YAM Notes: September/October 2019

By Marty Snapp

By now you’ve probably received the email from President Salovey announcing that the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, a gift of John Jackson and his wife Susan, is being transformed into the Jackson School for Global Affairs.

“The biggest difference is that the school will have its own tenured faculty,” says John. “The institute has been borrowing faculty from other departments, and the emphasis has been on teaching. Now they’ll be able to do research, too, like the Kennedy School at Harvard and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.”

The transformation will be complete in 2022. “One of the reasons for not opening it any earlier is that they’re going to be hiring faculty, and that takes a long time. They’ve already hired a top professor from Harvard, Arne Westad, an expert on the Cold War and contemporary Asian history who is considered by many the top professor in the field, so it’s really cool.”

Speaking of endowments, Yale has a new undergraduate scholarship: the Joseph W. Briley ’67 Memorial Scholarship, a gift from a friend and classmate in honor of our late class secretary. The first Briley Scholar is Elizabeth Zeitz, Silliman ’22, a former National Merit Scholar and a concert pianist who has already played Carnegie Hall. At Yale she’s narrowed her interests down to computer science, data science, statistics, psychology, art, science, and music. “Thank you for changing the direction of my life by giving me the gift of a Yale education,” she writes. “Because of your great generosity and kindness, I can learn and grow at my dream school, with the hopes of finding the truest and fullest version of myself to help change the world.”

Joe’s life partner, Carol McPheeters, has been notified, and she responded, “Wonderful! It sounds like she will use her scholarship very wisely and well. We all know it is highly likely that she will do great things with her education. I can’t thank you enough. Joe would be delighted.”

Unfortunately, I have more fatalities to report. Jay Barton passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on January 21 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he lived and passionately pursued his career as a geologist since 1975. He is survived by his wife Erika, son Jackson, and daughters Samantha and Jesse. “On March 18 Jesse gave birth to our first grandchild, a boy, who [Jay] knew was coming but never got to see,” says Erika. “The family gathered in Kenton-on-Sea to celebrate the life of Jay and the birth of his grandson. On March 31 we scattered his ashes in the Indian Ocean and raised a glass of champagne in his honor.”

“I knew Jay all four years at Yale, when we played football for TD College and I helped him run the Buttery,” says Rick Luis. “He made great burgers. After graduation, Jay, Bob Ward, John Whitehead, and I enjoyed whipping around Europe using our Eurail passes. Jay was a sports fan, from Omaha, and an avid follower of Cornhuskers football. I vividly remember watching a national broadcast of a Minnesota-Nebraska football game with him in the TD Common Room. He was gleeful when Nebraska upset the Gophers. (Yes, that was an upset in those days.) I remember Jay as laid back and easy-going. He was a terrific person. Nita and I are deeply sorry that Jay is gone.”

Finally, have you heard the old Hollywood adage “Always have the hero and heroine meet cute?” That means you should have them bump into each other and spill the groceries they’re carrying or take an instant dislike to each other due to a misunderstanding, only to wind up falling into each other’s arms at the end of the movie.

That’s what happened in real life to Steve Goodman. A bridge expert who attained the title of ruby grand master, he was competing in a tournament when he spotted another player named Carol Frana doing something that he thought was a violation of the rules, and he duly reported her to the tournament director. They were married four years later.

Though severe spinal problems, resulting in multiple surgeries and years of struggles with his legs, forced him to give up some of the things he loved, like golf, swimming, and roller coasters, he still was able to enjoy music, dinner theater, and fine dining, all of which he shared with his children.

Steve died peacefully in his sleep on May 8, after a multi-year battle with cancer. He, Carol, and their kids, Terri and Scott, spent his last days singing his favorite folk songs together almost until the very end.

“I met Steve during the first few days of freshman year,” recalls George Lazarus. “We were both in Bingham tower. Steve was ‘the old man,’ with experience to share with us newcomers. He had begun freshman year in 1962 but had to leave a month or so later due to appendicitis. Steve told us what to expect starting at Yale and taught us the alma mater, although I don’t think he was a great singer.

“Steve was proud to be from Kansas City, and he remained passionate about and loyal to his hometown all his life. He was also loyal to Yale and his classmates, attending most if not all reunions despite worsening problems with mobility. Even in a motorized wheelchair, Steve was there for our 50th. And he was unflappable; he was always cheerful and upbeat. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing Steve angry or hearing him raise his voice. He was the epitome of calm and reason. I was proud to be Steve’s friend, and we were lucky that he joined our class unexpectedly due to the appendicitis! I will miss Steve.”