Miller, Wallenberg et al.
YOUR STORY about Arthur Miller ("Larger Than Life" by Leslie Stainton) reminded me of the late 1930s in Ann Arbor. Have you done one on Harry Carver? He was a full professor of math and/or statistics. I once heard he resigned from the University to join the Marines as a private at the outbreak of WW II. Among the tales current was his offer of an "A" to any of his students who beat him in a footrace.
We would be pleased to hear of other information about Prof. Harry Carver (18?? -19??) We should add that our report on the gift of Charles Walgreen Jr. '28, '51 MS (Hon.), '92 Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon.) was only half right. The Walgreens' $5 million gift to the Walgreen Drama Center, which will house the Arthur Miller Theater, supplemented an earlier gift of $5 million, also made in 2000, making the total $10 million. The Center will contain several smaller theaters as well. Another $3 million Walgreen gift supports four schools: LS&A, Music, Pharmacy and Education.Ed.
|Edward S. Weiss
Montgomery Village, Maryland
PLAYWRIGHT Arthur Miller and television personality Mike Wallace are numbered among Michigan's more prominent alumni. And well they should be. Presumably this is why readers of Michigan Today (most recently Winter 2001), The Alumnus and LSA Magazine can count on regular updates telling of their comings and goings off and on campus.
But, alas, what are the editors going to do for copy at such time as life's final curtain falls for Mr. Miller and TV cameras fade to black one last time for Mr. Wallace?
Though there is always the possibility they can be "Wallenbergered" and given another 50 years in print after death, would it not be time to scan our alma mater's roster of almost 400,000 living alumni to identify not just a pair but scores of suitable replacements to fill the editorial space so amply afforded Messrs. Miller and Wallace by U-M publications over, lo, these many years?
|Robert Trost '58, '60 MA
Grand Rapids, Michigan
WHAT KIND of person was Raoul Wallenberg? Sandor Ardai (one of Wallenberg's drivers): "I've never heard Wallenberg speak an unnecessary word...never a complaint, even if he could not sleep more than a few hours for several days."
Tom Veres (Wallenberg's photographer): "My idol, to me he didn't seem human." Shalom Schwartz (worked at the Swiss legation): "He was filled with such patience it was just unbelievable."
Per Anger (a fellow diplomat): "He kept telling me he was afraid, and I thought that only a man who can admit that is probably genuinely courageous."
He once told an aide: "I like this dangerous game. I love this dangerous game."
Wallenberg would constantly risk his life to save others and was never satisfied with his accomplishments. When he was about to leave for Debresen to meet with the Russians, some of his colleagues warned him about possible dangers, but those who had seen him handle the Nazis were certain he could handle the Russians; they were allies not enemiesso what could go wrong?
|Roy Euker '58 Arch|
'Ann Arbor opened my eyes'
I WOULD like to respond to the letter written by G.M. Freeman in the Winter 2001 issue. The fact that you list your personal interactions with specific non-white nationalities proves that affirmative action is still needed in our society. The day that your eyes do not separate by race except in a sign of respect and eagerness to learn more about that person is the day it is no longer needed. The day that a student in the US can get a comparable education from a rural farming area with no college-prep courses vs. an affluent suburban community with deep pocket books, so that students are evaluated on an equal ground, is the day that affirmative action is irrelevant. The day that it is the most natural thing in the world for people to embrace cultures outside of our comfort zone is when it is no longer required.
In regards to your eating at an expensive restaurant and that a majority of the diners were white: first of all, money does not define success to everyone as it obviously does to yourself. Maybe there is a non-white billionaire that does not need to bother eating at expensive restaurants because they have their own private cooking staff. You took one isolated incident in your life and formed your opinion. That is fine because it is your opinion. It is just shocking to me that you decided to broadcast this isolated view to the people that read this magazine. You made a sweeping generalization that all expensive restaurants in this country have mostly white patrons. That idea is ignorant and is a true example of why affirmative action is still needed. Who knows? Maybe there was a better expensive restaurant in the area that all the non-white people go to and you just don't know about it. Maybe all the white people in that area are bad cooks and are forced to eat elsewhere to sustain themselves! Maybe the fare at that particular restaurant was so bland that it is ignored by the rest of the non-white population in the area. You cannot assume the circumstances that led to the mix of people in that restaurant on that particular day.
I, personally, am extremely grateful to the diversity that I was exposed to in my years at U-M. I come from a suburban town that is probably over 95% Caucasian upper-middle class, and living in Ann Arbor opened my eyes very quickly. I would much rather have gone through that awkward stage of learning to accept others different from myself in a college situation than in the professional world where my job, and potentially my career, is on the line. College is where you learn to work and live with others of all races and cultures, and you can take that knowledge to the workplace after graduation.
|Heather McKee '99 BSE, Mechanical Engineering|
Farmington Hills, Michigan
I WAS surprised to read, in the new issue of Michigan Today that arrived yesterday, that someone "had been writing about science in Africa while interred in a Missouri prison" (page 19, top of third column). I suppose his work was published by an underground press.
