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Fall 2002
Vol. 65, No. 1

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Rochester Review--University of Rochester magazine

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.


Class of '58: That's Us!

Regarding the letter, "Frosh Camp Relived" (Spring-Summer 2002), I see an entirely different group than Ms. Sisson does!

I think the photo was taken in the fall of '54. The '56 girls were "Big Sisters" to the girls of '58, and only junior and freshman girls attended this weekend camp.

In the picture, the conductor is Pat Weil '56, music major. I think Sarah (Sally) Vandyck is the girl in front with the purse. Proceeding to the right is June Fundin, Ann Westburg, and Barbara Bowman. To the far left, standing, is Roberta (Bobbie) Busky . . . all Class of '58.

Could it be we all looked alike back then?

Barbara Willsea Harper '58
Ruther Glen, Virginia

On page 3 of Rochester Review (Spring- Summer 2002) you have a photo which one of your readers thought was the Frosh Camp Class of 1952. I checked with John Rathbone '58, and we both agree that the photo is of Frosh Camp Class of 1958. Roberta Busky, Carol Garomon, Mary Robinson, Sarah Vandyck, and Ann Westberg, just to name a few in the front row, would probably agree with me.

Nancy Festa Brown '58
Media, Pennsylvania

The correspondence prompted by the photograph of Frosh Camp sent us back to the archives, where University librarians again retrieved the photo for us along with a newspaper clipping in which it appeared.

Sorry to have to take sides in a lively debate, but the clipping is dated September 25, 1954, and the caption reads: "College Sing: While their 'big sisters,' the juniors, wash the dishes, the freshmen assemble in the dining hall after supper to learn the college songs they will be singing many times during their next four years at the University. Leading the singing (left) is Pat Weil."

Thanks to everyone for sending along their memories-Editor.

Beautiful for Whom?

I suppose it should come as no surprise that a professor of economics included an apologia for traditional market economics in a review of A Beautiful Mind (Spring- Summer 2002).

Steven Landsburg's statement that "Modern economics demonstrates the robust power of markets to deliver optimum outcomes in a rich array of environments" begs two crucial questions. First, optimum for whom? Clearly not the millions of people whose lives are worsened by current market functioning. Second, optimum by what criteria?

The Invisible Hand so admired by Landsburg has never been able to prevent exploitation of workers and the environment-or even shareholders-as is increasingly evident. Some economists are trying hard to measure these "externalities"; others prefer to ignore them.

Norm Wallen '50, '52 (Mas)
Flagstaff, Arizona

Bravo, Wind Ensemble!

Hats off to the Eastman Wind Ensemble and its ebullient founder ("Golden Harmony," Spring-Summer 2002). I was sorry to hear that Dr. [Frederick] Fennell is suffering health problems. I came to the University (the College, not Eastman) in 1943 at the height of WWII carrying with me a French horn and a letter from my high school band director introducing me to Howard Hanson.

He bucked me to Fennell who was, no doubt, happy to find any warm body who could play an instrument, and he offered me a place in the symphonic band.

I played under his baton for that freshman year until the draft snagged me, too. Although I never returned to serious horn study, that year of "playing with the big boys" was a thrill never forgotten.

Godspeed, Dr. Fred!

Jerome Nolan '49, '52M (MD)
Wilmington, North Carolina

Thank you very much for the article about the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

Although I was never a member of that group, I was in the Eastman Band during the school year 1951-52, and it was probably the best band I ever played in. Dr. Fennell did a grand job as conductor of the band and obviously did a fine job with the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

I would like to gently point out that without the fine material present in the band at that time, the wind ensemble could never have been formed. Members of that group have gone on to become the leaders in musical organizations all over the United States.

John R. Schactler '52E (Mas)
Yakima, Washington

Fundamental Debate

The exchange between Mssrs. Taback and Homerin ("Letters to the Editor," Spring-Summer 2002) sent me to Homerin's larger essay referred to in the Winter 2002 issue. I looked in vain for statements that would justify Homerin's comment that " . . . I am outspoken in my condemnation of religious militants of all kinds."

In an essay of over 200 lines of type he devotes one-half line to how the militants should be treated: " . . . the murderers must be brought to justice." This line refers only to the September 11, 2001, murderers; there is no mention of murderers of Colombians, Somalis, or Israelis, among others. The thrust of the essay details the beauty and wisdom of the Koran (Qur'ân) and its corruption by the Islamic militants.

Does Homerin deplore this corruption and the resultant murderous acts inspired by this corruption? No, he wants us to understand how and why the militants justify and are able to inspire wholesale slaughter of human beings. Homerin argues that the militants' success is due to the poverty and worldwide oppression of many Muslims; conditions America failed to prevent. "No wonder many Muslims hate America; we are seeing the hate that neglect produced." " . . . we as people-all of us-dehumanize other people for our own selfish desires." The understanding Homerin espouses is that militant Muslim terrorism and slaughter of U.S. citizens is really our own fault. This does not constitute overt endorsement of such acts, but it certainly is an apologist's defense.

Is there a Muslim-dominated country in the world that would provide such a comfortable and prestigious platform for one whose views were so damning to it? No, but the United States does, and that is its strength. We will survive all the Homerins because we tolerate disparagement, but we won't tolerate terrorist acts of murder.

Selwyn W. Becker '52
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
The University of Chicago

In regards to Harold Taback's letter about Emil Homerin's essay in the Winter 2002 issue: One of the things I have always treasured from my four years at Rochester is the respect I learned for tolerance and understanding. Both have helped in my career as a company officer and vice president and then as a large corporation's staff director.

Although these roles were far from religious, the basics still applied: Address the root issues to solve the problem and thus help all get on with the job and work together. It's not always the easy road (as I found out many times). People protect their turf and beliefs (even though they may be wrong!).

I followed Homerin's advice and brought up the essay from the University's Web site. A very comprehensive discussion. I did not find it the least bit apologistic about Muslim militants or the principles of Islam.

He is 100 percent right. We need to address the fundamental needs of the world's needy, and we can do it if we put are minds to it! I say needy in the broad sense: poverty, lack of food, lack of education. Steps to address and begin to cure these will pay immense dividends and only expand the growth for everyone. We do need to bring the perpetrators and participants of September 11 to justice fairly and quickly (let's hope there are no further major horrors), and get the Palestinian-Israeli conflict turned around, but we also need humanitarian and educational programs.

Don Killaby Sr. '52
Naples, Florida

Our Computer Error

Since the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University was nationally known and thriving when I left the CMU mathematics department with a master's degree in 1978, I find it very difficult to believe that things fell apart so much that Richard (Rick) Rashid '80 (PhD) was hired to "found the department" in 1979 (Spring-Summer 2002).

Jamie Adams '76
Fairfax, Virginia

Indeed, we misstated Rashid's role at Carnegie Mellon. As a faculty member there, Rashid is best known as the leading developer of a new approach to computer operating systems that abstracts basic functions of the systems so that they can run on different microprocessors. Rashid's Mach kernel, as the set of core functions is known, is considered a major breakthrough in operating systems development. Our apologies-Editor.


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