Mail Room

May 3rd, 2007

A Week In February

There were many conjectural statements in your article "A Week in February." I write with specific regard to the inaccurate speculation about why Gordon Gee "allowed himself to be drawn into Vanderbilt’s courtship." You presented two leading questions: "Was it simply the money? Was it that Vanderbilt had offered his wife tenure, something that Brown has refused to do?" The first question does not merit a reply. Your second question is built on a false and slanderous premise.

For Brown to have "refused" to offer me tenure would mean that I or someone had made that request. I can assure you that is not the case – neither I nor Gordon ever considered making such a request. I had served four years as an Ohio State faculty member and as director of the new arts policy and administration graduate program when we came to Brown. To have asked for tenure at that point in my career would have been as presumptuous and poorly reasoned as has been much of the reporting about our decision to move to Vanderbilt.

I am not the scapegoat that some members of the Brown community appear to require. I suggest that those who love Brown and care about its dignity accept my husband’s graceful explanation of his resignation.

Constance Bumgarner Gee

For over forty years I’ve watched Brown presidents come and go, and I’ve come to the conclusion that strong, successful presidents are hard to replace. After Barnaby Keeney retired, there was quite a turnover in University Hall until Howard Swearer came along. Now the pattern seems to be recurring in the aftermath of Vartan Gregorian. It’s nothing to be alarmed about: call it the "Brown prexy cycle." Actually, it may be a blessing in disguise: from my few contacts with Gordon Gee, I’d say that Vanderbilt’s loss is Brown’s gain.

James N. Rudolph ’60
New York City

Although I never attended Ohio State, I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and was therefore acquainted somewhat with Gordon Gee’s reputation before he was offered the Brown presidency. I was rather surprised at and skeptical about Brown’s choice from the beginning.

As many others have said, it was inappropriate at the very least for Gee to have quit Brown after so short a tenure there. But although Brown is obviously not responsible for his want of professional etiquette, it is undeniable that Brown is paying the consequences for its own questionable and risky choice.

Let Gordon Gee be quickly forgotten. I hope, however, that Brown will choose its next president not only with a shrewder sense of foresight, but also with a longer look backward at the kind of institution it has been.

John M. Baker Jr. ’85 Ph.D.
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Former President Gee wrote me a personal response letter some months ago, for which I am deeply grateful.

The letter he’d responded to was made up of some twenty-odd, intensely personal, hand-scrawled pages that conveyed my gratitude for a solid assertion he’d made regarding projected financial-need spending. Mainly it told him of my struggles as a very poor and not-so-stellar financial-aid applicant and thankful Brunonian. I’d never expressed those feeling to anyone.

He composed his response in three strong paragraphs of three lines each, and it’s the most affirmative letter I’ve ever received. I have just one thing to say to him – Godspeed.

Jonathan Yoder ’90
Washington, D.C.

Meeting then-President Gee during my fiftieth reunion last May was one of the highlights of an experience filled with highlights. This most special one for us seventy-somethings came during the luncheon with Gee, when he stepped down from the formal dais to talk in his delightfully casual, spontaneous way among us. We had loved Gregorian’s august presence and all that he gave of himself to Brown. He also can be casual, as I discovered graduation morning, when these past and present presidents marched together down the Hill and came to a stop right in front of me for a brief "mark-time." With music and cheers reverberating around us, I reached out and adjusted a medal that had twisted awry on Gregorian’s broad chest. He laughed and seemed to be enjoying the fun that only heightens the dignity of such an occasion.

Some of us had been disappointed when we first learned of Gee’s presidency because we felt he could never bear the honor as Gregorian had. However, after meeting this new president I thought that the very contrast between them was refreshing and could have been a very good thing for Brown.

Now things have suddenly changed and a different light is cast on our reunion experience, a letdown feeling and some sadness. I feel sorry for Gee and for Vanderbilt most of all, and glad for Brown that we do not have a person in charge who apparently did not have the wisdom to understand that any new position takes a while to "fit." Maybe it takes seventy-somethings to realize this. But let’s hope everyone doesn’t have to wait that long.

