By: Sheldon Rudoff  | 

Editor, Prexies Stand By and Gape, As Adlai Is Made Yeshiva Alumnus (Vol. 19, Issue 5)

The sign in front of the Carpenter Suite at the Waldorf Astoria said “Guests of Honor,” so we walked in.

Joel Balsam ’54, prexy of S. C., Neil Hecht ’54, Senior Class president and I, were told to get there at 5:30 to pose for a picture with Yeshiva’s guest of honor, Adlai E. Stevenson. We were there at 5:00. We weren’t anxious.

Once inside the suite, we were confronted with a flurry of activity; the newsreel cameramen setting up their equipment for “still” shots; the faculty, Board of Trustees donning their academic gowns, and the staff of the public relations department pacing the floor nervously waiting for Mr. Stevenson to arrive.

When he did arrive he was hurried into a gown and posed with Dr. Belkin, Mr. Silver and Mr. Etra for the cameramen. Dr. Belkin presented Yeshiva’s newest honorary alumnus with his degree several times to accommodate the photographers, only to take it back and present it officially a few minutes later in the Jade Room before a throng of 500 plus. One thing was sure we weren't going to get our picture taken at that time.

The Big Moment

After the convocation, back to the Carpenter Suite, with all the other important people. The atmosphere was much calmer with every one enjoying some punch and hors d’oeuvres. Sam Hartstein, public relations director, must have noticed the anxiety on our faces and promptly ushered us up to Mr. Stevenson and introduced us to him as “a few ambitious young men, the leaders of the student government.” A smile, a firm handshake and a nice pose for the photographer followed.

“Does student government keep you boys busy?” Mr. Stevenson inquired.

“So busy we have no time for school,” one of us blurted out.

“Well, I hope you won’t regret it,” he said.

The shutter was snapped. Another handshake, another smile and it was all over. Later on in the evening we joined scores of others in seeking the ex-Governor’s autograph. We could only get and “A.E.S.” Mr. Stevenson, it seems, was much in demand that evening.