Reminiscences on destruction and war|
DURING THE summer of 1978, I had a University summer business internship in New York. Although the internship wasn't anything to write home about, the New York experience was unforgettable.
One Sunday, I decided to take a walk down to the Financial District. It wasn't too far away from the New York University dorm that housed the students from my internship program, so why not? It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday. My grandfather, who had died eight years before, had been a Wall Street securities analyst. Grandpa told many stories of his times on the Street, but I'd never gone there with him. So this was my chance to see his world.
On the way back to the dorm, I decided to visit the World Trade Center. Although I was afraid of heights, I got on the elevator and went all the way up to the observation deck. I found a chair and sat for a long time. The chairs were positioned in front of a nice, thick railing. I noticed that a lot of other people were doing what I was, leaning on that railing and looking, looking, looking. My fear of heights? It just wasn't there. I was too high up in the sky. It was almost like being on an airplane. Then, back on the elevator, which brought a carful of people back to earth with a hearty bounce. Entirely appropriate, I thought. And now all of that is gone.
|Martha Retallick '79|
SIXTY YEARS ago I was a senior at Ann Arbor High School in what is now the U-M Frieze Building. On December 8, 1941, my physics class sat in the lab and listened on the radio to President Roosevelt deliver his "Day that Will Live In Infamy" speech. One of the boys who sat in front of me lost his wife in the war, a boy across the aisle spent many months in a German POW camp. All of the other lives were changed.
In September 2001 our grandson entered U-M as a freshman, becoming the fourth generation of our family with a Michigan connection. His great grandfather, Dr. J. H. Hodges, came to teach chemistry at Michigan after World War I.
The second generation, my husband and I, met at Michigan when Don was sent by the Navy V-12 program to finish work on his pharmacy degree. He served at Okinawa and stayed after the war in a mine-sweeping operation in Japanese waters until he brought his LCI home to San Francisco. He was released in the spring of 1946 and we were married in July, three weeks after I graduated from Michigan.
The first two years of my life on campus, '43 and '44, were years of great change. Term schedules were changed to meet the requirements of the many armed services units that came to use the facilities at Michigan for specialized training. The Navy needed the University to change from a semester plan to a quarter plan, and it became necessary to hold classes on New Year's Day 1943, to much moaning and groaning from students and faculty alike.
In the first term of the following year I took "Introduction to Literature" taught by Erich Walter, English professor and dean. Dean Walter chose to spend that hour reading poems that spoke of war and of change and dealing with adversity. He ended with some lines from Sophocles' Antigone, not in our text, referred to in "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold. The lines from Antigone I copied in the back of the book so long ago begin with, "Blessed are those whose life has known no war." These two departures from the norm stick in my memory as special.
Our son Thom, the third generation, finished the four years at Michigan allotted him from exemption from the draft but was a few hours short of a degree, and within a few months was in the Army. Thom returned to a job kept for him in the University Office of Financial Aid. TJ, as he is now known, completed his degree and is a fixture at the OFA.
We are happy that a fourth generation of the Hodges-Johnson clan, our grandson and TJ's nephew, is now enjoying campus life and classes in Ann Arbor. However, as a grandmother, I would just as soon not have Steve become a fourth generation in the armed forces. Daughter, wife and mother of a military man is plenty, thank you!
|Patricia H Johnson '46
Signal Mountain, Tennessee
"You Can Quote Me"
CONGRATULATIONS on the disabilities article ("And You Can Quote Me on That" by Lisa A. Goldstein) in your Fall 2001 issue. Over all the years since I was at Michigan, I have frequently been dismayed and disgusted at "my" school's treatment of disabilities issues.
I attended U-M from fall 1943 through January 1947, by which time I was close to finishing my master of science degree. But as often happens with students, I realized I was in a rut. I left for San Francisco and took California Civil Service exams for a position in their Fish and Wildlife Department. While I did well, I was not in the top 10 they were hiring.
In retrospect I must have wanted to get even farther away from Ann Arbor for (after considerable hassle with some recruiters) I went overseas to Guam with the Army Engineers in a secretarial position. On Guam one of my duties was giving driving license tests for jeeps and weapons carriers. In the process of doing this, I met a handsome, intelligent civil engineer from the Philippines. We were married on Guam when interracial couples still had to obtain permission and approval from an Army chaplain.
