MIT CLASS OF 1955
 January/February 2011

EXPANDED CLASS NOTES


Hi Classmates, and a Happy New Year.

Below you'll first find a statement from the MIT Alumni Association on why Class Notes are important to us all.  Then you'll find a description of the Class Notes process, then some class demographics.  Next are some ideas for expanding the type of Class Note you submit, taking into account where we all are on life's journey.  I hope you'll all seriously consider these.  Read on to learn why participating in Class Notes could have an additional personal benefit.  The column concludes with this issue's Class Notes from, or about, some of our classmates. 

According to the Volunteering section of the MIT Alumni Association website "Class Notes columns, published six times a year in Technology Review, keep classes united and informed about one another. The columns, written by class secretaries, list information and milestones such as career changes, births, awards, degrees, and weddings. Class Notes are available in print and online." 

Each class secretary submits his or her Class Notes column to Technology Review bimonthly, two months before publication date.  For example I submitted this column for the January/February 2011 issue of TR on September 29, 2010.  Each class's printed column in TR is limited to 1200 words.  There is also this web version of the Class Notes, which is not as limited in word count, and can contain photos.  I send a copy of the web version to our class President, and Webmaster, Gil Davidson (Course VIII), about the same time that I send the print version to TR.  It is available online much earlier than the print version is available. 

After you finish reading this Class Notes column, you can check out the November/December 2010 column to see 55th reunion photos.  And look at the Sept. 18, 1951 issue of The Tech.  It's in the Down Memory Lane section of this website. You'll see that 750 of us had entered MIT as the Class of 1955. You'll also see photos of crew-cut and clean shaven MIT officials, and ads for 60 cent dinners, $2.98 chinos and $3.95 containers for mailing laundry home.  Thanks to Gil Davidson for finding and uploading this information. 

There are 502 living classmates now listed in the Alumni Association's records, plus 44 listed as lost (no known snail or e-mail address). The Lost list is also on this class website.  Please let me know if you have information about any of these classmates. 

In addition to the type of class notes mentioned above, how about also sending information on new activities at this stage of your life, and how your MIT experience may have helped in those activities.  Or maybe you've developed a new and rewarding "passion" not directly related to your education and career.  Like ballroom or ice dancing.  Or drumming.  Or auto racing.  Or civic engagement.  Or something else. Let your classmates know.  With the online notes option, if you send more information, we can run it. 

By sharing this additional information, you'll be helping to enhance a sense of community among classmates.  Recent articles suggest that people who engage in community activities experience increased social support, and can age better and live longer.  Likely you already belong to other communities, perhaps religious, perhaps social, perhaps sports, perhaps professional, perhaps volunteer.  Think of our class as another community.  

Some classmates have commented on the number of obituaries in the Class Notes column.  When the preponderance of text in a column is obituaries, it may well be because there was little other correspondence from classmates.  We can anticipate even more obituaries in the future.  So keep those Class Notes items coming for more balanced columns. 

Certainly we want to continue to honor classmates who have passed away. Obituaries usually come from MIT Alumni Association staff who scan various publications. To be more sure we are informed on a timely basis, you could instruct someone close to you to contact me if the day comes. 

Here are current Class Note submissions of the type mentioned above:  

DuWayne Peterson (Course XV) writes that after 30 years in San Marino, CA, in Apr. 2010 he and Nancy decided to follow their daughter and her family to Fort Collins, CO.  He continues "Since we were downsizing you can imagine the difficult task of getting rid of many of our things.  You would think an MIT graduate would know you couldn't get 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag, but then again I was Course XV so that might explain it".  Their daughter, her husband and their two grandsons had previously moved there in Jan. 2010 after living 8 years in the next block.  They are all very close as a family, and it was clear to all of them that the highest priority was being all together again.  So, says DuWayne, "after all these years we are back to four seasons again, but will sneak off for a few winter months to our second home in Palm Desert, CA. Meanwhile we are thoroughly enjoying life in Fort Collins".

An August 17, 2010 article in the Times Free Press of Chattanooga,TN, titled "Chattanoogan finally meets woman who saved his life" is about classmate Fred Lupton (Course VI).  Twenty-two years ago Mr. Lupton, who had completed business in a nearby Virginia city and then visited a friend, had returned his rental car and arrived at the Washington National Airport terminal on a shuttle bus. 

