Letters to the Editor (Winter 2016)

This magazine article is part of Winter 2016 / Issue 84

Feedback on Our New Design

From the brilliant cover illustration—no doubt an allusion to Benjamin West's iconic painting of "Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky," from 1805—to your editor's letter and "words" about the ringing of the bell in the tower of Old Main, and everything before and after, this was probably my favorite edition of Franklin & Marshall Magazine ever!

Congratulations to everyone involved. I was so proud to be an alumnus of our wonderful College as I read it from cover to cover. The fact that my "silly" little class note was included has nothing to do with my enthusiasm.

One "drone" thing: I had read about Philly by Air in Philadelphia Magazine but had no idea it was founded by an F&M alum. Because Philadelphia is my "hobby," I was thrilled to learn that Matt Satell '09 had taken that beautiful picture of the skyline of my favorite city.

John Hauter '67
Norwalk, Conn.

I enjoyed the most recent magazine and especially loved the article by President Porterfield on student debt. It seemed to me that the print has gotten smaller and more difficult to read. This is not good for our older alumni, who probably still prefer reading the paper copy as opposed to going online.

John Wieder '72, P'97
Rocky Hill, Conn.

The new alumni magazine is terrific! I am giving my husband, Walter, a big surprise for Christmas—a framed piece of the Protest Tree I broke off at Homecoming! He will love it, and the article is perfectly timed.

Rosemary Calabrese McDonough '76
Narberth, Pa.

Three Cheers for F&M

What a surprise to turn to page 33 of the fall magazine and see a picture of our cheerleading squad from the fall of 1968! That brought back great memories. In fact, I had posted that same picture on my Facebook page a few months back.

The details with the photo are not correct, however. Imagine how lucky we four freshmen felt getting to socialize and cheer with four young secretaries of the college from various departments. That was a real treat in all-male F&M. We were the envy of our hallmates!

I have the original Parents’ Day football game program that contained the article and identified the students and the secretaries by name.

The girls came the next year. We all protested (at the Protest Tree, of course) in favor of coeducation while the College trustees were deliberating the change of status!

That was one of many highlights of my F&M days that I cherish. Thanks for sharing.

Dan Martin '72
Sebastian, Fla.

Memories of the Library

Your item in the fall issue, "A Spark for Shadek-Fackenthal," stirs fond memories. In the late 1940s and early '50s, that space was called "The Browsing Room" and bore long shelves with a potpourri selection of books and upholstered leather seating. I lived on campus, and on weekends spent many hours browsing and drowsing there. Some of my best ideas and the germ of a poem or two began there during "down time." When I'd want to look up something to pursue a new idea, it seemed that Miss Kieffer, reference librarian extraordinaire, was usually nearby to help. I hope the new Spark program allows non-pressure, non-programmed times for such browsing and rumination as I had.

Dale M. Heckman '51
Davis, Calif.

When a Tree Falls, Some Say Good Riddance

It was a wonderful trip down memory lane to read, "If a Tree Falls on Campus, Do You Hear It?"

It brought back memories of the Mother Goose Marxism that burgeoned in the 1970s, especially at the Protest Tree. Students felt they were pushing the envelope in finding the "truth;" actual diversity in discourse? Not so much.

Yes, some are actually happy to see the passing of the Protest Tree and all that it stood for—especially the surviving families of the 100 million murdered in the last 100 years by leftist genocide. While the vast majority of the students (and faculty) railed against the "imperialist" war in Vietnam, others were cheering that the U.S. had finally curtailed the communist century of death; one that started on the Steppes of Ukraine in 1921 and worked its way across Europe and Asia, ending in the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

William F. Buckley noted that the Holodomor claimed more lives than all the battlefields of World War I. Orwell noted that, "Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English Russophiles."

The world's greatest genocide regime certainly escaped the attention of The Protest Tree, so good riddance!

Russ Chelak '74
Morristown, N.J.

A Sad Goodbye

I was very saddened to read of the near total demise of F&M's famous Protest Tree. I made frequent use of the tree's welcoming brown bark and encouraging leafy branches. In fact, one of my proudest postings was totally successful in ending a particularly hated activity.

My posting wasn't about the Vietnam War or civil rights. It was about exams on Saturday morning! I'm not sure what the current practice is at F&M, but for yours truly in 1964 it was a real problem to wake up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday after a hard night of, er, studying intently. So I created a brilliant masterpiece of iambic pentameter poetry and tacked it to the Protest Tree. I don't remember all of it, but it began like this:

   Last year the Dean, he did decree:

   Exams on Saturday would no longer be.

   But alack, alas!  Something has changed!

   My weekend plans must be rearranged.

   Instead of enjoying a day of rest,

   I now have to take a stupid test!

Within three weeks, the dean announced a major change: no more Saturday exams! Too bad they didn't send me to Washington to resolve some of those other problems from the '60s.

Andy Rosenthal '64
Manalapan, N.J.

Inspired by Lisa’s Journey

Thank you for the tribute to Lisa Bonchek Adams ’91 in your Spring 2015 edition. It may have saved my life—literally. I was taken by her bravery and honest account of facing her own mortality and living with metastatic breast cancer, and I was amazed by her family’s constant love and support through her illness. I had my own normal mammogram in February 2015, and to be honest, did not regularly do self-exams. Reading the article about Lisa’s cancer made me much more diligent, and I found a lump just four months after my normal screening. I had the area checked and was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. I truly don’t think I would have discovered the cancer so early had I not been taken by Lisa’s story and journey. I’m doing well now and still receiving treatments for cancer, and in December had a bilateral mastectomy. I am very hopeful for a good prognosis and long life ahead because the cancer was detected in its early stages. Thank you again for sharing Lisa’s story.

Laura Ashman Spahr, D.O., ’91
Wexford, Pa.


An Ode to Franklin & Marshall Magazine:

You've created a great magazine,
But my eyesight is no longer keen.
The size of your font
Is really quite gaunt.
Please change it at least to fourteen!

John B. Raymond '74
Williamsport, Pa.

Thank you for the feedback, especially via limerick! We continue to assess the readability of text as we try to appeal to a broad range of readers. 


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Comments from Facebook

Pamela Bender ’90 (In response to “10 words or less: Advice for second-semester seniors”) Appreciate that learning how to think and analyze are the most valuable things F&M has given you.

Chris Adamoli (in response to our Jan. 25 blizzard photos) Those maintenance guys do a hell of a job, always have.John Boyer ’77 (in response to our Jan. 23 video about Coach Robinson’s 900th win) Wonderful tribute to Coach Robinson, a man who had a profound impact on my life as I had the pleasure of starting on his team from 1974-77.

John Boyer ’77 (in response to our Jan. 23 video about Coach Robinson’s 900th win) Wonderful tribute to Coach Robinson, a man who had a profound impact on my life as I had the pleasure of starting on his team from 1974-77.

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