Can you guess what happened now? I brought my new husband back to Ann Arbor, where he began work on his master's degree in engineering in the summer of 1949, completing it in June 1950. In a few years he became a US citizen. Except for about a year or so, Angie worked for a prestigious engineering firm, Smith Hinchman and Grylls, Inc., in Detroit, leaving the engineering mark of his work (i.e. Joe Louis Arena) there and elsewhere in Michigan by the time he retired, when we moved to California.
By the way, did I tell you I have cerebral palsy? While at Michigan I visited the Orthopedic Department at University Hospital to see if more could be done to help me. I already had had many surgeries. They were astonished considering my degree of CP at how well I managed. Walking miles every day on campus had done wonders for me! As I recall, though, nothing special was ever done to help students with disabilities at that time. I have not been back to Ann Arbor for years. I hope by now there are ramps where needed, handicapped parking, elevators, etc.
I have been active in disabilities issues, as I have had a wheelchair since 1982. In Michigan I participated in Wheelchair Games as a swimmer. Now I am even more involved being on an Americans With Disabilities Act compliance committee for our county bus system, promoting wheelchair access in the Golden Gate Park system and serving on an Accessibility Task Force for the San Francisco Presbytery.
My complaint with the University has always been the travel tours they sponsor. We would have loved to go sometimes, but accessibility was never mentioned in the informational brochures. Now at almost 80, it is too late for this. But again, thanks for the present glimmer of hope in Michigan Today.
Angeles, flanked by her daughters Christine '75 MD and Susan '73, at the Bay to Breakers Run.
|Mildred Lambert Angeles '45|
I READ about the film entitled And You Can Quote Me on That and wondered if it is being made available to groups off campus. If so, how might I obtain a copy?
The video's producer, Pat McCune, coordinator of U-M's Dialogues on Diversity initiative, replies: The production is available on video cassette for only $10 each to cover the cost of duplication and postage. There is an on-line order form on our web site at www.dialogues.umich.edu; just click on Video Projects on that home page. Orders also can be placed by sending an email request to email@example.com.
|Carol Clark '69, '73, '79|
Observations on social research
UNLIKE publications from some other major universities, which either print low-level gee-whiz stuff only, or vanish, yours continues over the decades to provide many interesting, substantial articles. Fall 2001 provides a well-assembled look at the Institute for Social Research, about which we have long heard and wanted to know more about.
With no aspersion to ISR, which is one of the best, we conclude that most of the best social polling is ultimately corrupted. Perhaps ISR could look at these and other issues and find ways to change to more credible and useful methods. ISR clearly knows what many of the problems are, but needs to think farther "out of the box" to salvage social research. Many scholarly critiques of all aspects of social research have been published, too.
We arrive at this in reaction to the misuse of polls to predetermine elections, to construct public responses that pollsters and politicians want, to invent justification for policy, to manipulate blocs of voters, to reduce private and public life to computer data, and many other grievances. ISR is competing for responses with unscrupulous companies that pester people incessantly with fake polls, often done by a machine and with no ID up front. ISR staff have the wisdom and experience to have a big conference to show that the whole approach is corrupt and misleading. See the book by Richard Light, Summing Up, 1984, which shows more broadly how weak the science is in statistical studies involving people, especially for policy.
Your articles on "alternative" (quack) medicine and TV audiences also connect to this subject. Social research and quack medicine fail to find mechanisms of causation, and so end with no more than marginal or spurious effects.
|John and Susan Mauldin '67|
Pueblo West, Colorado
MICHIGAN Today invariably has articles that are thought-provoking. Most instances, like the recent article about the Institute of Social Research, its growth and influence, seem to elicit a response. In 1951, I worked as an ISR interviewer in the field (a probe about public awareness of atomic energy 30 miles from the Los Almos Laboratory). The training was rigorous; it emphasized all aspects of conducting a survey of public opinion. I have never lost my awe for the power of public opinion and its effect on social psychology.
In 1971, as a graduate student I studied social research with Tony Iripodi at the School of Social Work. However, with the many years of experience teaching, conducting research, reviewing and reading opinion polls, nothing ever has had as profound an influence as my well-researched term paper on lynching when I was a sociology undergraduate in 1948. The power of manipulated public opinion abused by a few can lead us like so many "lemmings" to such destructive ends. Polls have elected presidents, determined the issues and, in a market driven by insecurity, they are telling us what to do or think to be in step with others-the new definition of "normal."
