DEWITT CLINTON ALUMNI ASSOCIATION - Hall of Notable Alumni
Ralston S. Holmes ’99 entered the United States Naval Academy in 1899 and by career’s end rose to the rank of rear admiral. He served as commander of the presidential yacht USS Mayflower (1924-1929), commandant of midshipmen at Annapolis (1932-1935), chief of Naval Intelligence (1938), commander of Destroyer Flotilla 1, Battle Force (1939), and commandant of the 11th Naval District in San Diego, CA (1941-1942). In November 1899, writing from Annapolis to any Clinton (then Boys’ High) boy interested in attending the Naval Academy, Holmes warned, “Don’t take Latin, Greek, or any other classics, as they are not needed at any time here. Mathematics is most important, and algebra especially so.... Take all the mathematics you can at school.”
William Anthony Aery ’00 began in 1906 as an instructor in social science at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, which had been founded in 1869 for the "practical education of Negro youth." In late fall 1906, he wrote to the Magpie to tell Clinton students how much he admired the Hampton students for their sacrifice and hard work. It was said that over the course of his life, he wrote more than a million words on Negro education for magazines and newspapers. He retired from Hampton in 1939. For a time, he worked as press secretary for Booker T. Washington. Aery died in 1963.
Pedro de Cordova ’00 began the first orchestra at DeWitt Clinton High School (then Boys’ High). The world, however, knows him as a great character actor. His career spanned from the 1915 silent film The Little White Violet to 1951’s When the Redskins Rode. In between, he was featured in 121 movies and episodes of television shows, including: The Crusades (1935), The Sea Hawk and The Mark of Zorro (1940), For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Song of Bernadette (1944), Samson and Delilah (1949), and The Lone Ranger (1949-1950). Of French and Cuban origin, he died in California in 1950.
Edward Fitzpatrick ’00 was a member of DWC’s first graduating class. Perhaps that had something to do with why, in 1911, he wrote the book Educational Views and Influence of DeWitt Clinton. From 1903 to 1908, he taught in the New York City Public Schools. Leaving this work to investigate state educational systems, Fitzpatrick drafted the first minimum wage law for teachers in Wisconsin, in 1913. He remained in the state to take charge of Wisconsin's draft administration during World War I. In 1924, he became dean of the graduate school at Marquette University. He was appointed president of Mount Mary College for Women, Milwaukee, and served in that capacity from 1929 to 1954.
James E. Kearney ’01 served as Roman Catholic bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, from 1932 to 1937 and of Rochester, NY, from 1937 to 1966. In 1948, he founded St. John Fisher College in Rochester. Today a high school in that city bears his name. His style was gregarious, his voice Irish tenor, and he loved to pepper his sermons with Irish poems and songs. He returned to DeWitt Clinton for several reunions before his death in 1977. In a 1932 interview in the Clinton News, he said, "The mention of Clinton naturally brings back happy memories.... It was a great old school with a great spirit—may the spirit continue with the school for many days to come."
George Behr ’04 served as a medical doctor in France during World War I. In the 1930s, his work as a pathologist resulted in major advances in the definitive description of lupus. In 1944, he became the first chief of medical services and medical research at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. Also in the 1940s, he founded the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (H.I.P.) as a group practice, pre-paid health plan providing low cost medical care to middle class workers.
Grover Whalen ’06 was a New Yorker through and through, so much so that he was called "Mr. New York." In 1924, he was responsible for beginning the city’s first radio station and giving it the call letters WNYC. In 1928, he became chief of police and, in that capacity, begat the controversial line, "There is plenty of law at the end of a nightstick." The 1939 New York World’s Fair was his idea, and as president of the World’s Fair Corporation, he made sure that the opening ceremonies took place on schedule. As official greeter of New York City, he expanded the use of ticker tape parades, organizing more than 75 between 1919 and 1952 to welcome important visitors to the city. Whalen died in 1962.
Shelton Hale Bishop ’07 served as rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in New York City from 1933 to 1957. During that time, St. Philip’s, with its mostly African American congregation of nearly 4,000, was the largest Episcopal church in the United States. Bishop officiated at many noteworthy weddings, including the 1956 marriage of Thurgood Marshall and Cecelie Suyat. After retirement, he worked in Hawaii as a missionary until his death in 1962.
Edward Bernays ’08 developed strategies for shaping public opinion that earned him the title "Father of Public Relations." His clients included Enrico Caruso, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Among the corporations he represented were American Tobacco, Proctor & Gamble, CBS, NBC, General Motors, and United Fruit, and among the organizations the NAACP and the ACLU. Dying at 103 years of age in 1995, Bernays was the loyalist of Clintonites, ceaselessly supportive of the school and the alumni association.
Pete Smith ’09 produced, wrote, and narrated more than 280 short films for MGM from 1931 through 1954. The one-reelers covered topics ranging from sports to animals to science. His sixteen Academy Award nominations in the short subject categories between 1932 and 1950 resulted in Oscars for Penny Wisdom (MGM, 1937) and Quicker 'N a Wink (MGM, 1940). He received a 1953 Honorary Academy Award "for his witty and pungent observations on the American scene....'" Smith passed away in 1979.
Harold Riegelman ’10 served New York City for more than 60 years in various housing, health, financial, and cultural organizations. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1916, he made a personal commitment to give one-third of his time to the service of the community. He saw active duty in World War I and World War II, leaving with the rank of colonel. For Governor Alfred E. Smith, he brought opposing political interests together to enact New York State’s first low-rent housing law. For President Franklin Roosevelt, he reduced from 31 to 17 the number of federal agencies dealing with loans and housing policies. For President Dwight Eisenhower, he became the Postmaster of New York and restored order and efficiency to the New York office. In 1960 he was instrumental in saving Carnegie Hall from demolition. But always loyal to the Red and the Black, no community received more of his "public service" time than DeWitt Clinton High School.
Arthur Hornblow Jr ’11 gave DeWitt Clinton High School one of the greatest compliments ever. Years after his graduation, he said of his alma mater that other than his parents, it had been the greatest influence in his life. That life, of course, was spent producing many of the most successful films to come out of Hollywood, including Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Oklahoma (1955), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Hucksters (1947), and Gaslight (1944). All in all, he produced 38 motion pictures before his death in 1976. When he married Myrna Loy in 1936, the Clinton News Gossiper article said that he had made it respectable for Clinton boys to marry actresses
Walter Mack Jr ’13 was president of the Pepsi-Cola Company from 1939 to 1950. In 1940, he had the unprecedented idea of putting African Americans in Pepsi ads. In the same year, he introduced the standardized embossed 12-oz. bottle, which debuted with the "Pepsi-Cola" label blown and baked into the glass. He is also credited with being the first to put soda in cans and the first to use a jingle as advertisement on national radio. Once, at a DeWitt Clinton assembly, Mack was treated to a surprise when the senior class spontaneously stood up and sang the Pepsi jingle. He laughed, the principal did not.
M. Lincoln Schuster ’13 and his business partner, William Simon, founded Simon & Schuster publishing in 1924. Their first book was one of crossword puzzles and it came with a pencil. The company, though now part of CBS Corporation, is still the preeminent U.S. publisher of crossword puzzle books. In 1947, Schuster wrote to Clinton on the occasion of its 50th anniversary to say that Ellen Garrigues, one of his English teachers, had inspired his love of literature. In a 1953 Clinton News interview, he told students to keep their books and burn their diplomas. He also told them that chance favors the prepared mind.
Paul Gallico ’16 first achieved prominence as a sports writer for the New York Daily News. He introduced the Golden Gloves boxing competitions to New York. Thereafter, he turned to writing biographies, short stories, and novels, which included: The Pride of the Yankees, The Snow Goose, Mrs. ’Arris goes to Paris, and The Poseidon Adventure. His greatest disappointment was not earning a Clinton "C" for football. His father thought that the sport was too dangerous and made his son quit the team.
George Cukor ’17 was one of the great directors in motion picture history, yet he earned only one Academy Award, for directing the 1964 musical My Fair Lady. His films are legendary: A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Camille (1936), Romeo and Juliet (1936), The Women (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Gaslight (1944), Winged Victory (1944), A Double Life (1947), Adam's Rib (1949), Born Yesterday (1950), Pat and Mike (1952), and A Star Is Born (1954). Cukor died on January 24, 1983 at the age of 83.
Walter Hoving ’17 was the captain of the Clinton football team in his senior year and a captain of merchandising for most of his adult life. From 1955 to 1980, he served as head of Tiffany & Company. His leadership took the company from $7 million worth of business in 1955 to $100 million for the Fifth Avenue store and its five branches in 1980. He entered the merchandise business in 1924 when he went to work for R. H. Macy & Company. He quickly rose in the field, joining Montgomery Ward & Company as vice president in charge of sales in 1932 and serving as president of Lord & Taylor from 1936 to 1946. Hoving remained a loyal Clintonite and returned to the school many times. He died in 1989.
Sol Antoville ’18 did not listen to his mother and become a lawyer. Instead, he became a salesman for a fledging plywood company. The company became the United States Plywood Corporation and he became its president and turned it into the largest plywood organization in the world. For Clintonites, though, it may be more important that he also served as president of the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association. His support for Clinton remained strong his whole life. Antoville was always on call to be of service to the school and the Alumni Association.
Charles Berns ’18 graduated from the New York School of Law in 1926. But his interest in passing the bar was not as strong as his desire to own a few. On New Year’s Eve 1930, he and his partner Jack Kriendler opened their sixth establishment for good food and drink in a brownstone at 21 West 52th Street. They called it the “21.” The club became famous for its fine food and wine, its homelike atmosphere, and rich and famous clientele. With the success he achieved as a restaurateur, Berns turned to a life of philanthropy, becoming a trustee of Lebanon Hospital and being active in fund-raising for many charitable organizations. He died in 1971 in California while on vacation.
