The Corner

Culture

Hail Yale

Dear to the hearts of all National Review people is the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale. This is a conservative group (in brief).

You can read about the program here. Its mission is “to promote intellectual diversity at Yale University. We aim to expand political discourse on campus and to expose students to often-unvoiced views.”

The program was founded by Lauren Noble, who has done a great and good thing — creating a Point of Light.

I was with Lauren and the Buckley students last Monday, and, of course, one feels right at home with them (if one is an NR-nik, as I have long been). I was wearing my Yale tie, which I had never done before.

I was given the tie a few years ago by Lauren and the Buckleyites. But I didn’t think I could wear it, because I was loath to be a pretender. I didn’t go to Yale. If I wore their tie, wouldn’t I be a faker, a wannabe?

But I had occasion to wear it on Monday — two occasions, actually: I was going to visit Yale (to see the Buckleyites). And, before that, I happened to be having lunch with a friend at the Yale Club in Manhattan. As I think Hillel said, If not now, when?

At the conclusion of our event at Yale, Lauren et al. gave me a new tie: a Buckley Program tie. It is dotted with the program’s symbol, which is the Yale bulldog in a Buckleyesque pose. This tie I can wear: any day, anywhere.

I’ve never known anyone who treasured his college experience more than Bill Buckley did. Those years meant a huge amount to Bill. They stamped him. He was always referring to his college, and going back there. I met many of his college classmates — some famous, but most not.

Bill always said that college meant more to him and his fellows because they started later. That is, they were older freshmen, delayed by the war.

Back to last Monday: Yale was brilliant, decked out in fall. It looked like the picture of an American college campus. You half expected to see Dink Stover, loping over in his sweater.

I grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., and always heard that the law school of the University of Michigan was modeled on Yale — the buildings, I mean. Walking around Yale, I thought, “Huh: Looks like the Michigan law school.” When, in truth, the Michigan law school looks like Yale …

If you take a trip like the one I did — Manhattan to New Haven, and back again, by train — you get a real color tour. At least you did this week. And you got it for cheap. It’s not necessary to go to Vermont and stay in a Bob Newhart-style inn. Though that would be nice, too.

P.S. A friend of mine — a Harvard alumna — shared with me a nasty, clever trick, cooked up in Cambridge some years ago: www.safetyschool.org.

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