. . . Winter 1996
It Wasn't Buck's Fault, RoseMary
MY WIFE, RoseMary Dawson, has locked me out of our condo and will not give me a key until I tell her who that woman is over RoseMary's name in the article about me ["The Adventures of Buck Dawson" by Linda Robinson Walker in our Fall '96 issue---Ed.] So help me, I don't know! I think it might be the former Fort Lauderdale mayor's wife, Mrs. M. R. Cy Young. Believe me, RoseMary is giving me no Cy Young Award. Nothing has changed in 50 years. I'm still advertising in the Daily for a room!
RoseMary was born to be a coach. Her father, Michigan's Matt Mann II, began Michigan's swimming heritage. Her brother, Matt Mann III, was national champion at Michigan and an outstanding swimming coach in Lansing. RoseMary, often identified with a smile as Matt Mann IV, was Michigan's "first" woman coach. No wonder the punsters say she was a "Mann" before she was a woman.
RoseMary began coaching the University's women swimmers in a hostile atmosphere which required her to call herself "Advisor to the Ladies Speed Swim Club." She was chastised when the newspaper used the term "coach" and called her team "varsity." yet within two years, she, together with Mrs. Chadwick at Michigan State, had organized and held the first women's national collegiates. Title IX and a change in attitude toward women's athletics at the University soon followed.
RoseMary has taught thousands of boys and girls to swim and has influenced thousands of girls with her knowledge and keen mother's instinct. For years she taught Saturday morning learn to swim classes open to faculty wives and children. She also won the first three Women's Collegiate Swimming Nationals for her alma mater, the University of Michigan.
RoseMary directed Camp Ak-O-Mak, the world's first women's swimming camp, from the age of 19 to the present. At 76, she's still coach emeritus after 57 years of swim camp coaching.
Buck Dawson '43 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
HAVING BEEN a swimmer coached by RoseMary Dawson, taken Buck's and RoseMary's daughter Marilyn Corson to our high school Senior Prom and lived countless weeks at the Dawson house while I was a lonesome 16-year-old new to this country, I think you ran a great article about a great man and a wonderful lady.
To boot, RoseMary was the assistant coach at my high school in Fort Lauderdale (Pine Crest School). I could tell you a lot about Buck but he never talked about the era of his life that you have written about. I personally owe a lot to the Dawsons. Thank you for your marvelous article.
Jorge Gonzalez '78 MBA
Emily's Freshman Year
I LOVED reading about "Emily Wolcott's Freshman Year" because Emily had such interesting experiences with my beloved grandfather, R.M. Wenley. When I was a little girl in the 1920s, my father and mother and I lived with him and my grandmother while my father, T. Luther Purdom, was working on his PhD. This was at 509 E. Madison, a lovely big house, now long gone. I think that the dormitory, Wenley House, is perhaps in that area.
I remember my grandfather in his study, a huge room on the third floor, with book shelves from floor to ceiling, and books and papers on the floor when there was no more room on the shelves. He wrote over a hundred books, a few of which I am lucky enough to have.
I was interested to note that he told Emily that she could consult him if she needed help on her paper, at the office or at home. This may seem surprising---I don't think most professors today would suggest that a student come to his home. But at the time that Emily was in college, and even quite a bit later, the professors' wives had monthly teas, and any student who cared to come was welcome. Each couple had a particular day. My grandmother's calling card had engraved on it "First Thursdays."
I think that Gran came to Michigan about 1898, from the University of Glasgow. The grading system in the British universities was then and is now quite different from ours. So when Gran filled out the forms for the grades for his classes in his first year at Michigan, he gave all of his students A's. The registrar came to him in great distress and pointed out that he thought it doubtful that all of the students could have deserved A's. "Well," said Gran, "do whatever you think is right. Just give them all C's!"
He met my grandmother in Glasgow when he was still a student, 19 years old. She was 29 and, though very beautiful and popular, had never found anyone she wanted to marry. Even when he had graduated and was gainfully employed, her family refused to allow the match. The family was not good enough for them. Although the young man's father was the treasurer of the Bank of Scotland and very comfortably off, the grandfather had been a "crofter," a small farmer, and thus R.M. Wenley was not acceptable.