Thomas “Fats” Waller ’18 was already an accomplished pianist and organist when he attended DeWitt Clinton. He left DWC after only one year and went on to become a great entertainer and to write such memorable songs as "Squeeze Me," "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Blue Turning Grey Over You," "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling," "Jitterbug Waltz," and "Honeysuckle Rose." DeWitt Clinton was the last formal education Waller received. He always associated himself with the school and DWC is proud to call him one of its own.
Richard Rodgers ’19 was one of the most prolific of composers for the American stage. With Lorenz Hart writing the lyrics, he wrote the music for A Connecticut Yankee (1926), On Your Toes (1936), Babes in Arms (1937), I Married an Angel (1938), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), and Pal Joey (1940). With Oscar Hammerstein II writing the lyrics, he composed the music for Oklahoma (1943), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951), Flower Drum Song (1958) and The Sound of Music (1959). Hammerstein and he created one movie musical, State Fair (1945), and one television musical, Cinderella (1957). In 1962, he wrote the music and lyrics for No Strings, and in 1965, he partnered with lyricist Stephen Sondheim to create Do I Hear a Waltz? In 1952 he composed the score for the television documentary series Victory at Sea and did the same in 1960 for The Valiant Years. On a memorable night in December 1952, Rodgers came to DWC to conduct the school orchestra in a medley of his music.
Frederic Glantzberg ’20 had a long and distinguished military career that began in 1924 in the U.S. Army Air Corps and culminated with his promotion in the 1950s to major general in the U.S. Air Force. During World War II, he assumed command of the 461st Bombardment Group (H) and led it to Italy where it served with distinction. While in the European Theater, he flew fifty combat missions and logged more than 300 hours of combat time. This achievement was all the more remarkable because he was missing three inches of his skull right above his right ear, the result of a 1934 airplane accident. He had refused an operation to insert a plate because it would have grounded him. Glantzberg died in 1970.
Vito Marcantonio ’21 was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives in 1934. He was defeated two years later, but was reelected in 1938 as an American Laborite and served until January 3, 1951. During his days at Clinton, he was influenced by two teachers: Abraham Lefkowitz, who introduced him to socialist thinking, and Leonard Covello, who helped him to develop a fierce pride in his Italian-American heritage. He spent his life fighting for the underdog and fighting off charges that he was a “commie.” He was among the first to push Congress to pass laws protecting civil rights. Following his death in 1954, Marcantonio was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
Roy Neuberger ’21 is a financier with an appreciation of modern art. Orphaned at age 12, he has given DeWitt Clinton High School much credit for preparing him to meet the challenges of life. In 1939, he and his business partner established Neuberger Berman, a financial firm that would eventually have $130 billion in assets under management. In the same year, Neuberger bought his first painting, which led to a life of art patronage. In 1974, he contributed 500 of his paintings to a new museum on the SUNY Purchase College campus. In turn, the museum was named for him. Over his many decades of life, he has remained a loyal supporter of DWC.
Eyre “Bruiser” Saitch ’21 had the distinction of being a champion basketball and tennis champion. His tennis skills brought him singles titles in 1928 and 1929 in the New York State championships and 1930 New England Tennis Tournament. But his basketball skills brought him to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A star basketballer at Clinton, he played professional basketball from 1925 to 1941. He was a member of the 1932-1933 Harlem Renaissance team that played to 88 consecutive victories. It was as a member of that team that Saitch was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963. He died in Englewood, NJ, in 1985.
Milton Steinberg ’21 was considered one of the most outstanding teachers of Judaism in the first half of the twentieth century. At his untimely death in 1950, he was the leader of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City. Two of his books remain widely read. Basic Judaism (1947) set forth the essential aspects of the Jewish people's faith and practice. As A Driven Leaf (1939) has endured as a significant novel that deals with the second century struggle to reconcile Rabbinic Judaism with Greek Hellenistic society. A brilliant mind, Steinberg was remembered years later by classmate and future tenor Jan Peerce as knowing more Greek than his Greek teacher at Clinton.
Lionel Trilling ’21 fell asleep at his desk during a lesson in his senior year. He was left alone in the room to continue sleeping. Classmates came by the room and joked that he was dead. One student ran off and put a death notice in the Magpie that was about to go to press. When the magazine with the death notice was delivered to the school, officials did not see the humor in it and ordered the staff to put an apology in the next issue. Our Clintonite, however, went on to become one of the great literary critics of his time. His most famous volume of essays was the 1950 The Liberal Imagination. Another collection of his essays had the title The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent. First and foremost, he considered himself a teacher. As a longtime member of the Columbia College faculty, he was recognized as a gifted and dedicated teacher with a special commitment to undergraduate education.
Countee Cullen ’22 was elected vice-president of his senior class, which was not only a testimony to his talents, but also to the fair-mindedness of his fellow Clinton students. It would take another nine years before the first African American was elected to Congress from a northern state. Historians generally mark the 1921 Magpie publication of his poem, “I Have a Rendezvous with Life,” as the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance. The poem was reprinted in city newspapers. It inspired other African Americans in the Harlem community to celebrate their race in art, music, and literature. What did this poet and educator feel about DWC? In 1925, Cullen wrote, “We feel that a Clinton man once is a Clinton man always.... We think of time spent at Clinton as golden days in a fair and jolly place, with us the manlier and finer for having a while sojourned there. I write to you as one, but I speak to you for a myriad others still brimful of that “spirit” which every Clinton man is proud to typify.”
Sam Gutowitz ’22, or as he came to be known—Sam Goody, found fame in selling records. Shortly after World War II, he established his first store on 49th Street west of Broadway in Manhattan and soon claimed—rightly so—to be the World’s Largest Record Dealer. He was the first to discount LPs, and with his success, he opened a nationwide chain of stores. He passed away in 1991. In a 1957 interview in the Clinton News, he said of the 59th Street Clinton, “...It was a very tough block. We always joked about it. I remember we used to say that the cops would walk in threes, one with his back turned to guard the rear.”
Christian A. Johnson ’22 was such an outstanding pitcher for DWC that he once considered a career in baseball. Instead, he turned to the world of utilities, finance, and corporate management. He became one of the nation’s foremost experts on utility companies, gradually gaining a controlling interest in a company he would rename Central Securities Corporation. He also took controlling positions in several other companies, including Mack Trucks, Inc. In 1952, Johnson established an endeavor foundation to support the best of human “endeavors.” A generous grant in 2005 from his foundation has revitalized the Clinton News and the Magpie.
Jan Peerce ’22 was the first American to sing at the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow. During his Clinton days, he was known as Jacob Pincus Perelmuth, but his career as an operatic tenor led to a less ethnic name. He made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera Company on November 29, 1941 singing Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata. A favorite of the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, he made many recordings with the great maestro. Peerce’s memoirs were titled The Bluebird of Happiness and include fond remembrances of Clinton and his classmates.
Pandro Berman ’23 talked Fred Astaire into dancing with Ginger Rogers and produced their film Top Hat (1935). Here are some of the other films he produced: A Patch of Blue (1965) / Jailhouse Rock (1957) / The Blackboard Jungle (1955) / Knights of the Round Table (1953) / lvanhoe (1952) / Father of the Bride (1950) / The Three Musketeers (1948) / National Velvet (1944) / Gunga Din (1939) / The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) / Room Service (1938) / Stage Door (1937).
Frank Netter ’23 produced many illustrations for the Magpie and the Clintonian while a student. After becoming a medical doctor, he combined his knowledge of art and anatomy to become, as the New York Times called him, “medicine’s Michelangelo.” His detailed artwork of the human anatomy is known to virtually every medical doctor in the western world. In 2006, he was inducted into the Society of Illustrator’s Hall of Fame.
Avery Fisher ’24 established the Philharmonic Radio Company in 1937. The enterprise grew out of his hobby of building radios. He made significant improvements in amplifiers, tuners, and speakers. In 1945, he began the Fisher Radio Company. It entered the high-fidelity market with a line of components at premium prices. Audio fans acclaimed his products as the “Rolls-Royce of sound equipment.” He introduced the first transistorized amplifier in 1956 and offered the first stereophonic radio and phonograph combination in 1961. In 1973, as a result of his donation of $10.5 million to Lincoln Center, Philharmonic Hall was renamed Avery Fisher Hall.
Charles Alston ’25 was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a Clinton student, his artwork adorned the Clinton News and Magpie. As a professional artist, his most famous work was the mural he did for Harlem Hospital in 1936. Though a gifted artist, illustrator, and sculptor, his greatest talent may have been as a teacher. He was the first African-American instructor at the Art Students League of New York (1950-1971) and, in 1973, became a full professor at the City University of New York (CUNY). In 1975, he was the first recipient of Annual Distinguished Alumnus Award, Teachers College, Columbia University. He died in New York City on April 27, 1977.
Julius Hlavaty ’26 arrived in America in 1921 from Czechoslovakia, speaking six languages, none of them English. Learning English quickly, he excelled in his studies at Clinton, where he became a math teacher. When the Bronx High School of Science opened in 1938, he was its first math chairman. In the 1950s, when he refused to answer questions before a congressional committee investigating communist infiltration in American life, the Board of Education fired him. He was eventually exonerated and his teaching license reissued. He returned to Clinton to teach math, but after a few years, retired to devote himself to the study of “new” math. Hlavaty died in 1979. A good number of America’s ablest scientists in the second half of the 20th century had the privilege of being his students, either at Bronx Science or Clinton.
Irving R. Kaufman ’26 is most remembered as the judge who presided over the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and imposed their controversial death sentences. In 1949, he was appointed by President Harry Truman to serve as a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy named Kaufman to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, where he served until 1987. In 1987, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan. Kaufman died in 1992.
Frank Loesser ’26 won the Tony Award in 1951 for his music and lyrics in the Broadway hit Guys and Dolls. He went on to write The Most Happy Fella (1956) and to write and compose the Pulitzer Prize winning musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961). For the 1952 film Hans Christian Anderson, he wrote “Thumbelina” and he won the best song Academy Award for "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from the 1949 film Neptune's Daughter. In 1958, Loesser made a surprise visit to DeWitt Clinton with his musical director, Irving Actman, to watch the Clinton-Nite show. Actman’s son, John, Class of 1958, was the show’s director. Loesser died in 1969 at age 59 of lung cancer.
