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 Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name, class year if applicable, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address. If we receive many letters on a given topic, we will print a representative sample of the opinions expressed.
Thanks and praise
I have just finished 3.5 hours of solid editorial entertainment in which I devoured the Autumn ’09 issue. Your effort is incredibly good, and I have to believe that high awards will eventually be forthcoming by journalistic agencies that rate such publications.
I found myself mentally comparing the on-campus literary efforts we had in the late 1940s to this multi-faceted product of the 21st century. There is just no comparison to the Colgate News, Banter, Salmagundi, et al.
This latest issue started off with a provocative shot of a cheerleader amplifying the spirit that is Colgate. What makes the current Scene so outstanding?
• The color is there, and so varied
• The dividers; each section is very readable and contains interesting information re: Colgate happenings
• The thought process going on at the Board of Trustees
• Provocative letters to the editor
• Pictorial testimonies from coaches or staff members
• Unique accounts from interesting and successful graduates
• Informative individual class news
“Nothing is forever,” but our memories of Colgate publications in our era have been overwhelmed with your outstanding efforts of today. Keep up your great work!
Dave Wilson ’50
As a former writer/photographer for the Scene, during the time editor Paul Hennessy was evolving the prior design, I congratulate your team on a magnificent publication. It is highly professional, and virtually begs the reader to get involved.
Although I’m not an alum, the two years I spent in Hamilton were memorable, and the work I did for the Scene lives on strongly in my memories. After leaving Colgate, I enjoyed a career that included positions with both daily newspapers and magazines, but my time in the Chenango Valley bears by far the best memories. Thank you for bringing them back so vividly.
Congratulations on a job well done, and please keep up the great work.
I have just finished reading the autumn edition and want to congratulate you on a job beautifully done. The articles are interesting and the graphic images so compelling. “Shooting Beauty” stands out as a well-written description of an incredible project.
Caroline Davenport Johnson ’74
New York, N.Y.
I teach at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio. The outstanding article “Shooting Beauty” would help my students next semester to learn to fully include persons with handicapping conditions in their congregations and ministries.
Dr. Jane Jacques P’10
Raider football’s pinnacle?
was refreshing to read all of the comments about Rebecca Chopp in the
Summer 2009 issue (pgs. 26-31) and the variety of causes she championed
on campus. Colgate and Hamilton will miss her; however, I am curious
about the caption on the football photo on page 27. Who made the
decision that 2003 was “the most successful season in Raider football
history?” It was a great season, but greater than the undefeated,
untied, unscored upon, and “uninvited” campaign of the 1932 team? I
think Rebecca Chopp would say, “Let the debate begin.”
Brad Tufts ’59
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
I spent lots of time at Colgate when my husband, Gary Reitzas ’59, was a student there. I enjoy reading the Scene.
In the Autumn 2009 issue, on page 16, there is an article about biology
professor Nancy Pruitt teaching her students how to knit. The article
also discussed her work in isolating the DNA sequence of the dehydrin
gene. She might be interested to know that there are several knitting
patterns for a DNA cable that make a beautiful scarf. For more
information, e-mail me at email@example.com.
As a former editor of Banter (we eliminated “The” in ’54, so that our
covers would be more striking), I was very pleased to see some
selections of the magazine in the last Scene (Page 13, Autumn 2009).
I am particularly partial to the January 1956 cover by Jim Berrall
’56, our art editor, because of its stark composition of a giant
snowflake and freezing student against a very blue sky. I hope you will
be able to show it to your readers in one of your future editions.
Thank you for providing us all with your wonderful publication and eye-catching photography in its new format!
Ben Patt ’56
Vero Beach, Fla.
Editor’s note: Happy to oblige; here’s January 1956:
I absolutely love the artwork for the Banter covers showcased in the autumn issue. Is it possible to order the images as prints? Perhaps in the future, the bookstore could sell the covers as prints, or Colgate could offer them as a contribution gift during fundraising.
I think the prints would make a fantastic, affordable option for alumni/students who can’t commit to a collegiate-themed chair or lamp. They are the perfect balance of fun and nostalgia.
Allison Robinson ’05
West Hartford, Conn.
Editor’s note: We are working on a solution for making select images from the Scene available for purchase as prints, which we hope to announce in the spring editon. Stay tuned!
Fun with Slices
Am I allowed to play your Slices game (pg. 80, Autumn 2009)? I’m actually in that photo! It’s the cover of the May 1987 Scene. The play was Moliere’s The Misanthrope, directed by the amazing Atlee Sproul.
I hadn’t seen that Scene cover for 22 years ... until, no kidding, just a few short weeks ago when I unearthed it and dozens of other memories from a box of things my mom had kept. If I remember correctly, The Misanthrope’s three-day run was during Spring Party Weekend — which, as you might imagine, was a very tough competitor for a 17th-century play in rhyming couplets. Belated thanks to everyone who actually chose us one of those nights!