Ten years after they met they were married. They had eight children, five who lived to adulthood. We never knew that Granny was 10 years older than Gran until she died—eight years after he did—and we found her passport.
I used to wish very much that I could have been born earlier, so that I could have taken classes from my grandfather. But now I think perhaps it is as well that I was not able to, for he used to say of me, "Well, Catherine has a very good mind, but it is a one-track mind." I doubt then that I would have been able to live up to his standards.
Catherine Purdom Quick '38 AM Monroe, Michigan
"EMILY Wolcott's Freshman Year" was rich with interest; we thank you and the author, Edgar L. McCormick, for it. I write with a footnote.
When first I came to the faculty, in the fall of 1955, I taught an adult extension course in philosophy at the Rackham building in Detroit. Some of my students were advanced in years. From time to time they would inquire, after class, about the Department of Philosophy, which they remembered warmly and well from an earlier day.
Emily Wolcott writes at length of the impression made upon her by the teaching of Prof. Robert Mark Wenley. Professor Wenley, a predecessor whom I never met, of course, apparently made a deep impression on a great many of his students; my mature and reflective students in the late 1950s would not infrequently engage me in conversations about the wonderful work that he had done in teaching them.
All of us on the faculty today may hope that decades from now, when the memoirs of ours students are uncovered with historical interest, we will be remembered as kindly as is he. Mark Wenley's influence was enormous; his commitment to teaching and to his students we do our best to keep alive.
Prof. Carl Cohen U-M Department of Philosophy
Reading the Riot Act
I WRITE regarding the issue of visual access of U-M publications. I do understand that the cost of things is a driving force in the management of the University's rescources; however, I am quite concerned that several of the publications that Michigan puts out to his alums and others in the community are increasingly not accessible by two groups: those 40 and over and those with visual impairments. (Please note that visual impairment here means just that. Not blind or disfunction but those who have some ocular problem which makes the reading of standard and substandard font size impossible.)
You may be aware that at age 40 virtually 98% of the population requires some type of correction be it glasses, reading glasses, contacts, surgery or the like. We also know from a study done in 1991 and sponsored by the ACE and UCLA that the number-one self-reported barrier for college freshmen nationwide is now visual impairments. Given this group in addition to aging baby boomers with eye issues, does it make sense for us to keep reducing the size of publications? Michigan Today must be approaching a font size between 6 and 8 points. The New York Times uses 16-18 point in its large-print edition now circulating worlwide.
I used to get the University Record but it's almost impossible to get it now because that office no longer wants to send it out; a couple of years ago I offered to pay for it but there was no response. A secondary issue here is that much of the material that comes in the Record alums are interested in. A lot of the material that comes in the Michigan Today is not as interesting, which makes me wonder whether the Unversity has recently polled its alums or is thinking about them in a lot of different ways.
As much as I love Michigan, I am no longer willing to accept the inaccessibility of its publications when I know that other organizations and businesses from stock and bond firms to cable TV networks and managed health care plans are attempting to target the subset of the population with visual issues.
Michigan Today uses 10- and 9.5- point type, but we will make efforts to improve our legibility---Ed.
E.K. Miller '72, '80 PhD Littleton, Colorado
MICHIGAN Today sounds like a daily publication like USA Today. Consider a name change. Perhaps Michigan Now.
David Rexford Marquette, Michigan
I JUST read the Fall issue while visiting my alumnus son in Palo Alto, California, and found the article on Dr. Walter Willett extremely relevant and critically urgent for me.
Ethel Lowen Southfield, Michigan
THANK YOU for the maize and blue---the graceful and creative images of our University's colors in Liene Karels's lovely article "Which Maize? Which Blue?" in the fall '96 issue. The sun also rises for those mentally wounded and is alive in the love, radiance and richness of our finely creative University of Michigan artists.
Gail Rutgers '71 BFA, '76 MA Holland, Michigan
I WANT to comment on Interim President Homer Neal's comments about undergraduates having a research opportunity at U-M. Our son Charles Van Hoy is about to graduate with a materials science and engineering degree. At Detroit's Cass Tech High School, Charles undertook a year-long project in engineering ceramics and got to know a number of engineers involved in the ceramics field, including U-M's Prof. John Halloran. At U-M, Charles was asked by Professor Halloran to develop a polymer-coated ceramic fiber that when bundled together would have properties similar to wood.