George Gregory Jr. ’27 was the first African American to be named an All-American in basketball when he played for Columbia University in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was a commissioner of the New York City Civil Service Commission and, for a time, served as president of the DWC Alumni Association.
George Kojac ’27 set and held a total of 23 world records in swimming, including beating Johnny Weissmuller’s 150 yd. backstroke record while a senior at DWC. He broke every National Scholastic freestyle and backstroke record, then won NCAA and NAAU backstroke and freestyle national championships from 1927 to 1931. In the 1928 Olympic Games, he won two gold medals: the 100 meter backstroke (1:08.2) and as a member of the winning 800 meter freestyle relay. Eventually becoming a medical doctor, Kojac enjoyed visiting the Mosholu Parkway Clinton and using the pool, a luxury he did not have as a student in the 59th Street building.
Morris Meislik ’29 loved to give speeches. He had ample opportunity because he spent his life promoting civic causes. "Service to the community is the rent you pay for the space you occupy on this globe." That was his motto. He was founder and chairman of several chapters of the American Red Cross in New Jersey. He was a member and past president of B'nai B'rith, Teaneck Lodge; a member and lieutenant governor of Kiwanis Club; a member of the Big Brother-Big Sister program of Teaneck; vice president of the Jewish Welfare Council; and a director of the Urban League of Bergen County. Mostly importantly, Meislik was president of the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association and one of Clinton’s most loyal alumni. You may ask, did he have a career? Yes, he was owner of Service Sheet Metal Production Co. of Clifton, NJ, which he founded in 1945. Our Clintonite passed away in 2000.
Burt Lancaster ’30 was one of Hollywood’s greatest stars...and one of its greatest actors. At Clinton, he played varsity basketball and participated in gymnastics, the latter being put to good use in his 1956 film Trapeze. For his performance in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry, he won the Best Actor Oscar. A few weeks after the awards ceremony, he sent the Alumni Association a special donation Among his most memorable films are Jim Thorpe—All American (1951); From Here to Eternity (1953); The Rose Tattoo (1955); Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957); Run Silent, Run Deep (1958); Judgment at Nuremberg (1961); Birdman of Alcatraz (1962); Airport (1970); and Field of Dreams (1989).
Robert Hofstadter ’31 has the distinction of being the only Clintonite...so far...to win a Nobel Prize. The honor came in 1961 in physics "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his...discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons." Hofstadter taught at Stanford University from 1950 to 1985. During that time, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A. 1958) and was named California Scientist of the Year (1959).
Dean Dixon ’32 broke color barriers in the music world when, in 1941, he became the first African American to conduct the New York Philharmonic. He knew how to play the violin before he entered Clinton, but it was at DWC that he gave his first violin solo and where his first musical composition was performed—with the assistance of the Clinton orchestra. In a 1942 Clinton News interview, he told students, “To get ahead, a fellow must work while the other fellow works and work while the other fellow sleeps.” In a 1945 interview, he again exhorted students to work hard at whatever they did. For those students who wanted to enter the field of serious music, he advised, “There is no substitute for hard, conscientious practice. I want to say also that such boys should interest themselves in all fields of art, instead of just in music, as a good background is very important.”
Adolph Green ’32 developed his love of writing and acting (really, hamming it up) on the Clinton stage, where he never saw a student show he didn’t want to be in. As for the writing, he complained in a letter to the Clinton News that the Magpie should be published more often because he and a lot of other students wanted to get their work published. After Clinton, he and Brooklynite Betty Comden teamed up to become two of the great screenwriters, playwrights, and lyricists...and hams...in show business history. In 1952, they wrote the screenplay for Singin’ in the Rain, regarded by many as the greatest film musical. For the stage, they wrote the lyrics for the hit musicals The Will Rogers Follies (1991), On the Twentieth Century (1978), Applause (1970), Bells Are Ringing (1956), Wonderful Town (1953), and On the Town (1944). He died in 2002.
Bill Finger ’33 is often called the co-creator of Batman, along with Clintonite Bob Kane. As the man who wrote the stories (including Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27, May 1939), he created the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, and the Riddler. He came up with the names Bruce Wayne and Gotham City and introduced the Bat-mobile. In 1940, his collaboration with Martin Nodell created the superhero Green Lantern in All-American Comics #16 (July 1942). Finger died in 1974, but was posthumously named to the Will Eisner (also a Clintonite) Award Hall of Fame and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame. A comic book writing award now bears his name.
Daniel Schorr ’33 has said of Clinton News faculty advisor Raphael Philipson, “He helped to give me a love of journalism. His own enthusiasm for the whole process of newsgathering was infectious. He fulfilled for me then the role that Edward R. Murrow came to fill later.” Like many other Newsers, Schorr went on to a successful career in journalism. His aggressive style of reporting, especially as a CBS television newsman, gained him the ire of many in government and the media, but the admiration of many who valued strong investigative journalism. Since 1985, he has been senior news analyst for National Public Radio. In 1983, Schorr returned to Clinton for the May alumni dinner and the June graduation ceremonies, where he accepted his gold “C” as a 50-year man.
B. Gerald Cantor ’34 sold hot dogs at Yankee Stadium while he attended DeWitt Clinton. After studying at NYU, he served in the US Army during World War II. In 1947, he joined up with John Fitzgerald to form an investment company of Cantor-Fitzgerald. Taking over the complete run of the business in 1949, he expanded it to include inter-dealer brokering in securities. In 1972, the company became the first brokerage firm to display live market information on computer screens. In 1983 it was first to offer worldwide screen bond services in United States government securities. In 1978, he and his wife established a foundation, which has given much support to the arts and to research in women’s health.
Bob Kane ’34 had a slightly different last name (Kahn) when he drew cartoons for the Clinton News. His new name was in place by the time he created Batman in 1939. By the mid 1940s, he turned over the illustration work to other artists. He and his team of writers also created such colorful and bizarre criminals as the Joker, Catwoman, Two Face, the Penguin, and the Riddler. In the mid 1960s, a “camp” version of Batman became a popular television series. In 1989, a highly successful, but darker and moodier film version of Batman was released. Many darker and moodier sequels have followed.
Sherwood Schwartz ’34 has many credits to his name, but he is undoubtedly most famous as the creator of the television sit-coms Gilligan’s Island (1963) and The Brady Bunch (1969). He also co-wrote the theme songs for both series. In his long career in TV, he has written, re-written and/or produced more than 700 TV shows, starting with The Joan Davis Show, The Red Skelton Show (winning an Emmy for writing), and My Favorite Martian. In his biography on the BradyWorld.Com Web site, Schwartz proudly states that he was honored as a distinguished alumnus by the DWC Alumni Association.
Ralph Morse ’35 never got to the moon, but the camera he developed did. He was responsible for the insulated camera that had the capability to withstand the intense, incinerating heat of blast-offs. As a professional photographer, with thirty years at LIFE magazine, he captured some of the most widely seen pictures of World War II, the space program, and sports events. Morse was the only civilian photographer present for the signing of the German surrender in 1945. Two of his most famous photographs are of Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson stealing home during the 1955 subway series and astronaut John Glenn on the cover of LIFE (March 2, 1962).
Wilmeth Sidat-Singh ’35 was a member of the basketball team at Clinton, but won fame on the gridiron for Syracuse. His football success, however, was no match for the racism of the day. Because he was a “Negro,” he was not allowed to play in a game against and at the University of Maryland and, after college, was denied a professional career in the NFL. He hoped to serve his country as a Tuskegee Airman, but during his final test flight, his plane developed trouble. He bailed out, became entangled in his parachute in the waters of Lake Huron, and drowned. In 1995, the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association honored his memory at its annual dinner. In 2005, Syracuse University retired his jersey in tribute to this young man of talent, grace, and courage.
Daniel J. Edelman ’36 is founder and chairman of the largest privately-held independent and sixth largest public relations firm in the world. Though its main office is in Chicago, the firm has offices in 14 other American cities and in 18 foreign countries. During World War II, he was an officer in the U.S. Army Psychological Warfare and Information Control Divisions, serving in England, France and Germany and received four battle stars and the Commendation Medal. Edelman is involved in many charitable organizations in the Chicago area.
Will Eisner ’36 was an acclaimed comics writer and artist, whose student work filled the Clinton News and the Magpie in the early to mid-1930s. Considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium, he is known for his highly influential series The Spirit and for his leading role in establishing the graphic novel as a form of literature. In 1988, the comics community created an annual award for the best comics creations. The award is named for him. In 2003, he was named a distinguished alumnus of DeWitt Clinton High School.
Amos Joel Jr ’36 received the National Medal of Technology in 1993 with the commendation, "For his vision, inventiveness and perseverance in introducing technological advances in telecommunications, particularly in switching, that have had a major impact on the evolution of the telecommunications industry in the U.S. and worldwide." The “switching” refers to automatic telephone switching, an invention that made switchboard operators almost obsolete and introduced such familiar phrases as “Press 1 to hear this message in Spanish” and “If you know your party’s extension number, key it in now, followed by the pound sound.” Holding 70 patents in this country and more internationally, Joel’s telecommunication inventions have truly changed the world.
Adrian Kantrowitz ’37 is one of the greatest innovators in the history of cardiac surgery. On December 6, 1967, he performed the world’s second human cardiac transplant and the first in North America. His inventions include a heart-lung machine, an internal pacemaker, and the first auxiliary left heart ventricle. He also published pioneer motion pictures taken inside the living heart. In 2007, Kantrowitz received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Downstate’s College of Medicine, where he was a faculty member at the time he performed the historic 1967 transplant.
Stubby Kaye ’37 fell in love with acting on the stage of the Clinton auditorium. He was featured in many films, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and Cat Ballou (1965), but he was most famous for singing “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” in a Broadway musical written by another Clintonite.
