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 Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published.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. If we receive many letters on a given topic, we will print a representative sample of the opinions expressed.
I JUST HAD THE PLEASURE of reading the Winter 2010 Colgate Scene cover to cover, and for an hour, I felt like I was back at Colgate. I particularly liked the article “It’s Only Natural.” I am a native upstate New Yorker who grew up surrounded by small farms, and I am so pleased to see that Colgate has found a way to work with local farmers and food producers in a way that is mutually beneficial. I was also impressed by the students’ desire and motivation to support Colgate’s local community.
Gretchen Ward Mancuso ’98
I AM DELIGHTED TO SEE a growing movement by Colgate to incorporate local food into its menu, to see such a valuable course as Food being offered, and, especially, to see that students are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and have made an effort to increase awareness about local, “real” food on campus.
While I was a student, I went to the Farmers Market on the green, but didn’t go beyond that to eat food that was healthy. Since having my own children, I’ve educated myself about the benefits of local food, raw milk and honey, pastured eggs and livestock, and what is behind such terms as “organic,” “natural,” “free-range,” etc.
I would highly recommend to Green Thumbs or the university to invite Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, to the campus as a speaker. He was featured in Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. I was lucky enough to have Mr. Salatin as a guide when I went to the farm for a tour, and to say I was enlightened is an understatement of the impact he had on me. Thank you for an inspiring article, which gives me hope for the next generation.
Janet Cushing ’91
Great story, but a warning
THE ARTICLE ON KATE HOLCOMBE'S “Path to Healing” (Winter 2010) was well thought-out and actualized on the page. As an acquaintance during our Colgate years, I am gratified to learn that Kate found a path to channel her considerable energies and break free of her demons. One possible “red flag” caught my attention: the idolization of the teacher.
Before we met, my wife lost 15 years to a guru cult with a “godly” leader who grew to control all aspects of her life. Even after she found her way out, the bad associations kept her away from yoga for years afterward. Today, we practice yoga regularly but do not subscribe to any particular system. There is a long tradition of devotion to the teacher or “master” in Indian yoga. Unfortunately, that devotion can sometimes cross the line to deification, with negative psychic, physical, and social results.
Holcombe participates in one of the less proscriptive yoga systems, in which particular emphasis is given to the individual’s needs, wants, and capabilities. While I detected in the article a great affection for her teachers, it appears that she is relatively safe from guru worship and victimization on the path she chose. Hers is a great story.
Charlie Tiller ’92
St. Paul, Minn.
Natural gas the way to go
I COULDN'T AGREE MORE with Bruce Selleck’s remarks in the article summarizing the Colgate Energy Summit (Winter 2010, pg. 63). We should be encouraging our brightest and best to pursue careers in the geosciences. There is a huge age gap in the industry today.
A colleague of mine attended a recent American Association of Petroleum Geologists regional meeting. One of the topics was how enrollment of U.S.-born students in the geosciences is way down. He also noted that the Chinese government is paying big money to educate 5,000 of their brightest young minds at the graduate level in the world’s best institutions. Our government is investing in pipe-dream alternative energy technology, the majority of which has no shot at producing anything viable.
I have attended many industry presentations in the last year, including on domestic peak oil and gas, the global warming/carbon credit system, and unconventional (shale) gas economics. I researched the facts and have formulated my own opinion: natural gas is the most viable short-term alternative fuel. We will need to recruit talented young individuals to explore and develop these reserves in addition to studying the environmental impacts of the same.
Scott Avanzino ’91
A correction, he thinks
IN THE AUTUMN 2009 Class of 1949 notes, the final note, from Dave Davies, says, “While we were undergraduates, the second African American in Colgate
history was admitted. The first had been Adam Clayton Powell ’30....”
My father, Sanford Stanton, Class of 1905, attended Colgate during 1901–02. He was on the baseball team, and I have a picture. One of the team members appears to be African American. The photo was taken by Mr. Stone, who was still shooting Colgate teams when I enrolled in 1947. I had seen the photo on the wall in Huntington Gym and went to Mr. Stone’s studio to try for a copy. He walked quickly into the back room, found the plate for it in just a couple of minutes, and immediately made me a copy, which I still have. No names with it, unfortunately, but I recognized my dad. He didn’t remember the fellow with him on that team half a century earlier, but did not seem surprised that an African American was there then.
Ted Stanton ’51
Carl Peterson, Colgate’s archivist, replies: I can verify that at least 13 African Americans graduated prior to 1940. The first we know for sure were two cousins from Lynchburg, Va., in the early 1870s. In the 1850s, there was a student here from New Orleans. One of his current relatives in South Carolina claimed he was African American, but there is no way to verify this absolutely. We do have materials on the student mentioned above, including a photograph.
SHANNON WOLFE'S LETTER recalling Atlee Sproul’s direction on Le Misanthrope in 1987 (Winter 2010) made me remember his production of Moliere’s Le Misere in 1966–67. I remember playing Cleante, but, malheureusement, no lines!
Atlee was a wonderful professor who inspired many students to go into the theater. He was also a World War II hero, having volunteered early for service in a Canadian commando unit. I do not recall the details, but I believe it was the same unit involved in the unfortunate raid on Dieppe. He never spoke of it, but my grandfather, who saw similar service and taught with Atlee, mentioned it once.
Richard J. Kessler ’70
Chevy Chase, Md.
Remembering Bill Skelton
THE SCENE HAS REALLY HIT ITS STRIDE with the Winter ’10 edition. Of particular note was the coverage of family friend and teacher Bill Skelton (In Memoriam, Pg. 79).
