give a damn
His brain has turned to spam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
There ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die

Come on hospitals, let’s move fast
Your big chance has come at last
Trump insists you get those masks
He can’t be bothered with minor tasks
He thinks re-election can only be won
When he’s sent us all to kingdom come

[Refrain]

Come on companies, don’t be slow
This pandemic’s graft au-go-go
Plenty good money to be made
IMPOTUS lost the tools of the trade
Just hope and pray if he drops the ball
He doesn’t drop it on us all.

[Refrain]

Come on families behind those gates
Eat at restaurants; fill those plates
Come on governors of Southern states
Keep it all open; don’t hesitate
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box

[Refrain]

Colly Burgwin [SY]

Quick Lunch: Made of my own recyclable plastic waste, this piece expresses concerns about overconsumption, environmental carelessness, misguided priorities, and the need for sensible approaches to ensure sustainability. It is part of the Biophilia in Excelsis group show at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, spring 2024.

This spring I am receiving an MFA degree is painting at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. My work has been shown in multiple venues, including a current (spring 2024) group exhibit on the Yale Campus: Biophilia in Excelsis, with an environmental theme, at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, 406 Prospect Street. My artistic side manifested shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and continues to grow. Going back to school at this point in my life has been exhilarating. I use my spouse’s last name in my art career, so I am Walter Brown (Blumenfeld).
Walter Blumenfeld [CC]

These are my Yale FOOT Leaders for the orientation program I have directed for 40 years now. Just the leaders! In uniform!

Forty years ago, I got a call from Yale undergraduate Jamie Williams. He asked me if I was interested in helping a student group start a wilderness orientation program for freshmen. He and another student, Greg Felt, had just completed a NOLS semester course and they realized the value of being in the outdoors, not only to connect better with nature but to bond with a group of other hikers on a backpacking trip. I just started another job, so I initially said no, but my gut said yes, so I called Jamie back. We had lunch and the rest is history. (Footnote: Jamie is now Head of the Wilderness Society in DC.) I have been the Program Director of FOOT, First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips, at Yale ever since. We started small. Twelve leaders, 3 support crew members, 6 trips all in the Catskills, 1 coach bus and 2 vans. We are now big. I have 180 leaders, 27 support crew members, 80 trips in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. We are hiking on the Appalachian Trail from mid Vermont to the border of Pennsylvania. We are also in the White Mountains and still in the Catskills. We have kept the formula of the FOOT trips the same. We are backpacking from point A to point B in groups of 8 freshmen and 2 leaders. We added base camp day trips, arts trips circling a lovely pond in northeast CT, and service trips in Vermont. The Yale students I have worked with over the years are the BEST. They are responsible, resourceful, spirited, joyful, and funny. They are a “can do” bunch of young people, always up for a challenge. Freshmen walk through Phelps Gate as nervous nellies and come back from FOOT confident, bonded, and jubilant — and perhaps a bit smelly and dirty. Even though the trips are short, they have an immense impact on the lives of the students. In some cases, life-changing. The wilderness setting promotes self-discovery, connectedness, and as Rachel Carson said, a sense of wonder.
Cilla Leavitt [TC]

Of all my writings since graduation, the one I am proudest of is my most recent book, THE AURA OF CONFUCIUS, which tells the curious story of a shrine that claimed to possess the clothing of Confucius (c. 551–c. 479 BC). Although these garments were never seen, having allegedly been buried long after his death and far from his home by a descendant, their assumed presence inspired local people to create an impressive ritual complex many centuries later. Its fortunes waxed and waned over the centuries until its remaining buildings were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and its long history was suppressed. It took me almost 25 years and lots of detective work (and travel) to piece its story together, find scattered remnants of its artworks, collect good illustrations, and write it all up in an accessible and interesting way.
Julia Murray [JE]