Enzo Magnazzi ’37 emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1930 at the age of ten. After playing soccer for Clinton, his talents brought him to playing professionally in the United States, Canada, Italy, and Cuba. He was a member of the Flatbush Wanderers in 1938 when they won the Metropolitan New York League championship. For the American Soccer League, he played for the Paterson Caledonians, New York Brookhattans, and the New York Hakoah. Following his retirement, Magnozzi became a promoter and was instrumental in bringing the great Brazilian player Pele to the United States. In 1977, he was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He died in December 1987.
Seymour Milstein ’37 served as G.O. president in his senior year and, after graduation, was an active member of the Alumni Association. For decades, his name could be found on Association letterheads as chair or member of this or that committee. He and his wife Vivian established the “Doc” Guernsey scholarship in 1960. With his brother, Class of 1940, he formed one of the most important realty companies in the New York metropolitan area. In addition, he and his brother gained the controlling interest in Emigrant Savings Bank. His business skill was easily matched by his spirit of generosity. His foundation gave the lead gift to build a hospital building at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Other beneficiaries include Columbia University, the Metropolitan Opera, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Martin Balsam ’38 discovered his love of acting on the DWC auditorium stage. He earned the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 1963 film A Thousand Clowns and the Best Actor Tony for the 1967 Broadway play You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running. His listing on Internet Movie Database gives more than 150 television and motion picture appearance, including the classic films On the Waterfront, Twelve Angry Men, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the original Psycho, and All the President’s Men, and 38 TV episodes of Archie Bunker’s Place.
Robert Q. Lewis ’38 had a successful career as a radio personality, television host and quiz show panelist, and stage and film actor. In the 1950s, in the early days of television, he appeared to be everywhere, at one time hosting three television shows. His film career included featured roles in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (film) (1972), and An Affair to Remember (1957). At Clinton, he went by the name Robert L. Goldberg. He died in 1970 of complications from emphysema.
August Martin ’38 became the first African American to be a commercial pilot when he began flying for Seaboard World Airlines in 1955. He had received his Air Force training during World War II. In 1968, during his vacation time from Seaboard, he chartered a plane to fly food to starving Biafrans caught up in a brutal civil war in Nigeria. His plane crashed just before landing and he and his wife were killed. A high school in Queens, New York, is named for him.
William Ruder ’38 likes to talk about the influence “Doc” Guernsey had on his life. “He gave me an opportunity to lead, to take tremendous responsibility, to be inventive. The greatest lesson he taught me was to trust people.” Along with David Finn, also from the Class of 1938, he founded a public relations firm in 1948. Soon renamed Ruder-Finn, the company would have singer Perry Como as its first client and go on to become the largest public relations firm in New York City. In 1960, Ruder was appointed by John F. Kennedy as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and served in that capacity for nearly two years. In 1980, he formed a personal consulting firm while continuing to be a stockholder and board member in the PR firm he founded in 1948.
Robert Blackburn ’39 was born in Summit, New Jersey, in 1920 and grew up in Harlem. From 1936 to 1939, his artwork filled the Clinton News and Magpie. He changed the course of American art through his graphic work and the Printmaking Workshop, which he founded in New York City in 1948. His pioneering contributions to the technical and aesthetic development of abstract color lithography is as legendary as his generosity in encouraging and training thousands of diverse artists to experiment in the graphic medium. He received a MacArthur fellowship in 1992. Blackburn died in New York City in 2003.
Sidney “Paddy” Chayefsky ’39 is the only person to win three Academy Awards for screenwriting (as the sole writer). In 1953 he wrote the teleplay Marty, which became the 1955 Oscar winning best film of the year. Everyone at the time knew the lines, “Hey, Marty, whada you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know. Whada you want to do?” He won his second writing Oscar for the 1971 film The Hospital and his third for the 1976 film Network. Lines from that film still resonate in America. “I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: ‘I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore.’”
Irwin Hasen ’39 spent most of the 1940s as a major artist at National/DC Comics’ sister company All-American Comics. His work can be found in the early comic book pages of the Green Lantern and the Flash. In 1955, he joined with Gus Edson to create Dondi. This comic strip became one of the most successful ever and lasted until 1986 when our Clintonite went into semi-retirement. Like Bob Kane and Will Eisner before him, Hasen’s earliest drawings can be found in the pages of the Clinton News.
Stan Lee ’39 did not use his real last name, Lieber, on the first comic strips he wrote. He was saving it for when he wrote the great American novel. But comic book writing became his life-long career. In fact, he saved the industry in the 1960s when he introduced the modern superhero with human frailties. Who were these creations? The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Thor, The Hulk, The X-Men, The Silver Surfer, Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos, Daredevil and Iron Man. In 2002 the first Spider-Man movie was released, and the sequels continue. The Hulk, X-Men and Fantastic Four have also made the silver screen.
Lawrence Tisch ’39 was, as they say, a self-made billionaire. His financial empire began with a single New Jersey resort, but near the end of his life in 2003, he oversaw a financial corporation with assets of over $70 billion, including the Loews hotel chain, a tobacco company, an insurance firm and an offshore drilling company. Between 1986 and 1995, he had controlling interest in CBS. He was also known for his philanthropy, with major donations to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York University, the NYU Medical Center and the Wildlife Conservation Society. His $4.5 million gift to the latter created the Children's Zoo in Central Park.
Robert Borg ’40 is a lawyer and member of the New York State bar, but he is more widely known as co-founder of one of the major construction companies in the New York metropolitan area. He is the author of numerous articles and sections of handbooks on construction, has served as a mediator and arbitrator in many cases involving the construction industry, and helped draft the Construction Industry Rules of the American Arbitration Association. His lifelong fascination with photography can be enjoyed at www.robertfborg.com. He was a member of the Clinton News staff, where he had ample opportunity to use his camera. He has remained among the most loyal of Clintonites.
Paul Milstein ’40 became president of the Circle Floor Company in 1961, a firm that his father had founded in 1919. From installing floors, he expanded to real estate and with his brother, Class of 1937, established one of the most important realty firms in the New York metropolitan area. His brother died in 2001 and his sons, Howard and Edward, are currently his business partners. His generosity has funded a hospital building at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, a center for real estate at Columbia Business School, and a hall at Cornell University College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
Richard Avedon ’41 once described the tower in DeWitt Clinton as his “favorite place in the whole world.” In his senior year, he often hid there, spending the night alone, writing and editing stories and poems for the Magpie. His literary skills won him the title “poet laureate” in a 1941 New York Times contest, but while serving in the US Merchant Marine, he found the camera. For more than a half century, his photographs made the ordinary elegant and revealed the powerful in all their humanity. His Marilyn Monroe was fragile, his Duke and Duchess of Windsor had the same wrinkles at the couple next door. He caught the person behind the façade, and in doing so justified photography as art.
James Lopez Watson ’41 was appointed to the United States Customs Court, now the United States Court of International Trade, on March 7, 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, becoming the first African-American since the Civil War to serve in a southern federal court. In 2003, the courthouse located at 1 Federal Plaza in New York City, where he served for 36 years until his death in 2001, was renamed for him. During World War II, he served in Italy with the 92nd Infantry Division, earning the Battle Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, European Theater Ribbon, and the Army Commendation Ribbon. “The most valuable lesson I learned during my stay in Clinton,” Watson told the Clinton News in a 1954 interview, “was how to live with all kinds of people.” He also had advice for the students. “Clinton gave me a start. It can do the same for you. Get the most out of this fine school. It has a great deal to offer its students.”
James Baldwin ’42 enjoyed his time in the Clinton tower with his friends Sol Stein, Richard Avedon, and Emil Capouya, all writing for the Magpie. He was an avid reader who became a prolific published author. Among his significant works are Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Fire Next Time, Another Country, Giovanni’s Room, and Notes of a Native Son. He spent much of his adult years in France, where he felt free to explore his inner-most feelings. Though controversial during his life for his political and social views, he is widely reconized today as one of the great writers of the 20th century.
Basil Paterson ’42 is a member of the law firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. and co-chair of the firm’s Labor practice. He has served as New York’s Secretary of State and as New York City Deputy Mayor for Labor Relations and Personnel. He has also served as a New York State Senator, Vice Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, and as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He has received the Pierre Toussaint Award from the Catholic Archdiocese of New York and has been named a distinguished alumnus by the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association.
Jack Rudin ’42 and his brother followed in their father’s footsteps in New York City real estate building, ownership, and management. Enormous success in that business has not kept him away from DeWitt Clinton. He visits the school every year and, lately, it has been as “Principal for a Day.” Though he dines regularly at the finest restaurants, in 2006 he came to lunch at Clinton and ate with the students in their cafeteria. His charitable work is legendary, from giving to medical research and supporting programs for the homeless to promoting dialogue between Catholic and Jewish communities in New York.
Martin Whitman ’42 served on a U.S. Navy transport ship in the Pacific during World War II. With help from the G.I. Bill of Rights, he graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University in 1949. He then worked for a string of investment firms in New York City and Philadelphia until he founded his own investment company in 1974. Today, he serves as co-chief investment officer of Third Avenue Management LLC, which manages more than $6 billion in assets. As a result of a generous multi-million-dollar donation to Syracuse University, its business school has been named in his honor.
Stan Brooks ’43 has been the voice of New York City for more than 40 years. During his Clinton days, he wrote a column named “Babbling Brooks” for the Clinton News. After serving in the U.S. Army and then graduating from Syracuse University, he worked as a reporter and editor for Newsday for 11 years. Thereafter, he became director of news at radio station WINS. On April 19, 1965, WINS went to an all-news format and our Clintonite was there to inaugurate the event. Brooks is still there, telling New Yorkers the latest news, looking for the next great story, as energetic as the city of New York itself.