Doris J. Weller ’49
New York City

Your article "The Unfinished Presidency" is a superb job! Thanks! Will we ever see another Henry Wriston? We can certainly use one, unless the trustees plan to break a 236-year tradition and appoint a woman.

I wish Mr. Gee good luck. Vanderbilt’s loss is our gain.

George Caffrey ’56
Branford, Conn.

If former President Gee had serious reser-vations about his suitability for Brown’s presidency, he should never have accepted the job. If he wanted a mega- versity, such as Ohio State, he should have stayed there.

From Norman Boucher’s article, it would appear that neither Gee nor Vanderbilt behaved in the most ethical fashion. The whole affair puts me in mind of the late Robert Irsay, the former owner of the Baltimore Colts who moved the team to Indianapolis in the dead of night to escape the wrath of the city. His name has been anathema in Baltimore ever since.

At the same time, I think Brown’s faculty ought to be more open to the fact that college presidents today come less and less frequently from the ranks of scholars. They may not like it – I don’t like it – but it’s a trend that seems difficult to avoid. As for Mr. Gee’s enthusiasm for sports and his wearing of a Brown baseball cap, I’d tell objectors to get a life.

Finally, I’ll quote a nameless classmate. When I brought up the Gee resignation he observed dryly, "It looks as if Vanderbilt offered him seventy-five cents more than Brown and he took it."

Allan S Nanes ’41
Silver Spring, Md.

Although not an alumnus, as a University staff member during the early 1970s, I have always held Brown in high regard and continue to wish it all the best. I, too, was disappointed – although not surprised – to learn of Gordon Gee’s decision to leave Brown. Campuses all across the country are now being led by "chief executive officers" and not college presidents.

In a situation with which I am more familiar, here at Case Western Reserve University a newly inaugurated C.E.O. disdains contact with students, faculty, and alumni. He points out, possibly correctly, that he can do more to strengthen the University’s bottom line during two hours spent with New York bond analysts than he can in months of alumni fund-raising.

At Brown, the days of Wriston, Keeney, Swearer, and Gregorian – when a president provided leadership to the entire community through both intellectual and personal example – may be over. I believe, however, that Brown’s commitment to its historic values endures and continues to be embodied in students, faculty, alumni, Corporation members, and presidents. I hope that Brown’s new search will be solidly grounded in its history and traditions, motivated by an imaginative vision for its future, and animated by those enduring values that have stood well the test of time.

Michael L. McGrael
The writer is director of development at the Case Alumni Association.

Now that we know what he’s really like, aren’t we lucky he’s not staying any longer?

Esther Bourne Manning ’40
Coventry, R.I.

Let’s hear no more about Gee.

Be grateful he’s he.

Wish him well.

Wish Vanderbilt well.

In a short time we’ll see.

Bill Jewett ’41
McLean, Va.

Evidently the Gee-Brown relationship was a bad fit. A hands-on college presidency at a place like Brown is obviously different from the remote executive role at a large public university, where he is protected from interaction with students and faculty by a large bureaucracy and a remote location. At Brown the president has to face his constituency on his way back and forth to work every day and on trips to the Faculty Club for lunch.

Fortunately, the forces Gee’s predecessors had set in motion to improve the University from the mediocrity that characterized it in my time were too strong to be derailed. Yale went through an analogous changing of the guard a few years ago when Richard Levin replaced Benno Schmidt. The fit was badly flawed, and Yale is a lot better off.

Robert Varnum Spalding ’57
West Roxbury, Mass.

I just finished reading "The Unfinished Presidency." I have always been very proud of my alma mater but feel more strongly than ever about the phrase "ever true to Brown." The stature and morality the Corporation and the chancellor displayed when they chose not to enter a bidding war was exemplary. The choice not only reaffirms one’s belief in proper business practices; it also reflects how responsibly Brown manages the funds that parents and alumni provide. Your coverage was enlightening to a difficult time on College Hill, but at least one alumna feels that this tribulation once again articulates the very special and unique characteristics of the Brown community.

Susan Meckauer Corkett ’82
Port Washington, N.Y.

