Letters to the Editor

Supporting Gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch '88 and his wife, Mary Louise, as he received the presidential nomination.

I write to dispel some of the persnickety comments attributed, unfortunately, to fellow Columbians about Neil Gorsuch ’88.

Neil has been lambasted for the newspaper he founded, violating postering rules, supporting unpopular causes, his quotation in the yearbook and his fraternity, among many other things. The students who actually knew Neil can attest to his character. In fact, more than 150 of his classmates, both Democrats and Republicans, submitted a comprehensive and thoughtful letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of his nomination.

I was friends with Neil. He created "The Fed” [Federalist Paper] to encourage respectful and open dialogue among students from a voice not often heard at Columbia. I was the dummy who violated the sign posting rules in his run for school senate, and I can verify that he knew nothing about it. I lived at the Fiji house for three years, and I can attest that the wild allegations in the press were unfounded and outrageous.

During the Senate hearings, many of Neil’s colleagues praised his good nature, respect for others and sharp intellect. These were the same qualities we saw at Columbia and why so many of his friends came out in strong support of his nomination. We know that politics will not play a part in his decisions, but instead he will be guided by his strong character, humility and integrity, which should make all Columbians proud.

Rob LaPlaca ’89
Weston, Conn.

Columbians on the Court

Regarding “Gorsuch Nominated to U.S. Supreme Court” (“Around the Quads,” Spring 2017): The article concludes with, “If confirmed, Gorsuch would be the second Columbian to serve on the country’s highest court [after John Jay (Class of 1764)].”

There were actually three others from the College — Jay, Samuel Blatchford (Class of 1837) and Benjamin Cardozo (Class of 1889).

As for the broader group of Columbians on the Supreme Court, it also includes Ruth Bader Ginsburg LAW’59, first in her class and the school’s first female tenured professor.

Kenneth A. Iczkowski ’86
Brookfield, Wis.

Editor’s note: CCT thanks Iczkowski, and also Peter Law ’08 and Thomas Vinciguerra ’85, JRN’86, GSAS’90, for pointing out the oversight. We regret the error.

Van Am

Located in the center of Van Am Quad is a bust of John Howard Van Amringe.

David Dini SIPA'14

On page 33 of the Spring 2017 issue (“Alumni News”), you report that the sculpture in the Van Am Quad [at right] “is actually the third bust produced from the mold.”

Hello? Where are the first and second busts? Inquiring Lions want to know!

Congratulations on a great issue, as always, of a most welcome publication.

Alex Auerbach ’66
Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Editor’s note: We found reports of the two other busts’ origins, but not their present locations. Commissioned in 1912 and 1913, respectively, the first was installed in Hamilton Hall and the second was given to the Columbia University Club.

The Right Woman?

Professor Martha Howell GSAS’79’s comments on gender equality (“Hear Us Roar,” Spring 2017) were of considerable interest, but I found her reply to the question of whether we are ready for a female President somewhat convoluted. Howell noted that, in the election, “there was an element of, ‘Is this the right job for a woman?’”

I would suggest rather that there was an element of “Is this the right woman for such a job?”

Philip Lille ’62, SIPA’64
Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Extraordinary Service

I write to recognize Michael Rothfeld ’69, BUS’71, SIPA’71, JRN’71 for his 12 years of extraordinary service to the Columbia University Board of Trustees, a service that has benefited the University and the College.

Michael was responsible for the board’s review and approval of the University’s annual budget, capital budget, capital structure and financings. He led the Student Life and Learning Committee for nine years and the Finance Committee throughout his tenure. As chair of finance, Michael reviewed quarterly, for a number of years, the University’s financing of the new science, performing arts and Business School buildings in Manhattanville — specifically the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which houses the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, opened in October 2016, and the Lenfest Center for the Arts, opened in April 2017.

In addition, Michael worked tirelessly last fall reviewing closely the financing for the Business School’s new building; the groundbreaking took place in December 2016 and the building is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

Columbia has greatly benefited from Michael’s work as a trustee and he has honored the Class of 1969 throughout his distinguished tenure.

Thank you, Michael!

Jonathan D. Schiller ’69, LAW ’73
New York City

Editor’s note: The writer chairs the Columbia University Board of Trustees.

The Experts

A terribly late response to “The Experts” feature [Winter 2016–17]: Thanks all around for some pretty good tips. But I would add one biggie to those offered by Michael Gerrard ’72 to combat climate change: Don’t fly if you can avoid it.

In Moby-Dick (Chapter 45), after relating a few stories about the many sailors killed hunting whales, Melville implores us: “For God’s sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man’s blood was spilled for it.”

Melville was unhappy with the killing of the whales, too, but he recognized that the true cost was not just the money paid for the whale oil.

By the way, best wishes to Alex Sachare ’71 on his retirement, and thanks for all his good work through the years.

Allen Schill ’73
Torino, Italy

Just wanted to say, the issue of CCT with all the alums providing tips and tricks [Winter 2016–17] was great reading. Keep up the good work!

Ryan McChristian ’07
Washington, D.C.