The Scene welcomes letters. We reserve the right to decide whether a letter is acceptable for publication and to edit for accuracy, clarity, and length. Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published. Letters should not exceed 250 words. You can reach us by mail, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name, class year if applicable, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address. If we receive many letters on a given topic, we will print a representative sample of the opinions expressed.
The impact of financial aid
I WAS DISHEARTENED to read President Herbst’s letter in the winter 2011 Scene about Colgate’s inability to admit qualified students based on their need for financial aid. Neither I nor my brother Michael ’97 would have been able to attend Colgate had we not received substantial scholarships, grants, and loans. Colgate was beyond generous to my family; in fact, when my father was injured on the job during my sophomore year, he wrote to the Office of Financial Aid, requesting more help to keep me in school. Colgate responded positively, and I will be forever grateful.
As a creative writing major–turned–pediatric nurse, I will always be glad that I did not figure out my path until senior year, for if I had known I wanted to go to nursing school, I would not have considered Colgate, and I would have missed out on friends, education, and experiences that changed my life.
In my days as an admission tour guide, I was always uncomfortable when asked by visiting parents, “Is Colgate need blind?” and I had to admit that, while ability to pay was one of the last criteria considered for admission, it was considered.
I urge my fellow alumni to help Colgate reach this status, so it can continue to admit the best and brightest students, remaining a first-class university that focuses on people, not money. Everyone deserves to spend four years on that beautiful campus, learning about the world and about themselves. This year, instead of divvying up my annual donation amongst several important causes, I will devote it solely to financial aid.
Lauren J. Fisher ’03
JUST WANTED TO let you know how much I have enjoyed the winter 2011 issue of the Scene, especially the articles “The Forgotten Freedom Fighter” and “Beyond the 11th.” Also like keeping up with the news of the class of my late husband, Edwin Milkey ’41.
I JUST READ Aleta Mayne’s well-written article about Susan Retik Ger ’90 in the Scene (“Beyond the 11th,” winter 2011). What a strong and remarkable woman, and what a story about the non-profit she established and runs to benefit Afghan women. I really can’t describe my feelings as I read the article.
Bob Malley ’66
AS I READ “Modernism at the Fringes” (winter 2011), I recalled my own response to the opening question: “What happens when powerful art is set in a rural but intellectually ambitious surrounding?”
In my case, it had the beneficial effect of providing summer employment and an art history research challenge of the finishing of a new and unique product developed jointly by Sculptura collaborators Herb Mayer ’29 and Alfred Krakusin.
Their relationship led Professor Krakusin to arrange for the creation of molds, taken from artistic surfaces in Egyptian tombs, of storied imagery only available at that time in film or print. This work led to the production of bas-relief bronze, copper, and aluminum panels, in strikingly accurate original detail.
My job was polishing and antiquing the panels … but not until I completed the research and chemical formulation of the optimal patina compound that would bring them to a credibly aged permanent finish. I relished the challenge and satisfied my mentors.
Production began in the Hamilton railroad station under the watchful eye of Lee Brown Coye, local artist and close associate of Professor Krakusin. Beautiful works were carefully packaged and shipped to Mr. Mayer’s World House Galleries for introduction to the knowledgeable and appreciative New York art market. His clients acquired all we could produce.
In my senior year, Professor Krakusin gave me examples of Egyptian royalty busts in bas-relief panels that I produced. They will stay in the family with my daughters, who were born and lived with my wife, Chris, and me in Vetville up to graduation.
Some time later, while visiting the Baltimore office of Martin-Marietta Corporation, I was stunned and proud to see one of our largest bronze panels mounted on the mezzanine wall for all visitors to see and enjoy. What validation!
Jack Blanchard ’60
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Editor’s note: The exhibition Modernism at the Fringes, featuring works from the Herbert Mayer ’29 collection, will remain on view at Colgate’s Picker Art Gallery through July 15. Visit http://picker.colgate.edu for more information.
THE PHOTO OF the bridge/stream on the inside front cover of the winter 2011 Scene is extra-ordinary. I assume it is HDR photography? [Editor’s note: Yes, it was taken using a high dynamic range technique.]
I remember trying to vault that stream on a cold, snowy day, coming home from an “expe-dition” downtown, and failing! Wet boots for several days.
As a long-time observer of the Scene, I can tell you that the journal has evolved steadily into one of the best (of 5) that I receive, in great part because of the artistic direction. No other alumni journal “brings me back” as well as the Scene. Good work!
Don Alexander ’79
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Remembering Bob Howard
IN THE SUMMER of 1955, a young Bob Howard ’49 (In Memoriam,
autumn 2010), then the assistant director of admissions, interviewed
me. My folks had driven me to the beautiful campus from Delmar, N.Y.,
and we immediately fell in love with it. Bob was very gracious, and the
interview went exceedingly well. Without even saying that I would
receive a letter of acceptance, he put his arm on my shoulder and
announced to my folks, “Bobby will make a fine addition to the Class of
Then he asked me, “By the way, Bobby, do you play golf?”
