LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I was pleased to read of the Columbia
College Outreach program [CCT,
May 2003]. This year’s may have been the sixth annual
event, but it is surely not the sixth. In 1955, as the Class of
’59 was going through orientation, Dean Lawrence Chamberlain
organized the class and gave us the opportunity to go into the community
and help clean, paint and so on. In our yearbook, there is a picture
of a classmate cleaning the tubes of a boiler (very dirty work,
I assure you).
I am glad to hear that Dean Chamberlain’s idea, progressive
for its time, has been reactivated.
Norman Gelfand ’59
Rick MacArthur ’78’s statement
May 2003] about why he doesn’t like President Bush —
“He’s a danger because he’s casual about starting
a war.” — is disturbing and erroneous. MacArthur talks
about “how you can’t see the world the same way after
you have kids because you need to protect them.” He should
be grateful that he has a president who will protect his children.
MacArthur should be reporting and editorializing about the dereliction
of duty of the previous commander-in-chief. If appropriate corrective
action were taken during the eight years of presidency under [Bill]
Clinton, we would not be talking about “war” today.
Peter G. Pasaskos ’49
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Thank You, Dr. Papper
I read with great sadness the passing of Dr. Emanuel M. Papper
’35. Although many of his wonderful accomplishments were duly
noted in his obituary [CCT,
March 2003], there was no mention of the College scholarship
that he created in his name. I know about it because I was a Dr.
Emanuel M. Papper scholar and know that I would not have been able
to attend Columbia College without his generous support. So, thank
you, Dr. Papper, and to all of your colleagues who have made similar
gifts along the way. You have made a difference and you have helped
to give me the opportunity to make a difference, as well. I will
never forget you, your family and the wonderful opportunities that
you afford people like me.
With warm gratitude and condolences,
Michael C. Caldwell M.D. ’86, M.P.H.
It would perhaps be redundant to point out that even though Chief
Justice James DeLancey signed the charter for King’s College
in 1754, it did not become effective until 1755. Some legal purists
would, therefore, maintain that this is Columbia’s true founding
date. Incidentally, their loyalist sympathies and unpopular stand
in the Peter Zenger trial should not obscure the many valuable services
that the DeLancey family rendered Columbia and the City of New York.
They deserve to be more sympathetically remembered.
Nis Petersen ’51
New York City
When surveying my March copy of
CCT, I first noticed the back cover
— a serene
Van Am Quad on a winter’s day “ … as seen from
Amsterdam Avenue through an ornate arched palladium gateway.”
I doubt that a gate was ever made of the precious metal palladium.
I suggest that the gateway was Palladian, in the classic style of
the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio.
But, ah, let me look again. Are those not the doors of Hamilton
Hall that I spy as I look through the columns of the quad? And is
that not Alexander himself whom I see to the left? “ …
[F]rom Amsterdam Avenue,” I think not. Let us try 114th Street
Dean Younger ’57
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
[Editor’s note: Sharp eyes. The photo was taken through one
of the Palladian windows of John Jay Hall that face the Van Am Quad.]
Regarding the appointment of the new head of the Journalism School,
I have but one thought: May he have the wisdom and fortitude to
influence his students so that they may be “totally unbiased”
when they report the news as is their charge, accurately and independent
of personal views.
Joseph A. Kennedy ’48
In your May issue, in a story
about Michael Kahn ’61,
the author mentions “Professor Andrew Schaap.” The professor
was the legendary (and famously walleyed) Andrew J. Chiappe ’33,
a specialist in 17th-century English literature.
Nicholas Wedge ’52
[Editor’s note: CCT regrets misspelling Professor
The article on the College’s
wrestling centennial [CCT,
May 2003] was outstanding and brought back many wonderful memories
for my family and me. One member of the Kuntze family who would
have relished the opportunity to attend the 100th anniversary celebration,
were he still alive, is my father, C. Donald Kuntze M.D. ’44.
My father co-captained, with Hank O’Shaughnessy ’45,
one of those outstanding teams highlighted in the article, and in
1943 he placed fourth at the EIWA Championships. In addition to
his distinguished wrestling career at Columbia, my father helped
to recruit many of the College’s outstanding wrestlers during
the ’60s and ’70s while working closely with Coaches
Dick Waite (also my College adviser), Stan Thorton, Jerry Seckler,
Ron Russo and fellow wrestling alumni to improve the Columbia wrestling
As a child, I remember regularly traveling to Morningside Heights
to attend Columbia wrestling matches with my father and brother.