The exposé on "L’Affair Gee" left me with mixed feelings. I found the departure from traditional academic etiquette in this case to be quite disconcerting, and I respect the Brown administration for taking the high road in negotiations. On the other hand, the article projected an irritating tone of righteous indignation, which I recognize from my student days and in some of the official responses to unfortunate campus events or faculty issues since then.

My sense is that President Gee made some valuable contributions to Brown in his short tenure. Yet I do not know whether he is the opportunist that the article suggests him to be, or whether his decision is based on more complex and thoughtful considerations. I hope he will clarify his position for us in a future BAM. In any case, I hope the sour grapes will give way to more durable ivy, and that the soul-searching prompted by this challenge will include an examination of Brown’s pattern of making indignant public responses to crises.

David J. Wyler ’66
Newton Centre, Mass.

Nowhere in the article on President Gee’s "surprise resignation" is it ventured that his religious faith, i.e., Mormonism, may have played a role in his decision. When his appointment was first announced a little over two years ago, it struck me, as surely as it must have many others, that here was indeed a problematic match in an allegedly believing, practicing Mormon heading of one of America’s in extremis liberal institutions. Envision the inverse: Henry M. Wriston as president-elect of Bob Jones University!

Good luck to Vanderbilt. I’m sure that the Nashville environment will fit Chancellor Gee’s philosophical inclination just fine. And the million-dollar package won’t hurt! However, I can’t help feeling that there is more than a little nervousness at Vanderbilt right now.

Joseph A. Meschino ’54
Avalon, N.J.

High on the wall of the great hall of the Doge’s Palace in Venice is a ring of portraits of doges past, each labeled with name and dates of office. One space bears a name and dates of office, but is only a black painted rectangle. That doge attempted to subvert his elected office to family power.

Perhaps former President Gee should be so memorialized in Sayles Hall.

Hermes C. Grillo ’44
Boston, Mass.

I am sending a very brief letter that I am confident expresses the feeling of most Brown people: God is good. Gee has gone.

With my best wishes to you and your fine magazine.

Howard D. Silverman ’36
East Greenwich, R.I.

Eight pages of contemplation of the corporate navel! Short version: Gee whiz! Gee gone! Money talks!

Fred Collins ’47
Green Valley, Ariz.

I have one word that describes all my feelings concerning the departure of E. Gordon Gee: good-bye!

Samuel W. Keavy ’52
Barnstable, Mass.

E. Gordon Gee’s surprise resignation was handled beautifully by Chancellor Stephen Robert and the Brown administration. The departed president will have to live the rest of his life with his initials on his face.

Bruce L. Williamson ’49
Clifton Park, N.Y.

Once again, we humanites are reminded that none of us, even the most wide-eyed in this nanoscaled, biop-news-gooey-glaring-fish-eyed lens of a world, has a clue to what vast universe of maneuver (and manure) spins like a crazed top behind those smiling eyes fixing on you.

Jan Zlotnick ’77
New York City

I read the BAM article about President Gee’s resignation with interest. I was proud of the nobility of spirit throughout the Brown community and was reminded that "circumstances do not make the man; they reveal him to himself." This holds true for Gee also.

I believe that Brown will profit greatly from these circumstances. Gee was very good for Brown, not only for the changes he instituted while in Providence, but also for the introspection created by his departure. Vanderbilt is very fortunate to have gained a talented leader – doubly so, since due to this incident, Gee probably will remain longer and will work even harder to expiate any self-imposed guilt arising from his departure.

John App ’61
Aliso Viejo, Calif.

I have maintained no relationship with Brown since graduating, and I normally take little interest in the BAM; but I would like to thank Norman Boucher for his straightforward account of the events surrounding Gee’s announcement, even those events that reveal a certain disarray and resentment. I didn’t feel patronized by a sense of spin, and I’m grateful.

I hope the Brown Corporation will conclude that the corporate model for university administration is antithetical to its best self. Also, it’s unimaginative, lacks intellectual rigor, and turns every relationship into a transaction.

Sarah Metcalf ’75
Northampton, Mass.