Frank D. Gilroy ’43 is a writer and playwright, producer and director, whose play The Subject Was Roses (1964) won a Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Tony Award for Best Play. His early writing credits include scripts for the late 1950s TV westerns Have Gun – Will Travel and Wanted: Dead or Alive. In 2004, he came to Clinton to watch students perform scenes from his plays and to comment on their efforts. It was a special moment in the school’s history when this award-winning playwright gave of his time to interact with...perhaps...future Clinton playwrights.
Sol Stein ’43 is a man of many words, most of them of the written kind. He is a novelist, whose most famous work, The Magician, has sold more than a million copies. He is a playwright, whose work, Napoleon, won the Dramatists Alliance Prize for "the best full-length play of 1953." In recent years, Stein has used his writing skills and his past experience as head of a major publishing house for over a quarter of a century to produce several books on the art and science of good writing. And as fitting a person always on the move, he is the creator of three computer software programs for writers, the award-winning WritePro®, FirstAid for Writers®, and FictionMaster®.
Julius Barnathan ’44 is the “Father of Closed-Captioning” for pioneering its use in television. Along the way to becoming president of ABC Broadcast Operations and Engineering, he developed the use of cameras inside racecars and on skis, instant replay and slow motion. At the 1982 DWC Alumni Dinner, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Fred Ebb ’44 had a way with lyrics, which propelled him to the front ranks of Broadway songwriters. With John Kander writing the music, he wrote the lyrics for such legendary shows as Cabaret (1966), Chicago (1975), Woman of the Year (1981), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993), Steel Pier (1997), and Curtains (2007). One of Ebb’s most famous songs New York, New York came from the 1977 movie of the same name. It has found enduring appeal, being played after every home game at Yankee Stadium and at the annual Belmont Stakes.
Edward S. Feldman ’44 first gained fame as the executive producer of the 1973 film Save the Tiger. Since then, he has produced or been the executive producer of some of Hollywood’s most successful films. They include: Witness (1985); Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992); The Jungle Book (1994); 101 Dalmatians (1996); The Truman Show (1998); 102 Dalmatians (2000); K-19: The Widowmaker (2002). In 2003, Feldman was named a distinguished alumnus of DeWitt Clinton High School.
Lewis Rudin ’44 and his brother built one of the major real estate businesses in New York City. He was an early supporter of the New York Marathon and played a key role in moving it out of Central Park and into the streets of the city. He was also instrumental in moving the United States Open Tennis Tournament to its current home in Flushing, Queens. In 1974, when the city was facing financial ruin, he rounded up property owners and executives who pledged to pay their real estate taxes early. For his leadership in helping the city to survive the financial crisis, he was called “Mr. New York.”
Neil Simon ’44 is the world’s most successful playwright. His plays are almost household words—Barefoot in the Park (1963), The Odd Couple (1965), Sweet Charity (1966), Plaza Suite (1968), The Sunshine Boys (1972), The Good Doctor (1973), California Suite (1976), They’re Playing Our Song (1979), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), Biloxi Blues (1985), Broadway Bound (1986), and Lost in Yonkers (1991). He also wrote the screenplays for The Goodbye Girl (1977) and for the many of his plays that became feature films. Before writing for the stage and screen, he wrote for television (Your Show of Shows, The Garry Moore Show, Caesar’s Hour, and The Phil Silvers Show) during the 1950s.
Charles Strouse ’44 studied at the Eastman School of Music after graduating from DeWitt Clinton. His musical education eventually led to composing fine pieces of classical music over the years. But the odds are that his popular music will be his most lasting legacy. Two of Broadway’s greatest musical hits, Bye Bye Birdie and Annie, claim him as composer. Strouse also wrote the 1958 top-ten song “Born Too Late,” the film score for 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, and the opening theme to the TV sitcom All in the Family, titled "Those Were the Days."
Adolph “Dolph” Schayes ’45 was a member of the 1955 NBA champion Syracuse Nationals and 12-time All-Star. He did not miss a single game from February 17, 1952 until December 26, 1961 (a streak of 706 games). He led the NBA in rebounding (16.4 rpg) during 1950-51 season, and led the NBA in free throw percentage three times. Upon retirement in 1964, he held the NBA records for career scoring (19,249 points) and games played (1,059). He also coached the Philadelphia 76ers and won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1966. In 1973, Schayes was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and in 1996 chosen as one of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Lee Leonard ’46 has the distinction of being the first voice to be heard on ESPN when the sports channel made its debut on September 7, 1979. A year later, he moved to CNN where he hosted People Tonight, the network's first Los Angeles-based live entertainment news talk show. In the early 1970s, he partnered on CBS-TV with Jack Whitaker on The NFL on CBS, a studio-based show wrapping around the network's coverage of the National Football League with pregame features and halftime and postgame highlights from around the league. The list could go on, for Leonard was the man that numerous TV stations chose to inaugurate a news, talk, or sports program.
Larry Ellis ’47 developed an interest in running in a most unusual way. As a youngster, every morning from 4:30 to 6:30, he delivered milk on a horse and buggy. He would then take the bus home to get ready for school. Many mornings the bus failed to arrive and he had to run the two and a half miles to his home. One morning when the bus came, he decided to race it home—and he won. Buoyed by his victory over the bus, he tried out for the Clinton track team. With his first timed mile a respectable 5:15, a career was born. By the time Ellis graduated from New York University in 1951, he had run the mile in 4:14. But his fame would not be restricted to his fast feet. Ellis would go on to coach the Princeton University track team from 1970 to 1992, and in 1984 coached the men’s US Olympic track team, which included gold medalists Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses.
Leonard Fleisher ’47 helped found the National Basketball Association Players’ Association and served as its president from 1962 to 1968. During his tenure, the Association won pensions, minimum salaries, and disability pay for its members. Thereafter, for nineteen more years, he served, without salary, as general counsel for the Association. In that position, he helped broker a labor agreement that installed a salary cap on NBA franchises and provided for penalties for players caught using hard drugs. In 1991, Fleisher was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to the game of basketball. He died in 1989.
Donald McKayle ’47 was named one of “America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Library of Congress and the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000. He has choreographed more than 50 works for companies in the United States, Europe, Israel and South America. Making his professional debut in 1948, he performed in the companies of Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. For the Broadway stage, he directed the musical Raisin and conceived the musical Sophisticated Ladies, doing the choreography for both shows. Currently, he serves as professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine.
Bill Graham ’49 was born Wolfgang Grajonca in Berlin. His father died shortly after his birth and his mother would die in Auschwitz. Arriving in the United States, he lived in a foster home in the Bronx. By the time he graduated from Clinton, he had taken a name that today is instantly recognized as belonging to the greatest rock concert promoter of the 20th century. To many, his greatest accomplishment was producing such charitable events as the Live Aid Concert for African Famine Relief that raised millions of dollars. Tragically, Graham died in a helicopter crash in 1991. In 1992, the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco was renamed for him.
Gil Noble ’49 is the producer and host of WABC-TV's weekly public affairs series, Like It Is. The program, he tells his viewers, offers people of all races the opportunity to look at current and past events through an African-American perspective. He has received over 650 community awards, numerous industry awards, including seven Emmys, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, and five honorary doctorates. His guest list on the program, which is in interview form, includes nine heads of state, entertainers (i.e., Bill Crosby), athletes (i.e., Muhammad Ali), and political and community leaders (i.e., Jesse Jackson).
Russell Berrie ’50 was only ten years old when he spent his Saturdays at Yankee Stadium collecting discarded scorecards. He would resell them, all cleaned up, outside the stadium the next day for the same ten cents each they cost inside. In 1963, Berrie established a company in New Jersey that grew to design and distribute approximately 6,000 items, including teddy bears, stuffed animals, baby gifts, picture frames, candles, figurines and home décor gifts. His philanthropic endeavors included a $5 million endowment to William Paterson University, a $4 million grant to Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck to establish a regional cancer center, $5 million to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center Foundation, and $13.5 million for diabetes research and treatment.
Budd Friedman ’50 is the founder and original emcee of the Improvisation Comedy Club, which opened in 1963 on West 44th Street in Manhattan. The club, which is now franchised across the country, provides a venue where aspiring performers can showcase their talent before an audience and the entertainment industry. He was instrumental in launching the comedy careers of Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze, Steve Landesberg, and Jimmie Walker. In 2007, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame.
Sam Gross ’50 has used his wit and drawing talent to become a world-renowned cartoonist. His cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. He was also the cartoon editor of National Lampoon and Parents Magazine. His cartoon collections include An Elephant is Soft and Mushy, Your Mother is a Remarkable Woman, and I am Blind and My Dog is Dead. In the late 1990s, Gross became involved in electronic publishing ventures with cartoons playing an important role.
Tom Pappas ’50 is presently the chapter leader of the RTC-UFT, the Retired Teachers Chapter of the United Federation of Teachers. In this capacity, he makes sure that retired teachers are not forgotten for the service they rendered the children of the New York City public school system. Before “retiring,” he served as an officer in the UFT in the position of secretary, and before that as assistant to the president. He is a winner of the UFT’s highest honor, the Charles Cogen Award.
Howard V. Lee ’51 was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during August 1966 while serving with the Marines in Vietnam. In part, the medal citation stated: “His indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps.” Lee also earned the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V and Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with one bronze and one silver star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. In 1975, Lee retired from the Marines with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Avery Corman ’52 was named a distinguished alumnus in 1982, two years after he published his novel The Old Neighborhood. The work, which told the story of a young man growing up in the Fordham area of the Bronx and attending DeWitt Clinton High, was a great read for any Bronxite. But his two earlier novels were international hits. The first, Oh God! (1972) became a major motion picture with George Burns and John Denver. The second, Kramer vs. Kramer (1975), enjoyed phenomenal success, and was the basis for the 1981 Academy Award winning film of the same name. Following several more successful novels, Corman turned to the musical stage. With another Bronx lad, Cy Coleman, writing the music, he wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics to The Great Ostrovsky, which had its world premiere in Philadelphia in March 2004.
