IFEL62 50th Anniversary


In September, 2012, Robert Bonds and Henry Kwan of the Yale Alumni Association arranged with Tom Opladen, Yale Veterans Association President, to host a 50th anniversary event for the 1962 classes at IFEL.  


Yale Alumni Association Announcement - September 26, 2012


In addition to the panel and reception, we had a guided tour of the campus, including the spot where on June 11, 1962, we served as honor guard for President Kennedy when he gave the Yale commencement address.  We visited ongoing classes to see how teaching is being done today, ate at the Commons and were taken through the building at 1 Hillhouse where we had most of our classes in 1962.  We visited the offices of the Dept of East Asian Languages & Literatures where Tracy Ford kindly gave us the opportunity to look through our old student folders kept over from IFEL – still on file after 50 years.  (The grades had remained the same) 


Event program for the 50th anniversary Yale event


The audience for the panel program and speeches at the reception was both our own anniversary group and the Yale Veterans Association guests, plus the just reinstituted Air Force R.O.T.C. group.  The history lesson and panel were really for the YVA/ROTC people, although we hoped our own group would have some interest, also.   The panel took place in the building at 109 Grove that was the dormitory in 1962 for many of us and the reception was in the President’s Room in Woolsey Hall.

Our intention was to use the occasion of our 50th anniversary to share some history with the members of the Yale Veterans Association who sponsored our event, including the reception at the President’s Room in Yale’s Woolsey Hall. 


The history story to tell was the tremendous service to the United States provided by Yale in 1951-1965 when the Air Force had a contract with Yale’s Institute of Far Eastern Languages (IFEL) to provide language training for Air Force COMINT guys like us.    We thought this anniversary event would be an opportunity to remind Yale of what they did and how well they did it.  The story of IFEL and the USAF COMINT people trained there has been essentially invisible at Yale and our remarks to this group has been the first step in rediscovery of that part of Yale history. 


Colonel Scott Manning, commander of the new USAF R.O.T.C. unit, accepted a gift plaque from the IFEL62 members to be installed at 215 Park St. to mark the original location of IFEL. Click here for photograph of the presentation published in the YVA Newsletter for January, 2013.



Photographs from the  reunion and Yale event in New Haven

Each of the following is a separate Google Photos web album. Slide show on full screen is recommended.

Alumni House - 7 Images

Campus Tour -41 Images

The Commons - 6 Images

1 Hillhouse - 11 Images

Panel - 12 Images

YVA Reception -8 Images

Hotel Reunion - 19 Images

Royal Palace - 9 Images


Off Campus Events - 25 Images

On Campus Events 36 Images

IFEL Nostalgia from 1962


Tracy Ford has been a steadfast friend of IFEL.  She welcomed visiting IFEL graduates to her office in Yale’s East Asian Languages and Literatures September 26, 2012 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary celebration of the IFEL 1962 classes.  On that day, and then again September 25, 2013 when IFEL grads came to dedicate a plaque on the original IFEL building at 215 Park St., Tracy welcomed us to her office, searched through her files and made copies of student records for all the visitors – and did it all with a smile.  On March 12, 2014, Henry Kwan from the Yale Alumni Association presented a souvenir challenge coin to Tracy on behalf of the IFEL members of the Yale Veterans Association.  The coin is the memento that accompanies the new Robert Tharp Award to be presented to a deserving R.O.T.C. cadet at the annual awards banquet.  Thank you for everything, Tracy.


Tracy's response to the coin presentation was completely typical of Tracy.


Thank you all so much for my gift!  The IFEL event is something I look forward to.  I enjoy your visits so much.  It really is a highlight of my work life at Yale.   I cherish your visits and I thank you all for your gift and your service to our country.  God Bless our Veterans, and warm wishes to all of you and your families.  With my thanks to all of you.