Since we left GDA in 1962, I have only been in Massachusetts a couple of times, traveling through Boston to Providence in the 1980s to visit my daughter at Brown University. Frankly, I had not anticipated returning to this reunion or any other. I have some unpleasant memories of the school and a few students. What has surprised me is that so many of our classmates have had such ambivalent feelings about their school years that it may be a bit of a catharsis to return. Maybe it was just the time, but for me it was a very long way from my rural life in New Mexico. Also like many of you, Tom Tobey has touched my life. Out of the clear blue eight years ago, he called to say that he wanted to come to New Mexico for a visit. To my surprise, he loaded up his family, drove 1200 miles to stay for a few days. We have stayed in touch through the years, and we have exchanged visits since. Denis Golden and I met in New York at least once, and I saw Bob James at college reunions.
At Colorado College, I felt that I had essentially returned home, just a couple of hundred miles north of where I grew up. While GDA was not a good fit for me, college was. I majored in Spanish literature, spent my third year at the University of Madrid, and played lacrosse. In my second year, the earliest pivotal event occurred for me when I was exposed to the sport of falconry. After college, I did an MA at the University of Arizona and then Ph.D. work at the University of Illinois. I recognized that I was not fit for teaching, so after all of the course work I chose not to do the dissertation. Later I attended law school, far too much education for anyone hoping to have some common sense.
I was married right after college, and two great kids came reasonably quickly. Unfortunately the marriage did not last, but the parting was amicable. Later I remarried only to suffer the same fate even after a number of years. My children and I are close. My daughter and her great husband operate an architectural firm in Santa Fe. My son, who also attended Colorado College, is acting in commercials and writing screen plays in Los Angeles. Wonderful children punctuate the value of your life.
Returning to New Mexico I went into family business dealing with properties and ranches. Even today while practicing law I own two cattle ranches. Law and business fit where academia did not. I practice complex litigation in the environmental and natural resources area, mostly in land disputes against the United States in federal court in the west.
In my early 30's I was elected to the NM Legislature. Tim McNally and I took different tracks as; I chose the conservative Repulican side. I became one of the leaders in the restructuring of the House. I left politics fairly quickly to concentrate on law. I did stay somewhat connected when I chaired the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education (the board that oversees all of the state's 4 year and 2 year universities and community colleges) for several years. In 1990 I was the Republican nominee for Governor of New Mexico. I lost a reasonably close race to a Democrat friend of mine who was governor three different times. Because of its size, New Mexico politics is close and personal, sometimes extraordinarily harsh and yet with lasting relationships. Politics generally has been important to me, as it fits into my notion of public participation and civility in a community. And I have had remarkable opportunities to get to know presidents, spend time in The White House, travel on Air Force One, but most importantly, to know myself and to know my state and our nation.
Outside of family, however, by more than anything else I have been smitten by birds. Together with four other men, three of us in our 20s at the time, we founded The Peregrine Fund, originally at Cornell University, and now located in Boise, Idaho. It is the organization, which reestablished the peregrine falcon throughout the United Sates. After the debacle of persistent pesticide use, the peregrine was extirpated in parts of the country. By using captive-bred peregrines, we released approximately 6000 birds across the country. When the peregrine was removed form the endangered species list in 1999, the media touted it as the greatest success of conservation biology in the 20th century. I continue to fly and hunt peregrines and gyrfalcons still after 36 years. I named one gyrfalcon, Tobey, after our classmate. I serve as vice president of the world falconry association.
This year I am starting to build a new home. I ride horses quite a lot, recently becoming acquainted with the cutting horse world. I have hunted a lot across the United States and abroad. Like many of you, I have been fortunate to travel a great deal, including quite a few kayaking trips into the high arctic since 1972 to do peregrine and gyrfalcon surveys. I have few regrets.
I look forward to hearing Peter Machinist's presentation (I fear that I was so far back in the intellectual pack that he did not even know my name). I am sure Charlie Pyne will wow us with technology, as he did me, when I watched him rewire the whole school's bell system to ring those class bells by his clock, not theirs. And I wonder if Howard Durfee will stupefy us with another 100 one handed pushups as he did one time in Heb Evans' living room. Because of his generosity of spirit and thoughtful guidance, I look forward to seeing Dave Williams. I will be flying back, unlike those 4000 miles round trips I made in my not very cool 4 door 55 Ford when I used to drive myself to GDA. Ray Bird and others occasionally went with me. I got a lot of speeding tickets, four in one day with Darrel Hamric along. They were a lot cheaper then.