Judd Hirsch ’52 is a renowned actor of stage, screen and television. On the stage, he won Tony Awards as Leading Actor in the plays I’m Not Rappaport and Conversations with My Father. In motion pictures, he received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role in Ordinary People. His other films include Without a Trace, Teachers, Running on Empty, Independence Day, and A Beautiful Mind. Hirsch is presently seen in the CBS TV series Numbers, but his most famous TV role was as Alex Reiger in the sit-com Taxi, for which he earned an Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
Don Lane ’52 is not a familiar name to American television audiences, but in Australia he was one of the most popular entertainers from the 1960s to the 1980s. For a time, he was the highest paid performer on Australian television. He began his career as a nightclub performer and singer, and even appeared on the Ed Sullivan television show in the late 1950s. But in 1965 he was called to Australia to fill in as a talk-show host, and thus began an extraordinary career in television down under. At Clinton he was known as Donald Morton Isaacson.
Garry Marshall ’52 is one of Hollywood’s most successful producers and directors. He was the sports editor for the Clinton News before moving on to college at Northwestern. His early days in television were spent writing for such sit-coms as The Lucy Show. In 1970, he wrote, produced, and directed the sit-com, The Odd Couple, which ran for five seasons. A string of other hit sit-coms followed: Happy Days (1974-1984), Laverne and Shirley (1976-1983), and Mork and Mindy (1978-1982). His motion picture credits as writer, producer and/or director include: Nothing in Common (1986), Beaches (1988), Overboard (1987), Pretty Woman (1990), Runaway Bride (1999), The Princess Diaries, I (2001) and II (2004). Oh...and he also acts...and tells great stories.
Howard Sherman ’52 wears many hats. He was an original limited partner in the Phoenix Suns. He is a medical doctor, who served as commander of Ground Recovery Forces, Space Shuttle Columbia, I, II, III and IV. He was also the medical consultant for Pope John Paul's visit to San Antonio, Texas, in September 1987. In 1999, after 35 years of service, he retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of senior colonel. In 2002, Sherman co-founded the DeWitt Clinton Texas Alumni Affiliate and in that same year was named a distinguished alumnus of DeWitt Clinton High School. Of him, it can truly be said, “He bleeds red and black.”
Leo Kadanoff ’53 was a recipient of the National Medal of Science in 1999. He is a theoretical physicist who has contributed widely to research in the properties of matter, the development of urban areas, and upon statistical models of physical systems. His best-known contribution was in the development of the concepts of "scale invariance" and "universality" as they are applied to phase transitions. Kadanoff has also been involved in the understanding of the onset of chaos in simple mechanical and fluid systems. His textbook, Quantum Statistical Mechanics, is considered a classic and has been translated into many languages.
Jerome Moss ’53 can boast that he received the largest ever first-place purse in the Kentucky Derby when his horse Giacomo unexpectedly won the race in 2005. Moss also had a winner when he and musician Herb Albert founded A&M Records in the 1960s. In 1989, they sold the label, which they had begun for a reported $200 each, to PolyGram for a reported $500 million. They then formed a new record label, Almo Sounds. In 2006, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as non-performers
Woodrow White ’53 is a bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1984. He is the denomination’s first African-American bishop. When the Church established a General Commission on Religion and Race in 1968, he became its first general secretary, serving in that capacity until 1984. Between 1984 and 2004, when he retired, he served as bishop in Illinois and Indiana. In addition to writing extensively for denominational and ecumenical periodicals, he has preached in South America and examined race relations in Australia and New Zealand for the World Council of Churches.
Allen Weinstein ’54, in February 2005, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and began his service as the 9th Archivist of the United States leading the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). From 1985 to 2003, he served as president of The Center for Democracy, a non-profit foundation based in Washington DC that he created in 1985 to promote and strengthen the democratic process. He was university professor and professor of History at Boston University from 1985-89, university professor at Georgetown University from 1981-1984 and, from 1981 to 1983, executive editor of The Washington Quarterly at Georgetown’s Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served as a member of the Washington Post editorial staff in 1981. From 1966 to 1981, Weinstein was professor of history at Smith College and chairman of its American Studies Program.
David Berliner ’55 has authored more than 200 articles, books and chapters in the fields of educational psychology, teacher education, and educational policy, including the best-seller The Manufactured Crisis. An educational psychologist, our Clintonite is a past president of the American Educational Research Association and, at present, a Regents' Professor at Arizona State University in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies division. Berliner’s honors include being an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is also the winner of the E. L. Thorndike award in educational psychology.
Robert Esnard ’56 embodies “the joy of giving back.” With unmatched enthusiasm, he remains the most loyal of alumni. He gives his time not only to DWC, but also serves on the boards of trustees of the New York Botanical Garden, the Wildlife Conservation Society, El Museo del Barrio, and the Armory High School Sports Foundation. Much of his career as an architect has been spent in the public eye, as deputy mayor for policy & physical development, Koch Administration; NYC commissioner of buildings; deputy borough president of the Bronx, and director of the Bronx office of the Department of City Planning. Esnard is currently president of the Zucker Organization, a real estate and development company.
Ralph Lauren ’57 possesses one of the most recognized names in the world, even if it is not the same one (Lifshitz) he had at Clinton. In 1967, he first put his name on handmade ties made of luxurious materials and his fashion empire for men was underway. In the 1970s, he introduced his line of women’s fashions. In 1983, he became the first fashion designer to launch an entire home collection, which included bedding, towels, area rugs, wall coverings and tabletop and table coverings. Through all of this business growth, he has understood the importance of giving back. His charitable foundation contributes to many worthy causes.
Edward Chin ’58 served as state director of the Wisconsin Technical College System from 1996 until retirement in 2002. WTCS consists of 16 state technical colleges serving nearly 450,000 Wisconsin residents a year. Before his tenure as director, he served 13 years at WTCS as the assistant state director and administrator of finance, planning and policy. He is currently president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Foundation, Inc., which is dedicated to the advancement of vocational, technical, and adult education in Wisconsin
Robert Klein ’58 focused his early comedic career on making fun of DeWitt Clinton High School, and Clintonites loved him for it. In 1975, he was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on the precedent setting Home Box Office “On Location” series. But he has shown himself to be more than a just another funny man. He acts in films, on television, and on Broadway; he sings; and he writes best-sellers. Nominated for Grammys, Emmys, and Tonys, he has won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance in the play, They’re Singing Our Song, and the Obie Award For Performance and The Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor, both for the play, The Sisters Rosensweig.
Edward Lewis ’58 heads one of the most successful and diverse African American-owned communications companies in the U.S.—Essence Communications Inc. His rise to prominence began in 1969 when he co-founded Essence magazine with Clarence O. Smith. Essence has evolved into one of the leading lifestyle magazines for African American women. Lewis is a stalwart advocate of civil rights and community involvement, contributing both time and financial support to a number of civic, educational and arts organizations. He is one of Clinton’s most ardent supporters, coming each year to serve as “Principal for a Day.”
Steven Roth ’58 is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Vornado Realty Trust. He is the co-founder and managing general partner of Interstate Properties and chairman and chief executive officer of Alexander's, Inc. In 2005 and again in 2006, Barron's magazine named him one of the world's thirty most respected CEO's. He is a trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, trustee of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and board member of New York University School of Medicine Foundation. When he speaks at functions, his introduction always includes that he is a graduate of DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.
Ira Berlin ’59 is a professor of history at the University of Maryland and a leading historian of southern and African-American life. He has devoted his scholarly career to developing analytical frameworks for the study of North American slavery and bringing to light the full documentary record of the slave experience in peacetime and war. In 2004, he was named a Mellon Distinguished Senior Fellow for the spring semester at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among his many writings is Slavery in New York, published in paperback in 2005.
Robert A. Olstein ’59 has always had a passion for DWC. It turns out, he also has a passion for making good investments. Today, he is the chairman of a capital management program that bears his name. He has long been recognized as one of the financial community’s most astute and original research analysts and money managers, and is a leading expert on forensic accounting. In 2005, Michigan State University, his college and graduate school alma mater, recognized his distinguished career by presenting him with its Outstanding Alumni Association Award.
Barry Schwartz ’59 had $10,000 in 1968 to help a friend open a fashion design company. The friend was Calvin Klein and the two of them joined forces to create Calvin Klein, Inc. He left the hem line to Klein and focused on the bottom line. It was only a matter of time before the company could boast $3 billion dollars in annual retail sales. In 2002, the company was sold to Philips-Van Heusen for $400 million cash and a long list of other financial benefits. From 2000 to 2004, Schwartz served as chairman and chief executive officer of the New York Racing Association.
Gary Gubner ’60 was already a nationally known athlete while at Clinton. In 1959, he set the national high school shot put record and became the national indoor champion with a put of 64’ 11 ¾’’. He was featured in the New York Times (January 17, 1960) as a schoolboy champion shot putter who had difficulty finding a gym with a ceiling high enough to contain his tosses. Often the 12-pound shot cracked ceilings, destroyed lighting fixtures, or dented walls. In 1960, he set the shot put mark of 65’7”, which remains the all-time PSAL record. He continued to break records during his NYU college years. Gubner presently owns a residential construction business in Wilton, Connecticut.
Everett Hatcher ’60 was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was shot and killed during a 1989 undercover operation in Staten Island. He had joined the DEA as a special agent in the New York Regional Office in 1977. He received Special Achievement Awards in 1982 and 1983 for his investigative work and a third in 1987 for his work in the DEA's recruiting program. Special Agent Everett Hatcher Place, West 17th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in Manhattan, home to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Regional Office, now bears his name as testimony to his courage and dedication.
Richard Marks ’60 has been one of the leading film editors in Hollywood for more than three decades. His talent is on display in such classics as As Good as It Gets (1997), Father of the Bride (1991), Dick Tracy (1990), Broadcast News (1987), Pretty in Pink (1986), St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Terms of Endearment (1983), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Serpico (1973) (co-editor), and Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). His next project is Made of Honor, to be released in 2008.