Fifty years ago there was virtually unanimous agreement among obstetricians on how to handle the death of a newborn. Parents were told to do nothing. Don’t encourage—no in fact prohibit— them from seeing, holding, or naming their baby. Parents were instructed not to talk to each other about their baby. Make believe it didn’t happen and suggest having another child as soon as possible. If there was much distress and tears anti-anxiety medicine was prescribed (This was before the Prozac era). Today parents are guided to do exactly the opposite. They are advised to see, touch, get to know and grieve their baby. This contact helps make the loss as real as possible, allowing mourning to occur. Parent are encouraged to wait from six months to a year before attempting to have another baby allowing sufficient time for grief over the first loss to subside. If medications appear warranted (usually they are not necessary) an anti-depressant is usually the drug of choice. In few areas of medicine has the exact protocol of interventions and underlying beliefs been so completely reversed.

The accomplishment of which I am most proud is being part of the initial group of twelve or so pioneers (e.g., doctors, parents, nurses, social workers, psychologists, etc.) who for the most part working independently, helped bring about these major changes in understanding the impact of reproductive loss and how its aftermath can be best managed. I contributed by writing over twenty papers in professional journals, giving well over one hundred invited addresses at conferences and medical meetings, teaching medical staff for over twenty years at the University of Michigan and writing the first book for mental health experts on perinatal loss (When a Baby Dies: Psychotherapy for Pregnancy and Newborn Loss. Yale University Press 1990). We all worked In different settings such as university medical centers, community hospitals, out-patient clinics and private practices where we saw a high degree of similarity in the grief reactions to these losses (including infertility and pregnancy termination for fetal anomaly). We also discovered that usually the most effective way to help the couple heal was for the health care provider to foster an empathic bond with the family where they felt understood, cared for, and helped). When I started to specialize in this area forty years ago, I never imagined this would become my lifelong project. I thank Yale for instilling in me the self-confidence that I could do it.
Irv Leon [TC]

Khan-al-Khalili; Tom Brenner; Acrylic on wood panel

Khan-al-Khalili; Tom Brenner; Acrylic on wood panel

I was an Art Major at Yale and studied with most of the fabulous faculty at the University in the 70s (William Bailey, Gabor Peterdi, Lester Johnson, Robert Reed, etc.) Since graduating, I have established a career as a fine artist, illustrator and professor. The artwork shown here is one of my favorites and was painted in the late 80s following one of the many trips I have made to locations spanning the globe. Its title “Khan-al-Khalili” refers to the famous bazaar in the heart of Cairo and depicts a seller of salvaged bricks. The piece was painted in acrylic on a wood panel with innumerable layers of transparent glazes. I have always been pleased by the intensity of the piece, resulting from the merchant’s piercing gaze and the striking array of reds that suffuse the image.
Tom Brenner [SM]


I never imagined as an undergrad that I would go into business. But somehow I stumbled into real estate when I was a music grad student, and little by little it ate my life. But in creating Warburg Realty in NYC, I forged a legacy speaking to what now seem to be old-fashioned virtues: a commitment to client service over money, a deep belief in integrity, and a culture of mentorship and individual respect. We are not an enormous company, but we have always batted above our size and created a wide reputation. I sold the company to Coldwell Banker and have stepped down as President. I am enormously proud not only of the company but of all the agents and employees whose lives I have mentored and (hopefully) improved.
Fred Peters [BK]

My creativity found its primary expression in the written word, relating to my role as an attorney, or in my assistance to not-for-profit organizations.
Sharon Vaino [SM]

It was the summer after graduation. I was writing poetry. But I was not sure whether I was a “poet” or a “writer of poems.” Just like there are pianists and piano players. I needed an authorization of some sort. I was introduced to one of the leading poets in Turkey. He asked me to read one of my poems. I started to. He stopped me after the first stanza and asked me to repeat. He stopped me again. He had a sip from his raki (Turkish ouzo) “My boy,” he said, “you are a poet.” A few months later my poem was published in a leading journal.

