USMA Class of 1961

“Second to None”

30 June 2004


Class Committee

Bob Glass

Vice President
Glen Adams

Dick Buckner

Ed Brown


Marty Ganderson

1.      Bob Glass convened the meeting at 1940 hours.  Members present were Bob, Dick, Marty, and Ed.  Glen participated by speaker phone.

2.      Old Business:

a.       Minutes of the 17 February 2004 meeting:  The minutes were approved as amended.

b.      45th Reunion:  At Mick Maus’s request, Bob rescheduled the alternate 45th reunion weekend from 12-15 October 2006 to 28 September – 1 October 2006.  The weekend of 5-8 October remains as the preferred reunion weekend but the actual weekend depends on when Homecoming 2006 is scheduled.

c.       2004 Alaska Cruise:

(1)        Bob reported that 100 people are currently scheduled for the Alaska cruise 25 July – 1 August.  This includes 46 classmates with spouses, one former classmate who graduated in ’62, widows of two classmates, 2 daughters of a classmate, and 2 guests.

(2)        The committee determined it would not sponsor a cruise or mini-reunion in 2005 so as not have an undesirable impact on attendance at the 45th reunion.

d.      Reconciliation Plaza Maintenance:

(1)        Ed and Webb have still not been able to do anything concerning establishing a maintenance contract for Reconciliation Plaza.

(2)        Bob stated he would ask Al Vanderbush to go by the site and give us his opinion as to the state of maintenance.

e.       Class Discussion Forum:

(1)        Ed reported that Sam Wilder’s duties as incoming President of the West Point Society of Richmond and his involvement in many other activities would preclude him from being the moderator of the class discussion forum.

(2)        The committee decided it should query the class to see if there is sufficient interest in establishing a forum and if another classmate is willing to serve as moderator.

f.        4 May DC Area Meeting:

(1)        Ed represented the class at the fourth annual DC Area Meeting and highlighted the topics discussed.  43 class leaders representing 24 classes (from 1941 through 1976 – 6 from the ’60s, 1 from the ’70s, and none from later classes) attended.

(2)        Regular Army Commissions:  The first topic discussed was commissioning of graduates as regular officers.  For some time, all Army officers, regardless of their source of commission, have been commissioned into the reserves and not considered for regular status until promotion to major.  Unless there is a congressional derailment, the law will change shortly so that all officers entering active duty will be commissioned in the regular army.  The group questioned whether much will be gained by this, but did agree that a regular commission might help retention as young officers could think of themselves as embarking on a full career.

(3)        AOG Mission Statement:

(a)         LTG (Ret) Ed Rowny ’41 presented a paper that he had submitted for publication in Assembly but was rejected.  The paper argues that the AOG’s mission statement in its Strategic Plan should “conform to that in the AOG Bylaws.”  The consequent focus on “furthering the ideals” of West Point would shift the AOG’s efforts to doing things that would contribute to increasing the retention rates of graduates on active duty.

(b)        LTG Rowny’s remarks led to an extended exchange on the questions of retention and what the AOG should be doing.  During the discussion, a number of people asserted that the real factors bearing on retention had to do, not with West Point, but with the current conditions in the Army, professional spouses who wanted to pursue careers, and other personal considerations.  John Calabro ’68, Vice President for Alumni Support, defended the AOG’s current programs, and others remarked that we should applaud all of the good things the AOG was doing for graduates and the Academy.

(c)         In the end, the main points of agreement reached at the meeting are as follows:

(1)        The attendees agreed to endorse the spirit of LTG Rowny’s letter and urge the AOG to seriously consider its Bottom Line: “Change the AOG Mission in the Strategic Plan to conform to that in the AOG Bylaws and craft a Strategic Plan that carries out that full Mission.”  Many of those present who had seen the Strategic Plan believe it could use a serious revision in any case.

(2)        The group recognizes that retention of graduates in the Army is more of an Army problem than a West Point problem, but the continued existence of West Point may depend on solving the graduate retention problem and it is important that the AOG do whatever it can to assist in the solution.