Now, finding the "real world" has never been more difficult, yet the national crisis as a result of the September 11th destruction has made it more important to do so. How do we really feel? Do we really feel? Are we brave enough to express it? If we do, are we told we are contra la corriente (against the current), not "mainstream"? Growth in power and prestige should not lead ISR to lose sight of the mission to honestly reflect public opinion, to set a standard. We must not let hucksters manipulate our better instincts or "control the herd," otherwise we lose our moral compass.
|Adelina Ortiz de Hill '72 MSW|
Santa Fe, New Mexico
WE JUST received our Fall 2001 issue-another treat! Pictured on the inside front cover was Bob Groves. ("They've Got Your Number" by Diane Swanbrow). Bob and Cindy Groves were our neighbors and dear friends in (now defunct) University Terrace. We tried to find the place by driving around the (largely expanded) U-M hospital complex several years back until our kids were "ad nauseam"
What fine professorship material Bob must be. Somehow U-M people never leave your thoughts. And, as in the case of Bob Groves, they grow "larger than life" in print! This is no survey, but two out of two people interviewed in the Leibin household agree that Michigan Today has again piqued our interest and our support. Hail to the Victors!
|Flo and Harvey Leibin '73 M Arch|
The unforgettable Harry Carver
I DID NOT see the letter of Edward S. Weiss in the Summer 2001 issue, but I noted with interest the readers' inputs in the Fall issue regarding Prof. Harry Carver. I never had Prof. Carver as a teacher, nor did I ever meet him. I think no discussion of him should be considered complete, however, without acknowledging one of his most popular contributions to aircraft navigation: the C-Plot.
In early 1957, I was a recent U-M graduate and an Air Force lieutenant attending Basic Navigator Training in Texas. We were in a course on celestial navigation when the instructor presented a mathematical formula and technique for establishing the actual position of an aircraft when only minimal information is available. These determine the relative values of one's predicted position from dead reckoning and a single line-of-position determined by celestial observation. The formula is a function of the time since the last "fix," or accurately established position. The instructor said this mathematical determination was called C-Plot. Since it was being taught in a celestial course, I assumed the "C" stood for celestial, but I thought I would ask to make sure. The instructor had no idea what it stood for but promised to find out. A couple of days later he returned with the answer. The "C" stood for Carver, a University of Michigan professor hired by the Air Corps to help improve aircraft navigation and bombing accuracies during WWII.
During my 28 years as an Air Force navigator, I used C-Plot on many occasions, and with each usage I thought of Professor Carver and his connection to Michigan. Although the sophistication of today's navigation system makes the necessity to use C-Plot much less likely, I'm sure its formulation is buried somewhere in the software of their computers-just in case.
|Gordon Barnes '56|
I AM disappointed to have missed your call for recollections of one of Michigan's great athletes, scholars and professorsHarry C. Carver. If my memory serves me, possibly his greatest single accomplishment was his on-site contribution to the instruction of air navigation principles and procedures followed by our 8th Air Force during World War II.
How do I know this? In his class on Air Navigation, Fall 1947, the first part of the course was devoted to learning the fundamentals: dead reckoning, three-point fixes, celestial navigation, etc. In the second part, we flew (in class) the same missions that 8th Air Force pilots had flown from their airdromes in England across the English Channel to their German targets in Essen, Cologne and elsewhere, using the same manual calculating equipment and navigation tables. Professor Carver's final exam involved plotting another 8th Air Force mission, hitting all the checkpoints, reaching the target and returning to home base according to plan. Navigate correctly, receive an A.
A great professor, memorable course and major contribution to the war effort!
|John T. Griffin, '50|
Raleigh, North Carolina
Alternative medicine: pro and con
IT IS discouraging to see rather uncritical articles regarding "alternative medicine" coming up in worthy publications as Michigan Today and Consumer Reports. You are thus pandering to medical quackery, primitive healing, folklore medicine and profiteers. This pending groundswell of popularity for folk medicine is mainly due to a recent change in the law that now permits their exclusion from the jurisdiction of our food and drug laws. This change occurred because of the present laissez faire bias of Congress and lobbying. The legitimate pharmaceutical companies can also take credit, due to their own sins, to wit: obscene pricing, profiteering, compensation to CEOs, bribery of medical professionals and lobbying in Congress. Legitimate drugs themselves are not always efficacious, conceal negative side effects and do not always meet the miraculous expectations of a scientifically ignorant public.