VIOLET

My deaths in you are depleted
You should not question me
Go.
You must gather deaths.
While you were growing in the violet light of sea
Old man brought you flowers
For years, every summer
Flowers of Judas trees were buried in you
When they dried
Inside you is a temple
where uprisings are buried
against the inevitable encirclement
of living
Your being is dense
Yet you do not exist
Only a violet
Moving, rising, falling
At places you have been
Your change was not easy
Silence.
Nothing.
Neither memory, nor woman
You are now only violet
Resit Ergener [JE]

At the age of 64, I decided to learn how to tap dance. I took classes for a while at the local dance academy and quickly learned that I would never become Shirley Temple or Ginger Rogers in this lifetime. So I asked my instructor to choreograph a complete tap routine to a piece of music of my choice and then teach it to me. In this way, I would always have one “number” that I could perform to assure myself that I, indeed, could tap dance. The video included here was taken at the year-end recital of the dance academy that I attended. The recital showcased dancers (ballet, tap, modern, jazz) ages 3 to 18 … and then me, aged 65. We performed to a full house at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville, Ontario. It was a highlight of my life!
Singie Shepley-Gamble [BK]

Hand through door opening (for Camus, The Plague); by Charles Martin

Narrow Street (perhaps in the Casbah), Algiers, by Charles Martin

There was a “French Table” that met every week or so in a corner of the dining room in Silliman College. Regulars, aside from students, were Monsieur Hilary Okam, a Nigerian professor of French, and Michel, a French cook for Silliman who, in a few years, became director of the kitchens of all the Colleges and the Freshman Commons. It was at the French table that, aside from working to converse, I first heard of the tales and stories written by Senegalese writer, Birago Diop. Existentialist writers such as Albert Camus were talked about, too. Though I read his short novel, The Stranger, it was only at the height of the Covid epidemic in 2020 or 2021 that I finally read his novel of epidemic, The Plague set, like other of his work, in Algeria, where he was born into a French colonial family. It was a surprise to me—and not mentioned in the commentaries that I read—that native Algerians were not in any way significant to the book. They were, essentially, locked out of the colonial consciousness.

This led me to write an essay about it, published in Brazil after no interest here was shown for it. I never imagined going to Algeria, but between 2009 and 2013 I was invited there four times for festivals, conferences, events and a museum exhibition of my photos. On my first visit, also there was Kathleen Cleaver, who had been very important in the early days of the Black Panther Party. She and I had met in the 1980s at Yale, where I was a grad student and she had resumed college study, finishing her B.A. and then on to a law degree. You’ll probably remember that, the year before our freshman year, Yale’s president, Kingman Brewster, had drawn much attention, much of it adverse, for having commented regarding a murder trial in New Haven of Ericka Huggins, Bobby Seale and several other Black Panthers, that he doubted a black revolutionary could receive a fair trial. That topic never came up in conversations I had with Kathleen, but she did tell me some about her exile—years before—in Algeria.
Chuck Martin [SM]

“Brearley on Broadway” invitation, interior drawing (1999)

A career of making children’s books provides me with a lot of choices as to my proudest creative achievement. “The Wheels on the Bus” is a clear one— millions of little kids grew up with it. My “Rapunzel” won the Caldecott Medal— worth some pride. But I’m most tickled by a picture I made for the invitation to an over-the-top benefit event put on by the Brearley School (when my daughters were there): “Brearley on Broadway” was a musical review featuring scores by four Brearley fathers: Irving Berlin, Richard Rogers, Frank Loesser and Leonard Bernstein— one night only in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall; directed by Jerry Zaks and Carol Rothman, choreographed by Susan Stroman, book by Wendy Wasserstein, narrated by Marlo Thomas, featuring all sorts of Broadway luminaries (Betty Comden was in it!), and my drawing, of the school building crooning onstage into a microphone, became the stage set.