In my March/April 1998 letter that the BAM ungraciously titled "Fumbling for Praise," I warned the Brown community that E. Gordon Gee was the man who, as president of Ohio State, described a tie by the Ohio State football team as "a great victory." Now that E. Gordon Gee has made the "courageous" decision to leave Brown, look who’s fumbling for praise.

Edward A. Nolfi ’80
Akron, Ohio

After all your wonderful coverage of President Gee during the last two years, I had been looking forward to one day meeting him. I had not figured that my best opportunity would be next October, when I attend my twenty-fifth medical-school reunion – at Vanderbilt!

Alan M. Birnbaum ’71
Fresno, Calif

As a member of the Brown community since 1989, I’m a regular reader of the BAM. "A Week in February" strikes me as one of the most informative, balanced articles I’ve read, in any magazine, on a subject of such intricacy and controversy. I had gleaned many pieces of the story from articles in the Providence Journal, from the various mailings to staff, and from the meetings held on campus, but your article brought all of the facts and issues into context in a fair and straightforward way. My thanks and best wishes.

Jane Donnelly
The author is the English department’s administrative coordinator.

The Brown Corporation needs to take the brunt of the responsibility for Gee’s departure – for choosing a president who so blatantly lacks professional decorum.

This time, I urge the search committee to find a president based on criteria that are not so disproportionately tilted toward financial concerns. As undergraduates, we had comfortable misconceptions regarding the role of our leader. However, addressing the often idealistic and sometimes misguided demands of the student population is not the president’s primary responsibility. Rather, the duties of the office, as I understand them, are to confer to potential donors a certain amount of faith that their money will be well spent – while at the same time energizing the student population with intellectual enthusiasm for higher education.

I suspect that we hired such an untrustworthy fellow because we were thinking too much about his ability to beef up our endowment and manage our administrators – and not enough about a leader who provides the kind of inspiration that impressionable students like me so enjoyed during the first few yearsof our lives at Brown.

Marko Bon ’97
New York City

I take it Brown has learned what the term "professional president" means: one who goes after the largest paycheck. I think presidents of philanthropic institutions should be paid no more than a living wage; i.e., roughly a $30,000 base, plus housing and free tuition for his or her children. I guarantee that a president willing to accept such a compensation package will not leave for another university.

Patrick Moynihan ’87
Rockford, Ill.


Two-Way Integration

As a journalist with thirteen years of experience – most recently as the minority affairs reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer – I read Carl Takei’s essay with interest (Studentside, March/April). He is right about one point. Integration demands stepping outside one’s safe environment to confront a larger, more diverse world.

But so does journalism. Had Takei followed the basic precepts of reporting, he might have found the answer to one of his questions: why blacks don’t pledge at predominantly white fraternities. In fact, African Americans at Brown choose to pledge at historically black national fraternities and sororities because membership in these organizations inducts one into a network that stretches around the country, if not around the world. Perhaps few blacks pledge Zete and AD Phi because they feel the organizations simply aren’t relevant.

That’s a valid opinion, but one Takei cannot address. Instead of reporting, he relied on assumptions about African-American separatism. He obviously expects minorities to integrate a white world, without urging whites to participate in predominantly minority activities and organizations.

True, the latter suggestion challenges the status quo. But isn’t that the duty of any good journalist?

Afi-Odelia E. (Stephanie Odelia) Scruggs ’82 Ph.D.
Cleveland, Ohio

After reading Carl Takei’s essay, I see that not much has changed since I left Brown eighteen years ago. The Chicken (establishment) is still waiting for the Egg (under-represented groups) to implement change. Yet all my schooling and involvement on diversity councils in the corporate world have taught me that commitment from the Chicken is necessary if trailblazing Eggs are to succeed.

So let’s recognize the disparity that exists, commit to implementing change, and lay the foundation for trailblazers to prosper. Trailblazers would rather improve the system from the inside, as Takei recommends, but when the environment is discordant, the outside offers solace.

As for Greek life at Brown, there are prominent black fraternities and sororities with proud roots dating back to 1906. As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, I didn’t view my allegiance as a deterrent to integration. In fact, as a member of the Association of Fraternity Presidents, we worked to improve racial and Greek/non-Greek relationships on campus. Although boundaries need not always be drawn on racial lines, in this instance, heritage takes precedence over assimilation. And, while our fraternities and sororities are predominantly black, they do not preclude nonwhite or Asian trailblazers from pledging.

