The Beauty of 100
What a beautiful story about centenarians and the study by Dr. Thomas Perls (“Living to 100,” January-February). I’ve sent it to many people (the video of Myrtice Splitt Mault ’27 especially). It’s so sad that she died before seeing herself in print, but I imagine she really enjoyed the interview and talking about her memories. She was incredibly sharp for 103. She also seemed happy, which was most important.
One thing that touched me was that my family, especially my grandmother, had the same ideas as many in Myrtice’s day about college for women being a waste of time. Maybe things have not changed that much since then. I could totally relate to her ethical struggle as to whether she was “crazy” or not to go to college as a woman in the 1920s.
I really enjoy Rochester Review. The stories are always interesting and I love keeping in touch with how the University develops. I believe my chance to study there was a once-in-a-lifetime thing and coming from a family where no one went to college, getting a BA was very special to me—not taken for granted in any sense. I always feel proud to have come from the University.
Jane Snar ’99
It was quite a pleasure to read to my mother, Dorothea Michelsen de Zafra ’29, the article on longevity, especially the sidebar which featured one of her classmates, Evelyn Beyer ’29. Indeed, Mom remembers Evelyn and the fact that they were fellow inductees into Phi Beta Kappa.
For your information, Mom points out an error in the sidebar. The first paragraph refers to a classroom “on the River Campus,” where Evelyn studied under English professor John Slater. Mom reminded me that could not have been true, because all women studied on the Prince Street Campus in her day.
Susan B. Anthony accomplished the admission of women to the University, but she did not thereby accomplish coeducation. The women of my own Class of 1963 were among the first to spend all four undergraduate years on the River Campus with the men.
“Susan B.” was something of an icon in our Rochester home when I was growing up, thanks to my mother. Indeed, when I became a biographee in the 2007 edition of Who’s Who of American Women, my mother’s first comment was not how proud she was and how proud my father would have been of this accomplishment, but how proud Susan B. would have been.
My hat is tipped to Evelyn Beyer, Myrtice Splitt Mault, and all the centenarians, especially the women of great fortitude, among Rochester alumni.
Dorothea de Zafra Atwell ’63
The article about Dr. Perls was a great read. I’ve known him for years, and I have been working with him on his Web site, www.livingto100.com, for about three years.
I thought you and other alumni would be interested in knowing that the site was written and run entirely by a Rochester grad.
Thanks for the magazine. It’s a great way to find out about alumni like Dr. Perls.
Mike Isman ’04
Editor’s Note: As Jane Snar ’99 mentions, Myrtice Splitt Mault ’27, who was featured in the article on centenarians, died Jan. 4, just as the January-February issue was about to leave the printer. Our condolences to her son, Bill, and other members of her family, who helped us arrange the interviews, photos, and videos of her last summer and fall. And as Dorothea Michelsen de Zafra ’29 correctly points out, a moment of editorial oblivion led to our placing John Slater on the wrong campus in the late 1920s. All teaching—for women as well as for men—took place on the Prince Street Campus when Evelyn Beyer and Myrtice Splitt Mault were at Rochester.
The Look of a Yellowjacket
The November-December issue (“War of the Wasps”) presented a new mascot to represent our University spirit. I can see why we should change the representation of the yellowjacket from URBee, whose smiling face does not exactly appear to be the face of a formidable opponent.
But the winning wasp seems to go to an opposite extreme. He looks like an angry, bloodthirsty, sadistic creature, which I hope is not meant to convey the power, strength, and courage of our athletes.
Marcy Braverman Goldstein ’92
Editor’s Note: The winning wasp was the overwhelming favorite during a vote last fall by students to replace URBee. The new yellowjacket was formally introduced—and officially named—during a rally this winter. For more, see page 15.
The Honor of a Degree
I am disappointed with my inability to find the appropriate words to describe my reaction to the controversy over Gen. Colin Powell being the Meliora Weekend keynote speaker and the granting to him an honorary degree (“Letters to the Editor,” January-February).
There are few people more deserving of our respect and gratitude than General Powell. He served our country for many years for modest pay and, at times, at his own peril. And he did so, so that his fellow citizens could climb the corporate ladder or at least go to bed each night feeling secure. There is the question whether the nation, or parts of it, may have let him down, but at no point has he let us down or blamed others when the decisions to which he was party turned out to be based on inaccurate data.
That’s a tragedy he bears with a dignity for which I can find no equal on today’s scene. General Powell is a person who shouldered great responsibilities and had to live with making consequential decisions in volatile, uncertain, and ambiguous circumstances—and he generally got it right and always did so with integrity. I am proud to have a diploma from Rochester and even prouder now that General Powell does, too.
I am also proud of our tradition of tolerance for others’ perspectives. However, for those of you in search of your diplomas to burn, when you find them let me know; I will be glad to send you a match.
I am not proud to have a diploma in common with people who engage in such mindless behaviors. Generally, such acts are the work of people who contribute little but stand on the sidelines of life’s path throwing stones at those who walk it—even when they stumble under the burden from time to time.
Col. Jack Beach ’67, USA (Ret.)
The School of Veterans
I noted with interest the picture of four students planning a dance for University School students (“Class Notes,” January-February). The dance was called the First Starlight Ball, and it was held in Cutler Union.
The caption explained it was organized for students in the University’s extension division for part-time, evening, and summer courses, which, of course, was true. In the years following World War II, however, the largest group in the University School’s student body was made up of veterans who, for many reasons, attended the school and were full-time students of the University.
While most of our classes were in the evening at the Prince Street Campus, we attended many of the day sessions and did a great deal of our work in the library—to the chagrin of those females who thought they were going to a girls’ school but also to the delight of most of the others.
There was a great deal of intermingling socially, and a substantial group of the University faculty taught in the evenings, including some of the best people in their respective disciplines.
Dean Henry C. Mills, Associate Dean Herbert Fitten, and the University overall did a spectacular job, giving many of us an opportunity to advance our educational goals and careers in ways that we might not have had elsewhere. Perhaps sometime in the future you could do a more in-depth article about the school and the time in which it existed.
Calvin Brauer ’49
Review welcomes letters from readers and will print 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. Send letters to Rochester Review, 30 Wallis Hall, P.O. Box 270033, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0033; firstname.lastname@example.org.