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Julie Greifer-Swidler ’79 – A rock and roll lawyer

Posted on Jan 1, 1995

Julie Greifer-Swidler '79

Julie Greifer-Swidler-a lifelong lover of rock-and-roll-thought she had landed her dream job.

She sat in her office at Polygram Records and learned that as assistant general counsel she would coordinate the legal work necessary for the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of Woodstock.

Today, four months after Woodstock '94, Greifer-Swidler is still sorting through a mountain of legal work. “Looking back,” she says, “it was one of the worst-best things I've ever worked on, and am still working on.”

One week she has to handle a controversy about cleaning up the site; the next week, she has to answer questions about the release of the concert video and album; after that, she must deal with certain vendors who claim that Polygram owes them more money.

Still, Woodstock '94 remains something like the dream job Greifer-Swidler thought it would be. Consider, for example, that she was on stage when Crosby, Stills & Nash performed, and that her concert office was in a trailer just behind one of the two stages with a sound system few offices have ever enjoyed.

Besides, for a woman who had performed as a singer during college and had loved her radio show on WRUC as much as anything else at Union, Woodstock '94 proved to be a good place for a former litigator. In addition to negotiating deals with the three original producers of Woodstock and more than sixty artists, Greifer-Swidler helped negotiate permits from the town of Saugerties and Ulster County and pacified residents terrified that their town was about to be overrun by a mob of out-of-control teenagers.

Then there were the maintenance contracts, the vendor contracts, the pay-per-view contracts, the water contracts, the medical contracts, the helicopter contracts, and. of course, the 2,500 portable toilet contracts. And at the concert itself, Greifer-Swidler had to mediate between sponsors like the Pepsi Corp. and Greenpeace.

If it sounds chaotic, that's because it was.

“I think so many people wanted to re-live 1969,” she says. “That's why they all showed up without tickets, and there's only so long you can keep people out of where they want to be. You'll never be able to convince people that they have to pay for another Woodstock.”

Greifer-Swidler spent her first six years after law school litigating in some of New York's most powerful firms. Still, she couldn't shake the music bug. At one point during her seven-day work weeks at Shea & Gould, she was even invited to host a nationally syndicated radio show in her spare time.

“I wanted to continue my show from WRUC,” she says, “But I realized I had no time.”

At Union, Greifer-Swidler hosted what she describes as a “pretty eclectic” show. “I played everything from Hot Tuna to Bruce Springsteen to old rock-n-roll, and some jazz that was popular at the time, like Chuck Mangione. Not pop, though,” she insists, “and not Barry Manilow. But I'd do Bill Withers, who did R&B but wasn't all that big, and then I'd throw in the Supremes.”

She briefly thought about trying to sing professionally, but “Unless you have a voice like Whitney Houston's or Vanessa Williams, you have to write your own songs, and I'm not a songwriter.”

Her first venture outside the litigation world took her to the advertising firm of J. Walter Thompson, where she occasionally had to rein in the agency's creative team when they would wander into questionable legal territory. “They'd call me into the meeting and ask me just how far over the edge they were going,”
Greifer-Swidler says.

She enjoyed being part of a corporate team. “When you're at a law firm,” she says, “you're on the mountain and you don't get to see the day-to-day operations of the company team.” And, by
handling many of the talent contracts at J. Walter Thompson, Greifer-Swidler began to break into entertainment law.

After the agency underwent a hostile takeover, Greifer-Swidler landed at Polygram. These days, after her adventures at Woodstock and the good fortune of being able to work on a deal involving one of her rock-n-roll heroes, Pete Townsend, and his Psycho Derelict concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Greifer-Swidler isn't headed anywhere else anytime soon.

Except to the maternity ward; her third child is due in February.

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John Dooley ’65 – Serving Vermont

Posted on Jan 1, 1995

John Dooley '65

“I surmised then what I now know, that
his contribution on the court would be more lasting than all his accomplishments in state government. “

-Madeline Kunin

Recalling her first run for governor of Vermont in her book Living a Political Life, Madeline Kunin describes the backbone of her campaign, John Dooley `65, as “the smartest person I had ever known.”

The compliment seems justified. During the past twenty-five years, Dooley has risen from a clerk for a U.S. District Court judge to one of five justices on Vermont's Supreme Court. Along the way he was the director of Vermont's Legal Aid, which provides civil action attorneys for those who can't afford one.

Kunin, who is now the deputy secretary of education in Washington, said, “John provided a moral and ethical bulwark for the campaigns, and, later, for the administration.”