Richard L. Jones II ’82

Oakland, Calif.

According to Carl Takei, "for much of its history Brown was an exclusive playpen for the most privileged members of white America." Well, unlike Takei, I cannot say what Brown has been like over the past 236 years, but I can pretty well remember what it was like about sixty years ago, when the country went to war in 1941. It certainly was no "playpen" then. We had some idea of what might be ahead for us, and we began to prepare ourselves for what we felt was going to be a long and horrible war – which it was. I don’t have statistics showing how many Brown students went into the armed forces in those years, but I’m sure they’re available if Takei is interested. He might also check to see how many of the "playpen" men gave their lives.

Richard Colwell ’43
Norwalk, Conn.

Quality Disease

Wait a minute, I’m getting a signal: mission statement... goals and objectives... strategic plan... "an outside review of all the University’s academic departments" ("The Shoo-In Provost," Elms, January/February). The diagnosis is unavoidable. Brown is afflicted with a full-blown case of Total Quality Management. TQM in universities is like Lyme disease in humans: rarely fatal, but debilitating if not treated.

Peter Johnson ’67

Auburn, Ala.

An Arrogant Solution

Bravo BAM and bravo Professor P. Terrence Hopmann for his article "Failure in Kosovo" (January/February).

I have lived and worked in Yugoslavia and in the United States for the past thirty-plus years. Having watched from the streets of Belgrade as the Kosovo crisis unfolded, I’d say that Hopmann’s analysis is extremely perceptive. As predicted, the arrogant solution that the West imposed on Yugoslavia has certainly proved itself totally counterproductive.

Anne Goslee-Jovovic´ ’66
Belgrade, Yugoslavia

Whose Failure Is It?

If it is true that many blacks admitted to college, whether via affirmative action or not, don’t make it to graduation, wouldn’t it do a much greater service to everyone to seek to discover why, rather than admonishing conservatives, as "The Race-Report Card" by Emily Gold deigned to do (Elms, January/February)?

The fact is that self-respecting conservatives who oppose affirmative action are not the racist bigots that some seem to delight in alleging. It may well be that race relations are in a far worse state today than thirty years ago precisely because of the politically correct liberal establishment’s divisive rhetoric and policies.

Blacks who fail to graduate don’t fail because of anything conservatives have said or done. So instead of faulting them, perhaps devoting more time and energy toward finding out why an inordinate number of blacks don’t make it, despite affirmative action, is what needs to be done. That’s what truly matters most, isn’t it?

Bob Hackett ’67 M.A.T.
Franconia, N.H.

A Second Chance

When I turned to the 1985 class notes in the March/April issue, I saw to my astonishment that my class is celebrating its twenty-fifth reunion this year.

I was reading the BAM on a city bus, going home late after a long, tiring shift at an international-news-consulting firm. I was the only passenger, and the bus proceeded so slowly that I half expected the driver to pull over and announce: "That’s it. I’m not going any further. You have to get off."

At the top of the class notes section, my eye gloomily dwelled on that number 25, highlighted in its little red box. Class President Davies Bissett seemed to underscore my mood with his melancholy observation, "It’s hard to believe we’ve been out of school for so long." Indeed. How was it possible that I had done so little with my life in the twenty-five years since graduation?

Walking home in a cold drizzle, I thought about my wife and three-year-old daughter already asleep in our flat. Did I really deserve them? The prospect of attending my reunion filled me with a kind of horror. What could I say about all those years – years vanished irretrievably? How different my experience seemed to be from my father’s joyful twenty-fifth at Harvard.

I slid my key into the lock of our front door. Suddenly it occurred to me, "You fool! It’s a BAM misprint. It’s only your fifteenth reunion." What sweet relief. I sank into an armchair, grateful that I won’t have to face all of you bloody overachievers for another ten years!

John Rudd Fawcett ’85
Oxford, England

Where Does Dawn Dawn?

