Class of ’57 Reunites in Cambridge

Food in the Harvard dining hall just doesn’t taste like it used to 45 years ago.

Neil Olken ’57 said it’s much better. Olken returned to Annenberg Hall for lunch Friday along with over 300 fellow members of the Class of 1957, in town this weekend to celebrate their 45th reunion.

Olken—whose class took exams in Annenberg nearly 50 years ago before the space became a dining hall—said he found the food to be “far superior than that of his day.”

The Annenberg lunch on Friday was part of a three-day-long event including campus tours, auditing classes, a victorious Harvard-Cornell football game and a reception at the Harvard Faculty Club.

“People came from all over the place,” said Olken, chair of the committee that planned the reunion. “People came in from as far as Thailand and Scotland.”

Alums also attended two seminars led by their classmates—“Areas of Instability from Caucasus to Kashmir” and “Science and Humanities at Harvard.”

The seminar on science and the humanities was led by Provost Steven E. Hyman, along with Jon Beckwith ’57.

Olken said he was impressed by the tours of the Bauer Genome Center, Harvard BioRobotics and Gordon McKay Laboratories. There, he saw research currently being conducted on genomics, robotic heart surgery and building electronic devices whose sizes approach atomic dimensions.

According to Class Treasurer Wallace E. Sisson ’57, the alums particularly enjoyed being able to see students in class.

“We’re glad we planned a fall reunion because we were able to experience Harvard in session, as opposed to the usual June reunion after classes are over,” Sisson wrote in an e-mail. “Even though it was raining, it was a great reunion.”

Saturday morning, alums attended a service at the Memorial Church followed by a class photo on the steps of Widener Library. But both Olken and Sisson said the most memorable part of the weekend was the chance to hear what how their old classmates have spent the past 45 years—and even make new friends.

“The key to any reunion is people catching up with one another,” said Olken.