40th Reunion > Company Rep Letters

Letter Three - March 12, 2018

Hey guys,


I hope you are all well and starting to get traction on the reunion from your company mates.  We are now amazingly just a little over six months away from the reunion, hopefully our classmates are starting to focus on it. 


  • Update from Reunion Chairman - First, on March 5th Glen Woods sent an email with an update from Brett Ayotte, Reunion Chairman, full of great gouge on the reunion and with the most current schedule of events.  Hopefully, this is a duplicate of Glen’s email.  If it isn’t then their contact data is not current at the Alumni Association. 


Hopefully, by now you’ve seen a couple of blasts from Glen Woods, Class President, and/or from your Company Representative about the upcoming 40th Reunion.  The basic details about the Reunion are:

  • Dates: 13-15 September 2018
  • Where: Annapolis, MD
  • Reunion Headquarters: Westin Hotel
  • Football: Navy vs. Lehigh (it’s the home opener for the 2018 season)

However, we are sure that you’re interested in some details about the events that are being planned to fill the time.  The Reunion Planning Committee has been meeting regularly since last September putting together a number of activities that offer time to have fun, to get together as a Class, and for smaller groups to spend time together. The committee is currently working with the vendors searching for ways to lower costs and will provide you that information as soon as we’ve locked it in.   A common comment from past reunions is a desire to have more opportunities to gather and just spend some time with Classmates.  We’ve added a couple of new events to address that desire to include a Thursday evening Welcome Reception and a Sunday Brunch.  Keep these options in mind as you make your travel plans.  Note - other than the registration fee (one per classmate), every other event will be priced ala carte.  Some of the key events are:

  • Golf Tournament: Based on feedback from past reunions, we have moved the Class of 1978 Golf Tournament back to Thursday afternoon to allow Classmates the opportunity to participate in the Memorial Service on Friday. The tournament will be held at the Renditions Golf Course in Davidsonville, MD.  Renditions is a course where each of the holes is based on a classic hole from famous golf courses, so if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to play Augusta’s “Amen Corner”, this might be your chance.  The tournament will start at noon, with a quick lunch.  There will be drinks on the course and prizes.  Bus transportation will be provided from the Westin.
  • Gathering Reception: We have heard from many that they would like to have more time to just “hang out and chat” with Classmates.  So we’ve added this new event.  For those who arrive on or before Thursday, we’ve arranged to have an informal reception with light hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and soft drinks.  It’s a great place to meet up with Classmates, then head out for dinner.  It’s also a perfect opportunity to catch up or catch a late snack if you’re just arriving.  We’ll have a place to check-in for the weekend and get all the gouge.  Bus transportation will be provided from the Westin.  We’re in the process of narrowing down the specific location, but we can assure you it will be fun.
  • Memorial Service: The Memorial Service will be held in the USNA Chapel on Friday at 1100.  At this service, we will remember all of our Classmates who are no longer with us.  Bus transportation will be provided to the Yard.
  • Friday Social: On Friday evening, there will be an event at the Westin. The Reunion Committee is still working on the details, but to give a hint – there will be music, a magician, a photobooth, USNA and Class trivia, food and drink, and lots of opportunities to connect with friends, old and new.  It will also be a time to show your Navy Spirit.
  • Prayer Breakfast: We will again be holding a Prayer Breakfast on Saturday morning from 0830 to 0930 at the Westin.  Two members of the Class of ’78 have agreed to be the speakers at this event, which will include a continental breakfast.  The event will end in time for interested classmates to attend the Class Meeting in the hotel.
  • Tailgater: As we have done in the past, we are going to use the N-Star room at the stadium as the focal point for our tailgater.  The food will be as spectacular as it has in the past, with a raw bar, pit beef, burgers, salads, and an excellent selection of drinks.  Because we’ll be inside the stadium, it’s very easy to move between watching the game live and sitting with friends inside the N-Star room watching the game on closed circuit TV.  NOTE:  A ticket to the game will be required to attend the Tailgater, since it is inside the stadium boundary.
  • Departure Brunch: Another recurring comment we’ve received after past reunions is that it seems pretty abrupt to end with the Tailgater. Many people would like an opportunity to get together informally and say goodbye on Sunday.  To accommodate that, we’ve added a brunch to the schedule that provides a nice window on Sunday morning to get together, grab a bite to eat before leaving Annapolis, and a time to close out with your friends.  The timing of the brunch will allow people to eat before attending a church service in the Yard, or go to a service and then eat afterwards.   If your schedule dictates, you can bring your bags and depart from there. The specific location is being finalized, but it will provide lots of space for meeting up.

