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 Letters deemed potentially libelous or that malign a person or group will not be published.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.
Candid dialogue about financial aid
I WANT TO THANK YOU for including the insightful Q&A article on financial aid with Gary Ross and David Hale in the last issue of the Scene (winter 2012).
As the mother of three college-aged sons (one is a 2011 Colgate graduate, and one was just accepted early decision for fall 2012 admittance), I can’t tell you how much my husband and I appreciated having the financial aid process so thoroughly explained from the Colgate perspective and, most importantly, demystified for parents. I have never read an article on financial aid that was this forthcoming and informational.
Somehow it helps tremendously to know that while the price tag for a Colgate education doesn’t come cheaply, it is clear that there are decisions being made by capable administrators who are truly committed to balanced financial aid policies in a particularly difficult economic climate. Their willingness to share the information and statistics in this article proves it. I wonder how many other schools’ administrations would be so willing to open the dialogue on their financial aid practices so candidly as they did?
Thank you for recognizing the importance of this topic for so many Colgate parents.
Julie Davies P’11, P’16
AS THE PRESIDENT OF the Ferris State University Blueline Club, the official booster club of our hockey program, I feel compelled to write about what a tremendous impression your hockey team made here in Big Rapids on Saturday night, January 6. This was a special military appreciation night, and as such, there was a fairly significant ceremony at the end of the first period that Colgate Coach Don Vaughan could have very easily opted out of.
Instead, the Colgate players and coaches stayed on the ice and showed their respect and appreciation for the service people and veterans honored. They did so not just by being there, but also by applauding, tapping their sticks, and behaving in a manner that showed sincerity and reflected very well on them and on Colgate.
I spoke with the Navy Cross winner involved in the ceremony after the game, and he was impressed that the Colgate players took the time to shake his hand and the hands of the three university cadets sworn into the National Guard during the ceremony. (I don’t know if your players realize it, but the Navy Cross is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the chance to shake the hand of someone who has won it is a rare opportunity.)
Colgate might not have been the winner on the scoreboard that night, but when people conduct themselves as your hockey players and coaches did, they can not be considered anything but winners.
Kevin M. Courtney
President, Ferris State Blueline Club
Well below average?
I SUPPOSE THAT even Colgate has fallen victim to
grade inflation over the years but, by definition, C is an average
grade. So, a grade of C minus is slightly below average, not “well below
average” as the clue at 48-Down in the Salmagundi page puzzle in the
winter Scene would have us believe.
Richard Silvestri ’69
Valley Stream, N.Y.
|The college/business comparison
PRESIDENT HERBST’S LETTER in the last Scene concerned me on many levels. Let me address two of them.
First, the broad generalizations about companies demonstrate a disappointing unfamiliarity with business. He implies that companies can “simply pass (their) costs along to the consumer” or easily “lay off” staff or just relocate or “generally do not see it as their responsibility to reduce the price.” It is not an accurate portrayal of any of numerous businesses (large, small, profit, nonprofit) with which I have worked for more than 20 years.
Second, the statement “our metrics do not involve numerical goals” concerns me. They should. Yes, profit is not the goal, but aspects of the mission of Colgate are measurable. Some numeric examples about graduates to consider: number who go on for higher degrees; number getting jobs earning over $50k out of college; percentage earning reputable awards in their field, be it chemistry or writing; number becoming positive community leaders. These are only a few important numeric goals linked to the mission.
The president should take the energy spent denying business comparisons to learn more about business. Leverage how businesses have survived in tough economic times when they can’t raise prices, can’t afford to lay off more people, and still want to help others. Also, use numeric metrics to demonstrate the true value of a Colgate education. That change in perspective might be exactly what is needed to address the other issues like the endowment.
Drew Bixby ’92
I DISAGREE WITH Matt Behum’s recent letter (winter 2012) complaining about the football crowd photograph that appeared on the cover of the Autumn 2011 Scene. The worst cover in 10 years? Hardly, I think. I found it to be one of your better ones, actually. I liked the color splash (heavy on the maroon, of course!), the variety of focal points, and especially the technical feat (I think photographers call it “depth of focus”), which made the people farthest away (at the top of the stands) appear in just as sharp focus as the closest spectators at the bottom — I thought that aspect was very intriguing.
One small story about the photo: I actually recognized someone in the crowd! My friend Nikki Skinner, along with her husband, Clay Skinner, and their two kids moved last year from Telluride, Colo., (where I currently live) to Hamilton after buying the Roger’s Market building downtown. They have been hard at work refurbishing the building and the ground floor store and, based on the photos I’ve seen on Facebook, it looks like their hard work has paid off, both for themselves and downtown Hamilton, too. If you happen to drop by their store (the Hamilton Eatery), tell ’em Wobber from Colorado says hello.
