61 A cold January weekend marked the first CALC annual meeting in Boston .  The Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference, now in its fourth year, is an outgrowth of the previous CACO Mid-Winter Meeting, and combines various alumni organizations into a single 800-person event.  Despite being involved in our class activities for several years, I had never attended this annual meeting.  The pull of Boston, though, was strong.  Not only is my wife a native, but I began my IBM career in Boston and met my wife there as well.  That and the presence of the New England Genealogical Society sealed the deal.

The event was outstanding.  Our class enrolled 17 members and spouses for three days of renewing friendships and attending to class affairs.  The conference generated enthusiasm across the group and demonstrated professionalism in all aspects.  At check-in, the entire Marriott staff was attired in Cornell rugby shirts setting the tone throughout the hotel.  Undergrads attended and helped with registration and support and added a needed injection of youth and vigor.

Our first day featured a guided visit to the Museum of Fine Arts organized by Marshall and Rosanna Romanelli Frank .  In the evening, we dined as group at nearby Lucca ’s, joined by Robert and Judith Melzer and Lewis , MD ’65, and Anne Klein Rothman.  Stuart Carter, BArch ’62, my longtime friend and fraternity brother, attended the entire meeting commuting from his home in Arlington , MA . Saturday morning marked the annual ’61 class meeting, chaired by Peter Greenberg and Sue Rand Garrett.  Pauline Sutta Degenfelder presented the current plan for our 55th reunion.  Jay Treadwell has accepted the invitation to join Pauline and Doug Uhler as a reunion co-chair.  Jay’s presence is most welcome following his outstanding work on catering for our 50th celebration. Larry Wheeler, our webmaster, and his wife, Margaret, attended from Houston (and won the long distance award).  Larry posted Pauline’s report and the Treasurer’s Report on our class website.  Vice president David Kessler also was present and represented continuity, having attended more annual officers’ meetings than any other classmate.  Finally, a thank you to Jon Greenleaf for designing our class logo, capturing the theme “Looking Back…Going Forward” also posted on our website.

Concurrent sessions were run throughout the weekend covering a variety of topics involving alumni affairs and broader based university issues.  I attended Greek System Update: Responding to the President’s Challenge.  I found I was in complete support of the changes needed to bring the fraternities and sororities into the 21st century.   The thrust to revise is far better than other institutions' actions to remove Greek organizations.  Tragedies are unacceptable.  Saturday breakfast featured the presentation of the Vanneman Outstanding Class Leader Award, this year going to Bob Persons ’48 who has labored long and well as their class correspondent.  Coincidently I met by chance another Vanneman award winner, Jim Hanchett ’53.  I knew Jim from undergraduate years when he was my chapter advisor. 

President David Skorton gave a rousing mid-day address about the present and future of the university.  His commitment to Cornell – to be recogniz ed as a top-ten research university in the world – reflected an overall pursuit of excellence across a wide range of endeavors.  Coupled with a wry sense of humor, President Skorton convinced the sell-out crowd that Cornell is, indeed , a great institution moving forward in a demanding world.  The evening’s “Go Big Red! Tailgate Dinner” was greeted with hearty appetites and an urge to follow the men’s hockey team on a live telecast in the Grand Ballroom.  Food and drink stations catered to all tastes from Tex-Mex to the Cornell Dairy Bar.   All-in-all, a good night for entertainment and fellowship.

Sunday’s concluding event following breakfast, From Citizen Kane to The Simpsons: Cornell University in Popular Culture elicited smiles and laughs from an enthusiastic audience.  Did you know that Ed Marinaro ’72 finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to Pat Sullivan from Auburn U. ?  Also revealed was the final report on how the Pumpkin was placed on McGraw Tower …but the story is much too long and complicated for this column.

As we check ed out and prepared to head for the airport we reflected on the myriad small things that, done well, highlight an event.  From the complimentary Cornell portfolios to the gift of the book “Cornell University”,  to the lobster rolls for lunch - even to the lapel buttons for a wide range of Greek and affinity groups - the attention to detail and excellence put the CALC meeting in a special category.  Next year the event is again in Boston and there is a reasonable chance we will return.

In closing, I met with Adele Robinette, class notes editor and associate publisher of CAM , to discuss this column and our way forward.  Adele is a great help to this correspondent and is always ready to lend her skill and expertise in submitting the column.  The electronic world and social media are changing some of our traditional means of communication…such as the Class Notes form we have relied on for many years.  We have a group identity, Cornell Class of ’61, on Facebook.  We would encourage any suggestions to improve our ability to contact all of our classmates, so let us know your thoughts for enhancing the process.  We enjoy reading and publishing your exploits and you can always e-mail us at Doug Fuss , dougout@attglobal.net; or Susan Williams Stevens , sastevens61@gmail.com