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Robert E. Apfel, the Robert E. Higgin Professor of Mechanical Engineering, died of cancer on August 1 at the age of 59. Apfel was a leading acoustical engineer who had led the Acoustical Society of America and had won its Gold Medal. A graduate of Tufts with a PhD from Harvard, he taught at Yale for more than 30 years and served the University community in many ways, including as a member of the board of this magazine. He is survived by his wife Nancy Howe Apfel and two children.
Corporate executive Indra Nooyi '80MPPM has been appointed a successor fellow of the Yale Corporation. Nooyi, a native of India, worked as a management consultant for six years before stints as a vice president at Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri. She joined PepsiCo, where she is now president and chief financial officer, in 1994. She succeeds Kurt Schmoke '71, who was senior fellow of the Corporation; John E. Pepper '60 is the new senior fellow.
John Pescatore, a two-time Olympic rower who won a bronze medal at the 1988 Games in Seoul, has been named head coach of the men’s heavyweight crew. Pescatore is a 1986 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was until recently an assistant coach. He has also coached at the prep school, club, and Olympic level. In 2000 he was named U.S. Rowing Coach of the Year. He succeeds Dave Vogel '71, who resigned this summer after 13 years as head coach.
Speaking at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life on September 9, Hebrew College professor Solomon Schimmel contrasted the Jewish and Christian concepts of forgiveness, noting that Christian theology tends to emphasize forgiveness over justice and suggesting that the Bush administration has sounded “very Jewish” in its response to the September 11 attacks. “In Judaism, there is no obligation to forgive without repentance,” said Schimmel, author of Wounds Not Healed By Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness. “Forgiveness can be immoral when it is at the clear expense of justice.”
Sterling Professor Emeritus Albert J. Solnit, whose writings with Anna Freud and the late Law School professor Joseph Goldstein changed the way courts deal with child custody issues, died on June 21 from injuries sustained in a car accident. He was 82. Solnit, a child psychiatrist who was at Yale for 54 years and directed the Child Study Center from 1966 to 1983, argued that the legal system should consider the needs of children—not parents or other adults—in custody cases. He is survived by his wife, Martha Solnit, and four children.
Celebrating her 50th year in show business, jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson graced the New Haven Green on August 10 for the first night of the 22nd annual New Haven Jazz Festival. Wilson, who says she is giving up touring, attracted thousands of fans, as did the headliners on the two succeeding Saturdays, saxophonist David Sanborn and Latin flutist Nestor Torres. Yale was a sponsor of the free concert series.
Biographer and literary critic R. W. B. Lewis, the Neal Gray Professor of Rhetoric and former master of Calhoun College, died on June 13 at the age of 84. Lewis, who went to Harvard as an undergraduate, started graduate school at the University of Chicago as a Renaissance scholar, but, as he told it, he had a conversion experience while serving in Italy during World War II. In Florence, he read Moby-Dick for the first time, and when he returned to Chicago, he changed his field to American literature. His doctoral thesis, The American Adam (1955), helped define the new field of American studies.
Lewis came to Yale in 1959 and established a reputation for “discovering” then-undervalued American authors., including Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, and Edith Wharton. His 1975 biography of Wharton won a Pulitzer Prize.
Lewis’s other interests included Italian literature—his last work was a short biography of Dante—and the American popular song. He enjoyed passing evenings with friends at his Bethany farmhouse, trading lyrics from the likes of Cole Porter.
One of those friends was author and critic Robert Penn Warren, whose daughter Rosanna summed up his work at a memorial service in August. “It’s Dick’s work,” said Warren, “that has helped us frame and answer the question ‘What is it to be an American?’”
Lewis is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three children.
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