I wasn’t even going to go but I’m sure glad I did — my 25th reunion from Harvard Medical School. In the backdrop of my Plum Sandals are the main building and quadrangle.
Back in school I was pretty much in awe of my 166 fellow classmates. Everyone was either brilliant or had done something fairly extraordinary before starting medical school. The guy who sat next to me in pathology lab, for his high school science project, had built an electron microscope out of trash can lids, or something like that. And our class clown was in fact, before medical school, Barnum and Bailey’s most talented clown.
Twenty-five years later, I am still in awe. The guy who lived down the hall from me, who was always talking about going up into space when all the rest of us were worried about passing our next anatomy exam, has done more for the space program than probably any other person on Earth. (That would be Peter Diamandis, inventor and chairman of the X Prize and a number of other space programs.) I was reminded of some of the accomplishments of our class, like, uhhh, helping to turn AIDS from a deadly to a manageable disease and developing a deep brain stimulation program to treat severe neurological diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and Tourette’s Syndrome. Some of my classmates are professors and department chairs in medical schools. Some are in private practice. But a large number are trailblazing outside of traditional medical practice. A few work on Wall Street. A fair number are executives in pharmaceutical companies. Some are in politics (if you live in Missouri, please vote for Randy Jotte, for U.S. Congress – he’s not just the best E.R. doc – he’s simply, the best). One is a writer (also a psychiatrist) and former spokesperson for NPR – Elissa Ely, whose husband Jay Sandvos is OESH’s patent attorney. A few are in public health – my friend Ellen Fox, who in medical school dated the clown, is the director of medical ethics for the Veterans Administration Hospital.
And yes, I am the only one who now makes shoes. Everyone who was not yet in the know, loved hearing about OESH. “Wow, REAL translational research!” And “What, only women’s shoes?” (Bill, you better hurry up and order a pair of those Lizard 11’s). No one was shocked that I left my position as tenured professor and department chair. They simply just understood why I had to do this. And Rob Glassman, (one of the people who works on Wall Street), was especially excited that OESH is uniquely designed on the basis of the Harvard Indoor Track – a remarkable and under appreciated structure.
It was hard not to get a little emotional. Most of us have children. We are proud of them and the reunion reminded me of how proud my parents were 25 years ago when we took the Hippocratic Oath. My graduation from Harvard Medical School was the last and in fact only event that my entire immediate family (Bob, my mom and dad, and brother Mike) celebrated together.
During the day before the big gala, we caught glimpses of members of the class of 1962 who were celebrating their 50th reunion. Gosh, did they look good. Seeing them gave me all the hope in the world that our class has at least another 25 years of good to do.
Ellen Fox and Rich Gliklich.
Me, Crawford Campbell, Bill Postal and his wife Karen. Dave Sperber walking by and more classmates in the background.