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The Past-Presidents Dinner

Paul W. Thayer
Emeritus Professor
North Carolina State University

The 2002 SIOP meeting in Toronto represented a milestone for the Past-Presidents' Dinner, our 25th. I thought it worth a brief note in TIP. Ill give a brief history, indicate what has evolved over the years, and make it clear that this dinner is strictly dutch treat. No SIOP funds have been or ever will be used.

I proposed this dinner to the Executive Committee (EC) while president in 197677. I was disturbed that many who had completed their terms seemed to disappear, resulting in a loss of tribal wisdom. I suggested that the past presidents could meet with the current EC for a short session to discuss any issues the latter wished. We did that the first year, and have not since. (I guess you can see that Im better as I than O, as it became clear that successive ECs believed they had the situation in hand and didnt need to hear from the has-beens.) All is not lost, however. There are usually a number of informal consultations between current president and president-elect and the past presidents at the dinner.

The first dinner was held in Toronto when APA met there in 1978. I dont have a list of those attending, but it was a good turnout, and we had a great time. The most signal event I recall is that teetotaler Bob Guion said if there was one all-inclusive price for the dinner, he wanted his favorite beverage. I spent three hours going from store to store to find a six-pack of Dr. Pepper. I found it, but it wasnt easy in Toronto.

At the 25th dinner this year, there were 28 past presidents and 13 guest spouses. As immediate past president, Nancy Tippins was the host. From the original group, only Marv Dunnette, Doug Bray, Ed Fleishman, Lyman Porter, John Campbell, and I were present. Ann Howard was also there, but at that time, she was a guest. We had our own entertainment this year: Vic Hotlips Vroom on clarinet, Frank Fingers Landy on guitar and vocal, and Paul Gilbert & Sullivan Sackett on piano and vocal. We were treated to an update on I am a Scientist-Practitioner originally presented by Paul Sackett at his Presidential Address. He added the nine presidents who had been elected since then. These are very talented artistes.

It has been a good 25 dinners. And, remember that we pay our own way! 


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