Xerox and Us
Regarding the story on Rochester’s connection to Xerox (“Electrophotography, Xerography, and Us,” September–October), xerography inventor Chester Carlson almost had another connection with the University.
Through his wife, Dorothy, he developed an interest in Buddhism as well as in the paranormal. John Romano, the first chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, told me that Carlson approached him about endowing a professorship to explore the paranormal. Romano, as is probably true for most physicians, did not think it was a field worthy of serious academic study and declined the million dollars.
Carlson found the University of Virginia receptive, and it established the Carlson Chair which was held by Ian Stevenson until his death in 2007. He published over 300 articles and 14 books as the director of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies, researching the paranormal. It is worth noting that this is an area that holds the interests of many physicists, which was Carlson’s academic training. Perhaps the nonlinear world of quantum mechanics allows them to look more broadly at the study of consciousness and extrasensory phenomena. (See the work of William Tiller and David Bohm.)
Carlson also funded the Rochester Zen Center, which is one of the most highly regarded centers in America.
David Tinling ’63M (Res)
The writer was a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry from 1965 to 1979.
The article on the birth of Xerox Corporation was informative but incomplete.
The ties between the University and Joseph C. Wilson’s Xerox were bilateral and perhaps even symbiotic. I don’t know how much money the University invested in Haloid, or whether the stock was simply given by Wilson, but it’s part of the story.
I remember one day in late 1961 or 1962 when I saw my faculty advisor, Professor George Suhr of the fine arts department, skipping down the steps of the quad. He had a palsy of some sort, and I found it astounding that he was skipping like a school child. I asked him what that was about, and he said that a large chunk of the University’s retirement fund was invested in something called Haloid, which had just “gone public” as Xerox.
I have since learned from the Xerox website that, in fact, Haloid went public in 1936, but perhaps there was a large secondary offering after the Xerox shares were listed on the NYSE in 1961, or in connection with that listing. In any event, the University had a very handsome profit on its investment or gift, and for a while during my years as a student, had one of the four or five largest university endowment funds in the country, thanks to Xerox and also, of course, to Eastman Kodak.
Unfortunately, the lessons of this success were misunderstood by the University, and by 2002, the result was a punishing shrinkage of the endowment fund. I gather that that circumstance has been rectified.
Christian Wyser-Pratte ’65
Karen McCally’s feature story, “Forty Years Out,” which appeared in the July–August 2013 issue, was most welcome. Rochester’s GLBT community has a proud history, one in which the University played a signal and substantial role, and I was delighted to see the story of the Gay Liberation Front and its amazing founders shared with Review’s readership. There were, however, two errors which I feel compelled to point out.
The first error is a minor one. The article says that the Washington Blade newspaper moved to an all-digital format last year. As someone who picks up a paper copy of the Blade every week, I can tell you that although the Blade has an online presence, it has not gone “all digital.”
The second error, which appears in the sidebar article, is more noteworthy. It is not correct that “(s)ince the Gay Liberation Front began on the River Campus in 1970, the University has maintained a student group dedicated to the interests and concerns of gays and lesbians.”
Sometime in the late-1970s the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) either disbanded or lost its official status, I’m not sure which, and so there was a gap in official University support. However, I do know that in September 1982, and possibly earlier, some students began meeting together as a group in an effort to regain official status. They worked hard to overcome several obstacles placed in their paths, but in the end they secured official recognition and funding.
I was happy, as an alumnus, to attend their meetings, to assist in their battle for recognition, and to help them get up and running. The group was called the Gay Academic Union (GAU), and during the fall semester of 1982 the Campus Times printed several notices, articles, and letters to the editor, pro and con, related to this effort. The November 19, 1982, issue of the Campus Times reported that the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee had voted to fund the GAU, and so the new organization was official.
The February 1983 issue of the Empty Closet contained a blurb written by Julia Rabinowitz, one of the GAU organizers, who reported that the “resurrected Gay Academic Union of the University of Rochester, recently renamed Lesbians, Gays & Friends, held its first dance of 1983.” After a few years’ absence, GLF had indeed been resurrected as the GAU.
Over the years the organization’s name has changed from GAU to Lesbians, Gays & Friends to Gay and Lesbian Alliance to GLBFA (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Friends Association) to Pride Network, and here we are. And so we can say that since November 1982, “the University has maintained a student group dedicated to the interests and concerns of gays and lesbians.” Congratulations and thanks to all who have made that possible.
Bob Dardano ’77
As a graduate in the Class of ’73, I remember the Gay Liberation Front very well. But one of their greatest, and most under-appreciated, achievements wasn’t the liberation of gays at all.
I was raised in a traditional gay-bashing, fairy-baiting, homo-hating community, but was secretly scared of what I didn’t understand and could never ask about. Homosexuals made me nervous—until I met the late Marshall Goldman ’74, who was doing makeup for the Committee on the Performing Arts (COPA) production of The Wizard of Oz, in which I had a part. Marshall was so relaxed about who he was, so funny, and so outrageous all at once that my fears melted away, and I was able to relax. He was just plain fun to be around, and never mind that he was gay and I was straight.
I’ve thought about it a lot since then, and realize that’s when I lost my fear of gays, and started thinking of people with different sexual orientations as just people.
To me, it wasn’t just gay liberation, it was human liberation, and I thank the GLF for their courage in undertaking it. I also want to offer special thanks to Marshall for being open, relaxed, and honest with an up-tight straight.