Kevin Sio ’73
BEHIND BILL'S “GRUFFNESS” was a hidden side that I had the honor to experience my sophomore year. His Asian Ethnomusicology class culminated in a one-on-one oral final on the course material and a recital on an Asian instrument, which, in my case, was the Japanese shamisen. Anyone like me who was a member of the concert orchestra at that time was familiar with Bill’s unpredictable personality and tirades as conductor, so I was apprehensive about the final.
A few days before, Bill had a heart-related episode that sounded scary. I made one of those decisions that could prove to be either very memorable, or momentously stupid. I sought out an Asian friend from my dorm and borrowed his karate-style robe and tea brewing set, thinking, I can at least try and look the part and possibly fake my way through. I brewed some tea, sat crosslegged on the floor wearing the robe, and tuned up the shamisen, shaking with nerves and hoping he retained his sense of humor.
When he walked into his office,
I greeted the scowl on his face with, “How do you like your tea?” Bill broke into a grin. He walked over to his desk, pulled out a bottle of vodka, picked up his own shamisen, and we played duets in between shots! Never did get around to the oral final. The best part for me wasn’t the A I got for the course; I learned that he told the story over and over at a Christmas party a few days afterward.
Jeff Johnston ’77
IN 1955–59, BILL SKELTON was a young music instructor; I was an aspiring clarinetist. I
played in all of his bands. I
was his concertmaster for three years. Bill thought enough of me to
allow me to teach Prof. M. Holmes Hartshorne’s son Dick the clarinet,
which I did for two years. In my junior year, the only record of Colgate
songs was done with the concert band and glee club. I still play it. A
creative leader, he invented different shows for every football game. My
first big game with the band, I was so nervous that I marched the wrong
way, but Bill never criticized me. In fact, he laughed and told me that
with everyone on the field, who was to know? He always restored
Robert Shapiro ’59
|More Growing Pains|
I WAS DISTRESSED TO SEE some of the comments on Al Bartlett’s article on population growth (Letters, Winter 2010). In particular, the idea that more people is “good” shows that the message has not gotten through.
The key question is this: How many people can this planet support, long term, and at a reasonable standard of living? Current world population is about 6 billion. If current growth trends continue, this will double in less than 50 years, and double again before 2100. I know of no responsible person who has studied the issue who believes that 24 billion is a sustainable number. I have seen a serious estimate of the answer to the question above of 3 billion, half of where we are now. If this is correct, we are now in an overshoot mode.
There is a conundrum here. Many people, either explicitly or implicitly, believe that science can solve all of our problems: energy, hunger, disease, etc. But, when science comes up with an answer they do not like, or that requires action they do not want to take (think global warming), these same people dismiss the science as wrong. I suggest reading The Limits to Growth, Meadows et al. Their computer modeling has been criticized, but their predictions so far are spot on. We have a choice: we can find a way to limit population growth, which will be very difficult politically, or we can let nature take its course, and hunger and disease will do the job.
George A. Williams ’52
Salt Lake City, Utah
More on Banter covers
I WAS GREATLY SURPRISED and pleased to find a nice letter from Ben Patt and a reproduction of one of my Banter covers (Letters, Winter 2010). I remember folding over a big snowflake drawing time after time to try to get all the facets the same. As you can see, I failed. It’s too small to see, but the title of the book the student is reading is Survival in the Arctic.
Jim Berrall ’56
Carroll Valley, Pa.
The great football debate
IT WAS WITH GREAT PLEASURE that I read Brad Tufts’s letter in the Winter 2010 Scene honoring the reputation of the undefeated, untied, unscored upon, and “uninvited” campaign of the 1932 football team. That football season is part of our family lore, passed on to us by my father, Grover Radley ’37, grandfather of Emily Stein ’02 and Katie Minehan ’04.
WE HAD A PRETTY GOOD TEAM: Mark van Eeghan ’74, who followed Marv Hubbard ’68, was our claim to fame and made it to the pros. We, of course, gloried in the 1932 team — truly special in the annals of college football. But 2003 was special as well. There was an excitement that we could see and feel: the goalposts fell, the beautiful photo in Sports Illustrated, and most important — we were invited.
In my mind, there is no debate. The two teams are equal: twin goalposts in Colgate’s field of dreams. When it comes time, we should have Dick Biddle Field at Andy Kerr Stadium.
Frank Kaiman ’74
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT for and recognition of the 2003 football team, we should keep in view that those of us who played during the 1959–61 era played a true Division I schedule, as did those before and some of those who followed us. We played Syracuse when they were #1 in the country, with Ernie Davis, the Heisman Trophy winner, and several all-Americans. We also played Penn State, Rutgers, and Army. The football schedule certainly has changed since then, and I would suggest for the best.
Charles F. Dalton Jr. ’62
Shaw piece sparks memories
YOUR BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE (“A Writer and His Image,” Summer 2009), with its gorgeous presentation, brought to life for a few moments perhaps the most charming of all the wraiths that move in and out of our memories. Way back in 1956 or 1957 when my wife, Joby, and I were living in the Village, we were heavily involved with the Paulist Fathers and their parish’s Legion of Mary ministry to the many Puerto Rican immigrants on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In all of this, we became quite friendly with [Hungarian film producer/director] Gabriel Pascal’s widow. Her husband had had a very close and important connection with The Great Man, George Bernard Shaw.
Although we can’t remember her first name, we can’t forget her lovely face, her ash blonde hair and light eyes, her slim, ladylike form. She was quiet, soft-spoken, with a lovely Hungarian accent. She had an intensity about her and a great deal of holiness (she took doing God’s work very seriously).
John A. Pfaff ’53