And does anyone realize the history of our Food and Drug Laws-that the law passed by only one vote after a long fight? And that now we are turning all this back to the primitive atmosphere of "anything goes?" The drug companies have long understood the possibilities of naturally occurring drugs. This is not the issue, as the herbal drug advocates would like us to believe. They would be first to profit from it, if they work. The issue here is whether or not we, as a modern scientifically oriented culture, are to have a medical and food review system based on science or one based on primitive quackery and anecdotal testing.
All this quasi-religious positive-thinking, faith, "mind energy" and placebo effect is medicine-man nonsense (see page 14 and the photo "reiki pain control"), none of which would stand up in a large study of individuals who had definitively diagnosed diseases. Try these techniques against some serious conditions like venereal disease, anthrax, small pox, polio, rubella, cancer, hernia, broken bones, etc., all of which are efficaciously treatable by modern medicine. I challenge them to pray disease away instead. Pure Voodoo!
|Frank Laraway '63|
THANK YOU for your article on complementary and alternative medicine that mentioned me. I would like to make several corrections. First, I received my PhD from a joint program of the School of Social Work and Department of Psychology, not in psychological social work. Second, while I learned qigong as a teenager and still practice it, I have never claimed the title "Qigong Practitioner." In qigong cultural circles, only a few people who are committed to providing qigong therapy for others use this title. Because I do not use qigong to treat patients, I prefer not to have this title. Third, I reluctantly had to give up the position of principle investigator (PI) of the qigong project to accept a tenure-track position at another research university. Although I no longer oversee the ongoing trial, I am still committed to analyzing the data from the project as co-PI and a research fellow of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, and publishing the outcome in collaboration with my colleagues at U-M.
|Amy L. Ai|
Seattle and Ann Arbor
IT'S A SHAME the article on complementary and alternative medicine was tainted with standard pharmaceutical industry propaganda designed to scare people away from using low-cost alternatives. But then again, with all the money the industry doles out for research to schools, you wouldn't dare bite the hand that feeds you.
First, we have the standard scare tactic that because supplements have been "removed from regulatory oversight, the amount of active ingredients they contain can vary widely." Really? Have supplements been made exempt from labeling laws that require contents to match what the label says? Is mislabeling any more rampant with supplements than with other products, both food and non-food?
Second, Ara G. Paul, dean emeritus of the College of Pharmacy, "believes strongly that herbs should be standardized and regulated as drugs, just as other prescription and over-the-counter remedies are." While I believe they should be standardized, why should they be regulated? Side effects from those safe, effective regulated prescription drugs he so strongly believes in are already the fourth-to-sixth leading cause of death. That's according to an article in JAMA, 1998; 279, 1200-1205, which gave estimates of over 106,000 hospital deaths from adverse reactions to drugs that were properly dispensed (the right drug in the prescribed dose). Those deaths don't include victims dying outside hospitals, or those attributed to some other cause as a cover-up. If you go here, http://www.heart-disease-bypass-surgery.com/data/articles/52.htm, you'll see that doctors are the third leading cause of death. So much for the "protection" offered by regulation and licensing.
Ara G. Paul, dean emeritus, College of Pharmacy, replies.Mr. Kostanty has erred in a number of ways in his comments. Herbal medicines are not necessarily low-cost alternatives to prescription or over-the-counter medications, though they may be. One can calculate the cost of a regimen of many of these and demonstrate that some are more expensive than an appropriate over-the-counter medication or even a prescription drug.
With no standards on identity of plant materials, age of plant materials, methods of preparation of extracts and other dosage forms, studies have shown wide variation in active principles and marker compounds in a number of popular herbals, St. John's Wort for example.
There are certainly deaths due to prescription medications and to regulated self-medication products. We have no data as yet on the numbers of deaths and illnesses caused by herbal medications, but many have been documented. Well-regulated herbal medications would reduce such risks.
I am not opposed to the use of herbal medications. I oppose their improper usage and feel that the public ought to be protected from poor quality herbals. They can fit into our health care system if used appropriately.
As for the writer's suggestion that I not dare "bite the hand that feeds you," he should know that I have served as a consultant to a major manufacturer of herbal products.
|Ray Kostanty '60 BSE|
IT'S GREAT that scientific medicine is examining the alternatives. While thumbing through alternative-product catalogs one gets the impression that ground-up parts of every roadside bush and weed have been encapsulated and presented as necessary for good health. But we should be concerned about the examiners as well as the products being examined. Remember that a lot of money is at stake and the examiners have roots in conventional medicine. Ponder the first sentence of an editorial in The Lancet: "Fraud in medicine research is pervasive" (1996; 347-843).