"The last thing I remember," he said, "was looking down the terminal. There was almost nobody in it. I could walk in" and get the early flight he wanted back to Chattanooga.  Then he suffered cardiac arrest and passed out, falling to the ground in front of Eve Wachhaus, then Eve Gurian.  A 17 year old high school senior at the time, Ms. Wachhaus had been visiting Washington with her parents and was on her way home to Boston. Just the week before she had completed a CPR class as a graduation requirement.  She immediately began CPR while her parents called for emergency services.

Mr. Lupton recovered, eventually requiring a heart transplant, and continues to do well.  Six months later he sold his engineering business, and since then "benevolence has been Lupton's work".  His involvements include religious, community and child focused programs in Tennessee. "I've found that helping other people with the time and energy I have after the transplant has been a real joy to me," Lupton said. "The Lord has blessed me with opportunities, but it's been a lot of fun."

The article also notes that Ms. Wachhaus, now Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in Harrisburg, PA, had previously requested near anonymity.  She agreed to come to Chattanooga for a 20th anniversary celebration of Mr. Lupton's heart transplant, noting that she would be uncomfortable if the focus of Lupton's celebration was on the moment in which she happened to be at the right place at the right time.  "It's much more important to share with his closest friends and family the joy that has occurred because of what he has done," she said. "I'm humbled by that. It seems to me what this man has done with his life" is an occasion to "praise and thank God for the beauty of life."

Now how's that for a Class Note.  See  Chattanooga Times Free Press for the complete article.

David Fuchs (Course IX-B)  passed away from cancer on March 2, 2010, in California.  Born on February 26, 1935 and a native of Jamaica, NY, Dave was my fraternity brother, and my senior year roommate.  He was bright, energetic, and a formidable pianist and card player.  We hadn't been in touch for many years, nor had he kept the MIT Alumni Association aware of his whereabouts.  I was able to track down Dave's daughter, Jackie Fuchs.  She told me that Dave had studied music after graduating from MIT, worked for TRW and IBM, and then became a recruiter of computer personnel.  Dave had become interested in Eastern religions, and had moved a number of times to different communities pursuing a more spiritual life, finally settling in Palm Desert, California.  She added that Dave had been married four times, and that his ashes had been scattered in Hollywood Hills, Ojai, London and Paris. Dave may have lived a somewhat different life from many classmates, but it sure sounds interesting.  Our condolences to Dave's daughters Jackie and Carol, and his wife Ann Holland.  See a moving tribute to Dave from Jackie at Runaways Online.

Krisda Arunvongse (Course IV) passed away of coronary artery disease in Bangkok, Thailand on September 12, 2010.  He was born in Bangkok in 1932, descended from His Royal Highness Prince Arunvongse, a son of King Rama II.  Designer of more than 300 buildings, and a winner of numerous awards for architectural design, he was a past president of the Architectural Association of Thailand and was honored in 2007 as a national artist in the field of contemporary architecture.  Professor Emeritus of Chulalongkorn University where he had lectured for three decades, he was also an accomplished pilot and violinist, a member of Thailand's team in the shooting competition at the 1960 and 1964 summer Olympics, a Rotary Titan, and a Freemason who in 2006 was a founder member of Lodge Ratanakosin, the first ever Thai-speaking Freemasons Lodge.  

Additionally he served four years as governor of Bangkok, where he was instrumental in making the elevated train lines of the Bangkok Transit System a reality, and was occupied with a Master Plan to revitalize the city.  A major part of the plan involved improving the city's wastewater treatment facilities, and cleaning up the canals. Without this, he felt, there could be extreme consequences to the Chao Phraya river. The Din Daeng wastewater treatment plant, Bangkok's largest, was started under his administration, opening in June 2005.  Our condolences to Prof. Arunvongse's family. 

Send me an e-mail to let me know what you thought about this Class Notes column. Try to include a class note too. Thanks.

Richard Bergman, secretary, 134 Leabrook Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540; e-mail: ribergman@alum.mit.edu .

Updated 06 October 2010