It should have been "interned." Or was this an instance in which the pen was mightier than the sward?Ed.
LOOKING BACK over the fascinating (as usual!) Fall 2000 issue of MICHIGAN TODAY, I was struck by a certain contrast between the fate of Natalie and Chandler Davis, Mark Nickerson, and Clement Markert, some of whom lost their academic positions in the USA in the early fifties for their left-wing sympathies (2 long articles, pp. 16-18), and the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, who was apparently put to death in the USSR for (suspected) "non-left-wing" sympathies (letter from Roy Euker, p. 20).
I'm happy for the Davises and for the children of Prof. Markert and Prof. Nickerson, that, after a (brief) loss of employment, all of those fired academics "went on to distinguished academic careers." Pity that Mr. Wallenberg did not survive to enjoy the same sort of relatively quick and total "rehabilitation."
This raises an interesting question for Profs. Natalie and Chandler Davis. When you were preparing "Operation Mind" back in 1952, how many paragraphs in your pamphlet did you devote to the unknown but worrisome fate of UM alumnus Raoul Wallenberg, who was already known to have suffered some sort of restriction of his "academic (or non-academic) freedom" and of his "civil liberties"?
I hope that your just concerns over the persecution of intellectuals on political grounds in the USA were extended equally to people in the Soviet bloc, like Wallenberg, Gabrilovich, and Markish...?
|Prof. Steven P. Hill, '58 MA, '65PhD,|
Dept. of Slavic Languages
Univ. of Illinois at Urbana
I WANTED to write to agree with Mr. Euker about the renaming of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning to honor Mr. Taubman. The decision was shortsighted and antithetical to the ideology of the school. Beside which, Taubman already has a namesake on the Michigan campusthe medical library, right?
When I first received the news in the mail about the name change I was disgusted. Why did the school choose to rename itself in honor of a person for donating money but not actually having any significant impact on the profession of architecture itself? It seemed sleazy to me, frankly. Also, why did no one ever open the possibility for change up for discussion? As a graduate, I felt that my opinion should have been invited at least, even if they were going to ignore it. Finally, if the school was so eager to change its name, why didn't we change it to the Tom Monaghan School of Architecture back when it seemed the school was sucking up to him several years ago? He at least wanted to be an architect before he made his money elsewhere.
I would like to second the nomination for Raoul Wallenberg or any other illustrious graduate. My sentimental alternative would be Dr. Emmanuel-George Vakaloa much loved and major influence on many of the school's graduates. Vakalo's love of education, mentoring, and philosophy were more in line with the school's reason for being than Taubman's, I'm sure.
|Lisa S. Rowe '93 Arch|
ANOTHER wonderful issue from MT. A colleague of mine in Michigan graduate English study and I were delighted with the story on Ralph Williams in particular. Ralph meant very much to my own study of poetry at the University.
|Nan Sweet '60, '93 PhD|
I FOUND your article "A smash in the world of table tennis" [by Joel Seguine in the spring '01 issue-Ed.] and the accomplishments of Ashoo Jain of particular interest. I suppose it is in antiquity now, but back in 1955 U of M was the proud winner of the US Collegiate Table Tennis tournament. We captured several trophies and the large silver cup that rotated to the winning school each year.
The final round was memorable. By some manipulation the opposing team (I seem to recall it was Ohio State) was able to switch their #1 and #3 players. The #3 player was an Asian playing with the recently introduced sponge-covered paddle. As the #1 player on the Michigan team, I barely won my match, struggling with the strange spins produced by my opponent's sponge paddle. This left the score at 2 to 2 with the final match between their #1 player, who held a national ranking and our #3 player who was playing in his first national tournament.
It seemed our opponents' ploy had worked. We were resigned to winning second place. Amazingly, after losing the first game our playerwho was a fighterbattled back to win the second game. Everybody was on edge as the score went to several deuces in the final game, and we jumped and shouted for joy when Michigan's player won! I don't know if the trophies are still in the trophy case in the athletic building, being undoubtedly superseded by others, but those were exciting times for Table Tennis at Michigan.
|Alvin M. Ring '58 MD|
THANK YOU for including the article featuring Luke Bergmann's research, "What is childhood in a postindustrial, rust belt city?" in the Winter 2001 issue of Michigan Today. Social Work is an undervalued profession in our society, largely because we serve populations that society would oftentimes rather forget about. As a '96 graduate of the School of Social Work, I appreciate that Michigan Today has given us a little limelight.