An alternative medicine or method won't be given a fair shake if, for example, it is examined in the manner employed with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) after Linus Pauling recommended it for colds in 1970. Of the more than 20 scientific trials that followed, not one tested his advice properly. None adhered even to the dosing schedules of physicians who had reported success with the substance. The same can be said for the scientific trials that tested it against cancer and viral hepatitis. There was too much money at stake to allow publication of an objective trial. Anyone interested can contact me for references to relevant papers.
|Steven Sheffrey '55 DDS|
Smeaton's fine nose
IN ANSWER to your request: Professor Smeaton was a colleague of my father, James Hallett Hodges, in the faculty of the Department of Chemistry when I was a student, 1942-46. Although I majored in chemistry, Dr Smeaton was not one of my teachers. If my memory serves, (sometimes it doesn't, lately), Dr Smeaton had made significant discoveries in the field of organic chemistry. I do remember my father telling me that Dr. Smeaton had a remarkable sense of smell, and if he caught a whiff of the bitter almond smell of cyanide, he would search the building until he was satisfied that no one was in trouble.
P.S. Our grandson is a freshman at Michigan, becoming the fourth generation of the family with a Michigan connection.
|Priscilla Hodges Johnson '46|
ON PAGE 18 of the Fall 2001 issue you mention William Gabb Smeaton. I was privileged to have known and studied under a Professor Smeaton who headed the Department of Chemistry. I was in his classes in 1928 and 1929. Professor Smeaton was a great teacher and a good friend, but he at last arranged for us to "have a visit." During our frank and open conversation, it was borne in upon me that the most productive career I might embark upon did not lie in the area of quantitative chemistry, and while my ambitions and willingness to study were meritorious, they would be put to far more valuable result if directed to some other line of endeavor. This is an opportunity for me to say how highly I regarded him and that I remain indebted to him for his wisdom and care.
|Karl S. Richardson '31|
Lessons from diversity
FIFTY-TWO years ago and more I learned about "diversity" at the U of M. I learned it from my Cambridge Street housemate, basketball star Mack Suprunowicz at the Packard Family Home on Cambridge St., from Bob Mann and the late Lennie Ford (who was called the "best defensive end I ever saw" by coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns). My friend Gene Derricotte, who was on the 1947 Michigan team which went to the Rose Bowl and beat USC 49 - 0, and who also joined the Browns, was a very intelligent man. He helped me learn about his background and contributed to my "diversity." Coach Brown said of Gene, "He is the best defensive back I ever coached." As a Caucasian, I came to understand other cultures not examined in the largely white, predominantly Jewish Central High School in Detroit.
Earlier, my late father, honorary-non-alumnus circa early 1920s learned it from his golfing partner, Willis Ward, and later at Rackham Golf Course in Royal Oak with boxing champion Joe Louis Barrow, whom he served as a marshal at the golf tournament which Joe funded, the only place where "Negroes," as we then said, were allowed on the course.
I take exception to Michigan Today letter writer Paul Wickstrom (Spring 2001 issue), who happily found his own "diversity" through several careers, but not apparently in A2. I support the University's admission policies in both law and undergraduate schools. I commend Lee Bollinger for hanging tough on this issue.
For me, the start I received in Ann Arbor has led to a rewarding (spiritually, if not financially) career with two national community relations agencies, the Michigan Fair Employment Practices Commission (1955) and tours of duty on race relations in two federal departments. My life has been enriched from what I started to learn in Ann Arbor.
P.S. I was a guest at the wedding in the Detroit Urban League quarters of Lennie Ford and Judge Geraldine Bledsoe Ford, former president of our Alumni Association. The UL's offices were the gift of the late, great philanthropist Fred M. Butzel. In the winter of 1946-47, I asked 6'4" Lennie Ford why he had not gone out for the U-M basketball team. His response was, "I was told not to." Too much black skin for the times?
P.P.S. I'll contribute an extra hundred bucks to the association if football coach Lloyd Carr will remove the noxious Nike "swoosh" from the back of his cap.
Aftermath of 9/11/01
WHAT I find most disturbing about Prof. Linda Lim's remarks ("U-M responds to terrorists' assaults," Fall 2001) is her absence of compassion for the victims and their families as well as an acknowledgment of the collective grief of this nation. Also, ominously missing is any anger at the murderers who committed these deeds. Her statement asking, "Why does America know and care so little about the rest of the world?" reveals a profound ignorance of American history.