(4)        Army Football:

(a)          Ed mentioned he brought up the statement by Tom Dyer, the AOG chairman, in the minutes of the 29 February 2004 Board of Trustee meeting that the AOG is committed to provide the Athletic Department with $2M per year in 2004 and 2005 to cover cash-flow shortfalls associated with bringing on the new football coach and staff.  The fact that the AOG had committed funds to be used to support graduate activities to underwrite the hiring of the new football coaching staff surprised most attendees.

(b)          John Calabro, AOG Vice President for Alumni Support, explained that the AOG had committed to provide $4M over two years to the Athletic Department to take care of cash-flow problems associated with the transition to the new football coaching staff.  He also said the AOG would attempt to raise the money from donors to offset the cost.  Until the time when such donations come in, the AOG’s line of credit was being used to provide money to the Office of the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.  The Long Gray Line Endowment would be drawn on only if insufficient funds are raised and John hopes that this will not be the case.  Attendees at the meeting suggested that this be made crystal clear to all graduates, or donations to the endowment are likely to be severely impacted.

3.      New Business:

a.       Treasurer’s Report:  Dick provided the following status of funds:

(1)        Class Administrative Fund:  The current balance is $48,148.21.

(2)        Class Gift Fund:  The current balance is $65,186.02.

b.      AOG Leaders’ Conference:  Since other committee members are unable to attend, Ed will represent the class at the conference 12-14 August.

c.       Class Committee Vision:  Bob asked committee members to review and recommend revisions to the vision before the next meeting.

d.      Other:

(1)        Donation Acknowledgments:  Ed stated he had received an acknowledgment of the donation in memory of Bob Bunton from the ALS Association.  He also stated that MD Anderson sent the class a Certificate of Appreciation for its donation in memory of Howard Graves. As yet, no acknowledgment for the donation in memory of Walt Hodge to the Central Arizona Region of the American Cancer Society has been received.

(2)        Letter to the Class:  The committee endorsed Bob’s desire to send another letter to the class to update them on class committee business and established a target date of December for dispatch.

(3)        Class Ring:

(a)         Tony Ferraiuolo notified Ed that he has a 1961 class ring that was found in St. Louis in 1970.  It has a blue sapphire stone, no inscription, and is in “mint condition.”  Tony thinks it is authentic.  He doesn’t know what has happened between the time it was found and now, but seeks the committee’s guidance on what to do with it.  Ed mentioned that the only classmates who have or have had addresses in Missouri since he has been secretary are Marsh Harrington and Bruce Lammers who are deceased and Bob Worthy who did not graduate.

(b)        Ed agreed to send a message to Balfour to see if they can provide any information concerning ring orders of our classmates.

(4)        Army Football:

(a)         The committee also discussed the Class of 1958 initiative to raise funds for this purpose.  In a message to USMA class leaders, the Executive Committee of the Class of 1958 noted that, during its 22 May meeting, the AOG Board of Trustees realized that a great deal of money currently sits in class gift fund accounts at the AOG.  The Class of ’58 responded by making a gift to the football transition fund and challenged other classes to do likewise.  Furthermore, the Class of 1958 noted that some of their classmates have pledged personal contributions to the football transition fund based on the “pay for performance” concept and challenged other classes to encourage their classmate to do the same.

(b)        Ed noted that the minutes of the 22 May Board of Trustees meeting stated that the AOG is still $1.3M shy in funding necessary for 2004 for the Coaching Transition project.

(c)         The committee decided that it does not support using the Long Gray Line Endowment to underwrite the hiring the football coaching staff, would not donate any class funds to support that purpose, and would not solicit personal contributions to the football transition fund but would encourage any classmate who personally feels compelled to make any such contribution on his own behalf to do so.

4.      The committee agreed to tentatively schedule the next meeting during the last week of September depending on members’ schedules.  The meeting adjourned at 2140.

Respectfully submitted,

Ed Brown