The Rochester Review, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA
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The Review welcomes letters from readers and will print as many of them as space permits. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Unsigned letters cannot be used, but names of the writers may be withheld on request.

Memories for Sesqui

In 2000, the University will celebrate its Sesquicentennial, and we are asking alumni to write in or e-mail personal reflections of their college days.

We are gathering information and photographs of Rochester's last 150 years--historic, humorous, fascinating, and absurd (we'll even take a bit of the irreverent)--for publications commemorating the event. Share with us what you know or remember about Rochester: favorite professors, memorable social events, pranks, and, yes, even the weather.

Your contributions will become part of the University archives and may even be published--in 2000, 3000, or sometime in between.

Send to: Jan Waxman '81N, University Public Relations, 147 Wallis Hall, University of Rochester, P.O. Box 270033, Rochester, NY 14627-0033. E-mail:

Whose Y2K?

Re: Winter 1998-99 issue, "Y2K and All That."

Professor DiPiero calls the millennial issue a "Judeo-Christian one at that, . . . look at Chinese and Arabic calendars."

Professor, try "Christian (only)." The last time I looked at my Jewish calendar, it is the year 5759, and we have weathered several millennia quite nicely, thank you.

Karen Slutsky
Natick, Massachusetts

Where Was Nursing?

As an alum of the University's School of Nursing (graduate program), I read with interest "The World at Rochester," with 10 undergraduates in varying disciplines sharing their stories. It was very disappointing to find that not one of the 10 was a nursing student (even though in the 1998 graduation class, 92 of the baccalaureate degrees went to nursing students).

The School of Nursing dates back to 1925 and ranks 18th in the nation today! Some of the specific nurse practitioner programs rank in the top 10 nationally.

Although our school is located on the medical campus, our undergraduates often live on the River Campus and for their first two years attend classes there. Current students play on sports teams and are otherwise an integral part of campus life.

The nursing school last year participated in a media study demonstrating the invisibility of the nursing profession (in newspapers, magazine articles, etc.), especially since nurses play such an important role in the health care system. One would hope that our own school publications do not fall into this same habit! I'll be looking forward to future issues.

Elaine M. Andolina '79N (MS)

The story, "The World at Rochester," did indeed focus on students at the College rather than other schools. It was intended to spotlight the variety of backgrounds undergraduates bring to campus rather than what they study after they arrive.

For news from the School of Nursing and its alumni in this issue, see Notes on Research and Alumni Gazette--Editor.

Singing Praises

My daughter, Renée Fleming ['83E (MM)], and I both loved your article, "Diva with a Difference," in the Winter 1998-99 issue of Rochester Review.

I have found through reading many reviews and articles that it is very difficult to produce a story as error-free as this one. I will treasure it always!

Patricia Fleming Alexander '70E (MM)

Diva Renée Fleming, incidentally, added another to her string of honors when she won a Grammy award earlier this year for her CD, "The Beautiful Voice"--Editor.

For Want of an 'Also'

Regarding the article, "A New Way to Treat Alzheimer's: Epilepsy Drugs," in the Winter 1998-99 issue of Rochester Review:

The sentence, "Doctors normally use these medicines to treat epilepsy and to help patients control impulses or aggression similar to that seen in most Alzheimer's patients" can be quite misleading.

Because of the "and," it leads the reader to assume that people with epilepsy have problems with controlling impulses or aggression. This is not true for most people with epilepsy. Some patients with temporal lobe epilepsy may have some behavioral issues in very specific circumstances, but most do not. Most of our consumers take anti-epilepsy drugs to control their seizures--most do not exhibit any angry impulses or aggressive behavior.

We realize the article was about Alzheimer's. But it is the implication that people with epilepsy are similar to those with Alzheimer's in terms of their behavior that does little to further the understanding of epilepsy.

Sheila Appleby

The writer is executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation, Rochester and Syracuse Regions. Her point is well taken. A little judicious editing could have made it clearer that doctors use the medicines to treat epilepsy and also to treat aggression--Editor.

Review of 'Review'

Thank you for mailing me the Review over all these years since I graduated as a German exchange student at River Campus in 1983.

May I take the opportunity to make a few comments on your latest issue:

When I read about the award for excellence in undergraduate teaching to Russell Peck of the English department, I was reminded of his absolutely devastating delivery of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."

In the Alumni Gazette, I was captivated by the most beautiful face in print (owned by a matchingly beautiful person, judging from the article) I have seen for a long time. I'm referring to Wendy Schlessel Harpham, author of books about coping with cancer.

Finally, since I was a history student back then, I naturally miss articles about my subject and its advances generated by the Rochester faculty. Sadly my teacher then, Christopher Lasch, is no longer with us, but there must be others whose work merits an occasional article in the magazine.

Hans Spross '83
Cologne, Germany

If you turn to Review Point in this issue, you will find an essay written by the current chair of the history department, Robert Westbrook--Editor.

Glenn Wiltsey

I was saddened to learn of the death of Glenn Wiltsey. His passing evokes a flood of fond memories of my undergraduate years at Rochester.