Shannon Wolfe ’89
I definitely recognize the play and the people in the photo because I was also in the cast. In fact, I still have my copy of the script, and am looking at it right now! Sadly, I don’t think too many people will recognize this picture because the play was very poorly attended. Not surprisingly, most people chose “Saturday night party” over “Saturday night watching classic French comedy.” Go figure.
Nevertheless, we had a great time putting on this play. I have for years described the costume I was wearing to my children (my costume had a purple muff), and they had a hard time believing me. So, even though I am not in it, I was able to show them this photo to better describe how outlandish we all looked.
Thanks for the memories! And New York ’za was awesome!
Bob Diefenbacher ’88
Editor’s note: See the full answer to the Slices photo contest on page 80.
Remembering Bill Skelton
It is difficult to articulate the impact Professor Bill Skelton (In Memoriam, pg. 79) had on so many of us. He was the type of teacher who may come about once in a lifetime. I traveled with Bill to India in 2001, where he threw us headfirst into a world of dance, music, yoga, philosophy, religion, art — our trip sometimes seems like a dream because it was just that incredible. Our group was in India on Sept. 11, 2001, and Bill never allowed us to stray from the purpose of our journey, even as we all struggled with our emotions so far from home.
Bill imparted to me the confidence to explore cultures very different from my own, as well as the need to do so with a sense of humility. While Bill could often come across as gruff, scaring the daylights out of us often foolish 20-somethings, his affection for his students was never in doubt; he generously opened up his world in India and his home in Hamilton to us. It was truly a privilege to have had Bill in my life. He helped shape the person I have become. I am deeply saddened by his death and will miss him.
Hillary D. Phelps ’03
Besides being a wonderful musician and teacher, William Skelton gave the world an insight of how to achieve happiness: Bill figured out what he loved and lived his life accordingly. It’s a simple, important lesson, yet still rare to find a person who followed his heart as passionately and consistently, and with such style! Bill was so full of mischief, humor, grace, strength, and wit that one forgot he was into his 80s when he led his last Colgate study group to India in 2005. I was fortunate enough to be a student in his last group.
To suggest an inkling of what he was made of, I fondly remember how one morning I realized I was covered in bedbug bites. I walked into breakfast and saw Bill there, barefoot and laughing with another student, covered head to toe with bites himself. To honor a man who knew when to keep it clear and brief — Bill, you will be greatly missed. Namaste.
Sophie Connolly ’07
|Online Scene subscription option|
In response to alumni feedback in our summer 2009 reader survey, and supporting our efforts to be fiscally and environmentally prudent, we have introduced an online-only subscription option.
If you wish to be removed from the printed Scene mailing list and instead receive an e-mail notification when we post new online editions, send your name, class year, address, and preferred e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Online Mailing List in the subject.
Be assured, though, that we will continue to mail the printed magazine to those who want and need to have access to it!
— The Scene team
found “Growing Pains” (Autumn 2009) to be one of the best and most
profound articles I have ever read. The story, plus presentation, are
magnificent. This article stimulated some good study and thinking for
me. My conclusion is that the world population growth problem continues
to be declining, primarily by the decisions of the growing world middle
class. All of the developed nations have a rapidly declining birth
rate, as do the newer developing nations (especially China with its one
child/family edict). [Albert] Bartlett’s article even quoted a 25
percent world birth rate decline between 1986 and 1999. This decline is
anticipated to continue until equilibrium is achieved to around 9
billion people in the middle of this century.
So much has to be accomplished to continue to improve the quality of
life for more and more of the world’s population. Since World War II,
we have demonstrated more progress on this than any other time in
history. We have done this without a major specific effort to reduce
birth rates (except for communist China). All other nations’ birth rate
reductions have occurred because our intelligence has enabled us to
survive with increased quality of life with less and less dependence on
offspring. Let’s increase our efforts solving those problems to improve
our quality of life. In the meantime, too many children continues to
become less and less of a problem.
Elmer Humes ’58
I believe the article “Growing Pains” was in poor taste and out of place in the Colgate Scene. This is a very old argument, and many people believe population control is not a panacea for most of our problems.
Edward T. Schell ’43
Groton Long Point, Conn.
refuting many of Bartlett’s claims would take as long as his article
about the dangers of people, his last quote is quite telling. In
summing up his article, he claims, “Can you think of any problem on any
scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any
demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by having larger
I can think of many problems that have been aided by having larger
populations. In fact, all of the problems we have had in the world have
been solved by people who have been part of those larger populations.
And, I think, the attitude toward people and populations is one of the
fundamental differences between liberalism and conservatism. Does one
see people in aggregate as an asset or a burden? I, for one, see them
as an asset.
Mr. Bartlett then adds a question that should come as quite an offense
to anyone who graduated after he did in 1944: “Can you think of
anything that will get better if we crowd more students into Colgate
University?” I am quite glad Colgate expanded to accommodate more
students. I, for one, probably could not have attended a university
that was all-male, mostly fraternity-based, and certainly more closed
to students such as I who did not have any family members who
previously attended the institution.
Joseph Evans ’05, MAT’07
Silver Spring, Md.