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New Haven Diary: Hill and Bill

Bill Clinton.jpgOne of the perks of being in the Law School Class of 1983 is that one or the other of the Class of 1973’s best known graduates comes to reunion every five years. This time around, Hillary and Bill Clinton were in town together, the first time in two decades.

Hillary gave a speech that was long on caring for children, evoking the Rawlsian formula that a society is best measured by how it treats its young, but devoid of any indication of thoughts about higher office. Her measured delivery sought to impart the sense that she was a good-hearted, caring person: no rough edges or hard ambition. She affectionately told the story of how she and Bill met in the law library after eyeing each other in the hallways for several weeks.

Bill dutifully played a supporting role. He arrived in Woolsey Hall from a side doorway and took his seat after shaking hands with many people. One could not help notice that he looked uncomfortably thin. He did not speak to the full-to-overflowing crowd, leaving the spotlight to his spouse, who later entered stageright to great applause from the Yale faithful.

For the sharp-eyed, you can see New Haven Chief of Police Dean Esserman ‘79 in profile in his peaked cap immediately to the left of Clinton. Dean has been the chief here for two years, following almost nine years in Providence. As in Rhode Island after he instituted community policing there, violent crime in New Haven has dropped significantly since his arrival. The Alumni Magazine did a profile of Dean a few years back, but the piece is not available on-line.

Addendum: Yale is looking good these days. Rick Levin’s just-ended, twenty-year-long presidency produced a sparkling campus. The institution exudes confidence — though the school is not without its own social problems, as the New York Times noted two years ago.

Yale Skyline.jpg


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