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Winter 1999-2000
Vol. 62, No. 2

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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.

The Classics--Always in Style

Your recent story on classical education at Rochester was a moving tribute to an excellent group of educators. As a graduate of the philosophy program at Rochester (Ph.D. '96), I was also very involved with the religion and classics department.

Al Geier was a singular inspiration to my life as an educator and person. He spent time with his students inside and outside the classroom. I have never taught a class that did not include a quote from one of his classes. The two years I spent working with him through the Republic shaped my world view. The notebooks from that time are some of my most valuable possessions.

You should have also noted the great contribution to classical studies of the philosophy department's Deborah Modrak. She makes Aristotle and Plato breathe. Her concern for her students is only matched by her phenomenal scholarship. She made a reality for me of the notion of the teaching scholar.

With models like this, I have never regretted choosing Rochester.

Partly due to their inspiration, I founded a thriving classics and great books program at Biola University. As of this year it enrolls 260 gifted college undergraduates. The Torrey Honors Institute attempts to carry on the mandate for the compassionate, progressive, liberal arts education I received at Rochester.

These mentors taught me that the life of the mind is central to having a whole soul.

John Mark Reynolds '96 (PhD)
La Mirada, California

The Iliad--Live on Stage

I greatly enjoyed reading your Fall 1999 cover story about the role and enduring popularity of the classics.

Rochester Review readers might like to know that in the Spring 2000 semester the classics will truly come alive on campus when the University's International Theatre Program presents the world premiere of The Iliad--a theatrical version of Homer's great work adapted and directed by the University's International Theatre Program Associate Director, Nigel Maister.

The adaptation, based on the award-winning translation by Robert Fagles, is, to our knowledge, the first time anyone has attempted to stage a theatrical version of The Iliad in its entirety.

The production, which opens in Todd Theater on River Campus on April 13, will be coordinated with a series of campus event tie-ins, including lectures, new student-developed one-act plays, workshops, and social events.

Those interested in more information may call the International Theatre Program at (716) 275-4088.

Nigel Maister

Fatuous Annual Pronouncements?

I wonder if it isn't about time the University gave up proudly referring to those tiresome and fatuous pronouncements by U.S. News & World Report that it now ranks 19th in this and 42nd in that, or whatever--improved from last year!

I see other publications are starting to do something similar; it must sell a lot of magazines. So while the industry will no doubt keep on doing it as long as it finds it worthwhile, is it really an exercise that serious institutions such as Rochester should take part in?

Thomas V. Miller '53E, '54E (MM)
Arlington, Virginia

We quite agree that minutely graded rankings are not a very accurate way of measuring the intrinsic worth of any one institution. But, like them or not, these rankings are now "news." So occasionally we pass them on for the benefit of those of our readers who are interested in where their school or department stands these days in the eyes of the world.

Incidentally, for what it's worth, in its fall listings this year, U.S. News ranked Rochester as 32nd among top national universities--about where it has been for the last several years--Editor.

Poem to the Editor

In honor of the Sesquicentennial

Great Little River

Fair Genesee, accept our thanks
Your tranquil surface, graceful banks,
On which our alma mater thrives,
Mask your power to fashion lives

You've carried countless sons and daughters,
Borne upon your gentle waters,
'Round the globe to every place,
To ocean depths, to outer space

By launching them toward destiny,
You've etched the scroll of history
Small wonder that we honor you,
So placid, yet so potent, too

Ed Russell '55
Charlottesville, Virginia

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