The drawing above is for the invitation that became a stage set; it was the inside of a three-layer card; you’d see it after opening the top level, which was a big fringed red curtain with a little girl (in the Brearley uniform) pulling it aside at the corner and peeping through. I’ve made lots of children’s books I’m proud of, but this was my big break on Broadway! (Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center).
Paul Zelinsky [MC]

Mount Gay red visor that became a sailor’s icon

My proudest creation of my career is the Mount Gay red cap, which is coveted by thousands of sailors competing in regattas where Mount Gay Rum sponsors the final celebration. That night is when Mount Gay is freely poured and the red hats with the name of the regatta are handed out. Now that scenario is played out at over 100 sailing regattas around the world every year.

As a life-long Mount Gay aficionado from living, sailing and going to school in Newport, I was thrilled when my New York-based firm, Dorf and Stanton, put me in charge of public relations for the Mount Gay brand in the early ’80s. It was literally a dream assignment for me.

When our creative team considered producing an article of clothing for our sponsorship of Dennis Conner’s defense of the 1983 America’s Cup, I suggested an item of headwear. I eagerly placed an order for 500 red Mount Gay visors, but when the shipment arrived and I opened the box, I was horrified to discover that only 8 visors were the correct red specification. The other 492 came out a strange orange and had to be rejected. I gave one to Dennis Conner and kept two for myself for “research” purposes.

The next year was a different story. The red visor soon became Dennis Conner’s trademark when sailing. Around 1989 the visor morphed into the modern baseball style red caps we are so familiar with today. And after sporting them for 40 years, I donated my two well-worn visors to the Mount Gay distillery.

I had no idea that the red cap would ultimately develop into something that sailors around the world today love and cherish. Truth be told, any red cap that gets accidentally left behind somewhere is likely to be snapped up very quickly.  And for sure, I still wear a red Mount Gay cap whenever I go out on the water in my boat named, what else, Eclipse. Watch red hat stories on YouTube
Stuart Ross [DC]

A poem by Dan Laskin

A few days after graduation, Dan Laskin and I began a travel adventure. Our plan was to cycle from New Haven to Montreal, cross Canada by train to Vancouver, and then cycle to San Francisco. A photo shows that the sun was shining when we left New Haven. I know we felt healthy and ready for the challenge. The hills in Connecticut were tougher than expected and the weather somewhat rainy and chilly. But there were glorious moments, particularly along the Connecticut River in northern Vermont. At some point, it became clear that our plan was too ambitious. We retrieved an old Dodge Dart I had left with friends in Burlington, Vermont. Following our itinerary, we crossed Canada, camped in spectacular locations, particularly Jasper and Vancouver Island, and enjoyed the generous hospitality of many Yale friends, including classmate Joel Goldman. We finished our travels at the end of August. Dan and I parted, he to Vermont to work as a journalist and I back to New Haven to start law school. We were good friends in college and, some 50 years later, are good friends today. Dan is a wonderful writer. In a poem, he captured beautifully the sense of two friends recognizing that one phase of their lives had ended and another was about to begin.
Steven Davis [ES]

Books by Jeff Johnson

After working for several tech companies from 1979 to 1996, I went out on my own as a digital design consultant, forming UI Wizards Inc. Client companies create computers, software apps, and websites. I help make their products and services easy to use. I noticed that many of my clients were making the same design mistakes. I started keeping a catalog of common mistakes — which I called “bloopers” — and how to avoid them. I gave a “GUI Design Bloopers” talk at a conference, and a publisher invited me to expand it into a book: GUI Bloopers: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules was published in 2000. It did well (for a technical book) amd was translated to other languages. In 2001 the publisher asked me to write a similar book about common Web design mistakes. Web Bloopers: 60 Common Web Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them was published in 2002, during a downturn in interest in Web commerce. Web Bloopers mostly flopped but was popular in Russia. In 2006 the publisher had me update GUI Bloopers with fresh examples, new bloopers, and the Web bloopers, producing GUI Blopers 2.0. Colleagues started calling me “Dr. Bloopers”.