Charles jumped in with both feet and was quite successful. Based on this success and his clear enjoyment of the challenge, Profs. Halloran and Diane Brei asked Charles to work on developing a micro-fabrication manufacturing process for ceramic piezo-electric devices. Again, Charles was successful. So successful that he has co-authored two papers and made a presentation at the American Ceramics Society in Indianapolis this last April. In addition, the Halloran-Brei-Van Hoy team has successfully obtained federal funding to continue their research. Halloran stated that if it weren't for Charles's efforts there would be no project.
As a result of his research, Charles was invited to interview with ACX (Active Control Experts) and Digital in Boston and Advanced Materials in California. ACX is a small start-up that specializes in ceramic piezo-electric devices, has only one competitor in the world and is growing quite rapidly. After graduation, Charles will be joining the r&d staff at ACX.
I can think of no more fitting testimonial to Homer Neal's belief that undergraduates should be given a research opportunity. I hope this idea receives the support that it should and is put into effect.
James and Marjorie Van Hoy Detroit
I READ with interest the interview with Edie Goldenberg. Could I get more information on one topic in particular? These sentences attracted my interest. "The University provides a variety of services to develop the teaching skills of our GSIs, and we have improved those services a great deal as part our our Undergraduate Initiative." Any information you can provide about GSI training and supervision would be greatly appreciated, as indeed would be more detailed information on your Undergraduate Initiative. Why do I ask? Because I've just been given responsibility for running our Teaching Center, and teaching assistants are one our target audiences.
Prof. Lincoln Faller, associate dean for undergraduate education, replies: In response to a 1995 report on Graduate Student Instructor training across the University, the College decided that GSI training was best accomplished within departments and programs as an integral part of our graduate students' professional training in their intellectual disciplines.
Jim Davis '62, '64 PhD Washington University, St. Louis
Such training, we decided, was important even in fields where significant numbers of our PhDs would not be going into teaching careers. Research chemists, for instance, will find themselves over their professional lifetimes involved in a variety of instructional roles even if they never find themselves in a classroom again after graduate school.
Accordingly, we closed down the centralized program in the College, which had been trying to address the needs of GSIs in a variety of fields, with to be sure mixed success, and by a variety of incentives and encouragements got all 23 of our departments that employ new GSIs to develop faculty-guided programs to prepare them for their teaching responsibilities and to mentor them through their first semesters of teaching.
Some 12 new programs in all have been created over the past year, their core features modeled on those of the more successful of our already existing departmental programs. There is now at least one faculty member in each department directly responsible for the training of new GSIs, and most of these faculty now offer "pedagogy seminars," which all new GSIs in their department take before or during their first semester of teaching.
In all this developmental work, we've had invaluable help from the Center for Research in Learning and Teaching, and this collaboration continues. By contract with us, they've assigned three consultants with credentials in each of the three major areas of study in the College---Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social Sciences, Humanities---to continue working with departments to support, fine tune, and evaluate their GSI training efforts.
We're proud of what's happening here in this regard and eager to respond to questions and inquiries, as well as to learn what's going on at other universities.
Faller can be contacted for more detailed information at (313) 764-0230, or by email at email@example.com.
I JUST read with great interest your issue devoted to undergraduate academics. I was particularly interested in the way calculus is being taught. I am happy that it is no longer the miserable "weed-out" course that it used to be and that problem solving is receiving more attention than clerical speed and accuracy. Kudos to the math department!
I wish you would devote an issue to alums and their nostalgic experiences returning to campus after a long hiatus. I just returned from Ann Arbor after 15 years away and should report that it was three days of euphoria. I am working on a short piece about it and am trying to make the continuing emotional high that has resulted from this recent reunion sound credible on paper. I realize that this may not be possible for any Michigan alum to do and that, someday, I'll have to add this piece to the file I call unpublished works. Longing for Fragels,
Catherine Dickman Houghton '81 Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
Memories of U
ALUMNI nostalgia is generally very strong in your letters column. I hope you will be willing to publish a less laudatory memory.