Some other information to help with planning your Reunion Weekend:

  • Registration: On line registration for Reunion events will be available in late May 2018. Registration will be handled through the Alumni Association website, so everyone will need to either update their information or establish an account on the NAAA webpage.  We will be providing links to the registration site from the Class Webpage (usna1978.org) and the Class Facebook page.  When you register, the only mandatory cost is the registration fee, which is applies only to the Classmate (i.e., you only pay one registration fee).  That fee will cover all the administrative and transportation costs associated with the weekend.  All of the other events will be either free (e.g., Memorial Service, Class meeting, etc.) or will be available on an ala carte basis – you only pay if you want to go.
  • Lodging: The headquarters for the Reunion will be the Westin Hotel on West Street, within walking distance to the stadium and a short ride on the Annapolis circulator bus to downtown.  Currently, the block of rooms that we reserved are full, but Westin is putting people on a waiting list as rooms open up as people’s plans change.  The reunion committee is currently researching other hotels for overflow.  That said, there is a wide range of hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, AirBnB, and other lodging available in the Annapolis area.  Information on hotels will be promulgated shortly, when more is known.
  • Game Tickets: For those who are not currently season ticket holders, we are arranging to have a group of tickets set aside for the Class, so that we can sit together.   Information on how to order tickets in the Class seating area will be forthcoming.  Additionally, you will have an option to purchase a “standing room” ticket, which will not guarantee a seat, but will allow you to get into the stadium for the Tailgater.
  • Visiting the Yard: As in the past, we will be providing transportation from the Westin to the Yard.  To gain access to the Yard, you will need a picture ID (e.g., driver’s license).  Unless you have a DoD issued ID, such as a retired ID card, you will not be able to drive onto the Yard.  However, with all the construction that is currently going on, parking will be extremely difficult, so taking the bus in is the best option.  The Midshipmen’s Store will be open and available to all reunion attendees.  If you haven’t been there in a while, you will be amazed.
  • Class Store: As we have done for past reunions, we will be establishing a Class Store hosted by Anchor Enterprises.  For those looking for apparel with a Class Crest, this will be the place to go and place an order.  We have an agreement with Anchor where the Class receives a small royalty of items ordered through the Class Store.  Information about the Class Store will be provided as soon as it is up and running.  Keep your eyes open for information.
  • Other Stuff: The Committee has received a couple of ideas for things that would be fun to do. One of those ideas was to have a car show with “Mid-mobiles” that are still owned by the original owner.  While the logistics of something like that at the Westin, as well as for those who don’t live in the area, is problematic, the Committee thinks that having a “virtual” car show through photographs would be enjoyable.  So, if you still own your original Midshipman car, please send/email a photo of it “from the day” and as it is currently to Vince Balderrama and we’ll put together an appropriate display.  Along the same lines, we are looking for photographs that span the time from Midshipman Days to the present to be put into a slide show that we can run at the Friday Social and at the Tailgater.  Again, send/email your pictures to Vince.

We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the 40th Reunion.  If you have any questions, please contact your Company Representative.

Brett  Ayotte

USNA Class of ’78 40th Reunion Committee Chairman

  • Class Gift - Our last update included an update on the class gift from our President  Glen Woods and Vice President, Sean Coffey, who is also our Class Gift coordinator.  Three days after Glen’s email on March 8th if your contact information is current at the Alumni Association you should also have received the following update from the Foundation on our class gift:


Dear Member of the Class of 1978,

Four years ago, your class embarked on an effort to raise $1,500,000 to support USNA. As you enter the fifth year of your project, we’d like to thank you for your great support of today’s Brigade of Midshipmen and tell you where the project stands.




% of Goal


Center for Ethical Leadership

$ 450,000

$ 314,128



Admissions-STEM Support

$ 450,000

$ 271,483



Athletic Excellence

$ 300,000

$ 215,920



Naval Academy Fund

$ 300,000

$ 496,486









All gifts received or pledges registered by 12/31/2018 will count toward this class project.  Click here or call 410-295-4117 for more information or to make a gift.

Thank you,

Rich Goldsby

Associate Director, Class Legacy Gift Programs

If you remember from last month’s update, Glen and Sean set two main goals for our giving which I share again:


    • First, we invite those Classmates who have not yet contributed to please do so – in any amount large or small – to help boost our participation percentage and get us over the top of our target. 
    • Second, we request new gifts or pledges, or payments towards existing pledges, be earmarked for the three components of our Class Gift which are currently shy of their respective goals:
      • The Admissions Department's STEM program (help Classmate Bruce Latta!),
      • The Center for Ethical Leadership (help Classmate Art Athens!), and/or
      • The fund for Athletic Excellence (Go Navy!). 


  • Class Elections – The nominating period for Class Officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary)  and Members at large (five seats) is open through April 15th.  If you are interested in serving, please contact John Rudder, Chairman of the Nominations and Election Committee, at john.rudder@usna.com


  • Nongrads - Just a reminder, please provide a list of the nongrads in your company and I will provide them to the Alumni Association to get their records updated. 


