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Richard Williams with Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office 1988

“I'll always be grateful for Lambda Iota's warm brotherhood when in 1949, upon my transfer from the U of Chicago where I'd achieved Fijidom, I was unhesitatingly welcomed.  Into the Quonset hut out in the side yard, however, where the study-cubicle half was heated but the dorm half wasn't.  February midnights were a PTSD experience— you took a deep breath on the warm side, opened the door into the below-zero dormitory, ran to your bunk, plunged under the covers head first and, at last, collapsed, breathed out and coughed explosively.  

An alternative "favorite memory"? Well, can you match Frankie Laine belting out Mule Train right there in 640's spacious living room on a relaxing weekend?

In this e-mail (and, yes, still Christmas cards) age, in intermittent touch with Dick Pershing, Dick Grace, Ed Ogden, Bill Hatlem— six or eight years ago he and Sara Lee generously hosted a wonderful reunion in their beautiful Fort Wayne mansion.  And, oh yeah, coming back to favorite memories, gotta mention the rhyme the venerable professor Grace obediently recited all through his pledgeship: "I'm Ace Grace with smiling face, Fiji Delta's pride. At Heav Hall's bell, I run like hell."

My wife, Jane, and I at her 80th birthday celebration in Vegas seven years ago.

Afterward, I became a U.S. diplomat. In 1979 in Guangzhou I opened the first American consulate in mainland China since the 1940’s and, from 1988 to 1990, served as the first U.S. ambassador to Mongolia. Camels and 40-below winters...that Quonset hut was good preparation!  My most intense career experience came in 1989 when, during China's Tiananmen crisis, I was director of Chinese affairs at the State Department in Washington.  Daily briefings and policy recommendations through Secretary of State James Baker to the first President Bush; heading a 300-person task force charged with locating and assisting Americans caught in China. Silver lining: I lost ten pounds.

After Foreign Service retirement, I taught graduate-level China-related courses at Columbia and NYU, and then retired more fully to California near our kids and grandkids.  Since then, some pro bono stuff with non-profits, what's there to say?”

Dick Williams

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