University of Rochester

Rochester Review
July–August 2012
Vol. 74, No. 6

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lettersWHO WAS HORSING AROUND? Several readers, including those in the photo, were able to identify themselves and other members of a graduation party photographed in 1979. (Photo: University Libraries/Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation)
Who Were the Graduates . . . ?

In regard to the photo of four graduates with the mounted police (Class Notes, May-June), the picture was taken at graduation 1979 on Gibbs Street. Scott Daniels ’79 is on the left. Carol Kurke ’79 is next to him holding the horse reins. I don’t recall who is third. But I do know who is on the right. It is I.

David Skinner ’79


I met three of the four (not including the officers and their horses) freshman year. Knowing them as I do, my first thought was they had attracted the attention of law enforcement upon being bounced from the bar in the distance. But Mugs Up wasn’t one of our downtown drinking establishments, so I suspect this is just before or after graduation ceremonies in May 1979. Scott Daniels ’79 (left) and David Skinner ’79 (right) were hallmates of mine on the notorious Gannett Four, where we endeared ourselves to the housing department by painting the ceiling black. Scott is now a research chemist in Northampton, Mass., and David (also a chem major) stayed in Rochester to build a considerable real estate empire that provides off-campus housing in the 19th Ward, what we used to call HIP, Housing for Independent People. Carol Kurke ’79 (Gilbert Two; history), whose career aspirations were heartlessly cut short by Sandra Day O’Connor, now practices law in Los Angeles.

The tall guy gazing into Carol’s eyes looks a lot like Angus Eaton ’79 (also of Gannett Four), but taller and better looking.

John Hayes ’80

Brooklyn, N.Y.

I shudder to tell you that the photo on page 50 of the May-June issue of Rochester Review includes me. Either those are really short horses, or I was really tall in 1979 when I graduated. I am the one in the topsiders (my uniform shoes for the first 24 years of my life), standing to the right of center in the pic. I have a lot less hair now. I’m afraid I have no idea who the other students are. We just came together in front of Eastman Theatre before the graduation ceremony to see the horses, I guess.

Thanks for the memory.

Andrew Eiseman ’79

Washington, D.C.

. . . and the Police Officers . . . ?

I don’t recognize the students in the photo but I believe the mounted officer on the left is Jack Richter. Jack was assigned to work with me for a year on our management training team at Kodak Park. We were tasked with developing customized training for various departments at Kodak by tapping the talents of the workers doing the jobs. Officer Richter took that skills training back to the Rochester Police Department in the early 1980s where he implemented a training program for the very first 911 emergency dispatch system in the Monroe County area.

Jan Catlin ’74

Brandon, Miss.

. . . and the Horses?

While reading my dad’s (Roger Friedlander ’56, University trustee) May-June issue of Rochester Review, I was pleasantly surprised to see four friends in the photo. Alas, they are probably not the subjects you are most interested in. The policeman on the left is Jack Richter on a horse named Champ. After retiring from the Rochester Police Department, Jack went on to become the Victor town supervisor and is now fully retired and living in Arizona. The policeman on the right is John (J. J.) Strong on a horse named Yankee. J. J. retired from the RPD and is currently in charge of health and safety at the B&L Wholesale Company and resides in Perinton, N.Y.

Sadly, both horses are deceased and buried at a farm in Penfield. I believe the date would have been 1978 or so and the group is at the corner of Gibbs and East Main streets near the Eastman Theatre.

As for the graduates, your guess is as good as mine.

David Friedlander

Monroe County Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol

Power of Peck

The March-April issue really brought back memories. I was in the poetry seminar Professor [Russell] Peck taught for Hyam Plutzik, and he was a bit nervous, being new to Rochester and standing in, but the classes were challenging and he was as at home with Robert Frost as he was with Chaucer. I have always wished I had been at Rochester later, to take advantage of his literary projects. I did study medieval lit at Brown U. for a while after graduating from Rochester but moved into contemporary poetry for my master’s thesis at Brown. Maybe some of Professor Peck’s versatility inspired me. I’m so glad he is still active and giving today’s students such enriching experiences.

Mary Rohr ’62, ’63W (MA)

Stowe, Vt.

What is clear from reading about Professor Russell Peck: I will most likely retire from teaching before he does, despite the fact that he is at least 40 years older than I am. As the article rightly noted, Russell is not only indefatigable but also supportive, encouraging, and interested. When I returned to Rochester in 2005, we sat at his kitchen table and had a fascinating discussion about Brokeback Mountain and Wyoming places. While we sipped Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice herbal tea (a favorite of his, I think), he recounted the time when Black Panthers arrived on campus for a rally during which they occupied Strong Auditorium with guns. I knew about Russell because he shared his lived experiences during moments like this, as well as in classes, at restaurants, and while traveling.

