The Scene welcomes letters. We reserve the right to decide whether a letter is acceptable for publication and to edit for accuracy, clarity, and length. Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published. Letters should not exceed 250 words. You can reach us by mail, or e-mail email@example.com. Please include your full name, class year if applicable, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address.
The new Scene
Editor’s note: Our inbox was flooded with messages about the new Scene. There were too many to respond to each and every person, but we thank you all for your feedback, and share a sampling of comments here.
WOW! I JUST FINISHED READING the new Scene — it is fabulous! What an improvement over the old Scene, both in content and style. The look is fresh, the layout is easy to read and very creative, and the content is superb. Packed with more information, and some great new features, like Page 13, My picture of Colgate, etc.
You have really captured the spirit of the place, and helped make me feel more connected to the school than I ever did with the old version. Kudos to all for the hard work and vision it took to create this great new version of an old favorite!
Dr. Cynthia Jerome ’78
Pound Ridge, N.Y.
CONGRATULATIONS ON remaking the Scene. It is a far more vibrant publication than it has ever been during my 20-plus–year association with Colgate. The dynamic format, bold photography, and in-depth articles all reflect more accurately the lively, engaging spirit of Colgate. For the first time, I want to read something other than class notes and I am proud to share the Scene with non-Colgate friends.
The new Scene is a great upgrade for Colgate, bringing our most important alumni publication on par with the rest of Col-gate’s offerings in and out of the classroom. You’ve done a great service to alma mater.
Andy Busser ’91
New York, N.Y.
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU and your staff for really stepping into the 21st century! My mailbox hasn’t had that kind of good news in too long. The new look is fabulous … and very informative. What a great service to the alumni and the entire Colgate community. My only regret? Our class notes are moving ever closer to the first few pages! Must be part of the aging process! I can’t wait for the next new Scene!
Pierce H. “Pete” Foster ’55
JUST A QUICK NOTE to congratulate you and your staff re: the latest incarnation of the Scene. The new format is a huge improvement; somewhat akin to stepping into a new century! Nice photos and articles. I am much more inclined to read the Scene rather than just quickly glance at it and then recycle it! I imagine a lot of thought went into the cover design. It would be nice if the word “Colgate” was a bit more prominent. Overall, the new Scene is fantastic.
Scott Ward ’81
AWESOME PUBLICATION; very eye catching. Small correction — pg. 8 bottom photo is not Founders’ Day Convocation, but, rather, the first meeting of the great Class of 2012 on Aug. 28. If it were Founders’ Day, it would be evening (no light in windows), we would be robed, and Prof. Ellen Kraly would be speaking instead of me!
Beverly A. Low
Dean of First-Year Students
I READ THE AUTUMN 2008 edition of the Scene from cover to cover. I found it very large, very colorful, and very expensive to produce and distribute; however, the content was the same as in the former less-expensive newsprint editions. It seems it would be prudent for the university to cut costs everywhere they can in light of current economic conditions and the ex-tremely high cost of a Colgate education. I am a product of the Great Depression and World War II. I was taught to waste not, and to conserve wherever I can.
William J. Torrens ’49
Editor’s note: In reducing frequency from six to four times per year, Colgate is spending essentially the same amount of money to produce the new magazine as for the old tabloid.
CONGRATULATIONS ON THE Autumn issue of the Scene. The new format and color pictures are great! The only criticism I have is the shot of the campus from the air was not in the centerfold so that it could be taken out easily and framed. I’ve taken it out in two pieces and will frame it as best I can. Keep up the good work. Thanks!
Glen Chidsey ’52
Hobe Sound, Fla.
Editor’s note: Digital prints of the aerial photo (pg. 40–41), and the nighttime campus shot (inside front cover) are available for purchase through the Colgate Bookstore at 877-362-7666 or www.colgatebookstore.com.
|More on The World’s Bomb
I WAS A MARINE IN the South Pacific during World War II, and I was very disturbed by Gary Moler’s letter (Scene, Autumn 2008). Mr. Moler is, of course, entitled to his opinion, but, based on his class year, it is obvious he was too young to have been there and knows nothing firsthand of the situation. I would like to question the author on the following:
Who started the war? Does he mourn the loss of those killed and maimed at Pearl Harbor? Does he grieve for all the Americans killed and maimed during WWII? Does he realize how many lives were saved on both sides by dropping the bomb and not invading Japan?
I wonder if he would feel differently if he were in my shoes, serving more than two years in the Pacific Theater during that war and being ordered onto a ship embarking for the invasion of Japan at the time the Enola Gay dropped “America’s Bomb” to end the war.