At the time, I did not. He turned to my folks and said, “Everybody
plays golf at Colgate, so be sure to buy him some clubs.” At the time,
the golf course was nine holes up above the Hill. My parents took him
quite seriously, and thus started my love affair with my favorite sport.
During my four years at Colgate, Bob always remained a friend to the
students. His passing should be felt by all who knew him.
Bob Shapiro ’59
|Ted Herman’s legacy
I NOTICED ON the CU website that Theodore (Ted) Herman passed away at the age of 97 (In Memoriam). My first day as a freshman (fall 1967), I walked into his office, introduced myself, and said I wanted to be a geography major. That was the beginning of my career, both as a student and professional. Ted was my mentor, major professor, and friend for my time at Colgate and beyond.
Under his critical eye and his profound degree of patience, I learned how to analyze a landscape from geomorphic and cultural perspectives. This has proven very beneficial in my work analyzing the environmental impacts of highway projects as an environmental researcher and policy analyst (for the last 17 years in the Geo-Environmental Section of the Oregon Department of Transportation).
Long after I left Colgate, I got a telephone call out of the blue. Ted was in a retirement facility in Pennsylvania, and he was in the final stages of his life, but he wanted to know what I was doing. We talked for some time. That conversation reaffirmed what I had known all along — that he really cared. As a professor, he was tough on me, but he did it because he wanted me to be equipped to succeed as a professional and as a person. I am very grateful to him.
Richard C. Beck ’71
I REMEMBER the first time I saw Ted Herman. It was my freshman year and we were in a large lecture room in Lawrence Hall on the first day of Problems of War and Peace. Ted stood behind the lectern, stoic and somewhat grim, waiting while 75 or so students settled into their chairs. He looked severe, intimidating to this freshman — heck, Ted had even edited the textbook sitting before me, along with Chuck Beitz, his former student, back in the heady days of student strikes against the war in Vietnam.
I had not yet come to hear the famous and sometimes apocryphal Ted Herman stories (few of which he admitted or discussed) — how he put a string around Evelyn’s finger before fleeing China, only to later parachute back in with a wedding ring when the Japanese were being routed from Manchukuo; tales of imprisonment and torture by the Japanese replete with poison secreted in his belt buckle should he be in danger of spilling critical information; the sad story about his son’s death; the time he sarcastically told the faculty senate that they should send gunboats up Payne Creek to take out the students who had taken over the Ad Building. And it would be a while yet before I would be welcomed into the Herman home to share in Evelyn’s amazing meals and conversations, surrounded by mementos given them from famous Zen and Christian and Jewish leaders, photos of Ted with Ralph Bunche and Dag Hammarskjold and others I did not recognize, and art objects from China, Japan, and Africa.
No, this stern-looking older man standing there before the class was enough to cow me simply with his presence, which was palpable. Apparently he had this effect on many others as well. Ted asked a simple question in his quiet but unmistakably insistent voice: “What is peace?” He stared hard at us as the whole class shifted uncomfortably in their stiff plastic chairs. Certainly this was a set up — the question was too easy, the answer so obvious. On our part, we were following the code of the Army private — never volunteer.
The silence lingered, a little too long, and finally an upperclassman called out an answer. Ted was still for a moment, considering. We all held our breath. And then he broke into a sly smile, bounded off the dais and whipped a candy bar out of his pocket, placing it on the desk of the upperclassman. The whole class cracked up and relaxed, and what followed was a spirited discussion about what exactly we meant by the terms “war” and “peace.” Before long we were debating whether peace was merely the absence of war, or if it also meant removing the causes of war and we even explored questions of social rights and distributive justice. With that one simple question Ted had set up the whole semester of inquiry and debate about the causes of war and peace — and indeed, for many of us, this was the start of a whole lifetime of intellectual inquiry into this problem that has vexed humankind from its inception.
It was a technique I was to see Ted employ many times in many different situations, using humor and surprise to encourage dialogue between people. His warm nature, dry sense of humor, and deep respect for others (especially those who disagreed with him) helped disarm reluctant minds and open the way to mutual respect, whether in a classroom, a community forum, or in places of active hostile conflict.
In his later years, after Colgate, Ted traveled the world promoting conflict resolution on the ground. He was instrumental in getting a peace institute started in a former Yugoslav republic in the wake of the Bosnian War, for example, and was involved in the International Peace Research Association long after he retired. But his technique was the same — using simple questions to get people to re-examine their basic assumptions about each other, fostering communication and understanding between antagonists and thereby lowering the potential for misunderstanding and conflict.
As I mourn the passing of this great teacher and activist, I remember most Ted’s ability to get us to ask fundamental questions about ourselves and the world we live in. There were so many times that he challenged my basic assumptions and forced me to step outside my own limits, whether I was wrestling with academic questions or my own personal demons. To this day I often find myself confronting a problem and wondering how Ted would approach it, as he always seemed to find some offbeat way of coming at solutions that led to creative resolutions. And I know there are hundreds if not thousands of others who were similarly touched by Ted Herman, both at Colgate and beyond. He left an amazing legacy for us to follow.
Mark Furman ’81