May 23, 2012— -- It's Homecoming Week in Cambridge, Mass. Fifty years after leaving dear old Harvard, the distinguished members of the class of 1962 are renewing old ties.
In the Harvard alumni magazine, Alden writes he is retired from the bench, but still takes an occasional assignment as a Superior Court judge. Brian and his wife report they are working with inner-city kids when they're not at their place in Normandy.
John has just come out with his latest collection of essays.
And Ted has just started his 15th year at the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colo.
Ted, of course, is Theodore John Kaczynski, the notorious "Unabomber" who was sentenced in May 1998 to eight life sentences for killing three people and injuring 23 more in a campaign of terror that lasted nearly 20 years.
Kaczynski's class note appears, in its proper alphabetical place, just ahead of Joseph Kadane's. It was tweeted by a fellow Harvard alum, Alex Taussig, who calls it "morbidly amusing."
Kaczynski, 70, lists his occupation as "Prisoner." Those eight life sentences he puts under "Awards." Under "Publications" he lists that infamous 50-page screed against the modern world, which The New York Times and The Washington Post agreed to print in exchange for Kaczynski's promise to end his bombing campaign.
It was that "Manifesto" that led to his capture. Kaczynski's brother recognized the writing style and alerted the feds.
Kaczynski is not the only former Harvard student to be locked up. Henry David Thoreau spent a night in the Concord, Mass., jail rather than pay the poll tax. Folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger was sentenced to a year in prison for refusing to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Not all Harvard's prisoners can claim to be prisoners of conscience. Jeffrey Skilling (MBA, 1979) is serving 24 years in prison for his role in the collapse of Enron. Other Harvard alums have been imprisoned for embezzlement, insider trading, identity theft and murder.
Kaczynski's slide from promise to prison might be the most extreme of all. An intellectual prodigy, he was accepted to Harvard when he was just 16. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan and he was teaching at U.C.-Berkeley when he was just 25.
While the Harvard Class of '62 can claim many accomplishments, Gary Peterson tells the Harvard Crimson, Kaczynski "is more famous than anyone else in our class."
So while Ted will not be attending tonight's class dinner in the McCurdy Track Tent, he is certain to be a topic of conversation.