As a three-time cancer survivor and Brown alumnus, I was delighted to read “Blood Brothers” by Catherine Newman in the July/August issue. Since battling cancer three times during my sophomore year at Brown, I have devoted my life to defeating the disease. I’m already predisposed to stories about cancer survivors and those who help them along the way, but I’m especially keen to learn about fellow Brunonians affected by the disease.
The entirety of the article was an incredible read, but I was struck in particular by the postscript about Rob Friedman ’86 and the relapse of his disease. I currently lead a grassroots organization, Pelotonia, which was created to fund life-saving cancer research at Ohio State, including the drug that saved Rob’s life. We invested the first funds to go into the preclinical and clinical development of ibrutinib, which was discovered to be a “sea change” (as Rob said) for patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).
Before ibrutinib came along, CLL patients faced a very poor prognosis. But, with the drug, CLL went into remission in 80 to 90 percent of patients. While it’s not a cure, it allows Rob and fellow CLL patients to live with the disease in a way a person lives with high blood pressure: by taking a daily pill.
Reading about Rob and about Dave Falk ’94 reminded me again of what makes the Brown community truly a community—the feeling of fellowship and shared goals in service to one another and to our world. It’s an honor to be a part of it.
In the face of the conventional wisdom about the need to accept death, it was wonderful to read about a Brown alumnus who, faced with a fast-growing cancer with a poor prognosis, chose lifesaving treatment instead. It would be even more wonderful if such state-of-the-art lifesaving treatment were available to everyone, old as well as young, on welfare as well as employed. Tragically, America has never had such medical egalitarianism, and these terrible times of Trumpery are moving us even further away from that goal:
Sorry, but Eric Estes’s “Creating Respect” struck me as the sort of embarrassing p.c. drivel that has turned Brown, deservedly, into something of a national laughingstock (From the President, July/August). I showed the essay—with its tortured defense of “gender-inclusive” pronouns and its fears that a failure to use them will stunt students’ lives—to a friend in the magazine business. He said it read like something out of Monty Python. Indeed.
I danced at Brown, and my sixteen-year-old daughter, Hannah, danced with Jamal Jackson ’00 in Brooklyn last year (“Just Dance,” Arts & Culture, July/August). She adored him and his choreography. In fact, she performed The People Vs., which is referenced in the article. I’m so proud to be part of the dance legacy at Brown.
Remembering Walter Feldman
Walter was my mentor back in the early 1970’s when I was a student at Brown. I was his teaching assistant for 2-3 years in his printmaking class. Full of stories, he gracefully encouraged exploration of art, history, and basically any learning endeavor without diminishing any contrary opinions. There was an inner calmness that belied his passion for his own artistic and spiritual journey. More recently I had reconnected with Walter to express my thanks to him and to hear his stories. I have been a staff photographer at the Providence Journal for over 30 years.
Sandor Bodo ’75
Professor Feldman created and donated beautiful limited edition prints to help raise money to refurbish the then iteration of Brown Hillel House, which in those days was not nearly the facility it has become today. On my graduation weekend in 1979, I brought my parents to the annual Hillel brunch/open house and they kindly purchased a print for me as a graduation gift and a donation to Hillel, thereby honoring Professor Feldman’s charitable goals and helping me to acquire my first “real” work of fine art. It has hung prominently and proudly wherever I have lived since then.
Randee L. Cassel ’79
In 1987 I was in Professor Feldman’s Hand Made Paper Making Class. During the class Walter would tell us stories. One that I particularly remember was his meeting with artist Corita Kent. Corita is famous for her drip paintings on the gas tanks heading into Boston on I-95. She was very impressed with a bull sculpture (I believe it was a sculpture) that Walter created. The two artists bartered a deal and swapped their works. I remember Walter saying he was surprised that a former nun (Corita) would be interested in a bull figure. Walter also expected much more from art concentrators (I was not an art major). When it came time for a final show of projects, he asked one of the art majors, “Where’s the rest of it?” I thought, wow, that student is in hot water. I use his quote to this day to indicate that something is falling short of its mark. I will also never forget how Walter’s face would light up in smile every time he met someone. A warm, kind, friendly, gracious man, I will always remember Walter.