To this day, I thank President Truman for making that decision and saving my life and countless other American lives. I, for one, have no moral problem with that decision.
James Scott ’50
Pawleys Island, S.C.
GARY MOLER'S LETTER concludes, “Moral accountability presumes choice of action.” That doesn’t follow from his selective appeal to history using emotional close-ups in support of his notion that moral wars kill small numbers of non-innocents using modest weapons. For him, weaponry is the obscenity rather than the context of its use. In his attempt to persuade Professor Andrew Rotter to have America accept responsibility for unleashing the atomic bomb, Moler likens our use of the bomb to the use of the Gat-ling gun, a more efficient machine that Americans used to kill innocent Native Americans some 40 years after its invention.
When Japan killed American innocents with Gatling-type guns bolted to aircraft to make them more efficient at killing, she launched America into a war she did not look for, did not start, and did not want. Then, after too many years of horrible war, Japan rejected an allied appeal to surrender or face in-evitable and complete destruction of their forces and homeland.
Moler’s politically correct letter culturally trashes a nation that has done more to establish moral clarity than any other nation on earth. Better judgment would conclude that war has no future as an instrument of diplomacy and, equally important, that peace is more than just the absence of war.
Peace is the absence of the need for war. Simply banning the bomb would not free us from tyrants or establish a process of peaceful problem resolution that offers all who are oppressed a path to liberty. Moler should marshal his moral skills to fashion a compelling, accessible argument why militant Machiavellian actions ultimately backfire.
We are in a race for civilization with no guarantee civilization will win. Now that science has put such power in the hands of anyone who cares to learn enough to use it, isolation is no defense. That leaves little time to convince others, but perhaps time enough to reduce moral confusion if only our chil-dren learn:
– the lessons of history that have been lost among easily testable facts,
– that some economic policies have never worked and never will,
– to defend themselves against overblown rhetoric, and
– where they fit in the timeline of life so that dynamic recursive thought will help them deduce that humility and respect are common threads of those who are civil.
The resulting moral clarity helps label those who, by their actions, choose only to live by the law of the jungle. It generates the courage to defend against them. When one ceases to be a hostage to history, and becomes its student, it is liberating to discover that to break the cycle of violence, attention to process is the only effective “choice of action.”
Stephen B. Waters ’69
I OFFER A VIEW
of WWII from the perspective of a 7-year-old on Dec. 7, 1941, and 11
years of age at war’s end in 1945. That period was my introduction to
current events, beginning with the surprise attack that devastated what
Navy we had at Pearl Harbor. One ship alone, the USS Arizona, remains
as a memorial entombing more than 1100 sailors since that day of infamy.
On December 8-12, 1941, enlistment officers had all they could handle
as high school and college age youngsters rushed to defend our nation.
Before that week was over, Germany and Italy declared war on the United
States. At my age, I was seriously impressed with the news action
photos and particularly the beachhead scenes in the Pacific theaters of
the bodies of U.S. servicemen face down, half buried in the sands
washed over by the surf. I was to learn that 400,000 American men gave
their lives to defend our liberty and freedoms. Another 700,000 GIs
were wounded. One 86-year-old veteran sailor recently cried while
relating to me the deaths of shipmates who were “kids.” I thank God
daily for such “kids” of every war from the War for Independence to the
War on Terrorism.
With his “The Buck Stops Here” reputation,
President Truman ordered the A-Bomb drop on Hiroshima. It was
estimated, at a minimum, 100,000 additional American lives would have
been lost if we had to fight in a beachhead invasion of the Japanese
homeland. Make no mistake, the Japanese were fierce, tenacious,
stubborn combatants and would not surrender after Hiroshima, requiring
a second bomb on Nagasaki. That is not imagination; that is factual.
Bob Turton ’55
Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.
IN ANSWER TO
Gary Moler’s letter, thank God that it was America that had the choice
of action to drop the first and second Atomic Bombs to end WWII. Having
graduated from Colgate in 1973, Mr. Moler was not old enough to have
lived through the horrors of WWII. Nor has he done the research to find
out why President Truman took the decision to use the bombs.
one who lived in that era, and had a father who in 1944 was training a
battalion of infantry in the U.S. Army to invade the Islands of Japan,
I can assure you that my family fully agreed with the choice to use the
At the time, the estimates of causalities that would
result from an invasion of Japan was one million U.S. service men. This
would have been on top of those already lost during the war in the
Pacific. That would have been a terrible price in American lives to pay
to end a war that we did not start.