Soon, reader feedback indicated that many wanted to know WHY the bloopers were poor design. Most — especially college students — had no background in human psychology, so many design guidelines seemed to them to be arbitrary and debatable. Drawing upon my Yale and Stanford psych degrees, I gave classes at universities and professional conferences explaining the perceptual and cognitive psychology behind design guidelines, illustrated by many compelling examples. The publisher of GUI Bloopers convinced me to turn those lectures into another book: Designing with the Mind in Mind, published in 2010. It proved popular and I’ve updated it twice — most recently in 2020 — with an invitation to update it again in 2026.

In parallel with the saga of the Bloopers and Mind-in-Mind books, in the late 1990s I and Austin Henderson, a colleague I knew from Xerox, lamented that many software designers start by laying out screens, pages, and controls without first identifying the conceptual objects, operations, and use-cases of their intended product. The usual result is incoherent products and services that are hard for people to learn, navigate, and remember. We published an article advocating designing conceptual-level models of products before laying out screens and controls. We presented courses at conferences about why and how to do it. A publisher — a different one — invited us to turn our course into a book, so we did: Conceptual Models: Core to Good Design was published in 2011. In early 2023 the publisher requested an update, the final proofs for which we just reviewed two days ago. It should be out by the Reunion.

In parallel with all that, in 2009 I and another colleague, Kate Finn, developed an interest in how older adults relate to emerging technology. We weren’t interested in designing specifically for older adults; people usually avoid products or services that identify them as “old.” Instead, we wanted to determine how to design digital technology that doesn’t exclude or repel seniors. You know the drill: we wrote articles about it, presented courses at conferences, and — surprise! — the publisher of my Bloopers books requested a book. Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population: Towards Universal Design was published in 2017, and the publisher now wants a 2nd edition with a target pub-date of late 2025.

The books are my main creation, but I’ve also published technical articles, written many software programs, obtained patents, and posted an online collection of travel photos. And I helped Stu Rohrer update the Yale74 website and design this 50th Reunion Classbook.
Jeff Johnson [CC]

Based on reporting I did for the Globe and Mail from 1998 to 1992.

I aimed to become a writer, and to write a book about Asia. So, although I have written several books, the most serious is called How Asia Got Rich, Japan, China and the Asian Miracle. It was based in part on reporting I did as East Asian economics correspondent for the Globe and Mail, based in Tokyo, from 1998 to 1992. I continued my reporting under grants from the East West Center, Keio University, the Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, the Economic Strategy Institute and Gaston Sigur Institute at George Washington University, both of the latter in DC. Whew! It took 10 years to finish the book after moving to Hong Kong, and it encompasses many twists and turns on the macro-economic level, but I tried to show what people on the ground thought about these changes, from high level policy advisers to the “man on the street.” The narrative stops just after China gained entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001. I would love to write a sequel.
Edie Terry [PC]

Even while working as a journalist and a professor, I have tried to make room for my first love – creative writing. Still looking for publishers for most of this, but at least I’ve been able to put the words on the page/screen for three novels, a collection of short stories, and a non-fiction book in progress. One book in print: I edited the recollections of 72 of Yale’s first female athletes, under the title They Brought Their Game to Yale: Women’s Athletics in the Early Years, 1971-1979.
Barbara Borst [SY]

My greatest creative achievement was receiving the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Psychosomatic Society in 2024. As noted in the photo, this is a lifetime achievement award for contributions to the field. For over a century clinicians observed that bottled up emotions, or emotions that were not appropriately recognized or expressed, influenced physical health outcomes. After completing medical school and residency training in psychiatry, my research over the past 40 years has sought to better understand the mechanisms of this phenomenon that in turn inform interventions. My research on emotion has involved how it is assessed psychometrically; how it is manifested in the body physiologically; how the brain processes emotional information; how the brain interacts with the body bidirectionally; how abnormalities in processing emotional information contribute to psychiatric and systemic medical disorders; and how interventions that alter emotional processing can influence mental and physical health outcomes. The American Psychosomatic Society has been a kind of academic home through the years, where like-minded investigators provide support, inspiration and collaboration. Receiving this award from my peers was therefore extremely gratifying.
Richard Lane [TD]