I came to the University of Michigan as a freshman in the fall of 1944; the construction of new dormitories had fallen behind need due to war-time restrictions. Yes, we "girls" (as we were called then) were required to live in women's dorms under close supervision. When dormitory rooms for "girls" ran out, the use of approved and supervised off-campus housing was allowed.
A high school acquaintance who preceded me at the University found me a room in such a house, for which I was grateful. (Admission was contingent on finding a suitable place to live!) But once there I found it to be a pre-sorority house for the only Jewish sorority on campus. I was (and still am) philosophically opposed to the intrinsic elitism of sororities, even though my mother had been in the New York City chapter of this sorority and urged me to take my automatic admission. Instead, I decided to try to find another rooming house for my sophomore year. The list of approved housing for "girls," which I got from the Dean of Women (was she the Dean of Girls then?) was a two-page, mimeographed list of approved houses listed in alphabetical order by landlady's last name. A few of the entries were preceded by one asterisk and a few by two. At the bottom of the second page, I found:
*Jewish girls may live here
**Colored girls may live here
There were no vacancies in any of the one-asterisk houses, so I returned to the dean for further help. She assured me that the asterisks were there at the request of the Jewish and colored girls themselves and that I could call any house on the list. Replies to my calls went like this: "Yes, we have a room. Where are you staying now?" Then, on learning the name of my Jewish landlady: "I'm sorry, but that room was just taken."
I decided after a few of those replies to make quicker work of the calls, which then went: "I'm looking for a room. Do you mind if I'm Jewish?" "Sorry, all filled."
I got down to the W's before I got a different response: "My minister says we are all others. So I don't mind if you don't."
Eventually, I brought this list to the attention of the Inter-Racial Association (IRA!), and all copies but mine disappeared and the Dean's Office claimed it had never existed. I had found the IRA when they staged a testing and sit-in of the fancy restaurants that lined the perimeter of the campus because they refused to seat "coloreds." The Michigan Daily refused to publish a list of the offending restaurants but did do an article on our demonstration including those few restaurants that the IRA "recommended."
Most of the restaurants eventually capitulated, but the next IRA project, letting "Negroes" get haircuts at the Michigan Union barber shop, was not resolved until years later. Even later than that, women were finally allowed to walk into the Union through the front door.
Despite all this extracurricular activity, I did very well in my school work, winning Freshman Honors, Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. This was due primarily to hard work and systematic study habits. For example, whenever I missed any questions on quizzes and exams, I would restudy those questions and if I still couldn't understand, I would ask the teacher for help. When I asked my physics teacher to explain a question I had missed, he was delighted to comply because, he said, he could see that I was not "one of those pushy Jews who are always trying to get attention from the instructor." I answered, "But I am Jewish." When I didn't get accepted to any medical school despite my high grades, I found out it was because my physics teacher's recommendation was so damning (yet he gave me A grades!).
I applied to several medical schools, but University of Michigan was not one of them. I did try to get an application, but the student advisor told me not to waste the application fee, since U-M Medical School never accepted "New Yorkers."
While remembering the "good old days," it pays to remember some of the things that were not so good, not only to take pride in the rate of continued improvement, but also as a reminder of the need for continual vigilance so that future alumni will not want to write letters like this one.
Maxine Spencer '48 Berkeley, California
THREE CHEERS for Michael J. Gillman and his letter in the June issue. I (still) refuse to donate money to an institution that has become so politically unbalanced. I would love to see the editors have the intestinal fortitude to relate the details of the tragedy of Gerald O. Dykstra instead of extolling the virtues of those two most recent Michigan presidents (I do my best to forget their names). Yes, Michael, I too pretend that Harlan Hatcher is still president---and that academic excellence is still a primary objective of my beloved alma mater.