The caption on page 29 of January/February ("Timekeeper to the World") defines the prime meridian, longitude 0 degrees, as "the line where every day... officially begins." To the contrary, when the day begins, the time at Greenwich is noon, mean solar time, of the previous day.

Richard Gallipeau ’51
Grant, Fla.

Andrew Brown is correct in saying the day begins at the Greenwich meridian only for a few limited applications, such as astronomy, military operations, certain NASA operations, and a few worldwide operations that require coordination among diverse locations. In commerce and civil affairs, and for all practical purposes, the day begins at the International Date Line located in the Pacific Ocean half a world away from England. Readers may recall seeing the ABC all-day broadcast on New Year’s Eve that showed Australia and other nearby locations celebrating the New Year well before London did.

Mark Trueblood ’70
Sonoita, Ariz.

Andrew Brown writes that the Greenwich Royal Observatory is the place on earth where every day, every year, and every millennium officially begin. This is incorrect. When Londoners see a new day, the Parisians have beaten them to it by one hour, the Istanbulis by two, and so on. It is in fact the countries just to the west of the International Date Line in the Pacific (e.g., The Kingdom of Tonga) that have the honor of being the first to reach a new day, year, or millennium.

Sina Najafi
Brooklyn, New York

Kennedy Coverage

According to Richard J. Potter ’77, ("Carrying the Mail," November/December), John F. Kennedy Jr. was a reckless, undistinguished, failed magazine publisher, and the BAM mission was not served by its recent coverage of his death. Potter appreciated neither the tragic aspect of Kennedy’s death, nor the dignified, charitable, and varied ways Kennedy contributed to society. Rather, Potter focused on his own conclusions regarding Kennedy, conclusions which for some mysterious reason he felt qualified and justified to make.

I am grateful to Brown for its diversity, and to the BAM for reflecting that mostly wonderful attribute. It is unavoidable that we will sometimes see the negative and sad side of a university’s diversity, when an alumnus such as Mr. Potter shows such ignorance, bitterness, and self-righteousness toward the late Kennedy and toward his own alumni publication.

Steven H. Friedland ’85
Scottsdale, Ariz.

TV''S Conscience

In his interesting article about Caryn James ’80 Ph.D. in the March/April issue ("Who Wants to Be a Critic?"), Jason Tanz gives the impression that James is the "first-ever chief television critic" of the New York Times and that the Times has always devoted more attention to elitist programming than to the broad currents of mass entertainment.

Mr. Tanz does not remember one of Caryn James’s predecessors, the first television critic of the Times, Jack Gould, who served in that post from 1947 to 1972. Regarded as "the conscience of the industry" during that period, Gould reviewed everything from Milton Berle to Leonard Bernstein; he also covered blacklisting, Edward R. Murrow, the quiz-show scandals, and network sports. It is no disrespect to James, whose work I admire, to point out that the world of television criticism was not invented when she took over the critic’s post at the Times. Most important, from my perspective, is that Jack Gould’s professional success enabled him to send his eldest son to Brown, from which I graduated thirty-nine years ago.

Lewis L. Gould ’61
Austin, Tex.

Facts About Emery

The splendid obit of Emery Walker ’39 ’54 A.M. (Obituaries, November/December) omitted a few facts that are pertinent to his fine life.

Em was a three-year letterman on the swim team (freshmen were not eligible for varsities back then), and in his senior year he was captain of the team. He also broke the New England record in the 100-yard (I think) backstroke.

Also, Em was president of the Brown chapter of Alpha Delta Phi his junior and senior years. He and Charles Gross had a two-man dance in black tie and tails for the Sock & Buskin spring show. He was also a John Hay scholar.

We just missed getting to our sixtieth class reunion last June.

C.W. Arrendell ’39
Black Mountain, N.C.

Rock And Roll, Anyone?

Although I was the WBRU station manager from the beginning of the second semester of my junior year through the following fall semester, I cannot remember anyone playing any rock and roll – let alone Elvis ("Vacuum-Tube Vibes," The Classes, January/February). No shows that I remember played "pop-ten" popular music; we featured a lot of jazz, classical, and quiet study music. I don’t even think we had any rock and roll records, because we depended on free demos for most of our library. It seems to me that Brown and Pembroke students in those days didn’t even know Elvis existed. My memory may be faulty, so if any of the old DJs remember differently, let me know.

