USMA Class of 1961

“Second to None”

9 October 2003


Class Committee

Bob Glass

Vice President
Glen Adams

Dick Buckner

Ed Brown

Marty Ganderson

1.      Bob Glass convened the meeting at 1930 hours.  Members present were Bob, Dick, Marty, and Ed.  Glen participated by speaker phone.

2.      Old Business:

a.       Minutes of the 4 June 2003 meeting:  The minutes were approved.

b.      45th Reunion:

(1)        Bob noted that the weekend tentatively scheduled for the reunion, 5-8 October 2006, has not been approved by USMA since the date for Homecoming that year is not yet known.  Homecoming weekend is reserved for the 5-year, 10-year, 15-year, and 20-year reunion classes and USMA will not support other class reunion on that weekend.  Firm dates for Homecoming reunions are not determined until January or February of the reunion year; however, that may change when Army’s withdrawal from Conference USA is effective after the 2004 football season.

(2)        Bob agreed to notify Mike Maus that he would contact the hotel and tentatively reserve another weekend, either 28 September-1 October or 12-15 October, as an alternative based on a recommendation from the reunion committee.

(3)        The committee agreed that the reunion committee could use class admin funds to cover deposits and early expenses for the reunion.  However, it decided that the goal for the reunion committee should be to finish the reunion in the black and cover seed money expenses.  Bob agreed to notify Mike of this decision.

c.       2003 AOG Leaders Conference:

(1)        Ed highlighted the agenda topics and referred the committee members to the link on the AOG web site to review more detailed proceedings of the conference.

(2)        The committee discussed the “Surviving Family Member Search Project” presentation by a widow from the class of 1967.  That class endeavors to locate the widows and children of deceased classmates and include them in class activities.  The committee agreed to continue the current policy of including all widows of deceased classmates in class activities and not endeavor to identify, locate, and include children.  However, the committee welcomes the next-of-kin of deceased classmates if they desire to participate in class activities.

(3)        The 2004 conference is scheduled for 12-14 August.  Ed encouraged all committee members to attend if their schedules permit.

d.      Blaik Statue:  Bob notified the committee members that the AOG chairman had not been able to reach an agreement with those who had initiated the Blaik statue project on a configuration that would allow the statue to be installed at West Point without the plaque naming those who had lettered under Coach Blaik.  As a result, the donors have decided to withdraw their gift in its entirety and arrangements are being made to have the sculpture installed at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana.

e.       Reconciliation Plaza:  Ed showed pictures of Reconciliation Plaza taken in August and September that show the ground cover growing up the monuments and the wall (he had sent them to Glen as an attachment to an e-mail message).   The committee expressed its continued dissatisfaction with the maintenance of the site.  Ed agreed to get with Webb Kremer and Joe Dahle and develop alternatives for the committee’s consideration.

f.        Recognition of Tony Ferraiuolo:  Ed reported that the honorary classmate presentation to Tony at the AOG Leaders Conference went extremely well.  In his thank you letter to Bob, Tony stated he was completely surprised and humbled and being made an honorary member of the Class of 1961 “…is the greatest honor I could ever be given related to my affiliation to West Point.”  Ed mentioned that many attendees at the conference told him what our class had done was outstanding.

3.      New Business:

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

(1)        Class Gift Fund:  The current balance is $42,239.06.

(2)        Class Administrative Fund:  The current balance is $48,357.17.

b.      2004-2005 Class Cruise:  Bob reported that the Cruise Subcommittee, with Al Armstrong as chairman, had queried the class to determine its preference for the next class cruise.  Alternatives are a July 2004 cruise to Alaska or a February 2005 cruise to the Mexican Riviera.  The subcommittee will announce the preference of the class, along with procedures for signing-up for the cruise, prior to the end of the year.

c.       17 July Class Luncheon:  Bob reported on his presentation to the DC area group at its quarterly class luncheon.  The consensus of opinion concerning the topics discussed was:

(1)        Post-Graduate Retention:  Even though retention of graduates beyond the five-year commitment is far lower than in previous years and is of great concern to many of our classmates, the issue is being addressed at DA, USMA, and West Point Societies.

(2)        AOG/West Point Fund Raising:  Many classmates disagree with the AOG and USMA raising funds to support any activity at West Point.

(3)        AOG Board of Trustees:  The AOG Board of Trustees needs more members who have served as career military officers.

(4)        Curriculum:  USMA does a good job of selling itself as a university but not as an institution preparing graduates for a military career.  Ed mentioned that a recruiting video distributed at the AOG Leaders Conference highlighting military training at the Academy may be the first indication that the focus is changing.

(5)        Athletics:  There should be no change in the five-year military obligation to facilitate recruitment of athletes and those cadets participating in athletics should not be isolated from the Corps of Cadets.

(6)        Professors:  The perception that there is a problem with the number of civilian professors is no longer valid.

d.      Long Gray Line Endowment:  Ed briefed the committee on the Long Gray Line Endowment presentation and the associated workshop at the AOG Leaders Conference.  Ed explained that the Long Gray Line Endowment supplies all operational funding for the AOG to perform its mission of providing services and support to West Point’s graduates as members of USMA classes, members of West Point Societies, and as individuals.  With the downturn in the stock market over the past few years and the Board of Trustees restriction to hold the annual spending rate on endowments to 5% or less, no new class support programs have been added.  In fact, the reduction in funding has resulted in some existing programs being reduced and some have been eliminated.  The recent rise in the stock market should alleviate some of the shortfall; however, the AOG is committed to increase the Long Gray Line Endowment and is initiating a fund-raising effort to do so.  Ed referred the committee members to John Calabro’s article in the September/October 2003 issue of Assembly.

e.       Other:

(1)        Funerals of Classmates:  Ed mentioned that at Howard Graves’ funeral at West Point that there was no class seating in the Cadet Chapel and no honorary pall bearers.  The committee agreed that every attempt should be made to provide honorary pall bearers at future funerals if the spouse or next-of-kin would like them.

(2)        Class Internet Forum:  Bob mentioned that, at the July luncheon, Sam Wilder expressed the need for a class Internet forum similar to those other classes conduct to discuss topics of interest.  Ed agreed to contact Roy Busdiecker to determine how to establish such a forum.

4.      The committee agreed to schedule the next meeting for 21 January.  The meeting adjourned at 2200.


Respectfully submitted,

Ed Brown