How about the following ideas, none of which appears to have been expressed in any of the campus forums you reported on: There is no justification for the attacks; the attacks were committed by irrational people, grounded in hate, for irrational reasons; the Vietnam War of 30 years ago and our continuing support of Israel (the only democratic multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious nation in the region) are not causes for the attacks; our armed response is a case of good versus evil; and why shouldn't a nation care most about the safety of its citizens (is there a nation that doesn't)? Lim's remarks betray a deep solipsism, an inability to see beyond her narrow and intolerant political biases. It saddens me to think she's representative of the University's voice.
We could not report in entirety the remarks of Professor Lim and the other International Institute panelists. "We were not asked to give a personal or comprehensive analysis but simply to represent views from different parts of the world," she notes. "I merely presented the views I had received, with which I was not required to concur." Readers may find the full text of her and other contributors' commentary, which express their compassion and sorrow, at the International Institute's Website http://www.umich.edu/~iinet/ in the section "Terrorism and Globalization: International Perspectives, Sept. 18, 2001."Ed.
|David Masello '80|
New York City
I WAS shocked and dismayed to read in your reprint of the Michigan Daily's September 11 editorial that "These attacks will illicit a response unheard of in American history." (Emphasis added.) Whether this gaffe originated with the Daily or with you, it is a chilling reminder that spellcheck will not solve all problems. One might have hoped it would not be necessary to point this out to a University of Michigan publication. Is anyone proofreading any more?
Proofreaders on both publications were sleeping at the switch.Ed.
|Barry H. Silverblatt '66|
A connection with "Uncle Charlie"
I STUMBLED upon a surprise in "Uncle Charlie's Speech" (Fall, 2001), a family reminiscence by Maude Johnson Robinson '38 MA, about a relative of hers who had been enrolled in the College of Pharmacy at U-M in the early 1900s. In her story, she described a young woman to whom her uncle had been close in their student days. That young woman had to be my mother, Patricia Ferguson (Class of 1916), who had often spoken affectionately of Charles Johnson, then-deceased, during my childhood. In addition, the writer seemed to have been at Ann Arbor at the same time as I. In fact, I believe I remember her as a graduate student living in the same house where I spent my four years as an undergrad: Benjamin House, famous in those days as the one dorm allocated for the housing of Black coeds. Times, of course, have changed.
The experience of campus life for minority students during that era, though deeply fulfilling and enriching, was more profoundly different from the usual than I had quite realized as I was living through it. That is, until near the end of my time there when, the only senior from my house, I attended the Michigan League's annual spring banquet for graduating coeds in 1938. To do so, I veered briefly from my normal pathway, feeling impulsively drawn to take part in this particular campus-wide festivity which marked the approach of Commencement.
The fact is that we "Colored" students, except for our associations with individual classmates, were pretty much used to functioning within an intimate circle of our own, a clique which erased the usual distinctions between grads and undergrads because we were so few-just a handful on campus, all told. Always, we trooped off to the sports events, immersing ourselves in the mass delirium in the stands at football and basketball games. And in the more aesthetic atmosphere we regularly attended Hill Auditorium concerts, the plays, the distinguished speaker events and socials.
Among the many rich cultural moments of those days, I recall awesome performances by such artists as Lily Pons, Marian Anderson, the then-teenaged actress Angela Lansbury and the touring major symphony orchestras. For one interval, Robert Frost was poet-in-residence.
We Black students certainly had our own great times. We moved through our seasons there alternately sampling the pervading spirit of the campus and then returning to our shell-not exactly forced to do so by any external pressure, yet somehow sensing a need to preserve our own identity or else succumb to a sort of temporary nonexistence.
I mention the League's celebratory dinner, because it was there in that setting that I was profoundly struck by the all-encompassing comradely nostalgia in the air. It represented a somewhat unfamiliar content of group memory, thick with an atmosphere of inclusiveness that my recollections of the same four years could not reflect. Indeed, I had my wonderful memories of those precious years, though tempered with maybe a touch of cynicism, since they were skewed a little differently in comparison with the total ambience of college life for the average student.
Yet, vicariously I enjoyed this delightful evening filled with laughter, giggly chatter and applause over the awarding of nonacademic honors, the public recognition of various class personalities and class characters, the anecdotes of escapades and conspiracies, the ritual naming of every girl who had gotten "pinned," the teary farewells, joining in the singing of the alma mater-my alma mater, too.
