We, members of the 30th reunion committee of the class of 1988, applaud the courage it took Jack Ross to examine in painful detail the self-inflicted death of his son Hale, who would have graduated this year (“The Dark Lining of the Prefontaine Mantra: Lessons from Hale Ross’ life at Yale,” May 5).

While the world mainly sees the shiny exterior of our beloved alma mater, we are also aware that the Prefontaine mantra – “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift” – also carries an emotional burden that can, at times, be difficult to bear.

Knowing that many of us feel we are the only ones amid personal turmoil, this year we are offering, in addition to panel discussions of politics and scientific/medical breakthroughs, a program we’re calling, “When Life Throws You a Curveball.”

We solicited anonymous personal stories of challenge, to be read aloud alongside panelists discussing their own ways of coping with mental and/or physical illness, addiction, sexual mistreatment, death of family members, and more.  Classmates can then discuss their own personal or professional experiences in that shared space, if they wish.

We hope that by openly admitting we are all human, we might help to de-stigmatize problems that people could otherwise be too uncomfortable acknowledging publicly.

Paul Mange Johansen (ES ‘88)

Julie Heller (PC ’88)

Ursula Burton (DC ‘88)

Colin Weil (SM ‘88)