I majored in "government"--that's what the department was called before it was changed in form, not substance, to "political science." But whatever the name, its core of professorial talent, headed by Glenn, and joined by Bill Diez and Bob Blackburn, was superb.

As difficult as it may be for today's students to imagine, that were only five or six government majors in my junior and senior years. As often as not, we met at Glenn's home on Mt. Hope Avenue exploring the great issues of our discipline. His course in Constitutional Law was every bit as good as my law-school course on the same subject, albeit from a different perspective.

Most important, Glenn cared about his students--not only what they learned, but their hopes, their dreams. As with several other professors, I corresponded with him for many years following graduation. He was genuinely interested in how I was doing, and any success I have achieved is due, in large part, to Glenn and his dedicated colleagues.

A quarter-century ago, Otto Bettmann, the famed photo archivist, wrote a book entitled The Good Old Days--They Were Terrible.

Well, to a point. At the risk of waxing nostalgic, I'll add that Glenn Wiltsey presided at the time when the River Campus had 900 or so men students (until they brought half as many women over in '58). We had a lot more "shade of the college green to while an hour away." The course offerings were much less than today, but only in quantity, not quality.

Yes, times have changed and, in many ways, for the better. At the same time, let's not shortchange the tremendous value of a Rochester education in times gone by. But, then again, that's a subject for another letter.

George M. Gold '56
Ashburn, Virginia

A Different Perspective

In response to Mr. Johnson's complaint about birth announcements (Spring-Summer 1998), I was happy to see that other alumni understand the importance of children in our lives. Though I can build a positive consensus by way of the responses already published, I offer a different perspective on the thoughts already expressed.

I became pregnant with my daughter Layla Janae in July 1994. Though I was preparing to enter my senior year of college at the University, I would not hear of any other options to my situation other than going about with business as usual. As such, I began my half-time job, and enrolled for a full semester of classes in fall 1994 and spring 1995.

I could tell you many stories about my experiences, and all the academic and social struggles that came along with my situation. For the sake of brevity, however, I will only share with you that the support I received from the University family was essential in my success.

Without the support of all my friends, sorority sisters, community members, and University faculty and staff, it would have been easy to give up anywhere along the way. Instead, a special bond was created with many more individuals than I have room to point out individually. To this day many still send their prayers and letters, as time permits. They have expressed a true interest in our well-being, and how this milestone (namely Layla) continues to develop.

Layla is a healthy, active 3 year old who makes my life (and that of many other readers of Rochester Review) fulfilling. I do my best to keep in touch with all those who supported me when I needed it most. And I have the proof to show that sharing information such as this warrants as much coverage as any other event in our lives.

Janet Japa '95
Flushing, New York

Japa is a contract supervisor for a private nonprofit agency, in the homeless youth services division. She is also pursuing an M.S. in urban policy and management at the New School for Social Research--Editor.

Olfactory Repercussions

Responding to your request for reminiscences involving Rochester traditions:

I vividly recall participating in the Flag Rush at the beginning of my freshman year in the autumn of 1960. Living at the time in Tiernan 218 handily right next to the showers, the freshmen on my corridor, with intelligence obtained from upperclassmen, procured a large drum of pig manure in anticipation of the event.

We had been told that solid projectiles were forbidden, but nice soft materials were fair game. Pig manure does tend to ferment at room temperature, however, and at least once the top blew off the container with very unpleasant olfactory repercussions.

The rules of engagement for the Flag Rush, as I recall, were these:

There may have been other rules, but they are lost in the mist of time.

The opposing sides met in the field next to Fauver Stadium. The strategy, as some of us conceived it, was for one of us (me, as it turned out) to pretend to be a sophomore.

So when the two classes entered into the fray, as soon as I was close to the defenders, I turned 180 degrees and slid through the several circumferential ranks of sophomores to get next to the pole, at which point I used their bodies to raise myself up in order to access the flag.

Greased as the flag was, it was difficult to grasp it tightly enough to tear it away from the spike that was holding it. Just when I thought I had it, at least one sophomore realized that I wasn't protecting the flag--I was instead trying to remove it--and that they had been had.

So, covered with grease and pig shit, I was pulled down and virtually trampled by the defenders of the flag. There was such a crush that I thought I was going to suffocate.

(As it turned out, some years later there was a much more serious incident of this sort which, as I recall, led to the demise of this particular tradition.)

Suffice it to say that the freshmen once again lost the Flag Rush and were obligated to wander about the campus wearing frosh beanies for an extended length of time which, of course, almost no one did.

That evening we were scheduled to have dinner in the women's dorms on the Hill. That was when we truly found out about the fragrance and staying power of pig manure. No matter how much soap and water we consumed, it was impossible to expunge the odor.

Having sufficiently (we hoped) doused ourselves with various strains of colognes, aftershaves, and the like in compensation, we headed to the Hill for dinner. Our entrance into the cafeteria, it turned out, wasn't as problematic for us as it was for the nonparticipants in the Flag Rush. I don't want to say if it was the food that was fetid or us, or both. But a fine time was definitely not had by all.

John B. Delack, '64, '66 (MA), '69 (PhD)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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