Marveling at F&M’s Diversity
Browsing through the fall issue of the magazine, I was ‘stopped dead’ by the full page photo collage of F&M faces pictured on page 17—after the full-page caption “We Are F&M.” Stopped dead with pleasure as I marveled at the wonderful diversity of those 49 faces.
Congratulations on a stunning visual demonstration of diversity and inclusion! I’ve pulled out the page of photos and put it into my copy of the 1962 yearbook. For years, I’ve used the yearbook as evidence of how long ago and far away (thank goodness!) were the days of my own all-male, almost 100 percent white, probably mostly Christian or Jewish graduating class at F&M. Now I have photographic proof.
This past fall, I was invited to join a conference call in which President Porterfield spoke to members of the F&M LGBTQ Alumni Council about diversity and inclusion and his vision. It was very exciting. This page of the magazine is visual proof of his vision being realized.
Now, please another step. There is a LGBTQ community at F&M that includes faculty, staff, undergraduates and alumni. A cute snapshot of rainbow flags (fall issue, page 5) just won’t suffice to demonstrate queer visibility. Put a face (or faces) on it!
Roger Hooper ’62
Familiar Political Winds
James Underwood’s lovely tribute to late Professor of Government John Vanderzell (Fall 2016) harkens to a more innocent time on campus and in the nation. In my years at F&M (1966-1970), there were intense debates on campus regarding such matters as canceling classes to attend anti-Vietnam rallies and dealing with such left-wing professors as historian Henry Mayer. Vanderzell and his colleagues in the Department of Government were traditionalists for whom one had to work within the “system” rather than challenge it. Classes should never be canceled. When, in the spring of 1968, carpetbagger Sen. Robert Kennedy of New York belatedly challenged not only President Lyndon Johnson but also Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy for the Democratic nomination, those party insiders assumed that the courageous McCarthy should immediately step aside in favor of the saintly Kennedy. Others on campus—and elsewhere—continued to support McCarthy. (In younger days, Robert Kennedy worked for and admired anti-Communist Sen. Joe McCarthy).
This past year saw a remarkably similar situation when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton. The traditionalists in the Democratic Party were furious at Sanders for daring to deprive Clinton of her entitlement. Other Democrats, of course, including the kind of young people whose parents and grandparents had supported McCarthy in 1968, refused to crown Clinton without a fight.
As in 1968, when Richard Nixon ultimately won the presidency, Donald Trump has triumphed over Clinton and her fellow super-rich “experts.” I wonder what Professor Vanderzell would have thought about this.
Howard P. Segal, Ph.D. ’70
Dr. Segal is a professor of history at the University of Maine.