I loved it all&$151;though actually it was mostly somebody else's story. I think at that moment I felt a light pang of regret at not having been more in the thick of things; however, for me that time had not yet come, and I was no pioneer (surely there have been many since, to push things along). My peers and I understood the mainstream's unspoken rules, so we played gracefully the game of separateness, seriously outnumbered as we were, also undaunted and patient. We knew that social change would eventually occur, and we were preparing ourselves for active participation in the process of helping create that perfect world that we expected to become our future.
Thankfully, many of us have lived long enough to see the marvel of great change that has brought our University boldly to the forefront, to the steps of the Supreme Court, facing today's legal challenges over issues of diversity.
My comment from the sidelines, so to speak, grows out of the desire to express my special joy triggered at discovering in a U-M publication the mention of two proud minority alums from the pre- World War I era, one of them dear to the writer of "Charlie" and the other, dear to me: my mother, his friend. As for the author, Maude Johnson Robinson of South Carolina, and myself, we represent a somewhat more recent generation of minority alums, also proud, all four of us linked together by our ties to U-M.
|Marion Clark Maddox '38|
Our Fall 2001 issue
MY COPY of Michigan Today came yesterday and as usual, it looks very tired and tattered by the time it gets here. In my opinion, this publication falls far short of representing the history and the on-going quality of what Michigan stands for. The appearance and contents are at the level of the poor quality newspaper inserts or the high school vocational training flyers that come to our house.
My concerns are as follows: Using the rag paper format makes the visual effect of the outside dull and uninteresting. Photo and print quality are poor with some interior photographs that are very fuzzy.
The newspaper format now used says cheap throw-a-way, and I would suspect that is what happens to a lot of them shortly after arrival. All of the other university publications that we receive are far superior to that of Michigan Today.
While the content of the publication is subject to each reader's view, this publication and other recent ones seem to be drifting into the feel-good issues of the 1960s. The front cover and the interior articles on alternative medicine are, in my opinion, just the side shows of medicine that make light reading but are best left to others, not Michigan.
Some suggestions: Use a magazine format with a decent coated paper as the base. Many readers are geographically remote. Include from time to time, overall shots of what the campus looks like. Include details of new building projects on campus. How about a section in each issue that deals with the news from the various Schools and Colleges? What about a section of class notes organized by year? With a real upgrade in quality, consider some high quality ads.
In summary, Michigan is a world-class institution. Michigan Today should reflect that.
Thank you for your thoughtful critique. Each School and College, and the Alumni Association, produce publications with some of the features you recommend, including class notes and ads. As to aesthetic and physical qualities, we are working with our printer to improve inking and imaging quality. Michigan Today's ever-increasing mail run, now at about 380,000, is costly in paper and postage. Our choice of paper and our size enable us to produce and mail each issue at about 27 cents per copy, the most efficient pricing in the nation. But we're always looking for ways to improve, and appreciate receiving ideas from readers like you, who show such strong interest in our publication and the University.Ed.
|Roy F. Deng Jr. '56|
Delray Beach, Florida
EXCELLENT issue! (Fall 2001). I liked John Rich's Interview about TV shows, "Uncle Charlie's speech," "Scientific Medicine Examines the Alternatives," the disabilities video "And you can quote me on that," "Trip Through UROP" and the quality of paper (recycled?) that its printed on. Thank you for sending it to me.
|Ruth Ingeborg Fuss '57 MA|
THERE IS no excuse for Michigan Today misspelling Keweenaw [an error in Summer 2001 issue; see letters, Fall 2001Ed.]. Countless places in Michigan and the United States have multiple historical variations in the spelling of their names (e.g., Mackinac vs. Mackinaw), but only the current and accepted spelling is appropriate. It matters not that a historical method is easier to pronounce or can be found on a federal government website (taken out of context?).
"Keewanau," the "alternative transliteration of the Indian word" that Michigan Today used, is similar to the spelling of the Leelanau Peninsula northwest of Traverse City. However, simply referencing a road atlas of Michigan would alert you to the correct spelling of Keweenaw. Moreover, an adequate search of National Park websites would have led you to the Keweenaw National Historic Park headquartered in Calumet onyou guessed itthe Keweenaw Peninsula. Please, no more lame excuses for geographic ignorance. Next you will be claiming that Ann Arbor is located in Washtenau County!
|Roger S. Helman, Esq '89|
YOUR "ALTERNATE" spelling of Keweenaw in the Fall 2001 issue (Letters) really rang a bell. The University community too often ignores the value of ethnic diversity of students from small town, rural and backwoods Michigan. Does the University realize that people from around the world are attracted to Michigan for its scenic beauty, including lakeshore and rural landscapes? Surely non-urban students carry far-reaching ideas which enrich the intellect of the community of Ann Arbor.