Dooley, whom the Vermont press called “the Little Governor,” became Kunin's legal counsel after she won her first term as governor in 1984. A year later, Kunin elevated Dooley to the top position in her cabinet, secretary of administration. In addition to directing the cabinet, Dooley wrote much of the state's annual budget and served as the governor's chief spokesman on appropriations and tax issues in the legislature. Perhaps that's why Dooley refers to his former position as “Secretary of Money.”

Dooley spearheaded efforts to redesign the way Vermont financed education. The administration launched a “Foundation Formula” in which the amount a school district received depended on how much money the locality had raised through its own property taxes. Dooley calls this process “equalization” and sees it as vital in a state like Vermont, where towns range from wealthy ski resorts with few children to poor, crowded urban areas.

In the mid-1980s the Reagan Administration virtually shut down the Environmental Protection Agency. “The EPA just wasn't performing its professional role and the states had to fill in the gaps,” Dooley recalls.

He worked with the administration and the legislature to pass some of the country's strictest laws against water pollution and hazardous waste dumps.

Deciding that the federal government's Superfund to pay for toxic cleanups was ineffective, the Kunin administration persuaded the legislature to set up a state Superfund for Vermont.

And in an era when deficit spending became the norm, Kunin and her “Secretary of Money” paid off the deficit they had inherited from the previous administration. Along the way, “we passed six tax cuts in two years,” Dooley recalls proudly.

Kunin relied so heavily on Dooley that “It was with great reluctance
that … I appointed him to the Vermont Supreme Court. This is where his intellect belonged, but I hated to let him go.” However, she writes, “I surmised then what I now know, that his contribution on the court would be more
lasting than all his accomplishments in state government.”

Dooley sits on a court that he describes as filled with independent thinkers. “I don't think anyone on the court is predictable,” he says, refusing to label the court liberal, moderate, or conservative.

The Supreme Court, as the court of last resort in Vermont, cannot refuse hearings and decides more than 300 cases annually. The court “fast-tracks” cases in which the real need is to decide who wins and who loses, so it can spend more time on developing the law of the state in areas like state and federal constitutional law.

Each justice writes as many as thirty five opinions each year, never choosing which decision to write. Dooley appreciates the diverse selection of cases he writes about, claiming, “You can find intellectual interest where you never thought you could.” One day he'll hear a case dealing with public utilities; the next, the court will have a constitutional matter or a custody battle on its docket

“You have to do other things outside of your core of responsibilities,” says the justice, who has set up a legal support project between Vermont and the Republic of Karelia, a unit of the Russian Federation.

And when he finds some spare time, the task of completing his book on evidence law awaits him.

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Dr. Frank Young ’53 – From research to hands-on help

Posted on Jan 1, 1995

The good news comes when nobody hears about Dr. Frank Young '53 and his work.

Young coordinates medical and health needs for the Office of Emergency Preparedness, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. When an earthquake rips apart southern California or floodwaters cover the Great Plains, Young mobilizes the necessary medical and health provisions and tells the Department of Defense and Office of Veterans Affairs just how they need to respond.

Young himself joins the sixty percent of his workforce that heads out the door in the event of a disaster. Once he's reached the site, he also directs a corps of Minutemen and
Minute women national disaster emergency crews that arrive within twelve hours. There's even a special mortuary unit, and when floods ravaged the Southeast earlier this year, the unit searched through
old dental records to identify the bodies that had been upturned and then put them back in the ground before the corpses began spreading disease.

Such direct responsibility for the quality of people's lives is a major change for Young, who spent more than a quarter of a century in academia. A professor of genetics at Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the former dean of the University of Rochester Medical School, Young was
also one of the country's leading geneticists.

“I loved the lab and the work we did was important,” he says, “but my per minute effect on people's lives these days is so much greater now.”

Young's lab work was in the middle of what he calls “one of the great scientific revolutions of the twentieth century”-the mapping and cloning of DNA Young focused his work in his Rochester lab on pathogenicity, or how bacteria causes disease.

Young says there were four main breakthroughs in the early 1970s that allowed scientists to begin understanding what he calls the “mechanization of disease.” Scientists learned how to:

  1. transform bacteria into DNA, 
  2. break the DNA apart at specific locations, 
  3. discover the enzymes that will glue the DNA back together at these locations, and 
  4. find the self-replicating elements in the bacteria.

These discoveries allowed scientists to figure out which genes cause which diseases. Once a gene has been isolated, through recombination (cloning) it can reproduce to a mass of up to thirty percent of the organism it came from. Such gene therapy has been a boon for leukemia patients, who need to replace the red blood cells the disease

A deeply religious man, Young had to think hard to understand just how he felt about cloning genes and scientifically reproducing the essence of life. “I would never want to put myself in the place of God,” Young says, “but I came to understand that all the enzymes we were working with are produced naturally in the body.”

