August 1st, 20115:47 pm @



As the presidential candidates were crisscrossing America in the final days of the 2004 election, so too were Pembroke master Giles Henderson, bursar John Church, and co-director of development Angela Gustafsson.


On Monday, September 20, in Washington D.C., more than 50 Pembroke alumni and their friends gathered for a reception and dinner at Prospect House—one of Georgetown’s finest examples of Federalist architecture. Formerly the official guest house for visiting heads of state, it now belongs to Abdullah Saleh, a Foundation Fellow of Pembroke and the managing director of the National Bank of Dubai. Mr. Saleh has spent over a decade restoring Prospect House and its gardens to their original grandeur, and his time and aesthetic sensitivity were everywhere evident.


Senator Richard Lugar (1954), chairman of the Pembroke College Foundation of North America, was the guest of honor. He encouraged those present to recall how their years at Pembroke had improved their lives. Among the group were Richard Chang (1995) and Arash Farin (1996), both of California; Tim Griffin (1990), of Arkansas; and Jim Bratton (1952) and his wife Alleen Bratton, of Atlanta, Georgia. As treasurer of the Pembroke College Foundation, Jim helped coordinate the event, as did Arash and indefatigable Ingrid Li (2001).


Three Honorary Fellows were in attendance—Dr. Jim Hester (1947), Professor Dick Sabot (1966), and Walter Isaacson (1974)—as was Tom Herman (1971), the president of the Pembroke College Foundation.  Also on hand was a large contingent of current and former PPE students.  College is especially grateful to a generous young alumnus and his wife for their kind contribution toward the cost of the event, which helped keep ticket prices down.


On Tuesday, Giles, John, and Angela had just enough time to visit Walter Isaacson at the Aspen Institute (of which Walter is president) before flying off to the next two cities on the tour. (Even this short visit was long enough to meet Madeleine Albright and observe a conference in progress on Middle East peace initiatives.)


While Giles was in New York, he engaged in a meeting marathon, with seven individual alumni visits on one very busy day.


Meanwhile, John and Angela were in Boston enjoying a delightful dinner at Davio’s with a dozen or so alumni and friends, many of whom were recent matriculants.  Some have gone on to further study: Andrew Castiglioni (1997) will soon be Dr. Castiglioni with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Brown, and Meeta Anand (1990) will soon complete her law degree at Harvard.  Others are engaged in a range of impressive professional activities: Trung Lu (2001) is an analyst for NERA Economic Consulting in Boston, Keya Banerjee (2001) is an analyst working for Lexecon in Cambridge, and Joshua Friedman (1997) has been appointed managing editor of The Boston Review.  Professor, author, and theologian John Chryssavgis (1980) attended with his son Julian. You can read more about John’s work at the Vatican in The Pembrokian.


John and Angela spent a most enjoyable afternoon in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Peter Grose (1957), a former editor of Foreign Affairs magazine and the author of Gentleman Spy, the highly regarded biography of Allen Dulles, founder of the CIA.  Peter, who was a founding director of the Pembroke College Foundation and is an Honorary Fellow of College, is now at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Giles, John, and Angela then travelled to Chicago for a dinner on September 23. The highlight of the evening was a talk by Donald Gillis (1951), the college’s first Fulbright Scholar. Donald and his wife Catherine came from Michigan to attend the dinner, but Richard de Ste. Croix (1966) takes the prize for distance.  A lecture at Chicago’s Loyola University had brought him all the way from London!


Ellen Behrstock (1999), whose home is in Chicago but who is living in Oxford while she works toward a D.Phil. under the supervision of Ken Mayhew, also attended. (When the college development office learned Ellen was planning a visit home, it asked her to stuff her suitcase full of college merchandise for those attending the dinner. Everyone who went home with a mug, scarf, keychain, or bottle of Pembroke wine has Ellen to thank.)


This year Pembroke College celebrates the 25th anniversary of its becoming coeducational, so it was especially nice to see Jean Collier (1979), who was a member of that pioneering first class of female students.


The American tour concluded on Saturday, September 25, with a dinner at San Francisco’s Weston St. Francis Hotel.  In addition to Giles and John, Pembroke was represented by engineering fellow Janet Efstathiou, who was serendipitously in California on academic business.  Many of those who attended—including Revan Tranter (1954), Edgar McGinnis (1959), Lester O’Shea (1959), and Jeremy Sutton 1979)—have also visited Pembroke recently.

Professor Robert Jackson (1962) and his wife Doreen plan to visit College while visiting their daughter Nicole, who has just taken up a post as a lecturer in strategic studies at Warwick University in the UK.  Jeremy Sutton (1979) expects to visit College for the opening of a new art gallery sometime in 2005.  Jeremy, an acclaimed portrait artist, has very kindly agreed to give the college a painting of the Master which he began the morning after the San Francisco dinner.


The U.S. trip was both energizing and exhausting, reported Angela. The Master, John, and Angela met with well over 100 friends and alumni, shared Pembroke’s strategic plan with almost as many, and collected invaluable ideas and suggestions. The Master is already considering locations for future gatherings. He hopes to visit Los Angeles and Texas in 2005, and any other city where a critical mass of Pembrokians is interested in coming together. (College’s Development Office welcomes any suggestions!)