Beginning in the late 1990s, a few former IFEL students made contact through the still relatively new medium of the Internet, sometimes after having had no contact for 30 years or more. The numbers of reconnected IFELers grew, usually in groups related to IFEL classes or USAFSS organizations. One such group was established, at first from those who attended IFEL classes beginning January and April, 1962, and over time adding additional members from other IFEL classes who had served in the same military organizations. This website is a direct result of the many interactions among those IFELers.
Around 2005 some of us started talking about the possibility of getting together someplace where we could meet in person and reminisce about our IFEL and USAFSS days. That finally happened in Las Vegas in a memorable reunion the last three days of September, 2009.
Several IFEL62 members met in Tyson's Corner, Virginia in April, 2017.
Due to a set of unlikely coincidences caused by a photograph of JFK at the 1962 Yale Commencement, in 2011 I made contact with Bob Bonds, from the Association of Yale Alumni. After much conversation and a couple of visits to the Yale campus, Bob and his stalwart associate, Henry Kwan, the Director for Shared Interest Groups, decided to help us reaffirm IFEL's place in the Yale firmament.
The upshot was a 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1962 IFEL classes in New Haven in September, 2012. When the IFEL classes of 1962 met in New Haven for our 50th anniversary celebration, we presented a plaque to commemorate IFEL's original home at 215 Park Street. A year later, on September 25, 2013 we returned to the Yale campus for a dedication ceremony sponsored by the Association of Yale Alumni.
In April, 2013, Colonel Scott Manning, Commander, AFROTC Det-009, invited former IFEL students to attend Yale's first annual joint Air Force and Naval ROTC awards ceremony. Nearly 150 people attended, including alumni, faculty, staff, students, special guests, members of the Yale Veterans Association, University administrators and leaders and representatives from local chapters of various national veterans organizations. Attendees came from as far as Kentucky and California.
In the early 2013 run-up to the first annual Joint Air Force & Naval ROTC Awards Ceremony, Colonel Manning mentioned to a few IFEL62 grads that it would be possible— in fact desirable— to create an award of our own to honor today’s ROTC cadets and at the same time solidify the historical presence of IFEL at Yale. Working with Colonel Manning, we established the Robert Tharp Award in memory of the long-time IFEL Chinese teacher and administrator. It is awarded annually at the Yale President's Review to a R.O.T.C. cadet for excellence in academic performance and for inspiring others through diligence and global cultural awareness.