NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2005
New Orleans has played a key part in Fred Starr's (Washington D.C.) life including writing four books about the city; serving as Vice President of Tulane; twenty-five years as a member of the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, and long time active participation in preservation efforts. The historic home that he purchased many years ago to restore was flooded during Katrina. In the days following the disaster, Fred was extremely active in the media calling for the rebuilding of the city and describing in detail how he thought it could be done. Among his more controversial ideas was scaling back the tourist industry, which he said "is parasitic, living off the city's architectural and cultural resources without replenishing them." Fred's pride and passion for New Orleans as expressed in the New York Times, Washington Post, Marketwatch and on radio and television was inspiring and newsworthy in the sad days following the giant hurricane. He wrote, "Good leadership is the key to New Orleans' future." Fred, working in concert with two other Yale graduates, King Mallory ('58) and Paul Stevens ('74) also organized the "Fund for New Orleans" and drafted its mission statement. The intent is "to rehabilitate, renovate, restore, and preserve the wooden vernacular architecture of that city."
Another classmate with an abiding interest in Southern music is Louis Audette (New Haven). Known as Gary when he was the bass player of the Gray Sky Boys bluegrass band at Yale, he recently picked it up again after a 35-year break and is playing with a Connecticut band. When the Gray Sky Boys made a record on vinyl during our last year at Yale, the producer was none other than Fred Starr. Louis proudly says, "I've been gradually transformed into 'the spouse' (like Mr. Thatcher) contentedly bathing in the glory of my wife's accomplishments. Wife Anna is a fellow of Morse College and the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences." The Gary nickname, according to his Mother, came "while I was in utero and she sat at a movie in a row behind Gary Cooper. As the audience stood to leave, he clipped her in the eye with the buckle of his coat belt. She was so smitten by his remorse and the intensity of the encounter that she vowed to call her firstborn after him, whatever his real name."
Art Mann (Lancaster, PA) was one of the classmates registered for the October Hong Kong Mini reunion and also was to appear as a panelist in an evening discussion about how the United States is viewed from China. Art, who has founded a variety of different companies, has been doing business in China for more than 15 years. A recent start-up company for him is American Genius Corp., which makes "a dessicant based air-conditioning system that uses less than half the energy of standard systems and provides dry, fresh air. We can air condition using hot water over 190 deg F, or natural gas or standard compressor units. We are now installing demonstration sites in Pennsylvania, Phoenix and Florida." Art and wife, Bess, have three sons, all of whom graduated from Yale. Two have joined the family businesses.
Larry Prince (New York City) and wife Judy moved back to New York City after 22 years in the suburbs and "are having a wonderful time. There is so much to do in New York, especially when you don't have to worry about the care and maintenance of a suburban split-level with a large yard. In our apartment, there's this wonderful invention called a 'super.' I signed up for a Pre-Calculus at NYU. Big Surprise. Weekly homework took me 10-15 hours and it was hard. But it was invigorating ... the best thing I've done for my mind in the last 40 years."
Joining the ranks of the partially retired is Court Daspit (Philadelphia) who explains that he is "doing consulting, both paid and pro bono, that is directly related to the issues I was involved with while working at Philadelphia's Office of Housing. I like being able to attend more concerts, plays, museum events, etc., than I would have stamina for if working full time; to be outside when the sun shines and to swim at off-peak hours when I can usually get a lane all to myself." Court, who explained in his piece for the 40th Reunion Book how he 'flamed out' at Yale, feels " a lot of gratitude for what Yale gave me even though I pretty well botched the opportunity at the time. My experiences in classes have influenced the way I read and think about existential questions, look at paintings and sculpture and experience buildings and cities to this day. I do wish I'd been able to deal with the psychological stress of the time by pushing myself to experience and excel at everything Yale offered."
Secretary Kirk MacDonald (New York City) said he "had to twist Jim White's (Washington D.C.) arm to get him to sign on as our new AYA representative for the next three years. Actually, Jim was absolutely thrilled." He wrote, "I have been 'involved' with Yale one way or another virtually since birth. I was born and raised in New Haven, went to my first game at the Bowl in 1948, and went to high school (Hillhouse) on the very spot where Morse and Stiles Colleges are now sited. Since graduation, I have been active as a fund-raiser for our class, as an interviewer of applicants, and with the Yale Club of Washington, D.C. Now comes a new assignment: class representative to the AYA. '62 has a strong representation at Yale; I expect to continue that 'tradition' while focusing on Yale-in-New Haven matters, thus marrying to lifelong interests." Jim will be attending his first AYA meeting just about as you are reading this and will be writing a report on the experience as part of the December web site posting.