Mr. Moler should keep in
mind that Japan was being ruled and supported by a government that
wanted to rule the world. The Japanese had already raped and killed
women and children in China, Indochina, the Philippines (the Bataan
Death March), and the Islands leading to the doorsteps of Australia and
the United States.
The Japanese showed no mercy when they
bombed Pearl Harbor on a Sunday morning, killing more than 2000
Americans. The Japanese treated prisoners of war like animals, starving
them and summarily executing them by cutting of their heads while
making the other prisoners watch.
The Japanese were offered the
option of surrender in 1944. Their answer was that they would fight to
the death of every last person in the country and that surrender was
not an option. Knowing this, President Truman, as Mr. Moler states, had
a choice of action. He could continue the war that was already five
years long, take a million casualties, and stretch the capabilities of
the United States to endure more battles like Okinawa, or end it all by
convincing the Japanese that they would be wiped from the face of the
world. It took two bombs; the Japanese surrendered and it ended the war.
Yes, Mr. Moler the atomic bomb was “our” bomb, and through its use “our” bomb ended World War II.
Bill Mitchell ’58
Ringing the chapel bell
I ENTERED COLGATE IN
the fall of 1944 after a couple of years in the Merchant Marine. Living
in West Hall was very handy to the chapel on May 7, 1945, and I was one
of those who rang the bell in a manner not “slow and respectful” (Page
13, Autumn Scene), to celebrate cessation of hostilities in Europe.
As a physics major and part-time helper in the department, I spent many
winter nights in that open bell tower photographing the aurora borealis
for Dr. Berkey. I was on a direct telephone line to a person at
Cornell, and we centered our cameras to simultaneously photograph a
specific start with the aurora in the foreground. Interesting, but cold.
Douglas Bly ’48
Orteig’s Lindbergh connection
IN READING THE NEW and inspiring Autumn 2008 edition of the Scene, and being of an age, I always look first at the classes close to mine and then the obituaries. In both cases, the death of George E. Orteig ’48 caught my eye.
I met George once, probably in the late ’60s, in the Colgate Club of New York when it used the facilities of the Columbia University Club at 4 West 43rd St. I was having a pre-luncheon drink at the bar and struck up a conversation with George. Later, we had lunch together. That’s when he told me about his grandfather, Raymond Orteig, the proprietor of the famous Hotel Lafayette and restaurant in lower Manhattan, well known in the ’20s and ’30s for its ambience and food.
In 1919, his grandfather offered a prize of $25,000 for the first nonstop aircraft flight between New York and Paris. Several aviators tried and failed, but in May of 1927 a young airmail pilot by the name of Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island in the Spirit of Saint Louis, and 33.5 hours later arrived at Le Bourget airport in Paris. After the flight was certified, Lindbergh claimed and received the award. No paltry sum in those days, to say nothing of the fame it brought Lindbergh. What a fascinating story to accompany a delightful lunch with George Orteig.
Ray Dawson ’42
Delray Beach, Fla.
Behind the Sticker Price
THE FALL ISSUE IS
quite interesting; specifically, the article titled “Behind the Sticker
Price” (pg. 30). About the same time, I read a column in the New York
Times titled “Seeking Higher Education at Lower Prices” (Oct. 26, 2008)
noting the annual cost of tuition, fees, and room and board at SUNY
Binghamton is $16,452. How can Colgate justify its price of $49,000
against that of one of the best schools in the country? Granted,
Colgate undoubtedly affords a fine education, but is it three times
better than Binghamton’s?
Robert McKeegan ’43
THE MOST INTERESTING,
and telling, statistic is nowhere to be found in this five-page
article. Comparing the pie charts, 1988–1989 to 2008–2009 reveals a
compound growth of just about 6 percent per year. Inflation for these
last two decades has not been remotely close to those levels, and I
can’t recall any one year in these last 20 that came close. How can 6
percent operating expense growth year over year make any sense?
Dave Ayres ’70
New York, N.Y.
David Hale ’84, Colgate financial vice president, responds:
First, to Mr. Ayres’s question, Colgate’s expenditures have in-creased
over a long period of time for a number of reasons, articulated
throughout the article, that sum up to the university offering a much
broader set of opportunities for students, and not simply providing the
same set of services at increased cost. The increased expenditures,
averaged out over 20 years, is indeed 6 percent. Regarding Mr.
McKeegan’s question, the cost of operating a SUNY college is
significantly subsidized by the state, whereas Colgate, being a private
institution, receives neglible operating budget support from
governmental sources. Those subsidies keep the cost of a SUNY school
lower than most private higher education institutions in the state and