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.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/745407

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Page 63 of 211

Her decision to run was a "perfect demonstration of the role of serendipity in life," said Schechter, who added that he doubts it would have occurred to her to run had she not been asked. A fixture in both the town and Wellesley College, and much quoted in the national media, Schechter retired in 2009 after 47 years of teach- ing. Since then, he's developed a fan base among local seniors for his community courses and lectures. In a series of interviews, Schechter discussed the arc of his career, from the days of Camelot to the election of the first black president, from an America that believed in the promise of government to one that commonly denigrates it, from a Congress that aggressively battled the nation's ills to one so paralyzed that it literally can't swat a (Zika- infected) mosquito. He also spoke of his memories of Hillary Clinton, from helping her map out her senior honors thesis, to visiting her the morning the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, to hosting her for dinner at his Wellesley home when she was first lady. ★ ★ ★ The trajectory that landed Schechter at that ultimate power breakfast in 1999 had been set four decades before when he decided after his first year at Yale Law School that he'd rather be a political science pro- fessor than a Wall Street lawyer. The Constitution and public policy, not contracts and torts, captured his attention. "Constitutional law involves history, philosophy, values, the gen- eral direction of the country," Schechter said. "I was particularly attracted to problems in American society in the late '50s: racism and discrimination." While he was an undergraduate at Amherst College, the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed school segre- gation. Sit-ins and bus boycotts were starting to sweep the South. Schechter moved from New Haven to Manhattan and enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia University. While in graduate school, Schechter received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. (Some 40 years later, he was appointed 62 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 Alan and Alison Schechter with Hillary Clinton in the mid-1990s an interview with alan schechter

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