David M. Valentine '60 BBA, '61 MBA
MY FIRST first contact from the U of M in over 20 years came recently in an invitation to Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Nadel to attend a memorial to the recently deceased Ralph Herbert who was the voice instructor of my ex-wife about 30 years ago. Assuming the invite was for her, I forwarded it to her in France. I don't know how I was located after so many years in this attempt to locate her, but I see I am now in your data base. As a member of the class of '66, I have no objection to being in your records (rather the contrary), but my current wife has no connection to the U of M and doesn't use the name Nadel anyway. Please correct your records & eliminate the nonexistent Mrs. Stanley Nadel from the mailing labels. If you want the address in France for Monique Kaltschmidt Nadel, class of '67, I could provide it for you.
Stan Nadel '66 Weatherford, Oklahoma
I AM quite unhappy that Michigan Today has seen fit to change my name on my address label. Without asking, they have removed my name (Susan) and added my husband's name (though not all of it). Why was this done? My husband is a Harvard graduate and would never give a penny to Michigan, if that was your motivation; and I assure you that Harvard has never added my name to his on its publications. So please change it back the way it was.
Editor's reply: The U-M office that supplies our labels added some joint-name data from an old database to the alumni computer records.
M. Susan Montgomery '65 Malibu, California
Unfortunately, the errors cannot be corrected unless readers supply the correct information, as many have done. Please mail, fax, e-mail or phone in your label corrections, preferably with ID numbers. (If you have a common surname, please include a middle initial or name as well.). We also ask you to supply the correct new address for any person previously joined with you on the label but who now lives elsewhere. Otherwise, other offices may continue to send mail intended for the former addressee to the wrong address.
Again, please accept our apology for any irritation and inconvenience this mailing process has caused. Thank you very much for your cooperation. Michigan Today mailing address: 412 Maynard, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1399; e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org/ fax: (313) 764-7084; Phone: (313) 764-0105.
I HAVE followed Michigan Today closely. Have really liked it. But I must protest the new size and format. Big mistake. Eccentric sizes never fare well!
R.P. Bethesda, Maryland
YOUR publication delivers quality articles on academic matters in depth, usually of wide general interest. Other universities seem to be pulling back from providing intellectual connection between faculty and former students. Second, it provides a rare forum for "ordinary" nonspecialists to comment on issues raised by researchers. Your June '96 issue provides several places to comment.
Robert Grese's daring stand on the history and ecology of lawns agrees well with our conclusions. We live on high prairie with short natural grass, primarily blue grama. When we built our house we salvaged all this grass and it now serves as a natural "lawn" needing no maintenance. In wetter areas of the prairie, buffalo grass is also native, and thrives and spreads with ever less water and no maintenance. It makes the most beautiful short grass "lawn" we have ever seen.
On Lawrence Hirschfeld and race, we wonder why it has taken scientists so long to understand that, biologically, race cannot and does not exist, for fundamental reasons. Certain people are persecuting "race" and other characteristics without basis. We do not even accept, based on available evidence, that kids or adults have a predisposition to so label out groups. Children do not see outward "racial" appearances until adults force it to their attention with disturbing stories. What no one asks is, what do members of the "race" shown make of what they see in these programs and ads still seen by all. Far from pride, the message "they" get may be very unsettling or destructive too.
The notorious books on "race" vs intelligence fail scientifically for the reason Hirschfeld gives and also on the fact that intelligence is not one-dimensional and has never been, and never will be, reliably measured by one or a few numbers. Hirschfeld is correct that "poverty" is not closely related to apparent "race" (being a "poor white" is within the memory of many still living who found it no significant detriment, and we live well on an income far below the "poverty" level), but he has missed the major flaw in affirmative action as it is practiced. We need not argue that here since many leaders of "favored" groups have spoken out against the damage being done by AA. The federal government must become color blind, along with its citizens, and stop trying to identify anyone as a particular, irrelevant and scientifically unfounded type.
An answer to what cyberspace in libraries will mean for faculty and students can be found in Clifford Stoll's book Silicon Snake Oil. Stoll and others have made a strong case that computer use is developing in counter-productive ways.
Leonard Eron's initial conclusions and work on violence and kids was also of great interest. We hope he will not overlook the real problem: the so-called adults who insist on a diet of ever more disturbing ersatz violence. Of course, the V chip will not work for many reasons, but we believe that conflict-resolution has already been well-studied.
Susan Castle Mauldin '67 and John Mauldin Pueblo West, Colorado
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