  • Company Reps – I am proud to report that all 36 companies have at least one company rep reaching out to their company for the reunion.  If you will provide the number of company mates committed to the reunion I will start reporting it in my next update. 


Please let me know if there is additional information on the reunion that you would like to see or need or if I can help in any way.  Thank you for all your work, I look forward to seeing you in September. 


All the best,

Matthew Elias

Proud member of the great Class of ’78!

Letter Two - January 28, 2018

Happy new year guys,

Thanks to many of you who responded quickly and who have been maintaining contact with their companies. There are some very dedicated company reps who have maintained contact with their company since the 35th. Two examples of excellence are one rep in contact with 24 for 26 and another with 26 for 27 of their grads! That is awesome and greatly appreciated. The offer to provide a spreadsheet of your companys contact data in the alumni data base still stands, please let me know if you would like it.

I know I said it would be every other month for the time being but the end of 2017 was rather hectic for me professionally and the year kind of slipped away. I promise to do better going forward.

Some updates:

  • The 40th Reunion
    • My apologies, but the dates were a day off in my original email, most of you who noticed figured out the date for the reunion are Thursday through Sunday, September 13 16, 2018
    • When we last corresponded, we did not have a game that day but thankfully we do now. As most of you have already seen Navy will play Lehigh that Saturday but the time has not been announced.
    • Finally, as you contact your classmates please remind them that grads and nongrads are responsible for updating their own contact information on both the Alumni Association and class website. What I can update is the company for the nongrads. Please send me the nongrads for your company and I will get that updated.

  • 40th Reunion Class Gift
    • Your Class Officers are delighted to report that the Class has responded magnificently to calls to support our 40th Reunion Class Gift. As of 12/31/17, the Class has gifted or pledged just shy of $1.3 million towards our overall target of $1.5 million!
    • We have two goals between now and the Reunion.
      • First, we invite those Classmates who have not yet contributed to please do so in any amount large or small to help boost our participation percentage and get us over the top of our target.
      • Second, we request new gifts or pledges, or payments towards existing pledges, be earmarked for the three components of our Class Gift which are currently shy of their respective goals:
        • The Admissions Department's STEM program (help Classmate Bruce Latta!),
        • The Center for Ethical Leadership (help Classmate Art Athens!), and/or
        • The fund for Athletic Excellence (Go Navy!).
    • Heres how to make a gift or pledge:
      • Online, go to www.usna.com and log into your account. (More below on what to do if you do not have an account or choose not to log in.)
      • Highlight Support the Academy in the title bar and click on Make a Gift from the drop down menu.
      • On the next page, Click on Make a new gift or pledge or Pay existing pledge.
      • If paying an existing pledge, your personal and payment information should already be filled in the form. Simply fill in the amount you are gifting into one or more of the Class Fund lines. We request you make your gift/pledge to STEM, CEL and/or Athletic Excellence.
      • If you have logged in and click on Making a new gift or pledge, you will be taken to a page with a block that says, Click Here to Donate to Your Class Project. You will be taken to the 1978 Class Funds page which lists the four components of our Class Gift. We request you make your gift/pledge to STEM, CEL and/or Athletic Excellence.
      • If you do not have an account or choose not to log in, after clicking Make A Gift on home page, you will be taken to a page with a box that says, Click Here to Donate to Your Class Project.
      • You will be taken to a drop down box for Class Year. Select 1978 and the resulting Class Funds form will be automatically filled with the four components of our Class Gift. We request you make your gift/pledge to STEM, CEL and/or Athletic Excellence. Provide your contact information and continue to complete your payment information.
      • If all of this is too hard, call 410-295-4100 and tell them you want to make a gift to 78s Class Project. Again, we request you make your gift/pledge to STEM, CEL and/or Athletic Excellence as we have met our goal for the annual fund.

    • Thanks to those who have already contributed, and thanks in advance to those Classmates who will help get us over the top.

  • Class website
    • In preparation for our 40th, our website will undergo a major upgrade that we expect to roll out in in the first quarter.
    • We expect to migrate all existing data over.
    • Much of the website will remain the same but we are planning to add improved data base search capabilities, Company specific sections, a Class History page and a Memories page.
      • Each company will have its own page on the website that will be viewable by all but only editable by the company.
      • The Class History page will be maintained by our newly appointed Class Historian, Luke Ridenhour.
      • The memories page will be a place where any classmate can add a story from the past.
    • One area that is woefully short are the photo sections, as part of the rollout we will be soliciting uploads of photos from past reunions, our time in the Navy and time at the Academy.

