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Eliza's sons

Posted on April 5, 2009

Even though we're small in rank
We've only just begun
We join you Eliza's Daughters
We're Eliza's Sons.

Those are the closing lines of the song, "Men of '92," which was penned by former Dean of Students Sue Alexander at the start of Wheaton's transition to coeducation.

The song was first performed by the men of the Class of '92 at their matriculation ceremony in the fall of 1988. I am pleased to say that I performed it last night at special reunion concert held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Gentlemen Callers. Current members of the GC's, Dean Jack, Dean Emeritus Sue and I were joined by more than 70 percent of the alumni members of the group. You can watch/listen to the performance on YouTube.

Their performance was a magnificent success, judging by the enthusiastic response of the audience gathered in Cole Memorial Chapel. And the group is already planning for their twenty-fifth anniversary in 2014!

The reunion concert brought a long week to a great end. I began the week in California, traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles early on Tuesday morning.  The highlight of my return to Los Angeles was a visit to Occidental College for lunch with Susan Mallory ’76 and President Robert Skotheim.  Susan is a member of the President’s Commission at Wheaton and also a member of the Board of Trustees at Occidental (she transferred to Occidental following two years at Wheaton).  She had wanted me to meet President Skortheim, former President of Whitman College and for twenty years President of the Huntington Library, so we decided last fall that my next visit with her would be at Occidental.

Located in Eagle Rock eight miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, Occidental has been in the news of late, because of its relationship to President Obama.  Barack Obama attended Occidental for two years before transferring to Columbia University.  He arrived at Occidental during a period in which the College had made a commitment to become much more diverse.  Today it is one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country.

I returned to Boston Logan Airport on Thursday, April 2, at 5 p.m..  Fortunately, the flight was not delayed (indeed, we landed about fifteen minutes early), because we were hosting a dinner for Wheaton’s new provost, Linda Eisenmann, and her husband, Stephen Ostrach, at 6:30 p.m.  I made it back to the house by 6:15 p .m.in time to greet our guests for dinner.

Friday morning I was back on my usual schedule having been away for a total of nine days (the longest period of time during this academic year).  I practiced the cello at 4:30 a.m. and met my trainer at the fitness center at 6 a.m.  Then followed a day filled with meetings and ending with a reception for our new provost.  Friday evening I rehearsed the “Men of ‘92” with the Gentlemen Callers and alums.

Saturday was a day of signing letters to donors and other documents left for me during my absence.  I left the house only twice:  to pick up my dry cleaning and the mail and to attend the Gentlemen Callers’ concert at 8 p.m.

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