Jeremy Malcolm Lanman

Jeremy was unfailingly friendly and kind, attributes that don’t always accompany the enormity of artistic talent that Jeremy possessed. But Jeremy also stands as an example of life’s arbitrary cruelty. 

Early in our sophomore year, the U.S. Selective Service department instituted the Vietnam War draft lottery system. Few nights will ever exceed the numbing dread of listening to the WYBC’s sardonic program, “Your Number Is Up,” in which birthdays linked with draft priority were read off the newswires. Jeremy’s birthday, September 14, was first to be drawn. A number of us saw Jeremy react to the announcement with disbelief and shock. 

After that point, I learned that Jeremy had to change his major defensively and to assume a less draft-susceptible course of study. I can’t help seeing a connection between the psychological violence of that evening and the general mood of Yale’s 1969-70 school year. It surely must have fueled the university shutdown and the riots during the trial of Black Panther leader Bobby Seale that spring. 

In our remaining two years in Branford, Jeremy appeared to recover from the blow. It could be said either with the bitterest irony or none at all that “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.” Rich in small-minded resentment, I frequently wished that first-place lottery draw on other people, strong in the belief that of all my classmates Jeremy didn’t deserve it. Equally small-minded was the intimation of survivor’s guilt that Jeremy’s situation awakened. 

 Todd Freter 

This is about Jeremy Lanman.  I had some outstanding professors at Yale, some famous (Kernan, Jackson, Blum) and some less so, but Jeremy pulled off the single most outstanding teaching accomplishment while I was there.  He dragged me through to a passing grade in Linear Algebra. That was the course that showed that while I had been told in high school I was good in math, the fact is that I was only good at arithmetic.  Linear Algebra was mathematics, and I didn’t get it. Jeremy not only got it, but explained it clearly.  His greatest trick was hooking up a junkyard color TV to a stereo system so that the music pumped out images which demonstrated exactly what polar coordinates were.  No need to discuss the other learning aids involved with that proof.

Jeremy was a gentle, good soul, and all these years later I remember him fondly.

Andy Irving


An irreplaceable life:  A roommate of Jeremy’s for three years, I was amazed at his inimitable ability to enter a room with the kind of smile and wry comment that let one know you were somehow important to him, that your presence enriched him. I take solace in the fact that I could share a landmark chapter of his all too short life. 

Mark H Reed

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