WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2016-2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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an interview with alan schechter W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 6 / 2 0 1 7 64 to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President Bill Clinton and served as both its vice chair and chairman.) Based on his experience in Holland, Schechter wrote a paper on international law that was published as a book by the Royal Society of International Affairs—a rare honor, he said, for someone as young as he was. But he ended up disappointing his supervisor, renowned international scholar and jurist Philip C. Jessup, by opting not to follow in his footsteps. Schechter found international law fascinating but too abstract. "I was so enthusiastic about the possibility about the change in America that loomed—that seemed so much more important." ★ ★ ★ When Schechter graduated from Columbia in 1962, it was a heady time to embark on a career in political science. The year before, in his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy had declared: "If a Asked what Hillary Clinton is like as a person, Alan Schechter tells the story of when she came to their Wellesley home for dinner two decades ago. The visit was unofficial, meaning no press, no motorcade, no roadblocks, and no massive police presence. On a warm evening an SUV with mirrored windows pulled up to the Schechter home, and the first lady stepped out from the back seat. She was escorted by two secret service agents who stayed in the car. Before dinner, they were joined by the Schechters' two sons and their wives. They sat out on the porch, along with their first grandson, Alex, who had just turned one. Clinton asked if she could hold the toddler and then chat- ted with the young couples. "She wanted to know all about their lives," Schechter said. "She was very much interested in them as people." At the time, Schechter's 96-year-old father-in-law was living at the house, though his failing health pretty much confined him to an upstairs bedroom. "We said, 'Gramps, Hillary Clinton is com- ing to dinner.' And he said, 'You two are always pulling my leg.'" So the Schechters asked their guest if she wouldn't mind going upstairs and looking in on their resident skeptic. And so she did. "She went in and said, 'Gramps, hi, I'm Hillary Clinton.' And he said, 'My gosh, they weren't pulling my leg.'" He then signaled for her to come closer. She did and bent down so she could hear him better. When Clinton came back downstairs, the Schechters asked what Gramps had told her. "He said, 'You're even more beautiful in person than you are in your pictures.' Isn't that sweet?" Clinton said. "When she is relaxed on a personal basis, she's just won- derful," Schechter said. "She's fun." Alex, by the way, is in college now. When he graduated from high school, Clinton sent him a signed photo with her congratulations.

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