Weird but True Yale: Seeing 5 Former Secretaries of State in 24 Hours

4 former Secretaries of State

The day started out normal enough. I sat crisscross applesauce in the middle of Branford Courtyard, while sketching Harkness Tower for my Drawing Architecture course, when I looked down at my watch.

gothic university belltower
My muse—my beautiful, noisy muse!

2:03PM. Whoops, 3 minutes late! My professor had decided we needed to take advantage of the warm weather, and I clearly got caught up in the whole CLASS OUTSIDE thing.

I sprinted straight back to Ezra Stiles—okay, not straight back because a local restaurant, GHeav, was giving out free samples of ice cream. Free ice cream! After my delicious pit stop, I climbed up to my fourth-floor dorm room, where I met my suitemate, Kobe. We quickly threw on our tuxes with only a brief snafu: Where’s my bow tie?!! (False alarm. It was just shoved into my jacket pocket.)

We sufficiently suited up then sprinted across campus, where our coach buses were waiting for us. Did we feel like spies, running in tuxedos? Yes. Yes, we did. Were we? Who’s to say.

Two?? students in tuxes
2*007=014 or 0014?

Where were we going dressed so dapper, you might ask? We were heading to the Pierre Hotel in New York City with the William F. Buckley Program. And what’s the William F. Buckley Program, you might ask? It’s a group devoted to spreading intellectual diversity by hosting debates, guest speakers, seminars, and conferences on campus.

Students in a hotel rotunda

That day, they were taking us (for free!) to a black-tie dinner in New York City to hear Henry Kissinger speak at their annual Disinvitation Dinner.

Pierre Hotel conference room

We got to this swanky hotel overlooking Central Park by 5pm. And by 5:30pm, mocktails in hand, Kobe and I were walking around the stunning ballroom and chatting with Yale alumni. On a Wednesday night! We even got to meet the former Secretary of State himself, Henry Kissinger.

Two students talking to a secretary of state
I guess only one of us got the look-at-the-camera-for-the-photo notification!

Fast forward to much later that night. We were back in our dorms debriefing the craziness of that night, when our friend Grace told us that she heard Hilary Clinton was speaking at an event on campus the following day.

Of course, we HAD to go to that. Well, we get there bright and early Thursday morning, and turns out it wasn’t an event with Hillary Clinton. It was an event with Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry, AND Hilary Clinton.

4 Secretaries of State

Sometimes, with everything going on in a normal school day, it can be easy to forget exactly where I’m going to school. Then, weird, crazy things like this happen: In less than 24 hours—and I can’t even believe I’m saying this—I saw FIVE different former Secretaries of State speak. Crazy!!

Oh, and my sketch of Harkness Tower from the day before turned out alright!

Harkness Tower Harkness Tower sketch
Okay, certainly nothing to brag about, but I was proud of myself!