Lewis Schaffer ’56
Armonk, N.Y.

The Ride

"The Walk" of Firestone and Felsen (November/December) brought to mind the trip I took in February and March of 1961. Let’s call it "The Ride."

After graduation, I went with a friend on a monthlong odyssey in his VW Beetle, covering a variation of "The Walk" route in the reverse direction. Among the highlights of our trip were: sleeping on a thatched roof at a desert rest stop in Arizona; buying a fringed blanket in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; eating pralines in New Orleans; swimming in the Gulf of Mexico in February (it’s warm!); and watching a jai-alai game in Tampa.

Would I do it again? Of course not. But I’m glad I did it then.

Pete Swenson ’60
Raleigh, N.C.

Breaststroke or Butterfly?

Carl Paulson won Brown’s first NCAA title in the 200-yard breaststroke, not the butterfly. In those days, the butterfly stroke was allowed in breaststroke events. Not until 1953 was the butterfly redefined to become an official event.

Milt Brier ’50
Saunderstown, R.I.

Marvelous Clocks

What a wonderful photo of the on-field celebration after the Columbia game (Sports, January/February). It was indeed a day for the ages! The players’ faces tell it all.

What is especially poignant for me, however, is the image of the Marvel Gym cupola in the top left of the photo, barely visible through the fading November haze. This elegant sentinel, and its four Aldrich clocks, has been a cherished landmark since 1927. It may well be a memory by the next Ivy championship season in 2000, since Marvel is slated for the wrecking ball. I hope this magnificent structure will be saved and integrated into a new tower visible to Brown fans in the twenty-first century. This will take vision, commitment, and will, all of which the great team of 1999 demonstrated in abundance.

Peter A. Mackie ’59
Lexington, Mass.

Fighting Saddam

The UN’s Denis Halliday weighs in against sanctions on Iraq ("Listening In," Elms, January/February). He fails to recognize sanctions as the free world’s only weapon against the "Butcher of Baghdad," Saddam Hussein. Mr. Hussein’s police state keeps Iraqis in wretched poverty, while spending lavishly on weapons of mass destruction and his own lavish lifestyle. Free people everywhere dream of the day when Iraqis prosper under democratic rule.

Jeffrey A. Hirsch ’85
New Orleans

CD Jabber

We hope alumni enjoyed the article on the Jabberwocks as much as we enjoyed serving as its subject matter. In case any readers are interested in getting a copy of the anthology CD mentioned in the article, we can be contacted at (401) 863-WOCK or Inquiries about engagements are also happily accepted, particularly from any alum owning a French chateau or Polynesian island.

Nicholas Collins ’01
The writer is the Jabberwocks business manager.

A Glass Half-Full

Your January/February issue was excellent, as usual, and I enjoyed the article on Ira Glass ’82 and This American Life ("The World According to Glass"). I believe the authors erred, however, in asserting that This American Life "is the second most popular non-news program on public radio, after... A Prairie Home Companion." I am quite sure that second-place honors go to Car Talk, which purports on its Web site to be heard on more than 450 public radio stations nationwide.

Jane Cary
Lawrenceville, N. J.

Calling All Grad School Alums

This year’s Commencement, on May 26-29, will inaugurate a tradition of welcoming former graduate students from all departments and all years to participate in reunion events. An information and welcome table will be located in Wriston Quad, where advanced-degree recipients can pick up schedules of events, campus maps, and information about departmental receptions and activities.

For further information, contact the alumni relations office or your department, or e-mail Come and see the new Brown!

Nan Sumner-Mack ’71 A.M., ’82 Ph.D.


Due to an editing error, the March/April Sports stated that Dan Kantrovitz was recruited to play during Coach Marek Drabinski’s first year at Brown. In fact, Kantrovitz arrived during Drabinski’s second year as head coach. Similarly, the team lost thirty-seven games during Drabinski’s second year, not his first.

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January / February 2005