Paul J. Cormier
It was with a great sense of loss that I read about the passing of my favorite Brown professor, Walter Feldman. He was more than my favorite professor - he was my advisor, my supporter, my encourager, and my friend. It has been quite a few years since I graduated and left the Brown campus, and many names and faces have slipped from memory. But I remember many things about my time spent with Walter. I remember the constant warm sparkle in his eye; his mustache and demeanor that always somehow reminded me of a walrus; and his words of encouragement and heartfelt appreciation for the creative efforts we made. While I loved all the classes I had with him, he seemed to have most fun with a class he taught us on methods and materials. In that class we got to experiment with materials like gold leaf, egg tempera, fresco, and copper point. His excitement over the delicacy and challenges inherent in each was infectious. I remember him as someone who enjoyed the opportunity to really get to know his students. He would always greet us with a warm smile and a sincere check-in to make sure we were okay. As my advisor, he reviewed credit paintings I had completed as part of a class taken during a semester abroad. He wanted to hear stories about my experiences and was very supportive of the value of the experience as well as the work produced. He then went on to comment during a subsequent printmaking class that he could see the influence of Italy light and color in a woodcut print I was producing.
I will always remember the impression Walter made on my father during my senior thesis exhibit. My father, who preferred the work of master illustrators or photo-realists, did not fully understand or appreciate the more abstract work I was producing. Engaging with Walter at the exhibit he found another way to connect to and appreciate what I had been working on, through the eyes of a fellow WWII vet.
Walter, may you rest in peace knowing that you made a positive and lasting impact on so many lives.
Barbara Goguen ’81
I was a regular attendee at the Sunday brunches sponsored by the Brown Chapter of Hillel. Faculty were sometimes invited to talk to the students. One Sunday Professor Feldman came to talk to us about whether Yiddish or Hebrew should be “the language and culture of the Jews.” (At that time nearly all Jews we were likely to meet were of Eastern European ancestry). He came out strongly in favor of Yiddish, which really annoyed the more pro-Israel students at the brunch. This led to the longest and most intense debate among the students that I had ever heard at one of these brunches. I don’t know what Professor Feldman actually believed, but by setting up a debate in which nearly every person in the room had strong feelings about and participated eagerly, he did exactly what I think an outstanding educator should do.
Marsha Geier Goldfarb ’64
Silver Spring, Md.
I was a rather rudderless mathematics concentrator, who had decided toward the end of my sophomore year that, in neglecting the humanities, I was missing out on much of the best of Brown. (Yes, I was aware that we had--and still have—“world-class” applied math, engineering, and biology programs, and none-too-shabby everything else in the sciences, but I had decided that I also needed to avail myself of Brown’s writing, history, semiotics, etc., or I just wasn’t taking full advantage of the New Curriculum.) Thus, with a summer course in drawing from a community college and a RISD course in hand building (ceramics) my only prior art-practice courses, I registered, in my final semester, for Prof. Feldman’s printmaking course. To the disappointment, I’m sure, of some lower-level art concentrators, I was allowed in to this limited-enrollment class, nominally due to my senior status. (I say “nominally” because, in retrospect, I suspect that Walter may have looked at what I had done previously at Brown, and, perhaps, decided that he wanted the variety in his class that said background would bring.)