Bill Lunn's four dogs

I never thought I’d have four dogs at my house. It just happened. Sally was the first: a registered English Bulldog that would make any Yalie proud. When Sally was four, she had a litter of six puppies, all but one of which, Bubbles, were sold for a small fortune. About three years later, though, Copper showed up in my backyard. Someone put him there. Never been sure what he is. An American Staffordshire? A Catahula? Hard to say. Copper loves to run. Most every other night around midnight, I take him to a nearby high school with two football fields and let him run for an hour. Copper was not a year old when he upset the applecart by getting Bubbles pregnant. Bubbles had a litter of six as well, and Ginger became the fourth. They have been their own family within my family and it’s been fun.
Bill Lunn [JE]

I have had two careers in which I was creative in my way. The first was an antiquarian book dealer (1980–2005). In my trade I placed a few bricks in the vast wall of scholarship. Several hundred are on the shelves of the Beinecke Library. The second is as a scholar in history and philosophy, my first loves. After two more rounds of grad school (2009–2014) I have been teaching at Portland State University for a decade. A number of my students are, like children, a work I am proud of because my friendship benefitted them.

I have published about two dozen peer-reviewed papers, essays in general interest journals, and a number of books. My first book was A Personalist Philosophy of History (Routledge, 2019). My second monograph, a grander book called Power and Compassion: On Moral Force Ethics and Historical Change, will be published by Amsterdam University Press late this year or early next year.

I co-edited a collection of commissioned papers called Ethics and Tine: A Cross-Cultural Approach (Bloomsbury, 2023). Along the way I also wrote the text for a photo essay by our classmate Harry Zeitlin, Early 20th-Century Los Angeles Bungalow Architecture (Arcadia, 2022). We did the scouting and the photography when we were adrift in LA in the 70s, after Yale.
Bennett Gilbert [SY]

Not to go too philosophical on ya, but I am not so sure about having really, truly created anything. What have I, myself, caused to come into being – something unique that could not have evolved by some other process?? I certainly have made various things by assembling parts: ideas, software, foods, pieces of wood and tile, writings, and citings/findings on the Internet into MySpace and FaceBook pages. I have contributed and collaborated with many others on many things: celebrations, conferences, projects, reviews, patents, task forces, presentations, text-processing, data management, and database systems, speech recognition research, business opportunities, strategies (and, with my wife, Sue, some DNA for our two sons — and our stock portfolios).

See also:

  • 1988 IEEE Conference on Software Maintenance
  • “Program Understanding: Challenge for the 1990s,” IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1989.
  • “Understanding and Improving Software Development Productivity.” an internal IBM document, 1990.
  • “The dawning of the autonomic computing era”, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 42, No 1, 2003.

In 2011, I did put together a LLC (e-nuphf books) and self-published a short book titled: “Charlie Chan Meets Tom Swifty.” Not a NYT bestseller … I don’t consider myself as a creative; not an artist.
Thomas Corbi [TC] 

Several years ago, I rented a video camera and taped several interview sessions with an aging, colorful, and highly successful uncle. As the last surviving member of his family, he told stories about his grandparents, parents, and siblings, as well as about his childhood, education (Harvard B.A. and J.D.), WWII experience (infantry officer on Okinawa and then occupying Japan), legal career, community service, interactions with various politicians, and raising his children. Working with a videographer, we reduced the six-plus hours of tape to an engaging and informative two-hour oral history divided into 19 chapters, with music and still photos added. He died three years ago. I’m glad we made the video.
—Anonymous

