|Harvard’s Super-Secret Owl Club, An Invitation-Only Finals Club
A few months ago, my husband Barry and I hosted a small dinner for Harvard class of 1986. That’s his undergraduate class and the 25th reunion was just around the corner in May. We’ve been to a few Harvard events over the past few years. They’re nice and very civilized and Conan O’Brien comes and is super-nice.
Barry and I are both very cynical and slightly sarcastic. We don’t easily embrace establishment activities and we consider ourselves a non-traditional family by virtue of the fact that we’re a mixed race family. Barry wasn’t any different in college and had no interest in finals clubs or those sorts of things.
So, you can imagine our surprise to find ourselves hosting this event at Akasha Restaurant in Culver City. Neither of us really knew what to expect.
During the dinner, Barry made opening comments and introduced a Harvard professor, the evening’s special guest. But, it was Barry’s remarks that struck me so profoundly. Of course, he went off script. He tossed the 10 pages of prepared remarks and instead wrote his own hilarious “talking points” about how ancient the class of 1986 is (complete with their college yearbook photos.) He also pointed out who was born in 1986 (Lady Gaga, etc.).
Then, he got serious for a minute. He talked about his good friend from college seated across from us. He talked about the business deal they did together a few years ago that changed his career. He startled me by getting serious, saying that he owes a lot to Harvard because it’s how he met me (he went to Harvard Law School with my late sister, who introduced us). He spoke eloquently about how much his education has given him and encouraged everyone there to think about what Harvard has meant to them and their families as they consider their philanthropic giving.
I was very touched by Barry’s remarks. I don’t feel the same strong allegiance to UC Berkeley, although I got a superb education (that I worked really hard for…I had to study a lot).
For the first time, I started wondering if our kids could go to Harvard (they’re 7 and 10).
“Maybe they could live in the same dorm you did…wouldn’t that be cool,” I said.
Just as I started getting carried away, Barry brought me back to reality.
“They’ll need to start building those resumes NOW,” he laughed.
Does watching the Harvard-Princeton game count as an extracurricular activity?
We just got back from Barry’s 25th reunion. We took the kids and had a wonderful time. Harvard lived up to it’s reputation. It was steeped in tradition, gracious and a just a wee bit pompous. We skipped the reunion music festivities at the Boston Pops Orchestra, to which reunion attendees were driven in a police-escorted motorcade. We were sure the locals loved this.
Let’s face it, we’ve all thought about where we want our kids to attend college. We think about whether we even want them to apply to the same colleges we graduated from. My son was completely enamored with all things Harvard. Class of 2025?