It wasn’t easy: physical dexterity has never been a strong suit of mine, and the traditional way to hand-make prints is to carve a “negative” into a slab of wood or, later, linoleum (we never got to lithography and its variants, nor silk-screening). Between the difficulty I had controlling the media and my dearth of experience producing art at an artist’s pace, for roughly the first half of the course, I felt like I had interminable artist’s block. Our mid-term assignment was to take inspiration from Archibald Macleish’s Conquistador; the overarching impression I got from it (more me, methinks, than Archie) was (what had been done for) greed for gold. After struggling for I-don’t-remember-how-long over what to do with that, due date drawing near, I finally settled for what I considered to be a rather uncreative idea: in a diptych, I’d render the letters of those words shaped to resemble a helmeted face and a nugget of gold. Show, tell, and listen day came around and I, rather embarrassed and thus quite sheepishly, explained my comparatively diminutive work. Much to my surprise, I received more-or-less unanimous praise from my peers, and Walter’s primary, if not only, criticism was with my limited take on Archie’s work--of my product, he was quite supportive. I don’t remember where this fits chronologically, but at some point he took me aside and surprised me by inviting me to his home and studio. (In retrospect, he could’ve done this for all the students--I didn’t ask, and I sure as hell didn’t tell--but boy did I feel special!) Admitted to his inner sanctum, I got to see some of his paintings he felt too attached to part with, and of course, examples of his prints and his handmade books and paper (these latter were the other exotic media he taught while I was at Brown). At the conclusion of the visit, he had some very encouraging words and he gave me a beautiful Japanese-burn-etched-by-hand wooden carving tool. I had been feeling like a dilettante given my follow-through, I was--but he certainly didn’t treat me like one. Ultimately, I got past my artist’s block by allowing myself to not be limited to carving. I explored abstract expressionism by making prints from diluted and worked ink leavings and Rauschenberg-style large work (a collage on the theme of modern times, executed on a long sheet of butcher paper, embellished with a length-of-the-work rocket composed of impressed wood grain). Not all of it was equally successful, of course, I was learning after all and Walter’s feedback was always insightful and helpful. Not once did he discourage my experimentation (as long as I cleaned up afterward). Thus it was with genuine sadness, but also pleasant nostalgia, that I read of his passing. I know, and am certain, that he is dearly and truly missed by all those whose lives he touched.
David Goldsmith ’88
During my years at Pembroke I majored in biology, but during my senior year I elected to take an introductory studio art class with Walter Feldman. In it we explored basic art elements such as color, texture, space and form. One day we were told to create a work based on something inspired by nature, I asked if “nature” could include the things I saw under a microscope. Mr. Feldman looked at me and asked, “What do you see under a microscope?” By the time I had collected some microscope slides to give him, he had already gotten permission to take an old microscope to his studio and had learned to use it. Not long after that he painted a mural on the entrance walls and up the stairway of a building being used at that time as an annex of the biology department. I don’t remember the name of the building, but it is at the corner of Brown and Waterman Streets. The design of the mural was based on things he had seen under that microscope.
When my parents asked me what I wanted for a graduation gift, I told them that I would love to have one of Walter Feldman’s paintings. They gave me a sewing machine instead. However, I consider that class the most valuable one I took during my four years at Brown. It awakened my artistic side and provided me with lifelong pleasure when I am being creative.
Virginia Coley Gregg ’58
Walter Feldman gave just for the asking – what a generous, supportive professor and person. When I decided to become an architect in my senior year, that’s late for applications, I had to pull together a portfolio. Not only didn’t I have the makings of a portfolio, in fact I had never drawn before. But I had, fortunately, started to take Walter’s eye-opening basic design course. Perhaps sensing my determination, perhaps recognizing that I had the design sense and grit it takes to succeed in architecture, Walter created a “course” just for me, complete with weekly assignments. I learned how to “see” and then draw what I saw… yet to be in close contact with an artist who had not just a great talent but also a good heart, that was his most lasting gift to me. I got into Harvard Graduate School of Design with compliments on my portfolio. Many others have a similar Feldman story to tell—artful inspiration.
David P. Helpern ’59
New York City
I met Walter Feldman only once. In the Fall of 1979 he evaluated a semester’s work of cartography and granted me a unit of art credit in exchange. He was cool and appreciative, unconstrained by discipline, open to expression in many forms. Much of teaching is performance. Those of us who do it channel what we have seen, even in small samples. Feldman shares in the composite “Professor” that I have constructed over the years, especially when called to evaluate for credit the prior experience of incoming students. Thanks Walt, you live on.
Christopher Kox ’81
Walter Feldman was an incredible inspiration to me when I was majoring in art in the 1950’s. I learned from him how to work in a creative and meticulous manner, the art of printmaking, and making wood cuts. Once inspired by him, I continued studies at RISD, did photography in the U.S. Marine Corps, and worked as an art director in advertising for ten years. After that, I opened Lane Photography Studio (http://www.whitneylane.com ) and did photography and graphic design all over the world and even underwater for major corporations and magazines for over 40 years. Thank you Walter for your great inspiration.