Although I have a number of creative outlets such as gardening, cooking and trail building I have spent far more time crafting bespoke credit agreements for financial companies such as broker-dealers, business development companies and asset managers. A number of these agreements became, at least for a time, industry standards. If imitation is the sincerity form of flattery, there have been many copycats. A notable example was the $2.0 bn credit facility put in place for Salomon Brothers in the midst of the Treasury Auction Scandal of 1991-1992. Without going into the details, Salomon was in jeopardy of having its broker-dealer license revoked and wanted to have a credit facility that would permit them to make adjustments to their business in an orderly manner should it become necessary. Unsecured credit was out of the question and secured syndicated facilities with appropriate advance rates for every type of security that Salomon owned simply did not exist. Salomon owned a lot of esoteric stuff and its holdings were in constant flux. And, they wanted to be able to draw even if they were in default on other debt. It was unique, large and an incredibly difficult negotiation.
Dan Rouse [CC]

Rosalynn, Jimmy Carter, classmate Bruce Maronpot, the crew at installation of solar panels on the White House roof.

Not the best moment of my life over the past 50 years, significant nonetheless in that Jimmy Carter has emerged as one of the finest and most important individual human Americans of our lifetime. It was 1979 and it is a funny story I will tell at my booth at our IDEA FAIR at reunion. To my left is classmate Bruce Maronpot, by the way, he was a hit with our Secret Service detail, as you might imagine.
Tom Strumolo [BR]

This will surely sound nerdy and overly Yale-centric. But it is what it is: my most-meaningful creative achievement during those 50 years since we graduated is the 2020 launch of Cross Campus. Cross Campus — now with 26,000 members — is Yale’s online community-building platform for networking, advice, and mentorship. On Cross Campus, we’ve now built mentorship programs through which — every semester — we pair 2,000 Yalies (mostly students but also some alums) for 3-month, 1:1 deep-dive dialogues with alumni mentors). Many of those pairings fail to get traction. Hearing from those for whom their mentors have made a difference — that gives my work here at Yale real meaning.
Steve Blum [BR]

Zack Rogow’s new book, recently released by Spuyten Duyvil Publishing. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky said of this memoir, “This is a moving story of grief, genius, and laughter, beautifully told. And a good read!”

Zack Rogow recently published his latest book, Hugging My Father’s Ghost. In this memoir, Zack tries to solve the mystery of the dad he never knew. Lee Rogow was a widely published fiction writer, drama critic for the Hollywood Reporter, glamorous man-about-town in Manhattan of the 1950s, captain of a submarine-chaser in World War II—and he died tragically in a plane crash when his son Zack was only three years old. With sharp pathos and laugh-out-loud humor, Zack quilts together his father’s confidential writings, vintage photos from World War II and the 1950s, and imaginary conversations between himself and his dad, spinning a story that is both personal and deeply resonant. The book includes reflections on Zack’s years at Yale.
Zack Rogow [TD]

Meltdown wild yam cream

My mother took a drug when she was pregnant with me to prevent miscarriages. That created abnormalities in my reproductive system. A result: I had the worst PMS on the planet. In 1991 began selling a new product developed by an OB-Gyn that eased the symptoms. But my buyers kept returning the product because it had a scent. I went to a federally licensed cosmetic lab and worked with its chemist. We developed my own product, Meltdown wild yam cream, which truly helps right the biochemical imbalance that causes the hormonal imbalance that causes PMS. I then worked with an MD/PhD endocrinologist to determine which foods are causing the hormonal imbalance. He helped me create a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid during PMS time. I was the guinea pig. After six months, we got the formula that worked for me. I began selling the product in 1995. I still sell Meltdown wild yam cream. But now my market is women going through menopause. No more hot flashes! Because the causes are the same. The irony: I took Physics for Poets to complete my science requirement!
Beth Rosenthal [BK]