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 Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published.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.
College ratings as much a curse as a blessing
I READ WITH MUCH appreciation President Jeffrey Herbst’s astute message about college rankings (Scene, autumn 2011, pg. 3). From well-intentioned attempts to help my own three children select appropriate colleges (Edward, Colgate ’81, did it right!) to making similar efforts to respond to clients’ requests for help with their children, I found over time that college “ratings” were as much a curse as a blessing. U.S. News & World Report is, so far as I am aware, the precursor in that game, or at least it was the one to which I turned most often.
(illustration by James Yang)
For all the reasons President Herbst points out, U.S. News and its counterparts just can’t provide the real answers for any one prospective student who is necessarily sui generis; quantitative answers don’t go very far in finding the place where that unique he or she can thrive for four or more years. Trying to make the effort easy by using “ratings” will lead only to a generic (if that) answer, and certainly not an answer about which one can be confident for any one individual. I don’t know of any quick and easy alternatives, but I do know that well-researched campus visits, time with a knowledgeable school adviser, and lots of information gathering from all available sources (including U.S. News and the like, for what they are worth), together with as much self-appraisal as a teenager can endure, is worth the effort.
A note about the Colgate Scene. It seems to get better with every issue. I receive three other alumni magazines at the moment: from Connecticut College, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California. The Scene tops them all. My compliments to all involved.
Edward C. Cazier P’81
Los Angeles, Calif.
|Poor cover choice
I WANTED TO SHARE some thoughts on the cover selection for the autumn 2011 Colgate Scene.
I thought the image was a terrible choice for the alumni publication. I
know we have very gifted photographers at Colgate, and it appeared the
selection of the image was a last-minute choice made from a lack of
It was great (and apropos for a fall publication) to see a school
football crowd on the cover; however, it was clear that the majority of
individuals on the cover were not paying attention to the game, many
looked bored, and the expressions of most of the students looked awkward
I am not saying that pictures of beautiful Colgate landscapes need
to grace all Scene covers, but this particular image did not represent
the school well, and was easily the worst cover I have ever seen since
graduating nearly 10 years ago.
Matt Behum ’02
THE AUTUMN 2011 Colgate Scene is the most engaging, well-presented, and informative edition of this magazine that I have ever seen — in a 70-year span!
The presentations of the individuals closely associated with the Life of the Mind, “Aging Our Way,” Stay Connected, Arts & Culture, and the other categories make the subject matter real and vital. I particularly commend the many short biographies like “The Swagger Life,” “A Voice for Kids,” “How to Love Your Retirement,” “In tribute” on Arnold Sio, “Tightening Cultural Ties,” and others. These are several expressions of the Colgate culture at work. This is where the university is alive, and graduates can join in the life across lives.
You care to let the reader know the living moment of Colgate. Keep up this especially good work!
Ted Clapp ’41
THANK YOU FOR PUBLICIZING the availability of the digitized versions of the Colgate Maroon. Yesterday I spent several hours searching the issues from the ’60s and was able to document many of my exploits on the hardwood at Huntington Gymnasium. Now I have some hard evidence to back up my claims of glory to my skeptical classmates. My family, of course, never doubted me!
Alan Charles Brown ’67
Editor’s note: If you missed it, go to http://exlibris.colgate.edu/digital/studentnewspapers.html. There, you can find the student newspapers from 1846 to 1997. Each title, including the Hamilton Student, Madisonensis, Colgate Maroon, Colgate News, Maroon-News, and more, is available.
Hating “the ’gate”
I love Colgate, but hate “the ’gate.”
I hope this does not qualify me for the crotchety old alumni category, but I would like to express an opinion that I share with a few other alumni. Can we get back to promoting and identifying Colgate University, rather than the overabundance of “’gate” in most facets of Colgate PR? When Dartmouth is identified more commonly as “the ’mouth,” I will be happy to concede.
Thanks for letting me rant.
Steve Abrams ’79
|Remembering Arnold Sio
I STUMBLED UPON the information of the passing of Professor Arnold Sio (“In tribute,” autumn 2011, pg. 79) as I Googled his name. I was a student at the University of the West Indies and sat in on one of his sociology classes (1969). He came to mind as I tried to think of a way of rescuing the term “bail out” as a pejorative idea. Professor Sio had introduced the concept “potency of definition” in a lecture on “black power” and the Civil Rights Movement.
His thesis was that the very ways in which we define reality carry within themselves a certain potency that could define or redefine that reality itself. He cited, as an example, a Time magazine article in which the racial conflict that was engulfing parts of the United States was termed “The White Problem” (not “The Black Problem”). Thus, “bail out” would become for me “economic rescue operation” or “business rescue operation” as in GM, or AIG.
Professor Sio will be long remembered. My condolences to his family.
Rev. Patrick Perrin
Pastor, St. John’s United Methodist Church of Elmont
Valley Stream, N.Y.
A strong musical presence
I WISH YOU HAD been able to do a bit more in recording the death of Vivien Harvey Slater, who was a strong and elegant musical presence at Colgate for many years (In Memoriam, autumn 2011).
My close association with her consisted mostly of only one month, as an inept piano student under the old January Plan in 1969. She could not, nor could anyone ever, raise me above the lowliest hacker level at the keyboard, but she encouraged in me a general interest in music that has been lasting and fulfilling.
To me, she embodied three things that I think the university has always tried to stress:
• The presence of a genuine teaching faculty.
• The ability of virtually any student to have significant personal and intellectual contact with virtually any faculty member.
• The opportunity to pursue, at least briefly, an area of study or endeavor purely out of curiosity or passion, with little worry about practical or strictly academic consequences.
Mrs. Slater was, as well, a wonderful musician and a lovely person.
Clark P. Stevens ’71
Sierra Madre, Calif.