Whitney Lane ’59
Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
In this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness my thoughts always turn to Brown. I long for the quiet joy of campus life, remembering when we could all dwell in sweet possibilities. Most of all, best of all, I remember Professor Walter Feldman. Walter was to become much more than my extraordinary studio art teacher, beginning with his kindness and support when he built a sturdy frame for a mosaic I had created in his class. Over the years that followed he became a friend to our family. Two daughters took his studio art classes, Katherine ’88 waited outside overnight to register for his class, somehow Elizabeth ’90 did not have to. Over time Michael ’59 contributed to the Brown Ziggurat Book Press, and then established the Brooke Hunt Mitchell Distinguished Author Series. How I treasure my collection of these many magnificent books of his art, accompanied by the inspiring texts he chose. And I have an entire Walter wall in my living room filled with his art, alive with his spirit. I was fortunate to have been a Brown student, clearly I was blessed to have been Professor Feldman’s. Oh, Walter, thank you, I miss you. I turn to my walls and your books. My condolences continue to Barbara and the Feldman family
Brooke Hunt Mitchell ’59
White Plains, N.Y.
I did not ever meet Walter Feldman but I attended an art/antique auction about seven years ago and was immediately drawn to his painting. It was signed Walter Feldman 1965 and I subsequently looked up information about him and I was so thrilled to have one of his paintings, particularly with the Brown University connection (I am on the medical faculty). This might not be the sort of thing you are looking for, but I feel a connection.
I was very lucky to take two book arts classes with Walter Feldman, whose generosity, warmth, and infectious love of printing and books made an indelible impression. I remember poring over old books at the John Hay Library and spending hours in the studio at his house, setting type and printing on his Vandercook press while Marlene Dietrich played on the stereo. He told stories of his service in WWII and studying under Albers and deKooning over huge feasts he cooked for his students. Thanks to his influence, I have my own Vandercook now, and continue to print.
Lyssa Mudd Rome ’96
I was teaching voice for Brown students and others in the 1980s. I also was one of the founders of the New Music Ensemble and a performing singer. Walter created many wonderful posters for us. He, Barbara, Jim Schevill, and I were all good friends. One day Walter said: Margot, I’d like to have a voice lesson with you so I could sing “If I was a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. He came over, and with his usual enthusiasm began to sing and we had a great time. A wonderful memory.
Margot Blum Schevill ’72, ’81 AM
Professor Walter Feldman posed as a model for one of his drawing classes back in the Fall of 1976. After the class had worked on the assignment for about 20 minutes or so, he strolled around the studio viewing and critiquing our renderings of him. When he approached my station, he stood still for about a minute as he viewed my drawing, then said to me “fatter, but thank you.” I think that I just looked at him and nodded good-humoredly.
Jill Rucker Simmons ’76
Walter Feldman taught me I wasn’t stupid……I struggled with grades in high school as I could not take notes and concentrate on what someone was saying at the same time. My desire was to play soccer, not to study. I started thinking I was going to study economics…..disaster. What I did not know, nor did anyone else at that time, was that I had ADD. I liked art and took my first art history class with Bill Jordy and fine arts with Feldman. Both of them became mentors to me.
While my left brain was mostly dormant, my right brain was working fine. If I could see something I could understand it and remember it. My comfort was in creativity and Walter encouraged me. I took every course that had pictures in it and could thus comprehend. For instance, I could do physics not chemistry, geometry not calculus. I loved working in the studio and turned out a large number of paintings. While I went on to Harvard to study architecture, I never stopped my fine art. I’m proud of having a very successful creative career and that Walter, and Brown led me to take that path.
Kenneth Walker ’62
Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.
Remembering Maurice Glicksman
I graduated with a PhD in physical chemistry with Dr. Aaron Wold. I hardly ever went to the chemistry department except to pick up my mail (which included a friendly 1A notice from the draft board once, but that’s another story) since all my research was done in Barus & Holley. When I finished up my degree, Dr. Glicksman was kind enough to offer me a postdoc so that I could prepare and measure the interesting properties of new compound semiconductor materials. Dr. Glicksman was heavily involved in University committees so we didn’t see him every day. But when we did—WOW. We would struggle to do some difficult electrical measurements (often in the basement using liquid helium), but Dr. Glicksman would breeze in make a few suggestions, click a few dials, and Walla! Problem solved.