Danny Schechter ’60 goes by the nickname "The News Dissector." He is a television producer, independent filmmaker, and media critic. As a producer for the ABC newsmagazine 20/20, he won two national Emmy Awards and was nominated for two others. He helped found, and serves as the executive producer of, Globalvision, a New York-based television and film production company. His most recent documentaries include In Debt We Trust (2006); WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception (2004); Counting on Democracy about the 2000 Florida election recount, narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; and the post 9/11 film We Are Family (2002), shown at the Sundance Film Festival. When talking about his alma mater, Schecter likes to call it the Mighty DeWitt Clinton.
James Wechsler ’61 has served on the New Mexico Court of Appeals since December 1994, and presently is chief judge of that court. As an assistant attorney general from 1976 to 1983, he represented the State of New Mexico in the civil and criminal prosecution of antitrust and economic crime cases and in public utility ratemaking proceedings. He served two terms as an elected State Bar commissioner and has served on the Supreme Court Committees on Rules of Appellate Procedure, Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Civil Uniform Jury Instructions, and Public Confidence in the Legal System.
William Macauley ’62 is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Reserve. Specializing exclusively in the energy industry, First Reserve is one of the ten largest private equity firms in the world with $12.5 billion under management. In addition to his roles as financial advisor and investment manager, he can be counted among the truly generous philanthropists of our time. In 2006, he gave $30 million to his alma mater CCNY, the largest gift in the school’s history.
Lewis Frankfort ’63 held various positions in New York City government before joining accessories retailer Coach in 1979. Since becoming Coach’s CEO in 1997, he has successfully built the company into the premier American accessories brand with annual sales of about $1.7 billion. It was his vision and leadership that brought Coach from being a cottage-industry manufacturer of leather goods to being a leading designer and marketer of fine accessories and gifts worldwide. Frankfort also serves on the Board of Directors of Teach for America, a public-private partnership aimed at eliminating educational inequity in America, and is a member of the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School.
Dario Gonzalez ’64 is the medical director for training for the New York City Fire Department. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. In 1979 he graduated from medical school (SUNY Stony Brook) and studied in Emergency Medicine at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx. On April 19, 1995, he went to Oklahoma City as part of the rescue effort for the Murrow Federal Building Bombing. He was also served at the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001. He has lectured in Kiev, Ukraine, Bucharest, Romania and Vladivostok, Russia on disaster preparedness.
Nathaniel Archibald ’66 was elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. His credentials were indisputable: NBA champion (1981); All-NBA First Team (1973, ’75, ’76); All-NBA Second Team (1972, ’81); Six-time All-Star; All-Star Game MVP (1981); only player ever to lead the league in both scoring and assists in a season (34.0 ppg, 11.4 apg in 1972-73). In 1996, he was chosen as one of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. For his work with youth, he was honored by New York City Mayor David Dinkins in 1993.
Bruce Taub ’66 covered sports for the Clinton News. His articles carried such headlines as “Undefeated Cagers Walk Away with Division Title,” “Cagers Humble Hall, 72-58,” and “Hoopsters Halt Brandeis, Richmond Hill in Playoffs.” Today, he serves as Executive Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer for the CBS Television Network. In this role, Taub is involved in setting development and financial objectives and helping to identify key operational and strategic issues for CBS Television.
Jose “Pepe” Figueroa ’68 founded Priority One Services in 1986, a Virginia-based company that has become an industry leader in providing innovative facility management, transportation and animal science projects. Inspired by his father who was a world class violinist, he grew up appreciating the beauty of music and its importance in a person’s life. Figueroa now serves as vice president of the Fairfax (VA) Symphony Orchestra. A strong proponent of giving back to the community, he is also vice chair of development for the Hispanic Youth Foundation. In August 2006, he was featured on the NBC television series Hispanics Today.
Michael Yackira ’68 became CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources in August 2007. Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for most of southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the electric utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. Sierra Pacific Power Company also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada. Yackira is active in community and philanthropic activities and serves on the board of directors of both United Way and the American Heart Association.
Ira Steven Behr ’70 likes to wear sunglasses indoors. He also likes to produce television series and write the scripts, which he did to great acclaim for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His first work as a writer was for the James Garner television series Bret Maverick. Thereafter, he wrote for the series Fame and produced and wrote for the short lived series Bob Patterson. Behr’s recent ventures have included producing and writing for the highly successful series, The 4400, seen on cable stations.
Thomas "Tom" Henderson ’70 is an administrator at a juvenile facility in Houston, Texas, that takes in at-risk teenagers. Over the past several decades, he and his wife have opened their home to nearly 60 foster children. Besides being a “pro” in his work with people in need, he knows how to handle a basketball. Does he! He was a member of the 1972 US Olympic basketball team that won the silver medal, although, according to many, Soviet mischief “robbed” them of the gold. As a professional, he played for the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Bullets, and Houston Rockets. He was a member of the Rockets when they won the NBA championship in 1978.
Andrew Ackerman ’71 has become a voice for children in his role as executive director of the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM). “Children,” he says, “are not miniature adults. They learn in a different way than adults do and each age is different, too.” Opened in 1973 and located in the Tisch Building at 212 West 83rd, CMOM has grown to become New York City’s leading cultural institution dedicated solely to the family audience. Its mission is to inspire children and their families to learn about themselves and our culturally diverse world through a unique environment of interactive exhibitions and programs. With 350,000 visitors annually, it has easily achieved its mission.
Kent Armstrong ’71 has the distinction of being a brand name. It can be found on the music pickups he has been designing since the early 1970s. He has hand made or modified pickups for many of the music world's greatest stars, including Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Rory Gallagher, and Jimi Hendrix. He was born in Ohio, spent his early years in Florida, spent his high school years in the Bronx, then went off to England where his fame as a repairer and then designer of pickups was first established. Today, nearly all of the top jazz guitar builders in America offer Armstrong’s pickups on their guitars as an option.
James Germany ’71 was a star running back in the Canadian Football League. He played his college football at New Mexico State University, where he was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1994. His seven year career with the Edmonton Eskimos, starting in 1977, saw him paired with Neil Lumsden and quarterbacks Warren Moon and Tom Wilkinson. Together they formed the backfield backbone of the Eskimos' 5 Grey Cup championship dynasty. Germany rushed for 1000 yards 3 times, 1004 yards in 1977, 1324 yards in 1979, and 1019 yards in 1980, and he was an all star in 1981.
Irving Jones ’71 has been guided throughout his career in education by the principle “in order to teach them, you have to reach them.” Beginning as high school English teacher, he quickly advanced to assistant principal and then principal in Utica, New York. In 1997, he became the founding principal of the new Monticello High School in Albemarle County in Virginia. He was honored as the 2003 National High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and MetLife. Currently, Jones serves as the executive director of secondary education for Richmond (Virginia) schools
Alan Kaufman ’71 is a novelist, memoirist and poet who was instrumental in the development of the Spoken Word movement in literature. He is the author of the memoir Jew Boy, the novel Matches, and is the editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, a landmark volume that introduced readers to an entirely new and largely hidden vein of American poetry. He is the son of a Holocaust survivor and, for a time, he served in the Israeli Army. In the early 2000s, Kaufman returned to Clinton to give a recital of his poetry before a full auditorium of students.
Julian Rodescu ’71 is a native of Bucharest, Hungary whose education after DWC included earning Bacherlor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard. His vocal talents were discovered in the cafeteria at Juilliard and he was immediately offered a full scholarship to study voice there. Since then, he has sung with the opera companies of LaScala with Riccardo Muti conducting, The Maggio Musicale in Florence under Zubin Mehta and Semyon Bychkov, The NY City Opera, Aachen Stadttheater in Germany, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Boston Symphony with Seiji Ozawa. When he is not singing on stage, he gives private lessons in Philadelphia and teaches voice at Swarthmore College.
Henry Cornell ’72 has been with Goldman Sachs & Co., an international securities firm, since 1984. He was made a partner of GS & Co. in 1994 and assumed the duties of Managing Director in 1998. In addition to being a member of the Global Merchant Banking Investment Committees for the firm’s corporate and real estate investment activities, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Ping An Insurance Company of China, The Kookmin Bank of Korea, The Dusit Thani Group, and Rajadamri Public Company Ltd. He is also a Trustee of The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, a Trustee of the Asia Society, and a Trustee of the Citizens Committee for New York City. In 2007, Cornell awarded $10,000 in scholarships to five Clinton students as winners of his “How to Improve Our Neighbor” essay contest.
Michael A. Battle ’73 served as director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) at the Department of Justice from June 2005 to March 2007. He had previously served for three and a half years as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York. In June 1996, he was appointed by Governor George Pataki to serve as a judge on the Erie County (New York) Family Court and was elected the following November to a full 10-year term. In 1992, he helped to establish the Rochester and Buffalo Federal Public Defender's Offices, where he served until 1995. In 2004, he was named a distinguished alumnus of DeWitt Clinton High School.
George Gresham ’73 joined 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East in 1975 after becoming a housekeeper at Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan. As he worked to get his BS from Lehman College, which he did in 1984, he rose in the ranks of 1199. He joined the union’s staff as an organizer in 1988, became a vice president in 1990, an executive vice president in 1993, and secretary treasurer in 2000. In June 2007, he was sworn in as the fifth president in the 75-year history of 1199, which is the country’s largest local with a membership of 300,000.
David Refkin ’74 began working for Time Inc in 1982 in corporate finance. By 2001, he had risen to the rank of president of TI Paperco Inc with the responsibility for purchasing the paper for the Time Inc.’s 135 magazines worldwide and eight book companies. For his efforts to combine environmental and corporate purchasing needs, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the H. John Heinz III Heinz Center Science, Economics and the Environment. In 2004, he was named Director of Sustainable Development for Time Inc. In this current position, Refkin oversees the environmental and sustainable development activities of the company.