In addition, Young says, “Genes move from molecule to molecule and organism to organism all the time,” so he wasn't doing anything that had not previously occurred in nature. He and his researchers were simply making nature work for them to help fight disease. Nevertheless, Young went through nine months of serious introspection before understanding his place in the natural hierarchy.

Young has long believed that the object of science isn't to find an absolute truth. In a 1973 article he wrote, “We stand as pygmies on the shoulders of giants, sifting our observation through the grid of human prejudice, to approximate truth, not to sacrifice it on the altar of our ego, but to serve mankind.” For Young, science can only provide approximations of the truth. If it's absolute truth one is looking for, he suggests a look at the Bible and the canon.

“I'm very interested in the collision of science, society, and theology,” Young says. “And I also believe in the theological connection one gets through a life of service.”

When Margaret Heckler, then the secretary of Health and Human Services, asked Young to lead the Food and Drug Administration in 1984, Young leapt at the opportunity.

Running the FDA was a “scientist's dream,” since the job allowed Young to approve many drugs that had been outcomes of his own basic research. He oversaw the testing and eventual marketing of the human growth hormone as well as new products to treat leukemia, and he was at the center of the controversy surrounding new treatments for AIDS. His administration decided to expedite the approval of treatments such as AZT and the blood test for the HIV antibody.

Eventually Young became deputy assistant secretary at Health and Human Services and the chief advisor for the assistant secretary of environment and science at HHS. Today, Young is one of only fifty-six flag officers at HHS and has gained the
two star rank of rear admiral-an honor that helps when he has to give orders to the Defense Department.

Since the government paid for the bulk of Young's medical education, he sees his work as a means of paying back a long-overdue loan. And for a scientist who believes so strongly in serving the human race, few jobs could be so satisfying.

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Gifts, grants, and bequests

Posted on Jan 1, 1995

New chairs of the Parents Fund are Allen and Anne Chase, parents of Garrett '93 and Kenton '96

The College has received more than $300,000 for scholarship endowments. This includes $48,312 distributed from a trust established by Royton F. Wheadon '08 and $25,000 from Colleen A. and Frank L. Messa '73 to establish new scholarships.

Additions to existing scholarship endowments have been made by Edward D. Cammarota '37 ($175,925), the William Randolph Hearst Foundation ($35,000), Edwin W. Scantlebury '41 ($28,224), friends of the late Thomas A. Baltay '87 ($11,850), and Dr. Jack J. Schneider '62 ($5,000).

Other recent gifts, grants, and bequests include:

  • The AT&T Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the College to support the 1995 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, which Union
    will host in April. About 1,500 students and faculty, representing more than 300 colleges and universities throughout the country, are expected to attend. 
  • Six individuals made gifts totaling $140,000 for life income arrangements. Three of these gifts were for the pooled life income funds -Steven K. Griffiths '49, Morris M. Cohn '24, and Leonard C. Humphrey '37. Frederick S. Frank '57 entered into his second charitable gift annuity contract and Barbara C. Kosinski, widow of Alexander A. Kosinski '35, joined the annuity program. Dr. James W. Haviland '32 established his second charitable remainder trust.
  • More than $150,000 was received in distributions from estates and trusts.
    Initial disbursements were received from the estates of Vivian Verchereau, Gladys Fink, Eleanor H. Bogue, Carlton M. Garrison '37, and the E. Franklin Robbins Trust.
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Mac Yuen’s family establishes a scholarship

Posted on Jan 1, 1995

The children of the late Shiu Kong Yuen '42 have established a scholarship endowment in their father's memory.

Yuen, affectionately known throughout the College community as “Mac,” came to Union as an exile from Japanese-occupied China and earned his degree in economics. While at Union he was the unofficial photographer for virtually every function, capturing an extraordinary range of campus life. He received a special award for photography on Prize Day in 1942.

After graduation, Yuen worked for General Electric until 1946, when he returned to Hong Kong to join Shun On Company, Ltd., his father's real estate business. In Hong Kong, he aided refugees from Communist China, was a prime mover in founding a branch of Canton Lingman University, and served as an admissions representative for Union. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong Island West and an associate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and the Photographic Society of America.

Shiu Kong Yuen died in early 1992 and was awarded an honorary doctorate posthumously at the Class of 1942's fiftieth Reunion on May 29, 1992.

When making their gift, one of Mac Yuen's children said, “My family feels that an endowed scholarship is the best vehicle for setting up a memorial for our dad. Not only does it leave room for expansion in the future, but it is what we believe our father would have chosen to do if he had lived to make a capital gift to the College.”

The Yuen Scholarship will support students in science or engineering.

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