I too have worked the streets of Detroit, as well as Boston and San Francisco, providing direct services to high-risk families. I laud Bergmann's task is to conduct research, in the process of forming positive relationships with youth and showing an interest in their lives, he is most certainly making a difference on an individual level as well. Kudos to him for furthering our understanding of an extremely marginalized subculture.
|Michelle Avery Ferguson|
San Francisco, California
Rust Belt researcher
I WAS impressed with Luke Bergmann's accomplishment connecting with the juvenile drug trade in Detroit. I was born in Detroit and grew up in nearby Farmington. We got "downtown" quite often for shopping, the opera, library, Briggs stadium, amusement parks, boat rides and such. My dad taught at Mackenzie High. It became increasingly difficult for him as the school became all Black. Once a gang took over the school and held the teachers hostage. There were student murders and general violence at the school. One of the Black teachers preached race hatred when he was supposed to be teaching physics. We pleaded with my dad to transfer to a less dangerous school or to retire, but he kept at it, working additional hours in night school and summer school. Salaries were low, but he managed to put my sister and me through college. My mother did occasional substitute teaching in Farmington.
I appreciated, too, Mr. Bergmann's scholarly detachment on the institutionalization of the drug trade and the role of the justice system. It saddens me to realize that nearly everyone now accepts the drug culture as a permanent part of American city life. The kids want to become cops or lawyers. I wonder if they realize that a drug arrest record will deny them scholarships and other advantages in life that the rest of us take for granted. I hope Mr. Bergmann and others will use some of their discoveries about the system to find a way to break it.
|Richard E. Schreiber|
Donne to death
I DON'T want to beat this "catch a falling star" thing to death. But I do find it odd that the references to the poem never got to its point. Or perhaps not so odd in these days of PC and Women's Lib. Donne is considered by some to be the greatest love poet in the English language. Yet his list of impossibilities continues:
If thou beest born to strange sights,For the record, I found the complete poem in a textbook from an English class I took at Michigan more than 50 years ago. I cannot tell you the name of the book because its cover is long gone. But I keep its pages, yellowed and worn, wrapped in plastic near my desk. I still use it to jog my memory and refresh my mind.
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee
Thou, when thou return'st wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
Lives a woman true and fair....
|Allan B. Clamage '50|
AT THE RISK of having the fundraising department read this and then unleash a flood of letters telling how I can leave my money to the University of Michigan, I want to compliment the editor and staff of Michigan Today. For years, I have read this well-written publication, enjoyed the wide array of subjects, and discarded it without once thanking those who are responsible for the high quality. So, accept my apologies and thanks. I'll be looking forward to every issue.
SO WE'RE going to charge an additional $5 "premium" for the Ohio State game [see article on football ticket prices, Spring 2001 issueEd.], presumably because that school has been known, on occasion, to field a competitive football team. Why stop there? Some suggestions:
o Purdue. Anyone who has seen the last 40 or so Golden Girls, and who has the sense to bring binoculars, knows that she is worth at least an extra 3 or 4 bucks.
o Indiana. Its team is almost always weak, but its band invariably outnumbers the football squad, and IU is inarguably the best music school in the Big 10.
o Northwestern. "For its pretty girls," as the old song goes. Just its cheerleaders alone beat any Broadway show.
One could go on, but the point is made: Ours is a conference of equal educational institutionsdistinctions are out of place and tasteless.
|George Walsh '49, '52L|
New York City
RIGHT ON, R.A.K.! (re Roy Euker's letter in our last issueEd.). You are absolutely correct (though I wish you had more than "reservations" about renaming the architecture college). It's bad enough when mere buildings are renamed after subsequent donors, but to rename the entire college after Taubman is unconscionable and inexcusable. The college had been in existence for many decades before Taubman came along with his millions. What was the Administration thinking of?
As I wrote the college at the time, they obviously don't need my paltry annual contribution any more, and will never receive it againat least if the college remains named after Taubman or any other Big Donor. Buildings may be named after the donors who make them possible, but to rename a college? Faugh! The original college name should be restored.
At the time of the original letter, Taubman was only implicated in the Justice Department investigation of alleged crimes at Sotheby's. Now he's been indicted. Even if he is tried and found not guilty, the college name should be restored. If he is found guilty by trial or pleading, the college name is forever tarnished by this association based on receipt of tainted gains.
When a suitably eminent person (professor, graduate) has gone to eternal rest, then is the time to consider renamings. Even then, based on the incessant push to name or rename places and things after US presidents (JFK and Reagan, who is still among the living), it can be carried to extremes and may be fraught with peril!
|Pamela W. Ritter '52 Arch|
I FIND it interesting that an article on writing has a word created by a mistake. The writer wrote, but the editor didn't edit. Perhaps you need to publish an article on guidelines for editing.
(You are right. We printed "anextensive vocabulary" instead of "an extensive" in our article on the Sweetland Writing Center. Thank you.Ed.)
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