Victor Rosario ’74 played right field on Clinton’s baseball team, a remarkable accomplishment because he had only one arm. When he graduated, he took with him the self-confidence he had developed as a Clinton athlete. He was determined to help other youngsters with handicaps. In 1993, Rosario created the One Arm Bandits, a softball team of world-wide repute for young people missing an arm or part of an arm. From that first team begun in Miami, Florida, One Armed Bandit teams now play in Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. In recognition of its unique contribution to sports, the One Arm Bandits have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Juan R. Sanchez ’74 is one of only a handful of Hispanic Americans who presently hold the title of federal court judge. In July 2004, by a vote of 98-0, the Senate confirmed him as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania U.S. From 1998 to 2004, he had served as elected judge of the Chester (PA) County Court of Common Pleas. After graduating cum laude from CCNY in 1978, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, from which he received his Juris Doctor in 1981. His awards include the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges Presidents Award 2002-2003 and the Governors Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs Pride Award in 2001. In 2005, he was name a Distinguished Alumnus by the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association.
Rolando T. Acosta ’75 was elected as a New York State Supreme Court Justice in New York County in 2002. While at Clinton, this scholar-athlete led the 1975 baseball team to the city championship at Shea Stadium. Prior to being elected to a New York County Civil Court judgeship in 1997, he held various governmental and community posts, including First Deputy Commissioner for Law Enforcement for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. In 2003, he was named a distinguished alumnus by the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association. In 2004, he was selected as the Latino Judge of the Year by the National Hispanic Bar Association.
Charles Rangel ’75 has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1971, representing the Fifteenth Congressional District of New York. In January 2007, he became chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He is the first African American to chair the committee. He dropped out of DeWitt Clinton during his junior year, then enlisted in the United States Army and, rising to the rank of sergeant, served from 1948 to 1952. During the Korean War, his unit was engaged in heavy fighting in North Korea. In the Battle of Kunu-Ri, he led some 40 men from his unit out of a Chinese Army encirclement Wounded, he earned a Purple Heart and for his bravery, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor. In 1975, he was awarded an honorary DWC diploma and named a distinguished alumnus
Larry Schachner ’75 served as judge of the New York City Housing Court from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he ran for New York City Civil Court judge, District 1 representing the Bronx. The New York Times endorsed him, saying that he had been a “highly able Housing Court judge.” The Times went on to say that he “has the potential to play a positive leadership role within the court system, and we are pleased to endorse him.” Our Clintonite won that election. His good work on the Civil Court bench led to his appointment in 2007 as acting New York State Supreme Court justice, Bronx County. Despite his busy schedule, Schachner has made the time to return to DeWitt Clinton to talk to students about the rule of law and law as a profession.
Curtis Urbina ’75 was instrumental in several successful music labels, which he owned or co-owned, such as Emergency Records and Quark Records. These labels created the first opportunities for many of today’s leading DJ/ producers and remixers. He is currently adjunct professor at New York University where he teaches courses on the music industry, the business of music publishing, careers in the music business, and developing a record label. He also recently joined Minnesota DJ/Remixer Thomas Spiegel (aka DJ Man-X) to form Deep Haven Music.
Mario Custodio ’76 was only 15 years old and still a Clinton student when he was cast in a starring role in the film The Black Pearl (1978), which continues to be a perennial favorite on U.S. and Latin American television. Following the release of the film, he was taken with the production side of filmmaking and joined up with director Saul Swimmer to develop the MobileVision Projection System, a pre-IMAX giant-screen technology for projecting movies on a 60x80-foot screen. His successes include being production supervisor of Queen’s legendary We Will Rock You documentary and the 2005 Bob Marley and Friends documentary.
Daniel Quintero ’78 is executive director of the Kips Bay Boy and Girls Club. In 1982, he signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals and played professional baseball in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic until 1984. He then turned to education and taught fourth grade for two years and physical education for three years. In 1990, he joined the Boys and Girls Club’s national organization and played an integral part in creating over twenty three new clubs in the Northeast region. In 1996, Quintero became head of the Kips Bay club where he grew up as a child. Under his leadership, Kips Bay has doubled its membership, opened five new locations, opened a center in a homeless shelter, and built a dental clinic.
Angel Juarbe Jr. ’84 wore a permanent love of life on his face. His qualities of ready to lead and ready to help brought him to a career as a New York City firefighter and to an appearance on the FOX TV contest show Murder in Small Town X in late summer 2001. He solved the murder on the show and won a Jeep and $250,000. He planned to celebrate his victory with his parents the evening of September 11, 2001. But that morning, the call came in at his fire station in lower Manhattan that two airplanes had flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He jumped on his truck and sped to the calamity. Deep in the Marriot Hotel adjoining the Twin Towers, he lost his life as the floors of the hotel collapsed on him. With his parents present, the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association paid tribute to him at its annual dinner in May 2004.
Stephen Buckley ’85 was editor-in-chief of the Clinton News during his senior year. Even before coming to Clinton, he was determined to be a journalist. After graduating from Duke University in 1989, he entered the profession full time as a District of Columbia night reporter for the Washington Post. He proved himself to the task and was then assigned as East Africa correspondent, stationed in Nairobi, Kenya. After five years in Kenya, he opened the first Washington Post office in Brazil. In 2001, he joined the St. Petersburg Times and in 2005 was appointed managing editor, the first African American to hold that position. In 2003, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the DeWitt Clinton Alumni Association.
Darrin DeWitt Henson ’86 loved to dance and perform on the Clinton stage. As for the dancing, he went on to become a major choreography, winning the 2000 MTV Choreographer of the Year Award. Among his “clients” have been Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and *NSYNC. As for the acting, Henson was one of the stars of the successful cable series Soul Foul. In 2007, he co-starred in the film Stomp the Yard. He has returned to DWC on numerous occasions and, in 2002, was named a distinguished alumnus.
Andrea Navedo ’88 has seen her passionate performances when she was on the DWC Mock Trial team blossom into a career as a professional actor. Her feature-film acting debut came in Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Then she took on the reoccurring role of Linda on the television soap opera One Life to Life. Two and a half years later, she moved on to the role of Theresa in another television soap Guiding Light. In prime time, she appeared on the dramatic television series Law and Order, in the recurring role of Detective Ana Cordova, Her more recent silver screen appearances have been in Double Take, Washington Heights, and El Cantante, in which she played Jennifer Lopez’s sister.
Stephon Alexander ’89 is a theoretical physicist who is an assistant professor of physics at Penn State. In 2006, he was awarded $10,000 by the National Geographic Emerging Explorer Program. This program “recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers—explorers who are already making a difference early in their careers.” About his time at Clinton, he says, “My high school physics teacher, Mr. Daniel Kaplan, was my greatest inspiration. He didn't care that I and my fellow students were a bunch of immigrant kids with low SAT scores and even lower expectations. A lot of my peers were very aware of the lowered expectations of us and were very sensitive to them. Which is why we were drawn to rare souls like Mr. Kaplan: he took us seriously. I came to school solely to be in his classroom and get my daily dose of his kindness and, of course, his knowledge about the laws of nature.”
Robert Sostre ’89 captured the doubles pro title in the WOR Hawaiian Open three-wall racquetball event in February 2006 (while on his honeymoon). In 1986, 1987, and 1989, under Coach Robert Finkelstein, he led the Clinton handball team to consecutive PSAL championships. From 1987 to 1990, he won four consecutive US Singles one-wall paddleball championships along with four mixed doubles titles and three men’s doubles titles. In 2000, he won the United States One-Wall Handball Association title, becoming the first player to win the national championship in both handball and paddleball. In 2003, the Paddle Company issued a signature paddle named for him in recognition of his great talents.
James Mack III ’91 is one of the nation’s leading researchers in “green chemistry.” In 2006, he received a major grant from the National Science Foundation to advance green chemistry by a thorough study of ball-milling reactions, which avoids the use of solvents. He earned his Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of New Hampshire with Professor Glen P. Miller, studying Diels-Alder reactions of fullerenes with various linear acenes. This was followed with a post-doctoral fellowship with professor Lawrence T. Scott at Boston College developing rational syntheses of unique fullerenes and nanotubes. In 2003, Mack joined the staff of the University of Cincinnati as an assistant professor of chemistry.
Roy Adams ’96 has the distinction of being a true scholar athlete. He holds a BA degree from Yale University, where he played cornerback on the Ivy League-winning football team. In 2000, he joined Panache magazine, and now serves as advertising director and vice president. He is responsible for managing the sales force and for signing up major accounts from clients across the country. He has also been instrumental in developing new products and technologies. He is presently a vice-president of Lehman Brothers.
Sanjay Ayre ’99 runs fast...fast enough to have won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 4 x 400 meters relay. He raced for his native country of Jamaica. He later won a bronze medal in the 4 x 400 meters relay at the 2005 World Championships. At the 2005 Penn Relays, he was part of the Jamaican team that pulled off a surprise victory over the U.S. team in the 1600 meter relay. He graduated from Auburn University in 2003 with a degree in criminology, and after his track and field days are over, he intends to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Tracy Morgan ’03 left DeWitt Clinton in 1987 without a diploma to take care of his ill father. At Clinton, he ran track, but seemed too shy to involve himself in any of the school’s theatrical shows. It was surprising then that he eventually achieved great success in stand up comedy. From there, he became a seven-season regular on Saturday Night Live and now co-stars in the hit sit-com 30 Rock. In 2003, while Morgan was appearing on a WNYC television program about DWC, Geraldine Ambrosio, the principal, walked on the set and presented him with an honorary diploma. His eyes swelled with tears. He had his diploma and he was proud of it.
Richard Carmona ’04 returned to DeWitt Clinton in June 2004 to receive his honorary diploma. After dropping out of Clinton in 1967, he joined the US Army Special Forces, ultimately becoming a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran. After leaving active duty, he attended Bronx Community College and later graduated from the University of California (SF) with a B.S. (1977) and M.D. (1979). He has been the chairman of the Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System, a professor of surgery at the University of Arizona, and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department surgeon and deputy sheriff. On August 5, 2002, he was sworn in as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service and served in that position until July 2006
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