Lasting Connections

by Bob Whitton '69

My Williams story began in what must have been a page-by-page scan of the Fiske Guide to Colleges in 1964-65. Having grown up in Virginia, I determined, in rough order, that I wanted to get away and also to connect to the most challenging, liberal school I could enter (east of the Mississippi). With maybe $50 in my wallet I flew to Providence to see one school, then to Albany to see another. I don't remember how I finally got to Williamstown, but it was in a snow storm, and I found myself itching to meet a True Liberal My Age. I was not disappointed, as there were Freedom Riders in our midst. Later, a senior in jeans, lumberjack jacket and (maybe) Frye boots offered to drive  me to his Albany home so that I could  get to the airport next morning. We went to a local road house and drank "pony" bottles of beer until closing time. How all grown up!

Bob Whitton and his fiance
With future wife Andrea, at Prof. Lee Hirsche’s Kite Day 1969

In a funny way, Williams was never quite as liberal as those two personal myth-making days. And of course, way more so, because late '60s America was fracturing along oh so many fault lines. I led a somewhat predictable if undistinguished Williams career, graduated with (I thought) a ticket to Officer Candidate School, got married, became a parent twice-blessed, had an all-civilian career (except for a lucky five years off and on in the New York National Guard) and stayed in touch with some wonderful Williams characters. To this day I am still becoming connected to the class, for which I give thanks to Williams.

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