  • Class Officer Elections
    • As you may be aware, as part of the reunion Class Officers will be elected this year to serve five year terms.
    • The time line for the election is:
      • February 15 April 15 Nominating Period
      • July 15 Slate of nominees announced and posted on website
      • August 1 31 Online voting
      • September 14 Election results announced at Class Meeting
    • If you want to run for an officer position (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, or one of five trustee positions) or nominate someone willing to serve in one of these positions, please contact John Rudder, Chairman of the Nominations and Election Committee, at john.rudder@usna.com.

All the best,
Matthew Elias

Proud member of the great Class of 78!

Letter One - August 10, 2017

Hey guys,

I hope this finds you well and having a good summer.  It is very hard to believe that I-Day was 43 summers ago and we are 13 months out from our 40th Reunion.  I am confident that next year’s reunion will be as great as past reunions past.  This email starts bi-monthly communications with reunion updates until six months out and then we will do monthly communications.  For past reunions, it was the work of the Company Reps who were responsible for driving up the attendance numbers and I hope we can do it again.  I can assure you that experience shows there is a direct relationship between the effort of the Company Rep and Company turnout.   


Okay, some facts known at this point:

  • Reunion – September 15 – 17, 2018
  • Game – TBD
  • Headquarters – Westin Hotel Annapolis
  • Tailgater will be held at the N Star room at the stadium again


There is lots of work to be done between now and September 15, 2018 and just like our 35th we as Company Reps can help make it easier for the Reunion Committee by helping with the lines of communication.  If you haven’t heard, Brett Ayotte volunteered again to be the Overall Reunion Coordinator.  If you are interested in participating or know of anyone interested in participating please reach out to Brett at ayottekb@gmail.com.  


For all of us:

  • First, in preparation for the Reunion, please reach out to all of your company mates (grads and non-grads) to confirm contact information. 
    • Encourage everybody to come.  The last two reunions many Company Reps kept the rest of the their company informed of who was planning to attend and that encouraged guys who were on the fence to attend.  Nothing like a little positive peer pressure to get people there.
    • Encourage your entire company to help track down everyone. 
  • Please encourage your company to verify and update if necessary their contact information on both the Alumni Association website as well as our class website.
    • This year, as he has for the past few years, Glen Woods will be corresponding with the class through an e-mail blasts generated at the Alumni Association.  These blast emails only go to those classmates with current email addresses on the Alumni Association website.  You don’t have to be a member of the Alumni Association to keep your contact info current and receive the emails.
    • When the e-mails come out, I will forward them to you and ask you to forward them to your entire company.  We would rather people get them twice than not at all.
  • As I have in the past I am happy to provide the current contact data for the grads in your company that the Alumni Association has. 
    • I ran it last night and have data for all 36 companies. 
    • Because the Alumni Association doesn’t have the company of nongrads, the list will only include grads in your company.  I have the complete list of nongrads, all 500 or so, which I will provide as well. 
    • As a way of confirming email addresses for all of you, please let me know you have received this and I will respond with your company data.  
  • The Class website will be kept current with reunion information.  In fact, we are working to update the website and keep the entire website current.  If you have any questions or suggestions about the website or the reunion please let me know and if I don’t know the answer I will get the answer from one of the other class officers.  As part of keeping the website current, please help us with the two items:
    • First, all grads have their company listed with their contact data.  We do not have company info for many non-grads, I don’t know of a list to access.  If you will provide a list of your company’s non-grads I will get the website updated.
    • Also, on the Memorial page of our website about a quarter of our deceased classmates do not have an obituary.  If you have a company mate on the page who doesn’t have an obituary please help us track one down.  Like contact data for all of the company, please encourage your company to help track down the obituary.  For the 40th I would love to have the Memorial page updated.
  • Finally, LinkedIn and Facebook are both means that we will be using to communicate with the class for the Reunion and going forward:
    • Our LinkedIn page continues to be a way that classmates can connect for business.  Please encourage your company to join that group if they are on LinkedIn. 
    • We established a Facebook page for the class (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/USNA78/) before the last reunion.  Like our LinkedIn page, it is restricted to classmates and their wives.  Please encourage your company if they are on Facebook to join that page.  Wives are welcome to join the page, too.   


Finally, two non-reunion topics, but five-year topics:

  • When you agreed to serve as Company Reps back in 2013 just after the 35th, the agreement was a for a five year term through our 40th.  After the reunion next fall I will be asking you if you would be willing to serve for another five year term.  If not, if you could recommend someone else in your company it would be most appreciated.
  • Also, the five year terms of all of the Class Officers expires next fall and elections will be held leading up to the reunion.  Expect more information on the elections in the next few months. 

This is my work e-mail address, I am reachable at this address or my home email address at mpgee@aol.com. My contact numbers are 214-315-2576 (w), 972-283-2261 (h) and 214-476-3459(c). Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. I will definitely be in touch in the coming months.


All the best,
Matthew Elias
Proud member of the great Class of ‘78