YAM Notes: May/June 2020

By Scott G. Sullivan

Aficionados of the sport of rowing have long considered our classmate Rusty Wailes to have been one of the greatest, if not the greatest, oarsman of all times. Until recently, however, the full extent of his amazing accomplishments was not known by all. On February 7, at a New York gathering of the Yale Crew Association, Bill Becklean, who coxed the Olympic champion 1956 crew, pointed out that Rusty won not one or two but three Olympic gold medals—an unprecedented record in the sport and one never likely to be repeated. Rusty took gold in the Yale eight that won in Australia in 1956. He picked up his second medal in Rome in 1960 rowing in a four-man coxless crew, and his last Olympic medal came posthumously, in 2004, when the championship American shell was named the Rusty Wailes. Rusty died in 2002, while rowing in a straight four on Lake Washington in the eponymous state. At the New York event in February, in the presence of Rusty’s daughters, Lynda Wailes DiVito and Maria Wailes Reay, Becklean presented the 1956 medal to the association.

On March 11, Joel Schiavone and David Mackenzie organized a book-launch lunch at Mory’s for Stanley Flink ’45W, formerly head of Yale’s media studies program and a friend of many in our class. At age 95, Flink has written Due Diligence and the News: Searching for a Moral Compass in the Digital Age, whose title is self-explanatory; it’s available at Amazon and bookstores. Your correspondent flew up from New Orleans to attend; David Greenway came down from Boston and Bob Semple, a 1959 graduate but a prep school classmate of our huge Andover contingent, came up from New York. Much fun was had by all, though it was near the outbreak of the coronavirus nightmare; we watched as Yale students were packing up and the university was shutting down. I spent some delightful time with Joel and his charming companion Emly McDiarmid, and also visited class secretary Tim Hogen at his home in historic Stonington, Connecticut. Tim was still feeling the effects of two horrendous operations last year, but was in good spirits and a perfect host.

Jonathan Barnett, a friend and fellow Scholar of the House of mine and an outstanding architect, has just published a new book, Designing the Megaregion: Meeting Urban Challenges at a New Scale. The book, available at Amazon and stores, offers plans for dealing with the dozen megaregions (neighboring big cities growing into one) which already exist in the US and will continue to form. Jonathan took his architecture degree at Yale and has taught at the University of Pennsylvania for decades. He is a renowned architect, urban planner, and teacher, with countless awards for his work.

Chick Dickey writes to announce that he has finally retired and moved to the country after 30 years of practicing law in New York. He and his wife, Janine, remain active, however, on the board of Horizon International, a Yale-based NPO, which recently published the second volume of Water and Sanitation-Related Diseases and the Changing Environment: Challenges, Interventions and Preventive Measures, with essays by 75 experts and edited by Janine Selendy.

We have lost two more fine classmates.

Our single Iranian member, Dr. Khosrow Nasr, died January 21 in Sacramento. After Yale, he took his medical degree at Columbia and did a residency in gastroenterology at Chicago; in 1968, he returned to his native Persia and joined the staff of the Pahlavi University in Shiraz, where he became chair of the department of medicine and then dean of the medical school. After the Islamic takeover in 1979, he moved to private practice in Teheran. In 1986, he returned to the States and joined a group of gastroenterologists. He is survived by two daughters and by a brother and nephew who were both in Silliman College.

Brigadier General Tom Cushing died February 5 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Tom served 33 years in the US military—two years of active duty (including a year and a half in Korea with the First Cavalry division) and 31 years in the reserves. In 1960, he moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he managed a pharmacy for 20 years, while always continuing his reserve activities. In 1980, he moved to Washington and worked in the Pentagon, where he served in the defense guidance office and later in the Defense Security Agency as program director of international military education and training. He also served in the 97th Army Reserve Command at Fort Meade, Maryland, and graduated from the US Army War College. In 1991, he moved to Shepherdstown and worked for the Veterans Health Administration till his retirement in 2002.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Till next issue.