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Columbia College Today July 2003
 
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Outreach

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
Chicago

Maverick MacArthur

CCT May
Rick MacArthur '78

Rick MacArthur ’78’s statement [CCT, 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.)

Columbus, Ohio

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.
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Pending 250th

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

Misdirection

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 instead.

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.]

Journalism Dean

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
Torrance, Calif.

Professor Chiappe

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
Ossining, N.Y.

[Editor’s note: CCT regrets misspelling Professor Chiappe’s name.]

Wrestling

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 program.

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.

Free Speech

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 to treason.

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
Miami

Bill Steinman

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 sports programs.

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
Chatham, N.Y.

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