Richard Worzel ’73
A ‘Kodak Kid’
I very much appreciated President Joel Seligman’s article, “The New Kodak,” in the September–October issue.
As a city student who attended the U of R in the 1950s, I was aware of the long-term influence of George Eastman, both in the city of Rochester and at the University. In the Rochester public schools, we benefited from the regular dental examinations and cleanings from the Eastman Dental Dispensary and from classical music programs presented by an orchestra composed primarily of professors from the Eastman School.
My father worked in the Kodacolor Division of Eastman Kodak at Building 65 in Kodak Park from 1948 to 1972. As a “Kodak Kid,” I worked summers as a cleaner of darkrooms in Building 12 in Kodak Park. This work was valuable to me in helping to pay my tuition and other expenses during my four years at the U of R.
I trust that the positive legacy of George Eastman and his company will continue to be remembered by way of his statue on the Eastman Quadrangle, Eastman Theatre, and Kodak Hall.
Lloyd Lipscomb ’58
Violation of Values?
I am writing to express my deep disappointment that you chose to feature the Tom Otterness sculpture on the cover of Rochester Review (September–October). Mr. Otterness, in the name of art, murdered an innocent animal so he could film it. The act was despicable and unforgivable. The selection of his work to reside on the campus of the Memorial Art Gallery was in my opinion a travesty because of his past actions and demeans the University and its values.
I would add that the sculpture itself lacks the quality of its companion pieces at MAG, but it is the history of the artist that should have precluded its selection. I would hope that in the future, greater thought would be taken in the selection of what is chosen for both Rochester Review and the University properties. Character and values matter and should have been considered before the selections were made.
Robert Janson ’82, ’88S (MBA)
Editor Scott Hauser writes: The decision to select Tom Otterness as one of four artists commissioned to create site-specific work for Centennial Sculpture Park was made by gallery and community committees organized about four years ago. Shortly after the announcement of the selection, Grant Holcomb, the director of the gallery, published an open letter in which he outlined the committee’s decision, acknowledging that Otterness’s actions more than three decades earlier had upset some members of the community. “[Tom] has publicly and profusely apologized for that indefensible act and, since then, has proven himself a well-respected and committed artist dedicated to creating family-friendly sculpture specifically for public places from San Jose to New York City, St. Louis to Toronto. We contacted artists, directors, and curators across the country, and I think it fair to say that all, while not condoning Otterness’s actions, feel that the incident should be considered an aberration in a celebrated 35-year career. As one colleague stated several years back, ‘This is an artist who is probably the most responsive to community of any artist in America, so for him to be tarred for one piece that he did as a young artist, one in which he willingly admits that he made a big mistake—to try to hold that against him after a lifetime of work [is unfair].’ ”
The opening of the park this fall marked a momentous occasion in the history of the gallery, and we chose the photo for the September–October cover because we thought it captured the gallery’s larger ambition to share arts and culture with the community and with future generations.
I read with interest the latest issue of Rochester Review and can’t wait to return under some pretext to see for myself all the changes that have taken place in terms of the construction and renovation since I last walked the campus.
I do have one correction to the piece on page 23 (“Historic Houses”). The Douglass Leadership House . . . “formerly the Delta Upsilon house.” No, unless I am mistaken that particular fraternity was the residence of the Phi Eps—Phi Epsilon Pi. As a member of that fraternity I remember that building well. Many memorable times were spent there.
The building labeled the Drama Center was the Delta Upsilon house. All the other houses are correctly noted.
Michael Jacobs ’66, ’74W (EdD)
Corrections to your captions on the houses shown on the Fraternity Quadrangle: The Drama center was initially the Delta Upsilon fraternity house. The building next to it, the Douglass Leadership House, incorrectly noted as “formerly the Delta Upsilon house” was the Kappa Nu house.
James Hadley ’62
On page 23, the Drama Center (not the Douglass Leadership House) is the former Delta Upsilon house. The Douglass Leadership House is the former Kappa Nu house (where I lived in the mid-50s).
Ray Jacobs ’57
New York City
Editor Scott Hauser writes: We should have done better in describing the home of the Douglass Leadership House as “most recently the Delta Upsilon house” and noted that since the River Campus opened with seven houses on the Fraternity Quad, the affiliations of the chapters housed in some of the buildings have changed. The original Delta Upsilon house, which was one of the original seven buildings, is now the home of the Drama Center and has been since the early 1980s. The Kappa Nu house, completed in 1955 just north of DU was the first new house on the quad since the opening of the River Campus. The fraternity merged with Phi Epsilon Pi in 1961. In the early 1970s, the Phi Ep house became the Medieval House. When the Medieval House was closed, the original Kappa Nu building became the home of Delta Upsilon. In 2012, what had most recently been the home of DU became the home of the Douglass Leadership House.
Regarding the photo of the bookstore circa 1985 (Class Notes, September-October), the cashier is Stephanie Harrison, Class of 1983, so the date of the photo is more likely around then. Anita Kaye Hyman ’83N, who appears to be wearing an employee name tag, is in the background and is partially obscured by the customer at the cash register.
Stephen Greenberg ’83
Department of Corrections
Our apologies to Helen Tuntland Jackson ’71E (MM), whose name was mistakenly included in the In Memoriam list in the September-October issue. She is alive and well and ended up on the list because of an error in processing alumni records.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org.