I fear the University is guilty of over (or is it under?) snobbishness when it fails to recruit students upstate. After all, tourism and agriculture are major Michigan industries. Even in a tight year, the state legislature-often unjustly criticized during my many years on campus-is more likely to appropriate funds for education when U-M is liberal in admitting non-urban students from Michigan. I end by noting that tuition my first semester was a mere $75.
|Patricia Larsen Burkard '63|
A FEW years ago A. Alfred Taubman, a shopping center developer, donated $30 million to the architecture school, which resulted in its name being changed to A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Since then, he has been tried and convicted for price-fixing at Sotheby's, where he was chairman of the board, and could be sentenced to three years in prison.
It's obvious that the University should now return his money and remove his name from the school's masthead. To have a felon as our patron is totally ludicrous and an insult to the school, its professors and alumni. But maybe the University has become so massive and intimidating that very few would consider challenging its decisions or policies.
Former U-M President L. C. Bollinger said in a statement to news media that Taubman had been a "loyal alumnus and a very good friend" to the University. "We regret that he is facing these difficult circumstances," Bollinger said. "We will continue to recognize his longstanding support through those University academic programs and facilities that bear his name." In addition to the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, facilities and programs named for Taubman are the Taubman Medical Library and the Taubman Center in the U-M Health System. His gifts and pledges to U-M total $35.6 million, Bollinger said.
|Roy A. Euker '58 Arch|
I WAS reading your piece on John Rich in the Fall 2001 issue and noticed that you refer to African-Americans as "Black" and European-Americans as "white." To refer to any group of people as a color is questionable, but, if it is done, it seems logically inconsistent and highly insensitive to capitalize one descriptive phrase and not another, thus implying that one descriptive phrase is of more value than another. Please consider using the more culturally sensitive and grammatically consistent terminology "African American" and "European Americans" in the future. When quoting someone who uses the terms "black" and "white," you should either capitalize both words or leave both in the lower case to give both equal value in the eyes of the reader.
All print publications at U-M capitalize the "b" in the word "Black" when it is used as the name of the Africa American ethnic group, since terms like Anglo-Saxon, Hispanic, Native American, Jewish and Irish-American are capitalized. When the policy was adopted in 1987 by then-President Harold T. Shapiro, it was noted that "many Blacks" regard the use of the lower-case "b" as belittling and that the Black community at U-M had "stated its opposition to the use of the lower-case letter." "Black" is also in conformity with the official federal designation of under-represented minority groups.Ed.
|Philip Swan '91, '96 MS|
JUST A brief note to let you know that I always enjoy Michigan Today. The John Rich story was especially fun.
Wolverines in California
IN THE FALL of 1971 after a fresh snowfall in the vicinity of Silver Lake, I experienced a rare sight which my stepson Glenn Dunkley shared with me. What we perceived first appeared to be a well-developed but very small black bear. I was further able to observe that the animal was unbelievably able to "navigate" downhill in the snow as though it had snow shoes on.
At the time we were headed eastbound on Highway 88 and fast approaching the dam on the Cosumnes River. Having passed the animal by about 200 yards, I backed up my vehicle to a position directly below the sighting. We perceived a stream bed on the downhill side of the road between our vehicle and Silver Lake. After walking all around and seeing nothing, we noted that there was a cave-like underground bank adjacent to the stream bed. I got down on the ground, so I could better see into the interior of the cave-like area. I saw black paws and lower legs unremittingly moving back and forth, no doubt concerned about our presence.
One month or so later, the California Department of Fish and Game's Outdoor California issue of Nov.-Dec. 1971 published an article about wolverines in California. Further concurrence came from a qualified resource person who reported that a wolverine had broken into a Pacific Gas &Electric cabin within a mile of Silver Lake. This I believe lends credibility to the presence of wolverines in California.
Reader Doug Dewitte has sent photos of a wolverine pelt rug he hopes to sell. Inquiries may be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to (360) 943-8880.
Michigan Today attempts to publish all letters received. Letters may be edited for reasons of length, clarity, accuracy and taste.Ed.
Issue's Index |
Issue's Front Page |