Scott Reynolds Remembrances: 2011

Trinity College: Commencement 2011

Honorand Dinner Speech – by Scott Reynolds, ’63, retired Secretary of the College

 Thank you for those kind words. Thanks to Jimmy and the Board for this wonderful honor. I am pleased that so many of my friends, extended family, classmates, Class of ’63 scholars and colleagues are here tonight. This is a special day for the graduating Class of ’63 scholars, Weiwei Xie. Tomorrow she graduates, today she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. And she has job!!

A couple of weeks ago my daughter Jane was shopping for an outfit for this evening. Telling the saleslady of her need for something to wear for a special occasion, Jane was asked the nature of the  event.  On hearing that it was an honorary degree for her father, the saleslady asked, “an honorary degree, how long did it take to get it.”

There is an answer, 52 years, from my first Trinity honor to tomorrow’s.

It was 52 years ago during the summer before matriculation when an elegant envelope from the Office of the President of the New York Stock Exchange, 11 Wall Street, arrived. In it was a letter of congratulations from Keith Funston ’32, former president of Trinity and president of the New York Stock Exchange, informing me that I had been selected to receive a George F. Baker Scholarship at Trinity. This scholarship and my time at Trinity were to encourage me on a path toward a rich and fulfilling career in American enterprise. I was very excited about Funston’s vision for me as my first steps on that path had not been particularly satisfying, two summers as a weed puller in the fields of the Arnold V. Klingler Nursery in Parsippany, NJ. However, no matter how hard I shook that envelope, no financial aid check tumbled out. On a more careful reading of the letter I discovered that mine was an honorary scholarship. So my first lesson about honors was that cash is not always part of the package.

There was at that time an honorary society for sophomores, Cerberus. This group served as the College’s official hosts. On receiving my letter of invitation, two questions came to mind.  Why would Trinity name the student group who acted as its official hosts after the three headed dogs who patrolled the gates of hell. Secondly what sort of official hosting would the College entrust to 19 year old sophomores. If you guessed 17 year old prospective applicants and their parents, you would be correct. Fortunately we were spared the indignity of performing our duties walking backward.

For Trinity juniors, a big honor was to be selected as a Junior Adviser. This meant maintaining decorum and civility in a freshman dormitory. The odds weren’t in our favor. It was Steve Molinsky and I against the rest of Jones Hall, a dormitory that has served many generations of Trinity freshmen and through some miracle still stands. Our freshman wards were young men teeming with the testosterone and the hormonal imbalances typical of 18 year old males and in addition, newly liberated from adult supervision. Fortunately, the College had placed as roommates in Jones Hall two huge freshman football recruits. Besides imposing physical dimensions and athletic skills, these guys were serious students. The slightest disruption of their studies brought these giants to room of the offender. Order was always promptly restored. So thank you Lou Huskins and Fred Prillaman wherever you are.

Senior year brought the College’s highest student honor, and again a weird name, Medusa. These were sisters with snakes for hair who turned folks into stone. Unfortunately for us, these particular powers did not come with the job. It is hard to imagine an honor society with the portfolio of this group. Its portfolio covered the full range of law enforcement and jurisprudence activities. The skills required daunting; conflict resolution, anger management, crowd control and in general the diplomatic skills of a Mike Battle and the criminal investigation and forensic skills of Horatio Caine and his CSI team. At trials, one member served as prosecutor, thus the need for intimidating interrogation skills and rest of us exercised the wisdom of Solomon as judge and jury. No checks and balances here! It is not surprising that this honor society did not survive the tumultuous times of the 1970’s.

There are other former Medusa members here this evening. There are many wonderful Medusa stories, I will offer my favorite. The setting is the Jones Hall courtyard, the time is Spring Weekend, a ritual in which Trinity students welcome the change in seasons with a multi day bacchanal, a traditional that continues to this day and  sends the entire Student Life department  and Campus Safety Department to the Chapel to pray for rain, the plaintiffs, a Trinity junior science geek and his first ever date, the alleged perpetrator a freshman renowned for high levels of social skills, the crime, second story public urination, the damages, one wet date.

As you all know, at minute 58 of every CSI Miami show, Horatio Caine confronts the perpetrator with searing logic and undeniable scientific evidence, at which time the perpetrator immediately melts into confession and we roll to credits. In real life no such ending is likely, particularly among college students who will never admit to anything no matter how strong the evidence and under no circumstance will rat out any other student or provide any evidence. So this cases and many others reside unsolved in the archives of the College. There is enough material for many seasons of a cold case type of show perhaps a project for Patrick Wilson, or a Wally Lamb novel.

In closing, one of the most enjoyable of my Trinity duties has been assisting Maureen Field and the “ladies” with the arrangements for honorary degree recipients. Over the years I have had the pleasure of encounters with wonderful people from many fields and a few characters as well.  Who could forget Ted Turner or Dr. Ruth.  However nothing makes me prouder than having two of my best college friends, Tom Johnson and Bill Richardson doing the honors for me tomorrow. Both of them have Trinity honorary degrees, both have served the College in key trustee roles and both have reached the pinnacles of their individual professions, banking and higher education and foundations.

So thank you all and see you tomorrow.

Remembrance from Graduation in 1963

That June day in 1963 was a proud day for my parents.

My dad had attended WPI but dropped out and had wanted to see his first born become an engineer.  He didn’t get his wish but seemed quite pleased to see me graduate from Trinity. My brother was at Norwich University at the time but sadly, Dad did not live long enough to see him receive his diploma.

Eli Karson


The Trinidads

The birth of the Trinity Trinidads

Blog?  At 72 I’m supposed to learn how to Blog?  Well if Calabrese says so I guess I must.  (I’m glad I didn’t work for him even though now I guess I am.)

Also at 72 I need some help putting together some elusive pieces of information of how the Trinidads came to be.

I am one of the original members and very proud of it.  I vaguely remember early rehearsals in 1959 and trying to put together a group of mostly strangers to make a pleasant sound that would be considered music.  I’m sure Dick Field, the “Chairman”, Chad Minifie, Ed Trickett or Bob Parlee can rescue me.  By the way, how did we find Bob–probably one of the best tenors ever to come out of Trinity?  We were helped by some upper classmen, most notably by Bert Draesel who played a mean piano and helped with many arrangements.  Naturally it took some time and a LOT of hard work to find that sound.

Our first record (Let Melody Flow) was made I believe in our Sophomore year in a rather dreary studio in New York City. I also believe that year was the debut of our first smashing “tour” of Nassau.  Stan Hoerr was disappointed to find out afterward that the scotch he brought back had been rebottled with something else.  He didn’t drink any.  Our final tour in our Senior year was to Grand Bahama Island where did our usual evening gigs but also decided to go fishing.  The only person to catch anything was my wife!

So help me out and fill in some of the obvious holes and events that I have missed or just plain forgotten.

Thanks,  Ted Raff