You may not know this but Dr. Glicksman was one of several notable ex-RCA laboratory scientists who came to Brown. The other who I knew, Joseph Lofersky, is now long gone. Dr. Lofersky was a pioneer in the development of photovoltaic solar cells, a field where I spent a great deal of time. While at RCA Labs (where I too later worked), Dr. Glicksman went to Japan and set up an R&D Lab. After his return, the lab was perhaps not as welcoming as he expected and he came to Brown. Dr. Glicksman had an infectious smile and a sharpness and intellect that was immediately apparent and dominated a room. His peerless intellect, sharp wit, and wonderfully articulate expressions made him a force to be reckoned with. He is arguably the smartest person I have ever known. If I recall correctly, he received his PhD from the University of Chicago, and was one of Enrico Fermi’s last students. I feel privileged to have known him and worked for him. He was terrific.
Anthony Catalano ’73 PhD
A feat surely never equaled in the history of university administrations: Seven full professors left the Brown mathematics department in the 1980’s. Five are now members of the National Academy of Sciences.
William Fulton ’61
Ann Arbor, Mich.
His positive attitude toward learning was contagious. He was different. He brazenly encouraged engineering students to use their imaginations and have fun. This approach which I learned in large part from him served me well during my electrical engineering teaching career. In addition to encouraging his students to be imaginative, Glicksman foresaw the digital revolution. He strongly advised his students to take digital electronics as an elective, almost five decades ago. This course was not a requirement in the late 60s and early 70s. It is a required course today in every accredited electrical engineering curriculum in the country. He was an excellent advisor. I lived to appreciate his arm-twisting advice regarding this particular course offered during my youthful days at Brown. His family and friends have my condolences.
Sammie Giles Jr. ’71
I was slightly startled to see the photograph of Professor Glicksman in the context of his passing… yet, given his (probable) age, I hope and assume he lived a very full and rewarding life beyond when I (briefly) knew him at Brown. I was in the usual freshman engineering seminar in the Fall of 1973 and Spring of 1974. Professor Glicksman was one of a team of professors who taught the course. Although it was primarily a course in engineering mechanics (that is, essentially mechanical engineering), and he was an electrical engineer (of some repute, having led the RCA Tokyo Labs as I recall learning later), the introductory nature allowed him to easily brush off his mechanical skills and fill the role effectively. One night my roommate and good friend Chris (who btw had scored a 790 on his math SAT, while still recovering from an extremely serious point-blank range soccer ball strike to his privates) and I, had worked literally all night developing an ironclad proof that the method we had recently been taught could not possibly be applied to solve one of the homework problems due the next morning. (Why we cared so much, in retrospect – we were freshmen). Finally, totally exhausted, I volunteered to take our proof to Professor Glicksman early that morning on no sleep, who as always graciously welcomed me into his office, listened attentively to my problem, then without judgment or condescension of any kind, quietly stated, “It’s a 3-force body”. This was a different technique we had also recently been taught, the use of which, to solve this problem, we had apparently never considered – but the application was immediately clear to me. I stated as much, thanked him, and with a sincere warm smile, he asked if there was anything else he could help me with… I said no... and quietly departed, tail-between-my-legs. It was an early lesson in not getting wedded to a particular approach to a problem, but one given with such kindness and empathy, it has stuck in my mind’s eye for now 43 years. Professor Glicksman always impressed me as warm, sincere, modest, and genuine. I recall no moment in which our interactions were anything less than what one would dare hope for from a professor as a young student. I wish him all the best wherever he goes in the universe hereafter.
Victor Lowell ’77
Maurice Glicksman was provost during the seven years that I served as chairperson of French Studies at Brown. He was always kind, considerate and attentive to our needs. There were some difficult times for our department and at Brown during this period, and I always felt that I could consult him. We trusted him and deeply appreciated his concern, his keen intelligence and positive attitude. He was not only an excellent administrator, but a distinguished human being who loved Brown and its faculty. I had great admiration for him and am deeply saddened by his passing.
Henry F. Majewski
Emeritus Professor, Brown French Studies