My father attended the annual Columbia Wrestling Dinner each spring,
where he presented the outstanding wrestler award. In 1983, he was
awarded the College’s Alumni Athletic Award for “outstanding
contributions to Columbia Athletics.”
Finally, it is heartening to know that my father’s influence
continues on the Columbia wrestling mats. The career of a current
Columbia wrestler began in the 1950s, when “Doc” Kuntze
began the elementary school wrestling program in Leonia, N.J. One
of his wrestlers was Gary Norgaard, father of Erik ’04.
My father loved Columbia and the many challenges and opportunities
presented to him on and off “the mat.” May the Columbia
wrestling program enjoy another hundred years of success.
Alan J. Kuntze II ’71
Mount Vernon, Wash.
The comment by faculty member
Nicholas De Genova [CCT,
May 2003] that he hoped for “a million Mogadishus”
is an unbelievably insensitive and horrible statement. I served
my country as a surgeon in the Air Force when my country needed
me. I respect the differences in opinions about our entering into
any war and would fight to defend our right to freedom of speech.
But I remember the terrible time in Mogadishu, the fallen helicopter
debacle and the grievous picture of our dead marine being dragged
through the street with the crowd cheering. This was a tragedy.
These are our children, our young men [and women] who are defending
our country, who are placed in harm’s way by the politics
of our nation. To wish for a million more of these disasters is
too much to bear. We may be a free country and have a wonderful
constitution, but we exist because we have a strong military to
defend us as a nation. To wish for the destruction of our military
and the barbarous loss of lives of our young troops is tantamount
The right of free speech and dissenting opinions must be defended.
[However,] this statement by De Genova is too terrible to ignore.
Ian Nisonson M.D. ’58, ’62 P&S
I’ve been pondering the matter of Bill
Steinman’s retirement [CCT,
November 2002]. I would imagine that, at any given time during
Bill’s three decades at Columbia sports information, no more
than a dozen students — excluding, of course, those athletes
he promoted — had any idea who he was. And yet, I can think
of few University employees during that time who more closely personified
the Columbia, my Columbia, of the 1970s and 1980s.
It was in the fall of 1979 that I joined the Spectator
sports staff and met Bill. During the next 31–2 years, like
many other Spectator (and WKCR and CTV) sports reporters,
I spent a great deal of time with Bill, at games and in his Levien
Gym office, and got to know him well. “Stats” was, at
that time, second banana in the CU sports information office. Bill’s
boss, Kevin DeMarrais ’64, handled the newspapers and magazines
that you’ve heard of; Bill serviced the smaller papers from
athletes’ hometowns and, of course, us. He also kept the statistics
and supervised the printing of the media guides. It was part of
Bill’s job to put as good a face as possible on the University’s
This, as we all know, could be quite difficult when it came to
the University’s most visible program, football. During my
undergraduate years, the team won just four games. Abandoned by
many of our wealthiest donors after 1968, essentially leaderless
and spurned by the most coveted high school students, Columbia seemed
to be fast becoming the doormat of the Ivies. At the same time,
the “insider” college guides liked to describe Columbia
students of my generation as depressed adolescents who possessed
high SAT scores but were too socially dysfunctional to succeed at
Harvard, Yale or Princeton.
Some might have — and, indeed, did — take these characterizations
as insults. But the wisdom of Bill was to see the opportunities
in them. When expectations are so low, Bill understood, the pressure
is less, and people in authority begin to pay less attention, and
the freedom to act and explore expands accordingly. (Every one of
my classmates who forged his adviser’s signature on a program
card, please raise your hand.)
Whenever the subject of Columbia’s football ineptitude came
up, Bill would simply screw up his face, put on a cockeyed smile,
and rock back and forth in his creaking chair. “Yeeesssssss?”
he would say, bemusedly. It was his first, and last, word on the
subject, and it came (at least for me) to represent what we at Columbia
had over those at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
Often, when I meet alumni of those preeminent institutions, I notice
how poorly they have been served by the notion that their undergraduate
acceptance was the most meaningful event of their lives. This was
certainly not true at Columbia, and I am increasingly thankful for
that! Had we won more often — more football games, more highly
coveted students, more bequests — we would perhaps have been
happier, more content, less neurotic. But I doubt this. As Freud
teaches us, neuroses are merely reasonable responses to the inconsistencies
of everyday life (another piece of useful information I picked up
at Columbia). More important than fretting about our neuroses, I
believe, is appreciating who we are and exploring the possibilities
made available by that knowledge.
That’s what Bill taught me when I was at Columbia, and I
thank him for it. Others may consider Bill’s years at Columbia
the dark days of the College, but to many of us who were there,
they remain a remarkable and cherished time.
David Rubel ’83