Thanks for the cover shot. I loved it, myself.
John Wontrobski ’89
More on hating “the ’gate”
I AGREE WITH Steve Abrams’s thoughts on the label ’Gate (Letters, winter 2012). It may have “style,” but it certainly has no “class.” Having spent a career in marketing, I know the importance of a brand name. No successful organization will permit its brand name to be cheapened, abused, or misused. Our school has spent its entire existence building and enhancing the name, reputation, and image of Colgate. It’s a name you can “take to the bank.” Don’t cheapen it.
If there are others of you who agree with Mr. Abrams and me on the proper use of our school’s name, please raise your hands.
George W. Happe ’45
|Crossing paths with Don Collins
I WAS INTERESTED TO LEARN of the wartime exploits of Don Collins ’40 (pg. 48, autumn 2011).
After two years at Wharton grad school, I took a job at Interpublic, a large advertising outfit on Madison Ave., and landed with their sales promotion affiliate. Not knowing what to do with me, they assigned me to Don for a couple of weeks. Don was part of a special group that staged in-store promotions in major markets for Interpublic’s client, Westinghouse appliances. I thought he looked familiar — and so he was: the KDRs had his framed photo (with bouncing basketball) hung beside their living room fireplace in the early 1950s.
We had a good time talking things over (or at least, I did): what to expect on the job, Colgate memories, people we both knew. However, he didn’t bring up baseball or PT boats. The only unusual thing that happened was when we were traveling together on business in an ancient, lumbering, four-engine Constellation. We had a third person with us, Dave Grogan, Dartmouth ’54. We both had joined Interpublic at the same time. On the way from Philadelphia to Buffalo by way of Syracuse, the plane blew a tire in Allentown. Don arranged to rent a small plane at large expense to get us to Syracuse, where a DC-3 picked us up, took off, then swallowed a valve and had to return to the airport. We didn’t make it to the Buffalo meeting until the next day.
J.L. Hatcher ’54
KUDOS TO THE WRITER of the very fine eulogy to Andy Rooney ’42 (In tribute, pg. 79, winter 2012). It was succinct and heartwarming to all of us Colgate grads. Very few of us ever met him, and even fewer really knew him, except through his wonderful essays that he gave on 60 Minutes each Sunday evening.
Your article mentioned that Colgate awarded him an honorary doctor of letters in 1986, but you left out an interesting bit of trivia. My son, David Jr., graduated in that class and, of course, my wife and I attended commencement. While the honorary degree was being given to Andy, everyone heard the distinct sound of a champagne cork popping.
Wherever or whomever opened the bottle, it stopped Andy right in his tracks (possibly a first for him). He ad-libbed, “Some things just never change,” which got a big laugh from all in attendance (or, at least from all those who were not sitting on the stage). Then the proceedings continued and, as one might expect, he got a standing ovation.
David M. Ryan Sr. ’56, P’86, P’00
AS PRESIDENT OF THE Overseas Press Club of America, I gave Andy Rooney the President’s Award in 2010. It is essentially a lifetime achievement award, and we especially honored him for his work as a foreign correspondent during World War II. (I also was a correspondent at ABC News with his son, Brian, and worked with his daughter Emily when she was executive producer of World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.)
As part of the President’s Award ceremony, I conducted an interview with Andy — which we taped in his office at CBS — about his experiences. I would love to share it with the Colgate community: it can be found at http://www.opcofamerica.org/news/people-remembered-andy-rooney or on my website: allandoddsfrank.com.
Allan Dodds Frank ’69
New York, N.Y.
Opposes policy on unrecognized organizations
I READ WITH GREAT INTEREST the recent article on page 13 about George Gavin Ritchie’s courageous and righteous defiance of the faculty’s threat of expulsion in the late 1840s (Page 13, winter 2012). It reminds me of similar courageous and righteous student defiance less than a decade later: members of Mu of Delta Kappa Epsilon rebelled against the faculty after the faculty threatened to expel them for merely being members of a fraternity.
Colgate has not learned a lesson from its own history. Since 2007, Colgate’s Board of Trustees has threatened students with expulsion for merely being members of unrecognized student organizations (i.e., unrecognized fraternities and sororities). A glowing article in the Scene and posthumously awarding degrees 150 years from now will not be satisfactory consolation for students expelled for their courageous and righteous defiance of the Board of Trustees. We, as a community, will look back on this time in Colgate’s history and be appalled that we stood by and allowed the Board of Trustees to threaten students with expulsion for merely being members of unrecognized student organizations. Colgate’s current leaders are guilty of the same illogic and fear that expelled George Gavin Ritchie.
Sean Fitzmichael Devlin ’05