That Russell had possibly the greatest impact on my undergraduate life, as well as my scholarship and academic pursuits, is an understatement. Along with Paul Burgett, Karen Fields, Larry Hudson, and medievalists Tom Hahn, Richard Kaeuper, Alan Lupack, and David Walsh, I was able to, with Russell’s help, make my own way through UR. I took courses with Russell in Middle English literature, medievalism in film, Robin Hood and King Arthur in film, and Blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Russell was the first professor I had who regularly swore during class lectures—for which, strangely enough, he earned my admiration and respect. What I learned was that from Chaucer to Van Peebles and from Tennyson to Spielberg, Russell can teach it all.

I was also fortunate enough to travel with Russell and his wife, Ruth, to London for the Theater in England course. I remember that he and Ruth would tirelessly research and scout for new plays and restaurants (like the “soup kitchen” in the basement of the Tunisian embassy, I think) while the rest of the class went sightseeing. He regularly showed me kindness, such as when he reviewed my journal from the London course and gave me a B grade. I surely deserved much lower marks.

Ruth also had a tremendous impact on my life. She was present during trips to England, Canada, and elsewhere, as well as years later when I stayed in London at the Harlingford Hotel while I pursued research at the Public Records Office. She and Russell were there with students from the Theater in England course; she was supportive and encouraging and interested in my academic and personal lives.

I thank Russell for introducing me to dozens of faculty members at UR. His innovative curriculum for film courses exposed students like me to many different people and perspectives. For example, I met John Mueller, a now former political science professor and an expert in dance history who helped us to analyze Bill Bojangles Robinson’s famous tap performance on the staircase with Shirley Temple in The Little Colonel (1935). English professor George Grella helped students understand the background of the film The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1976), and of James Earl Jones’s portrayal of Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope (1970). In one memorable class, Russell had an intense intellectual argument with historian Richard Kaeuper regarding “historical accuracy” versus poet John Barbour’s 14th-century verse romance, The Bruce, in Mel Gibson’s depiction of William Wallace in the film Braveheart. I was able to make determinations about which faculty members I would like to take classes with because of those introductions.

Russell wrote recommendations for me to study abroad in Bath, England, and in support of my graduate school applications. He believed in me, despite the fact that I was not the best student. Russell helped me to craft my second major, medieval British culture and medievalism, so that I could continue to take courses in medieval literature, Robin Hood and King Arthur films, and modern depictions of medieval culture. With his encouragement, I completed a senior project that investigated medieval knights and the use all things medieval in early Boy Scout manuals. That I had planned to pursue a master’s degree in medieval history at the University of Glasgow in Scotland was in part because of Russell’s enthusiasm and example.

In fact, I owe a debt of gratitude to Russell for all that he has done for me. There are obviously many other UR community members who feel the same. I will always remember the painting of Sir Galahad by George Frederick Watts, which still hangs in his office. It was easy to fashion myself as a knight-errant because of the various adventures and quests on which Russell took me. I hope that I can be as creative in my teaching and that I can be as inspiring and encouraging to my students.

Joel Helfrich ’98


The writer teaches history at Monroe Community College in Rochester.

Like Riding a ‘Bicycle’

I may not be the first to point out that the “bicycle” (“Easier Rider,” May-June, page 13) is, in fact, a tricycle. I admit that this error does not subtract one whit from my enjoyment of the issue.

John Figueras ’49

Orleans, Mass.

Editor’s Note: We went back and forth on how to describe the three-wheeled vehicle that was retrofitted by engineering students to be operable with one hand. We used “bicycle” after hearing engineers explain an important technical point—at least from the standpoint of engineers. A “tricycle” is usually powered by transferring all the power of the pedals to a single, front, and much larger one of three wheels, while a “bicycle” is powered by transferring the power of the pedals through a drive-train to a back wheel that’s generally the same size as all the other wheels (admittedly, that’s usually two wheels). That, and tricycles are not normally thought of as an efficient means of locomotion, whereas as bicycles are. Perhaps a better term would have been to say a “three-wheeled cycle.”

A 50-Year Romance

Thank you for publishing the issue with the feature on “Rochester Romance” (January-February). On the very first page appeared the picture of Dr. Allan ’54M (MD) and Mrs. Helen Uebel Inglis ’49, dear friends for over 50 years. In addition to his romance with Helen, Allan had a romance with orthopaedic surgery that led to his becoming a professor of both orthopaedic surgery and anatomy at Cornell University’s medical center. Allan must have influenced 10,000 young orthopaedic surgeons during his long career at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He was revered by his students, residents, and young academic staff who enjoyed sharing his knowledge, enthusiasm, and love of an orthopaedic surgical career. If there were ever role models who could be truly enjoyed, it was Dr. Inglis, Helen Inglis, and their wonderful family of seven children.

I cannot tell you the wonderful feeling that I got upon opening the page and seeing a mentor and his wife whom I have known for many years as the lead photo for your article. Thank you for this experience. It only comes once in a while during a 50-year professional career, and I truly appreciate it.

Richard Braun ’58M (MD)

San Diego

Review welcomes letters and will print them as space permits. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. Unsigned letters cannot be used. Send letters to Rochester Review, 22 Wallis Hall, P.O. Box 270044, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0044;