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Bernard Weiss: Giver of Wings
lettersBernard Weiss ’53 (PhD) (Photo: J. Adam Fenster)

I read with shock and dismay that Bernard Weiss had passed away (March-April). He was not only a “Force of Nature,” as the article described him, but, for me, a Giver of Wings.

As a young engineer-to-be living in Baltimore, I answered an ad from him (and Vic Laties) in 1964 looking for someone to help program for behavioral experiments the LINC computer he had just received from MIT as a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

I knew nothing of computers, but in what was to be the most fortuitous event of my life, he hired me; six months later, we wound up at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Seven years later, with little more than his implied permission to sprout wings and grow, and his faith in me, I completed my BS in engineering from Hopkins, received a joint appointment in Rochester’s Department of Psychology, taught electronics to medical students, took the medical school’s gross anatomy course, published in biomedical engineering, programmed the LINC for behavioral experiments, spent a month at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, setting up their LINC, and so much more.

When Rochester said I could not remain on the faculty with just a bachelor’s degree, Bernie allowed me to take needed prerequisites that, with his recommendation, allowed me to enter the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Class of 1972. I did my internship and residency in Rochester.

With a classmate I founded a practice of internal medicine in Perinton, New York, and practiced there until I retired in 2005.

Bernie Weiss, you were a nurturer of me beyond all reason and a giver of the wings that allowed me not only to fly, but to soar. Thank you.

Louis Siegel ’76M (MD), ’79M (Res)

Rockville, Maryland

Dean Harper: Lifetime of Teaching

It was with great sadness that I read the article about Professor Dean Harper’s passing (January-February).

I had already been accepted to the R-Plan, the University early acceptance to the Medical Center, when I took Professor Harper’s class, SOC262: Medical Sociology, in 1990. It had so many useful lessons that I took with me to the medical school. He really helped to initiate me into the URMC’s biopsychosocial model of doctoring that was ingrained by Drs. George Engel and John Romano, and that makes medical students graduating from Rochester outstanding in their care, compassion, and empathy for their patients.

It put a huge smile on my face to hear a few years back from a then student and now fellow crew alumna, Katie Lantuh ’12, that he was still teaching and influencing students with his course. And I was also pleasantly surprised to learn a few years later that Harold (Hal) Paz ’77, ’82M (MD), was one of his students as well. Hal was the dean of Penn State College of Medicine, where I currently work.

Edward Fox ’91, ’95M (MD)

The writer is a professor of orthopaedics and medicine at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center.

Finding a Translator

In your review of literary translators (“Taking on the ‘Culture at Large,’ ” March-April), you did not mention the work of one of your own Phi Beta Kappa and master’s degree graduates, the late Jessie Butts Bright ’52, ’54 (MA), whose translations from the Italian were published by the Italica Press, now probably defunct, in the years just before the turn of the 21st century.

There were four novels, I believe, by prize-winning Italian author Carlo Sgorlon. I think she also published in French.

I, too, took my master’s at Rochester, in literature, and she earned hers in history.

L. J. Bright ’53 (MA)

State College, Pennsylvania

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, Box 270044, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0044;